Slip of the Pen

I Love UP: The Centennial Celebration

UP Centennial Cauldron in front of the Oblation and Quezon Hall.

Last Tuesday was the most electric event I’ve ever been to.

January 8, 2008 marked the kick-off for the University of the Philippines’ Centennial Celebration. The event wasn’t grand — it was spectacular. One week has passed and I’m still euphoric, especially when browsing through my and other people’s photos and videos.

The following is my longest ever photo-essayish post at 36 pics. My inept photgraphy skills don’t do justice to the sights we witnessed. You had to be there to savor it. As always, click to enlarge the pictures.

PSHS Sampa '02 friends -- Minik, Phillip, and Ia.
My dear high school friend Minik met up with Ia and me at Sarah’s (of all places!) before proceeding to the Oblation plaza. Minik was taking a well-deserved home vacation after working the past months in Singapore.

A jam-packed UP Oblation plaza.
Approaching the Oblation plaza, at around 4 P.M. The towering trees lining up the Academic Oval have always been a source of inspiration for me.

UP's University Avenue filled with people.
At this point, the excitement was very palpable in the air. Many people were chatting with voices slightly shaking in excitement, and laughs were in abundance. The UP Ang Galing Mo song blared through the loudspeakers, and the drums thundering to the tune of UP’s cherished school cheers spiked UP pride in everyone’s veins.

The UP Oblation the day of the Centennial kick-off.
The UP Oblation. Too-much-information-ahead warning: I was just able to take this shot because I had to go to the loo in Quezon Hall.

The Oblation plaza and Quezon Hall.
My day shot of Quezon Hall. You can spot the Centennial Cauldron in the midst of the crowd; the flame would be lit up a few hours later.

UP Centennial tarpaulin: Ang Galing Mo!
Flag-bearers commence the parade. You can see one of the many UP Ang Galing Mo! tarps lining up University Avenue. As for the song, I know a lot of people don’t like it, and that was my initial reaction, too. But it kind of grew on me after, what, a hundred replays? Heh.

UP Centennial celebration float.
One of the first floats in the motorcade. The “100″ on the float’s side is stylized with UP’s official seal and Centennial emblem.

UP Diliman's Chancellor, Sergio Cao.
UP Diliman officers, including Chancellor Sergio Cao.

A helicopter during the UP Centennial Celebration kick-off.
The helicopter that showered the crowd with confetti and balloons. The chopper did several rounds, and the last was particularly amusing — the guy inside was waving his hands, gesturing “Wala na! Ubos na!”

The following are creations of the College of Fine Arts, re-used from the 2007 Lantern Parade.

FA float/lantern in the UP Centennial celebration kick-off.

FA float/lantern in the UP Centennial celebration kick-off.

FA lantern: Bencab -- literally!

FA lantern: Larry Alcala.
The following was a presentation from FA that poked fun at the schools of the UAAP…including UP! The crowd loved it.

FA presentation: Far Eastern University Tamaraw.
FEU Tamaraw.

FA presentation: University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tiger
UST Growling Tiger.

FA presentation: De La Salle University Green Archer.
DLSU Green Archer…dancing to some sleazy music. Or so I remember.

FA presentation: Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagle.
ADMU Blue Eagle.

FA presentation: UP Isko!
UP Fighting Maroon…NOT. A caricature of the Isko of UP!

One of the most awaited events of the day was the skydiving exhibition. Each skydiver sported a banner of one of the UP System’s constituent universities.

UP Centennial celebration skydiver.

Skydiver close-up.

Skydiver landing in the open grass area near MassComm.

'Nuther skydiver touching down.
There was a lull before nightfall, as the 100 UP alumni torchbearers took their time in marching around the Acad Oval.

UP Symphonic Orchestra in Quezon Hall.
The UP Symphonic Orchestra (am I right?) preparing for the concert ahead.

UP Diliman Amphitheater before the Centennial celebration concert.
A few hours later, the UP Amphitheater pictured above was filled to the brim. Apologies to the guy in the pic — I was waiting for you to move out of view, hehe.

UP Quezon Hall in some funky lights.
The grand columns of Quezon Hall were bathed in different colors throughout the night. This is an unedited shot (save for the watermark, of course).

