Mon Ramirez Beta Epsilon Fraternity

(This essay was written by Monram’s Fraternity Brother Tito Aliga in September 4, 2021. Engr. Mon Ramirez besides being a topnotcher of the Electrical Engineering board exam of his time, was also an active member of the Beta Epsilon Fraternity.)

Permit me to share with you my rambling thoughts about my Brother in the UP Beta Epsilon Fraternity, Ramon Palima Ramirez.

Mon and I entered UP 60 years ago in 1961, joining a bunch of young people most of whom were ‘çianos like us, who wanted to get an education for a career in engineering. Belonging to the Engineering blocks, we completed our two years in the University College. We were the guinea pig group that tested the new curriculum, where all freshmen had two subjects of daily classes for 6 weeks. Or 24 subjects in a 2-year period. Academics was fun, made better because we had our ROTC on Saturday afternoons, meeting other freshmen and sophomores. I recall our Corps Commander was George Howard in 1961-62, and Boy Morales in 1962-63.

End of the schoolyear of 1962-63, a bunch of 30+ incoming 3rd year guys were recruited by incumbent BE brothers, and by our Prof Dom Ilio. 20 made the grade, and we comprised BE Batch ’63. 3 years in Engineering was not exactly a breeze, but we all enjoyed the hallmarks of UP frat life – mentoring by well-meaning professors, rumbles, musicals, etc., and doing some spadework to maintain the iconic Beta Way.

Belonging to the 106-strong Engineering Class of 1966, we have the singular honor of being the ONLY class-year where there was no graduate with Laude honors! (This record has stood the test of time, and that’s 111 years of UP Engineering!) But finishing Sans Laude, my batchmates like Mac de los Reyes and Mon topped the Electrical Engineering Board! Frat legend has it that Prof Ilio sensed the capability of Mac and Mon, and so he suggested to them to take the Board in separate times: Mac took it in August 1966 (Beause Prof had recruited him to the join the Faculty) and Mon in February 1967. True to form, they delivered, to the extreme delight of Prof Ilio and Beta Epsilon!

After graduation, we went separate ways building our respective careers and families. I was out of the country from 1972-87, so I did not have much contact with my brods except for some alumni events that came up when we had our annual vacation.

Fast forward to the late 1990s, Mon became the Arkibista of the Fraternity, being the constant assistant of Prof Ilio, whom we dubbed Mr. Beta Epsilon. When Prof passed in 2006, Mon took over Prof’s BAUL of Fraternity and Engineering memorabilia, and patiently curated them, and added some more. He was an active contributor to the UP Alumni Engineers publications.

Mon Ramirez Beta Epsilon Fraternity

Continuing what Prof Ilio started, he was the TIE THAT BOUND us Brothers. He made sure that our First Saturday Kapihans, started in 1987, would go on rain or shine, or lockdown. Thus, we have our 420th Kapihan this September 4. By zoom, we link with our Brothers living abroad, something that could not happen in person. Mon documented all happenings as well. That’s 35 years and counting!

Mon was recognized some years ago by the UP Alumni Association, creating a new citation for Outstanding Alumnus for Social Cohesiveness. Our UP Alumni Engineers also honored him.

Throughout his life, he continued to be the Betan Gentleman that we knew from College days, and even got better with age. And to me, his most meaningful contribution to Philippine society was when he worked with a citizens’ group to seek the correction of Meralco charges that were billed for several years. And won it for the consuming public, as Meralco accepted to make the necessary refunds!

As we pray for his eternal repose, let us ask everyone to find strength from his persona, what he delivered. In his humble ways, he did what was important, not much to talking about himself or his accomplishments, yet doing his tasks faithfully and well.

This Passage from St. Augustine aptly describes him:

I am done. With God’s help, I have kept my promise.
This, I think, is all that I promised to do when I began my life’s work.
From all who think I have said either too much or too little, I beg pardon.
And those who are satisfied, I ask not to thank me
But to join me in rejoicing and thanking God.

Truly a Betan, truly a Gentleman, truly a Man for the Filipino People!

Mon Ramirez Beta Epsilon Fraternity

By arkibongbayanph

Arkibong Bayan is not just a simple repository. Before there was intense use of social media around the world, Monram through Arkibong Bayan digitally shared the vibrant stories of valiant struggle of the Filipino people (and the world) for human rights, peace, justice, democracy, and freedom.