In the Year 2090, Four ISCP Alumni Have Become Philippine Presidents

It's a movement that transgresses socio-political angst. How far can Filipino meme culture take us?
IMAGE ISCP
ILLUSTRATOR KARL BELTRAN

It's the year 2090. The Philippines is submerged in water now, and Filipino society has crumbled because we couldn't develop gills or the gall to ask for better leadership. Not even the strongest "pinoy pride" chants and token gains could have saved this hellhole. After years of political division fostered by trolls on the internet, the third civil war was the final nail in the coffin. Monkeypox Variant Zeta wiped out two-thirds of the population. Most, if not all, Filipinos, have either died or have left for good.

Those who chose to stay didn't have any choice at all. At 166 years old, Juan Ponce Enrile has finally achieved immortality after his 3,000th stem cell treatment cycle. What's left of our cities are burning, and any documents about Philippine life have turned to ashes with them. It's a fascinating case study, a researcher in America thinks to himself. He assembles a team to dig deep into the internet to find out how things went from bad to worse to one flaming pile of dogshit.

With all websites shut down by the government, they turn to Meta. In the Metaverse, they input their souls and head to the Metalibrary. They are redirected to the old Facebook directory section.

There, they come across the Facebook pages of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and then the International State College of the Philippines (ISCP). Interestingly, not much else is known about ISCP, they come to learn, except for an entry that says that four out of the last nine Philippine presidents studied at the Biringan campus.

"It says here that the first ISCP-educated Filipino president was actually the founder," one of them notes.

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How it started

A 3D rendering of the ISCP Biringan campus done by an ISCPanian.

Photo by FACEBOOK/Md Masbate.

"It transgresses political, social, and every aspect that makes us divided."

In 2022, we know the ISCP as that viral meme page on Facebook. The shitposter behind it, Niño Ged, founded the ISCP to satirize college life in the Philippines. In 2020, he created another satirical news page, but it never got as big as this. The ISCP started because he wanted to create a fake Bachelor of Science in Nursing Major in Funeral Services thing. From there, it turned into something else.

"When I thought about the name of the school, I wanted it to sound prestigious but also has a hint that says that something's wrong with it," he claims. "I continue to write and make some satirical memes. I can say that I am a satirist and the ISCP is one of my most successful brainchildren."

He adds: "I didn't really expect that the main page really blows out of proportion with what I have expected. It became much bigger and almost has a life on its own."

@iscphilippines #EYouthCouncil #ISCPanians #ISCP ? AIN'T GONNA STOP - Carol Kay

The ISCP has relied on a community that calls itself "Supreme E-Youth Government" (it's a play on iyot in Cebuano). Each day, we've gotten newer courses with newer graphics that rival even what the best schools put out online.

Satire, in a post-truth world, has sort of lost its luster. But shitposting has become a means of coping during these trying times, and Ged knows this as much as anyone. More than that, however, the ISCP "Blue Aspins" is a reflection of where we're at and were we're headed.

"I believe that in this information age, we should be aware of the information presented to us. This is the new art of war, not fought by blood nor swords, but by brains and information. I advise that everyone should sharpen their minds and become as logical as possible in assessing information."

Yes, there's a method to this madness, too. Satirical pages on Facebook, Ged points out, force us to be more vigilant about information we see online. "I love writing satirical content as it exposes the problems in our society via humor. If it makes us laugh, it makes us think that, oh, it might be right, or wrong."

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How it's going

The admin even took the time to write ISCP's history, mission, and vision. That's dedication. It reads: "Dr. Nickita Marahilig Dominguez Y Alfonso Ramirez founded International State College of the Philippines in 1596. The founder of ISCP aspired to develop an institution that would assist Filipino children in achieving their highest aspirations in life, which is why she began construction on the main campus in 1596."

Photo by FACEBOOK/ISCP - Supreme E-Youth Government.

Young graphic designers, architecture students, and more have joined in on the action. It takes a community of like-minded shitposters to keep this thing going, after all. The ISCP even has its own Wikipedia page now, featuring the seal, its motto: Filipino Sultus Es Satura (Latin for "You are full of Filipino joy"), and its campus locations in Biringan and Manila, and the Milky Way. Its hymn is the orchestral version of "Sun and Moon" by Anees.

To its credit, all of the ISCP's announcement posts look and feel too real, just ask Kim Atienza, who at one point thought the school was legit. When he got mocked online for it, he finally relented. Thus, becoming the official unofficial "dean" of the university. He's a good sport.

Other public figures, such as Macoy Dubs and JV Ejercito, have jumped on the bandwagon, as well. Even the Department of Transportation-MRT 3 posted a meme in reference to it. It's entered the national consciousness, it seems.

ISCP has quite the athletics program, too. The page writes: "Coach Jovit Baldivino, the Director of ISCP Athlete's Federation and the Head Coach of Blue Aspins Basketball Varsity Team. He graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management, Major in Dribbling at ISCP - Biringan Campus."

