Friday, April 1, 2016

Mourning at the University of the Philippines Diliman Faculty Center

It seemed like an April Fool's Day joke when we got a message that the Faculty Center or FC of the University of the Philippines Diliman was on fire. And then we saw the images on social media and were shocked by the realization of just how much was lost with the destruction of the building. Housed there are documents, art works and personal properties of faculty members, staff and students of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSSP). Among those probably lost are the life works of prominent writers, poets and artists, copies of thesis and dissertations of graduate and post-graduate students, many of which you cannot put a price tag to describe their worth.

My memories of the FC includes many registration periods when I had to get an instructor's prerogative to get me enough units so I won't be underloaded for the semester (it was tough to get subjects during our time). I also recall submissions of reports and getting classcards for my grades from faculty members who had their offices there. I also attended some forums there as the FC was a popular venue for relevant discussions at the time including those that took up the issue of the future of US bases in the Philippines back in the early 1990s.

Today and the following days, we mourn the loss of the physical items that were destroyed in the fire that gutted the FC. Despite this, valuable memories of the FC are still with many people including present and retired faculty members, and present and graduated students of UP. I am sure that the FC will eventually rise from the ashes of the building and new memories will be forged by faculty, staff and students who will be occupying the next FC.

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