It was a sign. A symbol. It meant fun. Lights. Events. It was a taste of the holidays. It was a whiff of Good Things to Come. It was a forerunner of the long-awaited, much-talked-of Xavier Days: The Cut-off. 4pm? Yes! Students rejoiced. Of course, there were some unfortunate individuals whose day did end at 4pm anyway -- they missed the essence of the cut-off.
Chairs stretched from the front of the chapel to the front driveway of the campus as the opening mass began. Everything in sight of the chapel which resembled a seat was sat upon. Students sat quiet -- a lot of students. The main part of the student body, in fact. There was a microphone and speaker system hooked up; I must say the sound quite carried, the students at the back almost understood what was being said.
Ever observed Xavier University, on a normal school day, from a bird's eye point of view, with heat-vision goggles? Well, that big clearing free of the mundane traffic of XU -- that's the soccer field. Who walks on the thing, right? He'd have to be slightly demented or have a bad case of attention-deficiency to do such a thing. Why, it's in direct defiance of the soccer field's unwritten rules! The soccer field is for soccer players. Period. With one exception. Oh yes, people: the Xavier Days. Witness the transformation! Our sacred soccer field had actually joined the ranks of the other much-traversed sites of the campus. In fact, it's quite the highway! Booths surround it and students are all over it, sitting, standing, walking. The soccer field has taken on the guise of a well-known amusement park.
As the sky darkened on that first night, the lights came on. And what lights! They hung in sparkling chains from all the trees and trailed over the chapel roof. They lit up the campus like a new morning. They adorned the college trees. And speaking of those trees... SBM sported a fierce eagle and paper-money ornaments. CIT had decorations of shiny discs and old PC's; the College of Nursing's tree was hung with syringe-studded balls and strangled by the famous Snake of Medicine. Good job, people; St. Francis would be proud.
The royal courts of Physical Education were spruced up as well. New stages had been brought in, and there was a large leafless tree to set the atmosphere and take the spotlight. The tree witnessed dancing, singing, and instrument playing in the course of the Xavier Days. One wonders how they brought that tree in. Hmmm.
And to feed that great throng of students entering XU's gates? Aside from the aforementioned booths, indeed, it seemed the Night Cafe had moved in! Though the free refills of buko juice got left behind in Divisoria. Blame the rent rates.
A side-trip to the Lumbia National High School, in interest of the Adopt-a-School Book Drive in cooperation with Stream's Sharing the Light, took place on the afternoon of the second day. Boxes of books are heavy! And there were about 7 of them! A small team composed of members of Streams and The Crusader Publication drove off to the Project Launching in a couple of jeeps. The students gave us a nice dance presentation in their very own mini covered-court, and the highlight of the occasion was seeing their own little library after the ceremony. There as they listened to chit-chat about the school, XU students munched on cashew nuts, cassava cake, puto, and bananas -- makes one think of the irony of eating in a library.
Each day of Xavier Days brought more booths and attractions -- food, clothes, henna tattoos, and a lot more. Ideally one should have a sum of cash with him to properly enjoy Xavier Days -- and that's a lesson learned!
People paraded around in colorful costumes -- the 'cosplay', they say -- but I'll leave that to the anime-lovers.
A final event toward the end of the last day drew crowds: the hip-hop dance competition. Now that was a wow! For sure they hipped and they hopped like fury! Twas amazing; eyes and mouths hung open at the sight. Splendid.
And with all the finery and novelty of the Xavier Days, is it a wonder that we remember it? In the midst of all the Unrecognized Heroes' Days... Xavier Days is prepared for, discussed, awaited, and enjoyed.
Xavier Days. Celebrating the feast day of our patron saint, St. Francis Xavier. Like Christmas and All Souls' Day, 'tis a date to remember: the 3rd of December.
Note: Updates photos 12/20/2010 9:00 PM.