NOT EVEN the rain could stop Thomasians’ yearly Christmas celebration.

With the theme, “Pagsalubong sa Ikalimang Siglo,” the annual Paskuhan drew an estimated 100,000 people last Dec. 15 and 16.

The two-day festivities began with an anticipated Misa de Gallo led by Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of the University, at the UST Grandstand, where he reminded Thomasians to form good habits and reach out to others during the Yuletide season.

“Christmas, like anything else, will not make us happy, peaceful, and joyful; Christmas is what we make of it,” De la Rosa said. “Kaya malungkot ang Pasko sa iba sapagkat iniisip lamang nila ay ang kanilang sariling kasiyahan o kaligayahan. Subalit kung ang bawat isa sa atin ay mag-iisip ng kapakanan ng iba, marahil magiging masaya at makahulugan at masagana ang ating Pasko.”

An adaptation of the traditional “Panunuluyan”—depicting St. Joseph and Virgin Mary’s search for a room in Bethlehem—was held before the Mass. Ideal Thomasian Personalities 2011 first runners-up Michael Cruz and Sharmaine Reyes portrayed Joseph and Mary, respectively.

The Mass offerings were given to the Dominican Order’s mission in the Calayan and Camiguin de Babuyanes Islands, while an estimated P300,000 from the Human Resource Department and the colleges of Education, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Commerce and Business Administration was donated to UST’s Quadricentennial centerpiece project, “Simbahayan.”

Following the Mass was an agape, reminiscent of last year’s “Quadri Fiesta,” where students queued at food stations scattered in the campus.

A mini-concert exclusive for the Thomasian community—with performances from rapper Gloc9, bands Kamikazee and Parokya Ni Edgar, and dance troupes of different colleges—was staged for the first time.

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A pre-show at the UST Grandstand that showcased Thomasian bands like Granada, There She Blows, and Sugar Plum Fairy was held on the afternoon of the second day, along with the parade of students wearing Christmas-inspired costumes.

The successive lighting of Christmas decorations and the 80-foot Christmas tree, alongside the drumbeat of the Yellow Jackets, marked the start of the grand program at around 7 p.m.

Two-time “Choir of the World” UST Singers graced the event with its renditions of popular Christmas songs, followed by a dance feat of the Salinggawi Dance Troupe at the Plaza Mayor.

The program featured performances by Rico Blanco, Ebe Dancel, and popular rock bands Paraluman, 6Cyclemind, Sandwich, and Urbandub.

“It was an honor to perform here in UST. [Dahil] una, dito ako pinanganak. Pangalawa, ‘yung parents namin ni Diego [Castillo], dito nagtapos,” said Sandwich vocalist Raimund Marasigan, adding that the campus was where the first gig of his former band, Eraserheads, was held in 1993.

A seven-minute pyromusical display was staged two hours before the end of the program, with fireworks coming from atop the Grandstand and the Santisimo Rosario Parish.

There was practically no empty spot on the campus.

“We thought the people were only waiting for the fireworks, but throughout the program, most of the audience stayed,” Student Organizations Coordinating Council president and program host Rolando Vittorio Gatmaitan, Jr. said.

Security office chief Joseph Badinas said only a single case of an attempted theft was reported during the “relatively peaceful” event. Security officers caught Danilo Estacio, 24, at Gate 11 of Dapitan Street, who attempted to enter the campus by disguising as a College of Fine Arts and Design student. A maroon Adidas bag containing a black wallet with two ATM cards were confiscated from him.

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