My UP Centennial Celebration

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Tomorrow, January 8 kicks off the year-long centennial celebration of the University of the Philippines. Spearheading the kick-off rites is the UP Alumni Association (UPAA). While everyone celebrates in their own unique way, I will celebrate my University of the Philippines (U.P.) Student days’ memories in this blog. Excuse me for my unabashed display of school pride.

mommy_in_UP.jpgThe opportunity to study in the U.P. Diliman campus would never have been possible without the motivation from my mother, the late Salustiana Veloso. She graduated Cum Laude, 1954 with two degrees, BA in Education, Major in English and Minor in Music (Voice). Mom envisioned her children studying in her alma mater, In college, you will study in U.P.. As far back as I could remember, mom always ingrained those words in our minds. (six out of seven siblings eventually did. One chose to study in Ateneo).

Alas, in the early seventies, martial law was declared. My relatives in Manila advised my mom that we shouldn’t study in Manila or else we will turn into subversives. Whatever. Mom didn’t listen to our well-meaning relatives. She toured us around the U.P. campus during our enrollment. Driving through the majestic Acacia trees along University avenue, mom told us how the students planted trees in the campus. I never got to find out the location of the her planted tree. All I know is that she carved her name “Sally” on the tree bark when it grew. She pointed out the quonset huts that the Japanese built. Her dormitory was in one of these quonset huts now replaced by Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall. Mom also stayed at Kamia Residence Hall where my sister and I eventually boarded in our first year at the campus. Her stories of UP traditions (including the Cadena de Amor Festival, Hayride and Arbor Day, which have all died out today) fascinated me.

dormitory.jpgYou can just imagine the freedom and the adventure that a Cebuana faced upon her first year in UP. I had to sacrifice the comforts of my lovely bedroom, cooked food, and security of a home. It was all worth it because I finally had the freedom to be myself. Dad and Mom warned us though that the moment we joined rallies and demonstrations, it was back to Cebu. They didn’t know it then but my sister and I joined lightning rallies. Student issues centered on Marcos, the dictator, Academic Freedom and the role of Iskolar ng Bayan in the midst of Martial Law.

marcos the dictatorI remember my first rally was in Luneta Park on May 1, 1976. I forgot who organized it now. All I remember was holding hands with my pretend-boyfriend in Luneta Park. If you know Rico J. Puno’s version of “The Way We Were“, the pretend situation brought me to stitches.

Ohhh Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
And if we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we, could we

Alaala, ng tayo’y mag-sweetheart pa
Namamasyal pa sa Luneta
Nang walang pera

So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were
Doo do do do do dooo

The organizers told us to be lovey-dovey and pretend to be sweethearts. I guess this was needed so that the police will not be suspicious of any illegal assembly. At a certain signal, a group of a hundred students would all chant Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta and converge in front of the Rizal Monument. Those days, immediate arrest was inevitable. I thought it was a giddy adventure oblivious of the danger of being arrested. Raising our fists, stomping our feet around Luneta and chanting Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta around ten times, we dispersed amidst the growing crowd. Makibaka, huwag matakot! Makibaka, huwag matakot! It was an exhilarating experience and I could feel the adrenalin rush as we ran into the Quiapo side streets. The police were just behind our back.Too close for comfort.

I pushed my luck once too many until one day, I got trapped along with some UP students inside an auto shop near Adamson University. It was Human Rights day. To make myself incognito, I wrapped my head with a scarf and wore large sunglasses. Sadly, the police were wiser now. They used the fire hose to disperse us and also to corner us into one place. So there I was with my friends waiting for the truck to haul us to Camp Crame. Maybe divine intervention prevailed upon us due in part to the intercession of the St. Theresa’s Colkege nuns because suddenly, we were all released. There was a hitch though. Our photos needed to taken by the Intelligence. I complied, of course.

To make matters worse, my dad found out about the near-arrest. To this day, I don’t know how he found out. The military intelligence must have informed him. Or the moles so prevalent during those days. Dad told my sister and I Stop attending those demos or go home. This time, I obeyed.

