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#bakiTWalangpasok: Ninoy Aquino Day

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DUGUAN at walang buhay nang muling tumapak si Senador Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. sa Pilipinas, mga tatlong dekada nang nakalipas.

Sa araw na ito, ginugunita ng bansa ang pagka-martyr ni Aquino sa dating Manila International Airport at ang kanyang paglaban kontra diktadura at para sa demokrasya.

Agosto 21, 1983 nang bumalik si Aquino sa Pilipinas. Humigi’t kumulang tatlong taon bago nito, pansamantalang nanirahan ang senador at ang kanyang pamilya sa Estados Unidos upang magpagamot matapos siyang atakihin sa puso noong Marso 1980.

Bilang isa sa mga pinakaprominenteng kritiko ng rehimeng Ferdinand Marcos, isa siya sa mga pinadampot at pinakulong matapos mag-deklara si Marcos ng batas militar noong Setyembre 21, 1972. Si Aquino ay nilitis ng Military Commission No. 2 sa mga kasong murder, illegal possession of firearms, at subversion; hinatulan siya ng komisyon ng kamatayan sa pamamagitan ng firing squad noong Nobyembre 25, 1977.

Matapos maoperahan at magpagaling ni Aquino, siya ay pansamantalang nanatili sa Amerika, kung saan siya ay naglibot at nagbigay ng mga talumpati sa harap ng mga Pilipino at pati na rin mga banyaga.

Hindi nagtagal at nag-desisyon si Aquino na muling bumalik sa bansa – isang desisyon na makakapagpabago sa sistema ng pamumuno ng Pilipinas.

Maraming nakikisimpatya ang dumagsa sa burol ni Aquino. Pinili ng ina ni Aquino na si Doña Aurora Aquino na huwag ipaembalsamo at ayusin ang labi ng kaniyang anak para ipakita sa mga tao ang karumaldumal na sinapit ni Ninoy.

Alam ng rehimeng Marcos na ito ang magsisiklab sa diwa ng mga tao upang siya ay patalsikin sa pwesto. Pinatawag niya ang mga pahayagan at inutusang huwag gamitin ang salitang “assassinated” at “sympathizers” at sa halip ay gamitin ang mga salitang “killing” at “mourners”.

Sa libing naman ng senador, kung saan nasa may dalawang milyon ang dumalo, ipinalabas ng estado na nasa limampung libo lamang ang sumama. Tanging ang Radio Veritas lamang ang nagbigay ng makatotohanang ulat ukol sa libing ni Aquino.

Nagpatawag si Marcos ng snap elections noong Pebrero 7, 1986 kung saan kinatunggali niya ang biyuda ni Ninoy na si Cory Aquino. Nanalo at prinoklamang pangulo si Marcos ngunit ito ay hinarap ng samu’t-saring protesta dahil sa umano’y pandaraya ni Marcos sa eleksyon.

Matapos ang ilang linggo, nagtungo ang sambayanang Pilipino sa Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) at ipinarinig sa mapayapang pamamaraan ang kanilang panawagan – ang pagbaba sa pwesto ni Pangulong Marcos at ang pagluklok naman kay Cory Aquino.

Bilang pagkilala sa kontribusyon ni Ninoy Aquino sa pagbalik ng demokrasya sa bansa at sa kanyang kamatayan, ang Agosto 21 ay ginawang special non-working holiday sa bisa ng Republic Act No. 9256 na nilagdaan ni dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo noong ika-labingwalong anibersaryo ng People Power Revolution, Pebrero 25, 2004.

Kuha ni Brianna Cardenas

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Communication Arts junior is the new UAAP game announcer

The most-awaited inter-collegiate tournament has gained a new announcer for the Women’s Volleyball tournament—and it is none other than the third-year Thomasian Communication Arts student, Kassie Gormley.

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kassie gormley
Photo courtesy to Flavius Dulce/Sports Gateway

As universities’ colors clash and their thunderous cheers reverberate deep within every athletes’ soul, the most-awaited inter-collegiate tournament has gained a new announcer for the women’s volleyball tournament—and it is none other than the third-year Thomasian Communication Arts student, Kassie Gormley.

Upon receiving the news, Gormley described it as a wave of mixed emotions, yet for her it became less dramatic than it should have,  “medyo anti-climactic siya for me kasi late sinabi and syempre excited but at the same time very quickly [sic.} yung kaba kasi two days later kaagad ‘yung game so nandun lahat ng factor but a lot of it was relief,” she said in an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb.

The road to getting the job was painfully long and nerve-wrecking, Gormley shared that she initially heard from different people that they were already thinking of giving her the position, but during the last week before the opening after receiving no updates, she felt discouraged to think that she qualifies for the job, “I was like, ‘aw…wala na, di na ako kukunin nito, may nahanap na siguro silang iba,’ then Monday before the games, tinext ako,  asking for a meeting and then I was relieved!”

