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Padayon, Iskolar ng Bayan! Celebs, personalities share tips, words of wisdom to UPCAT passers

By Melanie Uson Published Apr 19, 2024 8:47 pm Updated Apr 20, 2024 3:46 pm

The University of the Philippines (UP) has welcomed the new batch of Iskos and Iskas from across the country. 

After months (or years) of devoting their time, energy, and money to rigorous studying and other preparations to pass the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT), the new scholars are now set to pursue their respective degrees in the upcoming years. 

Now a UP student, apart from making it a goal to pass your midterm and final exams, one thing you might also think of is how you will make your stay worthwhile. PhilSTAR L!fe asked public figures who graduated from UP for their tips and words of encouragement that the new scholars could carry as they embark on their journey in the university.

Karen Davila
Veteran broadcast journalist Karen Davila.

TV Patrol anchor Karen Davila, who earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at UP Diliman says “It’s an honor to be an ISKO and ISKA!” 

“Don’t waste the opportunity of being in UP! Value your classes, pay attention, open your mind to new ideas, engage with students from different social classes - don’t stick with your own kind,” she shared. 

“Above all, remember - a lot is expected from a UP student! Fly and make us all proud!” she added. 

Davila has won many accolades, locally and internationally throughout her career in journalism. Apart from being a journalist, she also serves as a UN Women National Goodwill Ambassador for the Philippines. 

Ariel Rojas 
Ariel Rojas, ABS-CBN's resident meteorologist and weather anchor. 

Ariel Rojas, who earned his bachelor's degree in food technology and master's degree in meteorology from UP Diliman, wishes new UP students to carry and be guided by the university’s motto, “Honor and Excellence.” 

“Sana mag-enjoy kayo at maraming matutunan lalo sa labas ng mga silid-aralan ng UP nating mahal. At sana sa inyong pagtatapos, inyong paglingkuran ang sambayanan. Padayon!” he added. 

Rojas now works as a resident meteorologist at ABS-CBN and weather anchor for TV Patrol. 

Arah Virtucio 
licensed veterinarian and content creator Arah Virtucio.

Licensed veterinarian and content creator Arah Virtucio from UP Los Baños advised the new scholars to “stay curious” and “keep pushing boundaries.” 

“Your hard work and dedication have paid off, opening new doors to a world of possibilities. Pero tandaan, ito’y simula pa lamang ng inyong lakbay bilang Iskolar ng Bayan,” she said. 

“Stay curious, keep pushing boundaries, persevere, and serve the people. Your future is bright, and it’s up to you how you will utilize this opportunity, kaya padayon Iskolar ng Bayan!” she added.

Mariz Umali 
GMA News' veteran journalist Mariz Umali.

Being admitted at the prestigious state university comes with great honor and great pressure, but veteran journalist Mariz Umali, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication from UP Diliman encourages the new Iskos and Iskas to “enjoy every moment as a student and learn as much as you can.” 

“I’m sure, with your exposure to social media and technology, a lot of you are already equipped with so many skills needed in today’s world. But nothing beats the knowledge and experience you will learn from the premiere University,” she said. 

She noted how the world is ever-changing, so she advises them to welcome new experiences with an “open mind, open heart, and a willingness to grow.” 

“Each of you has a unique voice and perspective that can make a difference in our world. So use this opportunity, maximize this time to ask questions, seek advice, and forge connections that can help you along your journey,” Umali added. 

“Stay curious, stay passionate, and most importantly, stay true to yourself,” she added, reminding that being a UP student is not just about academics, but is also about “being socially aware, critical thinkers, and agents of change.” 

“The future of our country is in your hands, and I have no doubt that each of you will do amazing things for the betterment of our society…DAHIL… taga UP ka! Muli, Congratulations at Mabuhay kayong mga bagong Iskolar ng Bayan! God bless you all!” she concluded. 

Danilo Arao 
UP alumnus and professor Danilo Arao.

As part of its culture, the community also has its superstitions that were passed to generations, but Danilo Arao, a journalist and UP alumnus and professor advised new scholars to ignore these, and just “try your best to graduate on time.” 

“If you choose to study at UPD, try your best to graduate on time. Ignore these superstitions that will supposedly delay your graduation: (1) Taking a picture with Oblation statue; (2) Buying UP souvenir shirts depending on the number (i.e., 1 shirt=1 sem),” he wrote in his Facebook post.

Vicki Belo
Vicki Belo, celebrity dermatologist and psychology graduate from UP Diliman. 

Celebrity dermatologist Vicki Belo, who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from UP Diliman, told L!fe that campus life “is a microcosm of the real world out there.”  

Some “life hacks” she shared to survive your time in the university are to ask friends about the “terror” and “nice” professors as well as making sure to be early during enrollment to get the best classes. 
Moral support is one of the integral factors that will help you keep going, Vicki noted. “Recruit friends and family to line up for you. Coordinate like a military operation,” she added. 

Christian Bautista 
Christian Bautista, singer and landscape architecture graduate from UP Diliman. 

Outside academics, singer Christian Bautista also shared tips on how you can make the most out of your experience on the UP Diliman campus.  

“Explore the campus. Try the fishballs, look for Mang Larry’s isaw. Ride the IKOT and the TOKI,” he shared to L!fe.  

The Landscape Architecture graduate also advised the new student to always “Be curious and be adventurous.” 

“Discover possibilities that [are] unique only to you. Look for ways to better yourself, your family, your class, your university, your city, your country. UP Fight!” he said.