The Academic Oval is the most travelled route for all visitors and residents of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman campus. Formed by the Sergio Suico Osmeña Sr. Avenue (1878-1961; fifth President of the Philippines) to the north and the Manuel Acuña Roxas Avenue (1892 -1948; fifth Philippine President) at the south, the Academic Oval is the hub for the oldest buildings and academic institutions of the university. There are other major routes which visitors often pass, such as the José Paciano Garcia Laurel Avenue (1891-1959; third Philippine president) and Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay Sr. Avenue (1907-1957; seventh Philippine president) to the northern end of the university, yet there is very little people would think about the roads and institutions at the southern end of the campus, between Roxas Avenue and Carlos Polestico Garcia Avenue (1896-1971; eighth Philippine president).
Almost parallel to Roxas Avenue in the south is the Elpidio Rivera Quirino Avenue (1890-19560; sixth Philippine president); where one can fine the U.P. Integrated School (elementary school) of the College of Education, the Sampaguita (Jasminum Sambac) and Kamia (Averrhoa Bilimbi) residence halls, and Natural Sciences Institute complex (NSI); where one can view the Jose V. Santos Sr. Herbarium (1898-2000; Father of Philippine Orthopedics) at the Llamas Hall and the UP Biology Invertebrate Museum at the Zoology Building. Part of the NSI is the National Institute for Science & Mathematics Education Development building, which was constructed in 1993. The building was named the Dolores F. Hernandez (1925-2006) Center, after the founder of Science Education in the Philippines.
Bisecting Quirino Avenue is P. Velasquez Street (to whom it is named, I cannot trace), which leads to the first buildings of the National Science Complex (NSC). The first building is the Marine Science Institute Building (established in 1974), which was erected in 1985.
At the lobby of the Marine Science Institute is a painting of plankton, which was most likely made by Fine Arts students, who were doing extra work to pass their Natural Science general courses.
The next building along P. Velasquez Street is the U.P. College of Science Library and Administrative Building, which was completed in 1988. Originally the building was meant to house the Natural Sciences Institute, and the Natural Science general courses (NatSci) were conducted in its auditorium with up to 300 students in attendance.
At the driveway of the U.P. College of Science Library and Administrative Building are several bansoi (Philippine bonsai) by Jerry Araos, which were most likely donated by his wife Dr. Melen Araos, who works for the U.P. Health Services. At the basement lobby of the building is a large sculpture by also by Jerry Araos.
Jerusalino “Jerry” Villamor Araos (1944-2012) was a self-taught sculptor, who originally studied English at the University of the East before he pursued a life of activism and art. In the 1960s, Araos went into the mountain to join the communist New People’s Army (NPA), in their war against the dictatorship of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. He was later captured and tortured, which became the theme of his first exhibit “Bartonilna” (Jail), in 1980. Since then, Araos has been known to create sensuous abstract sculptures of people as well as sculptural furniture using old wooden from demolished houses and dead trees. Araos has also made a name for himself as a landscape artist, and he has represented the Philippines in many international exhibitions.
At the U.P. College of Science Library and Administrative Building basement wall is a large mural that depicts various fields of scientific studies. This too was created by several College of Fine Arts students, who worked for extra credits in their NatSci (Natural Science) courses.
The last building along P. Velasquez Street is the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), which was built in 1983. Across the road is the U.P. Alumni Engineers Centennial Hall, which serves as the Engineering Library and the Computer Science building.
At the NIGS lobby are three pieces of Jerry Araos’ functional sculpture, which serve as benches for students and visitors. Inside, there is also the NIGS-UPGAA Geology Museum, which opened in 2007.
Behind the NIGS is the U.P. Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology; which was established in 2003, but was only able to get it own building by 2014.
Returning to Quirino Avenue, the road extends past the Teodoro Manguiat Kalaw Street (1884-1940; a noted historian and politician) intersection and continues to Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho Street (1857-1925; a noted physician, historian and politician). Along T. H. Pardo de Tavera Street, one can find the Office of the Registrar, U.P. School of Statistics, Institute of Civil Engineering, and Ernesto G. Tabujara Sr. Hall (1929-2014; engineer and U.P. Chancellor who initiated the establishment of U.P. Clark and San Fernando, U.P. Baguio, U.P. Visayas and U.P. Mindanao) Philippine Association of University Women- U.P. (PAUW-UP) Child Care Center. The concrete playsets and benches of the PAUW-UP were said to be design by the National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva.
