Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Oblation

The Oblation at UP Diliman

To any alumni of the University of the Philippines in any campus in the country, the Oblation is one symbol, one could get attached or identify himself with the Alma Mater.  The nakedness of the man speaks about symbolic sacrifice to the country and the whole of humanity.  Aside from nationalism and patriotism, it speaks about freedom of expression, a characteristic evident in each campus through fashion, self expression, the arts, etc. and even in protest actions. 
1) The Oblation at UP Visayas Miag-ao Campus 2) The Oblation at UP Visayas Iloilo Campus

A masterpiece of the great sculptor, Guillermo Tolentino, The Oblation was commissioned by the first President of the University of the Philippines, President Rafael Palma.  Palma ordered to translate the second stanza of Jose Rizal's "Mi Ultimo Adios" or "Last Farewell" into a monument which has now become the landmark of any University of the Philippines Campus.
Rizal's "Last Farewell", Second Stanza

*Spanish (original)*

En campos de batalla,
luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas,
sin duda, sin pesar,
El sitio nada importa:
cipres, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto,
combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden
la patria y el hogar.
- Jose Rizal


In barricades imbattled;
fighting with delirium,
others donate you their lives
without doubts, without gloom,
The site doesn't matter;
cypress, laurel or lily;
gibbet or open field,
combat or cruel martyrdom,
are equal if demanded
by country and home.
- /Translated by Nick Joaquin/ -
The Oblation at UP Los Baños

"The completely nude figure of a young man with outstretched arms and open hands, with tilted head, closed eyes and parted lips murmuring a prayer, with breast forward in the act of offering himself, is my interpretation of that sublime stanza."

Above is the exact word's of Tolentino regarding his masterpiece.  Originally, the figure was purely nude.  The fig leaf or the katakataka leaf was added upon the suggestion of President Jorge Bocobo. Katakataka plants, which grows anywhere with any part of it, symbolizes how deeprooted patriotism should be, similar to our heroes. The height of the statue is 3.5 m representing the 350 years of Spanish reign.

The original oblation is now located in the 3rd Floor of the University Library in UP Diliman.

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