Before we proceed further, let's get something straight; my face is up here. Let’s cut the chase before your thoughts get any weirder than that.
The Oblation Run is not just about naked men running around yearly at the University of the Philippines Diliman. For many years, the Oblation Run has been an actual spectacle where people of different ages and gender flock. Yes, even straight men watch it. But, why do these people run naked? Isn’t that illegal?
The Oblation Run is an annual event held every 16th of December by the members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity UP Chapter. Contrary to popular belief, the run is participated by full-pledged members of the fraternity who have volunteered and not by neophytes. The event is not part of any initiation. Moreover, runners may wear leaves to cover their genitals and they also wear masks to hide their identities. The run was named after the naked statue that is the symbol of the University of the Philippines, Oble.
There are multiple accounts as to how the Oblation Run started but the most popular is about the fraternity’s stand against the censorship of the play Hubad na Bayani during the Marcos Regime. The said play is about various human rights violations during the rule of the Marcoses. According to the article by Oble, UP Diliman’s official newspaper, Rolly Abad was the first one to take the run in 1977. The fraternity made it a tradition and utilized it to show their stand on relevant socio-political issues. As of this writing, several other UP campuses have done similar runs as well as non-UP colleges like the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University and Bulacan State University.
In March 2009, then-Senate Minority Leader Aquillino Pimentel Jr called for a Senate Investigation on the Oblation Run. He claimed that the spectacle was a “blatant display of male genitals” and does not have any social value. Moreover, Pimentel said that it violates the law on obscenity based on the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. Despite this issue, the members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity continued to stage the run and use it as a platform to voice out their socio-political stand. So, when the time you see these running men comes, do enjoy the view but don’t forget to reflect on their message.