Mongol pencils, drinks and snacks were some of the things that quickly came to mind when alumni, students and staff of the University of the Philippines (UP) were asked to share their memories, under the hashtag #KwentongUPCAT, of the day they took the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT).
Launched by the UP Media and Public Relations Office (UP MPRO) on the UP System’s social media accounts on Tiktok, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the #KwentongUPCAT videos are a mix of interviews and other contributions from alumni, students, and staff from different constituent units of the University all over the country.
Among those who shared their experience in taking the UPCAT were ABS-CBN Meteorologist and UP alumnus Ariel Rojas, who recalled taking a tricycle from his home to the test venue. “I bought chips since my exam was scheduled in the afternoon. I also brought four newly sharpened Mongol #2 pencils,” he added. Rojas earned his Bachelor of Science in Food Technology and his Master of Science in Meteorology degrees from UP Diliman.
@up.edu.ph Ang #KwentongUPCAT sa araw na ito ay mula kay ABS-CBN Meteorologist Ariel Rojas ☄️ Ikaw, may #KwentongUPCAT ka ba? Share mo na yan sa comments sa ibaba para mas ma-excite at ma-inspire ang mga UPCAT takers ngayong taon! #fyp #foryoupage #UniversityofthePhilippines #UPFight ♬ original sound – University of the Philippines
Television personality Jervi Li, more famously known as KaladKaren, who has built a following by impersonating journalist and fellow UP alumna Karen Davila, also shared her experience in taking the UPCAT. She recalled that it was a rainy day when she left Bulacan to take the test in UP Diliman. She remembered arriving at Melchor Hall drenched, and how the proctor offered her a face towel to dry herself off. “The only thing that I was carrying during that time was a plastic envelope containing ballpens, paper and other requirements,” she said. Li earned her degree in Broadcast Communication, magna cum laude, also from UP Diliman.
@up.edu.ph Umula’t bumagyo, ayos lang ☔️ Pakinggan ang #KwentongUPCAT ni KaladKaren at iwasang maging isang basang sisiw sa araw ng #UPCAT2024 🥲 #fyp #foryoupage #UniversityofthePhilippines #UPFight ♬ original sound – University of the Philippines
For student JLO Garferio, who is in his senior year taking up Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in UP Diliman, there was a shortage of pencils at the time he was about to take the UPCAT. Hailing from Pigcawayan, Cotabato, he had to travel to Davao City to take the test in UP Mindanao. “I remember we went around Davao City to look for Mongol pencils. Good thing I was able to find three,” he recalled.
@up.edu.ph Magdala ng grocery sa UPCAT? Why not! 🥖 Pakinggan ang tips at #KwentongUPCAT ni JLO, fourth year MBB student pero fresh na fresh pa rin 😌 Ikaw, ano kaya magiging kwento mo sa darating na #UPCAT2024 ngayong June 3-4? #fyp #foryoupage #UniversityofthePhilippines #UPFight ♬ original sound – University of the Philippines
Aside from videos, alumni of the University also shared some memories, as well as tips for this year’s test-takers, particularly in the comments sections of the UP System’s social media accounts.
On Instagram, alumna Patricia Tan-Tirados recalled wearing red on the day of her test. And as brain boosters, she brought with her one tablespoon of peanuts, one tablespoon of anchovies, and a small chocolate bar. She also had a lucky coin inside her shoe. “All these were from the advice of my parents. Masunuring bata eh (I was an obedient child),” she added. Tan-Tirados earned her degree in Chemical Engineering from UP Diliman.
On Facebook, alumna Ardythe Santos, shared how she and her fellow test-takers were brought to the UP Diliman campus by her neighbor’s dad. They had also missed lunch, as her test started at 12:30 PM. “I brought Eng Bee Tin hopia with me. And once we were done (with the test), we bought meals at Jollibee’s drive-thru service so that we could immediately go home,” she added. Santos earned her degree in Nutrition from UP Los Baños.
Meanwhile on LinkedIn, alumnus Raymond Sebastian shared how he lost his test permit the week before the UPCAT and how he was advised to bring instead an identification card and a couple of photos. He was issued a temporary test permit at the testing center. “My parents took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to take the exam,” he wrote. He was the first graduate of his high school to study in UP. He eventually earned a Bachelor of Secondary Education degree from UP Diliman.
Several more alumni shared their stories and tips for this year’s test-takers, as excitement fills the UP community, which is once again seeing the administration of the UPCAT to applicants after a hiatus of almost three years.
At the height of the pandemic, applications for admission to the University were undertaken online via the UP College Admissions or UPCA, which assessed the students’ applications according to their high school grades. No general test was conducted in compliance with health regulations intended to limit the spread of COVID 19 and its variants.
With most of the general population having been vaccinated in recent years, and the number of COVID 19 cases relatively under control, the University is once again conducting the UPCAT on June 3 and June 4 in 102 testing centers nationwide.
Watch the whole #KwentongUPCAT video series for stories and tips via the playlist below.