The 1970s saw an aggressive expansion of Alpha Phi Omega in the Philippines. By 1979, approximately 127 charters had been extended, 7 of which were chapters located in Cebu City.
The idea of establishing Alpha Phi Omega in the University of the Philippines Cebu floated among APO Cebu members for a better part of the ‘70s, however, it was only towards the end of that decade when real opportunity came. The focal point of which movement was an apartment unit shared by several APOs responsible for paving the way towards chapterhood: (Alpha Mu at University of San Carlos in Cebu City) brothers Frederick “Lelec” Mercado and Virgilio “Jing” Gonzalez, Leopoldo “Pol” Anacion (of Alpha Delta at San Sebastian College in Manila) and wife Dulce Cuna-Anacion*, a faculty teacher at U.P. Cebu. This apartment unit was a gathering place frequented by many APO members and in a conversation during one of the gatherings the following opportunities became apparent: Dulce Cuna-Anacion's influence as a faculty member in U.P. Cebu and the presence of APO undergraduates Edgar Abao (of Gamma Pi at U.P. Baguio) and Elena Larazzabal (of Alpha Chi Chapter at University of the Visayas in Cebu City).
Thus in 1979, commitments were made to organize an APO chapter in U.P. Cebu, Frederick Mercado volunteered to coordinate the whole effort; Dulce Cuna-Anacion committed to handle school relations and serve as faculty advisor; collegiate members Edgar Abao and Elena Larazzabal were assigned with recruitment; Antonio Basar, the outgoing Grand Chancellor of Alpha Mu of the time, was asked to take charge of lectures and familiarization; and Pol Anacion and Jing Gonzalez signed on as alumni advisors. Alpha Mu Chapter accepted “mother chapter” duties and provided constant support and advice throughout the preliminary stages.
The recruitment effort resulted in eighteen pledges, who (mostly being Fine Arts students) named their batch Simultaneous Contrast. After three grueling weeks only nine of the eighteen individuals successfully completed the pledge period.
*For her contribution to the founding of Zeta Omega, Dulce Cuna-Anacion was given Honorary Membership status. However, she gained Full Membership through the rolls of Alpha Omicron chapter (Divine Word University) in 1987.
1. Stanley Uriarte
2. Jose Brillo Villaver
3. Eleno Makabenta
4. Andrew Laurel Ciriago
1. Josephine Henrietta Patalinghug
2. Ma. Betsy Espigadera
3. Flor Mercado
4. Elva Albacite
5. Arlene Villaver
Because the exact date of the movement’s tipping point went unrecorded, the organizers agreed (for historical purposes) that the “official” founding date of the APO UP Cebu petitioning chapter would be the 12th of August 1979, to coincide with the birthday of Frederick Mercado—the main proponent of the chartering effort.
The fledgling prospective chapter was formally recognized by the administration of U.P. Cebu on August 31, 1979, in a record time of two days from the date of application. Momentum favored the early chapter as the first batch of members was immediately supplemented by a second and third batch in that same year.
1. Edmund Jamelarin
3. Ma.Luchi Navarro
5. Mona Figueroa
6. Bernadette Magno
7. Janet Veloso
8. Arlene Javier
1. Albert Magalang
2. Michael Pagalangga
3. Carlo Reyes
5. Jannete Go
6. Ma. Theresa Cambonga
Antonio Basar extended his mentorship thru the next four batches of pledges and trained the new members—particularly the chapter’s first Grand Chancellor, Stanley Uriarte—for independent chapter operations.
It was in June of the first semester of academic year 1982, when Ronald Jeffrey Manulid, a Lourdes High School Quezon City graduate, met Lindy Roa of Ateneo de Davao University High School, at the U.P. Cebu campus as Business Management freshmen. Although having different demographic and cultural backgrounds, they had something in common-the burning desire to join Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity.
The search for APO on campus resulted to a significant acquaintance with B.S. Biology freshman Edgar Garcia, a graduate of Philippine Science High School, and Fortunato Basio Jr., a Fine Arts junior and deferred APO neophyte and all the other freshmen who wanted to be members. Destiny led them to Edmund Jamelarin (a graduating Business Management senior) and Elva Albacite (a Fine Arts senior), who were the remaining APOs on campus. The ambitious idea to revive the U.P. Cebu chapter petitioning effort was born.
With the blessing of APO Region 7 Director Ramon Go (Alpha Mu) and active Region 7 senior alumni member Al Evangelio (Gamma at Silliman University in Dumaguete City), the U.P. Cebu petitioning chapter was revived. It was a difficult task for Edmund Jamelarin and Elva Albacite but they navigated the neophytes towards what will be the path of the petitioning chapter's future in Alpha Phi Omega history.
Only four survived Region 7's Open Initiation Night at the Talisay Beach in Cebu.
The Renaissance Batch 82-A:
1. Ronald Jeffrey Manulid
2. Lindy Roa
3. Edgar Garcia
4. Fortunato Basio Jr.
The U.P. Cebu petitioning chapter was alive again and very much active in all APO activities on and off campus. Its strength increased when Stephen Bullo of Gamma Pi and Douglas Marigomen (Gamma Epsilon at De la Salle University in Manila) cross-enrolled on campus.
Barely a year onboard as the Grand Chancellor of the petitioning chapter, Lindy Roa was determined to give his chapter the rightful Greek formal registration on APO's roster. He shared this passion with the chapter’s growing membership, making APO recognized and visible on campus and documented all activities from 1979 up to that time. He engineered the idea of changing the image of APO on campus by recruiting female members from exclusive high schools. Campus scholars and constant academic achievers were the ambitious targets of recruitment during those difficult times. After the successful recruitment of Ricardo Mondragon ‘83A and Todd Gonzales ‘83B, the only two Lone Rangers owning their batches, followed by the FidusAcatis and Choice batches, the rest was history.
By 1984, it was felt that the time had come that the membership was ripe enough for charterhood. After submitting all charter application requirements, the U.P. Cebu petitioning chapter was scheduled to appear before Alpha Phi Omega Philippines’ National Executive Board (NEB) in a board meeting in Teacher’s Village, Dipolog City on October of that year.
Fortunato “Jun” Basio Jr. and Lindy Roa travelled with Region 7’s delegation to attend the meeting. Despite the physically and psychologically stressful charter defense, the cross examination went smoothly because the brothers who represented the chapter were very much prepared. Among the NEB panel were outgoing APO National President Mama "Mike" Lalanto (Alpha Iota at Saint Peter's College in Iligan City) and incoming President Geoffrey Pungutan (Beta Tau at Arellano University in Manila).
After several hours of deliberation, the National Executive Board commended Lindy Roa—the primary speaker of the team, who bravely stood in front of the panel—for defending and proving the credibility and eligibility of the petitioning chapter. On the night of October 7, 1984, APO UP Cebu petitioning chapter was awarded an official charter and given the Greek designation of Zeta Omega (chapter code: 0624), the 168th chapter of Alpha Phi Omega Philippines.
Female membership grew alongside the fraternity’s in the next two decades and a sorority charter was formally awarded on September 21, 2002 after a successful panel interview at an NEB meeting in Marawi City. The sisters who represented the Zeta Omega Sorority were Checille Naig (‘99B), Kimberly Niere (‘99B), Benneth Bernardo (‘96A), Gisela Dacaynos (‘99A) and Jhoana Roslin (‘99B).