Two things recently reminded me of my UP days. The first made me think of my university while the second made me think of myself.
First was the UP Pep Squad bagging the championship for the cheerdance competition for this UAAP season. I think during my time (not so long ago, I swear), there wasn't even such a category in the UAAP. Or maybe there was but I never again attended any UAAP game after I completed the required units on Physical Education. So maybe it was just something I missed out.
Notwithstanding my indifference to the UAAP, I am still not exempted from sentimental school loyalty. Though I did not jump with joy on the news of the squad's victory, there was that spark of elation when I heard of it from my current and ex-Isko friends. Pride can really be contagious.
The second event was the 31st anniversary of the League of Filipino Students (LFS). With Multiply contacts who are members and then also belonging to the e-group of former members, there was no escape from reading the activities conducted for the celebration and the photos that went along with them.
I always think back of my LFS days in UP with fondness.
When I stepped inside their tambayan to become a member, I never thought that I'd stay on. Except for the rally I joined in when I was in third year highschool back in the province, I was a greenhorn when it came to politics and activism. Still, I had my share of keeping abreast with current events and social issues and the LFS and its reputation piqued my interest.
From then on, I plunged into student activism.
I never missed out on the discussions ranging from issues of the day to the natdem principles. I went to rallies and had my share of squaring off with police and paid thugs. I joined the room-to-room campaigns and also had my sleepless nights during USC elections.
Then there were the times when we went to other sectors to know of their concerns and learn from them. We spent weekends with urban poor communities, peasant areas, and with workers in their picketlines. In strike areas such as the Nestle-Magnolia one in Cubao, I learned to sleep on sidewalks with my reliable malong but more importantly, I got insights on the capitalist-worker relationship.
Call me romantic, sentimental or idealist, but it was in my time as a student activist that I got to appreciate the Iskolar ng Bayan tag. One of the lines that struck me most during that time went something like this:
Ang paaralan ng isang tunay na mag-aaral ay ang lipunang kanyang ginagalawan. Ang kanyang guro ay ang mamamayan. At ang kanyang pagsusulit ay ang pagsasagawa ng mapagpalayang pagkilos.
The UAAP and a number of tatak-peyups events – Oblation Run, UP Fair, Lantern Parade, Maskipaps, Live A.I.D.S., - make me melancholic of my alma mater.
As for the years I spent with LFS, well it never really ended.