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Matatapang, Matatalino.. LABAN UP!

Congratulations, UP Pep Squad! :)
We did it!

(Photo credit: UBelt.com)

I cannot even put into words how EUPHORIC I still am after yesterday's big win. Just the whole experience was enough to stun me for the next couple of weeks. Being there, chanting the ever famous "Unibersidad ng Pilipinas!" cheer along with the whole Maroon side of the coliseum was definitely something worth remembering. I've seen the previous cheerdancing competitions on television and on YouTube before, but let me tell you -- Nothing beats the real thing.

I arrived at Cubao at around 9 am with my mom because we were supposed to meet early so as to get seats right away. I was wrong in thinking that I was an early bird. Upon our arrival, hundreds of people were already lined up in all the gates! I got nervous. But turns out they were all waiting for the last-minute releasing of tickets, so I heaved the first of my many sighs of reliefs for that day. After my mom left me at GoNuts Donuts to wait for my companions, I was constantly shocked at the sheer volume of people at the Coliseum. One would think that only UP or UST would have the large crowds, but no, EVERY SCHOOL had their share of fans. Soon, Drea, Tophe, Ria, and Inna arrived. It was funny that Tophe came wearing Maroon and was determined to sit with us when in fact he is from UST. I guess it's unfortunate for him that the friends he's going with are from UP, haha. We finally marched our way inside the coliseum. With Maroon foam fingers in hand we were ready to rock! :)

The UP, UST, and FEU seats were the first ones to get filled. Obviously, the competition is tight between these three permanent placers, and I'm sure all the fans of these schools were determined to go home champions. But one can't deny the incredible support from the other universities too. UE, AdU, NU, and DLSU had their lots of supporters as well. And Ateneo.. well let's just say their part of the coliseum was empty the longest :P What I love about actually being there was the very intense school spirit. You just can't capture that on TV. Sure you can hear the screaming, but during commercial breaks, you don't feel the animosity between schools. While waiting, each school tries to outdo all the others. All schools have their signature cheers, moves, and paraphernalias. Kanya-kanyang pasiklaban. Haha. One of my favorite moments before the show was when Adamson started to cheer, the UP crowd started chanting "Unibersidad ng Pilipinas!" because the beat was very similar to ours! :)) Haha. Major bitch moment number 1. Then, the UST and UP people started firing at each other, with tarpaulins and banners attacking the other school. The UST had "You can't beat the Salinggawi twice" and "400 <> 397 years of the Others." HAHA, major bitch moment number 2! When UP cheered, the UST fans would wave their hotdog balloons while saying, "Wala! Wala!", likewise when UST cheered, the UP crowd would point their foam fingers downward. See, even before the actual competition took place, there was already a contest! But it was all fun really. It actually made the whole event all the more exciting! :)

DLSU was the first to perform, followed by the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe. Honestly, their performance wasn't what I was expecting from them. I'm a SDT fan but I just thought they could have done better. But nonetheless, they did well. After UST was UP. And boy was the yellow and maroon side going crazy! We were chanting "UP! UP! UP!" all throughout their entrance. Finally the drummers started banging, and we were suddenly on a cheering uproar! I think one-third of the crowd was from UP, which explains the extremely loud and very thrilled sound we made! And that, my friends, was the moment I realized (cheesy line coming) -- I love being in UP. I've waited so long for it, when finally I get to shout at the top of my lungs for the State University. Nothing beats being there with the Maroon crowd, waving our flags and foam fingers. The UP routine was awesome! I'm not being biased here, but in all honesty, we were very unique from the others especially because of our Tribal concept. SUGOD UP! :) We had some flaws din, which made me really nervous, but all in all it was a great performance from our Pep Squad. And of course, who would forget Oble? The cherry on top of our ice cream. Haha :D

The FEU and AdU squads were probably my two other bets aside from UP. The FEU Cheering Squad had a clean and almost perfect execution while the AdU Pep Squad simply had that "wow" factor. Their floor routine was so cool, and their pyramids were amazing! I sincerely clapped and cheered for them. Anyway, the other squads were quite impressive as well. I liked the costume of the Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion girls -- it inspired me to work on my abs, LOL. The NU's routine has improved tremendously from their previous performances. And the UE squad was also entertaining, but one of their girls almost fell on the floor in one of their exhibitions. In general, all the performers did a great job. I honestly wasn't expecting anything and in fact I was nervous for UP all throughout.

Finally, the judgment time has arrived. The wait seemed like forever! By that time, the whole coliseum was on a fiasco. Once again, all the universities were cheering their hearts out and you can hear nothing but screaming and drum beats. It was defeaning!! But it was very, very exciting. The moment Boom Gonzales silenced the audience as he held the envelope, my heart started beating so loud.. as loud as the drums perhaps! I wanted us to win sooo badly. I started praying "All for thee, O my God, O my Jesus all for thee," in my head, all while the five of us held hands. Parang Sabayan lang eh noh :)

When Boom announced FEU as the 2nd runner-up, I started jumping for joy. I seriously thought they were going to win! The whole UST-UP crowd went wild. The commercial break was just agonizing. I couldn't wait. WE ALL COULDN'T WAIT. Will the Salinggawi win back the crown? Or will UP succeed in retaining the title? I was hyperventilating.

Soon, Boom announced the 1st runner-up. And it was.. the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe! My golly, we were relieved! And sincerely, I really clapped for them. It's funny because when UST started cheering the signature "Go USTe!" UP was joining too. I don't know if it was because we were happy for UST or because we had a sure feeling we would win. HAHA. But as for me, I really did cheer from the heart. You all know I love UST.. it's my third university choice after Ateneo :)

And at long last.. the Champion was announced: THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES PEP SQUAD!! :) It was extreme pandemonium! The whole Maroon side went crazy! We were extremely ecstatic! WE WON! BACK-TO-BACK! :) It was touching because the whole Coliseum was cheering "Unibersidad ng Pilipinas" with us! I got chills running down my spine. Nothing beats being there to witness everything.. and actually winning! :)


(I'm the lamest camera-bringer. I didn't even feel the desire to take pictures.. masyado akong nasa cheering mode. Haha)

The UP crowd waiting in anticipation; UP's number 1!; Karla's game face on; Four Fighting Maroons and one Growling Tiger in disguise; The smiles of victory!

P.S. I watched the Ateneo-La Salle game last Saturday!
It felt great being an Atenista even for just a couple of hours! :) We watched the game of UP-UST game prior to that, and we were cheering amidst the sea of blue of green. We might have lost, but we kept shouting, "Babawi kami sa inyo bukas!" and luckily we did :P Anyway, during the whole game, we were barely sitting down! I may not be a real Atenista, but you all know how much we bleeeed Blue, especially for Chris Tiu! :) It was amazing to actually be part of the biggest rivalry in the Philippine shores. And it felt great to cheer for the winning school! :) Sorry La Sallian friends.. pero, maka-Ateneo talaga ako :D

Mabuhay ang Iskolar ng Bayan!

(Photo credit: Yoshke.com)