Under the Stars 2019 was more than just a date night

Photos by  Patricia Laudencia


Where I come from, Valentine’s Day lasts around a week, and its yearly trimmings remain pretty much the same. There are student orgs hustling to deliver flowers, people walking around with teddy bears, and study sessions swapped for dinners out. At the center of it all is Under the Stars, Loyola Film Circle’s (LFC) free outdoor screening night, which is by now an institution in itself. I mean, what’s more romantic than stargazing on a blanket with bae?

That idea of romance is why I’ve avoided Under the Stars in the past. If I wanted to third wheel, I could have taken my pick among my happily taken friends, instead of feeling desperately alone in Ateneo’s sprawling Bellarmine Field. But I had no excuse to skip this year’s coverage, and figured that since my friends were going as concessionaires, I wouldn’t be too lonely.

Lo and behold, last February 15, I found myself enjoying Under the Stars — and so were a bunch of people who weren’t coupled up. I saw freshman blocks and upperclassman barkadas, hanging out on the grass, boisterous laughter coming from every corner. Hosts threw fond shoutouts to single members of the audience, who responded in collective yells and whoops. Turned out the crowd represented a whole host of relationships, from friends to lovers and the in-betweens.

Under the Stars 2019 was a night of music, movies, and love.

Wherever you were on that spectrum, the night was easy to love. The easy listening definitely helped, featuring some interesting parts of Katipunan’s gig scene and beyond. Homegrown CASA, an Atenean a cappella group was one of them, plus Syd Hartha, who held the stage with just her delicate voice and a guitar. Wanderbattle finalists Any Name’s Okay and Kremesoda also served their bops to round out the lineup, chock-full of other emerging acts. And for those after a visual feast, LFC’s short films, along with Love, Rosie (2014), said a lot about meeting, longing, and finally loving someone at just the right time.

Needless to say, I had fun. I’m still curious though, and maybe a bit wistful, about how Under the Stars would have been like with an actual date. Perhaps then, I could write this article from another angle, but my commitment issues would have to magically disappear before next year’s show. Wishful thinking, but in the meantime, I’ll take LFC’s advice to “live in the moment” for a little while longer — because, even under the stars and night sky, there’s nothing wrong with that.

#events #movies #music

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