Wednesday, December 7
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Thomasian tales: Flashbacks on pre-pandemic Paskuhan moments

photo by THERIZ LIZEL R. SILVANO/THE FLAME

RECOGNIZED as the most anticipated annual event for every Thomasian since 1991, the University’s Paskuhan marks its 30th year with the theme ‘The Pilgrimage: Our road through trials, our road through triumph.’ The University invites Thomasians in its second virtual Paskuhan this year.

The chief-of-staff of the University of Santo Tomas – Central Student Council Gilbert Estropia Jr. said that last year’s Paskuhan presented recordings of programs but the performances this year will be live on-site.

“The University is really trying their best to produce programs that Thomasians will enjoy, but this year’s Paskuhan, we made it a point to make it on-site, where the bands and the production will perform live on campus,” Estropia told The Flame.

Let’s look back on some of the favorite memories of Thomasians during the pre-pandemic Paskuhan. The Flame interviewed a few Artlets and Thomasians on their unforgettable Paskuhan stories and experiences.

Kurt Dynel Malaca, a 21-year-old political science student

“My favorite Paskuhan moment was when I worked with the Paskuhan Committee in the 2019 Paskuhan. Ang dami kasing tao, and I got to see my favorite bands in their holding rooms before they got to play on stage. Another favorite moment personally is the Agape. Nothing beats a quiet night with fireworks while eating with your closest friends. I wish we could go back in time so we could experience it all over again.

In the previous Paskuhans, I had my friends with me because I was single. Then, I’d prefer to be with friends so I won’t feel the cold breeze of the Christmas season. Now, though I would choose to be with my partner, kasi meron na ko no’n, haha! The atmosphere [in Paskuhan] is almost exclusively made for people in a relationship. The sweet melody and music of the bands, the cold breeze of the season, fireworks, and the warm lighting of the Christmas lights around the campus.

I miss [talking] with our friends face-to-face while we stroll around the campus looking around Christmas lights and designs. I miss how we could just sing our throats out until it gets scratchy because we’re getting hyper about the band playing. I miss how you could feel [so many] emotions all at once because you realize that your difficult semester just ended and that we are slowly getting older. I miss everything.”

photo by JOHN PATRICK A. MAGNO RANARA/THE FLAME

Meggie Carpio, a 23-year-old journalism student

“My favorite Paskuhan moment was when I took my best friend as my date along with my close classmate. The three of us hit it off right then, hanging out and chatting while touring around the school. We even bought a lot of food. And I felt happy that she was my date.

What I miss about Paskuhan pre-pandemic is the food. I can buy almost anything. The more food and with friends, the merrier. And we can share among ourselves.

What makes Paskuhan special to me is that there’s something about food kasi that brings people together. I get to hang out with my friends as well as share food. While Paskuhan’s main highlights are the concerts and the fireworks, it’s not what makes Paskuhan special to me. Being with the people you love and cherish while filling our stomachs during Christmas makes it worth it.”

photo by JOHN PATRICK A. MAGNO RANARA/THE FLAME

Kim Limuel Dolor, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering student

“Paskuhan for me is the peak highlight in the calendar year. [It] marks the end of the first term. You don’t get to see faces every day that are not worried [about] their academic backlogs. Being able to see joyous smiles and being one with the crowd is something of an experience. [Paskuhan] is magical in a way [that you get] to see crowds of people slaying to the beat of the music and joyfully celebrating youth.

There was one Paskuhan that we came early to have a better view of the concert. It was Paskuhan 2017, and the final performance was Callalily. You can really feel the message of [their song] “Magbalik,” especially [when] the rains started to pour during that point. What an experience that was and the crowd response of “Ooohhhhhh.”

What really makes it memorable [is that you get] to savor the moment with your friends who were with you during the [first] term. It’s the moment of celebrating being victorious after a blockbuster semester. Friends are really for keeps, and Paskuhan just makes the connection stronger.”

photo by JOHN PATRICK A. MAGNO RANARA/THE FLAME

Mikaela Mesia, a 22-year-old psychology student

“I used to jokingly say I miss the free food the most, but with the current situation, I honestly miss being able to walk around and marvel at all the lights and fancy decorations on the campus. 

The very first experience overwhelmed me because there were so many people and so much going on. But later experiences share similar elements: you leave the classroom and rush to the grandstand if you want to snatch front row “seats” at the Paskuhan concert, or if not, you settle with hearing it in the background while you’re busy eating and chatting with friends. Then, of course, [you] take pictures at all the best spots.”

The best company to celebrate the UST Paskuhan season will always be [with] friends. I think what matters more is just being with people who bring you comfort because as fun as Paskuhan is, it can be hectic at times being surrounded by crowds at the concert.

