What UP traditions, festivals and celebrations do you enjoy/value most and why? Are they unique to UP or to specific campuses of UP? Are there new traditions, festivals, and celebrations in your campus which are now becoming popular among residents in your area?
As a university that prides itself as a producer of high-caliber and holistic students, the University of the Philippines-Diliman has always believed that learning must not be confined within the four corners of the classroom. In fact, UP Diliman includes an Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE) in its academic calendar every semester. The ACLE is a one-day event wherein the organizations in UP Diliman come up with classroom-set up lectures of any topic (can be academic or not) which the students will be free to attend. It is one of those events that students look forward to as it serves as a breather for academic works and at the same time, it makes them learn something new—preferably, outside of their respective disciplines.
However, for the past three years, another alternative classroom has been set up on campus. This classroom, though, is not the typical type of classroom. It is not located inside a building but on the fields where temporary tents are built. The lecturers are not teachers, but people who belong to the national minorities wherein the topics of the lecture go around their collective experiences. This “classroom” is more formally called Lakbayan, spearheaded by UP Diliman, featuring members of national minorities who march to Manila all the way from their respective provinces to call for their right to ancestral land, for peace, and for self-determination. The main objective of Lakbayan is to listen to and learn about the collective experiences of the national minorities ranging from the systemic oppression that they face up to the militarization in their supposed territories. At the moment, several members of national minorities are still residing on campus because of martial law in Mindanao.
Despite being relatively new to UP Diliman as it only started three years ago, the Lakbayan is already becoming a tradition inside the campus. Students and even professors anticipate the Lakbayan because it offers first-hand experience of gaining knowledge that books and documentaries cannot wholly provide. It is a great initiative to hold such event in giving a voice and space to the national minorities because these are what have been taken away from them right in their very own homes. This tradition, therefore, is a huge step towards the mandate of UP Diliman to serve the people.