(SPOT.ph) They say that nothing is never really lost when you immortalize its memory through art, may it be poetry, essays, short stories, photographs, paintings, and so on. A year after a fire razed the University of the Philippines Faculty Center in the wee hours of the morning on April 1, 2016, Creative Writing and Literature professor Gerardo Los Baños called on artists to submit their own story to commemorate this structure that once housed the greatest minds.
The University of the Philippines (UP) Faculty Center, inaugurated in September 1969, is unlike any other building on the Diliman campus. Also called Bulwagang Rizal, it was named after one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines who authored two novels and inspired the nation's revolutionists. It's pretty apt for the structure that housed the offices and faculty rooms of the College of Arts and Letters and College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, two institutes that promote, advocate, and produce the country's cultural heritage.
A report by the Inquirer described it as “a time capsule that linked the current students and faculty to the luminaries who once walked its halls, including National Artists Francisco Arcellana, Lino Brocka, and Amado V. Hernandez, among others.” So it isn't just the loss of a structure that the community mourns, but all the academic papers (especially the unpublished ones), books (especially those that are now out of print), paintings, artifacts, and even a rare collection of works by H. Otley Beyer (Father of Philippine Anthropology) that went up in flames.
Demolition started this April and UP professors are bidding goodbye to the historic building. Soon to rise on the site is the P300-million Faculty Commons which will have seminar rooms, conference and exhibit halls, and faculty lounges. The faculty of College of Social Sciences and Philosophy has transferred to the Palma Hall Annex, which was inaugurated in 2015. The professors of the College of Arts and Letters, who are temporarily housed at the pavilions of Palma Hall, will be transferred to Melchor Hall in two years.
On social media, people look back on the fateful day but, at the same time, remember with pride what the Faculty Center has meant to them.
What used to be my room at the UP Faculty Center pic.twitter.com/jl44buMqED— Eloi Hernandez (@badassprof) April 1, 2017
: Exactly one year ago, I watched the UP Faculty Center---my second home---burn down. I saw the embers fly from the Tambayan Complex.— SALSAL STARK (@Watdahel_Marcel) March 31, 2017
@rjordanpsantos writes, "UP Faculty Center memories: dark halls, xerox ladies as caretaker of tomes, and lines of students waiting their turn to partake some mass produced knowledge."
@viankabogera writes, "Home is where the artists. And so are the dreamers, the real-life superheroes, the game changers. Clothing Technology exhibit, 2010"
@nadzdeclaro writes, "And just like that there goes the memories of my theater life."
@joypie writes, "this used to be my playground: haunting hallways of the UP faculty center will forever haunt me"
Video by Butch Dalisay
The new building may not fully encapsulate the soul that UP lost, but through a compilation of creative works, it can be forever remembered.
Contributions to Los Baños’ project may be sent to email@example.com before July 1, 2017.