(January 5)—Why is the Lantern Parade considered the most anticipated Christmas event in UPD? Because the annual celebration, like the 2011 Lantern Parade held on December 16, turned out to be eventful, packed with loads of surprises including not only a parade of colorful floats and lanterns but also of irony and tragedy.
True enough, human traffic was indescribable during that day as the crowds had more than doubled since 2010, filling up almost the entire University Amphitheater behind the Quezon Hall.
There was also a significant increase in the number of participants, from 34 last year to 54 this year, comprising the degree-granting units, administration offices and support units, student and religious organizations and cultural/performing groups. The biggest contingent was again from the College of Engineering, which involved almost its entire faculty, staff and students.
Contingents from the All-UP Workers Union, Barangay UP Campus, UP Manininda, freshman students, UP Mountaineers, UP Duckpin Bowlers’ Club, Beta Sigma Ladies Corps and the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Fraternity also joined the parade.
The program started a bit late because many participants performed song and dance numbers in front of Palma Hall and Melchor Hall.
The audience, however, remained in high spirits while patiently waiting for their favorite floats and lanterns to arrive at the Amphitheater, thanks largely to the lively interchange and the funny antics of program hosts College of Arts and Letters professor Dr. Jovy M. Peregrino and Dulaang UP’s Frances Makil-Ignacio.
Veering away from the usual song and dance numbers, some participants prepared special surprises such as the silent drill of the UP ROTC Corps of Cadets who flipped, twisted, tossed and caught their wooden firearms; planking by the All-UP Workers Union as their way of asserting their advocacies; lighting of sky lanterns by the freshies, and martial arts exhibition from the hooded members of the Beta Sigma Fraternity.
The APO Fraternity took it further when one of its hooded members stripped and posed nude, with arms stretched like the Oblation statue, in front of the audience.
Another participating group that caught everyone’s attention was the UP Christian Community contingent when, unexpectedly, one of its student members preached the Gospel to the entire audience. Ironically, the next who paraded were the UP Babaylan beauties who flaunted their sexy figures and flawless skin in their Victoria’s Secret-inspired costumes.
The highlight of the event was the contingent of the College of Fine Arts (CFA) led by its dean Prof. Florentina Colayco. The CFA paraded spectacular head gears, costumes, floats and lanterns with Noon at Ngayon (Then and Now) as its main concept— the evolution of taka horses, old and new food, manika (doll), ligawan (courtship), dance and music, Pinoy games, Pinoy Lego, super heroes, childhood heroes vs. modern day heroes, puppets-robots, E-book ni Lola Basyang at ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon, Ali then-Pacquiao Now, arcade and games, zombies, pelikula at telebisyong Pilipino (movies and Philippine television), video came-roar, artsy chunky, hovercraft-galleon, kalesa and E-jeep and the kalakal (trading).
The gazebo lantern of the College of Home Economics won the Best Lantern award. Second and third places were awarded to the College of Arts and Letters’ Jose Rizal lantern and the Asian Institute of Tourism’s Sarimanok lantern, respectively.
The lanterns were judged according to their creative and innovative use of recycled materials to best represent their college and the theme of “Pasko 2011: Isang Unibersidad, Isang Komunidad.”
Winners of the Belen making contest and the Karolfest 2011 were also announced during the program. The Belen making contest was won by the National College of Public Administration and Governance.
For the Karolfest 2011, the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy’s Tiriritz Choir won grand prize while the second and third prizes went to the College of Law’s Charivari Choir and the College of Engineering’s IE Club Choir, respectively.
Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma delivered the closing remarks. Before the program ended, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual announced an additional Php 4,000 grocery allowance for the faculty and staff on top of the Php 10,000 bonus issued by the national government.
A fireworks display sponsored by the Beta Epsilon Fraternity capped the evening’s event. However, the festive mood turned into chaotic when some fireworks malfunctioned and hit a number of spectators. Two of the 17 injured bystanders, Lucia Dimaguila (67 years old), and College of Engineering student Jomerson Salazar (18 years old), were immediately rushed to the Capitol Medical Center along Quezon Avenue while the rest were brought to the UP Infirmary for treatment.
The following day, the Chancellor issued a statement regarding the incident. (See Chancellor Saloma’s statement at http://www.upd.edu.ph/~updinfo/dec11/index15.html.)
Nonetheless, for most members of the UPD community and beyond, the 2011 Lantern Parade was indeed a memorable night. —Haidee C. Pineda