By Sean Sy (Class 2023)
“Omg. TRP na.”
That line feels a bit different this time around. This year, there won’t be any scrambling to get chorale pieces perfected in time for the night ahead. This year, there won’t be any elegant costumes, no grandiose props and stage backdrops, and no surgeons dancing with water guns in nothing but their underwear.
This year – this entire year – feels different.
Nevertheless, the spirit of Tao Rin Pala vehemently persists. With or without the theatrics that have essentially become synonymous with the event, UPCM’s beloved TRP proudly charges into its 47th year, albeit in a slightly different form – a podcast series.
To learn more about how the UP Medical Students’ Society (MSS) is approaching the unenviable challenge of translating one of the most anticipated events in the UPCM community onto an online platform, we interviewed this year’s TRP director (Jea Alcovendaz, Class 2023) and TRP Head (Lorenzo Tranquilino, Class 2023). Here is what they had to say:
UP Medics: So, Tao Rin Pala in the middle of a pandemic. How different was the experience of planning TRP this year from what you expected?
Lorenzo Tranquilino (Renzo): Well, when Jea and I took this on, it was already a few months into quarantine so we already knew more or less that we would be doing everything online. For me, one thing that I did not foresee was all the messaging and chatting and group conversations that would be involved in planning. (laughs) As someone who usually just lurks in group convos, it’s definitely taken me out of my comfort zone.
Jea Alcovendaz (Jea): Yeah. It’s definitely as expected. (laughs) It’s been hard because everything’s online.
UP Medics: How did you get to the theme “Voices”? Were there any other themes you considered?
Renzo: In the early stages, TRP 47 wasn’t originally going to be a podcast. It was originally just going to be a literal translation of the original TRP format to an online medium, with us simply posting performance videos of the different participating groups and calling it a day. However, with everything going on with us at home, as medical students, and with the country, we realized how important TRP is as a platform now more than ever. We started looking into possible mediums that would be doable considering our constraints given the pandemic, as well as more suitable to the online format. We ended up settling on a podcast format, which we hoped would allow for some insightful discussions and perspectives on the different topics and issues that have become increasingly relevant during the course of the pandemic. In terms of putting a name to the theme, we have our lovely director Jea to thank for coming up with the name “Voices” hehe.
Jea: Voices came primarily from this year’s podcast format. But it’s also a tribute to how TRP started – an avenue for medical students to express their thoughts, opinions, and creative freedom during the very oppressive Martial Law. This year, we wanted to honor TRP’s roots. With everything that’s been happening, and with all the issues our country and countrymen are forced to face as we try to survive through the pandemic, we wanted to give our fellow medical students an avenue where they can share their thoughts and opinions on various topics relevant to our situation.
UP Medics: Well, how has planning gone? Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s going on behind the scenes?
Renzo: Planning was definitely a bit rough in the beginning since we were given the undesirable task of revamping TRP and basically creating a whole new event. Several months later and everything seems to have fallen into place so everything is definitely going much smoother now
Jea: Definitely! But we’ve finished recording nearly half of the participants for this year’s TRP! It’s all been very interesting and enlightening, and we can’t wait for you guys to hear them.
UP Medics: What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in bringing one of UPCM’s most iconic events in Tao Rin Pala into the online medium?
Jea: One of our bigger concerns was how to keep TRP alive (and relevant), considering that it’s one of the biggest events of the College. But after a series of Zoom meetings (huhu), we found out that a lot of our schoolmates actually still wanted to experience TRP. The support we’ve been receiving from the organizations and classes has been so overwhelming, and we are very thankful that they share and believe in the goals that TRP 47 seeks to achieve.
Renzo: Honestly I think Jea said everything na. It’s definitely been an interesting experience.
UP Medics: What is your vision for TRP this year?
Jea: TRP 47 is a brief departure from the extravagant nature of previous TRPs, which allows us to focus on the more socially-relevant and socially-driven aspect of the event. We hope that the subthemes – Self, Scholar, and Nation – will be able to tackle topics that have probably crossed our minds at least once since the lockdown. Altogether, we hope that TRP 47 would bring a familiar feeling to our audiences – that each podcast would feel like having a deep and enlightening conversation with a friend.
Renzo: Yeah. We hope that people take time to participate (by tuning in to the podcasts) and that despite the drastic change in how we’re holding TRP, it still resonates with all the students of UPCM and the rest of the UPCM-PGH community, and that it invigorates within us the spirit of Tao Rin Pala.
UP Medics: To close, do you have any messages for the UPCM community?
Jea: All podcasts will be uploaded on TRP 47’s official facebook page: facebook.com/TaoRinPala! We hope you can support the participating organizations and classes by giving the series a listen!
Renzo: The podcasts will also be available on Spotify, para pwede mas convenient hanapin at balikan ang mga episode!
Also, since there won’t be any TRP ticket sales like in previous years, our main form of income this year will be in the form of donations. Proceeds from the event will be going to our beneficiaries: the Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School, the Kulay Group of Artists, and the UP MSS COVID-19 Drive. If you feel it within your heart to donate, you may do so via the following channels:
Maria Jennica B. Alcovendaz
2549 069 056
Arlyn Jave B. Adlawon
00 799 0070 607
Bernabe Angel D. Salazar
0916 724 0513
Christopher Rey L. Estrada
0908 951 6872
Lorenzo Miguel D. Tranquilino
No pandemic will stop UPCM’s doctors and doctors-to-be from showcasing their passions and celebrating their humanity.
The first episode of the Tao Rin Pala 47: Voices podcast will premiere on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. For more information, drop by the official Tao Rin Pala facebook page at www.facebook.com/TaoRinPala or visit their twitter @TaoRinPala.
#WeStillCan #TRP47Voices #TaoRinPala