After two years of celebrating in the comfort of the student’s homes, the University of Santo Tomas has finally held its annual Paskuhan Concert in an in-person setting. However, along with the traditional celebration of Paskuhan comes a controversy that made an online buzz.
In October 2022, the university first announced that its yearly-anticipated Paskuhan would return to campus this year with the theme, “Pananabik, Pagbabalik, Panunumbalik.” Kicking off the celebration on November 29, the UST Paskuhan festivities ended on December 19 with the beloved Paskuhan Concert, which was only exclusive for Thomasians in compliance with COVID-19 health protocols.
As per The Varsitarian’s report, there were over 51,000 Thomasians that attended the grand concert. However, some students have reported that outsiders were seen on the campus during the event despite the implementation of the no-entry policy of non-Thomasians.
One Twitter user took to the bird app to share their frustration on how outsiders were able to enter the premises while Thomasians were still waiting in line. They wrote: “[S]eeing [IG] stories of outsiders na nakapasok sa UST while there were hundreds of [T]homasians still in line until 8:00 p.m. makes me ://// ([S]eeing [IG] stories of outsiders who entered UST while there were hundreds of [T]homasians still in line until 8:00 p.m. makes me :////).”
“Ganon ba kahirap intindihin yung no outsiders rule (Is it that hard to understand the ‘no outsiders’ rule[?]),” they added.
Shortly after the tweet took off, others shared their experiences, with many of them queuing in line for over an hour before entering the campus. On the other hand, many also echoed the same sentiments and called for the attention of the administration and organizers.
The UST Paskuhan even sparked more controversy when one Twitter user compared Paskuhan to Pop Up Katipunan.
If you don’t know what Pop Up Katipunan is, it’s a new and trendy commercial and event space located on Katipunan Avenue, where it houses different bars, restaurants, and other establishments people can hang out at.
So, it’s no wonder why this analogy caught the ire of many students as Pop Up Katipunan is a public space, while UST is a private institution—as many have pointed out.
In a thread, a Twitter user responded to the controversial tweet. They wrote: “Thomasians have the right to gatekeep Paskuhan kasi tuition nila ang niuutilize to make it happen and UST is a university to begin with (Thomasians have the right to gatekeep Paskuhan because their tuition fees are utilized to make it happen and UST is a university to begin with).”
“Ano ba ang Pop Up? Tuition niyo ba ang nagsusustain ng bars doon? Is it worked for by your student council? (What is Pop Up? Are your tuition fees being used to sustain the bars there? Is it worked for by your student council?),” they continued.
They went on to explain that the reason behind the implementation of the no outsiders policy was to avoid the risk of Paskuhan becoming a superspreader event amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have our own set of protocols imposed that’s accessible only to Thomasians, such as the THOMedss (Thomasian Online Medical Services and Support) where we can at least track the health status of students,” they added.
First held in 1991, the UST Paskuhan is a month-long celebration that features Christmas activities that are exclusively prepared for the Thomasians, including Christmas tree lighting, university-wide competitions, mass, feast, fireworks, and concerts.
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