Under the shadows of the luscious green leaves of the towering trees scattered around the vicinity, a group of friends seat, chatting away the time. The breeze starts to circulate, leaves flying and the group’s laughter is carried along, often to be heard up to the entrance of the university.
This is a normal occurrence for me; sitting under the trees to make use of their shade while passing time. Watching other students pass me by, some hurrying to reach their respective rooms before the professor comes in, while others are still walking as if the bell hadn’t rung five minutes ago. It’s a fascinating scene to observe; it differs each day.
It‘s like watching a different episode of the same television series every day.
For the Tamaraws of Far Eastern University, this location is more commonly known as Freedom Park, a haven for relaxing, waiting, talking, and basically anything that a student wants to do in broad daylight.
The dozens of trees serve as an umbrella against the sharp rays of the sun. Around some of these trees are square-shaped benches that serve as a perch for the students’.
During Christmas season, the whole park is lit up and motivates the students to just laze around the area before going home. My first time seeing the tree light up, it was mesmerizing. The trees are simple, the lights had nothing exciting to give, and there were no fireworks to end the night but the feeling that spreads during the ceremony is contagious, and you can’t help but smile from ear to ear. Maybe that’s what it means to have the Christmas spirit.
Sometimes there would be an event and booths line up along the area; some sell food while others are manned by school organizations. During times like these, a few freebies are given in specific booths. Take for example the cotton candy that we got for free, we didn’t even have to line up that long. It’s something to take advantage of as a Tamaraw, the amazing events that seem to go on all throughout the year.
With the events, it seems like the Freedom Park has become the center of happenings within the university. Students are always seen present in the park, some alone while others are with friends. I am seldom alone whenever I’m at the Freedom Park. Friends surround me as we watch the cloud pass us by over our heads.
Those trees have been witnesses to the thousands of memories of visitors, alumni, faculties, and current students. Both good and bad memories have been made under those trees.
Sometimes, in the afternoon, we’d be up to our crazy antics as if we weren’t inside a university. Our laughter and screams can be heard all around, people’s attention on us, but we didn’t care; we were having fun. Moments like these helped ease the stress away and reminds me that there’s more to life than answering a bunch of papers.
We’ve let out frustrations and stress during a nightly gathering before going home; this is when we’d talk in whispers and hushed tones, our eyes gazing all around carefully watching if the subject of our conversation was around.
On other nights, I’d stay with them and spy on their so-called crushes. I’d support them in their romantic antics, though I did have reservations regarding the guys it made them happy, so who was I to damp on their parade.
To be able to always remember these memories even after graduation would be a blessing in disguise. A memorabilia or token of some sort would be amazing but I can’t do that now, or can I? Fortunately, due to these modern times, technology has greatly improved and we can now take a picture anywhere using various gadgets. We did just that.
If a picture could speak a thousand words then maybe I can make an album with mine.
To the students, the trees are more than just trees; more than just a park. It has become a place where they can be comfortable, it has become a living and ever-changing photo album of memories and moments.
Freedom Park has become one of FEU’s undying symbol of freedom and camaraderie. It has served hundreds upon thousands of students, past, present, and future.
Even as I graduate, those trees will continue to grow bigger, will be able to provide more shade and space for the students to relax under.
They will continue to be witnesses to the ever-growing list of memories that will happen within my beloved university.