It was a trip down memory lane after I got hitched by few of my classmates from college to visit our “Sintang Paaralan“(Beloved School). That’s how we fondly call the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, based from the first lyrics of our school hymn. (here’s the hymn in case you’re curious)
But prior that day, August 2, was the occasional get together as one of my best college buddies, Cristine Caringal, got back to Manila after so many years. She left to find her fortune in Dubai months after graduation, and I must say that I”m happy for her achievements. She booked Shaw Residenza Condominium in Mandaluyong as our convenient venue, and it became a fun night of gluttony, booze and endless talks. Although we eventually get fewer every time we set a gathering, this one was still a meaningful night.
I passed out around 7am (that’s how i party..LOL) and woke up few hours after with a tease by Kaycee to come with them, because it has been a habit for him to eat at that spot where we usually ate as students. I originally planned to come straight to the office for the last day of the week work; but I thought it would be worthy to be absent. I knew this was going to be a great day of reminiscence for the rest of us. It has been ages since I last set foot at PUP, so I was easily influenced. Too bad the rest didn’t make it with us because they left by the dawn.
We took off with Kaycee as our “official driver” (since he was the mastermind..) and swiftly passed Shaw Blvd all the way to Pureza Street at Sta. Mesa, Manila.
And it was an instant moment of nostalgia soon as we turned corner to the street of Pureza going to the university’s vicinity. The tricycles and pedicabs that I used to ride going to my building was still evidently useful among students, I had these memories of always having the rush coming to class as I had that routine of being the latecomer.
I immediately took photos while still in the car as we approached the Engineering Building down the road. This building is right next to our college, The College of Communications just straight ahead to Anonas St.
We were excited to get inside the building but Kaycee eagerly wanted to eat first at his beloved canteen. It was the typical Filipino “carinderia” or eatery that sells everyday meals that are student-friendly.
For me, the place was more homy (it’s HOMY.. i knew you would read it wrong.. :-P) now. Today, it looked different because they already have managed to renovate the place. It was the same old fellas that are serving the customers though, such a good thing.
An immediate food-porn photography took place after the lunch was served. And it was this “m-o-n-u-m-e-n-t-a-l” (with drum-rolls) Pork Chop and Gravy Meal that we ordered, same as what we usually ate and it only cost us Php30.00 back then. Today, I think it is around 50-something-bucks.. (I forgot because I wasn’t the one who paid..LOL)
It may not be the best meal for everybody, specially the ones with meticulous taste for preparation and presentation, but indeed it was exceptional because it is memorable and was part of our lives as PUPians.
Soon we headed to the Masscomm Campus and were just freely welcomed by the guards and casually parked inside. We were hoping to see some familiar professors and just refresh our memories.
It was a fun stroll, I have never visited this place after seven years and the place still felt the same, only the students are a little mellow; less noise and few students scattered in some corners of the campus. (Or maybe the cool kids are only away..LOL!) I must say I kinda missed the attention as I was walking the hallway, before, at least one person would always try to greet or smile or just simply get your attention.
Masscomm students in PUP have this reputation for being talkative, loud and outspoken, we don’t take it negatively because they say it should be innate for future broadcasters and media-practitioners. I have mentioned before in my About Me post about how I was culture-shocked at first, and how I managed to get over the adjustment with the surroundings and the people in the first years of stay, but hell, it was already part of history. Time would really teach you to adapt with changes.
We literally went across every corner of the building, checking every classroom and remembering every doings that happened there. I had this overwhelming feeling after I observed some students having their classes, some doing handicrafts for their stage productions at the stairways, and few just practicing their dance presentations (there are a lot of extra-curricular activities here). I realized that it was indeed a time of one’s life that should be enjoyed and make the most out of.
And this is one of the very significant places for me, the Audio-Visual Room, where we had our defense for our Thesis. I felt like a psychic when I entered the room, I felt some residual emotions as flashbacks appeared in my vision of the instance when I was arguing with one of the professors for criticizing our work. Hahah,..
And at last, the Amphitheater is finished and is already being utilized by the students. During my time, this was only used as horror house during the Foundation Day.. 🙂
We were hoping to greet some of our favorite professors but they were not around, only the ones we hated appeared like haunting ghosts.. hahah. We didn’t even take effort to greet them so we just headed back to Kaycee’s ride to go straight to the main campus at Teresa Street fews blocks away.
