A couple of weeks ago our class on creative non-fiction writing discussed essays on New York City. Our professor, Dr Cristina Hidalgo, told us that many writers spoke of NYC as “the center of the world”. “I’d say UP Diliman is the center of the world!” she said with a laugh.
Which got me to thinking – she was right. Wherever you are is the center of the world for you.
When class was over, I decided to walk around campus a bit.
Beside the Faculty Center is the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum. Right next to its entrance is this fantastic nommery – The Museum Cafe by Cafe Iana (which is at the College of Music). Their butter-rich silvanas melt in the mouth, I promise you.
I acquired my pre-loved Kindle 2 only a couple days before. I explore how it works while enjoying pasta and a cup of brewed coffee. A huge yellow umbrella deflects the sun’s mild rays as I survey an oasis of emerald. It is cool, so cool on my eyes, that even the restless stirrings of my soul are stilled for the moment.
My cup of coffee is adorned with chocolate syrup feathers on steamed milk foam. The brown sugar glitters like crushed gems. I hesitate to drink and destroy the art. But I have seen it, it will always be in my mind’s eye, and the photograph I take lets me share the beauty I see with others.
No one from UP calls Palma Hall that. It’s still ‘AS”, short for “College of Arts and Sciences”, which it housed before CAS was split up into the College of Science, College of Arts and Letters, and College of Social Science and Philosophy.
I look up and see a lacy tracery of leaves against the sky. There is always something new to see wherever you are – the trick is to change your angle of vision. Tilt your neck upwards, sideways, this way and that. Risk a stiff neck for a never-seen vista, a novel image. Be open to wonder. Squint. Use your imagination. Look at something upside-down. Experiment, marvel, accept.