HEAVY rains brought by the habagat or southwest monsoon forced the suspension of all freshmen activities planned for Thursday, Aug. 3, including the ROARientation, Welcome Walk, and Welcome Party.

At 5:25 a.m., merely an hour prior to the morning session’s assembly time for the onboarding activities, the Office of the Secretary General issued an advisory, declaring the suspension of classes and work at the University.

This came after Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna’s declaration instructing the cancellation of both in-person and virtual classes at all levels in public and private schools in the capital city.

“Thomasians are advised to take extra care as inclement weather continues to affect the Metro Manila area. Announcements regarding the new date of the ROARientation and the Thomasian Welcome Walk will be made soon,” UST’s advisory read.

“We’re not shifting to virtual ROARientation and other freshmen rites. We’re more inclined to postpone and reschedule the onsite events rather than shift to online again,” said Paolo Alejandrino, a creative marketing director at Tiger Media Network.

The morning session of the freshmen activities was supposed to start with the Thomasian Welcome Mass at 8 a.m., followed by the ROARientation at 9 a.m. and the Thomasian Welcome Walk at 11 a.m.

The afternoon session was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. with the Thomasian Welcome Mass, followed by the ROARientation at 3 p.m. and the Thomasian Welcome Walk at 5 p.m.

The Thomasian Welcome Party was supposed to have been headlined by P-Pop groups BINI and BGYO at 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 5 is being considered a potential date for the rescheduled activities, according to sources.

Postponement ‘disappointing’ but ‘understandable’

The cancellation of classes and postponement of activities were announced when most students were already on their way to the University to catch the 6:30 a.m. assembly time. 

“I felt sad and my excitement dwindled. And I heard from other freshmen that they were a bit disappointed since they already traveled to Manila for the Welcome Walk,” College of Science freshman Joross Miranda told the Varsitarian

“But it is understandable because of the rain and the weather, and UST made sure that the safety of Thomasians came first,” he added.

Considering the inclement weather in the past weeks, Behavioral Science freshman Matt Cortez said the University should have prepared backup plans for the festivities.

“Although UST’s post followed orders from [the] local government unit itself, it could have been considerate enough to be proactive and plan ahead, especially for the number of students who had to use different means of transportation,” Cortez told the Varsitarian.

Communication freshman Aldrin Udiong, who arrived at the University at 5:30 a.m., five minutes after the announcement of class suspension, shared the same sentiments. 

“As someone who woke up early to travel from Novaliches to España, I felt tired and sad at the same time because most of us anticipated the Welcome Walk,” Udiong said.

This was the second year in a row that the rite of passage through the Arch of the Centuries was disrupted due to inclement weather. 

Last year, Severe Tropical Storm “Florita” disrupted the third and final Homecoming Walk for sophomores and juniors right after their ROARientation. Ernest Martin Tuazon with reports from Mikhail Orozco


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