taunt the waves: In Defense of the “UP Conyo”

30 Sep

Link: taunt the waves: In Defense of the “UP Conyo”


My tibak friends label me conyo, but they accept me all the same, so I don’t get all the generalizations here. It’s a joke, and it’ll always be, okay? If you want to get rid of that conyo stereotype, why don’t you pay attention this time? Pay attention to the people.

Keri. The thing is, the point isn’t that we are all UP students. The point isn’t about diversity. The point isn’t about if you were born into a Bracket A family or what. The issue isn’t about you being rich, it’s about your actions as a rich person. It’s about my actions as a lower-middle class person. It’s about our actions as UP students.

We get that the upper class can pay for their tuition. We get that we all deserve to be a UP student because we passed the UPCAT (Or not. Very debatable topic) But do you get that there are those who also passed the UPCAT (legitly) but still can’t afford UP education? 

A reason, in my opinion, the upper class are usually the butt of the jokes, is because they fail to remember what the point of UP is. Do you really, truly, whole-heartedly understand what being a UP student is? Honor and excellence in service of the Filipino people. Emphasis on the last part. It’s not enough to label yourself an isko/iska, you must live it. It’s easy to say that, “Hey, I’m a UP student too.” But again… Are you really? Batman said it perfectly, “But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”  

Okay, it’s the premier university in the Philippines. It’s also the university of the people. It’s a national university and it’s basic duty is to provide the best education to all classes that in turn the students can contribute to the national industrialization of the country. Now, with the whole privatization of education, only the upper-middle class can benefit from UP. Now, the demographics have changed. Now, the mindset of many students are to graduate, earn money, travel and work abroad, etc. Now, lots of people believe that they can be nationalistic and contribute to their country in their own LITTLE way. 

UP doesn’t only give the best education in classrooms. I’ve learnt this in my four years. I used to care so much about the technicalities of school: not being late in class, getting perfect grades, not cutting class, etc. Grades don’t define me, my number of absences don’t define me, what’s more important is what I got from the classes and how I can put them to use.

UP teaches you to think, to question, and to act. Very important things that even if people graduate from UP, some still don’t know how to think and question, what more then to act? This is sad. Did you really question why the conyos are a laughing stock sometimes? Did you really question what’s up with UP nowadays, why it isn’t what you thought it would be? Did you really question or did you just settle with generalizations? A simple post isn’t going to change anything. You must act. This I never learnt inside the classroom, experience was my teacher.

I was proud when I was a freshie to be called an Iskolar ng Bayan. But I never felt it until the latter end of my third year, when I learnt to think, question, and act. Means so much more than I thought. 

UP taught me to think for the people. It’s a given that not everyone can afford education. But here I am, here we are. The people need us for their voices to be heard. Why do you think there are rallies? People don’t rally just for themselves, these UP rallies aren’t just for UP students, but they’re rallying for the rights of every SUC, every young person whose right to education was taken away. Get it? Where were you? What did you do for the people?

UP taught me to question. Why is this happening? Who’s responsible for this? Why did they end up with that decision? Where were you when all these happened? Never settle, keep asking.

This is what always, always, always gets on my nerve. When people fail to see the needs of others around them. When people grow apathetic. When people don’t question. When people don’t listen. When people don’t see. When people settle.

It’s never too late to still get your UP experience.


Today, I checked out the “Narinig Ko Sa UP (Overheard at UP)” Facebook group and chanced upon a post about a conversation between two “conyo” girls in the bathroom. After reading through the comments, I felt that this was something I needed to write about.


DISCOURSE. CONVICTION. ACTION. These, more than stereotypes and generalizations, are exactly what define UP. 


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