by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
QUEZON CITY – Burning lights, fireworks, performances, personalities and a thick crowd marked the beginning of the year-long centennial celebration of the University of the Philippines (UP). Students, alumni, alumnae and their families trooped to the main campus in Diliman, Quezon City to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime event.
The day-long event kicked off with a morning mass in UP Manila, which used to be the main campus until 1948. The historic transfer was commemorated via motorcade from UP Manila to UP Diliman. The delegates met with contingents from UP Baguio, Los Baños, Pampanga, Visayas, Mindanao, and Open University along the way and proceeded to University Avenue in Diliman.
Among the highlights of the celebration were skydivers on exhibition jumps, the blowing of ten tambuli horns and the launching of a hundred kwitis rockets. The newly-refurbished Carillon was also played along with 100 gun salutes of the UP Rifle Team.
Amid banners that read “UP @ 100: Ang Galing Mo!” and the serenading of UP Naming Mahal, the school’s alma mater song, a torch relay highlighted the kick-off ceremonies. The relay was participated in by 100 torch bearers composed of students, faculty, alumni and key personalities and officials coming from the entire UP system.
All eyes were on the first torch bearer, Engr. Fernando Javier, a graduate of Civil Engineering from UP Manila in 1933, who led the parade of lights of the Isko’t Iska (Iskolar ng Bayan). At 100 years old, he walked the lengths of the campus’ academic oval with glee and pride. He is the oldest living alumnus. The 99th torch bearer, on the other hand, was the youngest in the pack – Michael Reuben Dumlao, an excelling sixth-grader from UP Integrated School.
UP President Emerlinda Roman was the final torch bearer. She welcomed the 99 others, who then extinguished their torches, then lit the Centennial Cauldron with its “permanent flame,” a symbol of knowledge and inspiration that each student obtains from studying in the university.
She announced that UP remains “a national resource” and an “institution that has credibility.”
The Centennial Cauldron was designed by Joel Ajero, a 1969 Chemical Engineering graduate, which features three pillars representing the three core values of the University, and seven flowers that stand for the seven constituent universities in the UP system.
After the torch lighting, a free concert was held at the amphitheater behind UP’s Quezon Hall featuring UP’s home-grown talents such as the UP Madrigal Singers, UP Symphonic Orchestra, and UP Symphonic Band. The UP Pep Squad danced along with the orchestra.
A thirty-minute fireworks display capped the festive night.
Several commemorative lectures, cultural shows and homecomings around the seven UP units have already been calendared for the next 12 months.