“Miss ko na talaga Harvard hays.”
That was one of over 5,700 comments written in response to a post on Harvard University’s Facebook page, showing a mask-wearing student surrounded by suitcases and boxes at the university.
The photo, shot by Harvard staff photographer Jon Chase, bore the caption, “In a very different move-in this year, a limited number of students were welcomed to campus yesterday.”
As of press time, that post had been shared 19,000 times and a great number of these shares and comments were by Filipinos, who, for some strange reason, thought it would be fun to pretend that they studied at the prestigious university.
“That’s Jefferson right there, he is my roommate!” wrote one Pinoy on Facebook.
“I miss this place! I used to take selfies in that same spot!” posted another.
“Dito ako nadapa dati. Nakakahiya mga sis,” commented another Facebook user.
Yet another said, “Ayaw papapasukin ang trike sa loob ang hirap tuloy maglakad ang layo layo.”
That wasn’t the only Harvard post that was mobbed by Filipinos in the past week.
Harvard staff photographer Rose Lincoln’s photo of Remy the cat in Harvard Yard got comments like: “Is that my cat?!?! I thought I lost him when he went outside my dorm #memories” and “Nakawala po si kuring.”
Another comment read: “Yup, that is Remy. Actually her real name is Tingkuring but since her owner’s name is Remedios, people often call her Remy. Pag natapos na sya mangulimbat ng pritong isda at ulam sa kapitbahay, dito sya pumupunta, as if she never did a crime. Meet Remy. You can call her Tingkuring too.”
A photo of Charles River, also taken by Lincoln, didn’t escape the attention of Filipinos on Facebook either. Harvard, Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are located along this meandering river. “Pinush ko dito sa river yung the one who ghosted me eh,” said one comment.
Another Facebook user wrote, “We just dive here after class looking for lobster.”
A Harvard post of a person reading under a tree on a summer day received this comment: “My classmates used to bully me way back so I make sure to spend my time in solitude sitting under the tree. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a narra tree. Very nice tree. Very very.”
A shot of Harvard Medical School, a post about student-led Harvard tours, a photo of the quiet campus were all flooded with comments in Filipino, Taglish and other Philippine dialects and shared thousands of times.
“Why are Filipinos commenting on almost every Harvard post?” someone asked.
Naturally, Harvard became a top trending topic on Twitter in the Philippines, with people expressing amusement and disgust at the hijacking of the university’s social media page.
“Harvard Uni trending in the Philippines is the manifestation of how Filipinos want better education charot,” tweeted @artisanal.
‘Respect the institution’
There were those who tried to battle it out with the commenters by posting their own comments on the Facebook page, asking them to stop.
“Please respect the institution. There’s nothing wrong with your humor but put it in the right place. This is not funny,” one Facebook user wrote.
She was mocked and called a killjoy.
“Iba talaga yung pabida classmate natin, wag ka na mag-exam sabi ni mam.”
“Sipsip sa teacher.”
“Galit na si class president.”
“Papa-guidance na kayo ni mam.”
There were more attempts that ended in mockery. “Please respect this school as an institution of excellence,” read one comment.
“I just don’t understand why Filipinos are flooding Harvard Facebook page with comments that they studied in this school. [Just because] this is a trend doesn’t mean you have to copy the others. Okay lang sana kung talagang nag-aral kayo dito kaso hindi eh. LEARN TO JUST GROW UP. Hindi na kayo bata para mag-joke ng ganito.”
“I’m just 10 years old,” someone replied.
There were jokes, there were fights (including one about the right color of kwek kwek), there were song lyrics, there were racial slurs and a ridiculous amount of grammatical errors.
“Minsan talaga nakakahiya maging Pinoy.”
“Nakakahiya na nakakaiyak sa laugh trip,” wrote another.
Then there were those who felt the need to apologize for their countrymen. “To the admin of this Harvard University FB Page: I apologize, on behalf my fellow Filipinos. It’s just a trend in our country right now, but it seems like they already invaded the posts with ridiculous comments and nuisance, and I realized that this is too much. Once again, apologies.”
One user begged, “To the students studying in Harvard can you kindly send a complaint or any letter regarding this to your school officials so that this madness can stop.”
Someone wrote, “My mom and dad want me to study in this university. But my sister said, ‘gising na umaga na’.”
But what would it take for a Filipino student living in the Philippines to actually make it into Harvard?
More next week.