Photo by Facebook/ISCP - Supreme E-Youth Government.

Here's ISCP Magna Cum Laude Taylor Mae S. Batumbakal, folks.

Photo by FACEBOOK/ISCP - Supreme E-Youth Government.

Of course, just as with any other trend, the ISCP has drawn criticism, too. It has attracted controversy for its association with QuickWRITE writing services, which writes academic papers for students. It is said that the service has now pulled its support for the fictitious college.

QuickWRITE's managing director even issued a statement clarifying the service's affiliation with the page. The group also acknowledged the "ramifications regarding their moral conduct," promising to shift its focus from students to marketing and other services related to businesses.

This issue sort of took away from the community's actual intent. Ged adds: "I think the bashers of the ISCP should enroll in the school to see how great it is to build something and to be part of the interplanetary community as we have campuses all throughout the solar system."

Nevertheless, as with the myriad other meme pages that have come before it, like the old Sorsogon Luxury Hotel and more, these types of pages fall prey to eventually being bought out by someone. Facebook pages, especially those with massive numbers of followers, have long been for sale, as we all know. But perhaps the Supreme E-Youth Government has something to say about that when push comes to shove.

Trends like these come and go. Relevance is ever-fleeting in this edgy internet subculture. Regardless of what becomes of ISCP—if it eventually dies down or finds a rare second life—Ged knows that it's more about the people who drove this thing forward. He credits the ISCP E-Youth Council - General Management Committee Discord group for the success, as well as all the "volunteer" shitposters for their Herculean efforts. The ISCP Facebook group already has 700,000 members and counting.

The ISCP Sun Campus, unfortunately, has been closed for the forseeable future.

Photo by FACEBOOK/International State College of the Philippines.

Ged himself is only about to enter college. But we can learn a thing or two from kids like him, we suppose. 

Meme culture and shitposting, for what it's worth, may be argued as a descendant of satire. In the hands of modern-day satirists like Ged, it can be a powerful tool for criticism. During a period marked by polarization and a general helplessness in the face of it, it's interesting to see how young people have banded together for a side quest like this.

Ged tells Esquire Philippines that he's a big fan of The Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. Published in 1729, the piece has the Irish selling their children as food to the rich. The essay is a satirical hyperbole of attitudes toward the less fortunate and British policy in the face of Irish poverty.

Somehow, if we get to the heart of a meme page like the ISCP's, there's something to be said about the state of the education system in the Philippines, general inaccessibility, and anomalies in college life.

Or maybe we're just reaching here. Ged, ultimately, is proud of what the page has accomplished. Still, we shouldn't put a cap on how far ISCP can go, including any of its future reiterations. Who knows? We might see a future where people might start arguing for and against the ISCP's "alleged" existence. For now, let's just say that Ged has some big, big plans ahead.

"If I become president, I would probably make the International State College of the Philippines a reality, so you all better start campaigning for it now," he says.

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Photo by SHUTTERSTOCK.

All the other presidents are dead, the group finds out. The American researchers, at the very least, now know who they should be looking for. Ged, the populist, had been one of the most revered presidents the country had before he abruptly departed the presidency sometime in the late 2060s. According to the researchers' rudimentary timeline, the Philippines fell off after the Ged years. That's when it all went to shit. 

His sound fiscal policy, such as cutting the salaries of those in the Lower and Upper Houses by 80 percent, taxing the rich, or simply pouring more money into the health, culture, and education sectors, endeared him to the Filipino people.

The Philippines' mutant super-coconuts during his time became the most sought-after pieces of fruit on earth. Thus, the export boom. The accessibility of his infrastructure, like the cable cars to Biringan or the ports to New China's netherworld, was world-class.

His surprise exit shocked the country. No scandals. No goodbyes. He was gone, just like that. Since his resignation, not much is known about his whereabouts or why he really left. Some say he got a Sun woman pregnant and had to go and be a Sun father to the humanoid fire baby. Others claim that he had found Yamashita's Gold and took off and went to Saturn with Chavit Singson, Elon Musk, and Kate Bush.

Using a TraceTrack 7D consolidator, they download his speeches, programs, and books, as well as all ISCP information available in the directory. It could only give them so much. The crew scrambles and everyone agrees it's time to leave. Caught flat-footed, the group, as a last resort, browses through Ged's old official Facebook page. But again, to no avail. His last post was a photo of him on a Siklesa at Malacañang's Rodrigo Duterte Hall.

But then, just before their Metasouls are about to expire, one of them receives a call from a strange Meta profile. It's someone who goes by the name Deg Dela Rosa, coming from Mars' eight moon. With one swipe, a song starts playing.

"Baby, baby, you're my sun and moon... Girl, you're everything between..."

"...Isn't this the ISCP hymn?"

About The Author
Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the assistant section editor of Esquire Philippines.
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