UP campuses light up for the season

| Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

Quezon Hall and the Oblation Plaza in UP Diliman are lit up for the season featuring art installations by Toym Imao that symbolize connection, life and hope in this time of pandemic. Photos by Bong Arboleda, UPMPRO.

University of the Philippines (UP) campuses marked the beginning of their celebration of the holidays with the traditional pag-iilaw or lighting ceremony, when officials turned on the holiday lanterns and decorations on campus.

UP Diliman had its pag-iilaw on December 3, 2021. It is celebrating the holidays with the theme, “Ugnayan at Pagpupugay: Tulay ng Buhay at Pag-asa Ngayong Pandemya”, roughly translated as, connecting and giving praise: bridge for life and hope in this time of pandemic.

This is reflected in the art installations of Toym Imao, consisting of the likeness of a blazing star in front of the Quezon Hall columns and “UP” in baybayin at the Oblation all the way to the Quezon Hall bridge; and of “Sambabaylaan” lanterns marking the portals and locations on campus allocated for COVID-19 response, with smaller versions lining up University Avenue and the Academic Oval.

Prof. Toym Imao’s installation at the Amphitheater. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UPMPRO.

UPD facilities dedicated to COVID-19 response include: the University Health Service; the Philippine Genome Center that has led its network in UP campuses in serving as a national center for whole genome sequencing of viral samples and for bio-informatics; Silungang Molave isolation facility and swabbing center that has sheltered around 700 patients; the Kamia community quarantine facility that has served more than 2,000; and, the College of Human Kinetics Gymnasium where some 16,000 individuals have been vaccinated.

Lanterns featuring the image of a babaylan light up the University Avenue. Photos by Bong Arboleda, UPMPRO.

The image of a babaylan is prominent in the lanterns. According to Imao, UP has played the role of babaylan during the pandemic. “Ang Unibersidad ay naglaan ng ugnayan para sa paghilom at nagsilbing gabay para sa sambayanan sa gitna ng pandemya” (The University has offered connections for healing and served as guide to the nation during the pandemic), according to the UPD Information Office.

This role of the University was cited in the messages of UP President Danilo Concepcion and UPD Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo.

The pag-iilaw began with a tribute to the UPD constituents who died during the pandemic. The top UPD officials recited each epitaph as it was flashed on screen and a ritual was performed at an installation in the amphitheater.

A pagdidiwata is performed during the lighting ceremony. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UPMPRO.

Performances in the ceremony included a pagdidiwata which referenced a babaylan ritual and songs to inspire hope, composed by National Artists Felipe de Leon and Ryan Cayabyab, and by Prof. Chino Toledo and Grace Nono, executed by Cherry Garlan Caballero, Himig Sanghaya, and the College of Music Chamber Ensemble.

Watch the livestream of UPLB community’s lighting ceremony to welcome the holiday season.

UP Los Baños held its lighting ceremony on December 6, 2021, with the theme, “Paskong UPLB 2021: Salubungin Natin nang may Saya at Pag-asa” (UPLB Christmas 2021: Let us welcome it with happiness and hope). The festive online program featured carols from UPLB Choral Ensemble, Harmonya: The UPLB String Ensemble, Prof. Ronilo Jose Flores, and TikTok “funny little Christmas” productions from 19 units of the campus to launch UPLB’s TikTok account.

UP Manila held its kick-off celebration of the holidays with the program, “Kumukutikutitap mga Kulay ng Pasko sa UP Manila”, on December 2, 2021. Personally attended by UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla and Philippine General Hospital Director Gerardo Legazpi at the UP Manila Oblation grounds, the program featured songs rendered by the UP Manila Chorale and Martin Nievera, and greetings from National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.

Watch the livestream of the Kick-off Ceremony: Lighting of UP Manila Colleges, Units and Oblation, with the theme “Kumukutikutitap mga Kulay ng Pasko sa UP Manila!”

UP Visayas opened its lights on December 1, 2021 with Christmas celebrations following the theme, “Paghiliusa kag Pagkabalaka sa Paskua” (unity and care during Christmas). The ceremony held at the Iloilo City and Miagao campuses was highlighted by performances from Clyde Xerxes Ortencio of UPV Rhapsody, community singing, dancing, and refreshments.

Watch the livestream of UP Visayas’ lighting ceremony for its main campus in Miag-ao and its Iloilo City campus. Photo by the UPV IPO via the UPV website .

UP Baguio held its lighting ceremony on December 2, 2021 after a cañao and flagpole unveiling with the UP Vanguard. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the campus under the theme, “Formations, Transformations”.

Watch the livestream of UP Baguio’s 60th anniversary celebration dubbed “Formations, Transformations”.