In U.P. fraternities are recognized by the university as legitimate organizations that play active roles on campus. In U.P. Diliman alone, there are about fifteen to twenty recognized, active fraternities whose tambayans are scattered all over campus. Having said so, frat life in U.P. is not seen as something taboo or unusual. Chances are, you have already encountered a fratman in one of your classes proudly wearing his fraternity’s seal shirt, or you already have friends who are members of different fraternities. I myself am a proud member of a fraternity. And I must say that the knowledge of my membership by friends and family drew their attention to ask some interesting, funny, and sometimes even misinformed questions often linked to the stigma about fraternities – which I am certain other fratmen were also asked about. Here are five of the most common questions we encounter.
1) Fratman ka?? So tumatakbo kang nakahubad???
While this is the funniest question ever asked to us fratmen, this is also surprisingly the most commonly asked. It gets me thinking “is this how other people view frats nowadays – a bunch of dudes running around naked in campus?” Without a doubt, the Oblation Run is one of the most popular events held annually in U.P. However this is not representative of the whole fraternity community since only one fraternity is responsible for joining and conducting it. So to answer this question – No, I have never ran around naked in campus although it seems quite fun to do. Isang frat lang po gumagawa nun. Hindi po kami yun.
2) May hazing ba? Pinalo ka ba?
This is perhaps one of the most intriguing questions friends and family ask about joining fraternities because of the long-standing notion that frats have ridiculously brutal initiation rites that neophytes have to submit themselves to upon joining a frat. Personally, I will not be able to speak for the entirety of the frat community, but I know for a fact that there are a number of fraternities in U.P. that no longer have a physical aspect in their initiation rites. This may come out as a surprise, and perhaps may even be too difficult to believe, but this is the truth. Fraternities in U.P. are evolving, and it is good to see that they are slowly turning away from barbaric acts that may endanger the lives of their recruits. This question however is very tricky to answer because each frat’s initiation rites are sacred to its members. So when a fratman answers you with “No, wala namang paluan,” that may be the most you’ll get out of his initiation process… unless of course you’re willing to undergo through it yourself.
3) Nainvolve ka na ba sa frat rumble??
This question stems from the stigma of fraternities being hostile to each other as projected by the media. While it is true that there are frat rumbles within the university, it is quite safe to say that the frat community in U.P. has been generally peaceful. Yes, there may be some petty quarrels, but they never explode into full-blown rumbles. Like my answer in number two, I can definitely say that the times are changing and so do the way frats treat each other. There are conscious efforts toward maintaining peace within the Greek community like the Frat Week wherein frats play different sports or even go hand in hand in community outreach. Hindi na uso ang gulo ngayon. Fratmen are realizing that there are no real victors in war.
(Here’s a picture from Frat Week 2015)
4) Pano kung may friend kang sumali ng ibang frat, di na ba kayo pwedeng maging friends?
Pwedeng pwede! U.P. fratmen are way beyond that mentality and we will not allow our petty differences ruin our friendship with others. Some of us even hang out during breaks or go out occasionally to have drinks. In fact, after graduation U.P. fratmen become really close with each other because of the U.P. Barkada, an alumni group comprised of the various U.P. frats. Astig diba?
5) Eh di ano ba talagang ginagawa niyo?
Now that the intriguing questions have been cleared and the stigma on frats have somewhat been broken, this question is next on the list. To answer this question very bluntly, frats focus on its members’ personal growth and development, helping them transition from boyhood into manhood through the teaching of the frat’s beliefs, tenets, and values all of which anchored in fraternal doctrines. Aside from this, I believe that the frats in U.P. all aim towards social relevance in the university, in the country, and even in the world. In campus, frats are most active during student council elections since a handful of them are politically affiliated. While outside campus, frats organize socio-civic activities to help out less fortunate communities. In all honesty, U.P. fratmen are busy with these types of work, hindi lang binabalita ng media.