Spot the difference: #FEU96 shifts from customs last foundation anniversary

FEU Advocate
February 22, 2024 10:27

By Yuichi Desquitado and Mark Vincent A. Durano 

When the golden past met the sea of tomorrow, a celebration of 96 years' worth of excellence extended to the experience of each Tamaraw spirit. Whether it fell short by one day this time, the weeklong event is a green-and-gold staple awaited every single year. To commemorate its Founding Anniversary Week, Far Eastern University (FEU) spearheaded activities a little bit differently last February 5 to 8. 

1. Wreath Laying Site

The week-long celebration of the University’s founding starts by commemorating the founder of FEU, Dr. Nicanor Reyes Sr. It had become a tradition by the University to honor the late founder with a wreath laying ceremony alongside the release of symbolic offering to the late founder Dr. Nicanor Reyes Sr. and FEU.

Every fifth year of the foundation anniversary, such as the 95th, FEU commemorates the special day in Manila Memorial Park, the resting place of the late founder, in Parañaque.

Otherwise, the commemoration is done at the founder’s marker behind the FEU Grandstand, just like how they celebrated this year’s wreath laying ceremony. Compared to previous years, FEU diverted from releasing butterflies to petals. 

Additionally, this is the first anniversary celebrated with the 12th FEU president Juan Miguel Montinola, who was appointed last May 2023 successfully succeeding Dr. Michael Alba.  

2. Student Concessioanaires

Beyond Concierto season, the Science Building walkway has always been the breadth for selling underneath the white tents. Students would jam the hooded path just to line up and satisfy their cravings.

However, booths have been limited to just occupy the FEU Plaza and Gazebo due to the building's retrofitting. 

From food to jewelry, this year’s booths kept a variety of products but only from the sponsors. All student-owned businesses had to suddenly scrap weeks of preparation for failing to comply with a business permit. 

In a display of strategy, student-entrepreneurs did not let their efforts snubbed. They turned the tables to sell their products online on a shopping site called ‘PiyuMart,’ programmed by AI Solutions PH.

Additionally, the student-owned businesses found their way into setting pop-up markets around the campus such as Lerma Street, adding to the busyness of the favorite TAMbayan.

3. Budgeting and Preparations

Financial status and budgeting always play a huge part in making a memorable event, just like Foundation Week.

In an interview of FEU Advocate with FEU Central Student Organization (FEUCSO) President Joshua Maigue last February 8, Maigue said that this Foundation Week’s underperformance may be rooted in the sudden news delivered by the Student Development office.

FEUCSO’s four-month-long preparation for One Concierto Piyu 2024 (OCP24) was abruptly cut short, outrageously rushed, and heavily compromised to abide by the sudden news of an unnamed office regarding the financial status of the organization.

Consequently, the once FEUCSO-only-led event had become a joint collaboration among institute student councils just to address the lack of resources.

Moreover, Maigue mentioned that the “bureaucratic processes of the new administrators” had become a challenge as well in making such an event come to fruition, which is something FEUCSO and other involved student organizations should review and adjust to for future events they might want to propose.

Several days after OCP24, in a Facebook post last February 12, the FEUCSO president claimed that the student body, alongside other student organizations, has not yet received the appropriated organization funds by the Office of Student Development (SDev) despite their compliance with the requirements imposed.

“FEU Central Student Organization's last time to receive organization funds was January 2023. It has been more than a year, and we are hanging by a thread to stay afloat with the lack of monetary resources we have. And I am certain it is not just FEUCSO that experiences this,” Maigue revealed in his Facebook post about the OCP24.

In a separate Facebook post quoting Maigue’s post, co-project proponent for OCP24 and FEUCSO Auditor Patricia May Luansing disclosed that such monetary restrictions forced the student-leaders to fund their projects sourcing from their personal finances, while also mentioning other injustices they experienced from the office.

The FEUCSO auditor also protested about the unrealistic standards SDev imposed on student organizations when passing and approving projects.

“Events that weren’t pushed through because there were too many ‘requirements’ and ‘revisions’. Imposed deadlines for project proposals and its revisions [, which are unrealistic,] that [student-leaders] will just have to pull out the event,” Luansing said as she shared her sentiment on Maigue’s Facebook post.

Several student-leaders are hoping that the discord between the students and the offices will be resolved.

“I am afraid that the gap between student and admin, which should not have existed in the first place, is getting harder to fill,” Maigue expressed.

4. Beneficiaries for Donation Drive

The act of giving back is the ultimatum of fortitude, excellence, and uprightness. For the past years, FEU has initiated donation drives for organizations like Tulay Philippines in 2022.

While the missing out on a donation drive lost an opportunity to extend aid to external beneficiaries, Maigue exclaimed the “very little margin for current resources” to stall a donation drive.

However, Maigue justified that not having a beneficiary this year does not equate to the discontinuance of supporting advocacy groups. 

He also shared the organization’s plans for advocacy building through separate projects to optimize the organization’s limited resources.

5. Foundation Week's Daily Activities

Unlike the usual five-day-long event, this Foundation Week 2024 was cut short by one day due to conflicts with the proclamation of February 8 as the Lunar New Year holiday.

Last year, there were numerous attractions that the Tamaraws can enjoy amidst the busy academic life, such as Open Stage (featuring solo singing and spoken word poetry competition), Cinema Al Fresco (in partnership with FEU Film Society), Sa ‘Totoo Tayo’ campaign (which was visited by former senator Kiko Pangilinan), institute student council booths, student-owned businesses booths, and inflatables (bouncy castles, giant volleyball, and the iconic giant Aquaflask). 

