LOOK: UP Lantern Parade celebrates 50 years of spotlighting key issues during the holiday season

UP Lantern Parade
The theme “Pumailanlang”, or “to soar”, invites the public to be like the mythical birds Adarna, Sarimanok, Manaul or Tigmamanukan, and other avian characters in Philippine folklore which symbolize the spirit of freedom, honor, and determination to serve with compassion and hope. Caption by Fred Dabu and Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO.

The annual University of the Philippines (UP) Lantern Parade in Diliman again went beyond being a showcase of creativity to deliver key messages about current societal issues, exactly 50 years since the much-anticipated Christmas season tradition became a venue for protest.

The UP, an acknowledged bastion of academic freedom where students are encouraged to hone critical-thinking, wrapped up the year 2019 by presenting its community stance about various urgent concerns that face the university and the Filipino public.

First held in 1922, the Christmas celebration of the top university in the Philippines saw the event transformed into a venue for protest with an activist motif in 1969 just before Martial Law.

The UP Diliman Information Office notes that when the campus was still in Manila, the UP Lantern Parade started from the University Quadrangle on Padre Faura Street and made its way through Taft Avenue, Isaac Peral and Florida Streets, culminating in front of the engineering building where the Court of Appeals now stands.

The 2019 edition of the UP Diliman Lantern Parade on December 13 paraded colorful floats around the Academic Oval and ended at the University Amphitheater where each parade contingent was presented to a judging panel for awards.

The UP Diliman Christmas season actually began on November 29 when the annual “Pag-iilaw 2019” lighting ceremony of the campus decorative lights, held at the Carillon Tower and Plaza instead of the usual center at the Oblation Plaza, revealed artist Toym Imao’s work that carried the theme “Pumailanlang (to soar)” “to symbolize UP Diliman as a sanctuary for wildlife and humans alike, of marginalized sectors seeking refuge in the University, as well as for advocates of civil rights and academic freedom, especially in times of uncertainty and social turmoil.”

“The bells of the Carillon were rung as part of protest actions marking the ouster of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the excesses of the Philippine drug war under the present administration, which has claimed the lives of many innocent victims, among many other social issues,” adds the University of the Philippines report.

The floats and contingents at the UP Lantern Parade interpreted the theme in various ways and carried messages about campus freedom, press freedom, climate change and environmental disaster, human rights violations, among many other issues.

The UP Lantern Parade floats had two sets of winners judged according to compliance with the theme, materials used, presentation and visual effects, and eco-friendliness, with the first set from among the entries of participating colleges and offices and the second set from hall-of-famer the College of Fine Arts.

Here are selected UP Lantern floats In PHOTOS and VIDEOS:

The SEA Games cauldron-inspired lantern of the UP College of Mass Communication bore messages about press freedom and activism. Photo from Move Ph
Defend UP against attacks was the call on the placards of Stand UP. Photo from DZUP.
Uphold human rights was the message delivered by Save Our Schools Network, All UP Academic Employees Union, and ACE UP. Photo from DZUP.
The College of Fine Arts presentations were in a class of its own and the best among the best were awarded. First prize went to Group C’s lantern titled “Corporate Greed”. Photo from DZUP.
3rd Prize was awarded to the UP Diliman College of Science for the Philippine eagle float that symbolized the unit’s achievements. Photo from UPD COS.

