Many traditions across the UP constituent universities started out as a form of protest, and the UP Cebu Cookout is one such tradition. In 1987, the students of the then UP Cebu College gathered together on the campus grounds to protest against a repressive dean, and they literally cooked food as they discussed the issues that affected the university and the country.
The UP Cebu Cookout became a popular yearly activity produced by the BA Mass Communication students, with the University Student Council as executive producer. The cookout, which begins in the evening and ends at 6:00 a.m. the next day, serves to showcase the talents of UP students and Cebu-based bands and performers through four segments—dance (sayawan), song (kantahan), band performances (bandahan), and creative modeling (rampahan), as well as other art forms.
More importantly, the UP Cebu Cookout serves to highlight specific issues affecting the university and the country. In 2014, for example, the issue was UP’s academic calendar shift; in 2015, the national elections; and in 2016, it was responsible social media usage. In 2017, the UP Cookout, held last November 10 at the UP Cebu grounds, carried the theme “Guns N Roses: Will you pull the trigger?” as it tackled the spreading violence in Philippine society.
The Cookout is not the only highly popular and much-anticipated event in UP Cebu. The UP Otakufest has become Cebu’s largest cosplay and hobbies convention, where fans of all hobbies, sci-fi and fantasy shows, cartoons, books, movies, games and so on—but mainly Japanese manga and anime—gather together to show their love for their fandoms, showcase their talents, and hobnob with fellow fans.
Organized by the UP Nichibunken, the UP Otakufest celebrated its tenth installment in February this year. Some signature activities held during the UP Otakufest include the Otakufest Cosplay Competition, an Asian Pop Dance Competition, Japanese Singing Contest, a mini-quiz show dubbed Quizbattle Royale as well as online gaming tournaments as a new addition to the lineup of activities.
Other traditional or yearly events organized by UP Cebu student orgs include the Mental Health Activities month (usually October) spearheaded by the UP Psychological Majors Association; the annual Statistics Month and Math Week, with its Inter-High School Math Olympiad as centerpiece, organized by the UP Math Majors’ Circle; and the Science Month celebration in April conducted by the UP Cebu Ecological Society.
The UP Cebu Office of Student Affairs also conducts an annual Leadership Training Seminar during the month of September or October, after the students have elected their leaders for both academic-based/co-curricular and non-academic-based/extracurricular activities-based student orgs. The OSA also comes up with an annual Open House to entice more high school students to study in UP Cebu, participated in by student organizations, usually in the last week of September or first week of October.
For advocacy work, the UP Cebu Gender and Development Office/SIDLAK, spearhead the celebration of Valentine’s Day in February, during which student orgs can put up booths or sell flowers and heart-shaped sweets that students can give to their significant others. With the help of the UP Cebu He for She and UP Pride the GDO, together with LGU and NGO partners, also commemorate One Billion Rising and March as women’s month, to fight discrimination and violence against women and children.
As a breather from all the academic and mental pressures of university life, UP Cebu also holds annual intramural games. The intramurals are organized by the PE Coordinator and Student Council leaders. For culture, on the other hand, the Arts and Culture Committee holds the annual celebration of “Gabii sa Kabilin” (A Night of Heritage), which showcases the history of UP Cebu and encourages people to visit museums, schools, and churches and other partners of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
For the artistically inclined, UP Cebu holds the Jose Joya Arts Awards, an annual arts competition participated in by the Fine Arts Programme students, organized by the Fine Arts Students Organization. The annual competition is held in honor of National Artist and former UP College of Fine Arts Dean Jose Joya, who helped establish the oldest Fine Arts programme outside Luzon in UP Cebu.
Finally, during the Christmas season and after the first semester’s finals, UP Cebu holds the traditional “Pasko sa UP” with a lantern parade, participated in by the entire UP Cebu community. The “Pasko sa UP” signifies the season of unity and hope and sends out the message that whatever challenges may come, people from UP Cebu are resilient and ready to change for the better.
With inputs from Prof. Ellen Grace M. Funesto, coordinator of the UP Cebu Office of Student Affairs. Email the author at [email protected]