UP Quezon Hall in some funky lights.
Aside from pink and green, there were the gold, blue, and orange lights.

The 100 Centennial torch-bearers.
At last, the 100 torchbearers, led by a 100 year old alumnus! Unfortunately, my sucky photo merely captured a nondescript sea of fire. Among the torchbearers were sir Rio Alma, National Artist Napoleon Abueva, Ryan Cayabyab, Cheche Lazaro, and Richard Gomez.

UP President Roman lighting the Centennial Cauldron.
My only decent shot of UP President Emerlinda Roman lighting the Centennial Cauldron. This was followed by the crowd singing the UP Naming Mahal. The hymn was sung for about three times that evening, but the first was really moving — the symbolic cauldron had just been lit up, the majestic Quezon Hall towered above the crowd, the Oblation was in its untiring and eternal pose of sacrifice, and the tightly-packed people were delirious — they were witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime event. UP naming mahal, pamantasang hirang. Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan!

Up next was the concert. My camera’s zoom capabilities are appalling, and I had to be content with shots of colorful Quezon Hall. (For zoomed-in pics, head over to Ia’s own Centennial photo-essay.) We were lucky to get a spot (with the damp grass as the seats) in the middle of the amphitheater. The experience reminded me of my graduation two years back.

UP Quezon Hall during the Centennial celebration concert.

UP Quezon Hall during the Centennial celebration concert.

UP Quezon Hall during the Centennial celebration concert.

UP Quezon Hall during the Centennial celebration concert.
And blue.

The concert was followed by a breathtaking fireworks display slash pyromusical. It was supposed to last for 30 minutes, but the spectacle only run for about six. Oh well, at least the fireworks were brilliant! (Ain’t that redundant?) Some links:

  • YouTube video of the Centennial celebration fireworks
  • YouTube video 2, a more complete version, showing the singing of the UP Naming Mahal that was immediately followed by the pyrotechnics. Warning: some earsplitting screaming can be heard as the fireworks begin. Somebody couldn’t contain their joy — for my part, I just settled for “Shet!”

After the fireworks, the air was heavy with haze and everybody was still standing around in glorious disbelief that the event was over. I overheard one student say in Tagalog, “Bro, I bet you, there will be couples who’ll fall in love tonight!”

UP @ 100 lights adorning Quezon Hall.

Ia and me went around the hall to join a throng of people posing in front of the Oblation and Centennial Cauldron. The shot above shows the “UP @ 100″ lights (superimposed over the recently used “Pasko 2007″ sign) and the Philippine flag.

Ia and I in front of the UP Centennial Cauldron.

Posing in front of the Centennial Cauldron, which was fricking scalding hot. We had to line up and climb the mini-stairs leading to it. Thanks a lot to miss Bebang Siy (LIRA president) for this shot! Tunay na hulog ka ng langit.

UP Quezon Hall and UP Oblation after the Centennial celebration kick-off.

I love my alma mater, and the Centennial celebration kick-off made me feel very, very proud to have been an iskolar ng bayan — a title that doesn’t come with notions of privilege and superiority, but of solemn responsibilities to the nation and society.

Mabuhay ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas!

* * * * *

I will be flying to my home province of Aklan this Friday for a week-long vacation, which includes in its itinerary the Ati-Atihan festival, the 3rd International Kimpo Family Reunion, and a return trip to Boracay.

Until then!

6 comments so far. Subscribe to comments feed.

Those are really novel-worthy narrations. :P

Most compact camera zoom capabilities suck, regardless of price. You have to have a bulky camera to get ultrazoom goodness. And I think one would be better off with a real video camera in that regard. :)

Anyway I’m ranting. Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan! Happy Centennial UP! ^__^

Ang ganda ng photoessay. Grabe, it happens once in a hundred years tapos I was not there to experience it. Sayang talaga!

oooohhh, purty pics! i wasn’t there, but my brother and sister were.

hi, corsi.. bloghopping, how are you?

ia, well, thanks a bunch :) just brushing up my english after months of disuse!

jc, i know, and now you’re also a UP student, kaya sayang nga! but then, there’s the upcoming centennial lantern parade ;)

illyria, aw that sucks. but at least you had two proxies ;) are they UP alum/students, too?

tita bing, still alive and kicking, ma’am! :D

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