THE TOP minds of the campus will once again pit wits when the Pautakan, the Varsitarian’s annual intercollegiate quiz contest, fires off on Mar. 6.

Now on its 30th year, the Pautakan is the longest battle of the brains in the country.

Contrary to popular belief, the National Quiz Bee is not the oldest quiz contest in the country. Three years its senior is the Pautakan, which was the brainchild of the 1977 staff of the Varsitarian.

But at that time, it was not known yet as Pautakan, but as the “Annual Intercollegiate Quiz Contest.”

Two years later, the contest was christened “Pautakan” to distinguish it from similar contests in the University.

Apparently the following year, the contest reverted to its original name.

In 1981, the Varsitarian baptized the quiz contest with yet another name, “Brainstorm.”

In hindsight, the evolution of the quiz contest’s name seems an extended brainstorming session with its episodes of hemming and hawing, indecision and irresolution.

In 1982, the staff reinstated Pautakan, and the contest has since then come to be known by that name. The Pautakan wars have been waged without interruption, except in 1986 when UST Rector Fr. Norberto Castillo, an alumnus of the Varsitarian, canceled all University-wide events in the last three months of the school-year because of the Edsa revolution.

As if history were repeating itself, the Pautakan was nearly cancelled last year. The contest had been scheduled to be held on February 25, 2006, on the 20th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution. But a coup attempt against the administration of President Macapagal-Arroyo spoiled the day. After allowing the political smoke to clear, the Pautakan held its 29th installment on March 11.

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Triumphant teams

Last year, the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) made Pautakan history by winning the championship for the fifth consecutive year. Previously, it had won in 1979 and 1989.

With its seven championships, Artlets is now “winningest” team in Pautakan history.

In a three-way for second place and with six championships apiece are the College of Science, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and Faculty of Engineering.

Science was the first Pautakan champion in 1977. It was also the victor in 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1990. Science’s archrival in the early 1980’s was Medicine and Surgery, which won the title in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1988, and 1993.

Meanwhile, Engineering was the dominant team of the 1990’s. It took home the trophy in 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2001. Also in the circle of champions are the College of Physical Therapy (now College of Rehabilitation Sciences), which won in 1998 and 2000; the College of Education, 1991; and the Faculty of Pharmacy, 1994.

Promising year

Artlets is taking a much-deserved breather this year, but the Pautakan will not be short of exciting teams.

Expected to have their baptism of fire are Pautakan rookies from the new UST schools—the Alfredo M. Velayo-College of Accountancy and the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Meanwhile, the College of Nursing, runner-up last year, is highly anticipated to grab the trophy this year.

But the College of Commerce, which placed third, may yet play the spoiler to Nursing.

However the outcome of the battle, the Pautakan this year is expected to score a historic milestone since it is turning 30.

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The Varsitarian holds 'Pautakan 2Q11' in February

And the Varsitarian promises to pull all stops to make the anniversary a roaring celebration of brains and bravura. Raychel Ria C. Agramon

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