And what dazed me was the big changes inside the campus. And I must say DAMN! Why didn’t they do this when I was still there! The vicinity had such a great work as they converted the place into a more welcoming and brighter environment for students.
We were happy to know that the government chose the school as place to built this shrine for one of our national heroes, Apolinario Mabini. They relocated the original house of Mabini from somewhere else; and restored them to this spot of the campus which was a place for food vendors before. They also built a museum where you can appreciate the hero’s life and contribution during his existence.
And again.. I was like – “WHAT THE FU#* ?!?!?!” I was envious of the students for having these structures inside the campus! These things were not around in our days! It was so unfair! Look at that great wall that seems to cover some wonders behind with that landscape of trees. It’s like a setting from a fairy tale.. right?
I must say, this is so dope! This monument that leads to the Lagoon (which i should be talking about in a while) is patterned after the structures in Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. (also one of the tourist spots in Manila, which is very significant of the spanish regime..google Intramuros – for non-Pinoys.. 😛 ) And of course, the PUP Lagoon! Well, for some it was just an ordinary mossy creek with trees around and birds chirping for drama; but this is something special for every PUPian.
We almost literally ran towards the place as this was so remembered by our class. This was probably the most hung-out place compare to the rest of the spot in PUP for us. This was where we waited for the next class (we had classes at the main campus apart from the Masscomm bldg), where we ate our food during breaks, where we brainstorm whenever we have group projects, where we mock some people passing by, where we would just lie down and sometimes sleep, and lastly, where lovers stay upon the strike of darkness! hahah!
Few walks from the Lagoon is the main campus’ library or formally addressed as the Ninoy Aquino Learning Resources Center. Aside from the fact that students use this as a reading haven, as location for stage plays and pageants alike, and as place for the techies because the IT Center is here; it is also a popular spot for outsiders from showbiz-media to shoot local TV Dramas and commercials.
We thought of checking out the happenings inside the main academic building (that one behind the obelisk), and we were led by our feet to the registrar, where we took immense amount of energy and patience during enrollments. It was like people power, long lines would take you forever to finish. It wasn’t the time of enrollment yet that’s why you see less people at the line. It was a battle for every PUPian… 🙂 and still a good memory.
It was quite a while when we realized that we were spending half-day of strolling around the campus, we were tired and soon checked on the food, they relocated the vendors somewhere and put up a sort of mini-market that purely sold different food for snacks. After we have bought food and refreshed ourselves, we sat at the Multipurpose Chapel and just continuously talked about our student life.
We never forgot to visit the swimming pool that we experienced using in our freshmen year. We had elementary swimming in our PE Class, and some memories just got back again -> we were required to be in swimming attire.. swimsuits, trunks and all! ..LOL. we just got couple of laughs on those memories. This was also renovated and looked more legit for a training ground.
We called it a day by going to the crowded street at Teresa to have some foodtrip again! I didn’t take any gadget with me though, so no pic for that! I chose to keep stuff safe..LOL
It was an amazing feeling to visit and rekindle that chapter of my life that helped mold me today. PUP as a state university, is more likely called by some as the “poorman’s university”. And yes, I must admit, it is undeniably the option for most people with tight-belts.
I should also mention that during my time, my tuition fee for a semester would not cost me over Php350. To some students, it would only cost them a meal at a restaurant or a cup of coffee at Starbucks. But for me and the rest of the PUPians, it was half a year of education, knowledge and a pillar for a bright future.
As years pass by, it was just then that I realized why my parents sent me there (I used to feel envious that my two brothers experienced private colleges). I knew then that they can afford to send me to a private university where I can be with socialite-wannabes, but then I realized that it was the value for money that they want to teach me.
This is where I have met real people, (even some that worked hard to support themselves). This where I came face to face with the real status of the Philippine educational budget; as well as how one student can be so smart and eager despite their monetary status. And this is where I learned how to balance the nature of being book-smart and street-smart.
The proper mold and judgement to a student is not measured based from the school, but the student himself. I must brag that it’s never easy to get admitted in this campus, entrance exam they say is like a thread getting thru the hole of a needle. They require certain standard of I.Q. in passing the exams. And most of whoever comes in is making sure that they would flourish their education because they are the ones lucky and would take studying seriously.
And I made it there..and survived four years. Thanks God.
And again, it was indeed amazing to take tribute to your Alma Mater, as well as the humble beginnings of your youth. It’s nice to relate the person you are before to the probable giant leap you have taken as you would see yourself today. Thanks for the read.