UP Diliman south
Quezon City

UP Diliman south: from open frontier to modern educational complex (ninth of a series)

For the past 8 installments, the Urban Roamer has taken you on this virtual tour of the vast Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines. While we’re almost close to closing out this series, I admit there is still so many places in this vast campus that have yet to be covered. So let me say this early that I apologize for any places that I may have missed out and I promise to cover them when I get the opportunity, you know as soon as this current (at this time of writing) situation clears up, even for a bit.

With that said, we go to the south portion of the campus, which used to be sparsely developed but has since transformed into a modern educational and research complex that has spurred campus development over the last 10-20 years.

The Integrated School

Coming from the southeast of the Academic Oval, a few steps from the Vinzons and Benitez Halls is the UP Integrated School, which offers pre-collegiate education from kindergarten to senior high school. It straddles both sides of Regidor Street, with the elementary levels (Grades 1 to 6) holding classes at the building at the back of Benitez Hall, preparatory levels (K1 to K2) at the building south of the former, and middle and high school levels (Grades 7 to 12) at the building east of the elementary building across it.

The K2 building of UPIS
The Elementary building of UPIS

The UP Integrated School today is a product of the merger of different institutions: the UP High School established in 1916 and the UP Elementary School which was first established in 1935, both merged in 1976. During the early years in Diliman, both elementary and high schools were located in Benitez Hall until the high school moved out to its own building in “far off” Katipunan Avenue (away from the area around the core Diliman campus area) in 1953, while the elementary school got its own building at the back of Benitez Hall in 1960. It would not be until 2013 when the high school moved back into the core Diliman campus with the inauguration of the new building east of Benitez Hall, in the wake of the agreement of the University of the Philippines and Ayala Land to develop the old high school complex into a leased commercial center we now know as UP Town Hall.

K7-12 building of UPIS

CHE complex

South of the UPIS area is the College of Home Economics complex which is originally composed of the original building named after Teodora Alonso, the mother of Filipino hero Jose Rizal and the building across it called Gusali 2. Unfortunately, there is no information about when these buildings were originally built, though the Alonso Hall may have been built in the 1960s or 1970s, after the establishment of the college in 1961.

In 2016, the college underwent an expansion with the addition new buildings, including the third building of the college and a separate facility called the Family Life and Child Development Center for the college’s Department of Family Life and Child Development.

FLDC Center (courtesy of spot.ph)

The twin women’s residence halls (and a male residence hall that was)

Also near UPIS along Quirino Avenue are the two residence halls catering exclusively for women. The oldest of these is the Kamia Residence Hall, built in 1950 and originally designed by Juan Nakpil. It currently has a capacity of 288.

Its neighbor, the Sampaguita Residence Hall, was built 7 years later and also designed by Nakpil. It has a slightly lower capacity of 284.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention an iconic residence hall though not a neighbor of the aforementioned residence halls. I’m referring to the Narra Residence Hall which used to stand beside Vinzons Hall. Originally built in 1952 and designed by Roberto Novenario, Narra was a male-exclusive dorm which could accommodate up to 340 occupants. Unfortunately, a fire in 2008 razed this residence hall to the ground and was no longer rebuilt.

A modern science complex in the south

Save for the areas occupied by the CHE, UPIS, and the aforementioned residence halls, the area south of Quirino Avenue up to C.P. Garcia Avenue and bounded by Velasquez Street on the west and Katipunan Avenue on the east is one big “science complex” located within UP Diliman.

College of Science Library

The first, and the oldest building in this part of the campus would be the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory, completed in 1954. The construction of the observatory was not actually the effort of the university itself which only offered the then-undeveloped part of the campus. Rather, its construction was the effort of the Philippine Weather Bureau, the forerunner of today’s PAGASA or the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

The 1980s saw the establishment of the Natural Sciences Research Institute to be one of the campus’ “center of excellence” for research in natural sciences and a separate facility in the form of a building of its own, eventually named Miranda Hall (sadly I do not have information about the particular Miranda the building was named after).

But it would be in the 2000s when the science complex of UP Diliman began to really take shape, thanks in part to Executive Order 583 issued by then Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006, allotting 21+ hectares of the campus to be the site of a “National Science Complex” in which new academic buildings and research facilities will be built.

College of Science Administration Building
National Institute of Physics
National Institute of Geological Sciences
Philippine Genome Center (from Google Streetview)
National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (note the cell-like formation of the grills)

The landscape of UP Diliman changed dramatically over the next 10+ years with the completion of the buildings of the National Institute of Geological Sciences, Institute of Biology, Marine Science Institute, National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Institute of Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, National Institute of Physics, Institute of Mathematics, plus the National Science Complex Amphitheater, the College of Science Administration Building, the College of Science Library, and the latest addition to the complex, the Philippine Genome Center.

Marine Science Institute
Institute of Chemistry (from Google Streetview)
Institute of Biology
Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology
College of Science Amphitheater

Speaking of the Institute of Mathematics, one joke I heard some time ago is that the institute being moved to a building far south, away from the campus’ academic core (AKA the area around the Oval) was a symbolic one which reflected the general attitude of students wanting to do away with math as much as possible.

College of Engineering extends to the south

Almost the same time UP Diliman’s Science Complex began to take shape, developments were also beginning on the opposite side of Velasquez Street. The developments would begin in 2001 when the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Institute under the College of Engineering would move out of German Yia Hall to its own EEEI buildings.

It would not be until the 2010s when the south Engineering complex of the campus began to take shape. The development flurry in this part of the campus would give rise to buildings such as the UP Alumni Engineers Centennial Hall where the library and the Department of Computer Science are located, Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials
building, Institute of Civil Engineering Buildings 1 to 4, Institute of Chemical Engineering building, the Environment and Energy Engineering Program building, and the College of Engineering Learning Commons.

DMMME building
Main building of the Institute of Civil Engineering
College of Engineering Learning Commons
Institute of Chemical Engineering
Environment and Energy Engineering Program building
UP Alumni Engineers Centennial Hall (from Google Streetview)

To be concluded

Acknowledgements as well to the University of the PhilippinesUP DilimanIskomunidadWikipedia, UP Integrated SchoolUP Alliance of Concerned DormitoriesNational Sciences Research Institute, Official Gazette, Philippine Star, Spot.ph, PAGASA, and The Armchair Perspective


  • Jose Perico Esguerra

    The Natural Science Research Institute (NSRI) used to be the Natural Science Research Center (NSRC). The moving spirit behind the Natural Science Research Center was its founding director Bienvenido Miranda – former professor of chemistry in UP Diliman. NSRC was established in 1964, and was transformed into NSRI in 1983.

  • Jose Perico Esguerra

    The buildings of the College of Science Library, Marine Science Institute, Institute of Mathematics, and National Institute of Geological Sciences were constructed in the 1980’s. The research wing of the National Institute of Physics was constructed in the 2000s but before EO 583, the other wings were completed after EO583.

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