As a year of quarantine in the Philippines draws to a close, an unprecedented number of
businesses and establishments have completely shut down and filed for bankruptcy. Alongside
this outcome, social gatherings and events have become scarce as it has been observed that
transmission of the virus is effective when a certain number of people are gathered in a single
place. However, COVID-19 didn’t completely halt one of the University’s most enjoyable events
which is the annual Lantern Parade. That being said, UP Diliman’s recent Lantern Parade veered
off from the usual and opted for a virtual celebration by also reflecting on the University’s
challenges and successes in the previous year. The virtual event entitled, “Diwa ng Diliman
2020” was broadcasted last December 18, 2020 through the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for
Student Affairs (OVCSA) Facebook Page.
In order to understand the arduous task of creating a lantern that would best represent the Office
of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), wherein the University Library is a part
of, we interviewed Ramil De Leon from the Main Library’s Information Systems and Network
Services Section. He was the primary person tasked to oversee the lantern’s conceptualization,
design and construction. Like in any other work, we asked him what was the inspiration behind
the lantern. “Sa una, sa totoo lang sa bawat lantern na ginagawa, wala talaga akong maisip na
ideya. Madalas na inaantay ko ang mga meeting para sa mga opinion saka palang nakakabuo ang
komite ng plano para sa lantern. Ang ideya ng lantern ay walong bukas na palad na sumisimbulo
sa mga opisina sa ilalim ng OVCAA na nagaalay ng talento’t kasanayan at walang humpay na
paglilingkod sa buong komunidad nang may husay at dangal,” he said. The eight offices under
the OVCAA are: Office for the Advancement of Teaching (OAT), Office of International
Linkages (OIL), Office of the University Registrar (OUR), General Education Center (GEC),
Interactive Learning Center (ILC), Office of Field Activities (OFA), NSTP Diliman Office, and
as mentioned earlier, the University Main Library.
Additionally, we asked him to share his personal experience in constructing the piece. “Sa
umpisa medyo mahirap kasi gagawa ka palang at iniisip mo kung aabot kaba? Pero habang
nakikita mo siyang nabubuo at nakikita mo na yung kakalabasan kahit hindi pa siya tapos, sulit
din yung pagod. Plus na yung alam mo na aabot ka pala sa deadline,” he replied.
As the recent virtual parade required the lanterns to be small in size, Ramil didn’t hesitate to
share his preference between a small or large scale piece. “Okay sila pareho dahil palaging
naman naka suporta hindi lang ang buong komite nang Lantern pati na din and University
Library. Pero mas okay para sa aking ang paggawa sa malaking parol, dahil nakakawala ng
pagod yung may kasama at kausap ka habang gumagawa,” he argued.
In total, the virtual celebration received more than twenty eight thousand views. This in itself is a
clear indication that although festivities and celebrations are highly discouraged, the UP
community looked forward to the annual event and were very happy. Hopefully this year, we
would be able to celebrate the Lantern Parade and Christmas season at the campus once again.