Baguio with Family

January 15-16, 2016. The family spent a night and two days in Baguio to┬ácelebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary. A sentimental trip it was because Baguio is where they celebrated their honeymoon back in the late 1980’s. It is likewise the venue of many family vacations as a young child together with my brother.

The family went for a stroll in Burnham Park and went for a boat-ride in the park’s manmade lake. My siblings went for a bike ride around the park too. Later that day we went to La Trinidad for its strawberry fields.

Students walk out of classes vs. charter change

As much as I wanted to join the walk-out, I was apprehensive about missing my one class that afternoon. Excessive absences was, after all, a contributory reason as to why I had bad grades last semester. I was supposed to just pass by the AS Lobby and deliver a solidarity speech before going to class in Malcolm Hall.

When I got to the historic lobby, however, the entire hall was full of students in red shirts. A lot of them were new faces, freshmen perhaps. It’s a sight I’m honestly not used to seeing during regular mobilizations in UP. And it was enough to agitate me to join. Unfortunately, it was one of those days when I forget to bring my camera. I’ve lost the habit of always tagging it along with me wherever I go. In any case, posted below are pictures and a video coverage done by Bulatlat. There’s also a slide show of photos, at their site.

Here are photos from the simultaneous mobilization in Baguio, where hundreds of students also walked out of classes to protest against Gloria Arroyo’s charter change attempt. Photos by Ak Riva. Student groups from Cebu and Davao also participated in the nationwide protest action of the youth.

Perhaps it’s been said over and over again–Gloria Arroyo’s charter change does not address the plethora of problems that confront the youth. It does not provide a solution to the rising cost of education in the country, nor does it provide solutions to the crises that besiege not only the youth but different sectors of Philippine society. It even worsens the present conditions by intensifying the policies that have made the lives of Filipinos worse over the past decade, and, as I’ve mentioned, it only further intensifies the local and foreign exploitation of our national industries and our natural resources.

For me these are stronger reasons for us to reject, not only the current attempt at charter change, but any future proposals to liberalize the economic provisions of our constitution. I’m sure, even if we do have new leaders by next year, extraneous political forces will continue to lobby for these changes. Sure, we want Arroyo out by 2010, we want to select new leaders perhaps. But more to the desire to have an elections by 2010, we should also strive to preserve our sovereignty and dignity as a people.

Resolving resolutions

old woman drinking Coke

August 26, 2007. After the trip to Itogon, we went back to have lunch at UP Baguio. After which was a whole afternoon of writing resolutions and passing them through sessions. It got a little tedious towards the end but interesting and enlightening nonetheless, as it affirmed our solidarity with student councils of other UP System colleges and units.

After the session and the assembly closed, we all headed back to our dormitory. Almost everyone among the Diliman delegates decided to stay for another night and spend another half-day in Baguio. I, however, wanted to get home as soon as possible even though there weren’t classes the next day (Monday). It got pretty late before we all trooped downtown to have dinner. It turned out, that after all the other delegates went their own ways, everyone went to the same place to eat. After dinner, I went to the bus terminal and took the first bus back to Manila.

More KASAMA sa UP in Baguio

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.

UP Baguio

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.

Baguio City at night

KASAMA sa UP assembly in Baguio

University of the Philippines Baguio

I attended a Luzon-wide KASAMA sa UP (Kasapian ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP) Congress in Baguio this weekend. It was my first time in Baguio in more than five years. It was also my first time to attend a KASAMA sa UP assembly (though attendance was limited to representatives from the five UP units in Luzon; Diliman, Manila, Los Banos, Pampanga, Baguio).

Interesting that I finally get to attend a KASAMA sa UP assembly when I’m no longer a member of the Mass Comm Student Council (which is a member of the alliance). I came as a representative of STAND-UP, with my colleague Che.

We left Manila late Friday night, after attending Hiyas ng Arki, a male cross-dress pageant (similar to Miss Eng’g) in the College of Architecture, where oddly, I was invited to be one of the judges. Anyway, we arrived in Baguio early morning of Saturday. I’ll write about the rest of my thoughts and chronicles in another entry.