University Avenue is known as the gateway to UP Diliman, linking Commonwealth Avenue to the main core of the campus, with the Oblation and the administration building (we’ll get to that building soon) greeting you in the distance.
But the avenue is more than just a gateway road to the campus. University Avenue is a landmark in itself with the many sights you get to see along the way. For one, there are the twin stone sculptures done by National Artist and UP alumnus Napoleon Abueva called “Tribute to Higher Education”. Done in 1966, the sculptures glorify academic/higher learning that UP espouses.
A few steps away is the checkpoint area for vehicles coming into the campus. But this one is more than just a checkpoint. Formally, the area is known as the University Gateway, the area is a work of art in itself, with two waiting sheds shaped in an abstract form. It was built in 1962, also a work of Abueva.
There are also a few sculptures along the road, 3 of them to be precise: Captivity, Contemplation, and Nude Bathing. These works are said to be done by an artist named Ildefonso Marcelo in the 1960s. Unfortunately, little is known about him except that he was a student of Abueva.
And of course, one cannot think of University Avenue without the sight of sunflowers in June, growing not only on the green spaces of the opposite sides of the thoroughfare but also at the center island, turning almost the entire stretch of the road into a “sunflower avenue.” The blossoming of sunflowers in the area was a recent one, which was said to have begun in the 1990s as an initiative to enrich the natural landscape of the campus.
Originally, the sunflowers bloomed around April, right around the time of the graduation ceremonies in UP Diliman. As such, the UP Diliman sunflowers became the unofficial graduation symbol/flower of the campus. So when the decision was made in 2014 to move UP’s academic calendar which put the graduation ceremonies in June, there was worry that the sunflowers will no longer bloom that time as rains would start pouring in around that time. Fortunately, UP Diliman’s campus landscaping office found a way to ensure the sunflowers would still bloom even in June, a feat they were able to accomplish.
University Avenue is one of the few thoroughfares in the country where one can see both natural and man-made sights, giving character not only to a university campus but to a metropolis as well. It is very apt to be a gateway to a world of built and natural wonders and of rich knowledge and the sights seen along this gateway makes sure you know that very well.
To be continued
Acknowledgements as well to Iskomunidad, Lakbay ng Lakan, and Byahilo