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Who is this ?superhero? who watches over the campus and the students?
THE FIRST TIME I WAS SUPPOSED to interview Zorro I chickened out. I was walking along the Academic Oval after class when I saw him standing on the sidewalk. He talked to me first. ?Ang ganda mo!? he said, rather emphatically.

Freaking out, I flashed him a quick, polite smile and swiftly went my way, holding my books close to my chest.

I soon learned that the guy is completely harmless, even if he startles and scares people.

Every day he walks around the campus in full ?Zorro? costume?a cape (sometimes the Philippine flag), plastic sword, boomerang and other gadgets, and a mask over his eyes.

He watches over UP as if he were a superhero, darting his eyes in close watch of his surroundings.

I also learned from friends that Zorro shows appreciation of many girls as well.

Regina, a UP student, said, ?The most random things can really make an already good day seem even better. While we were jogging, Zorro walked over to me as I walked past him and said, ?Ang ganda mo.? He might be a schizophrenic, but he?s sweet!?

He said the same thing to my friend, Catherine, when their paths crossed. He then gave her a high five and added, ?Mag-ingat ka.?

Political science major Korina shared her own Zorro story: ?I was in the lagoon with friends when he passed by. My friends weren?t minding him, but I said hi because I was feeling friendly. Then he went up to me and talked about something I can?t exactly remember. Then all of a sudden he took my hand, kissed it and said, ?You are my señorita today. Adios señorita!? Then he walked off.?

My former classmate, Paulina, was once unreasonably scolded by our professor before the class. In anger, she walked out. Our class had ended but she still hadn?t returned.

We found out she ended up crying to Zorro. She couldn?t remember who approached whom. All she knows is that they somehow ended up alongside each other and he tried to console her. ?Why are you crying, señorita? Don?t cry, señorita,? he told her. A concerned woman seated nearby whispered to her, ?Get away from him. He?s crazy!? Paulina told her, ?No, it?s okay. He?s nice!?

An architecture professor recalled a story from a student. The girl was walking alone late at night from the College of Architecture to Palma Hall along dark and deserted roads. Zorro, who happened to be ?patrolling? (her word), along the area saw her. He walked up to her and told her she shouldn?t be walking by herself at such a late hour. It was dangerous, he said.

He then walked with her to Palma Hall. No small talk. He accompanied her in silence.

Gentleman

From the stories female UP students tell about him, Zorro seems like a complete gentleman.

Music Education major Ara remembered her first encounter with Zorro in her freshman year. She was walking along the Academic Oval one afternoon when she saw him from a distance. She instantly thought he was weird because of his costume (he had on a curtain for a cape that day). When he was right in front of her, he shouted, ?Ako si Zorro! At ako ang magtatanggol sa iyo!? Her eyes widened as her mind raced through what he could possibly do to her.

But then he smiled and said, ?Ayos ba?? Nervous, she smiled back, and he gave her a high five. ?From then on, I thought he was a very nice guy after all,? said Ara. ?Nakakagulat lang.?

UP alumna Dianne recalled the time she was biking along a supposedly car-less bikers? and joggers? lane when a white Mazda 3 suddenly drove in her direction, beeping wildly at her to move aside. The UP watchmen who happened to be around didn?t even bother to reprimand the driver, so she let him pass.

Zorro was standing on the same lane a few meters away. As the car approached him he pulled out a fake but real-looking gun and held it at the white Mazda, making the driver step on the brakes. When Dianne caught up with Zorro on her bike, he ?knocked? on her back and said, ?Ok ba??

Inspiration

Zorro seems to give the good vibes to joggers and bikers who move along the car-less lane of the Academic Oval each day, often giving them high fives and words of encouragement.

Broadcast communication student Christopher said, ?I was jogging once around the Academic Oval, and I was already pretty tired. It started to rain, so I was beginning to tell myself that I didn?t want to finish my workout for that day anymore. Then all of a sudden, I saw Zorro and he just looked at me and yelled, ?Tapusin mo ?yan! Kaya mo ?yan!? I jogged an extra round that day.?

Still people can?t help but wonder about his real identity, and there has been much speculation and hearsay. Some say he used to be a UP student, a computer engineering major who couldn?t bear the pressure of being at UP, which explains why he seems to have gone crazy.

Dianne said that when she was a student, people used to say that Zorro was actually a rich man, and that he wasn?t really crazy. Some people also say he is an extremely intelligent individual. ?He knows current events!? Paulina said. ?Go ahead and ask him about the Ampatuan Massacre.?

Some say he?s absolutely nuts, others believe he isn?t. He just has a very different view and way of thinking, they say.

So who is Zorro, really? What is his cause; does he have any? And why does he do the things he does?