University of the Philippines Diliman “Pag-iilaw” goes virtual in 2020

University of the Philippines Diliman "Pag-iilaw"
The annual campus festive decors lighting will be seen on Facebook and the UP Diliman website. Photo from UP Diliman Information Office.

The University of the Philippines Diliman “Pag-iilaw” annual lighting ceremony for the Christmas holidays is going virtual in 2020.

The UP Diliman administration confirmed on November 24, 2020, that the campus will continue the tradition even amid the Covid pandemic.

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“No COVID-19 pandemic, strong earthquakes or violent storms can stop nor dampen the spirit of UP Diliman from ushering in the Christmas season through its long-standing tradition of switching on the campus’ festive lights,” announced the UP Diliman Information Office.

The annual campus festive decors lighting event can be seen by the public on the state university’s online platforms.

“The celebration also aims to stir hope and anticipation for a brighter future as all commit to one goal of overcoming the global public health crisis and ease the sadness of separation,” the UP statement adds.

With the theme “Abot-Kamay, Abot-Tanaw: Sulong sa Bago at Mas Mainam na Bukas,” this year’s community event gathers UPD’s various sectors in a live and virtual celebration to connect its various constituents the pandemic has physically separated.


The centerpiece of the Pag-iilaw is Toym Imao’s installation “Parola,” composed of ladders, human-shaped lanterns and red poles.

The ladders are made of bamboo and the lanterns are of wire and plastic sheets in red and green. One figure is climbing the ladder with an arm extended (abot-kamay), while the other has a hand above its eyes, seemingly surveying the surrounding area. According to Imao, the red bamboo poles crisscross the ladders to bind the installation together, representing the challenges the figures have to overcome and the pandemic that has restricted everyone’s way of life. These are also the catalysts for the “damayan” efforts by the community amid the lockdown.


Units at UPD that have been beacons in the pandemic, namely the UP Health Service, Philippine Genome Center, Silungang Molave and Barangay UP Campus Hall will be lighted along with the Quezon Hall and the University Avenue.

UPD’s portals will also be lighted, symbolic of the University upholding its role as a critic of the society and nation it will continually serve.

The lighting ceremony is also a tribute to thousands claimed by the pandemic, particularly the frontliners.

Set to perform at the Pag-iilaw are Tapati with Eman Jamisolamin on guitar, and the UP Guitar Society. Pag-iilaw also features the video “Abot-Kamay, Abot-Tanaw: Ang UP Bilang Tanglaw sa Panahon ng Pandemya” by Joyce Garcia.

UPD Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo, UPD Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Aleli R. Bawagan together with UP President Danilo L. Concepcion and Barangay UP Campus Captain Zenaida Lectura will deliver messages for the community. Ton Clemente emcees.

Pag-iilaw will be streamed live on the UPD website ( and the official UPD Facebook page ( on Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. from the Quezon Hall.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the University of the Philippines Diliman community as it stages the virtual “Pag-iilaw” this 2020.

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