Monday, April 22, 2013

Old school

21 April 2013. Metro Manila.

We did a fourth of the Academic Oval at the University of the Philippines, Diliman because on that Sunday that I chose to bring Zac to my former alma mater, the oval was uber crowded. It turned out a marathon just finished. While Jas did his customary jog, Zac and I whiled away the time by the shade of the trees lining the amphitheater.


The Administration building was set up for the University graduation happening on April 28. Gazing at the temporary stage from where I was seated, memories from fifteen years ago came rushing. University of the Philippines, or UP, was my home for four years. Seeing it almost everyday, I came to consider it simply as a school. Mind you, I didn't have a single picture of myself with the Oblation. The school, particularly the Academic Oval, later on became a favorite jogging place due to its proximity from home, and I only got to appreciate the beautiful backdrop the trees surrounding the oval provided when I was walking it.


The University of the Philippines was established in 1908. Its colleges were housed in buildings lining Padre Faura and R. Hidalgo in Manila. The increase in colleges and student population prompted the school officials to seek bigger grounds; hence, the transfer from its original site in Manila to the 493-hectare campus in Diliman. On that Sunday, I looked at my alma mater in a different light and clicked away.

I never gave much thought to the UP Carillon, and I saw it simply as a tower which announced the hours. I'm not a fan of wristwatch so when I jog, I rely on the trusty carillon to tell me the time. I learned that the UP Carillon is the only carillon in Southeast Asia that is manually played by a wooden keyboard. I might have heard the sweet sounds of the tower once or twice during my time in school, but then again, I ignored its call for appreciation. I regret that now, and hope that I'll get to hear the tower play beautiful music once again.



The Oblation is probably the most famous UP symbol that defines what the university stands for - academic freedom.



Behind the Oblation is the Administration Building, also known as Quezon Hall. It houses the administration offices of the University. The building in itself is a sight to behold, architecturally, as the center of the building is composed of eight pillars - four in front, another four at the rear. It evokes an airy stance, and coupled with the Oblation on the foreground and the lush greens of the amphitheater as the background, it truly is one for the cameras.

The amphitheater was where we stayed for the rest of the hour, and I let Zac frolic on the grasses. The kid had good fun.

Behind the amphitheater and unnoticed by the passersby is a statue of three women draped in the Philippine Flag. This statue is known among UP students as 'Tres Marias', but the statue has a rather lengthy name - Three Women Sewing the First Philippine Flag.

There's still a lot more to see around the Academic Oval alone. I thought we'd do the other fourth next time.
Until his next adventure...