As the new UAAP game announcer, of course, there was an extreme pressure that came along with it. After all, it is not easy to work after the late Rolly Manlapaz. “The pressure—it’s always going to be there, the kaba, and if I think about it too much, lalo akong papanget!”

Despite feeling anxious and possibly frightened by this new environment, Gormley still manage to see things with a positive disposition, “I just have to think that I’m not trying to please anyone, syempre I want the players and the fans to enjoy as well pero at the end of the day, job ko pa rin siya and I still have to listen to my bosses, the UAAP commissioner and what he wants, and to ABS-CBN and what they want,” she said.

For this rising Thomasian talent, factors such as balancing academics and her new job, even the criticisms of other people, were not seen as problems.

“Well the criticisms, we all know that volleyball, [it’s a very opinionated scene, napakaraming fans], very critical magcomment at manghusga pero I always take it with a grain of salt, kumbaga I still listen to the people [who not necessarily matter] kasi syempre everybody’s opinions matter and everybody’s entitled to their own opinions, pero I still have to listen to the people who are in charge of me. “I just try to think na kung merong may mga ayaw, marami din namang nagkakagusto.”

As a true master of her craft and as a person who takes her job seriously, when asked about what type of host she is, Gormley revealed that she is more of an “adlib type” of person who prefers to say things in the moment rather than reading off a script, since it makes it more natural, raw, and exciting, “[Except] siguro sa simula. I have to say the intro but besides that, it’s more of like saying what I’m seeing.”

Gormley in the UAAP scene is far from being a rookie. Her connections as a former volleyball athlete have helped her tremendously in her journey. The people she met  in the sports industry acted as her solid support system and made her UAAP journey lighter, “it really helps na I have a lot of friends in the volleyball scene na, so their support sa akin really helped me get support from their fans. I feel like it made everybody more open sa idea of accepting me.”

Gormley’s distinctive features like her striking blue eyes and golden locks may easily stun everyone, but that is not the only thing that is unique about her; with the hype of the game, Mobile Legends, the netizens saw that there is a resemblance with the voice in the game to Gormley’s. As a person who has never played the game before, she admitted that her initial reaction was confusion, “when it was first said na kaboses ko siya, I was like hala? Is it a bad thing or a good thing?” said Gormley. She thought that maybe this “resemblance” was bad due to the fact that there is a great difference and a shift from the voice of the late Sir Rolly Manlapaz to her voice.

“I think nung simula nanibago talaga ang mga tao, but once I embraced it, I feel like they [the audience] enjoyed it more once na sumakay nalang ako, I was searching the words na ginagamit dun [sa Mobile Legends] or I’d ask people what they wanna hear from the game, so I started using the lingo and from that, I’ve gotten much better responses.”

This year’s season of UAAP Women’s Volleyball is nothing like ever before–packed with renewed battle spirit and brand new faces that continues to leave a mark in the volleyball scene, Kassie Gormley is one of them. Just like her, all of us want to achieve our dreams and aim to reach our goals.

“Just don’t be afraid to fail and always try to improve yourself,” she said with a proud smile.

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Bobby Mañosa, a champion of Filipino identity

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Photo from Joseph Viktor Pamatian/ Arkitrato-UST during the Visionary Comes Home: Mañosa Beyond Architecture exhibit at the UST Main Building last February 2018.

What I find most admirable in architect Bobby Mañosa is his strong philosophy of always designing Filipino, a nationalism that all of us should aspire to have.

We as a nation, are more fascinated with foreign everything, and architecture is no exception. It is an offset of our eternal identity crisis that translates into the buildings around us; the very topic of Filipino architecture is a heated debate within the community. Mañosa is a vanguard, his insistence for architecture that belongs in our land is helping define what makes architecture in the Philippines, Filipino.

In an interview with fellow Architecture student and Heritage Conservation Society President, Beau Ongbontic, he remarked that before being knowledgeable of Mañosa and his works, he didn’t know of Filipino-inspired design.

“Nalaman ko na ganito pala ka-strong yung philosophy niya in designing Filipino, dun ko na-realize na oo nga, dapat sine-strengthen natin yung identity natin as Filipino,” Ongbontic said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

Here, I realized, we shared the same sentiment. Mañosa’s fervor for the Filipino is infectious. For many of us, his buildings and strong philosophy has sparked the patriotic spirit that lies dormant, buried under layers of constant exposure to foreign architecture.

Mañosa’s advocacy for Filipino-looking buildings rippled a change in the cityscape. There are few people in the metro who can say that they haven’t been in any of his buildings, fewer still are those who have never seen any of his works. As a commuter of the LRT 1, it is sometimes baffling being inside the work of a National Artist.  Although the stations have seen better days, the trademark bahay kubo inspired Mañosa design is evident. The EDSA Shrine in Ortigas is a witness to many a congregation of the Filipino masses. His landmark buildings such as the Coconut Palace and the Sulo Hotel are renowned and celebrated simply because the way he captured the Filipino essence into his designs are still subtly captivating us.

