Monday, October 13, 2008

REMEMBERING UPLB: (happy 100th year!)

UPLB, The University of the Philippines at Los Banos, home to me from June 1981 to April 1985 is turning 100 years old this month. Founded 1908, it is one of the state university provincial installations that specializes in Agriculture degrees. Situated right at the foot of the legendary Mt. Makiling. it was and still is the place to go to in the Laguna area when you want to touch base with nature and its elements.

I hold fond memories of the campus (but not so much the buildings, especially the Physical Sciences building). I have enjoyed walking around the campus while a soft breeze blew. Scenic with clusters of gigantic trees here and there, back in 1981, it used to be so quiet and calm no matter what time of the day.

In 2006, I revisited the campus for the first time again since I greaduated in 1985. A lot has changed. The campus seemed more cramped with more and more buildings now occupying what used to be blank spots in between buildings back then. Try as I might, I could not visualize the palm trees that lined the paths where we used to walk on. I never got really far into the campus so I can't remember now the details of the changes that I saw but one word I could use to describe the inner campus is that it now feels "commercial". It has lost the old ambience of academe. And true, where there is an abundance of concrete buildings, you cannot feel the trees around them anymore.

The UPLB campus in my mind is where I used to walk -run three times a week for an entire semester the long stretch from the Animal Husbandry Department to the Humanities Building. I swear the pre-registration scheme during that time was messed up for how come I had classes from 7:00 to 8:00 AM at the Animal Husbandry lecture hall and at the Humanities Building from 8:00 to 9:00 AM. To give an idea how far the two buildings are from each other, from the AH Lecture Hall, you have to walk the entire length of a regular football field and then some more. We were dismissed at exactly 8:00 AM in the first class and the professor for the 8:00 AM class would not let anyone attend the class after 8:05 AM. Now I know where I got these hard muscles in both legs.

Yes there were passenger jeepneys plying the route around the campus but back then, 75 centavos meant a lot. I remember my daily allowance was pegged at 20 pesos for the entire day including lunch. Haha Now it all comes back to me. My regular meal for the entire four years was a piece of fried chicken, a cup of rice and half a cup of mungo. I always promised myself to eat something different the next day but Ellen's Fried Chicken had the best tasting chicken and mungo combo meal that time and I simply couldn't trade it for something else. And how can I forget the arroz caldo at the Co-op Canteen? I intentionally left home for school an hour or so early so that I can take my arroz caldo breakfast at the Co-op. Twenty pesos for all of these! Just imagine what all your twenty pesos could do these days.

Looking back at how far apart the buildings were, I am sure I have gotten enough leg exercise everyday of my four-year stay at UPLB. I took jeepney rides only up to the building where my first class would be~the rest of the day, I would be walking-running as i hop from one building to another.

Going to the UPLB Main Library is another hurdle because it is situated on top of a hilly spot and it sure wasn't always fun walking on an inclined ground. The saving grace was that the library was airconditioned and very spacious. (read: there are couches at the third floor where you can lounge and take short naps in) Behind the building was where students sit and study (when the interior of the library has lost its appeal -- there are no librarians who hush you when you talk aloud)

......TO BE CONTINUED...will post more pics next blog

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