A Friday night spent being serenaded by a full orchestra playing well-loved tunes? More than 500 people were treated to this experience last 23 March 2018 at the University of the Philippines Quezon Hall Amphitheater. Under a clear night sky, with a cool light breeze, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) performed a repertoire of popular classics, crowd favorites, as well as fun arrangements of current hits.
UP, together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), organized the event to commemorate the 106th year of the First Annual University Commencement Exercises.
In 31 March 1911, ten degrees were conferred to the first UP graduates in Padre Faura, Manila. The first honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, was also conferred to then Supreme Court Associate Justice Cayetano S. Arellano. A year after, the College of Medicine and Surgery produced its first Filipina doctor, Maria Paz Mendoza, who later served as the first woman member of the UP Board of Regents.
106 years hence, the Quezon Hall Amphitheater, now the site of the yearly University
Commencement Exercises of UP Diliman, was filled with friends, families, and music lovers as the University gave its salute to its ten first graduates.
The concert began with the National Anthem Lupang Hinirang with emcee, Dr. Ramon Acoymo leading the crowd in song as the PPO played.
Chancellor Michael Tan of UP Diliman then delivered the welcome remarks and relayed his hopes that the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra will also be able to visit other University of the Philippines campuses to perform and bring their music closer to the communities.
The PPO played Overture to Guillame Tell, Waves of Danube Waltz, Nessun Dorma, and Serenata satisfying classical music lovers. They also played popular themes from Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars and pop classic Three Coins in the Fountain. Popular Filipino songs from APO Hiking Society, Aegis, and Itchyworms were also delightfully sampled by the Orchestra, as well as international “earworm” tunes Despacito and Baby Shark.
The night was concluded with UP’s beloved hymn, UP Naming Mahal, with the crowd enthusiastically singing along. It was truly a Friday night well-spent with the community, to appreciate art and talent, and commemorate an important part of UP history.
See the event souvenir program here.