Students of the premier state university of the Philippines have but one thing to boast about: that they are studying in the leading academic institution in the country. For years students and alumni have wrung the ears of incoming freshmen, telling them how fortunate they are to be studying in the best university there is.

We all know how UP has trumpeted its greatness over the decades. We all know of the distinguished alumni who have etched their everlasting marks in the history of our country. We all know of the great and incomparable UP culture of excellence that has thrived all throughout the years.

Modesty aside, it is therefore safe to assume that UP is indeed great. But can that greatness be encapsulated in mere humble words such as “UP: Ang Galing Mo”?

“UP: Ang Galing Mo!” is the official theme of the UP Centennial celebrations which kicked of last January 8, with a host of events and revelry that thousands of students, alumni, faculty and staff participated in.

A skydiver bearing the banner with the centennial theme emerged as one of the spectacles during the event, along with other skydivers bearing the names of the different UP units. A centennial song was commissioned bearing the said theme, its lyrics repeating the phrase several times over. During the celebrations, the emcees, the officials, the speakers didn’t forget to say “UP: Ang Galing Mo!”

But somehow we beg the question: do we still need reminding of how great we are? Our alumni are prouder of the university they came from than their own family heritages. We students boast about our intelligence, most especially during UAAP cheers. Our parents seem to have won the lottery upon finding out we passed the UPCAT exam. Indeed, upon setting foot in this precious university, we have been bombarded with the fact that we are indeed great.

We don’t need a reminder of how great we are or how great we can become. That is forever etched within the hollowed grounds of UP. When we step outside UP, we don’t tend to forget our greatness, in fact, we arrogantly proclaim it to the world. But what we tend to forget is to whom we owe that greatness, to whom it came from, and to whom it should be returned: the nation’s people who tirelessly paid for our education.

“I think the centennial’s theme was a bit shallow,” said Absie Eligio, a third year Journalism major. “It doesn’t do justice to UP’s 100 years of service and excellence.”

That is what’s missing in this centennial celebration’s theme. UP doesn’t stop in being great alone; it goes further beyond greatness and extends towards service to the nation. We’re not called “Iskolar ng Bayan” for nothing. Yes, we are all scholars, but we’re also of the people, and therefore for the people (pardon this little cliché moment). UP’s relevance to this country doesn’t stop at being great; more importantly, it is made more significant and meaningful by our selfless offering to our homeland.

An unforgettable Shakespearian line says that “some people are born great; some achieve greatness while others have greatness thrust upon them.” We have greatness thrust upon us but we can achieve a far greater level of greatness if we choose to offer it in the service of our fellow Filipino. That’s what makes UP students great, and a definite cut above the rest.

*Photo from

31 Responses to “UP: Ang Galing Mo?”
  1. atomicgirl says:

    Yey. Good one JM. Though I was thinking. Maybe they should’ve used UP: Ang Galing Natin instead? Haha. That thought because I’m sleepy now. Hehe.

  2. JM says:

    @atomicgirl ngi. mas lalong self-serving! Hahahaha =P

  3. Alternative views on the UP Centennial | says:

    […] 4. UP: Ang Galing Mo? […]

  4. JM says:

    @ia Sad, though, because until you brought this up I wouldn’t be aware of it. However, I don’t see the point of insulting the intelligence of the attendants with something dumbed down as “UP: Ang Galing Mo!”. Duh, we’re UP. We get what Excellence, Service and Leadership means. Is it for economy’s sake? Whatever. “UP: Ang Galing Mo!” still doesn’t do that much justice.

  5. ia says:

    Yeah. And… I’m still waiting for a band like Eraserheads to make a REAL timely hit. Whee.

  6. Dane says:

    Peeyups are indeed great people and that is totally evident with the graduates that UP produce. I hope that the centennial celebration of UP will be beyond skydivers, streamers, banners and a theme song; i hope that this centennial celebration will fully recognize the university’s effort in educating the Filipino and the Filipino’s effort in working just to make UP the institution it is now. May it also bring awareness especially to those who are not given the opportunity to study in the prestigious university.

    Speech na yata ‘to. But marami akong natutunan sa journal na ‘to.

  7. JM says:

    @ia I couldn’t get it nga eh. We have a host of GREAT alumni bands, why didn’t they get them? The one who sang the theme song was a virtual unknown, who sounded like Rocksteady (that’s why thoughts of Super Inggo came to mind).

    @Dane hahaha I was about to say nga na nag-speech ka na. Tara deliver mo na yan sa Oblation Plaza. Hehehe. =P Thanks for the support dane. Sana mag-UP ka na rin! Hehe.

  8. ia says:

    Fraternity yung pang-identify dun sa taong kumanta nung binanggit yung pangalan niya. Ewan ko ba, uso talaga kasi ang palakasan ng frat sa ganitong event eh, or sila lang talaga ang may initiative at pera, I guess. (I won’t name names pero sino ang UPAA president, sino ang nagsponsor ng fireworks, et cetera et cetera and you see puro frat.)

  9. JM says:

    @ia pati mga lights sa oval sponsored by frats. you should go see the tarps. they’re all over. coincidence ba na members sila ng frat? wag na lang tayo magconclude ng kung anu-ano. hehe. =P at least maganda naman ang mga inambag nila kahit papano. =P

  10. jerome says:

    very well said, JM! very well said…

  11. Gian Paolo says:

    They probably made it that way para magfit dun sa lyrics ng song. Ang panget naman kasi kung “UP…Excellence, Service, and Leadership in the Next 100 Years!” di ba. Lol. 😀

  12. JM says:

    @jerome thanks!

    @Gian that’s another way of putting it. LOL.

  13. Blue Pencil Chronicles » Blue Pencil Chronicles Weekend Wrap-up #001 says:

    […] Did an impromptu feature article on the UP Centennial because our professor knew better to not inform us to do a UP Centennial article days before the event. Booyeah. Did a somewhat-critical essay which was eventually immortalized into this blog post. […]

  14. Blue Pencil Chronicles | Blue Pencil Chronicles Weekend Wrap-up #001 says:

    […] Did an impromptu feature article on the UP Centennial because our professor knew better to not inform us to do a UP Centennial article days before the event. Booyeah. Did a somewhat-critical essay which was eventually immortalized into this blog post. […]

  15. juyjuy says:

    wee! kinilabutan ako sa article.. but it’s great! di nga lang namin (o ako lang?) maramdaman dito sa baguio na centennial pala ng yupi.

    UP ang galing mo! 🙂

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