Tau Gamma Sigma
Tau Gamma Sigma also known as the Triskelions’ Grand Sorority, is a sorority established in the Philippines. Its members call themselves Lady Triskelions. The Tau Gamma Sigma is the counterpart of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity. It is now one of the largest and most dynamic sororities in the Philippines.
Birth of the Lady Triskelions
It was a cold Friday afternoon of January 17, 1969 in Mandaluyong City when the Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority was formed. Eleven (11) illustrious coed girls from the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus are “barkadas” or buddies of the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity Founders who came together and valiantly embraced the Tenets and Codes of Conduct of the TRISKELIONS. These women were all political science students and members of the Political Science Club that the Founding Fathers of the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity and Founding Batch were also distinguished members.
The first initiation rites was held in Bustos, Bulacan. Successive batches followed until they reached the impressive number of almost fifty members from different colleges in the UP Diliman,Quezon City campus.
Despite of the Lady Triskelions’ very tight class schedules on top of their commitments to other extra curricular activities, they managed to formulate sorority policies and guidelines particularly its Constitution and recruitment program.
Formal sorority structure was finally ratified in July 1970.
The Triskelion Roots
In the year 1969 when the U.P. Tau Gamma Phi was still in its early stage of existence at the University of the Philippines campus, their main focus was setting a foothold in the university. They were not yet very concerned about establishing a female counterpart, but since a lot of female students and friends hanged around with them, who gave their support, attended social gatherings when invited, the Triskelion brothers quickly learned that having female counterpart can be very beneficial to the Fraternity especially in their recruitment campaign. They then encouraged their female friends and classmates to form a sorority that will be their partner not only in activities limited to school and community service programs but also in pursuing their goals to achieve academic success, personal development and spiritual growth.
Most of the founding members of U.P. Tau Gamma Sigma also belonged to the U.P. Political Science Club along with the Founding Fathers and Founders Batch of the Tau Gamma Phi.
Triskelion Lady Founders:
Rosmari “Rory” D. Carandang
Victoria “Vicky” Sisante – Bataclan
Lucita “Babes” G. Rodriguez
Rowena “Weng” Celino – Alfonso
Erlinda G. Arabejo
Atty. Emily Sibulo Hayudini
Flery T. Tesoro
Luzviminda G. Tancangco
At present, the UP Tau Gamma Sigma Lady Founders, clearly excelled in their chosen fields of endeavour.
Some are based abroad, a few of them operate their own businesses and the others are holding top positions in the Philippine government.
The Honorable Associate Justice of the Philippine Court of Appeals, Associate Judge Rosmari Carandang, the Ambassadress of the Philippines to Switzerland and Norway, Ambassador Victoria Bataclan, the first woman Commissioner of the Commission on Elections, Cmsr. Luzviminda “Luz” Tancangco, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (Philippines) Deputy Commissioner, Cmsr. Lucita “Babes” Rodriguez .
Sigma or Saudara?
A Temporary Hiatus
In 1972, Martial Law was declared in the Philippines, some university-based organizations became targets of military harassment. The U.P. Tau Gamma Sigma struggled to balance the continous decline in recruitment against meticulous selection of recruits, graduating members, and members who went somewhere else to finish college. By early 1973, the sorority suddenly faded away from the campus scene. The relations between U.P. Tau Gamma Phi and U.P. Tau Gamma Sigma became less enthusiastic. By 1974 the consensus of U.P. Tau Gamma Phi was to fill in the void left by the Lady Triskelions.
]U.P. Sedarum Saudara (UPSS) – a new sisterhood
Cordial relations was maintained between U.P. Tau Gamma Phi and U.P. Tau Gamma Sigma from 1973 until 1974 all throughout the administrations of Grand Triskelion Florencio “Florence” Atanacio and Grand Lady Triskelion Suzette Badon (1973–1974). In 1974, the consensus of U.P. Tau Gamma Phi during the term of Grand Triskelion Valentino “Allen” Hernandez was they wanted to start fresh and organize a new breed of U.P. coeds. They introduced their plan to select friends, relatives, and classmates and then invited them to an acquaintance ball at the Blue Ridge mansion of Triskelion Benjamin “Benjie” Rodriguez (’71) in October 1974. Around 21 or so agreed to attend a planned weekend Leadership Seminar and Retreat at another location in Fairview, Quezon City (See photo at right). In November 1974, the original Founders Batch of the new ladies auxiliary sorority was formed. Their first task was to research and decide upon a name by which they shall be called, draft and ratify a constitution and elect officers among themselves. They also have to conceptualize and finish a group project within one year of their being members. To be unique among the countless women-based societies in the U.P. campus, the new sisterhood has to have a unique name based on the Filipinos’ Malay heritage. And that is how the name “Sedarum Saudara” was chosen by the group.
