University of the Philippines, Quezon City: The Art and Architecture along Emilio Jacinto Street

1960 Bonifacio Hall, UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) established in 1954

At the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman Campus, the road where the U.P. College of Fine Arts (CFA) is located is called Emilio Jacinto Street. Named after the Gen. Emilio Jacinto y Dizon (1875-1899), who served as one of the youngest generals in the Katipunan Revolution (1896-1898) against the Spanish Colonists (1565-1898), and was a member of Katipunan Supreme Council. Jacinto was elected Secretary of State of the revolutionary government, and his quick and tactical thinking lead to his fame as the Brains of the Katipunan.

Handog sa Alaala ng Manggagawang si Andres Bonifacio

Jacinto Street starts at the north with the intersection of President Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, moves southbound as it crosses the University Avenue, and it end at the intersection of President Carlos P. Garcia Avenue. At the north end, one of the first buildings is the Bonifacio Hall, which is home to the U.P. School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR, founded 1954). The building was built in 1960, and was named after the father of the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro (1863-1897). At the façade of the building, there is a pebble mural of two abstract people, holding a globe. This piece seems to be the work of the National Artist Arturo Luz.

Arturo Rogerio Luz (1926) was born in Manila; and he was a Neo Realist, whose abstracted works gave a play to everyday objects and scenes. His Luz Gallery has helped launch the next generations of artists. Arturo has held many important positions in the world of art, such as president of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) in 1952, executive director of the Design Center of the Philippines (1973-1987), director, Metropolitan Museum of Manila (1976-1986), and director of Museum of Philippine Art (1977-1985). Luz represented the Philippines in various exhibitions abroad, including the Arte de America y España in Europe in 1963, Sao Paolo Biennale in 1974, the Tokyo International Print Biennale in 1974, and the eighth British International Print Biennale in 1984. Aside from local and international exhibitions, Arturo also received accolades such as the Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Painting (1966), the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award for Painting (1980), the Order of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government (1978), the Gawad CCP para sa Sining (1989), and the National Artist for Visual Art in 1997.

Apo Isabelo De Los Reyes (1864-1938)

At the entrance of Bonifacio Hall, there is a bust of Isabelo de los Reyes, Sr. y Florentino (1864-1938), who is known as the “Father of Filipino Socialism”; and he was a revolutionary, politician, writer and labor activist in the 19th and 20th centuries. De los Reyes is also noted to be the founder of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church or  Aglipayan Church), which is the first of the local Christian sect to formally break away from the Catholic Church. As a writer, De los Reyes won a silver medal at the 1887 Exposición Filipina in Madrid, for his Spanish-language book entitled “El Folk-lore Filipino” (Filipino Folklore). As a politician, his highest position was that of senator, from 1922–1928. As the founder of the first labor union in the Philippines, the Unión Obrera Democrática, De los Reyes family asked to have his bust installed at the SOLAIR, in memoriam of his work for the Filipino worker.

CFA Student – Untitled & Undated Mural

Inside the Bonifacio Hall, there is this mural painted by an unknown U.P. CFA student (who has graduated some time ago), which features different labor practices symbols of nation building.

1976 E. Virata Hall, Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI, 1966)

After the Bonifacio Hall, is the Cesar E.A. Virata Hall, which is home to the Institute for Small-Scale Industries (U.P ISSI). Built between 1975 and 1976, the building was named after Cesar Emilio Aguinaldo Virata (born 1930), a former dean of the U.P. College of Business Administration and was the Finance Minister and Prime Minister in the 1980s, during the latter point of the regime of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986).

1990s Napoleon Abueva – Tribute to the Filipino Entrepreneur

At the lobby of the U.P. ISSI, there stands a monumental abstract sculpture by the National Artist Napoleon Abueva, entitled “Tribute to the Filipino Entrepreneur”. Completed in the mid-1990s, this metal symbol of upward growth stands in the middle of a koi pond, as a symbol of good fortune and success.

Napoleón Isabelo Billy Veloso Abueva (1930-2018) 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.

