City of Manila

A journey to the abode of the Tamaraws

No we will not be going to Mindoro for this one. (0therwise, this blog will not be called the Urban Roamer)

I am actually referring here to the Tamaraws as the team monicker of that university based in Manila’s University Belt known as the Far Eastern University or FEU for short.

Art-Deco influenced “FEU” mark at the campus gates
FEU logo originally designed by Galo Ocampo

First of all though, let me disclose that I have never been a student, not even a cross-enrollee, of FEU, though I did entertain the possibility of studying there at one point. Nevertheless, the things I’ve heard about the rich heritage of the campus along Nicanor Reyes St. and Quezon Blvd. is something I wanted to check out for myself. So thanks again to my suki travel guide friend Lawrence Chan, I got the opportunity to see FEU and the heritage it treasures up close. (to students and alumni of other schools, don’t worry; I will feature or visit your school at some point in the future)

FEU main campus map

While FEU does not have the same prestige that people associate with Ateneo and La Salle, nor does it have the history that University of Santo Tomas enjoys, it does hold a charm and prestige of its own as the only campus in the country, and one of the few in the world, that has a proud Art Deco-International Style flavor. In fact, it was recognized no less by UNESCO for the preservation done on the campus’s rich architectural heritage. Apart from the architecture, the campus boasts artworks from renowned Filipino artists which will be detailed later.

First stop is the Technology building which used to be the site of FEU Hospital Building (before moved out to its new home in West Fairview in Quezon City) which was first built in 1955 by Felipe Mendoza. The building underwent renovation and vertical expansion some time ago; nowadays, this building is now home for IT and PE classes, among others.

Right next-door is the FEU-East Asia Main Building which used to be the Girls’ High School building. First built by Pablo Antonio in 1940, it is now known as the building of FEU-East Asia College which deals with the university’s engineering and the computer-related courses.

Making our way to the FEU Memorial Square is a series of bronze sculptures done by National Artist Vicente Manansala done in commemoration  of the university’s 40th anniversary. Bronze was a deliberate choice because of its transformative properties which gives bronze its greenish hue over time and green being one of the primary colors of FEU. It’s a series of 4 sculptures which depict advancements in the arts and sciences

Next stop is the FEU Chapel, which is another jewel in the FEU campus. First built in 1955 by Felipe Mendoza, it is built in the International Style of architecture and is also one of the most expensive chapels/churches built even for its time. It is said to worth around P50 Million, including the artwork which I will go into detail a bit later.

image of Our Lady of Fatima at the chapel facade

The chapel boasts of artwork by another National Artist Botong Francisco who painted the murals which depicted the 14 Stations of the Cross…

…and the imposing mural of a crucifix.

There’s another work found in the chapel made by another National Artist: Napoleon Abueva’s Pieta.

But going back to our tour of the campus, right beside the chapel is the Arts Building, another 1950’s work of Felipe Mendoza which is also of the International Style of Architecture. It was originally higher than its present height; it had to be “downsized” during the late 1960’s due to the effects of the 1968 Manila earthquake that hit many buildings, including Ruby Tower. The building also underwent renovations recently, adding a glass facade to some parts of the building.

Right across it is the open-air Grandstand where campus events and concerts were held.

But who would have known that at the back of the grandstand is a nice little garden which is dedicated to FEU’s founder, Dr. Nicanor Reyes?

time capsule bearing Nicanor Reyes’ letters and other memorabilia

Nicanor Reyes, with the Philippine flag behind him
the gardens which are designed to look like a tamaraw, or at least that’s how some see it

To Part 2

To Part 3

© The Urban Roamer

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