By Jeck G. Tirambulo | Features Editor
Vol. XCI No. 6
Sept. 6, 2019
The cancelled Parada Sillimaniana did not only cause furor from alumni and organizers, but also gave an unpleasant souvenir to the graduating students whose only yearning was to enjoy their last parade before leaving the halls of Silliman.
Every 27th day of August, the university holds a parade of dignity and pride, a highly coveted event of the Founders Week celebration attended by students, alumni, and people whose souls had been touched by the spirit of Silliman.
Featuring colorful floats and jovial marching bands, the Parada Sillimaniana easily attracts an audience — genteel and modest alike. The decades-old tradition that is valued by every Sillimanian has always been persistent to circumstances, be it foreseen or unforeseen. The ‘rain or shine Parada’ as they say, signifies that no matter what unfortunate event would transpire, the show must go on.
However, on its 118th anniversary, the iconic parade seemed to have been hampered by a predictable circumstance – a downpour. In response to such, narratives from someone who was there said that the members of the administration themselves discussed if they would continue the event or not. In the end, the parade was called off, citing another reason, a really vague one, the health reasons. Although, they offered an alternative that the contingents might not attend it and just proceed to the ballfield, eventually an hour before the parade commenced, they cancelled it, neglecting the odds that the rain might weaken or dissipate.
The administration’s abrupt decision earned ire from the participating departments, alumni, and even the organizers. They did not consider the time, effort and money that the contingents invested in preparation for the parade: the sleepless nights that the students endured just to give a splendid performance for the audience; the time and money that the alumni invested just to attend the event; the cadets who offered commitment and endured the rain just to ensure that the passage was safe and clear for the attendees; the medics, the working committees, the spectators; and the graduating students, who in their four years or more of staying at Silliman only yearned to experience the last parade.
The silent cries of frustration were all the aggravated parties could do after the fiasco. Some talked about it all night, over a cup of coffee; some even expressed doubt over the validity of the administration’s decision.
Many hoped that it would be rescheduled. And to answer that, yes, the parade will be rescheduled…next year. Eventually, the rest of us have come to accept it: there’s no Parada for this year. But there’s next year, where it will be rescheduled. The tradition can still be rebuilt. However, should such a kind of thoughtless and inconsiderate deliverance be allowed to go unscorned?
The admin cited bad weather and health reasons. The unfavorable weather seems like a petty one. The downpour has stopped a few minutes before the stated time of the parade. Maybe, such rain can penetrate umbrellas, thus the cancellation. However, it is also the same rain that didn’t stop some senior alumni to march the road even if nothing awaits them in the ballfield. Where no warm and jubilant welcome awaits for them as they enter the gates of the ballfield. Ergo, it seems like such unfavorable weather is not a good excuse.
And then we were informed of their second reason. The health concerns. The health concerns that everyone has used as valid reasons in any event since time immemorial. No, everyone will not easily get sick after being wet, they bring with them umbrellas, after all. Knowing that they were eager to join the parade even if it means being wet just shows how health does not matter to them. Such a reason doesn’t seem to ring a bell. How they use ‘health concern’ as a reason did not pacify nor give justice to the event’s cancellation. It only ignites further questions. Really, who’s health are they concerned of?
“Rain has triumph over the ‘rain or shine’ Parada Sillimaniana.”
The previous year may have been a year of firsts but certainly this year may also have another year of firsts. The first to have cancelled an iconic tradition.
Hopefully, the decision-making body may also consider this first – the welfare of every Sillimanian.
Somebody is having an unpleasant year of last.