Held on the evening of Nov. 27 at Quezon Hall, the broadcast of the annual community event became more meaningful with many in quarantine.
So with the theme “Abot-Kamay, Abot-Tanaw: Sulong sa Bago at Mas Mainam na Bukas,” the Pag-iilaw gathered UPD’s various sectors in a live and virtual celebration to connect its various constituents the pandemic has physically separated.
Streamed live over the UPD and DZUP Facebook pages, the night began with a segment on past Pag-iilaw art installations of UPD alumnus and multimedia artist Abdulmari “Toym” de Leon Imao Jr., who has been commissioned every year since 2015. The segment ended with a pre-recorded interview with him discussing the meaning behind this year’s creation, “Parola.”
Parola is a multi-element installation consisting of a large flame lantern at Quezon Hall, an illuminated and oversized art car jeepney called “Azkal,” various smaller art installations placed at major campus portals and groups that have been key in UPD’s strategy to deal with COVID-19 (UP Health Service, Philippine Genome Center, Silungang Molave and Barangay UP Campus Hall).
This was followed by a pre-recorded audio-visual presentation (AVP) named “UP in 2020” voiced over by College of Arts and Letters Professor Olivia Kristine Nieto performing the poem “Awit ng Pag-ibig” by Joi Barrios-Leblanc.
Master of Ceremonies Prof. Jose Antonio Clemente of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy then welcomed those watching the livestream to Quezon Hall lobby.
Messages for the community were delivered, beginning with Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Aleli Bawagan, who said the Yearend Program Committee deliberated at length about whether to push through with the Pag-iilaw in light of the pandemic and the damages the typhoons Rolly and Ulysses brought in the weeks prior.
“Pinagkunutan ng noo ng buong team kung itutuloy o hindi [ang Pag-iilaw]. We seriously took these concerns into consideration as we planned for this event. In the end, we decided that a little bit of light to spread goodness and cheer to at least momentarily lift the spirit of the community is what we need during these uncertain times,” she said.
UP President Danilo L. Concepcion mentioned the UP System’s commitment to respond to the needs of its various stakeholders.
“Pinakikinggan po natin ang mga hinaing at sinisikap na tugunan sa lalong medaling panahon at sa abot ng atingkakayahan ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga guro, kawani, mag-aaral at iba pang mga sektor sa ating komunidad,” he said.
UPD Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo delivered the event’s last message. He encouraged those present to rise above the challenges the past year brought and build a better future.
“Oo, mahirap ang pinagdaanan natin sa taong 2020 at marahil di natayo makakabalik sa dati nating gawi. Gayunman, gamitin natin ang mga pagsubok ng taong ito para bumuo ng mas matatag at mapagmalasakit na mundo,” he said.
Joyce Garcia’s “Abot-Kamay, Abot-Tanaw: Ang UP Bilang Tanglaw sa Panahon ng Pandemya” played prior to Nemenzo’s message. This is an AVP of the UPD administration and community’s various COVID-19 efforts, collectively known as #TatagUP. It contained Fred Layno’s performance of Barrios-Leblanc’s poem “Awit ng Pagtanaw sa Bukas.”
The actual switching on of lights began with the main video of Azkal slowly being “driven” from Commonwealth Ave. along the inner lane of University Ave. towards Quezon Hall—the lanterns placed along the University Ave. being lit as it travelled—while the CM’s UP Guitar Society played in the background.
Every minute or so, live footages of the various art installations all over the campus were shown. The segment also featured the participation of several UPD community members wearing or using decorative holiday lights. Footage of the participants were taken from a zoom meeting conducted especially for the event.
All throughout the switching on of lights the UP Guitar Society played various holiday standards and were later joined by Tapati, who sang Felipe de Leon’s “Payapang Daigdig.”
Azkal eventually stopped in front of Quezon Hall directly behind The Oblation. Clemente then entered the jeep to conclude the ceremony, “driving” Azkal off camera.