UP explained (2) | Inquirer Opinion
Pinoy Kasi

UP explained (2)

/ 05:06 AM August 08, 2018

Last week I did a column explaining that UP is actually a system (sometimes spelled with a capital S) of eight constituent universities (CUs) and more than 20 campuses. The System is headed by a president, and each CU by a chancellor.

I was surprised with the feedback I got to that article, and since we just started the new school year (one of a growing number of universities to have adopted the new calendar), I thought I should add a little more information, some in
response to questions from readers.

I’m going to start out correcting two pieces of information I gave.


First, the Marine Science Institute we have in UP Diliman is in Bolinao, Pangasinan, and not in Alaminos. The municipalities are adjoining, and some of the programs they have in Bolinao actually spill over into Alaminos.


Second, I wrote that the investiture of the new UP Visayas chancellor, Dr. Ricardo Babaran, had just been held. Actually, his investiture is still coming up later this month.

There was one reader who was somewhat confused by the UP System being in UP Diliman, so let me explain. The UP System is mainly an administrative unit, without students of its own. It still needs offices, and these are in the Diliman campus, a natural choice since UP Diliman has the most number of students and degree programs in the system.


It is important to remember, though, that what is now UP Manila is still the birthplace of UP and many of its programs that still exist today in UP Diliman. Although the birthplace of UP, UP Manila does have a rather complicated history of its own. The formal establishment of UP was in 1908, but one of its units was actually established in 1905. This was the Philippine Medical College, which, when incorporated into UP, became the College of Medicine.

If we want to go further back in time, the oldest building of UP was actually built in 1867 by Rafael Enriquez, a painter. When UP was established, his residence became the site for UP’s fine arts school, with Enriquez as its first director.

Today, the College of Fine Arts is in UP Diliman, and the original building, now called Casa Hidalgo, is in Bagac, Bataan, part of the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

The UP Diliman College of Fine Arts actually took over the buildings that used to house the College of Veterinary Medicine, where I studied. UP’s colleges, it turns out, are so much like the Filipino, always moving around. The College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the oldest units in UP; it started out in Manila, moved to Diliman, Quezon City, and is now in UP Los Baños, but continues to have a small animal hospital in UP Diliman.

Until a few years ago, I remember that the “ikot” jeepney drivers in UP Diliman would still call out “Pharmacy,” to refer to the Pavilion 1 of the College of Science. Pharmacy had actually moved to UP Manila, which is the health sciences complex. But Pavilion 1 remained “Pharmacy,” the way Palma Hall
remains “AS” to this day because it housed the College of Arts and Sciences.

But, wait, that college split up into three in 1983 — the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), College of Science (CS) and College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP). Today, “AS” is pretty much CSSP, which also inherited the College of Science’s pavilions where they used to teach chemistry, physics and biology.

The only constant thing about UP is change. UP Cebu, one of the oldest units in the system, was somewhat neglected for several years, but under the dynamic leadership of lawyer Lisa Corro, it became UP Cebu the college, then UP Cebu, a constituent university.

Vigan once had a UP campus, established in 1921, but this moved to Baguio in 1938. For some time, UP Baguio was under UP Diliman, but is now an independent CU.

There’s more with name changes and moving here and moving there, but I’m realizing this attempt to explain UP might have gotten you more confused. In the future, there will be more campuses, and more joint offerings of different CUs, all part of a UP that dares to cross disciplinary and geographical borders.

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TAGS: Michael L. Tan, Pinoy Kasi, University of the Philippines, UP System

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