by PATRICK V. MIGUEL
IT WAS 2019, and despite the exhaustion from wrapping up the semester, Thomasians lined up outside the university gates. The sun was about to retire for the day and the Christmas lights glimmered brighter by the minute.
Inside the university, a band stepped onto the stage, facing thousands of Thomasians on the field. The crowd’s excited cheers slowly halted as the band began to play their instruments.
With a guitar strapped on to his body, Munimuni lead vocalist Adj Jiao stepped before the mic.
Singing about love and heartbreak, Munimuni took over the stage with their music—together as a band.
Recalling the time when he found out Munimuni will be performing in Paskuhan, Adj told The Flame in an email, “Na-excite ako kasi alam ko sobrang laking event ang Paskuhan…. Most probably, isa sa mga events na pinakaraming tao ang matututugtugan namin. (I was excited because I know Paskuhan is a very big event. Most probably, it’s one of the events with the biggest crowd we ever performed in).”
Flute and backing vocalist John Owen Castro admitted that he did not know what to expect. He was excited nonetheless to perform in a crowd of Thomasians.
After the amount of work put into rehearsing, the band decided to keep at-ease backstage.
MALIGAYANG PASKO UST! MARAMING SALAMAT.
— Munimuni (@munitheband) December 20, 2019
“Ang buhok mo’y parang gabing numinipis…,” Adj sang the first two stanzas of their popular song Sa’yo. He continued until pausing for a while, telling the crowd, “Kung alam niyo ‘yung kanta, sabay kayo ha. (If you know the song, sing along)”
The crowd cheered for a few seconds until Adj continued, taking the Thomasians along with the song. At the same time, the audience took out their phones and turned their flashlights on to show their support.
From the stage’s view, Munimuni recalled seeing a lot of phone lights from the audience. They said it was the song that excited the crowd of Thomasians from the field.
“Nagkaroon ng sea of lights sa harap namin,” Owen said. “Hindi ko na sure kung ako ba yung na-excite or ‘yung mga tao. (There was a sea of lights in front of us. I was no longer sure if I was the one excited or the people).”
With the crowd singing along with the band, Adj described the Paskuhan experience as surreal.
“Surreal ‘yung experience, kasi kahit inexpect ko na sobrang malaking crowd ang nandoon, nahigitan pa rin ‘yung expectations ko, especially ‘yung pagsabay nila sa mga kanta namin (The experience was surreal, even if I expected that the crowd is big there, it exceeded my expectations especially when they sang along with our songs),” he said.
Ending on a good ‘note’
Despite performing in various events that year, Owen shared that it felt different for him in Paskuhan.
“Performing in UST is a different experience for me. I was amazed at how energetic and attentive the people were, even if a lot of things were happening around,” he said.
“Everyone’s energy really gives the best out of the event,” he added, saying that the highlight of his Paskuhan experience is the people, both organizers and listeners alike.
Adj echoes Owen’s sentiments, saying that the warmth of the crowd and the assistance of the organizers is the best thing about performing in Paskuhan. “Feel [ko] sobrang welcome [ko] doon (I felt very welcome there,” he said.
Unfortunately, 2019 was the last time Paskuhan was celebrated in person by Thomasians. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world in 2020, forcing every event like Paskuhan to go virtual since last year.
“Miss na namin kayo (We miss you),” Adj said, imparting a message to the Thomasians. “Kapag bumalik na tayo sa mas maayos na kalagayan, sana makatugtog ulit kami diyan (If we go back to a better state, we hope we could perform there again,”
Hopeful as always, Munimuni is looking forward to the day where they would perform again in concerts—and the UST Paskuhan is not an exemption. “
“Magkita-kita ulit tayo (We’ll see each other again), [and we are] hoping you would be as excited as we are,” Munimuni said. F