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How The UP Travel Society Is Serving The Community

UPTS also organizes alternative classroom learning experiences.

The UP Travel Society is the first university-based travel organization in Asia. Service-oriented, it holds activities and events that are all about giving back to the community. Read on to find out what the members do!

1. It has a charity excursion program.

Musmosyalan, coined from musmos and pasyalan, is the UP Travel Society’s (UPTS) flagship event. Held every year, Musmosyalan takes less privileged kids, usually from orphanages, to different destinations within and near Metro Manila.

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Through it, kids have visited the Manila Ocean Park, Museo Pambata, Fun Farm in Sta. Elena in Laguna, to name a few. UPTS does this because it believes traveling widens horizons, and that children from orphanages are those who are usually deprived of travel opportunities.

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Mikee Ricafrente, UPTS’ vice president for external affairs, says, “Letting less fortunate kids travel is giving them the joy that can only be had by traveling. We want to give them the opportunity to experience a leisurely trip at least once in their lives.”

2. It holds a hangout session with the kids to know where they want to go.

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UPTS now has a Pre-Musmosyalan event to discover where its beneficiaries want to go. This helps ensure that everyone enjoys the trip itself. Although its purpose is clear and straightforward, Pre-Musmosyalan lets UPTS members and the kids spend an afternoon filled with games, storytelling, and gift giving.

This year, kids wanted to go to the beach. “But due to logistical concerns and safety considerations, we arranged an outdoor swimming session for them in a private pool instead. We later learned that it was their first time for something like that,” shares Sharmaine dela Cruz, a graduating tourism major.

3. It conducts talks and seminars about responsible and sustainable tourism.

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UPTS organizes alternative classroom learning experiences, which are talks held every semester. One was on responsible traveling, another on packing lighter, faster, and smarter. There was even a seminar on the best hiking and trekking spots near Manila. One of the bigger ones was a critique of voluntourism, which involves doing volunteer in a foreign place. “Ethical considerations and socio-cultural impacts were discussed,” says Sharmaine.

4. It has a week-long surprise for the UP community.

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UPTS holds TS Week annually to celebrate its anniversary. It’s a week spent not only remembering the org’s 32-year history, but also treating the student body as a way of giving back to the community. It has organized free IKOT rides, Zumba sessions, and boodle feasts, to name a few.

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Stephanie Shi
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Katherine Go A day ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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