The waning of the pandemic and easing of restrictions has allowed me to visit my favorite place in the metropolis often these last few months. Each time at the UP Diliman campus, I try to document more of the landmark buildings and settings in that green oasis.
For this article, I feature a selection of my illustrations, which are among the two dozen now in the calendar and planner set produced by the UP College of Architecture Alumni, Inc. (CAAFI). Last year, the CAAFI published a calendar using my sketches. The calendar was sold out quickly and this year they’ve expanded it with a planner. The collection also now includes buildings of the UP Padre Faura Campus, including the Philippine General Hospital.
The calendar’s cover is the Bathing Maiden. Beside Napoleon Abueva’s iconic twin gateway portal on University Avenue is a lotus pond with Nude Bathing by Ildefonso Cruz Marcelo, a student of Abueva’s in the 1960s. When I drew it earlier this year, it was in a state of disrepair. I drew it as I remembered it from the 1970s, when I first noticed it. Since I posted its state, the setting has since been brought back to its former glory. The UP President’s Office, through the VP for Development, funded the conservation, which was implemented by Beng Dalisay, Special Assistant to the President for Art Conservation and senior lecturer at the UP College of Fine Arts.
Past Quezon, Melchor, and Palma Halls (all included as holdovers from last year’s calendar) are Benton Hall and its adjunct, Lagmay Hall. This mid-century modern building with its distinctive brise soleil (sun baffles) housed the College of Business Administration when I was at UP in the ’70s. It now hosts the Office of the Center for International Studies. Its annex, named after Alfredo Lagmay, noted psychologist and UP professor, houses the College of Psychology and Social Sciences.
Benitez Hall next door is the twin of Malcolm Hall opposite the Sunken Garden. It houses the College of Education. Both were designed by the legendary architect Juan Arellano. The Sunken Garden is also included in this collection. It hosts student activities again, after two years of the pandemic.
Vinzons Hall lies on the western edge of the Sunken Garden. It is the campus’ student union and was completed in 1958. As a freshman, I used to eat my two-peso lunches at the cafeteria in the back. A new seven-story annex has now been completed over this and the main building has undergone needed repairs.
The calendar includes four landmark dormitories of the campus: the Kalayaan, International Center, Ilang-Ilang, and Molave Residence Halls. The oldest of the four is Molave, which was the first permanent dormitory completed in the 1950s. In the late 1940s, most of the structures on campus were Quonset huts. Ilang-Ilang, completed soon after Molave, was the first women’s dorm. I featured the International Center in last year’s calendar and it does a redux here.
Kalayaan Hall was the first co-ed dorm on campus. Completed in 1975, it is reserved for freshmen and women. Its location in the north quadrant is convenient for residents because of its proximity to the UP Shopping Center (now nearing completion after an extensive renovation).
Close by is the University Infirmary, where I remember getting the compulsory freshman medical checkup in 1971. Speaking of health facilities, this edition includes Calderon Hall, the College of Medicine, on Padre Faura, Manila. The UP PGH, one of the oldest buildings of the university, is also featured. I come from a family of doctors, dentists, and pharmacists—all proud UP grads. PGH played a key role in combating the pandemic. Thank you to all the brave doctors, nurses, and health workers for your service these last three years.
Back in Diliman, I drew the University Theater and Carillon for the 2022 calendar (it is still included in the 2023 edition). This new printing includes the two colleges beside it: Abelardo Hall, the College of Music; and Plaridel Hall, which houses the College of Mass Communication.
I bumped into one of Abelardo Hall’s most gifted products, National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, at the CCP recently. He arranged the music for Pasko ng Puso, which was staged last week. My late wife Twink and I last saw Ryan and his wife Emy in 2019, when we watched a show of his. Part of the proceeds from the sale of these calendars and planners go to Twink’s favorite charity, the ICanServe Foundation. Also benefiting is the ArkiCares program of CAAFI.
Plaridel Hall was Twink’s college, where she finished her journalism degree in 1985. My son Wham would complete his film studies there two decades later. I also love the expansive greens beside it (formerly a golf course). The area is now a favorite destination of families who picnic in the area and treat it as a de facto public park.
Behind this cluster of colleges is the College of Human Kinetics, which hosts the campus’ main gym. In the 1970s, the gym was located behind Bocobo Hall (Bocobo and Malcolm Halls are also featured in this calendar/planner set). It was transferred to its present site to match it with athletic fields, a soccer pitch, and a brand-new baseball diamond. UP has always been a baseball and soccer powerhouse, way before basketball’s rise. Go, Maroons!
Also part of the portfolio of this tandem publication is the Cesar Virata School of Business, Gonzalez Hall (the main library), the Church of the Risen Lord and the Church of the Holy Sacrifice and, of course, the College of Architecture, home of the College of Architecture Alumni Association.
It’s three weeks to the New Year, and time to get your calendars and planners. No need to collect stickers for these!
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For more information on the calendar and planners, please contact CAAFI at 906-846-9149.