In 1972, there was a fraternity in the University Belt area called OFSI, which is short for OMEGA FRATERNITY SORORITY INTERNATIONAL. All of its members were students of San Sebastian College at Claro M Recto Ave in Manila. OFSI and its founders were very active about the growth of the fraternity from within the college and outside.
The “International” part of OFSI became a reality with the recruitment of Robert Smith, a U.S. navy personnel from Missouri, USA, who was currently assigned to the Subic Naval base in Cavite. When bro. Robert was reassigned back to the states, he was able to recruit close friends from his home town and his current base. Most of them identified themselves as members and brothers by having (the letters) OFSI tattooed on their bodies.
The “Sorority” recruitment did not happen right away because San Sebastian College was an exclusive school for men during that time.
When OFSI started recruiting 4th year high school students, the membership was slowly but surely increasing. A memorable high school recruit was Jerome Reyes (deceased), who at that time was a martial arts expert and showed no mercy during battles with rival fraternities. Although, OFSI was already quite popular on campus due to their tight camaraderie and strong commitment to brotherhood, bro. Jerome made the OFSI name famous within and outside of campus because of his fighting skills.
Then came the news that the Alpha Kappa Kappa, a small fraternity from the University of Santo Tomas was interested in merging with OFSI. The first meeting was held at the Cash N’ Carry Restaurant C.M. Recto Avenue. Present during the meeting were the founding fathers of OFSI, headed by Bro. Rholly Panganiban and Bro. Alex Ramirez with some OFSI members. Representing the Alpha Kappa Kappa fraternity were Mr. Jose Boy Chua and a few of its members.
Discussed were the advantages and issues on integration of the two fraternities. One of the most talked about topic was which name will be used, whether it would remain as ALPHA KAPPA KAPPA or remain as the Omega Fraternity Sorority International. One noteworthy suggestion was the combination of both names of which was ALPHA KAPPA OMEGA. But there were objections to the name because there were so many “omicrons” already being used by other fraternities during that time.
Finally, both sides agreed on the name ALPHA KAPPA RHO. Using the first two Greek words, Alpha Kappa and adding the 3rd Greek word, RHO which was coincidentally, derived from the name of Mr. Rholly Panganiban, giving him partial credit in naming the group. This is the day when ALPHA KAPPA RHO officially began, Sept. 9, 1973.
Another meeting was agreed upon to further discuss the merge. Representatives from the Alpha Kappa Kappa, headed by Mr. Jose Boy Chua met with representatives of OFSI, lead by Mr. Rholly Panganiban at his family residence in Quezon City.
This was a very historical event, since it finalized the merge and everyone contributed to lay down a solid foundation for the newly created fraternity. Another unforgettable moment that is worth mentioning from this historical event was when a neighbor, Mr. Pepe Pimentel, which was a popular TV host/actor at that time, came over and told everybody at the meeting to stay quiet so he will not be disturbed. The founders thought he was going to join. Mr. Pimentel turned out to be a witness to the event.
Soon after the historical merging of the 2 fraternities into Alpha Kappa Rho, bro. Alex Ramirez accompanied bro. Cesar Macandili to his province in Batangas and established the first community AKRHO chapter in San Pio Quinto, Malvar, Batangas. In this newly created chapter, two siblings of bro. Cesar Macandili, Renato Macandili and Raynaldo Jojo Macandili were initiated and baptized in their farm in San Pedro, Malvar, Batangas.
Both brothers, Renato and Raynaldo formed the first local school chapter of AKRHO at the Tananuan Institute in their province of Batangas.
Around 1978, bro. Raynaldo, with the assistance of bro. Jun Pasaporte, formed the AKRHO chapter at Jose Rizal College in Mandaluyong. Bro. Raynaldo was well known as ‘Boy Ketsup” at that time. Sadly, he passed away in 1979.