This year, the Tamaraws were deprived of such fun activities. Walkways and spaces of the campus were occupied only by a handful of booths by the official sponsors invited by the FEUCSO for OCP24.

Instead, Piyu students were graced with the return of Teatro sa Parke, an open performance of various acts hosted by the FEU Center for the Arts. The said event was last hosted way back in 2016.

This year’s Teatro sa Parke features the winning routines of FEU Dance Company as the Kings and Queens Dance Supremacy 2024 and a snippet from FEU Theater Guild’s 2nd major production, Agnoia, which will be showing starting on February 15.

After the OCP24 last February 8, some student-leaders expressed their gratitude to the supporters and attendees of the events they prepared while also revealing some information that was hidden from the Tamaraw community as they planned the celebration of the recently-concluded Foundation Week.

According to a Facebook post by one of the 96th Foundation Week project proponents and FEUCSO Secretary Alessandra Gabriele Bautista, minor activities and programs (such as the ones listed above) were scrapped against their will. 

A “certain office” has delivered news of OCP’s possible pause due to “unconsulted policies” and “unforeseen circumstances.”

Bautista claimed that “too much bureaucratic processes” and “too many policies and guidelines” which were not consulted with all of the student organizations had made the event to be the “hardest” one she had to organize yet.

The student government only had five weeks to resume their preparation before the expected date of OCP due to the abrupt pausing of the event. 

Setbacks after setbacks, the project proponent was thankful to everyone involved in the process of making the event still happen and she wishes that the next batch of student leaders will not experience such an anecdote ever again.

6. Institute Student Council Booths

Another enhancer of the foundation week experience was the institute student council booths as they showcased the creativity and personality of their respective institutes which were presented to all students.

This gave Tamaraws a glimpse of the ingenuity of what they represent and can offer in the professional field.

Most importantly, they were safe spaces and great venues for fun and comfort for the work-riddled semester.

Their absence on this anniversary is a bit depressing for some and a missed opportunity to showcase what their institute is all about.

7. Inflatables

No kids were present but Tamaraws surely had the heart to bounce in last year's inflatables. The FEU Grounds erected its vicinity with a 10x version of a volleyball court and a bouncy slide. 

Certainly, time's pacing did not match anymore to fill the elastic playgrounds with air this year. Adding to the 'No jumping policy,' students left no choices but to stick to the ground. 

Although not an inflatable to be played with, a massive tumbler also gained attraction from last year. Should we add the missing giant coral-pink Aquaflask to the list?

8. Informative Postings

Anticipation stirred up during the Foundation Week that led to its concluding event, One Concierto Piyu. To escalate the mystery for the star-studded set of the ending concert, FEUCSO would normally reveal the artists one-by-one.

Although dropped at a single bomb, the lineup still received mixed-match reactions from the FEU Concierto-goers. Nonetheless, the screams and thirst traps of baddie Tamaraws are testament that Denise Julia is the most anticipated artist to grace the stage.

Moreover, informative posts including ‘Everything You Need to Know About the Foundation Week’ missed to comeback in the University’s annual celebration. These were meant to drop everything to know about the event, including what is in line for the Morayta residents.

9. Same-Day Edit

It has been a tradition to showcase a same-day edit (SDE) readily made by FEUCSO after the most-awaited fireworks display. 

This “One Concierto Piyu in a film” SDE by FEUCSO features the highlights of the OCP, starting from the review of scenery during the festive time, to the fierce Sayawit Battle of Dances and Bands, then to the remarkable ending concert featuring the invited performers and the sea of golden Tamaraws enjoying the show. 

However, this year had deviated from the norm as the flashed SDE before the OCP24 crowd was not that of FEUCSO, but of FEU Advocate.

According to FEU Advocate Editor-in-Chief Aimerose Atienza, OCP Overall Head of Documentations, Creatives, Marketing Ad Hoc Committee and FEUCSO Public Relations Officer Christmer Roland Ordanes came to the publication and asked for assistance regarding the SDE. 

In an unfortunate turn of events, a technical problem struck the OCP Documentation team, which was responsible for the supposed SDE to be presented before the OCP24 crowd. This problem made it impossible for FEUCSO to present an SDE without external help.

After an exchange of discussion and agreement, FEU Advocate gave way and presented their SDE before the Tamaraws who stayed until the very last festive moment brought by the 96th Foundation Anniversary, which was edited by Jan Dendiego, FEU Advocate’s senior videographer and video editor.

FEUCSO was able to post“#OneConciertoPiyu2024 in a film” the day after OCP24 which features their own render of OCP24 recap.

10. Casualty Report

The FEU crowd flocked the campus grounds tallying to around 17,000 individuals that formed the sea of gold. This compression prompted medical assistance to 45 Tamaraws during OCP 2024.

This data shows a significant decline in casualties during the congested concert compared to last year with 61 incidents.

In the casualty report of FEU-Red Cross Youth Council (RCYC) this year, 15 patients with dizziness emerged as the most common minor cases out of 31. Meanwhile, nine out of 14 major cases belonged to difficulty of breathing

Both specific cases also rose as the main incidents for last year.

For jam-packed events like OCP, it is also in the attendees’ responsibility to uphold safety within each other. FEU-RCYC has stayed committed to swiftly responding to emergencies throughout the event.

OCP24, underwhelming as it may be, is still a conviction of the Tamaraw community to celebrate the true meaning of foundation anniversaries–to rejoice in our legacy despite hardships and develop a deeper sense of community in solving these arising problems. 

This event may not be perfect, but it is a perfect step in creating dialogues between students and the administration–which may result in a mutual, sustainable, and holistic agreement of compassion, efficiency, and transparency. 

-With reports from Maxine Alessandra Turiano and Antonio Imperial