UP Student CouncilWord got around in the College of Home Economics where I was taking up BS Food Technology of my “activist” stand. U.P. was going to revive the college councils in 1977 and all the colleges were enjoined to elect their representative. I dreamt of being part of the legitimate system of student leaders even if I had to learn how to speak in Tagalog. Eventually, I won as college representative for my course. Don’t ask me now what we did. My memory fails me now. Maybe Betty might recall. I just remember that in October 1977, I found myself as a member of the First University Student Council (since Martial Law) with Jessie Gimenez as the head.

college_of_home_economics.jpgYou know the sad thing is I can’t find any of my college day photos. All I have is this photo of me outside the UP Pilot Plant where I was processing mango juice for my apprenticeship program. Though I was a BS Food Technology (1978) graduate, I only practiced it for two years after graduation.

college sweetheartsThe highlight of my UP student days was meeting Butch, my college sweetheart, the love of my life, my future husband while eating beside Rodic’s Diner at the U.P. Shopping Center with my dorm mates. Memories flow as I recall the days we strolled the U.P. campus before our dorm’s curfew. Locking our hands together, we often sat by the grassy knoll of the sunken garden and watched the sunset as we wove dreams of being together forever and having babies one day. Amidst the Beegees ““How Deep is Your Love” , time stood still for lovestruck us.

My mom never saw any of us graduate from U.P. but I know she felt at peace knowing we were studying at her alma mater. Just like my mom, I brainwashed my children to study in U.P. Diliman. Today, M is BA Psychology student while L is in the Masters program of Creative Writing. They represent the third generation of UP students in my family.

It has been 30 years since my graduation. I can’t help but be proud of my U.P. education. Studying in U.P. is not limited to learning within the confines of the classroom and obtaining a college degree. I learned to be strong, flexible and to live outside my comfort zone. I did not graduate Cum Laude like my mom did (I was .02 short of 1.75 cut-off) but I gained so much as a person. I learned to be a leader where I was once a timid and shy high school girl from the province. U.P. education was excellent because you were up against the best of the best. U.P. taught me to be focused, goal oriented, to work hard and give the best. I created a balance of academic and extra-curricular pursuits which made me the person I am today. The discipline brought out within me the risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit needed to start and maintain a small business. Thirty years later, I may not be an activist in the strictest sense of the word but I initiated advocacies in the spirit of service.

My children might not be student activists as their mom and relatives were but they will surely contribute to the Philippines in their own unique way.

Thus the centennial theme of ““UP: Excellence, Service, and Leadership in the Next 100 Years” can be achieved in each UP student. I will do my share. Giving back to UP is passing on the legacy through my children and their children’s children.

(Read a similar entry at my food blog on UP student day memories through Rodic’s Diner Mural.)

UP Centennial celebration News and Sites

1. The UP Centennial Site (If you are a past student of any of the University of the Philippines’ units , submit their stories to ‘100 Kwentong Peyups‘ a series of columns which will appear in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star throughout the year)

2. UP Alumni Blog

3. Recollections of Student Days at the University of the Philippines, 1948-1952

4. UP in next 100 years

5. UP Centennial Kick Off

Photos by order:

1. Photo of my mom in her toga
2. At the Sampaguita dorm during my third and last year in college (seated second to the left while my sister is waving)
3. Photo taken by my brother, Ruben Lardizabal, a Collegian Photographer in the early 1980’s
4. Photo taken by my brother, Ruben Lardizabal, a Collegian Photographer in the early 1980’s
5. Outside the College Home Economics Pilot Plant in my lab gown.
6. Butch and I met in March 1978, a semester before I graduated. Photo taken in Kalayaan dorm when I visited my younger sister.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • This reminds me of the first and last time I joined a major rally. Feb. 14, 2000. We held a vigil the night before. Come morning, we locked down all lower campus buildings in UPLB, and then off to Mendiola. Erap tuta diktador pasista! LOL Good times. I hope my future children will be UP students too. Because, like you said, UP education goes beyond your selected degree. I want them to experience that.

  • Toe

    I like this post Noemi. Nag-rarally ka din pala dati. 🙂 And sa shopping center mo pala na-meet asawa mo. 🙂 My dad is like your mom… he ingrained in all of us that we should go to UP… I was the only one who didn’t among six siblings. 🙂

  • keep it up!

  • congratulations to UP and all its alumini for its centennial year. that includes your family, my angelo and caren and BA, who is now in his 2nd yr at UP.

    you have fond memories of your college days, ako yata, i can’t even recall them na,

  • talk about memories.

