Let me take you on a tour to my alma mater, the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB). My university is nature itself. Its lush environment and natural beauty makes it a favorite location among photographers. In this article, I present to you the beauty of UPLB behind the plastic lenses.
UPLB is the largest university in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is located in the town of Los Baños in the province of Laguna, about forty miles south of Manila. UPLB is part of the legendary Mt. Makiling which is believed to be a dormant volcano.
The Carabao Park is a tribute to agriculture and the Filipino farmers. The campus icon The Farmer and the Carabao, and the carabao heads statues provide company to students who hangout and study there. The first college in UPLB is College of Agriculture which was established by the Americans in 1908.
The Oblation is the iconic symbol of UP. The oblation is a statue of a naked man facing upwards with arms outstretched. It symbolizes selfless offering of oneself to his country. Every UP graduate is an offering to the country.
Taking photographs of the Oblation behind the plastic Holga lens is quite an experience for me… mixed feelings of exhilaration after seeing the place after so many years and of self-assessment as to how I lived my life after college graduation. What have I done with my life, so far?
The building behind the Oblation is the Humanities building. This crappy-looking old building is the home of bright, idealistic minds. Students love to sit on the steps. This is the center of all things in UPLB. This is where students hold their protest rallies and other activities.
Mariang Dalam-banga (Maria and her jar) is a statue of the mountain nymph Maria Makiling. An urban legend says that people sometimes see the jar on top of Maria’s head.
The campus has a vast field of grass called Freedom Park. At its end is a big acacia tree and the Jose Rizal Carillon Tower. The tower named after the country’s national hero, symbolizes the unity of the alumni and their link to the university and the community. The big tree is playfully called Fertility Tree because at night, this place is very dark. And dark, romantic places attract couples and lovers. They make the ground fertile :)
A very unique chapel amidst the green trees along the road leading to the upper campus adds to the tranquility and spirituality of the area.
Part of the upper campus and the Mt. Making National Forest Reserve is the National Arts Center, the home of the Philippine High School for the Arts. It provides a breath-taking view of the town below. People come there on weekends for picnics and relaxation.
I was very fortunate to have studied and lived in this place for five years. LB will always be my second home and my refuge.