by Kat Bolaños (2022)
The ‘-ber’ months are often synonymous with colder weather and the rise in popularity of Jose Mari Chan songs which herald the holiday season. For students of the UP College of Medicine, the ‘-ber’ months also mark that time of the year when chorale music starts to fill the rooms of Calderon Hall, students scramble to look for space on campus to practice their dance routines, and free time is used for making all kinds of props and costumes. Yep, TRP season is here and preparations are well underway.
Now on its 45th year, TRP, which stands for “Tao Rin Pala”, is organized by the UP Medical Students Society and is one of the largest and most anticipated events in the College of Medicine. Students, faculty and members of the different PGH departments come together annually for a night of exhibition, celebration and a little friendly competition.
With TRP fast approaching, I managed to get an interview with the people tasked with spearheading the event and making it all possible. Lorena Osorio (LU 5) and Simoune Licuanan (LU 3) readily offer up their personal insights and expectations, and give us some insider information on what goes into the making of TRP.
UP MEDICS: Please explain your respective roles in TRP.
SIMOUNE LICUANAN (SL): As TRP Director, ako yung naghe-head ng creative aspect ng production. So that means I’m in charge of programs, stage design creation and conceptualization, coordinating with our pub team, souv prog (souvenir program committee), and the chorale competition. Tandem din ako with Ate Lorena so yung mga administrative work, paperwork for TRP, siya yung naghahandle.
LORENA OSORIO (LO): My role as TRP Head focuses on what happens behind the scenes. Yung kay Simoune is more of what happens on the night itself. My job is more of making TRP possible- the logistical aspect, the finance and marketing aspect, and I help out on TRP night too because I hold the technicals committee. I also handle Advocacy, kasi TRP is also a way for us to raise funds for the MSS Scholarship Fund. This year, we’re funding one scholar from the Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School here in Malate.
SL: Mostly nag-ooverlap kami sa roles.
LO: We check with each other, “Is this okay? Is this okay?”
UP MEDICS: The TRP Head and Director are elected positions in MSS. What made you want to run for your positions?
SL: It was actually unexpected on my part, ‘cause I had no plans of running. May nag-tap lang sakin tapos naisip ko ‘Ah okay I really love TRP naman so why not.’ And it’s been great so far, kasi you see it happen and you make it happen.
LO: Same for me. Actually hindi ko naman siya in-e-expect na kunin, pero they suggested na ‘You could probably run,’ tapos syempre there was a lot of thinking (on my part). So far naman, there have been no regrets. The work is tedious, minsan nag-i -interfere sa acads, but it’s okay kasi TRP is (as much) a part of UPCM as academics. So for me, it’s all worth it naman.
UP MEDICS: Is your position now anything like you expected it to be? In terms of workload, the tasks given to you etc.?
SL: I wasn’t expecting it to be easy. From the very start, I knew na it would be kind of a juggle. Kasi you have your acads tapos you have the work here, and hindi kasi siya nag-sto-stop ‘pag weekdays. So you have to balance it talaga. Medyo congruent naman siya sa inexpect ko. Parang okay naman yung planning namin beforehand, so in a way, hindi siya sobrang overwhelming.
LO: Well they say planning is 50% of the work done. So ever since we got elected, during the vacation we planned already. We already had volunteers and may timeline na.
UP MEDICS: What percentage of your time do you devote to TRP?
SL: 60-70 (laughs)?
LO: 50 yung baseline and then it goes up from there.
UP MEDICS: Can you walk us through the process of preparing for TRP?
(Simoune and Lorena both laugh)
SL: Oh it was funny ano ba yan, how did it start out? (to Lorena)
LO: It started with the theme.
SL: Yeah, ‘di kami magkakilala nun eh. The very first time we met, we had to make our GPOA (for the elections) so we planned for the theme and everything. When we found out that we were both running, we thought ‘Okay let’s work as a team na lang’ ganun.
LO: Before we were elected, we had a set of ideas for the theme pa lang, but nothing concrete. It was after we got elected na we really fleshed out the themes that we had in mind.
SL: End of May, theme yung pini-pitch namin sa ExeComm (Executive Committee) ng org.
LO: After that we made sure na na-delegate yung tasks between the two of us. ‘Di ba there’s a lot of tasks, everything from programs to chorale to logistics to finance. We had to make those lines distinct so each of us could focus on our task talaga.
SL: Para may takbuhan yung people working for those committees if something goes wrong. Hindi yung naguguluhan sila on which person to approach. Maraming endorsements and all from the past TRP heads for that. After that we formed our team, made timetables, and looked for the venue.