  • pao

    wow, i also attended only one rally, and we were immediately dispersed by fire hoses. i have a lot of fond memories of those college days too. 🙂

  • It shows that you love your Alma Mater so much… It is a good sharing of your life as a student and how you acknowledge the people who helped you. Maybe you have felt frustrated at some points, but at the end, everything fell into place! I congratulate you for persevering as a mother and as a loving wife to your husband! 🙂

  • Hi. The committee is soliciting articles similar to what you just posted. Check out their multiply site for details, Just passing out the information.

    My siblings and I all went to UP. And so did our 5 of our cousins. Only 1 cousin went to Ateneo. The youngest cousin is still in high school. That makes it 6+5=11 out of 12. We don’t know yet our youngest’ plans.

  • Nag-rally din ako noon, member pa nga ako ng Makibaka (Makabayang Kilusan ng mga Kababaihan).

    Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta! Oh, yes, I remember – with matching raised fist. Hay, sarap mag – reminisce. 🙂

  • @baddie- I joined both lightning rallies and organized rallies in and out of the campus. During those days, the thrill and conviction of our issues were more empowering than being caught.

    @toe- I bet your dad really valued his UP education. Well my brother wanted Ateneo. Sosyal siya

    @SexyMom- I can’t remember all of the college memories. I am asking help from my sister

    @pao- in the 80’s the water from the fire hoses contained a red dye which was difficult to remove. It was easy to spot those who joined.

    @aries- I vented my frustration in other activities to compromise

    @em- My brother chose Ateneo for some reason. Convince your youngest to go to UP.

    @Rhodora- When I remember those days, I will freak out if my kids would be in the situation. My kids never joined any of the rallies simply because they thought the issues are not that serious compared to what we fought for.

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  • my dad went to UP as well but, when it was my time for college, he urged me to choose a different school (DLSU) saying that I might get involved with student activism and give him a heart attack (he worked for the intelligence division of the DFA kasi).

  • Miej

    this post brought a lot of memories flooding back, noemi =) i was very active in the late 80s in the student movement. i have 3 boys now in AGS and while i do hope that they’d also attend UP someday, i’m not too sure how i would take it should they become activists too. iba na talaga kapag nanay na… anyhoo, we’ll be joining the kick-off celebration later. will you be there? =)

  • @monaco – I understand your dad. Now that I am a parent, I would be freaking out if my daughter was a student activist.

    @Miej- It’s different when we are parents. At that time, I had no care in the world though I knew studies were important to me. I will be there but I will catch up with the torch and watch the fireworks.

  • Nakakatuwa naman yung nag-tour kayo ng mom mo sa campus. Naaalala ko rin kung paanong nilakad namin ni Mama ang acad oval noong nag-e-enroll pa lang ako para hanapin ang Shopping Center at mag-lunch. First time namin pareho sa UP yun. Di na niya naabutan ang graduation ko.

  • What great pride in U.P. and rightly so! Congratulations 🙂 I just came from lunch and my clasmate is rushing off to the big U.P. to-do. I’m sure it will be lots of fun!

  • From the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, Mabuhay ang UP!

    Great blog bloggermom!

  • regor

    okey ha. makabuluhan at makasaysayan.

    pero nakakalungot isiping nasa tamang paninindigan (at least sa ating sariling pagninilay) ka nuon bilang isang aktibista pero handa tayong ipagkait yung ganung karanasan sa ating mga anak lalo na at pinalaki nating sila sa matuwid at nakasisiguro tayo na malamang sa hindi, nasa tama sila kung maging aktibista man sila o kung hindi man sa tama ay may maganda silang dahilan.

    di ba dapat sinusuportahan yung ganun imbes na pagbawalan? of course, pwedeng pwedeng mag freak out, as in iikot ang tumbong natin dala na rin ng pagiging magulang natin.

  • I wanted to go to UP but was prevailed upon by my Lasalista father. Magulo na din kasi nuon. It was Edsa 1 time and my dad was afraid that I would be part of all those rallies. He sent me to nearby Ateneo instead. Kaya lang, I was tambay ng UP because my ex-bf was there and so were all my high school gang. I would sit-in sa mga class sa Fine Arts and hang out at Abelardo with my “artiste” pals. In fact, for my Psych class in Ateneo, I conducted all my experiments in UP. Mostly on the students sitting in Palma hall.

  • @ederic- how poignant. Mom didn’t get to see me graduate.

