It was August 29. After being dropped off at one of the bus terminals, we hailed a taxi to our assigned dormitory in Quezon Hill. It was the first time I rode a taxi in Baguio, and I was pleasantly surprised at how low the fares are. Within a few minutes, we reached AKAP dormitory. I was given a small room with a double-deck bed. Later that day, a brod of mine, Jay, who came to Baguio as a representative from the College of Arts & Letters student council joins me as a roommate.
After breakfast, it was straight to plenary sessions, where the different University of the Philippines units in Luzon reported on their situations. Not surprisingly, problems, from tambayan evictions to increasing laboratory fees and other fee increases, to political repression are more or less similar across the different UP units in Luzon.
These, of course, only affirm our united call against the commercialization of UP education. For me, who admittedly have been confined to UP Diliman and UP Manila, I found the sessions quite a morale booster in a sense that it gave me a sense of solidarity, that we are not alone in our struggle in Diliman–it is a struggle we collectively share with fellow UP students in Baguio, Pampanga, Los Banos, Manila and of course in Iloilo, Cebu, Tacloban and Mindanao.
Anyway, I was able to sneak out of UP Baguio for a few minutes and walk to SM Baguio to do some errands during lunch time. The last time I was in Baguio, the place was non-existent. It’s been that long.
Sessions did continue after lunch. There was of course, a talk given by our Student Regent Terry Ridon, where he reported that he was able to partially convince some regents in the UP Board of Regents regarding the tragic effects of the imposed 300% tuition increase. There was also a dialogue with Senator Jamby Madrigal. Contrary to other students’ assertions, we also implore the help, however unreliable sometimes, of our bourgeoisie parliamentarians in pushing for our youth agenda.
Later that night, we had a solidarity night with the different delegates from the different units of UP in Luzon. There were performances from individual units, and in the end we huddled in a circle and danced to gongs, with a cultural group of UP Baguio students leading us in the native dance. Since there was still a full itinerary the next day, some of us decided to retire in our dorms after the solidarity night.