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Monsters University: Mapúans under the Halloween shadow

Article by: Albert L. Dela Cruz, Frances Qarl M. Tolosa, and Michaella Louise A. Llopis

Graphics by: Cassius Klai C. Francisco and Ma. Alyssa Therese S. Manalang

Known for their brightness and brilliance, Mapúans are no stranger to bathing in the spotlight. Come the Halloween season, all-around content, be it on television, social media posts, or print, would typically feature sightings of the supernatural. Of course, Mapúa University (MU) will not be left in the shadows.

As the cold chill of Halloween night meets the hot close of the 11th week, The New Builder unveils the alter-egos that Mapúans transform into throughout the term. On a whimsical journey through the zombie-fueled halls of MU, the normal turns into nightmares and you might just find some students are more than meets the eye.

Diwatas and Engkantos: The Fresh Campus Crushes

Within the confines of a fast-paced environment, it is not uncommon for Mapúans to be sleep-deprived and stressed and, consequently, look a bit run down due to an overwhelming workload — but there is a rare breed of Cardinals who appear unbothered by it all.

In the so-called “hell weeks,” where students are bombarded with exams, thesis presentations, and deadlines, there are Mapúans who effortlessly stay fresh. Even the blazing heat from walking in Intramuros or a battle-inflicting commute could not hinder them from smelling like freshly picked daisies.

Soft-spoken, humble, and kind, Diwatas and Engkantos always enter the campus with Instagram-worthy outfits paired with complete hours of sleep, hopefully not at the cost of good grades. The stress of the ending term does not show up on their pretty faces. Mesmerized, one could only wish to unlock the secret of these Mapúans.

Multos: The Groupwork Ghosters

Ever wondered what ghosts look like? A shadow? A ball of light? Fret not because they are present all year round! Look around, and perhaps you will have the misfortune of encountering one. Whether it is for basic essays in GED courses or heavy research papers for the majors, these groupmates are undoubtedly the ones people would want to avoid.

Amidst the raging deadlines and blaring alarms, these Mapúan ghosters are the literal no-show groupmates. They linger to ask what the project is about, claiming a part but never executing it. Their eerie presence may also be felt through minor ‘seen’ statuses in the group chat. Some would haunt the leaders after peer evaluation, begging for reconsideration. Some of them would vanish into thin air, seemingly crossing the bridge of the afterlife: drop the course, retake the next term.

Manananggals: The Multitaskers

Most Mapúans — especially in their freshmen years — struggle to cope with the daunting workload and tight deadlines. With the quarterm system, many falter and give in to the rubbles of the busy college life, willingly sacrificing their social lives and leisure time.

However, some emerge to adapt and overcome this adversity. Akin to modern-day Manananggals, these Mapúans can split themselves to carry on different extracurriculars while maintaining good academic standing and healthy social life. Some can be seen slipping away from campus under the shroud of late-night hours, mysteriously possessed with the energy to still go to their social nights, all the while acing their exams the very next day. Manananggals are freaks of nature who are not to be messed with.

Tikbalangs: The Chronic Crammers

It is no secret that deadlines in Mapúa pop up like mushrooms in the wild. While some students may choose to accomplish some tasks ahead of time, these modern-day Mapúan Tikbalangs — much like the horse-human fusion they are likened to — like the thrill of chasing deadlines.

They can often be observed playing online games or scrolling through social media for hours on end, perhaps going out with friends or even sleeping until who knows when. They appear calm before realizing the heaps of due dates they must catch, running through the course of time. The masters of clutching, the manipulators of time: seizing the term, one deadline at a time.

Tiyanaks: The Frosh Blood

Mapúans remember the first time they entered the gates of the red and gold campus: full of hope and dreams as they begin their journeys in their dream university. Having a blast on their first week, exploring the campuses, and navigating through the go-to spots after class, these budding Cardinals quite literally have their whole college life ahead of them. That is until exam week, when they unfortunately have their first encounter with the frightening shade of red on their Blackboard grades or written exams.

Tiyanaks, like the child-like vampiric creatures of Philippine myths, are the youngsters who experience huge setbacks early on their college lives, turning their previously fresh and charming auras into a deadline-chasing monsters. These creatures got an early taste of red and most of them are shaped into striving better and becoming more strategic in their academic endeavors.

Kapres: The Street-smart Giants

Although Mapúans aim for excellence and spend countless hours perfecting their crafts, there are those who prefer to take it nice and chill. Just along San Francisco Street, coloquially known as the “Kantunan,” are the resting grounds of the modern-day Kapres.

Having mastered the art of stoicism, one will see peace and tranquility in their faces even after receiving a bad grade. If asked, it does not matter for the Kapres if it takes a long time to graduate — as long as they eventually do. Despite their intimidating auras, they are often helpful, kind, and gentle giants (granted that you stay on their good side), much like the Kapres of Filipino folklore.

Of course, it is important to highlight that Mapúans cannot be caged nor limited by these stereotypes. Every one of us has our strengths and coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges of our college journeys. While it is fun to imagine ourselves as one with the supernatural, nothing would feel more enchanting than one’s perseverance and commitment to success — one of the hallmarks of a true mythical Mapúan.

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