Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Manila: UP turns 100!

Yesterday, the University of the Philippines opened festivities marking its centennial. The day started with a huge motorcade from UP Manila in Padre Faura where the university was first established in 1908. Delegations from Los Banos, Pampanga and Baguio also arrived in full force and converged at the entrance of the Diliman campus.

At 4 p.m., a grand parade of all the delegations from the various constituent universities of UP marched towards the Oblation where a gargantuan crowd of students, faculty, alumni and well-wishers had gathered. The massiveness of the throng of people which converged in Diliman to celebrate UP's 100 years was nothing but surreal!

The Upsilon Sigma Phi joined the parade too as part of the UP Diliman contingent, the only frat that marched to the Oblation. Being the oldest Greek-letter fraternity in the country and in Asia, we made sure to be part of the celebrations!

I didn't get to see much of the program in Quezon Hall anymore since we decided to stay in front of AS. When the parade arrived at Quezon Hall after going around the Academic Oval, ten tambuli players blew their horns from atop the Administration building, amid the ceremonial firing of 100 rockets to announce the start of the program.

But we got to see the 100-torch relay as it passed by. The first flame being lit by a 100-year old alumnus! While UP President Emerlinda Roman lit the 100th flame or the UP Flame, a large cauldron in front of the Oblation. The “UP @ 100” display at the Quezon Hall was also lit simultaneously with the cauldron.

I missed the concert featuring internationally acclaimed UP talents such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Ryan Cayabyab, the UP Symphonic Orchestra, Nanette Inventor, and UP Symphonic Band, as well as the grand fireworks display. But above is a video of the fireworks.

I come from a family with a long UP tradition. Both my parents and my younger sister are UP graduates. So were two of my grandparents. On both sides, most of my uncles and aunts went to UP as well. But the first of my forefathers to walk the hallowed halls of the University of the Philippines was my great-grandfather, Dr. Pedro G. Henares, UP Medicine Class of 1915. The photo on the left is from the 1915 Philippinensian. That makes me a fourth-generation UP graduate! And if I complete my third U.P. degree this year, that makes me a centennial graduate as well!

Thanks to Carlos for allowing me to use that really great photo of Quezon Hall and the Oblation above!
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