The Oblation Run.

Submitted by Paula (thanks!):

Every year at the University of the Philippines, the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity has the annual “Oblation Run”, an APO (and UP) tradition since the 1970s when the Philippines was under Martial Law. The Oblation Run takes its inspiration from the symbol of the university, the statue of the Oblation (You can simply search the words Oblation UP), which is that of a man, with his arms outstretched, looking up to the sky, completely naked except for some leaves covering his penis. So you guessed it, the Oblation Run has members of the APO fraternity running through the halls of one of the most famous buildings in UP (at least in the Diliman Campus, other branches of UP have the same run but I don’t know where they have their route), the Palma Hall, which is the home of the college of Social Sciences and Philosophy, completely naked (but with masks covering their faces). It happens every December, to celebrate (If I remember correctly) the foundation date of APO which is also in December. During the run, the halls are full of people, of all ages, and you do notice more girls (haha) in the mix, which is related to another tradition during the run itself. You’ll see the men running holding roses and they give those roses out to girls. I was told as a freshman then that the roses are given out to the prettiest girls (I don’t know if that was true but that was the supposed story behind the roses) and some girls studying in the University have it on their “Before I graduate UP list” to get a rose from a frat guy running the Oblation Run. Now the biggest reason they have the Oblation Run is to shed light on issues in the country, as UP is a university known for its protests, and a lot of students are activists as well [because it’s the state funded university]. In 2009, when I was a freshman, the biggest issue was the Maguindanao Massacre where about 60 journalists were murdered, allegedly by the family of the governor of one of the provinces to the south. But anyway, the biggest thing that’s important about the run is that they use their bodies to draw attention to issues. It’s a huge event every year, and people do go to the university just to see it in December and it’s always covered by all the big media giants in the country. (I have a video somewhere, but it’s not as good as some of the ones I found on Youtube, because these people were actually IN FRONT where you get a good view).

NSFW!

And a news clip from 2009:

It says that once again, people flocked to see the annual Oblation Run of the APO Fraternity at the University of the Philippines, but this year, there seems to be a deeper meaning to running naked, because they believe that this will help bring about changes in the midst of crisis in the country.

You can see in that video that girls are squealing, covering their faces (quite hilarious that at 0:33 the girl is covering herself with a paper mask of the current vice president of the Philippines. Apparently, that year, I can’t remember if it was the 50th or 100th anniversary of the fraternity and Vice President Binay was apparently participating in the run as well, which would be quite the sight because… yeah. But I’m not sure if he was there because you can’t tell the guys’ faces because of the masks… unless of course you know them by their penises which would be quite hilarious), and yes even guys were squealing. The girl interviewed says “It’s much bigger this year than last year!!!”. The guy says that he loved seeing “the show” (I forgot the english equivalent of the word kinilig), and more girls loved getting the aforementioned rose (including a couple of foreigners who I guess went to the university just to see it… not a rare sight at that time haha) But the biggest reason for the run is to shed light on the issues.

5 thoughts on “The Oblation Run.

  1. I’ve heard about this in the news. I’m not quite sure that this is the best way to bring attention to issues, considering the way that the interviewees responded (especially the guy, haha). It’s definitely an attention-grabber, though.

    As Paula mentioned, the reporter in the second clip mentioned that the the ones who received the roses were ‘kinilig’. There isn’t really a direct English translation for this word, I don’t think. In this case, I think the best definition is this one:

    “That feeling you get from having interacted with a person you love or find attractive – butterflies in your stomach, blushing, giggling/smiling uncontrollably.
    To experience this emotion is referred to as “kinikilig”. This can also be vicarious.”

    taken from http://betterthanenglish.com/kilig-tagalog/

  2. It isn’t the best, but considering it’s UP, they’d do anything to shed light on issues that they think the government is ignoring. I also think that the reason they still carry the “protest” part of it until today is because of how it began, as a protest against the Marcos regime during Martial Law when a lot of ways to express yourself was prohibited so the tradition carries on until today. Also I think reactions are a mix of oh my gosh why do they do this to utter fascination, because obviously they don’t really talk about showing your private parts, even for protest purposes (because obviously of the culture), but it’s definitely one thing that identifies the university.

    And you’re right, anon. I asked my mother a couple of days ago if there was an accurate translation of the word kinilig and she said there isn’t a direct way of translating the word to English and its meaning does vary according to how it would seem in English.

    It’s definitely a must-see, even once, if you happen to be in UP during that time (and it’s also followed a few weeks later by another huge event shedding light on issues, the Lantern Parade). I also remember in 2009, when I saw it, I was told that some teachers just proceed as usual with their classes, even if girls are screaming as the men run by, so there’s that too and there are also teachers who encourage and might even give you plus points in class if you go attend it.

    • Anon here. I think I get all of the feelings that you’ve mentioned whenever this comes up in the news, haha. I discussed this with my friend who has also seen it once. She agrees that it’s quite a special event. I’ll definitely try to make it out there in the future (although I’m usually quite far away from QC). :)

  3. I noticed from the videos that a lot of women are giggling and laughing. It seems like the reaction of women who see naked men is really different from the way men react if they see naked women.

    I think I would be laughing uncontrollably if I saw a bunch of naked men with their parts swinging back and forth. It’s just kind of hilarious.

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