Home Away From Home

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

**This had been my home for almost 6 years and truly honed a big part of me. I could still remember the first time I came here to register. After confirming my admission, I asked my mom to enroll me in UST. Laguna was very far from home and I was sure I will be homesick. Incidentally, my slot in UST was already forfeited. I had no choice but enroll in UPLB or in any colleges. I dreamt of studying in UP but definitely not Los Banos. I vowed that I would be trasferring to Diliman but it never happened. I did shift to a different course but not to another campus. Somehow, Los Banos crawled its way to my heart and I came to love UPLB. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot of lessons. I missed my friends from my hometown and got really jealous when I knew that they still hanged out together but I made more friends who also taught me a lot. I terribly missed my family but I became independent and took care of myself. It had been truly my home away from home.It didn’t only teach me lessons to earn a college degree but lessons in life. Here’s a trip down the memory lane where I came back to my alma mater after years of thriving in my young adult life.

When I was in freshman, I would either commute from Buendia bus terminal or my dad would drive me all the way to Los Banos. The trip usually took three hours from Bulacan to Laguna. I would be finishing one movie when I rode the bus. Sometimes I got pissed when I didn’t finish the movie because I had to get off at College. Since it was a long trip, I met different people along my trip. Sometimes, there would be old people abusing my kindness but most of the time, guys that were hitting on me. Modesty aside. It was funny when they would write their number (text messages were not yet available then) and give it to me so I’ll call them. And LRT had no separate coaches for male and female then. It was nice when we interacted with people like before. Well, if you didn’t like them, you could always transfer. By the way, ticketing in the bus had gone techie. Before the bus conductor would rip lots of paper to give your fare rate but now it would come out from a gadget. Plus, I didn’t bump my head on the tv because they are now using flat tv. I didn’t bump because I’m tall. I do admit my baby height.

Here’s the kwek kwek tower. If I remember correctly, it was built in 1999. Seriously, I don’t know the official name of this structure. I researched the name of this tower and it was more identified as the kwek kwek tower. (Official name is UP College of Agriculture Academic Heritage Monument)The burning fire had faded and rumor has it that it will be replaced by the Oblation. I think a lot of people would agree with me that its completely an eye sore. I really don’t have any fond memories of this place so moving on… (but this shot really looked picturesque)

**When I was studying, we researched in the library or borrowed the handouts and photocopied it. Now, you could just go to photocopy centers and look for you subject and wala, your own copy.

**My teacher in several subjects. We did catch up but she has to go to her class. I think she didn’t grow a day old. I forgot to take a picture of my other teacher who is now the dean of our college because I got too excited and talkative. I’m really happy to see them. They’re so nice, warm, and down to earth.

The college offices. I’ll always remember Tita Lorna better than the dean or college secretary. She was nicer than the officers in CAS where I was originally enrolled. We also used to wait for our class at the lobby here.

The Humanities building. I took my com, humanities, soc sci, philo classes here. I still remember during class debates when our opponent were about to lose, she said “puta” instead of prostitute and she said it very angry and looked directly at us. What else, I was afraid of Soc Sci II teacher. I enjoyed Hum II under Dr. Zafaralla even more when we went to Ilocos. It was the best summer ever. And how could I fail to mention the Oblation run. When I was freshman, I was embarassed to watch but eventually I went to Humanities building to watch. It is tradition!

Here is my college building. It is formerly entomology building which explains why there is an insect in front. UPLB has a very big campus. When ask how big? In my very Ms. Universe way, I would answer upper or lower campus. But the reality is, our college hasn’t acquire or build a new building unlike CAS.

My favorite waiting shed. at PhySci building. I used to wait here for jeepneys or meet my friends. These days, jeepneys don’t pass this road anymore. I took my Math, Physics, and Chem classes at this building. And yes, including Math review classes. I really had a hard time during freshman year that I eventually dropped the subject. I retook it the next sem and finally understood it. I almost convinced myself that I was stupid in Math but proved myself wrong. I had my retake with my favorite blocmate, Mark and it was fun though at the start embarassing. Our teacher repeatedly told us that she was supposed to teach only few students but since we failed, she was forced to teach us too. Math 26 was my redemption. I topped the class and it felt so damn good. I’m not stupid. Yay!

I transferred at Raymundo street with my friends from Men’s dorm in 1999. We rented an apartment and shared it with 6 other housemates. Each housemate was assigned to cook so we also went to market. This little market is very clean and has a variety of goods. I like buying here because the sellers were nice and they called me “Claudine Barretto.” (talk about me being vain) I remembered when one of my housemate cooked something that was not really tasty she walked out of the house and we were really worried. Lesson: Never argue with the cook. Aside from cooking duties, we also cleaned the house, washedour clothes, did the dishes, etc.