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.
Intersecting at the east end of T. H. Pardo de Tavera Street is the Fernando Maramág Street, where the U.P. Executive House is located. The Executive House officially serves as the home of the university president, however the university presidents of the past decades have decide not to move into the Executive House and just travel from their own homes to the campus. This has lead to the Executive House being used as a events place for formal functions of university officials. At the entrance of the Executive House in an abstract chromed sculpture, which is most likely the creation of Jose Datuin.
Fernando Mamuri Maramág (1893-1936) was a poet and essayist, who served Publication Division of the Department of Justice and the office of the President of the Senate under Manuel L. Quezon. Maramag is recognized for translating Ibanag folk songs into English, such as the “Cagayanon Labor Song,” “A Translation of an Orphan’s Song,” and “Cagayano Peasant Song”. Maramag’s most noted poems are “To a Youth,” “The Aetheist,” and “Moonlight on Manila Bay”. Maramag was also a writer and editor at several magazines, including Rising Philippines, Citizen, Philippine National Weekly, Philippines Herald, and The Tribune.
Branching from the west side of T. H. Pardo de Tavera Street is E. De Los Santos Street. The street is named after the historian, writer, painter, lawyer, archivist, scholar, painter, musician, philosopher, academician, paleographer, ethnographer, and politician Epifanio Cristóbal de los Santos (1871-1928). E. De Los Santos Street is home to the U.P. College of Architecture, which was previously housed with the U.P. College of Engineering, in the Malcolm Hall, along the Academic Oval. The present building was once the U.P. Maintenance Office, and was designed by Arch. Jose Danilo A. Silvestre, a former dean of the college. The present building was redesigned by Arch. Nicolo Del Castillo, to adapt to the needs of the college, and completed in 2005. The building is named Juguilion Hall; which was named after the former dean of the U.P. School of Fine Arts and Architecture, Arch. Aurelio T. Juguilon.
Westbound from Quirino Avenue and T.M. Kalaw Street is the Lakandula Street, which was named after the ruler of the Kingdom of Tondo, Banaw Lakandula, who reigned from 1558–1571. Along Lakandula Street is the Archeological Studies Complex, with the Albert Hall as its main building, and the Villadolid Hall as an extension wing. The complex was once the home of the U.P. College of Fisheries, which had moved to the U.P. Visayas campus. The Albert Hall may be named after Antonio Albert who taught in the university, Dr. Alejandro M. Albert (1869-1936) who was the founder of the Manila Central University, or Delia Domingo Albert (1942) who was the former Secretary of Foreign Affairs. The Villadolid Hall was named after Prof. Deogracias V. Villadolid (1896-1976), who is considered the Father of Fisheries Education.
The U.P. Archeological Studies Program (ASP) was founded in 1995, and housed at the basement of the Palma Hall, along the Academic Oval. In 2013, the ASP moved to its present location. Inside the ASP is the Wilhelm Solheim Library, which was established in 2014. Wilhelm Gerhard Solheim II (1924-2014) was an American anthropologist, who pioneered prehistoric archeology in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. Solheim first came to the Philippines in 1949, and worked under Dr. Henry Otley Beyer (1883-1966). After working on several projects in the Philippines and SE Asia, Solheim began teaching at the Florida State University, and later on at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). In 1991, Solheim retired from the UHM and joined the faculty of the University of the Philippines, and help establish the Archeological Studies Program. Solheim had his whole collection of books and artifacts shipped from the USA to the Philippines, and donated it to the U.P., which has served as the backbone of the ASP library.
Inside the ASP Library, there is a bust of Wilhelm Solheim that was created by Deo Cuerdo, a former member of the ASP. In another room, there is a professor’s Chair that was crafted by another ASP graduate, Arcadio T. Pagulayan, for Prof. William Atlas Longacre II (1937-2015), an American archeologist who taught at the ASP and also donated part of his collection of books to the ASP library.
Although these smaller streets may not seem much to offer for visitors to see, in comparison to the main roads of the U.P., there are still pockets of historic and artistic value that contribute to the not just the U.P. experience, but to national history and education. Then it is a challenge for U.P. residents and alumni to take the extra leg and visit these spots, and get a deep understanding of the University of the Philippines.