by Julie M. Aurelio
MANILA - Scores of white tents greeted visitors to the University of the Philippines (UP) campus in Diliman Saturday as alumni gave free medical consultations, sports clinics and livelihood seminars to the public.
Dubbed "UP Para sa Bayan", the day-long public service fair was one of the events capping UP's centennial celebration this year.
"We want to end the celebration by going back to part of the core of UP service especially because it is Christmas and the spirit of giving is in the air," said event organizer Edel Templonuevo.
The UP Alumni Association initially planned to have 100 tents to coincide with the 100th-year celebration, but the organizers were only able to sign up 47.
"Even so, this is a good opportunity to remind the students that they must serve others and not just think of themselves," Templonuevo said.
He noted that some UP students, although socially aware, were often solely concerned with getting high grades and other achievements.
"The three pillars of UP are leadership, excellence and service. In celebrating the centennial, we are now focusing on the service aspect as we close out the year," Templonuevo said.
Some colleges, university offices and organizations, and even departments of the Quezon City Hall, sponsored the 47 tents that lined University Avenue.
The UP Vanguard Inc. offered medical consultations, bloodletting and a skydiving show.
School organizations like Pan Xenia Fraternity conducted a free seminar on soapmaking, while the Tau Alpha Fraternity gave free massages to weary passersby.
Kids took advantage of a free basketball clinic, shooting hoops at one end of University Avenue.
The Quezon City government, through its UP alumni, gave away 100 copies of birth certificates. Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. conducted a mass wedding for 88 couples.
Earlier in the day, 85 male alumni, staffers and students from different UP campuses posed a la the Oblation, the university's signature statue of a naked man with arms outstretched, at the UP Amphitheatre, wearing specially designed trunks with fig leaves.
Dubbed "Hail UP Oblation", the pre-dawn photo shoot will be part of a centennial coffee table book, Templonuevo said.