LO: We considered other venues as well because TRP is an event that gets bigger every year. Pero sa huli, Fleur-de-lis pa rin because of location talaga.
UP MEDICS: How did you come up with the theme for this year, “Routes”, and what other themes did you consider?
LO: We wanted to follow “Decades” which was the theme of last year’s TRP. We liked the idea of “Decades” because it’s simple, it’s easy to follow, pero it doesn’t compromise the fact na there’s a lot of room for creativity from the performers. So we wanted a theme along the same vein.
SL: The biggest challenge was looking for something that hasn’t been done before, kasi ilan na yung TRP, so we have to come up with a theme na kakaiba.
LO: The other theme we considered was “Dreamscapes.”
SL: Medyo childhood related siya, medyo Disney vibe.
LO: Yung dalawang theme yung prinesent namin (to the Execomm) and we all deliberated.
SL: Either way, kahit alin dun yung napili, we were willing to work on it na. So we were like, ‘Okay which one do you like better?’
UP MEDICS: Can you explain the theme and its personal significance to you?
SL: Basically, “Routes” wants to tell a story kasi. You know how Manila is medyo “ugly pretty?” Parang ganun siya. So we wanted to show people na beyond yung medyo magulo, pollution, and all that, merong story yung bawat street. Meron siyang history, may culture yung mga taong nakatira dun and that’s what we want to show. Everyday life.
LO: For me yung personal significance niya is as a commuter (laughs), and as someone who likes to take walks in the city. There’s a difference between just driving along the streets and really walking. Nakikita mo yung maliliit na elements na you usually pass by lang. For example yung mga old buildings na nasa Rizal Ave and Osmeña, these buildings are derelict na, but when you really stop and look at them, they have a lot of history also. That’s what we want people to see also. People like saying ‘#NotinManila’ ganyan, parang they want to get away from Manila, but there’s also something beautiful in our city.
UP MEDICS: What are things that happen behind the scenes that you think people aren’t aware of?
LO: I think for me, there’s a lot of heart that goes into the pubs. When you see the pubs, you just say ‘Wow amazing, there’s really nice pubs!’, but those pubs took a lot of work (laughs), a lot of time, and other failed candidates.
SL: For me, to be honest, the very fact that the show is mounted every year, ang heavy niya kasi sa finance, marketing, and all that. Pag audience ka, ang makikita mo lang people performing pero what did it take to get that there? Yeah medyo maraming work talaga (laughs).
UP MEDICS: What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered while preparing for TRP and how did you overcome it?
LO: I think one aspect na hindi naman nahirapan, pero it took us time to sort it out, was the subthemes. Our subthemes were streets in Metro Manila. Some of the streets were recognizable right away, some of the streets need a little explaining. Tapos there were performers who requested for another street, ganyan. In the end, we listened, we compromised if pwede. Basta it fits the criteria and we believe na it’s worthy to be shown also.
UP MEDICS: What is your vision for TRP this year? What should people look forward to?
SL: I want it to be like a celebration of the stories that each of us have to tell. UP students are very creative, we know that naman. Pwedeng mag-inject ng social relevance, pwede kung ano mang gusto nila. So that’s what I want people to see, na very diverse siya.
LO: We also want to see a night of creativity and fun that makes us well-rounded students (laughs) , as cliche as it may sound.
UP MEDICS: What is the best part about your experience so far as the TRP Head and Director?
SL: For me it’s been the people. I’m new to the org so it’s been a way for me to get to know who I’m with and build rapport talaga with them. Tapos nakikita mo how talented people are, as in, kahit busy kayo sa acads, they can whip up really mad pubs and beautiful stage designs.
LO: Actually yun rin for me, the people in the organization, Pati people outside the organization like when we communicate with the Dean or the Chancellor, they’re also very supportive.
UP MEDICS: Do you have any messages for people regarding TRP?
SL: Please go to TRP (laughs)!
LO: Yeah please go to TRP and we also look forward to your performance in TRP (laughs).
Tao Rin Pala 45: Routes will be held on November 29 (Thursday) at the Fleur-de-lis Auditorium of St. Paul University Manila.
Also, tickets are now on sale! Get yours at tinyurl.com/trp45routestickets (or text Jed Golez at 0917 302 2184 for details)
When tweeting or posting about TRP 45: Routes, please use the official hashtags, #ThisCityIsOurs #TaoRinPala #TRP45Routes.