Last Tuesday, I dropped by the College of Arts and Letters at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. It seems that I had been admitted to the CAL’s PhD Creative Writing program for the second semester this academic year; inadvertently, I was not informed. I thought I was rejected, and enrolled at the UP College of Mass Communication instead. My fault, really. I should have checked with the CAL staff when I hadn’t heard from them.
At CAL, I took a look at my acceptance letter from Dean Virgilio Almario, and noted that I was required to take only one remedial subject (Comparative Literature 121 or 122). It feels great to know that I have the option of enrolling in that program next semester.
Walking to CMC for class, I was struck speechless yet again by the beauty of the fading afternoon sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees that line University Drive.
On the right, after AS (Palma Hall) and FC (Faculty Center) is the Vargas Museum and the long stretch to the corner, where I’d have to turn right, walking past Quezon Hall (Administration Building) on the right all the way to CMC, the first structure on the left along Ylanan Street. It was a bit of a ways.
The curb was paved in stone or concrete blocks that were mossy with age, and crooked, like the earth beneath them had taken a deep breath and pushed them out of place. Twenty years ago, as an undergrad, I walked these same curbstones and they were gray as a rainy day.
On the left, though, was an expanse of green. A park. A path cut through the grass. I took it.
There were electric lampposts in the middle of the park. Lantern Waste in the summer?
I decided to walk through, not knowing where I would end up, if I would be out of my way, lost, late for class. But the path beckoned.
Every where were trees, and shrubs, and plants whose names I did not know. Green surrounded me. In the midst of the city, I was enveloped by nature.
How come I have no memories of exploring this park two decades ago? I suppose I had never been here; my sneaker-shod feet had never trudged these verdant by-ways. Now I step carefully across a narrow stone bridge spanning a little creek, and pick my way gingerly past rocks and roots that threaten to trip me as I totter along in four-inch tall wedge sandals.
The path winds behind Quezon Hall.
It ends at the road parallel to University Drive, across the UP Theater and the Carillon. In other words, it’s a shortcut to CMC from FC.
I look back at the way I have come. I’m glad I found this path, taken late but better than never at all.
I emerge into the sunlight. I spy CMC in the distance, at the right.
In a few minutes, I reach CMC – Plaridel Hall. It is not journey’s end, but it is where I begin a new chapter of my life.
It’s an obvious parallelism, but I’m an obvious person anyway, so here it is – it’s like life. Taking paths not travelled before to see where they lead, braving the unknown, skirting obstacles, always with courage and with style. Who knows, one of those paths could be a shortcut to your destination, and worth taking, after all.