February 2019 marked the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) community’s month-long celebration of its 70th year since the University’s transfer or exodus from its original campus or birthplace in Ermita, Manila to the flagship Diliman campus in Quezon City. The actual transfer of the UP Oblation statue by members of the UP faculty and students on February 11, 1949 symbolized the community’s exodus.
With the theme, “Lakad-Gunita sa Lupang Hinirang”, the series of activities featured a cultural program, an exhibit, a national conference, a theatrical play, film screenings, walking tours, and an open-air concert commemorating the UPD community’s shared history, national relevance, and social engagements throughout the past seven decades.
“Pag-alala at Paglulunsad”
UPD’s Quezon Hall lobby and Oblation Plaza served as the center of festivities during “Pag-alala at Paglulunsad”, the grand opening ceremony of UP Diliman Arts and Culture Month 2019 held on February 11, 2019. The night’s program was divided into four parts: Exodus (Pag-alis sa Lugar), Home (Paghubog ng Tahanan), Activism (Lakaran) and New Directions (Liwasan); and it showcased the most significant events in the life of UPD constituents through messages, poetry, imagery, music, and dance performances.
Among the UP officials and performing groups who made the event more memorable were: UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael L. Tan; Professor Emeritus and former UP President Emerlinda R. Roman; Dr. Olympia Q. Malanyaon (director of the Information, Publication, and Public Affairs Office of UP Manila, representing UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla); Professor Emeritus and former College of Arts and Letters Dean Flora R. Mirano; the UP Filipiniana Dance Group; the UP Dance Company; the UP Varsity Pep Squad; the UP Repertory Company; the UP Symphonic Band; the UP Concert Chorus; the UP Cherubim and Seraphim; the UP Chorus Classes; and, the UP Manila Chorale.
“Lupang Hinirang: Mga Kuwento ng Pagsasalugar ng UP Diliman”
At the Bulwagan ng Dangal University Heritage Museum, the “Lupang Hinirang: Mga Kuwento ng Pagsasalugar ng UP Diliman” exhibit showed UPD as “a place of dwelling, learning, and doing” as well as “an active heritage site” by combining archival research and installation art. The exhibit ran from February 15 to March 29 and was capped with a forum on “Memories and History of UP Manila and UP Diliman” on its last day.
“Pagpunla at pag-ani”
“Pagpunla at pag-ani: A national conference to commemorate the 70 years of UP Diliman” was held at the NISMED Auditorium on February 22. The day-long conference gathered some of the renowned academics of UPD to share memories of their experiences and lessons gained as students, educators, and residents of the campus. Leading the roster of speakers were: historian Reynaldo Ileto, National Artist Ramon Santos, National Scientist Lourdes Cruz, Professor Emeritus Randy David, Professor Belen Medina, and Professor Ricardo Jose, director of the Third World Studies Center of UPD.
Ileto talked about life in the Department of History and recalled how he and his fellow teachers faced the challenges of the 1970s. Santos discussed the development of education in modern music and culture at UPD, concluding that the University experience aims to shape students into well-rounded individuals, academics, humanists, artists, and citizens of a global community. Cruz emphasized the importance of rigorous training in science, multi-disciplinary collaboration, advocating for sustainability, and turning knowledge into science-based policies and action programs. David focused on the physical and political transformations of Diliman from a “wilderness” in the 1930s into the community that it is known today, while relating his journeys as a student and an educator in the Department of Sociology in the 1960s up to the present. Medina shared happy memories about life in campus from 1949 when she entered as a college freshman, joined the academe after graduating in 1953, and until her retirement from teaching in 1997, adding that her family now has four generations of well-rounded and loyal UP alumni. Jose highlighted the value of recognizing the greatness and history of the people, buildings, places, and events unique to UP, urging the audience not to take them for granted, and to link the past with the present as we move forward to the future.
“Nana Rosa” and “Tahan(an): Pista Pelikula”
The line-up of activities for the UP Diliman Arts and Culture Month 2019 included: “Nana Rosa”, a play that explores the story of the first Filipino who publicly came out as a World War 2 comfort woman; and “Tahan(an): Pista Pelikula”, screenings of selected films with the themes of displacement and struggle. “Nana Rosa” was made possible by the UP Playwrights’ Theatre of the College of Arts and Letters, Rody Vera, and Jose Estrella, and was staged at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater from February 20 to March 10. “Tahan(an): Pista Pelikula” included the films, Tu Pug Imatuy (Arbi Barbarona), Pureza (Jay Abello), Tundong Magiliw (Jewel Maranan), and others that were screened at the Cine Adarna, UP Film Institute.
“Lakad-Gunita” and “Himigsikan”
The Walking Tours around the campus were managed by the Asian Institute of Tourism so as to engage participants in appreciating the history and environment of UPD. The “Lakad-Gunita” tours were held around the themes: Fauna (birds of UPD), History (Diliman Commune Revisited), Public Arts and Architecture, Flora (plants and trees of UPD), and Historical Buildings.
The open-air live music concert, “Himigsikan”, was held on February 24 at the UP Theater Canopy.
The month-long celebration was spearheaded by the UPD Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA).