UP alumni and friends to receive 2nd UP Gawad Oblation

| Written by Arlyn VCD Palisoc Romualdo

The UP Oblation Award medal nested in its box (left and center) and the plaque accompanying it, to be given to the 38 UP alumni and friends in recognition of their “extraordinary service with or in the name of UP.” Photo by Misael Bacani (UP MPRO)


Thirty-eight awardees of alumni and friends of the University of the Philippines (UP) are set to receive the 2nd Gawad Oblation on the afternoon of January 17, 2023, at Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman.

The University President gives the award to UP’s alumni and supporters who have rendered “extraordinary service with or in the name of UP.” The award is named after UP’s enduring symbol, The Oblation, a National Artist Guillermo E. Tolentino’s sculpture inspired by the second stanza of Jose Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios. The Oblation signifies the offering of oneself in service.

“Sa kagalingan mo ay akin ding handog…”

Artist, production designer, and UP College of Fine Arts professor Leo A.C. Abaya designed the UP Gawad Oblation medal. According to the artist, the design of the Oblation Award Medal is essentially an articulation of the UP Oblation.

In the Gawad Oblation medal, the UP Oblation is appropriated as the human figure surmounting the central image, which is a closeup of the Oblation’s hand, as it were in the gesture of offering. Transposed in this medal—golden, enlarged, and set against a mother-of-pearl disc—it has become the signifier of the eminent value of service through sharing. Surrounding this central image is a green enamel band inscribed in baybayin. The inscription is Andres Bonifacio’s translation from Spanish of the second line of the second stanza of Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios: “Sa kagalingan mo ay akin ding handog…”

Close-up of the UP Gawad Oblation medal. Photo by Ylenette Reforzado (UP OAR).

Each medal is set in maroon enamel. Its radiating sunrays are drawn from the early designs of the Philippine flag. Adding orgs to the rays creates a configuration of people holding hands. Abaya, who passed away on May 26, 2021, described this composite as connoting “the revolutionary spirit of our history and the importance of humanity in all our endeavors, which should serve as inspiration for us to achieve our goals as the country’s National University.”

Helping UP undertake its mandates as a national university

Given by the UP President, the UP Gawad Oblation or the UP President’s Oblation Medal recognizes alumni and friends, including individuals, organizations, and institutions, for their significant efforts in increasing the institutional visibility, international prestige, and recognition of UP as a National University, and for helping UP undertake its mandates under Republic Act No. 9500 or the UP Charter. Awardees also enhanced UP’s leadership in higher education and national development as a research, teaching, and public service university and as a regional and international university.

The Gawad Oblation was first conferred upon 14 recipients on February 7, 2017, by then-outgoing UP President Alfredo E. Pascual. This second iteration comes toward the end of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion’s term.