On Friday, 18 December 2009, I went to the premiere state university, the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus to join this year’s lantern parade (see pic above).
The lantern parade is a traditional UP activity and one of the highlights of the national university’s annual academic calendar. Each year, right before the students go on holiday, usually on the last school day before Christmas, the different UP colleges, schools, organizations, other constituent campuses and all other academic, research and extension arms of the University come out with their Christmas lanterns and parade around the UP Diliman campus for what has now become the annual lantern parade.
I have attended different lantern parades as a UP student in college in the past. The last lantern parade I attended was last year during the University’s celebration of its centennial anniversary. I attended it as an employee of one of UP’s constituent campuses which number 7 in all: UP Diliman, UP Manila, UP Los Baños, UP Baguio, UP Open University (UPOU), UP Visayas, and UP Mindanao. All these campuses save for UPOU hold their own lantern parades in fact. But last year, all campuses sent representatives to the Centennial Lantern Parade in UP Diliman.
I was very happy that this year, I was able to attend this annual festivity. I was invited by the UP Center for Women’s Studies (CWS) to join the annual lantern parade. I think it is a good start. The UP CWS carried the issue of human rights this year and there is no better way to initiate the University to the transgender struggle for equality and acceptance than having transwomen at the parade. When we passed by the three main points where the lantern parade participants had to stop and present themselves—the old Arts and Science building now known as Palma Hall, the College of Engineering and the Administration building—we heard people cheer us on. It was a very heartwarming experience.
As usual, the College of Fine Arts (CFA) which is now a Hall of Famer of the parade, having won the Best Lantern prize one year after another in the past, outdid itself. CFA students made larger than life lanterns which were truly a sight to see. Below are pictures of some of the lanterns that caught my attention: a Buddhist temple, a dragon, and a giant female head/figure.
Next year, I hope more transwomen will make it to the lantern parade. It is truly something to look forward to.