By Haidee C. Pineda, images by Leonardo A. Reyes
(DEC. 23)—This year’s Lantern Parade at UP Diliman (UPD) was literally wet due to the torrential rains brought by Typhoon Nona (international name: Melor) to Metro Manila and other parts of the Philippines.
Despite the heavy downpour, on Dec. 14, the participating groups and spectators, armed with umbrellas, were all set for the most anticipated Christmas event at UPD as early as 4 pm. It was also the first time that pet dogs were allowed to join the parade.
The University Amphitheater was visibly vacant with only close to 500 people watching the program while other spectators either sought refuge at the Quezon Hall or already went home. But overall, the festive atmosphere was palpable during the program.
Forty-six groups participated this year comprising the degree-granting units, administration and support offices, student organizations and other UP constituent units. The biggest contingents were from the colleges of Engineering (COE) and Fine Arts (CFA) and the School of Statistics (SS).
With the theme “Dingas: Adhikaing Diliman, Adhikaing Bayan,” the Lantern Parade showcased colorful and gigantic lanterns that depicted not only ‘Tatak UP’ but ‘Tatak Filipino’ motifs such as the Fighting Maroons’ UAAP logo (College of Human Kinetics/CHK), Philippine eagle and Manobo folks (College of Arts and Letters), Sarimanok-inspired float (Asian Center), vinta (College of Home Economics/CHE), Bakunawa, a moon-eating dragon of ancient Philippine mythology, (Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs/OVCAA); kulintang (College of Music) and Balangay (Institute of Islamic Studies)—all made from recycled materials.
Other fascinating floats that were seen during the parade were the mock-up military tank symbolizing the human rights abuses during the Martial Law (UP Sandigan para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan); giant microphone (College of Mass Communication), solar system (College of Social Sciences and Philosophy/CSSP), firefly (College of Science), heart-shaped lantern (College of Social Work and Community Development), light house (SS) and the chair of excellence lantern (UPD Extension Program in Pampanga and Olongapo).
College of Education teamed up with UP Integrated School and National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development and paraded with their golden lotus lantern.
As in previous years, the participants prepared song and dance numbers to the audience’s delight. Academic units such as the CHK, School of Economics, College of Mass Communication, performed various dance routines. As expected, the UP Varsity Pep Squad thrilled the audience with amazing stunts.
The Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business contingent, with their giant birthday cake lantern, sang a “Happy Birthday” song to mark their 99th anniversary.
Heads and staff of the units under the OVCAA once again surprised the crowd with their well-rehearsed dance number, wearing color coordinated malong as costumes with matching yellow and red wigs.
Three academic units brought their own marching band as part of their contingent, namely, College of Law, National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) and School of Urban and Regional Planning.
The highlight of the event was the CFA contingent led by its dean, Prof. Leonardo C. Rosete.
This year, CFA paid tribute to Philippine Cinema. With the theme “Sining sine: Pagbabalik-tanaw sa Pelikulang Pilipino,” CFA featured lanterns depicting some of the classic Filipino films in the order of appearance, namely: Jose Nepomuceno’s “Dalagang Bukid” (1919), Manuel Conde’s Genghis Khan (1950) and “Juan Tamad Goes to Congress” (1960); Gerardo de Leon’s “Dyesebel” (1953) and “Pedro Penduko” (1954); Romy Suzara’s “Asiong Salonga” (1978), Luciano B. Carlos’s “Facifica Falayfay” (1969), Lino Brocka’s “Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag” (1975), Eddie Romero’s “Ganito kami noon…Paano kayo ngayon?” (1976), Celso Ad Castillo’s “Burlesk Queen” (1977), Ronwaldo Reyes’s (also known as Fernando Poe Jr.) “Panday” (1980), Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala” (1982), Mike De Leon’s “Sister Stella L.” (1984), Maryo J. De Los Reyes’s “Bagets” (1984) and Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna” (2015).
A short program and the announcement of winners capped the parade. UP President Alfredo E. Pascual and UPD Chancellor Michael L. Tan also delivered Christmas messages.
The Best Lanterns were judged based on the following criteria: adherence to the theme (20%), creative use of materials (30%) and presentation and visual effects (50%).
The judges were Dr. Patrick Flores, curator of Vargas Museum; Chris B. Millado, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) vice president and artistic director; Nina Ricci Alagao, Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2000; Loy Arcenas, film director and production designer; and Barbara Tan-Tiongco, CCP Resident Company technical director.
The lantern of the Oblation with an illuminated heart (CoE) won the grand prize and P25,000 in cash. Sarimanok-inspired traditional Maranao house (College of Architecture) was awarded the second prize and P20,000 while the lantern titled “Ararong-Nayon Tungo sa Kinabukasang Naaayon” (NCPAG) won the third prize and P15,000.
CFA classes again competed among themselves this year. Most Beautiful Lantern was awarded to the “Panday” lantern while the second and third prizes were awarded to “Asiong Salonga and “Juan Tamad Goes to Congress” lanterns, respectively.
Also seen at the parade were the UP System and Diliman officials in their Christmas uniform shirts; the Lumad kids, contingents from UP Manila College of Dentistry, UP Open University and UP Mindanao; and the UP Babaylan wearing costumes with the Mother Earth-inspired theme.
The event was hosted by Mark Zambrano, CHE alumnus and GMA News and Public Affairs senior sports news correspondent and news anchor; Maricel Rodriguez, CHE alumna and Office of Student Housing staff and Kevin Brandon E. Saure, CSSP alumnus and Diliman Information Office staff.
The program ended with a spectacular fireworks display sponsored by the Beta Epsilon Fraternity.