Heaven and Hell: The University of the Philippines (Manila) experience

I wanted to share with you the tribute speech I wrote as a requirement in one of my subjects this semester.

March 15, 2011

It was divine intervention that brought me here, to a place called “hell” since 1908, the University of the Philippines Manila. Thanks to my mom who has been praying for my admission in UP. It has been roughly about four years of blood, sweat, and tears that I have spent in the University. The University has taken me to ups and downs and yes, the University of the Philippines Manila has taught me a lot of learning experiences that I should be thankful for.

I was just an ordinary highschool girl, dreaming to be enrolled in one of the renowned universities in the Philippines. I often participated in class discussions, I studied well during exams, and I joined in extra-curricular activities like the varsity team and the chorale. Never did I expect that I will be accepted in the country’s most sought after, premier state university.

Matatapang, matatalino, walang takot kahit kanino, hindi magpagpapahuli. Ganyan kaming mga taga-UP.” Such heavy line to live up to from the UP Pep Squad’s chant. I felt happy that I’d be able to study in UP but fear overpowers me. I fear that I won’t be able to live up to UP’s standard of education. Adding to that fear is my cluelessness of what OrCom is about. Well, I know a little of OrCom back then, but I felt that it wasn’t enough.

UP indeed stands for “Under Pressure.” The subjects and the professors will put pressure on you to study hard for the lessons, especially come midterms and finals. In UP, I tasted my first ever failure in a subject. Yes, it was the dreadful Math11. The experience taught me two things: (1) that I should exert more effort in something that I know is my weakness and (2) that I should know how to cope and recover from such a misfortune.

Aside from the challenges posted by academics, my involvement in extra-curricular activities honed me to become a better person. Being an officer in OrComSoc, I learned how to set priorities – knowing which should be executed first, choosing between academic and organization requirements. Being a member of AdHere and JMA, I learned how to deal well with your superiors. Because of these orgs, I was also able to conquer my stage fright and develop my hosting skills.

I have to thank UP for bringing to me a family, the OrCom Batch 2011. Our experiences together were all meaningful, from the batch meetings, Christmas parties, Culture Shock performances, and random hangouts. It was a true test of character when the Silver Anniversary of OrCom became a tragedy because of typhoon Ondoy. The two-month preparation was bound to be put to waste because of the rain and flood. The Ondoy experience taught us a lot of lessons. It was a way for me and my batchmates to establish a deeper sense of oneness. It was an opportunity to bridge the gap in us.

UP has opened my senses to the good and the not-so-good. In UP, I learned how to value education even more, how to respect others for who or for what they are, how to serve others without expecting anything in return, and how important it is for one to be socially aware. It is also in UP where I learned how to smoke, to drink, to attend parties and gigs and do random overnights without my parents’ permission. At least, there’s was a balance between the good and the not-so-good.

If UP was a dish, it would be pinakbet. Pinakbet has all sorts of vegetables in it, added with pork or shrimp to become even more flavorful. Just like the wide variety of ingredients in Pinakbet, UP offers its students a lot more than academic learnings.

If UP was a road, it would be EDSA. EDSA is a long highway covering Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Quezon City where people from all walks of life travel everyday to reach their destination. Just like the traffic along EDSA, UP is a place where one would be able to meet people from all walks of life travelling together to reach a common goal, to graduate.

If UP was a singer, it would be Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson has released a number of top charted albums. His record breaking songs range from pop, ballad, and rock. Just like Michael’s award winning songs, UP has produced a number of graduates who are now successful in their respective careers.

If UP was a television program, it would be Eat Bulaga. Eat Bulaga is the undisputed noontime show, airing for more than 30 years now. As the program’s tagline say, “Hangga’t may bata, may Eat Bulaga.” Just like Eat Bulaga’s never ending reign in the noontime slot, UP will remain as the country’s most sought after, premier state university.

Like what the line in UP Naming Mahal states, “Malayong lupain, amin mang marating, di rin magbabago ang damdamin.” I will forever bring with me the learning experiences I had in UP – at work and in my own family. UP was successful in instilling to me the values of honor and excellence.

At the beginning of this speech I said that it was divine intervention that brought me to this “hell” and now, I will say that it is divine intervention that will take me out of here. My mom is still praying that I’d be able to finish all my requirements in time for graduation.

Undoubtedly, my 4-year stay in the University of the Philippines Manila has taught me a lot of learning experiences that I should be thankful for. Whether those experiences are positive or negative ones, I know that it has given me a piece of wisdom that I would treasure for the rest of my life.

Salamat UP! Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan!


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