#NEWS | Batch 2023 Celebrates Humanities Festival 2019

by Iya Albitos and Cyril Lati

Last November 12–15, Philippine Science High School Main Campus (PSHS-MC) celebrated this school year’s Humanities Festival, with the theme “Stronger at 55.” For batch 2023, this meant a week filled with exhausting preparations and exhilarating activities. But before the week officially began, the students got to enjoy an opening, which featured a performance by SaGala and an inspiring speech by renowned Filipino writer and PSHS alumnus, Jose “Butch” Dalisay.

Laro ng Lahi

After the opening, the first day brought the Laro ng Lahi in the field. Students played games, from the well known (such as bato bato pik) to the unconventional (such as agawan buko). Games were assigned to certain class numbers, and the students with the corresponding class numbers from each class represented their section in the contest. Each team was seeded randomly into a knockout bracket and played until all but one section is eliminated.

Potassium won three games out of seven, namely bato bato pik, agawan panyo, and agawan buko. Sodium and Magnesium won the rest of the games not mentioned. No overall champion was declared at the end of the activity.

“It was surprisingly fun. We were excited while playing [the] games, and we also got to bond as a class,” said Ethan Sy of Potassium.

SocSci Exhibit

Magnesium’s Thailand exhibit. Photo by Karl Ducusin

The next day saw the opening of the SocSci Exhibit, with a room dedicated to illustrating the struggle of Pacific countries under colonialism. Within 15 minutes, representatives from each section explained their exhibit. Rubidium won first place for their exhibit on New Zealand, with Magnesium (Thailand) second, and Lithium (Indonesia) third.

“Our exhibit was really great, in fact, a lot of people thought we would win,“ Karl Ducusin of Magnesium said. “We felt great while presenting it…it’s probably our best work so far.”

Parallel Sessions

Later that day, two parallel sessions were held: a talk on Martial Law handled by Aksis, the Social Science club, and a K-Pop dance workshop handled by Orient, the Asian Culture club.

The Martial Law talk focused on how students can counter pro-Marcos sentiments that still circulate today. Multiple speakers were invited to share their opinions, perspectives, and experiences during Martial Law. Amongst those invited to speak were Mr. Danilo Dela Fuente, a labor organizer during Martial Law; Mr. Reylan Vergara, the vice president of a labor group; and teachers Sir Vlad Lopez and Ma’am Donna Rebong of the Social Science Unit. After the talks, the students watched a documentary made by Sir Brian Villanueva and participated in an open forum.

“It was fascinating to learn how things were back in Marcos’ time. It was scary, but I already knew that even back in elementary. What really immersed me was how hopeful things were. Learning what the people did to keep themselves from succumbing to martial law was amazingly inspiring,” said Rain Santos of Rubidium.

Awit ng Dekada

Lithium performing at the closing ceremony. Photo by Kaira Balcos.

On the penultimate day of the week came the Awit ng Dekada, an activity wherein each section is tasked to perform their own rendition of a song released in the decade assigned to them (1970s to 2010s). Lithium placed first with their take on a classic song from the 1990s, Awit ng Kabataan by Rivermaya. Next came Cesium in 2nd and Potassium in 3rd, with their own original version of Pitong Gatang and Panalangin, respectively.

“It was epic. It made us confident. To perform a good show, you have to put a lot of hours into practicing. It was very fun,” shared Hugh Ruzle Mejos, a student and performer from Lithium.

Parallel Sessions

There were three workshops on the second and final day of parallel sessions: a performance workshop by Kamalayan, the Filipino theatre club; a phone photography workshop by Exposure, the photography club; and a girls’ basketball workshop by Silakbo, the girls’ basketball club.

The Kamalayan workshop was split into three different groups, namely: Voice, Acting, and Movement. Voice focused on the impact, clarity, and the ability of the human voice to project emotions in theatre. Acting focused on stage performance, while Movement focused on dancing and its ability to convey emotions through the motions of the human body.

Speech

The final event for grade 9 was the speeches. They were divided into two events: impromptu and extemporaneous.

For impromptu speaking, Johann Gabriel Cortez of Cesium won first place. Ethan Lorenz Sy of Potassium won second place, and Joshua James Viloria of Lithium won third place. For the extemporaneous speech, Raphael Stephen Valencia of Potassium bagged 1st, with Hugh Ruzle Mejos of Lithium getting 2nd, and Andrei Karl Ducusin of Magnesium getting 3rd.

There was a lot of contention on the results of both contests, with some students disagreeing with the winners that were crowned. In the extemporaneous speech, for instance, wherein participants were given a week to prepare.

“I was very nervous since I was the 7th speaker, so I was basically one of the last people in the holding area,” said third placer Karl Ducusin. “When they announced the results, I was thrilled. I remember screaming when I heard my name called. It was my first time winning a medal.”

Essay writing

Besides on-the-spot and hands-on events, there was also an essay writing competition. One representative from each section was given three days to create an essay on the issue assigned to their grade level. For batch 2023, the issue asks how can we try harder in solving the climate crisis that’s happening right now, especially given the temptation of resignation and of giving up.

Malks Mogen David of Lithium won first place, with Daniella de Guzman of Rubidium winning second place, and India Beldia of Potassium winning third place.

After the speech, the students finished off the week with the closing ceremony. It featured all the winners of the different events of each batch, featuring a performance from the batch’s Awit ng Dekada winner, Lithium.

This year’s humanities festival was marked with busy preparations and stressful situations.

“Overall, the week was pretty good. It was more hectic when compared to last year,” said Ducusin. But despite all this, their batch still enjoyed the experience.

With all the workshops that taught them new skills to the activities that put smiles on their faces, it can be said that the whole week was without a doubt a fulfilling experience.

EDITED: November 27, 2019. 9:15 PM. Photo replacement.

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The Science Scholar

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