Along the walls of the Virata Hall are several murals by created by Romeo Carlos, in 2003. Each painting depicts many of the traditional and modern livelihoods of the Filipino people. The first painting features a highland Igorot wood carver, the earthenware industry of Ilocos province, and the Parol (Christmas star) making of Pampanga province. The second mural shows carpenters, the abel cloth and dressmakers of Paoay town, and leather craftsmen. The third artwork illustrates the guitar makers of Cebu province, a construction welder, and fishermen. And the last piece presents the brassware and okkir carving of the Marano people, the flower farms of Baguio, and a Manadaya ikat weaver.

Romeo San Antonio Carlos (born 1945) is a graduate of the U.P. College of Fine Arts, and the Philippine National University. Upon graduating, Romeo first focus his energies teaching, before embarking on a fulltime painting career in 1984. From then, Mr. Carlos started participating in local and international exhibitions. Soon, Romeo was organizing group shows, specifically in connection with work with the U.P. Alumni Association (2009 to present) and the U.P. Fine Arts Alumni Foundation (2012 to present), which he has served the UPAA as director and executive director and the UPFAF as its president.

At the second floor of the U.P. ISSI , there are two adobe panels entitled “Mangagawang Pilipino” by Apolinario Bulaong, which were completed in 1975. These large wall reliefs feature various industries and their workers. The first section shows the traditional economies fishing and farming, as they placed are side by side with logging and industrialization. The second panel features traditional businesses such as shoemaking, pottery, blacksmithing, and guitar making; all the while with an ominous nuclear power plant hidden in the background.

ApolinarioKa InarParaiso Bulaong (1930s-2013)was a student of Guillermo Tolentino, at the U.P. School of Fine Arts. A contemporary of Napoleon Abueva, Bulaong dabbled in both classical and modernist styles of sculpture. However, Bulaong focused his efforts in creating monuments for his province of Bulacan; such as the Pulang Lupa sculptural mural and the equestrian sculpture of Gregorio del Pilar in Bulacan.

1970s U.P. School of Urban and Regional Planning (established 1965)

At the northern part of Jacinto street, there are only three buildings, the Bonifacio and Virata Halls as well as the U.P. School of Urban and Regional Planning. From then on, there is nothing but open fields and trees, until Jacinto Street intersects with the University Avenue. At the northern corner of the intersection, Ildefonso Marcelo’s 1960’s adobe sculpture “Captivity” sits in bondage, as it silently witnesses the cars passing by.

1960s Ildefonso Marcelo – Captivity

Ildefonso Cruz Marcelo (1941-unknown) studied sculpture at the University of the Philippines in 1962, under Napoleon Abueva. Marcelo took further studies at the University of Hawaii and Pratt Institute, New York. Marcelo has created many works during the 1960s, and won several honors such as the Republic Cultural Heritage Award in 1961. However, there is very little known about his works after the mid-1960s.

At the southern part of the Jacinto Street and University Avenue intersection, there are two more works by Marcelo, which he had completed also in the mid-1960s. The first is “Contemplation”, which is a massive adobe humanoid figure sitting in silent repose, with arms crossed tightly. The second piece is his “Bathing Nude”, which is a graceful naturalistic piece, compared to his typical massively bulky abstracted forms.

1967-71 Napoleon Abueva – UP Gateway

On both the northwestern and southwestern sides of the intersections are the monumental jutting triangular structures, just a few meters from Marcelo’s sculptures. These are Napoleon Abueva’s 1962 “UP Gateway”, which also double as a waiting shed for commuters waiting for a jeepney ride going in or outside of the university. The design of Abueva was inspired by the paper airplane made by children.

1990s UP CFA

After the intersection, the southern part of Jacinto Street becomes a more wooded expanse, compared to the grassy fields of the northern part. Driving down the road, the next major structure is the U.P. CFA Complex, with the Bartlett, Enriquez and Tolentino Halls, which was originally part of the U.P. College of Veterinary Medicine (U.P. VetMed). By the early 1990s, the VetMed moved to the U.P. Los Baños Campus, and the CFA moved in. The open fields in front of the Bartlett Hall were once the university’s experimental organic agriculture program, called the Ikapati Farm. That too was closed by the mid-1990s. After the CFA, there are more open spaces, with a few residential structures, including the Kamagong Residence Hall (dorm). After that is the intersection of the Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, and the exit out of the university.

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