Sunday, February 25, 2024

Hibalag reopens to public

By Allianah Bolotaulo | August 21, 2023

With the lifting of COVID-19 health protocols in the country, Silliman University’s (SU) Hibalag Booth Festival returned to its pre-pandemic setup, welcoming both constituents and the general public to the annual celebration. 

The festival will run for 11 days, from Aug. 19 to 29, at the Ravello Ballfield.

Jedidiah Clarin, chairperson of Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) Committee on Student Organizations (COMSO), said that last year’s Hibalag catered only to Sillimanians, some alumni, and invited guests. 

“We limited the people inside to avoid overcrowding as we were still following the COVID-19 [health and safety] protocols,” she said. 

Now that restrictions on attendees have been loosened, the SUSG implemented the following health protocols: wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and using sanitary kits, which include alcohol. 

Moreover, security checks at all entrances and the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and vapes will be mandated as part of the safety protocols.

Guidelines on COVID-19 minimum health measures will be displayed around the booths. This is to ensure the safety of all attendees and prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to SUSG President Enrica Dinopol.

In collaboration with other SUSG executive committees and the SU Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, volunteers will be deployed to maintain crowd control while health marshals will enforce protocols.

Waste watchers will also be in charge of ensuring that all trash on campus is disposed of in accordance with the university’s environmental policies.

Essence of Hibalag

On opening Hibalag again to the general public, Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope, vice president for academic affairs, said that it is a tradition showcasing to the world that “Silliman is reaching out.”

“The idea is, after the pandemic, we thank God… It is a celebration that we survived and we move on,” he said. 

Cleope added that the festival is part of the university’s aim to give students a “whole person education.” 

“It should not always be technical, hard facts, analysis, science… There’s also a human dimension wherein you also will develop your social skills,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Dinopol described Hibalag as Sillimanians coming together, whether freshmen, graduating students, or alumni. 

“You’ll notice that most of the organizations there, even if classes have not started yet, have placed so much effort already in trying to bring together different roots,” she said. 

The Hibalag Booth Festival is an event where student organizations put up booths and conduct different activities in celebration of the university’s founding.

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