Here is the official lantern description of the UPD COS:
“Ang Parol ng Kolehiyo ng Agham ay isang agilang matayog ang lipad. Ang agilang ito ang nagsisimbulo sa aming Kolehiyo at sa ating Unibersidad na malayo na ang narating ngunit hindi pa rin tumitigil ang pagpapailanlang. Sa ibaba ng agila ay makikita ang isang inakay sa loob ng kanyang pugad. Ang pugad na ito ay gawa ng inang agila na nagsisimbulo ng environment na ibibinigay ng Kolehiyo at ng Unibersidad sa kanyang kaguruan, estudyante at kawani. Ang matibay na pugad na ito ang siyang tumutulong sa ating mga guro, estudyante at kawani upang sila’y kusang pumailanlang at makamit ang kanilang mga matayog na pangarap. Ang inakay na inaalagaan ng inang agila ay sumisimbulo sa mga bagong siyentista at sa mga bagong teknolohiya na tumutulong magpaunlad sa buhay ng mga Pilipino. Ang pangangalaga ng inang agila sa kanyang inakay ay tulad sa pangangalaga ng Kolehiyo at ng Unibersidad sa kinabukasan ng ating bansa.”

2nd Place went to the UP College of Social Work and Community Development for its lantern featuring small birds made from recycled water bottles, the “ibong mandaragit laban sa kahirapan”. Screengab from DZUP video.

The UP CSWCD description: “Kung titignan sa malayuan makikita ang anyo ng isang malaki o dambuhalang ibon. Ngunit kung ito’y lalapitan, makikita na ang malaking ibon pala’y binubuo, hindi ng isa o iilan mga ibon, kundi samu’t saring mga maliliit na ibon na may iba’t ibang laki,hugis, at kulay! Ang mga mumunting mga ibong ito’y naglalarawan sa iba’t ibang mga batayang sektor, samahan, pamayanan at mga kaparehong pag-iisip na suportang institusyong kakawit-bisig ng CSWCD. Mga maliliit na ibong sama-samang pumapailanlang gamit ang mga mahiwagang pakpak ng giting at tapang, taglay ang matalas at mapanuring isip, malikhaing mga kilos, at matibay na damdaming maglingkod ng mapagkalinga at mapagpalaya sa kapwa, kapaligiran at buong sambayanan!

“Ang parol ng CSWCD ay mayroon ding dayorama na sumisimbulo sa pugad ng ibon. Sa umpisa’y makikita ang isang dayoramang nagpapakita ng kasalukuyang kalagayan, ang pugad ng kahirapan at karalitaan. Ngunit ang kalagayang ito’y mababago ng sama-samang pagkilos. Ang sabay-sabay na paglipad ng mga maliliit na ibo’y magpapaikot sa dayorama; ang organisadong pagpailanlang ay lilikha ng pugad ng katarungan, kapayapaan at likas-kayang kaginhawahang pinagsasaluhan ng bayan at sanlibutan. Ang liwanag at kinang ng mga ibon habang lumilipad ay naglalarawan din sa patuloy na pag-aalab ng mga damdaming naghahangad na wakasan ang karahasan ng mga ibong mandaragit.”

The first prize winner was the U.P. College of Arts and Letters with its float that “pays homage to the ‘malikhain’, a Filipino word that means both ‘creative/artistic’ and ‘innovative’ represented as an ornithopter pilot. Their message was to defend the Filipino language and literature. Photo from DZUP.

The UP CAL float description: “In the past centuries, at a time when mechanical flight was still an impossibility, artists illustrated their views of the future with fantastic flying machines, inspiring others to translate these into feats of engineering. Novelists conjure visions of the future that set the world’s imagination afloat. Revolutions and significant social reforms sprout from seeds planted by thinkers who are able to imagine a better future.

Much like the steampunk fantasies of the past, we are constantly challenged to look ahead, dig into our creative minds, and see what kind of futures we can bring into existence.”-Jeff Giron (concept and execution)

The UP Carillon Tower bedecked in bird-like installation to depict the “Pumapainlalang” theme of this year’s celebration. Credits to UP Diliman Information Office.

The University of the Philippines has embarked on various projects to address the needs of the Filipino public, more recently, serving the Mindanao earthquake victims, helping develop Manila into a disaster-resilient city, and developing DNA barcoding to protect Philippine wildlife.

SEND cheers in the comments below to the UP community for their messages of peace based on justice in this season of hope and compassion.

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.