residence halls
Quezon City

Residences, religions, international relations, etc.: UP Diliman’s northeast section (eighth of a series)

UP Diliman is a big campus and we’re continuing our virtual roaming as we cover as many places as we can. (Apologies beforehand if we will be missing some spots in the course of this series)

Main residence hall complex

It is important to note that at the time the main campus of the University of the Philippines transferred to Diliman in 1949, Diliman was considered the hinterlands, far off from “civilization” that was downtown Manila. It didn’t help too that Commonwealth Avenue would not be open to vehicular traffic until the 1960s, which made travel from downtown Manila to Diliman a long one. If you count as well the fact there a good portion of UP’s students came from faraway provinces outside Manila, who would have to make that long commute from their dorms to the Diliman campus, UP Diliman had this accessibility problem.

To address this problem, the UP administration embarked on a plan to build what was then a novel idea: in-campus student residences/dormitories. The first to be built was Molave Residence Hall, which was constructed in 1949 and designed by the campus architect Cesar Concio Sr., who we got acquainted with earlier for his work on Palma and Melchor Halls. Originally, it was built to accommodate male students and was first known as the UP Men’s North Dormitory. It was renamed Kanlaon and, eventually, Molave in the 1960s as part of a scheme that named the residence halls of the campus after native trees and plants. It was also expanded and soon accommodated female students as well, bringing its capacity to a present 190 undergrads.

Across Molave along Magsaysay Avenue are two other co-ed residence halls: Yakal Residence Hall, built in 1962 and Ipil Residence Hall. built in 1965. Both originally designed by Roberto Novenario who also designed the University Theater and were originally for male students, both were expanded in the 1970s to accommodate female students. Presently, Yakal has a capacity of 380 undergrads while Ipil can accommodate 326 grad students.

Yakal Residence Hall
Ipil Residence Hall

Going back to Molave, beside along the Roces Street side is the Sanggumay Residence Hall, built in 1970 and designed by Rosauro Villarico. It is one of the four residence halls in the campus that was exclusively for women, with a smaller capacity of 126 graduate students. Right across it is the Kalayaan Residence Hall, the first residence hall that was built as a coed residence hall right from the start. Until the construction of new student residences in the 2000s, Kalayaan was considered the youngest of the campus student residences as it was built in 1975. Designed also by Novenario, Kalayaan also was the biggest at the time as it could accommodate 534 freshmen (Kalayaan is exclusively for freshmen students).

Sanggumay Residence Hall
Kalayaan Residence Hall

But with the growing student population, there was a need to build more student housing, so in the 2000s, more student residences were built. The latest to be completed is the Acacia Residence Hall. It’s actually a cluster of 4 buildings with a reported capacity of 768 for the 3 buildings and 1 building (exclusive for law students) can accommodate 200. Not sure of the figures but the area is massive. It actually is more of a flat/condo type than the typical residence halls in the campus, especially if you see that the ground level is mostly used for commercial space.

Which leads me to…

The late Shopping Center

If anything, the shops at the ground floor of Acacia Residence Hall now serves as the commercial center of the campus in the wake of the fire that hit the UP Shopping Center right across it back in 2018. Up until then, it served as the go-to place for students to rent a computer to do their homework or research on the web, have some printing jobs done, buy UP swag, get their haircuts, buy glasses, eat tapa (it was the old site of Rodic’s), it was the place the Diliman community, from different colleges and disparate locations in the vast campus, would converge.

It remains to be seen if the UP Shopping Center will be renovated and reopened. Whatever the site’s fate would be, part of what UP Diliman a unique campus environment is now gone.

Centers of health and faith

Beside the old Shopping Center is the University Health Service. While its one-storey structure that might have been built in the 1960s may have the appearance that it is a clinic, in reality, it is actually a 50-bed hospital so it can accommodate those needing emergency treatment, physical examinations, and other services like cardiology, OB-Gyne, and dental consultations among others.

Right across is one of the campus’is another iconic landmark in the campus, the domed and Catholic Parish of the Holy Sacrifice. Completed in 1955, it is notable for the contribution of 5 future National Artists: Leandro Locsin served as its architect which was also his first project as an architect, Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok painted the stations of the cross, Napoleon Abueva designed the giant crucifix at the top which showed a crucified Christ and a risen Christ on each side, and Arturo Luz did the floor mural.

Across it is another church, thee Protestant Church of the Risen Lord. Designed by the campus architect Cesar Concio Sr., it is actually finished earlier than the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, having been completed by 1954. It also bore a different look as well from a traditional church, bearing contemporary architecture and the design like that of a concrete tent.

“International and Visitors Row”

The northeastern row of UP Diliman is what I would call the “international and visitors row” since this area is mostly catering to guests, visitors and international studies.

First is the University Hotel, which was originally built in the 1970s as a hostel operated by the Philippine Center for Economic Development. The facility was eventually donated to UP in 1983 but it retained the PCED name until 2001 when it was renamed as the University Hotel.

A few steps ahead going south is the Balay Internasyonal complex which was inaugurated in 1993. Despite the name, it is actually composed of the Kapit-Balay serviced apartments and Balay Kalinaw, a venue for small-scale or intimate events organized by the academe.

Balay Kalinaw

Nearby are two residence halls, one of them being the Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall which is exclusive for women undergrads. Completed in 1958 and designed Roberto Novenario, it has a capacity of 272.

Beside it is the International Center, built in 1965 and designed by Victor Tiotuyco. As the name suggests, it caters mainly to foreign students of all levels, though Filipino students may stay there if there is available slot among the 160 capacity. It is also the most-unique looking among the residence halls built thus far up to the 1960s with its postmodern design. At this time of writing though, it is closed for renovation work as part of the ongoing works around the campus.

We cap off this part of the series with a look at Asian Studies Center complex, the home of UP’s center that focuses on Asian studies and consists of 2 buildings. One of the is Romulo Hall, built in 1975 and designed by Juan Nakpil who also did Quezon Hall and was the last building he designed for the campus. It is named after Carlos P. Romulo, the prominent Filipino diplomat and journalist who not only served as the first president of the UN General Assembly but also president of UP from 1962-1968.

Nearby is a fairly new facility, the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium, an enclosed events space which was inaugurated in 2009. As the name suggests, the building was constructed through the efforts of Toyota Motor Philippines and its chairperson, the late George Ty (hence the GT).

To be continued…

Acknowledgements as well to the University of the Philippines, UP Diliman, Iskomunidad, Wikipedia, University Hotel, UP Alliance of Concerned Dormitories, Philippine Star, and The Armchair Perspective

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