UP Diliman, UP Town Center
Quezon City

Capping off the UP Diliman journey (last of a series)

Finally, the Urban Roamer is ready to close off this long UP Diliman series that went on way too long than what I originally hoped. It’s been quite a journey to cover and I’m glad that you have been with me on this one all the way through, some incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information aside.

Thankfully, the academic areas of the campus have been pretty much covered so we are capping things off with a trip along that part of the campus’ “outer rim” along C.P. Garcia Avenue and Katipunan Avenue.

C.P. Garcia Avenue

Originating from University Avenue and terminating at Katipunan Avenue, C.P. Garcia Avenue traditionally serves as part of UP Diliman’s “boundary” between the academic core and the outlying parts of the campus.

A few meters from the intersection with University Avenue, one can find the headquarters of three government offices. First is that of the Commission on Higher Education, (CHED) established in 1994 and split from the former Department of Education, Culture, and Sports to focus on tertiary education development.

Next door, so to speak, is the head office of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, (DICT) established in 2016 to oversee the development of information and communications technology in the country. While the office itself is fairly new at this time of writing, the building it occupies is not as it was the home of the National Computer Center, which was established in 1971 to oversee the government’s efforts early in information technology until 2016 when the NCC was one of the offices eventually absorbed by the DICT.

Rounding off this cluster is the office of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, (PHIVOLCS) the agency that monitors volcanic and earthquake activity in the country. In a way, PHIVOLCS’ presence complements that of PAGASA with its observatory on the other end of the campus.

Further down the stretch of this road, after the intersection with roads leading to Krus na Ligas and Teachers Village (where Maginhawa Street partly stretches), one can find another official residence. Yes, other than the Executive House, there is also the Balay Tsanselor which is the official residence of the UP Diliman Chancellor. Unlike the Executive House though, the Chancellor actually lives there so it’s not as accessible except for some occasions.

Nearby is the UP Technology Park South, which is envisioned as a research and technology hub of the campus. At the moment there is not much development there that can be seen, save for some facilities like the Advanced Science and Technology Institute under the Department of Science and Technology.

Katipunan and UP Town Center

Once CP Garcia Avenue terminates at Katipunan Avenue, one can see the massive commercial development where the old UP Integrated School used to stand. Thanks to a development agreement, Ayala Land would develop the property being leased to them by the University of the Philippines administration in return for some share in the commercial development’s revenue.

The result is the UP Town Center, considered to be the first massive commercial development located within an educational institution. At the very least, its location on the other side of Katipunan Avenue did not make it a distraction to the students, nor did it make for easy access for those thinking of skipping classes, thanks to distance and traffic.

There is nothing much to say about the architecture and way it incorporate the greens. Don’t get me wrong, these are all well and good, but having already been to a similarly-designed Ayala mall (Circuit Makati in the former Santa Ana Race Track), it kinda felt like a rehash.

Spots missed

One place I forgot to talk about is the Kalinga Day Care Center at the north part of the campus, which is a preschool institution. In a way, it complements the PAUW-UP Child Study Center at the south. The difference though is Kalinga Day Care Center is being run by the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, which gives it an advantage of sorts of having a more “direct” connection to the university itself.

There is also the Zoology Building, which, as the name implies, is the location of some zoology classes, Located along Quirino Avenue, it is also one of the few buildings of the College of Science outside the vast College of Science complex in the campus.

There is also a Balay Atleta, a housing facility for the female varsity athletes but I haven’t been able to check it out personally.

A journey’s end

Finally, we can close this series on the Urban Roamer. It was an exhaustive one that made more complicated by unforeseen events and other stuff going on in my life. It was a series I was glad to have pulled off despite the odds. Not ending up my favorite of the series as I originally envisioned (Nothing could probably top my experience doing the series on Manila’s downtown movie theaters) but it’s something I enjoyed to have done.

That being said, it still feels incomplete with some places that I wasn’t able to cover or visit, not to mention checking out the nearby areas like Krus na Ligas and San Vicente which may help create a bigger picture of UP Diliman as a campus. Come to think of it, it would be a good excuse to visit the campus once again, hopefully when the situation has somewhat improved.

P.S. As you can see the photos taken of UP Town Center were taken before the pandemic, so please don’t feel triggered with these photos showing commercial activity

Acknowledgements as well to the University of the Philippines, UP Diliman, Iskomunidad, Wikipedia, and Center for Women’s and Gender Studies

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