UST Baccalaureate Mass 2024 may start at a later time as PH heat index rises

Students assemble at the UST Grandstand to kick off the Baccalaureate Mass celebration for batch 2023. Photo by Ethan Christensen Cardaño/THE FLAME

DUE TO higher heat indices seen in May, this year’s Baccalaureate Mass may start at a later time to ensure the health and safety of Thomasians, Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said.

The University official raised the possibility of some adjustments to the conduct of the Baccalaureate Mass, such as the time of graduating students’ mobilization to the UST Grandstand and Open Field.

“We’re monitoring the heat index, so we are planning that it will be cooler once we convene for the Baccalaureate Mass,” Coronel told The Flame.

“We will move (the Baccalaureate Mass) a little later. Before, it was as early as [3 p.m.], but we cannot do that now…we are considering to move it at the most desirable time, like [5 p.m.],” he added.

The Baccalaureate Mass for batch 2024 was originally scheduled at 4 p.m. on May 31, which falls under the country’s peak of the dry season.

The Philippines has been experiencing high heat indices in different regions, with experts saying higher levels may be reached due to rising temperatures.

From April 1 to 5, Metro Manila hit the “extreme caution” or light orange mark after logging a heat index of 38 to 41 degrees Celsius, data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) showed.

Metro Manila’s temperature may rise from 30.4 to 40.7 degrees Celsius from April 24 to May 24. The figure is higher than the country’s annual average temperature of 26.6 degrees Celsius.

Higher temperatures seen in April and May could lead to a heat index of 50 degrees Celsius, a scenario labeled as a “danger” by the PAGASA.

Asked if there would be a possibility of moving the Baccalaureate rites indoors, Coronel maintained that the event would be held at the open field.

“For me, they (rites) cannot be held indoors. Because there should be oneness with the graduating community, so we are adjusting as best as we can, but it’s very challenging now compared to when the weather was more predictable,” he said.

Several UST traditions take place during the Baccalaureate rites, including the exit through the Arch of Centuries. Thomasians avoid passing through the iconic landmark before the farewell walk due to a superstition that those who do so would be debarred.

Although the University will be easing some restrictions imposed during the pandemic, Coronel said officials are still taking precautionary health measures in carrying out the send-off activities.

RELATED: UST to mark 2024 graduation season with eased restrictions

“There is also a pertussis outbreak in several isolated areas, so we are very cautious about that, too. While COVID is no longer [a health emergency], a lot of things are also going on. So we pray that all will go well until the graduation,” he said. F

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Contact Us