Architecture has a way of shaping a nation. Mañosa’s unwavering commitment in the bahay kubo, the core of his ideology, is one of the reasons he became a National Artist for Architecture; a title he shares with five other men: Juan Nakpil, Pablo Antonio, Jose Zaragoza, Leandro Locsin and Ildefonso Santos. It feels surreal having four of them pass under the same Arch of the Centuries as we did. When these Thomasian Architects influenced the image of our country, they gave us the responsibility to continue their work even if they are heavy shoes to fill.

As tribute from his alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas hosted an exhibit in his honor last February 2018.  The Visionary Comes Home: Mañosa Beyond Architecture celebrated him and his life’s work. Mañosa himself was present in the event. There’s a particular scene that I will never forget, awe in the atmosphere evident from being around such an esteemed architecture giant. He was sat on a wheelchair pushed by architect Rizalito Mercado, surrounded by laughing architecture students on the journey from the Main Building to Beato Angelico Building. It’s a microcosm, the younger generation finding a worthy aspiration and mayhaps following in his footsteps.

At the forefront of supporting Mañosa’s bid for National Artist, Beau Ongbontic notes how “one way or another, we (Heritage Conservation Society) helped him reach that dream”. Somehow, people were given awareness of this admirable man who has helped shaped the fabric of our built environment. Their efforts weren’t in vain. Several months later, Mañosa was hailed as National Artist the October of the same year.

“I am a Filipino architect, and I only design Filipino.”

Bobby Mañosa is an inspiration. He did not only champion Filipino architecture but Filipino identity as well. Despite adversities, he persisted in promoting an architecture that speaks to the land and its people. His death last February 20 is resonating with the whole country because Mañosa’s buildings affect us deeper than we realize. It taps onto the already present Filipino spirit that we only need to nourish.

 

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Magical Beginnings and Happily Ever Afters

Paskuhan 2018 made us believe in magic, even for just a second.

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Photo by Miguel Yap

It was the beginning, and also the end.

Gray skies and occasional light rain showers might have greeted the crowds as they entered UST last Friday afternoon, yet when the clock struck 2:00, the rhythmic boom of the UST Yellow Jackets shattered the dampened mood of the whole University.

As the clouds finally unveiled the radiance of the sun, the energy steadily rose with the influx of students and visitors lined up by the gates of the University, eager to join their friends in the upcoming festivities, and people gradually trickling over to the UST Grandstand. With food on the one hand, and pang-sapin on the other, they all searched for a perfect spot to settle into once the program starts. With the audience’s excited chatters, the delectable scent of the food being cooked all around the field wafted through the air, and the blurry of motion of the Paskuhan staff clad in black. Paskuhan had finally begun. The University’s long-awaited festivities during the Christmas season is certainly a unique and unforgettable Thomasian tradition and there is no denying that it has always been on every Thomasian’s bucket list to attend this occasion.

beginnings of paskuhan

Photo by Miguel Yap

Last Friday UST took us on a brief journey back to our childhoods, each corner of the University was adorned with Disney-inspired lights and decorations—the iconic floating lights, Sven-like reindeers accompanying the Tiger, the grand chandeliers hanging above the Rosarium—enchanted Thomasians and visitors alike. While the festivity can be seen in two lenses; one, a bittersweet experience, as the last Paskuhan of this year’s graduating batch and two, a warm initiation into the Thomasian community for the freshmen, both shared their thoughts and sentiments to TomasinoWeb on this year’s Paskuhan as being either their first of many, or their last. Awe and wondrous gasps reverberated and flurried across the University, filling the hearts of the Thomasians and non-Thomasians alike with joy with every turn of their heads, taking in the breath of the holiday air.

“What I think about Paskuhan is very exciting. The way I see it is very lively and makes us have fun,” says Daniel Armand, an Engineering freshman with face alight with enthusiasm.

And like every Disney-inspired movie, the theme will never be complete without its charming music. As the concert began in earnest, more and more people flocked to the field. As the heart-wrenching tunes of I Belong To The Zoo played, light rainfall showered the crowd—yet Thomasians remained unfazed as – one could say – the rain never bothered them anyway. The blissful feel of the semester ending has rewarded Thomasians with this said event, a breakaway from their day-to-day responsibilities, savoring the opportune moment to unwind and leave their worries behind them in this memorable one-night event.

