The Ateneo’s success in athletics was renowned even before the NCAA began. Intense games were fought before rather disorganized and rambunctious Atenean spectators. To help cheer the Ateneo squad on, the Jesuits decided that the Ateneo ought to have some sort of organization in its cheering. As a result of their effort, the Ateneo introduced organized cheering to the country by fielding the first-ever cheering squad in the Philippines.
The Ateneo was a proud pioneer. There were even arguments about how the Ateneo’s brand of cheering is both unique and rooted in classical antiquity. In the 1959 Ateneo Aegis, Art Borjal argues:
“It all started about 2,000 years ago along the Via Appia in Rome. The deafening cheers of Roman citizens, lined along the way, thundered in the sky as the returning victorious warriors passed by…The type of cheering that the Ateneo introduced was, in a way, quite different from that of the Romans. When the warriors came home in defeat, the citizens shouted in derision and screamed for the soldiers’ blood. To the Atenean, victory and defeat do not matter much. To cheer for a losing team that had fought fairly and well is as noble, if not nobler, than cheering for a victorious squad.”
The words of some of the cheers seem incomprehensible or derived from an exotic tongue. Loud, rapid yells of “fabilioh” and “halikinu” mean to rally the team and to intimidate and confuse the enemy gallery. Meanwhile, fighting songs help inspire the team, and to “roll out the victory.” The united crowd, a Blue Babble Battalion, enlivens the team “under banners of white and fair blue.”
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