Unfortunately, our house was replaced with this establishment. It was a very nice duplex. It was airy and spacious. It had two bedrooms, a big space for the living and dining rooms, and a kitchen. A lot of memories happened in that house. It was the silent witness of our joys, friendship, fights, long hours of studying, disappointments, love, and a whole lot more. I still have a vivid memory of that place and my housemates, Liza, Ga, Lani, Irene, Gelai, Ate Icar, Nalce, Ces, Ate Cha, Jomari, another Cha, Verl, Jo-ann, and two other housemates I forgot. It had been an extension of UPCES org house. We had them in the house like any time of the day. I remembered two names, Ramil and Ramel, and I used it to call any of them. 🙂

C and Y centrum is the only establishment aside from the market that reminds me of the time that I lived there. My friend Rouselle lived here. But even their own internet shop was closed now. No one can really stop change.

This used to be a rough road but functions the same, a parking lot. During my time, econ students were the rich ones and who drove their own cars. The love of my college life, Dan, was one of them. After our STS meeting at night, I would really catch up with him so we could walked together in the dark. It was disappointing he didn’t try anything. LOL!

SEARCA, SouthEast Asian Research Center at marami pang iba, I don’t know what’s A. But I do know, it served the best rice in the campus!

At the back of humanities. They seemed to be obsessed with benches!

The library where I researched and photocopied my homework, paper, lessons, reviewer, etc. It now shares its space with the office of the chancellor.Sometimes, I spent my day just sitting inside writing and reading the same thing.

I should have crossed the road and pretended its abbey road. Behind the cotton-like tree is the tambayans of orgs in UPLB. Once, I saw a group of male drinking there at around 4 in the afternoon. so true.

Before, its only Mariang Banga who has clay jar. Now, it’s everywhere.

The Student Union Building. This was the first building I went in. During orientation, this is where the freshmen’s mind were set to love UP and be proud of being UP student. From games like standing up everytime UP student is mentioned to answering questions lik: What are the universities in the Philippines? UP and others. UP is the only university worth mentioning as for others, well, they’re others. Do they still do this kind of orientation? I swear, after this orientation, I was so happy and proud to be a UP student. Only to be defeated by homesickness, which I had overcome… eventually. This was also where I got to know and made friends with my blockmates. I’m sorry if I forget someone but here I go, Aileen, Arcadio (I had no story right now but he is fun to be with), Lennon, Dave, Cherry, Jing (my dormmate too then my neighbor when I rented an apartment who I also borrowed chem and physics lab answers) Bernadette, Cloudette, Diane, Eliza (still bored? Remember when we just hang out at the field after classes?) DJ (I was scared when he called me at the PMA grounds, I thought I was caught doing something wrong.) Gerwin, Chip, Gemmar, Roy, Rex, Pam, again my fave Mark, Marjorie, Fatima, Ofel, Frel, and Cathy (my coGordon’s Gin fanatic & closest blocmate)

Yes, 7-11 is now opened in SU building.

Don’t you just love the smell of freshly cut grass?

Men’s – Coed Residence Hall or Men’s Dorm was my first home in UPLB. I cried the whole first night. and the night after that. and after the night after. Anyway, I met my good friends here. Ate Madz, Kwen, Liza, Mia, Ces, Rose, and Aimee. I don’t know what’s with the attraction of our room but they really liked hanging out there. Perhaps its the cool big fan. 🙂 It was here I started reading novels and talking the whole night. We even have our names written under my bed. I wonder if it’s still there. We experienced one month brownout, dorm’s sportsfest, eating canned goods, forced to eat at Mother’s, overflowing CR, and a whole lot more. We shared great memories until sophomore year. I took a leave of absence at the same tim Aimee and Mia did. I came back to UPLB. Mia transferred to UP Diliman. Aimee never came back. My 18th birthday wouldn’t be as marvelous if they were not there.

This is where we had our graduation. At the field right in front of DL UMali Hall. Graduation was a mixture of sadness and happiness. It was the culmination of the six years that I stayed in the university and signified the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

St. Therese Chapel. I attended Wednesday mass here especially during Fr. Gil’s mass. I still remembered when he sang “Don’t give up on us.”

Old UP rural highschool building. I went here for my Math 27.

Ankers was not like this before. We ate good food with live chickens at the side. They were watching us as we took each bite of their sisters and brothers.

The best chocolate cake ever!

With my friend, Ces, with whom I share this nostalgic and surreal experience.


Crossing Palma Bridge.


And yes, I still love to sit on the grass, hang out at the field, wait for the time to pass.

**Pictures taken by Ces Tarnate.


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