by Lex Librero
Three years ago, I posted in my blog a brief story titled “Old Pictures at Random.” Since very, very few read my blog, I’m asking Bukas, the reincarnated UPLBAA Newsletter, to reprint some part of that blog post in the hope that more alumni will read it and perhaps even be encouraged to write some personal narratives that we could use in this newsletter. Our belief is that there are countless Alumni wanting to know or read stories about other alumni. We also believe that the alumni should tell other alumni their stories through this newsletter.
To get the ball rolling, as it were, let me start off with some old stuff you may still recall about your Alma Mater. Here’s a part of an old blog post.
For the old hand at UPCA (now UPLB), this aerial view of Grove (foreground) and the UPLB campus is definitely recognizable. Of course, it’s much more congested now, and quite a few commercial buildings have replaced old landmarks like Kitchenette, Quality Store, Carangal Store, Evangelista Billard Hall, and Hongkong Restaurant.
This closer aerial view of Grove shows some buildings constructed during the Five Year Development Program of UPCA from 1962-66, during the deanship of Dioscoro L. Umali. These new buildings included landmarks like the UPLB Library, SEARCA Building, PhySci Building, and the Men’s and Women’s Dormitories, as well as the UPLB Auditorium and the Union Building.
This building used to house the then Department of Entomology. It now houses the UPLB College of Human Ecology (which used to be the Department of Home Technology).
For the nostalgic, this photo is an aerial view of the portion of the UPLB Campus showing Mt. Makiling at the background. This was how the place looked like prior to the construction of new buildings. Roughly, the foreground is the UPCA Experimental Field, the middle is Central Campus, and the background is Mt. Makiling.
UPLB students today complain about lack of classrooms. Well, in those days nobody complained but in some courses, classes were held outdoors, under the shade of old “kaymito” trees. Here, a professor demonstrates how to construct a seedbed. In my first semester at UPCA, for example, we held Elementary Sociology classes under the “kaymito” tree near the then Dept. of Agricultural Education (which is where the College of Development Communication stands today).
Boodle Fight? Naaah. When I was Freshman (aah, uhmm, in the early 60s), when I was enrolled in the basic horticulture course, we frequently had practical exams in our laboratory classes. We stood in front of any pile of vegies or fruits, etc., at the start of the lab practical tests. We had to write the names of the plants in front of us… their common names and scientific names. After one minute our Lab Instructor would shout… “move.” And everybody would move to the next pile and do the same thing over. The first time I took this practical exam, I couldn’t name any of the plants because these were not grown from where I come. But I knew all of them, and more, at the end of the semester.
This building now houses the Department of Military Science and Tactics, but it used to house the UPCA Infirmary. This building is near the Baker Hall, which, by the way, hasn’t changed much until today.
The UPCA Hotel? Well, this was the Faculty Cottage building in the early years. Faculty members lived here in the olden days.
Professors and students of plant breeding, together, worked in the farm under the sweltering heat of the sun. Today, Many faculty members are out on consultancy and many students are scared of getting darker complexion under the sun.
This was how the old Department of Plant Pathology building looked like prior to the Five-Year Development Program of UPCA. What stands on this site today is the Abelardo G. Samonte Hall. This used to be the UPLB Administration Building, but during the time of Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco UPLB Admin transferred to the third level of the UPLB Library. The UPLB College of Agriculture has reclaimed this building and is now, again, where the Office of the Dean, College of Agriculture, is located.
In those heady years at UPCA, when there were still few female students (this scene from the 50s), UPCA students invited female students from UP’s Padre Faura Campus and other Manila-based universities (like Philippine Women’s University and Philippine Normal College) to be guests during Loyalty Day Balls.
Quite a few of those kolehiyalas from Manila eventually joined UPCA as faculty and married young UPCA faculty members. Los Baños was a rich hunting ground for young, good-looking, and dependable husbands. Since the psycho-emotional make-up of the UPCA Loyalty Day changed in the late 60s. the Loyalty Day Ball ceased. Besides, there was a rapid increase in the number of female students and there no longer was need to invite kolehiyalas from Manila. Female UPCA students were as pretty if not prettier, as active academically if not more as their counterparts in Padre Faura.
A common event on the UPCA campus in the 60s were the regular field days. This rice field day was attended by a large number of farmers from around the rice growing provinces, as well as agriculture students from various schools throughout the Philippines.
In the 1960s, too, the UPCA offered the BS Sugar Technology program. Students in this program had scholarships. In fact, we ordinary mortals of UPCA used to call this group, together with the students of agricultural chemistry, the elite group, an acknowledgment, I guess, that they were good students of chemistry.
In the mid-60s, during the implementation of the Five-Year Development Program of UPCA, the carabao statues were moved back to where they are today, the front of the Administration Building close to the main entrance of the UPLB Campus. Moving those solid concrete statues and monuments wasn’t easy. It took three months to do this job.
This, of course, was the most popular and important landmark on the old UCPA Campus, the UPCA Main Gate, very distinct because of the carabao heads and the carabao and farmer status behind.
Students used to walk on campus and through the gate. In those times, there were only about five passenger jeepeneys plying the UPCA Campus and Bayan route, for a pasahe of PhP0.10. We all preferred to walk even down to Crossing. Sayang ang sampung sentimo kasi.
In the recent past, students didn’t like walking. Instead, they would insist that jeepneys bring them right on the doorsteps of dorms. Now, many students are into wellness and are jogging all over campus, which has become mainly pederstrian campus. Jeepneys are no longer permitted to ply the center of campus.
One can say, brisk walking from classroom to classroom, which are located in different buildings scattered all over the campus, used to be a required task for students in the olden years. Apparently, this spirit has come back.
In the last few years, UPLB students have become much more health conscious and have taken to walking across campus. Roads have become walker-friendly. Soon, the UPLB Campus will be bicycle-friendly.
We’re inviting all alumni to send us feedback in the form of brief narratives about your experiences in Los Baños. A 200-word narrative will be most welcome. Send us pictures, too. If you have visited Los Baños recently, write about that so your colleagues will know about them. The operative phrase is, keep in touch, if you can’t keep in sight.