This was the first time that I was able to witness the UP Lantern Parade. Last year, according to hearsay, was more grandiose but the problem was ala akong kasabay sa panonood huhuhu.
But this year I was able to get a glimpse of one of the most important traditios of UP life kasi meron na akong barkada dito sa peyups hehehe. Originally, I was supposed to meet up with Regina, then Eleazar was texting na kitakits raw. Both arrangements did not materiallize so initially I wandered into the Academic Oval expecting that I would be viewing the parade by my lonesome self.
Buti na lang at nagkita kami ng mga DoTA friends ko. I was walking toward the UP Kas tambayan since I heard that their members would be congregating there to watch the parade. And since I have been a regular tambay sa lugar nila I thought I could meet up with any familiar face I would see there. Kung wala dun, pwede rin natin try ang UP Likas. hehe
I met up with the guys near the Engineering building. I immediately noticed that there were already floats parading and so I asked one of the guys:
"Nagsimula na ang parade?"
The reply was: "Kanina pa po..."
Holy syet! Here I was about to witness my first Lantern Parade and I was LATE! May maaabutan pa kaya ako?
Good thing that we went back to Palma Hall and there I got a chance to see the latter half (I think) of the parade...
The participants in the parade were a diverse mix of concepts, some were visibly constrained by budget and the number of participants while others were all out in design and presentation - in short, bonggacious sila.
The College of Fine Arts was, among those I saw, the best in concept and design. They had a carnival theme in which students came out in droves (as in maraming participants and floats) leading me to suspect that this may be a project or extra credit but still they were impressive - or at the very least - entertaining.
I loved their float which featured a punk sea lion - complete with mohawk, piercings, and tattoos. When we saw them again at Quezon Hall, the hosts were remarking that the Fine Arts people were baliktad, referring to the participants dressed up as carnival performers doing handstands, and a ferris wheel that rotated in reverse. hahaha ang kukulit ng mga hosts!
Other participants included UP Pampanga which featured a gigantic parol complete with flashing lights, an org which featured Igorot dancers, UP Lib Sci people with a large pop up figure of Quezon Hall, a frat group with guys playing a snake dance thing, the USC with their protest theme of "Defend the OSR!," STAND UP with their perennial (I think) Serve the People theme and the usual "Iskolar! Ng Bayan!" universal mantra, the anti-Arroyo and anti-Chacha theme which was prevalent - one group featured a Gloria puppet, another featured a float which pictured Gloria either as a sultan or a grotesque genie, there was a religious org that was chanting about Jesus and "what are you living for?", which was followed by, of all groups, UP Babaylan, with their white motif, bright lights and - uh - menagerie? hahaha in fairness, the Babaylan troupe elicited more calls to God that the religious org. atsaka weird na magkasunod sila....
The parade made their way to Quezon Hall and once again did their thing. We viewed the final stretch on a widescreen alongside University Avenue. Then the choir did their "community singing," na parang hindi naman community singing kasi wala kaming kaalam-alam nung lyrics ng pinagkakakanta nila.
Then the fireworks.
It was AMAZING! For about 10 or 15 minutes the sky was lit up by bright, vibrant colors. The air was filled with music, explosions, and the cheers of the assembled crowd. The finale featured the 1812 overture by Tchaikovsky, and upon hearing it I immediatetly went - "Syet! V for Vendetta!"
But all good things do come to an end. After the salvo of lights and sound, we made our way back to Palma Hall. I split up with the guys at A. Roces and made my way back to the boarding house.
Siyanga pala, nakabili ako ng souvenir from the peddlers hanging about the Oval. Yung unang mama P50 raw yung sungay na umiilaw, but a few meters away I was able to find ale who was selling them for P40, at malalaki pa. It indeed pays to walk a bit if you want to avail cheaper prices.
At ngayon, tinubuan na ako ng sungay sa UP...bwahahaha