(December 19)— Throngs of people who flocked the University Amphitheater last December 14 were joined by Justice League’s Batman, Batgirl, Catwoman and Bane; Galvanized Ironman, Transformers, Optimus Prime, Voltes V, aliens, predators, Victoria’s Secret angels, flying Kalesa, Ibong Adarna and other comic and story book characters to witness the most anticipated Christmas event in UPD—the 2012 Lantern Parade.
As early as 3 p.m., the Academic Oval was awash in color and mirth as participants paraded their vibrant gigantic lanterns and floats carrying the theme Dangal at Kahusayan sa Paglilingkod sa Bayan. As an added entertainment, song and dance numbers were performed in front of Palma Hall and Melchor Hall.
The number of participants substantially increased, from 54 last year to 63 this year, comprising the degree-granting units, administration offices and support units, student and religious organizations and cultural/performing groups. Among the biggest contingents were the College of Engineering, College of Education and the College of Fine Arts (CFA). The Institute of Islamic Studies, Archaeological Studies Program and the Technology Management Center did not participate this year.
For the first time, participants from the University Health Service (with their new ambulance), the Career Assistance Program (CAP), Concert Chorus and the University Job Fair joined the parade. The Campus Maintenance Office also worked the crowd with their Toyota Land Cruiser and their brand new manlift truck.
At 5:30 p.m., spectators almost crammed the entire Amphitheater and were spilling over to the Lagoon, the Oblation Plaza as well as the University Avenue to closely watch their favorite lanterns and floats as well as the prepared performances of the participants.
Six contingents danced to Gangnam Style by Korean pop sensation PSY. Other groups had special surprises such as the marching band courtesy of the National College of Public Administration and Governance; poi dancers from the UP Delta Lambda Sigma Sorority; circus performers walking on stilts from CAP; and fire eaters courtesy of the School of Urban and Regional Planning and CAP.
Also seen at the parade were the UP System and Diliman Officials in their Christmas uniform shirts; Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Melania Flores dancing with the All-UP Workers’ Union members and feminist group Gabriela to promote the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women and children; the UP Manila contingent with the College of Medicine’s winning lantern; participants from the UP Extension Program in Pampanga with their hot air balloon lantern; a group from the UP Open University; the Barangay UP Campus contingent who brought their brand new fire truck and dump truck; farmers from Casiguran, Quezon with the UP Alyansa group chanting their protest against the Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Freeport Authority (APECO); and the UP Babaylan’s contingent wearing their usual Victoria’s Secret angel-inspired costumes who, as expected, elicited a roaring applause from the audience.
The highlight of the event was the CFA contingent led by its dean Prof. Leonardo C. Rosete. This year, the CFA paraded magnificent headgears, floats and lanterns focused on the theme of flight as a concept. Flight was variably depicted: as a saranggola and boka-boka; a creepy snowman and skeletal dogs pulling a sleigh from the animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas; aliens and predators in flying saucers; torpedoes and rockets, fighter planes, flying ipis (cockroach), the mythical creature phoenix and the earth warriors; Ibong Adarna; giant flying kisser, drunkards, fairies, flying Kalesa, Bakunawa, a candy plane, chubby Pintados warrior riding a flying Banig (sleeping mat), the Isdang Lawin or Borador (hawkfish), and dirigible airships.
A short program capped the parade which featured a performance from the College of Science faculty and staff choir who were given a special award for their participation in the Karolfest held last December 7.
Winners for the Lantern, Belen and Karolfest competitions were later announced by hosts Prof. Jane O. Vinculado of the College of Mass Communication (CMC) and Dr. Hector S. Dionisio of the University Health Service.
This year, CMC won the Best Lantern Award. Second and third places went to the College of Arts and Letters and the School of Urban and Regional Planning, respectively.
Two emerged as winners for this year’s Belen making contest: the College of Human Kinetics and Village B for the college councils and the community categories, respectively.
As part of the program, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual and UPD Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma delivered their Christmas messages. While Pascual did not make the most anticipated announcement about additional cash incentives for the UP employees, according to the Office of the Chancellor, all regular UP employees have been provided with incentives in 2012. On top of the 13th month pay, each UP employee received a productivity enhancement pay worth a total of P15,000, a grocery allowance of P4,000, which is an increase from P1,000 last year, and a four-sack rice subsidy, increased from three sacks in 2011.
The College of Engineering and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy choirs, this year’s Karolfest’s grand prize winners, afterwards rendered the Christmas songs Deck the Halls and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, respectively. This was followed by the community singing and dancing led by the UP ROTC Symphonic Band.
A fireworks display sponsored by the Beta Epsilon Fraternity was a fitting finale to the evening’s event drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd. —Haidee C. Pineda
Lantern Parade Photo Gallery