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31,000 Strong: Polytechnic University of the Philippines Sets Guinness Record for World's Largest Human Rainbow

Behold, the spectacle of a lifetime! On a sunny September 18th, 2004, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) transformed the Luneta Grandstand in Manila into a kaleidoscope of color and energy. Over 31,000 students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) assembled in a vibrant display of unity, wearing shirts, caps, and flaglets of every hue. With modern pop tunes blasting through the air, they moved in a synchronized dance to claim their place in history as the "World's Largest Human Rainbow."

This ambitious endeavor was no easy feat, for it aimed to shatter the Guinness Book of World Records held by the Malta Archipelago and the Hongkong Polytechnic University (HPU). But the PUPians were determined to surpass them, for they had a mission to fulfill. Acting President Samuel Salvador spoke of their goals:

▪ Uniting all PUPians.
▪ Celebrating their centennial year (1904 to 2004).
▪ Raising funds to improve the university's facilities.

As the record-breaking attempt drew close, Salvador hoped the Guinness Book of World Records would validate the PUP's numbers. With bated breath, the PUPians waited for the verdict. And then it came: "So far, this is the longest human rainbow formation in history." The crowd erupted into thunderous cheers, basking in the glory of their achievement.

But beyond the glory and the records, the "human rainbow" symbolized hope and progress. PUP, a state university with the lowest tuition in the Philippines, had produced professionals and leaders working hand in hand with the government to uplift the quality of lives of Filipinos. And now, they had proven that with unity and determination, anything was possible.

The Human Rainbow featured in Philippine Daily Inquirer 18, September 2004

As over 31,000 students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) gathered to form the "World's Largest Human Rainbow," history was being made. But this was not just a world record attempt but a call for peace. The signing of the Declaration of Peace highlighted the event. This document will be submitted to the United Nations, urging all universities in the world to integrate into their curricular programs a broad subject that will study and address the problems of global violence, poverty, and exploitation and develop good citizens for world peace.

Filipino human rainbow participants from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) celebrate after completing the formation of the "World's Largest Human Rainbow" by about 31,000 at Rizal Park in Manila on September 18, 2004. The event attempted to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the "World's Largest Human Rainbow" made by Hong Kong Polytechnic University with 11,500 participants in 2002 and Malta with 11,750 participants in November 2003. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

"The human rainbow will not only place the university on the world map. It will also convey a timely message to the rest of the world that, as a National Comprehensive University, we are sincere in taking up an international agenda that will pursue along the widening global patch dedicated to lasting solutions to violence, inequality, and exploitation," said the Acting President, Samuel Salvador. Notable personalities, including Manila Mayor Lito Atienza and his wife Bheng, religious leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, and Philippine International Trading Corp. Chairman Roberto Pagdanganan, witnessed this momentous event.

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