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SHS music org is reigning champion in 2017 Musikapella

Selah also bagged four other awards in this year’s Musikapella.

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Aside from the championship, Selah bagged four other awards. Photo courtesy of Musikapella, grabbed from Selah’s Facebook page.

With enchanting voices that mesmerized crowds, UST Senior High School’s Selah brought home the championship crown in this year’s Musikapella last Saturday, Nov. 25 at the AFP Theatre.

With the theme, “A Tribute to Paskong Pilipino,” Selah serenaded the people with Simbang Gabi as part of their contest piece, along with their choice piece, Kampana ng Simbahan.

Aside from the championship, Selah bagged four other awards: The People’s Choice Award, Sulyap ng Musika 2017 Winner, Best Interpretation of Choice Piece, and Best Interpretation of Contest Piece.

Triumph would not come without sacrifice: Balancing academics along with long excruciating hours of chorale training with their new choirmaster, Mark Raeniel Agpasa, Selah proved that no matter what hurdles they face, they will come emerge victorious.

President Veronica Therese Rivera narrated their journey in an exclusive online interview with TomasinoWeb.

“As an organization, Selah felt that there were unsaid expectations to excel, to make a name for UST Senior High School, since this was the first ever inter-school competition joined by UST SHS Selah,” Rivera said.

The group felt the need to step up as two other UST SHS organizations, dance troupe Galvanize and performing arts group Singtala, have already made a name in their respective fields.

But all in all, while winning was an ideal goal, Rivera stated that Selah wanted to do their best in the competition and perform their hearts out, even if that meant winning merely one award that night, as they valued the solidarity and community that Selah had brought with them.

Selah’s new choirmaster was overwhelmed with the support the Thomasian community gave them.

“Having that much likes and shares in social media sends a strong message — that people believe in Selah, that there are literally thousands of people who are part of Selah,” Agpasa said.

Musikapella is an annual choir competition and fundraising event for the University of the Philippines Economics Society Scholarship Fund.

Watch Selah’s winning performance below:

by Mykel Alen Tan

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#TWenty

#TWenty: The 2017 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

2016 was a merely a teaser for​ more terrible things to come—but 2017 was also the year we fought back.

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A letter from the editor

To say that 2017 was a challenging year is an understatement: 2017 was a terrible year—which is honestly funny, considering how just exactly a year ago, we were all probably tweeting how 2016 was the #WorstYearEver (it’s Twitter; sharper expletives are welcome).

If anything, the past year was merely a teaser for worse things to come, and it seems that 2017 picked up where 2016 left off: The Growling Tigers continued their dismal performance in the UAAP, securing only a single win this season; the government’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs continue to claim the lives of thousands, even teenagers; and hazing has killed another student, and this time, it’s a Thomasian—all while the Dutertes enjoy lavish photoshoots in the Malacañang.

Mocha Uson is now an actual government official (which, more or less, gives legitimacy to her blatant misinformation frenzy), martial law is in full swing in Mindanao after a series of terror attacks, and candidates who lost to abstentions in the student council elections have threatened to take over the vacant posts.

It was a terrible year, but it was also the year we fought back.

A hashtag has given sexual harassment victims a voice to decry and expose abusers. Thousands marched in the streets of Manila last Sept. 21 to protest the government’s inhumane drug operations and harassment of farmer and indigenous communities. Mental health advocates also fought the stigma surrounding mental health conditions with a hashtag and Ariana Grande showed the world that we could respond to terrorism with love and solidarity.

It’s undeniable that we are living in dangerous times—and that we are facing even more challenging times ahead. Despite all the things we hated this year, we are here, on the last day of the year, hoping that we could fight our way through 2018 like we did this 2017.

With that, I now present to you the top 20 people, issues, events, and trends that defined the spirit of 2017.

My comrades, Thomasians, Filipinos, netizens: Here is #TWenty.

The fight continues,
Philip Jamilla

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The art that saves

Here’s what you missed at UNESCO Club’s INDIE+GENIUS: Indie Night for Indigenous People.

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MUSIKAT performs on INDIE+GENIUS: Indie Night for Indigenous People, a benefit concert organized by the UST UNESCO Club for the indigenous peoples of Tarlac. Photo by Earl Balce/TomasinoWeb.

The art saves the heart and soul — but through UST UNESCO Club’s INDIE+GENIUS: Indie Night for Indigenous People at the Engineering Concert Hall last Wednesday Nov. 29, art also saves the education and literacy of the indigenous peoples (IP) of Tarlac.

The concert kicked off as MUSIKAT serenaded the crowd with songs popular in the local music scene such as Kathang Isip by Ben & Ben, and June by Oh! Flamingo.

Raphael Sanchez from the UST UNESCO Club also performed Sila by SUD, and Treat You Right by TJ Monterde.

Students from the Faculty of Arts and Letters performed heart-wrenching spoken word poetry pieces.

Legal Management junior Rey Rebollos performed a piece on love and heartbreaks — of moving on and acceptance of the past.

Meanwhile, Communication Arts sophomore Manisha Mirchandani showed her painful journey from being apart from her family and finding her home within her.

Brimming with sentiments and advocacy, Louise Meets and Henri Igna from Words Anonymous also showcased their prowess in evoking emotions through poetry.

Meets’ performance was about heartbreak, separation, brokenness, healing, and self-acceptance.

