06 Oct

“… And some will find their minds and think… Take a look in the kaleidoscope.”

– Francis Magalona, Kaleidoscope World

The University of the Philippines, Diliman, one of the most prestigious universities in the Philippines, was the sole motive why I wrote this entry.  Most people believed that UP was a prime university. Through its curriculums, vision and mission and most importantly, culture, the University of the Philippines Diliman has given numerous reasons why people patronize it. For more, I chose UP to be the place where I could observe since it was out of my comfort bubble.

It has been a love and hate relationship between UP and I for several personal yet common reasons. Personal because it is my own – I feel it. Back then, when I was applying for universities, I had an apprehension applying to UP. I did believe I was not fit for UP; not academically but culturally. I could not picture myself being in an institution where a strong sense of liberation among its people was present. Common because I am not the only one who felt this way; I knew people who have shared their thoughts about it and I was quite certain that we were not the only ones.

Honestly, it was not my first time being in the campus of UP Diliman when I went there to observe. I had several short trips to UP Diliman when I was still in Ateneo High School.  Before, it was all because of minor purposes and nothing more. All of these were immediate journeys.  And yet, I could still not fathom why people and most especially students of this university find it admirable.

Yesterday, when I went to UP, my means of travel was riding a jeep. Some say that to complete the UP experience, once should ride a jeep. I did not quite exactly get the point of it because I have experienced riding jeeps ever since I was a child but yesterday, I did. It was simple. It was exactly the same when I was a child. It was just to see yourself in a rectangular vehicle, sitting side by side with normal people, and just waiting to arrive to your destination. From there, I realized that everyone was equal in that moving object.

I arrived at the UP Shopping Center where I saw stores which offered services like photocopying, printing, binding books, and whatnot. Actually, there were a lot like restaurants, merchandise stores, computer shops, and even street vendors. I strolled around the area while I was waiting for my UP friends who would tour me to some of their favorite getaways in UP.  While waiting, I saw this store where they sold different flavors of ice cream. It caught my attention because the flavors were unusual. Leaving the store, I found myself licking & enjoying my langkasuy flavored ice cream. My UP friends arrived and we rode a jeep going to UP Ikot.

Where on earth is UP Ikot? Revealed to my ignorance, UP Ikot was just a colloquial term in UP describing the circle-like trip in the campus. It gave students ample time to save their energy walking from one building to another.  From this newfound knowledge, I remembered once again my trip to UP just a moment passed.  Oblivious of my posse beside me, I took the liberty to look at the surrounding outside. To my surprise, there was nothing odd. I guess I expected too much of UP to be a place where anomalous things occur.

My friends and I went to a lot of places in UP and most of these places, we were consumers of sustenance. We ate different street foods like the barbeque at the Beach House behind the UP Library and the famed Mang Larry’s isaw.  Also, they introduced me to different eateries like this siomai stall in Area 2 that sold Iskomairice, which consisted of 5 pieces of siomai with rice for only 35 pesos.  For drinks, I was able to try the famous milk tea place in UP called Universitea. As my full stomach clouded my wit, I was actually having fun in UP.

The last stop was a place they called the Econ Lounge. Unexpectedly, it was like the JSEC in our school minus the physical appearance and some factors. But they were alike in my sanity.  If I were to describe the whole thing, an Atenean could just immerse his self in JSEC for at least 5 minutes and he would know the environment at the Econ Lounge. Straight to the bull’s eye, this was the ground where spawns of elites came to meet and hang out.

Perhaps, my idea of the world of University of Philippines was because of how I have let people and my own ideas affect my thoughts about it without knowing what it was like in their places. Even though I was there for only a few hours, I could not deny the fact that UP was not far different from Ateneo, where I have come to be comfortable and contented with. Looking at a wider perspective, my apprehensions were shunned off.  Come to think of it, these apprehensions would have not been present if I were in the shoes of a typical Isko.

A kaleidoscope’s patterns change as someone continues to use and change it. Varieties of patterns with different spectrum of colors and figures and insignia could be seen and observed. Just like a kaleidoscope, UP has given me the same concept when it comes to how I can perceive the culture of UP to its established community. Thus, this microcosm could further be understood through cultural relativism and thinking that we just share the same kaleidoscope.


Magalona, Francis. Kaleidoscope World. Retrieved October 6, 2012, from

Nikki Riel, SA 21 Q

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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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