Paskuhan stands out from the rest because of the grandiosity of it all. UST really goes all-out for Paskuhan, and its gigantic Christmas tree is the best example of that. Somehow, there is even a greater sense of satisfaction as a Thomasian because UST Paskuhan is usually held right after the finals exams, and everyone looks forward to it.”

photo by THERIZ LIZEL R. SILVANO/THE FLAME

Jade Veronique Yap, a 22-year-old journalism student

“My favorite Paskuhan moment would always be Agape because I can really feel the love and kindness of Thomasians, especially the students during this time of the year. And of course, the food!

Since wala naman akong lover, friends siguro [yung best company for Paskuhan]. But honestly, I prefer [spending Paskuhan] with my friends because it’s not every day na magkakasama kami and we got to celebrate something special like that. [I miss the] live bands and the food!

What makes Paskuhan special is it’s usually celebrated pagkatapos ng finals week natin. Kasi pagkatapos ng ating mga stressful moments sa school and sa paghabol ng academic requirements, celebration siya para gumaan yung pakiramdam natin. 

It’s the way UST comforts us [after] the tiring days. We [also] get to spend it with our friends and classmates who share the same sentiments as us during the time when we struggled in accomplishing academic works.”

photo by THEA ANDREA C. MAGUERIANO/THE FLAME

Junelle Bianca Pascua,  a 21-year-old financial management student

“My latest Paskuhan experience was actually my first time. Sadly, I have experienced Paskuhan only once during my four years here, [which is why] I made sure to attend during my sophomore year.  Despite the crowded feeling because of the number of people and the difficulty of getting into [the campus], I had no regrets because I felt genuinely happy. The Thomasian vibes were just radiant and vibrant, [and] I could feel nothing but joy.

First, I miss the lights. The theme for the lights differs every year, which makes me look forward to it. I also miss the pyro-musical firework display because it was very entertaining to watch. But most of all, I miss the line-up of performers, especially Ben&Ben, because I am a huge fan of them.

I’m happy even if I go just with friends because Paskuhan [is] when you and your friends feel rewarded for the efforts you’ve put in academically for the semester while also enjoying the Christmas spirit. I think what makes the UST Paskuhan stand out from the rest are the students themselves because I believe that they add more value to the event with their genuine love and appreciation for the school and the Christmas season.”

photo by THEA ANDREA C. MAGUERIANO/THE FLAME

Almie*, a 20-year-old communication student

“[My favorite Paskuhan moment was when] my friends and I dressed up as characters from a movie tapos nagbonding lang kami. It’s just so fun kasi that was [our] first year in college tapos doon nalang ulit kami nagkasama-sama after graduating [senior high school]. Also, it’s been a tradition for us, siblings, to find each other after Paskuhan tapos photoshoot [then] sabay-sabay na uuwi haha.

[I miss the] atmosphere sa campus na walang judgment kasi nag-eenjoy kayo lahat, tapos yung kagandahan ng paligid na kitang-kita mo lahat masaya, [pati] yung liwanag mula sa buong campus hanggang sa ngiti ng bawat isa.

Paskuhan for me is very special kasi hindi lang siya yung typical na araw. Madalas kasi kapag December, mararamdaman mo nanaman yung pasko [dahil] nagbubukas yung mga ilaw and dama mo talaga yung warmth ng mga tao. Pero yung paskuhan kasi, isang araw siya na nakalaan para maging free ka sa lahat. Like sa [academics], wala ka nang poproblemahin, tapos carefree ka rin kasi buong Thomasian community talaga masaya lang. Isang araw [siya] to spend with the ones you truly treasure while enjoying the concert, the fireworks, [and] the lights.

Paskuhan makes you feel the Christmas spirit. Yung Thomasian community kasi, kahit ang daming nangyayari throughout the year, pipiliin at pipiliin pa rin nilang maging masaya at magpasaya ng iba. So yung sinabi ko kanina na yung liwanag, it shines from throughout the campus to the smiles of each people within the campus. I think that’s what makes it special, because during Paskuhan, the little details make you feel that UST is your home kahit anuman yung mangyari.”

photo by JOHN PATRICK A. MAGNO RANARA/THE FLAME

The University launched its Paskuhan activities on November 21 with the lighting of the campus during the first Sunday of Advent. The last day of the celebration will be held this Friday, December 17, from 5 PM onwards.

The event will go live on UST Tiger TV Facebook, with a concert for a cause starring different local bands and artists, performances from Thomasians, and a grand fireworks display. F

* Student refused to give their full name

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