The 2,710 acre campus of University of the Philippines Los Banos is divided into two, the lower and the upper. Aside from that, UPLB hosts the International Rice Research Institute and is the designated caretaker of the Makiling Forest reserve. Emman, being a former student of the university, became my personal tour guide.
Our first stop was the signage. I wanted to have a picture taken with it but Emman said people are not allowed to pose near the spot.
I was prepared to believe him but a kind security guard saw us taking pictures of it from afar and said we could come nearer. Ha! Emman later justified his claim saying maybe it was okay during summer classes when there aren’t too many people but on regular semesters, it is really prohibited. What an incompetent guide! Chos.
The gates of the university. Most of the manholes (no photo) had UPCA written on them. When I asked Emman about this, he said that the school was formerly called UP College of Agriculture. Hence, UPCA. It was only officially established as UPLB in the 1970s. Naks, bumabawi si kuya.
UPLB Carabao Park. This serves as a gateway for people who are going deeper into the campus. I have heard people say that Elbi is notorious for its scorching heat but the temperature during my visit was actually bearable, even better than the one in Manila. In fact, I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and still, I was comfortable.
Emman asked me how many Carabao heads are there in all of the pillars. I answered 12 or 14 and he said I was wrong because there are only two Carabao heads. The remaining are Tamaraw’s, an entirely different specie. According to him, this question is usually asked by students to outsiders. Ktnxbye.
If Diliman has the “Ikot” jepneys, Los Banos has the “kaliwa” and “kanan” (right and left) and they only stop inside rectangles saying “Loading and Unloading Only” spread all throughout the campus. Freshmen often make the mistake of waiting for a jeepney anywhere and then wonder why the drivers just pass them by.
UP Oblation. At first, I thought the cover was there because it’s summer (shallow analysis) but Emman clarified saying it was put for Kristel Tejada, the UP student who committed suicide because of the “no late-payment policy” of UP Manila.
During our travel to elbi, Emman kept explaining to me that the area surrounding UPLB is called “college” and they have their own postal code. I only believed his story when I saw the sign in the Post Office inside the campus.
He brought me to the tambayan (meeting place) of the UP Isabela Society (UPIS) where he was president before he graduated. Organizations are a big deal in this university. There are academic ones (exclusive for BS Economic students, etc), varsitarian (exclusive for people who hail from the same provinces or regions) and others based on one’s hobbies. UPIS is a duly recognized varsitarian organization at UPLB.
And a newly-built infrastructure similar to Shinto shrines in Japan. Emman and I climbed up the stairs and he realized that it was an easier way to go to the upper campus where the College of Forestry and Natural Resources is located.
When we passed by this structure, Emman told me to look at the statue of the lady which was none other than Maria Makiling, close my eyes and then think of where the banga (vase) is placed. I told him in her hands and he was surprised. He said most of the students in LB including him always imagine that the vase is in her head. Hmm, maybe I wasn’t really cut out to be an Iska. Banga pala ang basehan eh. haha.
The Rizal Centenary Carillon tower. According to Wikipedia, this was built in 1996 and it is the second-largest non-traditional carillon in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of number of bells. It is where the character of Angelica Panganiban in the horror movie White Lady committed suicide by jumping. The tower is locked nowadays and people are not allowed to climb the top because it encourages suicide and may cause accidents.
The infamous Fertility tree where students allegedly “play around” because the branches are so low they offer privacy to pleasure-seekers. Emman said the tree now has lights and CCTV cameras so lovebirds need to look for other places to, uhm, release their buckets.
Kidding aside, it is one of my favorite places in the campus. I instantly felt the decrease in temperature after I stepped inside the shade of the tree. It’s so relaxing to just lie there and think of all the things you need to think about. Magmuni-muni, ika nga nila. If I had studied in LB, a considerable amount of my time in college especially lazy afternoons would have been spent here listening to music, reading books or sleeping.
There was an ongoing pre-nuptial shoot when we went to Fertility tree so Emman and I, after resting for a bit and talking about things we could only talk to each other about, made our own friendly shoot. *pictures too cheesy for a blog lol*
I could easily spend the rest of the day lying there but there were other places to explore and my time in elbi was limited so off we went!