Tucked-in polos with checkered patterns and thick fake eyeglasses greeted many of those who entered the campus. Was this UA&P? It wasn’t like this last week. This digression from normality was due to the event called “Hatchweek,” a yearly event where freshmen have to dress up every day of the week to a particular theme. Hatchweek gets from the concept of dragons representing the students. Each freshman is called an “egg” while a junior from the same course gets to be his/her “dragon.” The week also features games such as basketball, futsal, and handball with corresponding rewards for top scorers. At the end of the week, after all the “dress-ups” and games, there is a culminating activity called “Crossfire” where the eggs and their dragons get to meet up and celebrate the essence of Unitas together. This year, the theme of the first day was nerdy and to start it officially, a parade of the different colleges was held to the beat by the UA&P Drumline at the MPC. UA&P President Dr. Jose Mariano gave an encouraging speech expressing his anticipation to see all of us on the 50th year of the university. With high spirits, the Drumline once more played but this time to the beat of the university hymn, “Star of the Orient”. This wrapped up day one.
The next day opened up like a story-book world, or what others would call a ‘cosplay convention.’ Many were dressed up as fictional characters from famous TV shows, movies, video games, books, etc. Memorable ones were those who dressed up as superheroes and cartoon and movie characters. In order to capture such precious moments, the Bosun Crew and the Media Management Committee documented the event, taking photos of the costumed freshmen. Any student from the school could also vote for who they found to be the “Best Dressed” freshman at a price of ten pesos. Every vote would guarantee the voter a specially-designed egg sticker. (What was really cool was that I was pictured in my Jedi outfit and was later on uploaded on Facebook). For a while, the University was transformed into a wonderland with different fictional characters, bringing both magic and joy to those who saw the costumed students.
Sadly, classes had to be cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday, dampening the excitement of students who had been ready to reflect “Unitas” and “Retro” through their getup. Typhoon Glenda not only caused lots of calamity to many areas but also disrupted classes and the momentum gained for the events. Anyhow, students took the time to rest and to pray for those affected by the storm. Fortunately, students did not forfeit the “Unitas” and “Retro” days as the school officially announced that Hatchweek was to be resumed the following Monday with the ‘Retro’ theme and Tuesday, which would be ‘Red Carpet’ and the much-awaited Crossfire event.
Monday brought a wave of nostalgia to students who entered the campus donning the “Retro” theme, with each freshman had a different idea of what ‘retro’ was. Though the retro yearswere not our generation, the theme brought back the ‘groovy vibe,’ like the female freshmen who dressed up as hippies. The men, on the other hand, put on ‘tucked-in’ polos and afro hairstyles. In order to also be a part of Hatchweek, I too, dressed up in 80s looks and for this one, I prepared the most by sporting a Michael Jackson outfit. The king of pop was to me the most definitive figure of the ‘retro years’ and so I chose to dress up as he did with matching white gloves and black fedora hat and topping it all with a neat red leather jacket from his music video, Thriller. Sadly though, not a lot of freshmen dressed up for this day compared to the earlier themed days. What really stood out was that there were some people who were still willing to literally ‘throwback’ many students as well as the faculty into an era of nostalgia and good music.
And by the time we knew it, it was Tuesday, and Crossfire came on. One would think he or she were at the Oscars or the Academy Awards due to the colorful and classy suits and dresses. All that this day needed was a literal ‘red carpet’ perhaps starting from the ALB all the way to the CAS garden for the freshmen to walk on. By five in the afternoon, beats could be heard from the MPC, causing many of us to be restless, excited and eager to leave our classes. In order to enter and attend the event, a student needed to pay fifty pesos for a ticket. The students had to sit on the floor of the MPC during the event.
To open the night, the UA&P Chorale sang a beautiful number. Different groups performed afterwards such as SQUADRA, I-SA, Firestarters and freshmen representatives dancing to modern beat in a jam-packed place with the illusion of colorful LED lights and fog machines. An important highlight was the lighting of the bonfire led by the different representatives of each college, alongside Dr. Antonio Torralba. In addition to this, the winners of the “Best Dressed” category as well as the “Rookies” who did really well or scored high in the different games were presented with tokens from Universal Robina Corporation containing Nissin Yakisoba, Jack ‘n Jill Mallow Puffs and Fun O Crackers. The entire Crossfire event was closed with the singing of the university hymn and a loud party of students singing and jamming to popular songs.
The entire Hatchweek experience was definitely amazing. The upper batch students say that this is one week when you would see the different sides of people.They say it’s freshmen’s “initiation” to the University, but I think otherwise. Hatchweek and Crossfire both represent the motto of the University, Unitas. It was demonstrated by how freshmen banded together by dressing up and participating in games and challenges while at the same time learning and enjoying the experience, truly proud of being freshies and being part of the UA&P family. As a freshman, I for one can say that I have officially ‘hatched’ and have become a dragon. Experiences like these I will definitely remember and miss when it’s time to graduate. I just cannot wait for the next Hatchweek wherein a new batch of freshmen will be doing the same things we did and most importantly, blazing their own trail.
– Raniel Santos, 1st Year MA HUM
Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved. University of Asia and the Pacific.