Takbo ng mga Rosas
The Oblation sculpture of the University of the Philippines (UP) is considered as an icon of selfless dedication, service to the nation and freedom of expression.
One of the popular traditional activities within the UP campuses is the Oblation run, which begun in 1977, as an annual event of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) that calls to attention and highlights specific hot issues for the year.
During the Martial Law era, APO sponsored the screening of “Hubad na Bayani” which is a film directed by Robert Ylagan that portrayed a peasant revolt and the possibility of government overthrow. It was later censored by the Marcos’ media.
The first oblation run was a promotional gimmick for a film Marcos deemed politically dangerous.
In September 1977, two APO brothers streaked in front of Palma Hall as naked heroes of a defiant university under Martial Law.
Since then UP denizens eagerly await the Oblation run every second week of December. And now it is the turn of women through the first “Takbo ng Mga Rosas” run held last March 27, 2022 around the UP Academic Oval led by advocates of women’s rights like the UP-based sororities and organizations.
March was declared in 1988 as Women’s Role in History Month through Presidential Proclamation No. 227 while March 8 of every year was declared in 1990 as National Women’s Day through Republic Act No. 6949 that aimed to give recognition to the contributions of Filipino women in our society.
The celebrations served as venues to highlight continuing and emerging women’s empowerment and gender equality issues and concerns, challenges, and commitments.
Women first won their right to suffrage on April 30, 1937, or 85 years ago, when an overwhelming majority of 447,725 Filipino women voted in a plebiscite in favor of their right to vote in political elections.
Since the first national election in 1907 for the Philippine Assembly until the adoption of the 1935 Constitution, only Filipino men were allowed to vote in the country.
The Philippines had two female presidents (Corazon Aquino from 1986-1992 and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001-2010) and had its first woman Supreme Court justice (Cecilia Muñoz Palma in 1973).
Canopied by over a hundred old, sturdy Acacia trees, most of which are as old as the campus itself, these trees are now part of UP culture and heritage.
The scenic view of the way the branches of the trees from the left side of the street meet with those from the right side forms some kind of archway.
The loop has been the venue of many campus events including rallies, UP Fair and lantern parades.
The nine-day uprising called “Diliman Commune” from February 1 to 9, 1971 became an evidence of UP’s role as the “bastion of activism” since the early days of the Marcos dictatorship.
The oval is home to the annual Lantern Parade which was inspired by the folk practice of carrying lanterns of various shapes and sizes to light the way to the early morning December masses or misa de gallo during the Spanish period.
From 1934 to 1968, the defunct Cadena de Amor was a rite usually held in mid-May at the Sunken Garden where senior coeds turn over to the juniors long garlands of the vine cadena de amor to symbolize the passing of responsibilities.
But the rise of student activism in the late 1960s saw the end of festivals of girls and flowers like the Cadena de Amor. Students started questioning university traditions and the evolution of this ceremony into a beauty contest.
The Takbo ng mga Rosas was the third event held inside the Diliman campus to highlight the call of the UP community for a clean and honest election. A pink lantern parade was held last December 21, 2021 followed by the Freedom Run last February 26. It is hoped that Takbo ng mga Rosas will be part of UP’s annual tradition as a tribute to women.
The campus molded us to fight for the causes we believe in; trained us for the skills we need to communicate ideas and rally others to effect changes in society.
All educational institutions, including UP, must be maintained as safe havens for civilized and intelligent discourse of all beliefs and forms of democratic expression, where students and teachers can discuss freely without fear of censorship or retaliation.
Activities like runs and rallies will continue to be vehicles of UP’s existence as an institution with a critical eye on social and historical issues.
(Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, email [email protected], or call 09175025808 or 09088665786.)
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