Derived from Indonesian, in English meaning “Altogether, Friends” or “Altogether Brothers and Sisters”. Each female member was called by the title “Saudari” (the male counterpart is coincidentally “Saudara”). The first leader of the group was Jennifer “Jenny” Dumo Alvarez as the “Supreme Saudari” with Juliana “Julie” Torres as the “Prime Saudari”. Other Saudaris were elected to the positions of Secretary, Treasurer and other vital duties. Sedarum Saudara quickly became one of the most popular among sororities in UP. Composed of the “beauty and brains” of the UP Diliman campus’ female students during those times. Some of which will go on and become the future shakers and movers of Philippine society, such as the incumbent Mayor of Marikina City, Honorable Maria Lourdes Carlos-Fernando or simply known by her constituents as Mayor Marides Fernando, and the “Ranillo Sisters”, the pretty Lilibeth Ranillo and film and television actress, director and producer Suzette Ranillo aka Nadia Veloso, siblings of Philippine movie actors Mat Ranillo III and Triskelion Dandin Ranillo.
The first project for the group was to raise funds for the residents of Bgy. Tatalon in Quezon City. Then in 1975, the U.P. Sedarum Saudara (UPSS) produced and launched “Hala, Bira!”, a concert which featured Asian Funk artist Andre Wilson and his band “Transit”, singer Joy Salinas and a dance troupe performing at the “Ati-Atihan Festival”. The show was a success.
The Saudaris continued to recruit until most members graduated and then sometime in December, 1981, Saudari Chloe Ceniza was the only UPSS member to accept the invitation by the U.P. Tau Gamma Phi to join the revival of the U.P. Tau Gamma Sigma, Chartered Batch and so Saudari Ceniza, likewise, became a Lady Triskelion.
The alumni Saudaris recently had a mini reunion last April in Manila with the first and second Supreme Saudaris in attendance (Jenny Alvarez-Bernardo and Julie Torres-Salazar), together with Marikina City Mayor Hon. Ma. Lourdes Carlos-Fernando. Third Supreme Saudari Annalisa Charisse Franco Gonzalez-Tootel was already home in Australia at the time of the meeting. Those present agreed to organize a grand Saudari Reunion in January or February , 2009 to be hosted by Mayor Marides Fernando in Marikina. One at a time, members from all batches are being located and contacted. This is indeed an event to behold almost 35 years after the founding of a unique and dynamic organization.
Back From Hibernation
Years have passed but the Tau Gamma Sigma was never a familiar fixture in the UP Diliman campus scene. Although during these 8 year gap, from 1974 to 1981, the Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority have been thriving and doing well in other chapters and school campuses in Metro Manila. Only in UP that they are totally erased from the consciousness of the student and faculty population and most of all from the Fraternity that spawned them, the Tau Gamma Phi. Probably because the Triskelion brothers have another apple of the eyes that pre-occupied them during the absence of the Sigmas, and these are the UP Sedarum Saudara sisters.
It was only in 1981, after 8 years of hibernation, when the UP Tau Gamma Phi decided to revive the Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority in UP. Due also to the disbandment and slow death of the UP Sedarum Saudara, until almost all members have graduated. And like before, the UP Tau Gamma Phi cannot live without a female counterpart, so again they formed an all female society, but instead of forming another organization without an initiation rites like the UPSS, they in turn revived the UP Tau Gamma Sigma. Recruitments went under way and invitations were also extended to the remaining members of the Sedarum Saudara sisters to join and cross over to the Sorority, but only one accepted. So in December 1981 the revival batch of the Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority were initiated. They are Dinky Ruivivar, Grace Corachea, Macris Santos and UPSS Saudari Chloe Ceniza. In the revival batch of 1981, only one Tau Gamma Sigma member came from the UP Sedarum Saudara.
The Martial Law Years
Martial Law was declared on September 21, 1972 by the late dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos under Proclamation No. 1081. The Sorority with its affiliation to the protest fraternity the Tau Gamma Phi being a subversive group and a staunch critic of the Marcos administration, together with other fraternities and organizations in UP, became the target of military harassments and illegal detentions, believing that these student organizations posed a threat to the order and stability of the Marcos regime. Ostensibly due to leftist leanings, the office that Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity and Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority shared inside UP campus was raided under an Arrest-Search and Seizure Order signed by then Secretary of Defense and one of the “Architects of Martial Law”, Juan Ponce Enrile which resulted in the confiscation of several subversive materials and documents. Fortunately though, no one was at the office at the time of the raid so they narrowly escaped being locked up in a military stockade camp.
The Junior Lady Triskelions
Struggling from the effects of Martial Law which suspended all fraternal and organizational activity within the collegiate levels and the arrests of all militant students, the Fraternity and Sorority decided to stay low to avoid being tagged as a subversive group working for the Communists out to destabilize the government, although a lot of its members went underground and took up arms to join the New People’s Army, the armed paramilitary group of the Communist Party of the Philippines, in the mountains and jungles. These developments temporarily freezed the recruitment of new members, and without fresh bloods to replace the old ones, these resulted in the dwindling down of membership population, due to graduating members or just simply dropping out of school.
