Quezon City

Around the UP Diliman Oval – the north side (sixth of a series)

After a brief hiatus, the Urban Roamer returns to roam (virtually of course, with quarantine and all that) the UP Diliman campus as we pick up from our last stop.

School of Economics complex

The School of Economics complex consists of two buildings: the School of Economics Library and the Encarnacion Hall where the economics lectures and faculty offices are located. The latter is named after the first dean of the School of Economics Jose Encarnacion Jr.

School of Economics Library
Encarnacion Hall

No information can be found on when it was built but it was probably around the 1970s.

Malcolm Hall and the Law Complex

Along with its twin Benitez Hall across it, Malcolm Hall is best known as the home of UP’s renowned College of Law. It was named after George Malcolm, the American lawyer who served as an associate justice of the Philippine Supreme Court and helped establish the college, with himself serving as its first dean. It is also one of the oldest buildings on the campus, having been built before the war (between 1939-1940) like its twin, the Benitez Hall. and was also designed by Juan Arellano.

Malcolm Hall forms part of what is known as the “law complex” of the campus, complemented with the Bocobo Hall which can be found at the back of Malcolm Hall. Named after Jorge Bocobo, who served as president of the university from 1034-1939 and became the Secretary of Public Instruction under Pres. Manuel Quezon, Bocobo Hall is the home of the UP Law Center, an office under the College of Law which focuses on providing continuing legal education. The UP Law Center was established in 1964 so the building may have been built around this time.

There is also the UP Law Library, known also as Espiritu Hall after Justice Jose Espiritu, who served as dean of the College of Law after Jorge Bocobo.

The Core Engineering Complex

If the number of structures related to a college is indicative of its prominent status in the campus, then the College of Engineering may be one of the most prominent colleges of UP Diliman. In this part of the academic oval, one can see two buildings related to engineering, not even counting the structures at the back. I’m not even yet talking about the buildings south of the campus which we will get to later.

Coming from Malcolm Hall, the first building we see is the Juinio Hall, the home of the National Engineering Center (NEC). Established in 1978, the NEC is the center for continuing education in the field of engineering, much like the UP Law Center in Bocobo Hall is for law studies. The building was named after a dean of the College of Engineering, Alfredo Juinio who helped establish the said center.

At the back of the NEC is ther German Yia Hall, which is where the Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments are based. It was also the original home of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering department before it moved to a new facility in 2001. The building was named after German Yia, a president of the UP Alumni engineers and whose family helped finance its construction in 1974. It underwent renovation in the 2010s, which made it bigger than it was previously.

Across Yia Hall is the campus’ technology nerve center which consists of two buildings, the Interactive Learning Center Diliman (ILCD) and the University Computer Center. Beside the ILCD is the National Center for Transportation Studies, a research institute established in 1976 that provides training in traffic management and engineering.

Interactive Learning Center Diliman
National Center for Transportation Studies

Last, but not the least, is the center of the College of Engineering, the Melchor Hall. As the twin of Palma Hall right across the oval, Melchor Hall shares the same design, the same architect (Cesar Concio), and almost the same period when it was built (1951). It is named after Alejandro Melchor, a civil engineer and mathematician who served in the Commonwealth cabinet during the war and postwar years.

One last thing to note in this complex are the presence of sundials. Sundials have long been associated with the College of Engineering, dating back to the sundial built in front of its building at the old Manila campus in the 1920s, said to be one of the largest in the country at the time. Unfortunately, the sundial was taken down in the 1930s; nevertheless, its association with the college remained. So when the college moved to Diliman, plans were made to build a new one. The first Diliman sundial was built in 1958 at the west side of Melchor Hall. Unfortunately that sundial was destroyed by a typhoon in 1968. A new one would be built in 1972, this time in the area fronting the National Engineering Center. Then in 2010, to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the college, a new “digital” sundial was unveiled at the site of the first Diliman sundial where it stands today.

The “analog” sundial near the National Center for Transportation Studies
The “digital” sundial at the west wing of Melchor Hall

Film Center

Formally known as the UP Film Institute Film Center, the UP Film Center is the film hub of the campus, where film festivals and special screenings of mostly independent and non-mainstream films are being shown. It is also the home of the UP Film Institute under the College of Mass Communications. Unfortunately, no data is available on when it was built or who is its architect but it’s probably built around the 1970s or 1980s.

The Film Center consists of 3 facilities: the 800-seat main theater called Cine Adarna, the 60-seater videotheque for intimate and digital-based screenings and the Ishmael Bernal Gallery (named after prominent film and TV director Ishmael Bernal) which is a venue for exhibits and intimate gatherings.

The Carillon Plaza and SyCip Garden

Apart from the Oblation (which itself is more of a University-wide symbol), the Carillon tower has long served as one of the most prominent landmarks of UP Diliman. Every hour, one can hear the chimes and music played by the bells of the Carillon, with a melody that reverberates through the quiet but bustling campus.

Originally completed in 1952, the tower was designed by architect Juan Nakpil, who also designed the Quezon Hall, and had 46 bells. It fell into a state of gradual decay and eventual disuse for a number of years. Fortunately, the UP Alumni Association launched a drive to renovate the Carillon in time for UP’s centennial in 2008. As a result, all the bells were replaced with 36 new ones and a computerized system was put in place, allowing for automated playing of the bells at a given time without human intervention. A plaza around the Carillon Tower was added as well, allowing for performances to be held there would utilize the Carillon bells.

Nearby the tower is the extensive Washington Sycip Garden of Native Trees where one can find various species of Philippine trees, mostly medium in height. Launched in 2012, it is named in honor of businessman and philanthropist Washington Sycip, which incidentally also has another garden/park named after him in Makati.

University Theater/Villamor Hall

With a seating capacity of 2,000, the University Theater or Villamor Hall is the premier venue in the campus for live events and performances. In fact, many non-UP productions use it as a venue on various occasions. It was completed in 1960 and designed by Roberto Novenario, the theater was named in the memory of Ignacio Villamor, the first Filipino president of UP who served from 1915-1921.

In recent years, the building was graced with a sculpture installed in front, which drew mixed reactions when it was unveiled in 2017. The scuplture is titled “UPLift” and it shows a nude woman levitating from the ground with her hair flowing down. The scuplture is a creation of Ferdinand Cacnio who interpreted it as a symbol of being welcoming towards knowledge and values.

Abelardo Hall

Named after the university’s most prominent alumnus in music (he also composed the university theme, originally titled “UP Beloved”) and National Artist Nicanor Abelardo, it makes sense that the building named after him would be the home of the College of Music. It was originally completed in 1963, with some help from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and was expanded with an annex building in 1991.

The MassComm complex

Located along the southwestern tip of the Oval is the home of the College of Mass Communications, with Plaridel Hall serving as its main center. Completed in 1969, it was named after the pseudonym of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the writer and editor of La Solidaridad, the organ of the Philippine Reform movement of the 19th century. Plaridel Hall was eventually expanded to have an annex wing, followed by a dedicated Media Center building by the 2000s where its laboratory TV studio and campus radio station DZUP are located.

To be continued…

Acknowledgements as well to the University of the Philippines, UP Diliman, Iskomunidad, School of Economics, National Engineering Center, College of Music, and When in Manila


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