Quezon City: History and Art along Katipunan Avenue

00 1890s Katipuneros
1890s Katipuneros

My last articles have revolved around the Ateneo de Manila, which can be found along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. Presently it has been renamed as the C. P. Garcia Avenue, after the 8th President of the Philippine Republic (Carlos Polestico Garcia 1896-1971); however everyone still refers to the road as “Katipunan”. The road was named after the revolutionary group, the Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Katipunan (KKK), that was formed by Andres Bonifacio in 1892, to declare independence from Spanish rule. The history of the road stretches all the way back to the Spanish Occupation (1523-1898), at the latter part of the 19th century when the Katipunan rebels would traverse the forested area to get to such historically significant places such as Banlat, Balintawak and Pugad Lawin. The Katipunan Road was later developed along with the formation of Quezon City, and the subsequent transfer of the Ateneo de Manila, from its Padre Faura campus in the late 1940s.

Katipunan Avenue stretches around 7 kilometers from Temple Drive in the south, to Tandang Sora Avenue in the North. The southern point of Katipunan Avenue is Manila Philippines Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was constructed between 1981 and 1984, being the first temple of the Mormons in the Philippines.

Just a few meters from the Manila Philippines Temple, along Temple Drive, is the Usong Norte Community Center. t was built in 2015, and at the courtyard stands the monument to the 12th Mayor of Quezon City, Ismael A. “Mel” Mathay Jr. (1932-2013), by the Marikina based sculptor, Jonas Roces.

The southern portion of Katipunan Avenue runs through a shaded strip, which is pocked with residential subdivisions with names such a Loyola Heights, Blue Ridge, Xavierville and White Plains; which were developed by Ateneo alumni who wanted to live closer to their alma mater. On the western side of that route is the wall of the Logistics Command of the military base, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964), the 1st President of the Philippines. Along that wall, there are many gardening shops and restaurants that have opened, which cater to the nearby subdivisions. Some of these gardening shops even sell concrete casts of saints and angels, which were probably taken from molds of works by famous sculptors such as Anastacio Caedo and Isabelo Tampinco.

The Katipunan Avenue cuts through the middle of the Barangay Escopa area, and continued with a bridge over Aurora Boulevard. At the crossroad of Katipunan and Aurora stands the Monasterio de Santa Clara. The monastery was established in 1621, in Intramuros, Manila. It was later moved to Katipunan Avenue in 1950. Many devotees bring eggs as a sign of devotion, and in hopes of clear weather on a special day of choice, such as a wedding.

01 1949 Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo De Manila 2
1949 Blue Eagle Gym, Ateneo De Manila

Moving north and crossing past Aurora Boulevard, the first thing once would notice is the Blue Eagle Gym, of the Ateneo de Manila; which was built in 1949.

05 2015 12 Uchi no Neko, Cat Cafe
Uchi no Neko, Cat Cafe

On the opposite side are many business establishments and restaurants, which cater to the local residents and the student population of the many schools found nearby. One interesting place was the Uchi no Neko or Cat Café, which had closed down recently.

1996 Center for Culinary Arts (1988 Cravings Bakeshop)
1996 Center for Culinary Arts (1988 Cravings Bakeshop)

Another long time establishment is the Center for Culinary Arts (established in 1996), which had grown from the humble Cravings Bakeshop (established in 1988).

At the nearby Varsity Hills subdivision, the Our Lady of the Pentecost Parish stands as a secret gem in the Katipunan area. Designed by Arch. Vincent Martin Veepee Bondoc Pinpin in 2003, the church is a quite respite from the chaotic traffic of Katipunan Avenue.

Our daughter’s First Communion

The first time I ever entered this church was when we attende our daughter’s First Communion rites, as sponsored by the nearby Multiple Intelligence International School.

Arch. Vincent Martin Veepee Bondoc Pinpin (born 1967) is a graduate of the Ateneo De Manila University, and he completed his degree in Architecture from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Aside from teaching Asian Vernacular Architecture at the Loyola Schools, Ateneo De Manila University, Arch. Pinpin has also worked on the redevelopment of certain building in the Ateneo. Pinpin is also the owner of the successful firm, VMBPArchitecturals.

2003 Our Lady of the Pentecost Parish, Stations of the Cross

Inside the Our Lady of the Pentecost Parish, there and impressive crucifix with the image of the Risen Christ entitled “The Victorious Crucifix“, by the National Artist, Napoleon Abueva.