“We kept naming it forever. Kept trying to water the garden that blooms behind our home even when nothing grew,” Louise Meets said on her piece, Museum of Broken Things.

And as for Igna, home is not a place: It is the person you hold dear.

“Pag hinto ng taxing sinasakyan ko, sa tapat ng kinatatayuan mo, sisigaw ako ng “”Manong! Para. Nakauwi na ako,”” Igna said in his piece, Taxi.

Their last performance was a collaborative piece that they had also performed during this year’s Pride March. It portrays a vibrant future for homosexuals where they can raise their own children and be accepted by society, testifying that their love are real. Both artists fight for equality, rights, and acceptance of the LGBTQIAP+ community.

In collaboration with various artists, the UST UNESCO Club organized INDIE+GENIUS as a charity concert to provide the basic necessities for education for IPs in Tarlac, asking the audience and advocates to donate a notebook and two pencils as their entrance pass.

“[We want] to help build literate indigenous communities through education. Pwede pa [sila] magdonate ng notebooks and pencils sa org room namin sa Tan Yan Kee Student Center Room 3N,” Alyssa Rafael, the director for education of UST UNESCO, told TomasinoWeb.

Rafael also encourages everyone to join them in their upcoming outreach program, “Halubilo” for the benefit of the indigenous community in Tarlac.

“Anyone can join us. They can contact us through our Facebook and Twitter accounts or pwede din sila dumaan sa org room para magtanong,” she urged.

by Lanz Nathan Hernandez

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Paskuhan is coming

How is it like to experience the Paskuhan lights for the first time? Trixia Claire Delos Santos shares her story.

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UST kicks off the Paskuhan season with its annual Christmas concert and lighting ceremony, Friday, Dec. 1. Photo by Earl Balce/TomasinoWeb.

I was barely finished eating when it happened.

The twinkling lights surrounding me suddenly went out — enveloping the University of Santo Tomas in darkness. Screams of excitement filled the cold December air and sparks of energy flew as the huge LED screens blinked with the countdown. I watched the scene in front of me in awe, yet also nervous for I was about to witness this magnificence for the very first time.

Sitting on a pavement along Lovers’ Lane, with all the people hyped for tonight’s event, everything was still a blur to me.

As soon as my classes ended at noon, Thomasians were in flurry of actions — with each mouth uttering their excitement to the most-awaited Paskuhan lighting ceremony. As the community gathered at the Plaza Mayor for the annual mass, the rain suddenly poured. However, not a single drop of rain dampened the Thomasians: Their hype only grew louder when a rainbow appeared during the mass, painting color to the gloomy sky.

“There is no dragon that cannot be tamed, nor beast that God cannot slay,” Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said, imploring Thomasians to remember the true king among all kings.

As the Eucharistic celebration drew to conclusion, the Agape finally began. Thomasians scurried away to queue on their assigned booths for their free food.

The University went “car-less” for that day, and everywhere, crowds of people huddled together, munching on their food, with the evident crunch of the scrumptious lechon. Laughter filled the air, and I cannot help thinking that this could be the Thomasian version of Noche Buena.

The screams beside me snapped me back to reality.

Two big screens beside the stage showed the countdown for the ceremony and it made everyone squeal in sheer anticipation. O Come All Ye Faithful blared at the speakers, and with every beat, my heart resonates.

My hands are shaking.

I held up my phone, looking for any signs of spark.

My knees are shivering.

All I can see it the moon smiling at us, like it was also waiting as the lights come to life.

My heart is trembling.

I looked at my friends, the first people I have the honor to spend this momentous event.

My lungs halted.

“Sh*t, ang ganda ng mga ilaw!”

And everyone stood in delight, pointing at the large Christmas tree which was now glowing together with the University of Santo Tomas sign. Suddenly, we were all swallowed with vibrance as the University glowed with beauty and elegance.

Everyone howled with joy, snapping photos as the beauty unraveled before them, but I stood frozen, staring at the grandeur that was in front of me — the lights that symbolize the start of the yule season in the University which I only dreamt of seeing one day.

Something exploded above me and I was completely rendered speechless — the stark black sky was sprinkled with lights. Lasting for only mere seconds, the fireworks illuminated not only the sky, but also the gloom in everyone’s hearts.

“It was really beautiful. They brought back the traditional lights hanging from the branches of trees,” Rachelle Basa from the College of Accountancy said.

“Compared to last year, it [opening of lights] was full of efforts,” Eleazar Bilog, a Senior High School — Accountancy, Business, and Management student also told me.

“Medyo nakakabitin yung fireworks, but the overall rating is two thumbs up.”

At the start, I was really having second thoughts on watching the event. I had a lot of quizzes for the next day and I badly needed to study. But my friend approached me and insisted that we should at least see the lights and the fireworks; we would be the one who would most enjoy them since it would be our first time, he said.

Indeed, he was right. Every bit of the event was worth treasuring and worth sharing.

And as I opened the door of my room, the first thing I noticed was the window at the far-end, with the Christmas tree glowing brightly from a distance. The image of Drogon suddenly flashed in my mind and then it hit me.

“Winter is coming,” as the famous motto of House Stark said. Staring into open space, there was only one thing I can think of right now — Paskuhan has finally arrived.

by Trixia Claire Delos Santos

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