Last weekend, the graduating batch of University of the Philippines Diliman sang their final “UP Naming Mahal” as students and ritualistically shifted their sablays. Half a decade of memories were put to a close as the students marched out of Quezon Hall and took pictures with the sunflowers of Univ. Ave. For many, this would be their final walk along that avenue, one of many roads in UP Diliman that holds the memories of thousands of Iskolars ng Bayan.
UP Diliman has a beautiful campus. It comes alive with all its imperfections, with a spirit borne of the joys and tears of its students, faculty, and personnel. Many buildings are posh with frequent renovations and state-of-the-art equipment. Others seem to have been left by time. Nonetheless, every building, street food kiosk, and on-campus home contributes to the mystique and soul of UP Diliman. Getting around the campus is an experience of a lifetime in itself; the roads leading from college to college tell stories of their own.
Arguably the most popular road on UP is the academic oval. It is the one-way avenue around which the colleges of Arts and Letters, Social Sciences and Philosophy, Education, Business, Economics, Law, Engineering, and Mass Communication are placed. This is the area of the UP lagoon and the Sunken Garden, where the annual UP Fair is held. The academic oval is distinct for its three lanes: one for automobiles, one for bicycles, and one for joggers. Food vendors peddle the oval for the whole day as thirsty and hungry students, faculty, and joggers look for something to appease themselves. There’s the occasional errant counterflow car, probably lost in his first time on campus, who is quickly flagged down by the roving UP Diliman police.
The academic oval is just as alive at night. Joggers come in more frequently. When the traffic is significantly less after dinner, one could hear low-riding sports cars sneak in a couple more revs. Sometimes, tires screech as if a drift challenge has been initiated on the oval! There was one time where I passed by the Palma Hall parking lot at night and a mini car show was happening.
Another important road on UP Diliman is University Avenue, more affectionately known as Univ. Ave. This is the road divergent from Commonwealth and leads to either C.P. Garcia or to the UP campus. This road is known for the sunflowers that grow in June, graduation season. At the end of Univ. Ave. is Quezon Hall, where the popular and University-defining Oblation statue stands.
The road leading from Tandang Sora to inside UP is Magsaysay Avenue. I remember this as the road that first introduced me to UP. Magsaysay is a rather slow road with many humps, but located here are the Bahay ng Alumni which has three popular fine dining spots, the GT-Toyota Center which has its own Via Mare, and three of UP’s most popular dorms. At the end of Magsaysay is the College of Human Kinetics.
Behind Magsaysay is Laurel Street, which the northern residential area of UP surrounds. This is where the university clinic, post office, and bank are located. This is also where the Shopping Center, a mall strip featuring computer shops, photocopiers, retail stores, bookstores, and restaurants like Rodic’s, used to stand. The Parish of the Holy Sacrifice and the Church of the Risen Lord can be found in this area, while the University Hotel is a bit hidden in the back. Further down Laurel Street is the famous Area 2, a strip of homes that also function as restaurants from breakfast to dinner. All kinds of student-centric foods, such as Filipino ulam favorites, deep fried treats, local takes on Arabian classics, and milkshakes of all kinds can be found here.
The avenues mentioned in this article are simply the most popular ones. Every road on campus, even the least-traveled ones, has its own set of stories. UP students all have a story—happy, romantic, angry, stressed, relieved—down these roads that they can call their WAN and onLI. These roads have so much significance to the lives of UP students that even they can have a hard time saying goodbye to the dustiest and rockiest roads of UP Diliman.
What is your story about the roads in your school? The comment section is open for you to reminisce. Thank you and God bless you, from Acom Trading!
Article by Josh Jimenez
Photo from BusinessMirror