Napoleón Isabelo Billy Veloso Abueva (born 1930) studied at the U.P. School of Fine Arts, under National Artist, Guillermo Estrella Tolentino (1890-1976), who was then the director of the school. Although trained in the classical style of sculpting, Abueva broke from its mold and began experimenting on modernist styles and techniques. Soon he became known as and Godfather of Philippine Modern Sculpture. Aside from the many historical monuments that are found all over the Philippines, Abueva has also been commissioned to create sculptures around the world. In his youth, he was awarded the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM) award; which would herald more awards and distinctions in his life. He was proclaimed National Artist for Sculpture in 1976, making him the youngest recipient of this distinction. And just like his mentor, Abueva also served as dean of the U.P. College of Fine Arts.

After the Ateneo grounds stands the Miriam College campus. Established in 1926 when the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic of Ossning developed a teacher-training program for women in the Malabon Normal School. Some sisters joined the exodus to Quezon City, and in 1952 the Maryknoll College was formed. With the subsequent turnover of ownership and management to lay administrators, and the exit of the Maryknoll sisters, the school changed its name to Miriam College in 1989.

Further north and right after Miriam College is the La Vista Subdivision, which was developed in the late 1940s and 1950s. It is home to many prominent people in Philippine business, entertainment and politics.

Across the La Vista Subdivision and hidden under thick vegetation is the U.P. Parish of the Holy Cross, which was erected in 1961. It is a non-Catholic church that is connected with Iglesia Filipina Independiente or better known as the Aglipayan Church. Most Ateneans and Maryknollers are unaware of the existence of this church, because of its unassuming architecture.

Immediately after the La Vista Subdivision is the Sta. Maria della Strada Parish, which is a Catholic Church that was erected in 1981. One of the interesting features of this modern church is the marble altar table that used by Pope John Paul II during the beatification of San Lorenzo Ruiz.

10 2013 U.P. Town Center
2013 Benoy Architects – U.P. Town Center

Moving northward is the U.P. Town Center, a commercial shopping center which was designed and opened by Benoy Architects in 2013. This is a project of the Ayala Land Corporation in conjunction with the University of Philippines (UP), who owns the land. The area used to be occupied by the U.P. Integrated School, and is now on least for a 25 year period.

At the north end of Katipunan Avenue is Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) complex, which is comprised of the Balara Filters Park and the MWSS Administration Building complex. The Balara Filters Park was originally the Balara Filtration Plant, which was first constructed in 1938. The MWSS Administration Building was built in 1980, and was designed by Architect Gabriel Formoso.

Arch. Gabriel Papa Formoso (1915-1998) graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) School of Architecture, and established his own firm by the 1950s. Formoso was a fellow of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), was the founding chairman of the Kanlungan Architectural Foundation of the Philippines, organized by UAP Fellows. Formoso has designed about 80 buildings and more than 150 residences; and his major works include the Central Bank complex in 1970, the Metropolitan Museum in 1973, the Antipolo Valley Golf Club in 1960, and the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, 1960. In 1977 Formoso received the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award from the City of Manila, and in 1990 the UAP conferred on him its highest honor, the Likha Award and Gold Medal of Merit.

In front of the MWSS Administration Building is a replica of the Carriedo Fountain, which was created by the National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva, in the 1990s. The Carriedo Fountain was created in 1882, to commemorate the work of Don Francisco Carriedo y Peredo (1690-1743), who conceived and raised funds to develop the water system of Manila. The fountain was originally located at the intersection of what are Legarda, Lacson and Magsaysay street in Sampaloc, Manila. However the fountain was transferred to the MWSS Administration Building plaza in the 1970s, to coincide with the construction of the building. In the 1990s, the mayor of Manila, Alfredo Lim (1992-1998 term), requested that the Carriedo Fountain be returned to the city. The MWSS administration agreed to the request, and commissioned Abueva to create the replica to replace the original fountain. Presently, the original fountain is now located at the Sta. Cruz Plaza, in Manila.

Katipunan Avenue has been a home to many people, yet they seem oblivious to the artistic wealth found within the institutions along the road, and even more unaware of the richness of the history of this street and the establishments that dot its expanse.

Katipunan Avenue





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