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Of blonde ambitions.

(Photo credit: The Yellow Adventures)

Last Saturday, the UP Pep Squad has once again proven its claim as the Icons of Reinvention in cheerleading after they defended their crown at the UAAP Cheerdancing Competition.

There are dumb blondes, and then there are UP blondes. This year the team went all out in proclaiming their love for the Queen of Pop by donning bleach blonde hair and conical bras. It was, as always, a fun and spunky number executed flawlessly by the entire team. Their dance moves were sensational; I liked how they used only samples of Madonna's songs as it kept the whole routine fresh and unexpected. And of course the stunts! Phenomenal. UP is known for building their pyramids with just one count, and I swear to God, they have nailed that to perfection. On most parts, I just couldn't help myself from going, "How is that even humanly possible!?" Flying boys and girls all over the floor and with smiles still plastered on their faces at that. But what really makes the UP Pep stand out for me is the way they have this aura, this vibe that no other squad can match - laging may angas. May bangis. I cannot think of a suitable English counterpart for those words right now, but really, that's what UP will always, always have that can never be taken away from them: the UP Pep Swag!

I was part of the crowd again, like I was last year and in 2008, and so far my friend and I's theory that UP wins when we watch live still remains to be disproved. We practically gave up on the tickets and were firm in not going Friday night, but I suppose the gods of school spirit really wanted us to be there so badly that tickets just suddenly found their way to us by magic! (aka a very good friend from the Ateneo) We found ourselves on the Gen Ad bleachers again, but no qualms - it's definitely where all the fun happens. Donning black, shouting for the school with what remains of my already worn-out vocal chords, and just basking in the revelry of school spirit - that was how I always want to remember being a student of UP: superior and proud.

I will never forget seeing the 2007 CDC performance of the UP Pep back when I was a senior in high school. The "UP Rocks" routine had angas written all over it, and that moment is still clear inside my head, about getting goosebumps several times in the performance, particularly the part where they did the Oblation pose, and towards the end when the girls and boys were dancing separately with pom-poms. I remember telling myself then, "UP talaga eh," and suddenly appealing to the mercy of the cosmos that it has to be this university, and nothing else. If I don't get to cheer "U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas!" for real, I may never forgive my sixteen-year-old self who took the exam. All versions of me will never forgive myself. I couldn't remember a time in my life when I didn't want to go in UP.

And now, four years later, I have just cheered my lungs out (again) for the last time as an undergraduate student. But I pray it's not the last. I'm finding myself in the same place again, wishing and praying that the university will grant me another four years of suffering but also immense enthusiasm. I'm hoping I'd still get to call myself a UP student even after having gotten my graduation pictures. I don't want to say goodbye just yet.

Let's go blonde, Karla. Legally blonde. ;)