Archive | November, 2011

Cheer factor: UP Pep leads national delegation to worldwide cheerleading tilt

25 Nov

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The UP Pep Squad is no stranger to pushing limits, be it as individuals or as a team. After clinching the UAAP Cheerdance championship four times in the last five years, they now set their sights on a greater challenge: representing our country as delegates to the 6th Cheerleading World Championships (CWC).

Dubbed the “Olympics of cheerleading”, the biennial competition will be held from November 26-27 at the Hong Kong Coliseum and will pit around 70 teams from 20 countries. The 2011 CWC marks the Philippines’ debut in the international cheerleading arena.

The 55-member national delegation is comprised of students from three cheerleading teams – the UP Pep Squad, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Stars and the Centro Escolar University (CEU) Lady Scorpions. They will be competing in the group stunt, partner stunt, cheer mixed and cheer dance categories.

“This didn’t come from out of the blue – these guys paid their dues going there. They had to go through literally the eye of the needle,” said Evan Alvia, president of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines Cheerleading Federation.

Assistant coach and professor Pio Niño Opinaldo is optimistic about UP Pep’s performance. He recounted how a month after winning the UAAP Cheerdance, the team members continued training for six hours daily to get in shape for the CWC.

Squad captain Kathleen Madrigal, a graduating elementary education student, said: “(We feel) honored but pressured. There are lots of people to handle, but I still have the captains of PUP and CEU to help me out.”

Funds and government aid

Plans of sending the UP Pep Squad to the 2009 CWC in Bremen, Germany fell through due to financial constraints and visa conflicts. Two years after that botched attempt, the national contingent had to raise P5-million – with expenses pegged at $850 per person – to cover the costs for this year’s competition.

Alvia explained that since cheerleading was not an Olympic sport, it was unreasonable to expect monetary support from the national government: “Government right now is sending 55 sports to the SEA Games. We don’t want to be a problem, we want to be part of the solution.”

Government’s contribution to the national contingent’s bid came in the form of tax exemptions, particularly on airport tax for the 55 players and their coaches. According to Alvia, making the teams raise their own funds for the competition instill in the players a stronger sense of discipline and community involvement.

“All through adversity, after 2009, they stuck around. They trained regularly. They trained just as hard as the boxers and the Olympic athletes. Some of them are magna cum laude and cum laude candidates. They’re not just gonna graduate as athletes doing nothing. We’re assured and we’re confident that they will progress in life. We stand up for them because they are role models,” he added.


The Philippine contingent showcased their final routines in a send-off at the UP College of Human Kinetics last November 20. The event also served as a turnover ceremony for the Mat Project, spearheaded by former Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Grace Gregorio and art studies professor Eloisa Hernandez.

Launched at 9 a.m. on September 20, the project aimed to gather solicitations for new rubber training mats for the UP Pep Squad. Thanks to social networking and word-of-mouth, 300 pledges were gathered within thirty six hours of the campaign’s launch. Gregorio shared that once, when some pep squad members were gathered at the AS parking lot, an elderly man approached and handed them P1000 as his donation to the Mat Project.

Interestingly, it was not only UP alumni who were willing to extend financial support to the squad. Other notable donors include Patch Adejar of the University of Santo Tomas, Edward Yu of rubber manufacturing firm Bantex and columnist Tessa Prieto-Valdez.

Prieto-Valdez represented her contemporaries in Assumption High School Batch 1981, who pitched in P100,000 for the Mat Project. “It’s something else that we’re able to compete abroad even if it’s not for a sport. Even if it’s for the first time, win or lose, they’re already winners,” she said.

Even as he anticipated a strong showing from the national delegation, Alvia stressed the significance of their giving back to the community that made their CWC bid possible. He said, “It’s not about the winning. If they do win, and they feel better about what they are after the competition, then that’s paying it forward. If we train you to fund your own way, you can do that for other causes…If you get there, you know it’s because you deserved it.”

Twittiquette, for better or for worse

21 Nov

1) When a celebrity asks a how-to question, a handful of their eager followers from all over the world responds with a solution. When someone else in your timeline asks the same thing, 1 or 2 of their friends will reply, and those who didn’t are probably thinking, “Just Google it.”

2) If you must use a hashtag, at least add to the pool of discussion. “[insert subject here] is trending” may be a legitimate reaction, but please don’t degrade other people’s intellect by assuming that they haven’t figured that out for themselves.

3) So you’re part of the 10% (Note: Percentage estimate may change depending on the economic climate, the film’s release date, roster of stars, Rotten Tomato rating, etc.) of the population who gets to watch a certain movie ahead of everyone else. Now do everyone else a favor and shrug off that cooler/richer/better-at-finding-quality-torrents-than-thou vibe by engaging your fellow 10-percenters in lively film critique in private.

4) You can hint at your frustrations through obscure-but-targeted tweets for as long or as often as you like, but there’s nothing like resolving issues the grown-up way, IRL.

5) Ditto for retweets.

Oh boy, oh boy, I’ve got to think about that

14 Nov

“If you asked her what it was…she would not have been able to say. She knew what she didn’t want, however, and that was exactly what [she] valued above all else.”


Overheard on the first week of class

12 Nov

Ma’am P to male MRR student: How do you know Joey Ayala? Because you’re old?

Student: No, because I like him.

Ma’am P: You like him? You mean his songs.


Sir M asks class: So besides the need for another elective, why did you take this class?

D: Because some people said the prof is aesthetically pleasing.

L: Shhh, secret lang dapat iyan, D. Journalists never reveal their sources!


Ma’am P to Classmate S, a female graduate student: How old are you? Are you in your 20’s?

S: Oh! No, I’m 40.

Class: O.O


Sir A to male student: You shed tears?

Student: Opo, pag gabi.

Sir A: Interesting.


Sir A: Napaka-hiwaga ng buhay.


S receives chocolate from a suitor for her birthday.

Everyone: Awwww.

S hides chocolate in bag.

R: Ay. Kala ko she-share mo.


Sir D: Sa klase ko, bawal maging biktima. Pero pwede maging salarin.


Sir D on former student, who sat in during class: Iyang si ____, pinag-aagawan ‘yan ng mga babae. Akala ko nga dati, paminta yan. Hindi pala. Pumapatol pala sa tao.