On 13 November 2020, the University of the Philippines Diliman, through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA), launched #BurunyogIsko—a fundraiser for the victims of Typhoon Quinta, Rolly, Siony, and Ulysses. Burunyog, an old Bikolano word for “being united” or pagkakaisa in Tagalog, emphasizes how it is imperative for the UP community to collectively muster courage in facing the recent adversities and help those in need.

As part of the 2020 Year-Ender program of the University, the OVCSA also launched complementary fundraising activities for #BurunyogIsko: Virtual Open Mic Nights 2020 and Virtual Fan Meet, in cooperation with the UP College of Human Kinetics Varsity Sports Program.

The first installment of the Virtual Open Mic, held on 06 December 2020, featured Alexia Cryze with their song “Arrow”, Amiel Sol with their song “A Day With You”, Dez and Del with their song “Blue Christmas”, Elmo Yuekey with their song “Bituin”, Escoda with their song “Hindi”, Jitter Jays with their song “Huling Liwanag”, Lance Reblando with their song “Rise Up”, Ma Nicole Tacuboy with their song “Bangon”, Sofia Paderes with their poem “On Loop”, Yohani with their song “Bulubundukin”, UP Concert Chorus with their cover of “Bagong Umaga” and the UP Engineering Choir Alumni with their rendition of “Umagang Kay Ganda.” A special theatrical piece by the UP Repertory Company entitled “Si Juan Dela Cruz sa Panahon ng Pandemya” was also featured on the first night of the open mic. The seven-minute play called for the junking of the unconstitutional Terror Law and the upholding of human rights in these trying times.

On the other hand, the second installment, held on 13 December 2020, featured Albert Fibra with “I Guess I’ll Never Know”, the Champoradas with “Kulot”, Eyya Capuli with “Kanlungan”, Plagpul with “Pula ang Kulay ng Pag-ibig”, Seedy P with “A Kid’s Song”, and Tubaw with “Pasko Nang Walang Digmaan.” The UP Engineering Choir Alumni once again graced the virtual stage with their Paskong Pinoy playlist. Both videos were livestreamed and can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/ovcsa.upd.

Aiming to reignite the school spirit and reconnect despite physical distancing, the OVCSA also held the Virtual Fan Meet 2020 last 11 December 2020. The initiative, which was open to UP and non-UP community members alike, served as an avenue for fans to virtually meet their UP Fighting Maroon favorites and get to know them more through games such as “Who’s That Baby”, which showed funny and never-seen-before photographs of the athletes during their childhood, and breakout room interactions. Participants were able to meet Alfred Valbuena, Louis Gamban, Maristela Layug, Tots Carlos, Jessma Ramos, Rosie Rosier, Paul Desiderio, Noah Webb, Joe Gomez De Liano, Pio Longa, Kintaro Miyagi, Pesky Pesquera, Diego Dario, Pio Longa, and Paolo Pangilinan.

Through the bayanihan of different sectors of the University—students, faculty, staff, and administration—#BurunyogIsko was able to raise a total of PHP 255,372.37 as of the 16th of December 2020.

With the help of the UP Foundation, Inc., a donation through check payment amounting to Php 147,250.00 was sent on 09 December to Catanduanes State University (CatSU) in Virac, Catanduanes through their Employees Association President and Faculty Regent, Mr. Serelino T. Tasarra. According to Mr. Tasarra’s 16 December 2020 letter addressed to Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Aleli Bawagan, Php 47,250.00 was included in their budget for employees whose homes were totally or partially damaged by the typhoons. They were able to provide essential goods and Noche Buena packages which contained the following: 5 kilos of rice, spaghetti bundle, cheese, and milk, equivalent to Php 400.00 per pack. Recipients of the food packs were three hundred and seventy-five (375) staff of the CatSU where 29 of those have totally damaged houses.

The Office of Student Support Services (OSSS) of the CatSU handled the remaining Php 100,000 budget for UP students who were affected by the typhoons. Through the donation, they were able to purchase utility relief packs which contains detergent powder and bars, bleach, dishwashing paste, shampoo sachets, bath soap, and toothpaste sachets that will be distributed to CatSU students with moderately to severe damaged houses from the towns of Bato, San Andres, Baras, Virac, San Miguel, and Gigmoto in Catanduanes. They will distribute 800 utility relief packages.

Meanwhile, the OVCSA with the help of various student organizations, reached out to Iskolars ng Bayan residing in different parts of Luzon who were also affected by the typhoons’ onslaught. As of 15 December 2020, a total of Php 37,500.00 has been transferred to bank or GCash accounts of twenty-five (25) UP Diliman students and Php 20,000.00 to two (2) student organizations – UP Ibalon and UP Harong – who are also continuing the donation campaign for the Bicol Region. The remaining funds will be distributed to other affected UPD students from Bicol.

“At the end of this year, we will fight fear with faith and fervor, and herald tidings of joy and comfort with our collective strength and unity,” said incumbent Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Louise Jashil “Loujaye” Sonido in the Diwa ng Diliman Year-Ender program held last 18 December 2020. The OVCSA, together with its partner offices and organizations, expresses its sincerest gratitude to everyone who took part in the initiatives spearheaded by the University.