my manila: up diliman

Some weeks ago I visited my alma mater, the College of Mass Communication at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, for the first time since graduation twenty years ago.

Though I had been to UP last January, for Pops’ wake at UP’s Church of the Risen Lord, I hadn’t had a chance to roam the familiar streets until late last June.

UP is celebrating its 100th founding anniversary this year and doesn’t seem to have changed. Beneath my sneakers was the same crumbling pavement. The fields and trees were the familiar riot of varied shades of green. The buildings still stood, unchanging and unyielding.

The Football Field is verdant and peaceful; in the distance, the College of Education peeks through the foliage.


Malcolm Hall (College of Law, where I stayed for one sem before chucking dusty legal tomes for the wandering and ill-paid life of a sports journalist) is obscured from view by leaves. A flag waves bravely from the balcony, providing a glimpse of color.


Palma Hall (also known as “AS” from its former designation as the College of Arts and Sciences) is still the same serene and majestic pile.


Quezon Hall, which houses the University’s administrative offices, is famous as the backdrop of The Oblation and the scene of annual commencement exercises.


Plaridel Hall houses the College of Mass Communication. It looks exactly the same as I last saw it in 1988. Now that’s either comforting, deplorable…or both.

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