“So far, sobrang enjoy naman Paskuhan since ang daming tao and since as first year, we get to feel the culture here in UST.” said Ellen Mae, a freshman from the College of Accountancy.

i belong to the zoo band playing

Agree Guerrero, also known as I Belong To The Zoo serenades the crowd. Christine Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

The culture-rich University also breeds talented Thomasians. Several Thomasian acts graced this year’s Paskuhan stage such as Fourplay, UST Jazz Band, John Saga, and Julia Mella. With each passing hour, the crowd grew bigger and bigger. Flocks of students in their best outfits wandered across the University and already getting a head start in participating in the coming revelries of the eve.

As night fell, the famed UST Paskuhan lights finally came to life and the awe-struck crowd, armed with their cameras and phones, roamed around the light displays to take photos, allowing the University to finally show off its festive, holiday colors to its full potential. Thomasians were finally able to show to their visitors the scenery that they had been posting online with such glee and enthusiasm, and the decorative palette of lights certainly did not disappoint any of the attendees.

“This year’s Paskuhan celebration was – by far – the best Paskuhan I’ve ever been to because of the theme. I am a huge Disney baby and the fact that even the fireworks display was just chock full of Disney songs is just amazing to me.” Gaby Domanais said, a Senior from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, remarking on how the use of Disney themes further brought a sense of wonder that fit the holiday season.

As the night began to settle, so did its lively celebrants. Couples took their photos together beneath the trees of Benavides Park. Looks of endearment on their faces, groups of friends sprawled out in different areas of the University, sat down and sharing huge boxes of pizzas, giggling despite their mouths being full. It was already booming with activity and the evening had only just begun..

“It’s more inviting yung atmosphere than the last Paskuhan. Plus, mas maganda yung feeling ngayon dahil mas maraming lights” said Mary Ancheta, a Pharmacy freshman.

With the campus grounds continuously being filled with festive-minded attendees as the night went on, it also became somewhat harder to traverse. In certain areas, one had to push through the sea of people going in different directions, as well as the lines for the food stalls along Osmeña Drive.

visitors lining up in max's

Visitors line up for food. Miguel Yap/TomasinoWeb

“[Although] It was a much better experience this year, the number of people on the campus was insane. I couldn’t remember being that tired in the years before just by walking through the street where the food stalls were,” Benjamin Gutierrez, a 4th-year College of Tourism and Hospitality Management student in sharing his sentiments about the number of people that attended this year’s Paskuhan. However, this is not to say that this had ruined his Paskuhan experience for the night still had surprises up its sleeve.

paskuhan crowd hyping

Crowd joins the hype. Ralph Estrella/TomasinoWeb

To keep the evening’s energy alive, the event’s highly anticipated bands such as Quest, Ransom Collective, and Spongecola finally took up the stage and a torrent of people came flooding towards the UST Field. However, despite the rising excitement, the  barricades set up over various zones across the field kept the audience in order.

The cold December air was filled with tunes of nostalgia as the bands serenaded the crowd with music they were all too familiar with. When the first beat of “Tuliro” blared through the speakers, the crowd raised their hands and their voices as they sang along.

spongecola playing in paskuhan

Spongecola’s front man, Yael Yuzon in the sea of light. Miguel Yap/TomasinoWeb

In the middle of their set, the audience waved their phones as flashlights and transformed the field into a glimmering sea of stars, swaying along to the melodic rhythms. The lively energy of the people was so overwhelming that it made the performers’ and the audience’ eyes light up with passion to enjoy the moment before them, and continue on in seizing the night.

Then everything went dark.

With their hearts pounding wildly, and their eyes staring intensely at the jet black sky, everyone held their breaths.

Collectives awe rippled through the crowd as the first light decorated the bleak night sky. In the dazzling display of the yearly pyromusical, timeless and classical Disney songs from Tangled and Beauty and the Beast played as the sky became a canvas for a palette of bright and mystical colors that are magnificently exploding.

It was truly magical. With their eyes wide like a child seeing fireworks for the first time–Paskuhan 2018 really brought its magic not just through its lights, but also through everyone’s hearts.

couple looking at the paskuhan fireworks

Audience stares in awe of the fireworks. Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

“[Compared] to the past Paskuhans, this was my best experience.” added Benjamin Gutierrez in regards to his last Paskuhan experience.

It was no denying the collective energy between the festivity and the crowd amplified the festive feel of the event and cemented Paskuhan 2018 as something that will never be forgotten by the Thomasian community, be it a freshmen experiencing their first ever Paskuhan, or a Senior enjoying their last one as a Thomasian.

While it is the start of many wonderful experience for our dear freshmen as they continue on with their academic journey in the University, it serves as part of a memorable and satisfying conclusion for our seniors as well. Surely, the Paskuhan tradition will still be practiced decades from now, but there is nothing like a Thomasian’s first and last Paskuhan experience that would be a personal experience treasured in their hearts, brimming with joy and nostalgia that are immortalized in photographs and in memory as to how ecstatic they were in seizing the night.

It made us believe in magic, even for just a second.

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