Triskelion Atty. Ramoncito “Monching” Ocampo, MDG (UP), who was the Secretary-General of the Fraternity and Sorority during that time, had an idea and took the initiative and decided to tap the younger generations in the High School sector. This gave birth to the “Junior Tau Gamma Phi” or better known as the “Junior Triskelion”, founded at San Beda College – High School in 1975. The rationale behind this is, to be able to solve the recruitment problems in the collegiate levels, why not recruit in the secondary education level? Since these High School students will eventually graduate and attend college in the future then they will not have any more problems recruiting them since they are already Triskelions. The idea is simple and effective and the problem is solved.
Although at first, because San Beda College – High School is an all male, non-coed school, that only male members of the Tau Gamma Phi are being recruited, but soon enough the popularity of the Fraternity and the effectiveness of the program quickly spread to other colleges, universities and high schools across the University belt area, that already female High School students are also willing to join the Sorority. And saw the beginnings of the “Junior Lady Triskelions” nationwide.
Triskelion Youth Movement
True to its objective of changing the elitist orientation of the fraternity system, the Tau Gamma Phi and later on also the Tau Gamma Sigma, decided to open its doors to aspiring youth in the community through the Triskelion Youth Movement (T.Y.M.), so that they too, who temporarily stopped pursuing higher education to continue their chosen vocation, may also share in the glory of the Tau Gamma Phi and Tau Gamma Sigma. Another milestone in fraternity or sorority history. Again conceptualized and conceived by the Fraternity’s Metro Manila Regional Council through the enigmatic leadership of then Secretary-General Triskelion Monching Ocampo.
Like the Junior Lady Triskelions, the Triskelion Youth Movement was also born out of necessity, they have the same motive when first conceptualized which is to regenerate the dwindling member population, but they have different reasons for coming into being. Unlike the Junior Triskelion and Junior Lady Triskelion, which has been founded solely for the continued Fraternity’s existence on campuses, the T.Y.M. is hatched to provide the Fraternity’s much needed muscle and strength for its own survival.
As Triskelions they also persevered to preserve the Sorority’s existence during its trying times. Numerous notable alumni of the Tau Gamma Phi and Tau Gamma Sigma actually started their Fraternal Journey as Triskelions in the T.Y.M. It just shows how the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity and Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority is constantly evolving to the situation of the times in order to suit the needs and survival of the Triskelion existence for supremacy.
Hon.Rosmari D. Carandang (UP) – Associate Justice, Philippine Court of Appeals.
H.E. Victoria S. Bataclan (UP) – Philippine Ambassador, stationed at the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, Norway.
Hon. Marides C. Fernando (UPSS) – Former Mayor, City of Marikina, Metro Manila. She is nominated for the 2008 World Mayor Award.
Hon. Aurora Villamayor (TYM) – Former Mayor, Municipality of Angono, Province of RizalCmsr. Luzviminda G. Tancangco (UP) – The first ever female Chairman of the Commission on Elections, the COMELEC from 1998 to 1999.
Hon. Lucita “Babes” G. Rodriguez (UP) – Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Internal
Revenue.Erlinda G. Arabejo (UP) – She is currently the Welfare Officer of the Overseas Worker’s Welfare Administration stationed at the Philippine Consulate’s office in Macau, China
Onelia Ison Jose (UST) – 1971 Binibining Pilipinas title holder. The Philippines’ representative to the Miss World 1971 pageant in the UK, where she won Best National Costume.
Suzette Ranillo (UPSS) – Award winning movie actress, producer and director.
Frenchie Dy (EAC) – real name Gyphartori Dimacali – Singer, TV personality and stage performer. Grand winner of the 2004 season 2 Star In A Million talent search of ABS-CBN
Jopay Paguia – real name Diofanny Jane Paguia – Dancer, Actress. Member of the dance group SexBomb Girls.
Tau Gamma Sigma ( ?GS ) — Also known as the Triskelions’ Grand Sorority, is the affiliated Sorority of the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity.
Triskelion Alumni Organization ( T.A.O. ) — The umbrella organization of all Triskelion alumni worldwide.
Triskelion Order of Law ( T.O.L. ) — Triskelion Alumni members who are in the judiciary and paralegal profession.
Triskelion Order of Medicine ( T.O.M. ) — Triskelion Alumni members who are in the medical profession.
Triskelion Order of Business ( T.O.B. ) — Triskelion Alumni members who are in the corporate world, businessmen and or those who operate their own entrepreneural ventures.
Triskelion Information Technology Organization ( T.I.T.O. ) — Triskelion Alumni members who are in the Computers and Information Technology profession.
Triskelion Law Enforcers Group ( TriLEG ) — Triskelion Alumni members who are in the Police, Military and Armed Forces profession.
Bagong Tao Movement ( B.T.M. ) — A duly accredited political party list organization of the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity and Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority.
Triskelion Seafarers League ( TriSEAL ) — Triskelion Alumni members who are working as seamen, navy personnel, and crew in ships that are plying oceans around the globe.
Triskelion Rescue and Emergency Assistance Team ( T.R.E.A.T. ) — Triskelion Alumni who are members of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and various Fire Volunteer Brigades.
Triskelion Order of Teachers ( T.O.T. ) – Triskelion Alumni who are in the Teaching Profession. The group was organized by the initiative of local founders/ lady founders of West Visayas State University Chapter, Iloilo City.