    @cathy- will watch the fireworks later pa tonight.

    @regor- actually I was hoping my kids would be activists. But they chose not to.

    @kongkong- Ah you are an adopted UP student. hehe

  • i enjoyed reading this post noemi 🙂 congratulations to all maroons!

  • ian

    i just got home from the centennial kick-off, ms noemi… i hope you did get to see the fireworks- they PERFECTLY capped a heady, dizzying, ache-filled day THAT I’D GLADLY DO AGAIN =]

    thank you for sharing this facet of your (UP) life! i’d give an arm to go back to my college days in the UP-Dil harharhar UP-Manila is… a bit boring =] but it’s my home now and it’s… cozy =] anyway-

    Maligayang Sentenaryo ng Ating Unibersidad, Iskolar ng Bayan =]

  • @ian- I was able to catch the last 2 minutes. Here is the video clip:

  • Noemi I remembered our batch at the Student Council,Our chairman was Lyn maceda,then there was you,me ,Connie Tongco and another girl from HRA. We were always discussing strategies and plans about the Council but I guess we were not able to do that much(sadly) except join demos and sit ins.

    Those were also my happiest and enlightened years.

    What reminds me of UP are: Ikot jeep,Katipunan jeep, Prof Lorica(terror prof of Chemistry),The Bridge at AS,UP Chapel,Kamia dorm, AS Steps, Tambayan near the AS Lobby,UP theatre , demonstrations, Frats and Sororities,UP Student Council and Philippine Collegian.

  • @betty- thanks for filling in the blanks. Now I remember their names. I wonder where they are now, Yes, happy years! Prof Lorica was a terror?!? I liked her. She taught Organic Chemistry so well. You should have tried Mantaring. Super Terror!

  • w8ing for the trinoma food tour post.. ninununininonoinininonono.. hehehe ^_^

  • Ami

    Noemi, I was also in UP from 89-93. Anti-US bases naman at SONA ang rallies noon. I stayed in Kalayaan then transferred to Sampaguita. Paminsan-minsan taga Narra Dorm din, haha.

    I am writing my own UP Flashback. Congrats to UP and all taga-Peyups

  • @jehzeel- I won’t post it here. it’s at my food blog

    @ami- every year, issues change right? will take a peep when you finish your UP flashback.

  • This post reeks of nostalgia. I can understand why peyups is so much part of your psyche. Your mom, your siblings, your Butch, your friends of course, and now your kids. I didnt know you were a food tech graduate. That is also the undergrad degree of my daughter who’s now in medical school.

  • Hi Ms. Noemi, my fellow alumni! 😉 U’ve had great memories with UP like I do, glad u preserved the photos. Though we’re not in the same era… Hehe. (My student ID’s 00-64413 – forever etched in my memory). My UP spirit’s up again with all the centennial celebration and nostalgia… 🙂

  • superflorian

    Hi! This is a very nice entry. I can relate in so many ways (leaving home, leaving province, living in a dorm, eating in Rodics etc). I’m from the younger breed of UP alumni but it’s so heartwarming to know that even if we belong to different generations, UP alumni are binded by “the UP culture” we all experienced.

    UP, ang galing mo!

  • Francisco Nemenzo

    The quonset huts in Diliman were not built by the Japanese, they were built by the Americans during the re-occupation of our country. The Americans used the campus as a military camp and before we proceeded to Japan, Gen. Douglas MacArthur had his office in the College of Law building.

  • Kenny Tabayocyoc

    Hi Ma’m Noemi… I am Kenny Lyne Tabayocyoc, also a cebuana and a council member of the Kamia Residence Hall.. The dormitory will be having its annual confluence dinner on Wednesday. And part of the program is an inspirational message to be given by an alumnae of the dorm. Meron na sanang speaker kaso nagbackout.. and in my desperate search, i found you in the net. Hehe.. If you’re residing near the campus at pwede kayo sa wednesday, we will really be honored to have you as our guest speaker. I hope you’ll be able to read this as soon as possible. hehe.. You can contact me at 09174466100… Sana nga talaga po..

    It’s good to know nga naa mga cebuana before me diri! yey! hehe..

    Thank you ma’m!

    PS: from what i have browsed in your very prolific blog, i could really say that the experiences that God allowed to happen in your life shaped you to be the best person that you can be. God bless po!

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