After a few years, his son, Reymond, joined the fraternity. Bro. Reymond Macandili continued the legacy of his father and founded the AKRHO chapter at the Philippine Aeronautical School in Pasay City together with bro. Roberto De Lara.
The origins of becoming a lifetime fraternity member as contributed by OFSI.
The Mark/Cigarette burn was one of the options strongly considered because it would signify the rites of passage. The dilemma at that time was where to place the burn mark, since most parts of the hands had marks or tattoos already used by other fraternities.
During a meeting one afternoon at Luisa and Sons Restaurant located near San Sebastian College, an old OFSI hangout, each member present agreed to put the mark on the lower part of the right hand wrist. This would be done by using a popular Spanish made cigar, called Hav-A-Tampa . This cigar was smaller in size of a regular cigar but slightly larger than a regular cigarette stick. The size of the burn will create an almost perfect round mark.
After a few rounds of beer, the first to volunteer was Alex Ramirez and next was Rholly Panganiban. Alex Mangubat and Larry la Putt soon followed. Next was Hector de los Angeles and Dick Mendiola. Then the last to have it was Dick Machon.
Although the burn mark was introduced at that time, it was not officially mandatory for each member.
Later on, after every current and new members decided to do it, the burn mark became mandatory for all OFSI to have it done after the final rites. Along with the celebratory toast of the official OFSI drink, a glass full of White Castle Whiskey that was consumed to the last drop.
The OFSI handshake - Introduced by bro. Alex Ramirez and discussed with members that each placement of the hand and fingers represent a deep meaning or representation. The interlocking of the thumb and the small finger symbolizes that rich and poor people of the society are of equal status. The pointer finger which interlocks the wrist of the right hand and the middle finger touching the burn mark on the lower part of the wrist represents the strong relationship among all brothers.
The hand signal - It started from a joint alliance between OFSI and Alpha Phi Omega. It was during a time when a group of brothers from OFSI rescued some members of the Alpha Phi Omega from the University of the East when they were out-numbered by the Tau Gamma Phi.
After that incident, it was adopted by the next generation of members from AKHRO-OFSI, since collegiate chapters were now slowly fading and numerous community chapters were being established at a very fast pace in the Greater Metro Manila, Luzon and Visayas regions.
Our beloved Alpha Kappa Rho fraternity chapters multiplied nationwide and internationally as the years pass was a good thing. The undesirable result from all this success was revisions to historical events happened, words, slogans, passwords, logos that were not part of the momentous origins emerged.
Let it be known to all our brothers and sisters everywhere, that all these events that started 38 years ago proves that the San Sebastian College-OFSI members at that time were truly included as part of the founding fathers of Alpha Kappa Rho.
We also give notice to those that said that the Omega Fraternity Sorority International of San Sebastian College and all of its members were converted over and the college deemed as a chapter of U.S.T is a negligent misrepresentation of the true events that took place.
San Sebastian College is NOT a chapter of U.S.T.
We, the founding fathers of AKRHO-OFSI, who were present during the merging that gave birth to the Alpha Kappa Rho fraternity, strongly challenge the validity of that misrepresentation.
These events and statements mentioned here are for the purpose of giving justice to all brothers that contributed in one way or another to make Alpha Kappa Rho to where it is at right now.
Please be reminded that we are NOT, by any means, taking away any credit that was given to the U.S.T. founders. We only wanted the equal recognition due to OFSI as part of the merging that gave birth to Alpha Kappa Rho. We are requesting the truth, because "truth conquers all" and we are the living proof.
The original ALPHA KAPPA RHO of San Sebastian College:
Alex Ramirez; Rholly Panganiban; Dennie Ravara; Cezar Macandili; Alex Mangubat; Dick Mendiola; Rolly Parel; Larry la Putt; Arnel Abeja; Bobby Rosales; Virgilio Ambion; George Reyes; Hector delos Angeles; Greg Oris; Teddy Laison; Rino Laurente; Dick Machon; Chito Zamora.