WHEN the idea of cutting their hair short for the 2012 UAAP Cheerdance Competition was first broached to them, the female members of University of the Philippines' pep squad couldn't help but cry.
“They all cried,” said UP coach Laline Perena. “Syempre sa babae crowning glory yung hair ‘di ba? Pero ako kasi, di ako naniniwala doon.
"Ang inner beauty comes with attitude and character so with or without hair beautiful ka pa rin inside. Tiwala sa sarili at hindi nadadaan sa haba ng buhok ang kagandahan.”
Perena conceptualized the bald look a year after the UP squad romped off with the title with their Madonna-inspired blonde look. And to get the ball rolling, the coach was the first to cut her hair.
But that didn't make it any easier for most of the women in the team as they lined up to part with their long locks in their coach's house, two days before Saturday's competition.
One exception was team captain Trixie Segundo.
“Passion talaga,” said Segundo, whose used to wear shoulder-length hair. “But I was more than excited for it. You’ll just do it once in a lifetime, so why not?”
The short-cropped hair was not merely for show. The stunt was timed perfectly since September is cancer month.
Even before pulling off the hat-trick of titles with an Oblation-inspired performance, the Diliman-based cheer leaders had also agreed that part of their prize will go to charities of their choice.
The sacrifice, Perena said, was worth it.
“Personally, I wanted to do it (cut my hair). And I have to do it for a very big reason,” she said. “And since September is cancer month, it’s a big sacrifice for us and it’s our way of serving the university.”