Branching off the Academic Oval of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman campus, at the east end of the northern road of Osmeña Avenue, there is a corner road at the left named E. Ma Guerrero Street. The road stretches from the Academic Oval to the residential area of the school. The road starts with the Malcolm Hall (designed by Juan Arellano) of the U.P. College of Law and the Cesar Virata School of Business of the U.P. College of Business Administration flanking both sides of the street’s mouth.
Juan Marcos de Guzmán Arellano (1888 – 1960) is known as one of the Philippines’ founding fathers of architecture. He finished his studies at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1908; while taking art lessons under noted masters Lorenzo Leogardo Guerrero (1835 -1904), Toribio Asona Antillon (1856-1913), and Fabian de la Rosa. When most people thought that he would pursue a full time career in the arts, Arellano decided to take architectural studies at the Drexel Institute in 1908, and further architectural studies at the Académie des Beaux-Arts. However the draw to painting could not be resisted and he to additional art studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1911. As an architect, Arellano is most noted for Manila’s Metropolitan Theater (1935), Executive House (1926, now houses the National Museum of the Philippines), the Manila Post Office Building (1926), and Jones Bridge.
The next major building along Guerrero Street is the Romulo Hall, which was design and completed by the National Artist for Architecture, Juan Nakpil, in 1972. The Romulo Hall is the home of the Asian Center and Institute of Islamic Studies, and was named after Carlos Peña Rómulo (1899-1985), who served as the 11th president of the university. Romulo is also the recipient of the National Artist for Literature in 1982, he served as the President of the UN General Assembly from 1949-1950, and he co-founded the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in 1936.
Juan Felipe Nakpil (1899-1986) was the son, of the musician and composer, Julio Garcia Nakpil 1867 -1960) and Gregoria Álvarez de Jesús (1875 – 1943); who were known for their efforts during the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898). He initially took up engineering at the University of the Philippines, then he later studied architecture at the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts, in France. After working for several architectural firms, Nakpil eventually opening his own architectural firm in 1930. Nakpil’s most noted works are San Carlos Seminary, Iglesia ni Cristo Riverside Locale (Now F. Manalo, San Juan), Capitol Theater, Captain Pepe Building, Manila Jockey Club, Rufino Building, Philippine Village Hotel, the Quezon Hall and Gonzales Halls of the U.P., and the Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna. Nakpil was given the honor of National Artist for Architecture in 1973.
Moving up Guerrero Street past the Romulo Hall, there are two dorms for the students. The first is the U.P. International Center Dorm, which is obviously for the foreign students of the university. The second dorm is Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall for women, which was built in 1949.
Entering the residential areas of the university, at the corner of Guerrero and Dagohoy Streets, visitors will find the Balay Kalinaw (House of Peace). Serving as the first university facility for conferences and other social and academic functions, the Balay Kalinaw was opened in 1993. The Balay Kalinaw has two other monikers: the Balay Internasyonal (International House) and Ikeda Hall (after the SGI President Daisaku Ikeda). This international theme of the Balay Kalinaw also appears in its façade and interiors, which is inspired by the early American Occupation (1898-1946) architecture styles.
Driving further up the road, at the corner Guerrero and Aglipay streets, one can locate the University Hotel. Constructed in 1974, the building was first the Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED) Hostel for guests of the university. In 2001, the hostel was formally renamed and became a fully functional hotel, managed by the U.P. Board of Overseers (BOO).
Driving through E. Ma Guerrero Street, one cannot just disregard the different buildings along this road. Many have beautiful designs that have fallen into disrepair, after years of exposure to the elements. Sadly, even if the buildings are being used, there is no plan among its administrators to restore these edifices to their former glory.