Sunday, May 26, 2013

A visit to the University of the Philippines

2006. UP. Ikot and Toki, walking under the shade of trees, fallen leaves, isaw, AS steps, tambay at Sunken Garden, Main Lib. I used to be in the Main Library a lot when I was still writing my undergraduate thesis. Man, I missed shuffling through the card catalog drawers. We already did have OPAC during our time, but card catalog rules! I love the Main Lib. I love how it is dark, I love the old wooden tables, and the smell of books. Watching other students buried deep in their books, sometimes I wonder what are they writing about, what are they reading? I especially loved it when it rains outside -- the pitter patter of the rain made writing more relaxing.

2013. It felt nice to be back in UP after a few years. Although I've been meaning to visit UP for the longest time, it was a spontaneous thing, really. K flew in from Tokyo to present his paper at a conference in Ateneo. Since I was home, I met him to show my support, and also because we haven't seen each other since second semester ended last year. We promised to meet in Ateneo, and since it was my first time there, I got a bit lost. One hour late and no means of contact, we chanced upon each other on the John Pollock staircase while I was (frantically) looking for him.

"Oi! I thought you wouldn't come."
"Sorry!!"

We had quick lunch at the school canteen and afterwards, walked around the campus a bit. We had the whole afternoon free so we decided to visit UP. We took a jeepney from Katipunan (yay, I still remember the route). When we passed by the Oblation, I was instantly hit by a wave of nostalgia. I've always thought the Oblation was beautiful, not only aesthetically, but more importantly, the idea that he symbolizes. I kept my gaze on the statue until the jeepney made a turn.

 Familiar sights.

 College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

Main Library.

Our first stop was the shopping center. Nothing much has changed; it still looked the same as the last time I was there. Too bad we just had lunch, otherwise I would've had K try my favorite Rodic's. We just had ice cream and walked around the shops. Outside, we saw a balut cart. K had one balut, and as he ate I just stood there watching in admiration, haha. You see, I've never really tried balut, and I don't think I would ever have the courage to.

We walked from the shopping center to the main library. It was a long walk, but it was a cloudy and windy day so we didn't really mind. I think we successfully blended with the undergraduate students too, haha. As we were walking, we passed by familiar buildings, colleges and places. I would point them and share some stories. Like, how we used to run the oval when I was in the ROTC, and how fun UP Fairs were. We reached the main library, but unfortunately we couldn't enter because they require a recommendation letter from the university. I smiled as I saw a bit of the library, remembering my student days when I was so anxious about my thesis. K and I then walked to the Sunken Garden and loitered for a while. As always, there were students on the field, joggers in their track suits, couples beneath the trees. It was all too familiar, and I was at home once again.

Balut and pugo outside the Univsersity Shopping Center!

College of Law.

The Sunken Garden.

Breathing in my surroundings, I realized UP has this certain charm -- they way there are lots of trees, the jeepneys, the isaw carts, the students. I don't even know how to describe it. Yay for being articulate. I love NUS too, but UP just has this certain feel. Suddenly, how I missed school.

Feeling thirsty, we headed to a small stall behind the library to drink. We just sat there on a wooden bench for a while -- looking out to the field, just kept on talking about school, the future... life in general. Ah, the *future*. Is there any scarier word? (Ok, I also accept "Mondays"). In a few months, K will fly back to Singapore to start on his PhD program in NUS. I still haven't figured out what I want to do. Should I return to school or continue with my current path? Everyone feels insecure about the future. Murky, vague. However, I have decided I would try not to obsess so much about it. Just like going places, you can’t get to a destination without traveling there first, right? I had one last look at the Sunken Garden. We got up, and agreed to have pizza for dinner, and maybe, a bottle of beer.

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