‘Sa SC ako unang umiyak sa UP’
Students, concessionaires, the faculty and just about anyone who has regularly patronized the Shopping Center (SC) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman were swept in a flurry of emotions, watching in horror as it burned down last March 8.
The SC had served the UP community for generations. Dating back to the 1940s, the campus’ center of commerce provided the students not only their school supplies and other requirements, but also served as a social hub for campus residents.
The SC held childhood memories of some students—simple moments like sharing street food with the family, or ordering tapsilog lunch takeout from Rodic’s.
For many, it was where they celebrated their biggest accomplishments as undergraduate students.
The SC was also a place of refuge, especially for freshmen who felt lost in a huge campus and grappled with loneliness as they tried to make new friends.
Not a few had colorful recollections like eyeing their crush at the queue in the jeepney shed, or printing out readings for the same class.
“Just like almost all UP students, I had my thesis published at SC. But as a chemistry major, SC was also my go-to place to buy chemistry equipment. There was a store there called B.E. Scientific that sells laboratory glassware and consumables. The day of the fire, I was actually there. Minutes before the fire broke out, I withdrew money in a nearby ATM. Didn’t realize it was the last time I’d see the building.” —Jay-Em Estrella (BS Chemistry)
“Sa SC ako unang umiyak sa UP, kasi paano ba naman, mag-isa lang ako nag-ayos ng enrollment ko noon, walang kasamang magulang, 16 years old, laking probinsya. But I guess more than our memories that we know we’ll keep forever, it pains me to think about the business owners and employees who lost their livelihood in the fire.” —Paulo Bautista (BA Journalism)
“I moved to the dorm right across SC on my third year in UP. Since then I had been literally and figuratively closer to SC. I would print my papers in the morning right before going to class. But my favorite memory of SC is when I finally got my thesis proposal printed and got a softbound copy after pulling all-nighters six days in a row as an end to my most hectic semester ever. SC was where majority of my academic work was brought to life, from on screen to the physical form on paper. UP should really do something about it because, in my four years in school, four buildings have burnt down, including the Faculty Center (FC). These happened in a span of three years. If the direct damage of the FC fire was on the professors, the SC fire affects students, not to mention the small business owners and their staff.” —Kathleen Sohn (BA Speech Communication)
“My family and I would usually go to SC right after church at UPFI to buy tapsilog, sweet corn or fish balls. As in lagi. That’s just a few of the many memories I have of SC.” —Dia Magsaysay (BA Film)
“Freshman year. Exterior. Day. Nakasakay ako ng jeep na papunta dapat ng AS. Tatambay dapat ako doon bago ang klase ko, nang makita ko ang crush ko na lumabas sa Fruitshake na dulo ng SC, na may dala-dalang fruit shake. Ito yung crush ko sa Philo 1. Kalahating Pilipino, kalahating pangarap ko. Tapos nandun lang siya. Nakaabang. Hindi nag-iisip, hindi nagtatanto, sinabi ko kay manong drayber, ‘Para po!’
“Bumaba ako ng jeep. At naglakad patungo sa jeepney stop. At habang nasa peripheral ko si Philo 1 crush, naghihintay ng sakay, hinintay ko naman kung ano ang reply ng universe sa aking pagiging stalker. Eventually dumating na ang jeep ni Philo 1 crush, at tinangay siya papalayo sa akin. At dahil mainit, pumasok ako sa loob ng SC at bumili ng shake. Nainggit ako kay crush eh.
“More than the sentiments and the memories, ang mas mahalaga ngayon ay ang napakatotoong problemang hinaharap ng ating mga mabubuti at masisipag na ate at kuya ng SC. Ibalik natin ang pagmamahal sa kanila. Tumulong tayo sa lahat ng puwedeng paraan.” —Mikee Nazal (BA Journalism)
But aside from the students’ reminiscences, SC stood for livelihood—the source of livelihood of many tenants who had been providing for the students’ needs.
Their setback from the tragic fire, we hope, is temporary, as the UP administration works to rebuild a landmark that was reduced to ashes. —CONTRIBUTED
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