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A maroon and green new year

By PAULO ALCAZAREN, The Philippine STAR Published Dec 11, 2021 5:00 am

Everyone is anticipating that 2022 will be a brighter new year compared to the previous two. Declining numbers for COVID infections and increasing vaccinations seem to point to a trajectory that augurs well for both the country and people’s lives.

The New Year is also a year that promises a burst of colors in the political spectrum. The May elections present voters with a plethora of candidates, who are branding themselves with colors of the rainbow — blue, red, yellow, green, pink — or a combination of these. Whatever polychromic option, one thing is for certain: it will also be a banner year for the maroon and green.

  The 2022 UP Naming Mahal calendar is a celebration of the campus' landmark buildings.

What better way to monitor the nation’s progress than to frame in with a UP calendar? The UP Diliman’s College of Architecture Alumni Association (UPCAAAFI) just launched its 2022 calendar. The desk calendar presents 14 illustrations of UP Diliman landmarks. The sketches are by yours truly. These are from a portfolio of close to 200 sketches I’ve completed since the lockdown close to two years ago.

I’d taken to sketching early in the pandemic as therapy for cabin fever. I rendered my sketches in pen, ink, and colored pencil, basing them on pictures I had taken previously, various images on the internet, or thumbnail sketches I’d previously done before the pandemic. In close to two years, I’d gone through a box of Pilot V5s and V7s pens, as well as several packs of Prismacolor and Faber Castell color pencils.

A good friend and schoolmate of mine at the College of Architecture, Ami dela Paz, was elected president of the college’s alumni association a few months ago. I reached out to him to broach the possibility of a calendar to raise funds for UPCAAAFI’s outreach projects.

In the past few years these projects have included donations like ventilators and PPEs to the UP PGH and the UP Health Center. The association is also assisting the college in renovating its first two buildings (which are featured in the calendar).

I sent Ami and his board a selection from the close-to-two dozen sketches I’d done of sites and structures in the verdant Diliman campus. He presented these and the idea of the calendar to his board and everyone enthusiastically agreed to the project.

I donated the use of the sketches with the stipulation that part of the proceeds from sales would go the ICanServe Foundation, which is the charity of choice that my late wife Twink preferred in her support of cancer warriors like herself. Twink was also a UP alumnus (College of Mass Communications). Our families — the Alcazarens and Macaraigs — are actually four-generation UP families, so we have a long history with the University of the Philippines.

  Quezon Hall by Juan Nakpil is an ideal frame for Guillermo Tolentino's iconic Oblation.

The calendar starts with a sketch of the iconic UP gateway structures, which are the creation of National Artist Billy Abueva. The next sketch is of the first building after the gateway, which is Quezon Hall, designed by Juan Nakpil. It houses the university’s administration offices and serves as a setting for National Artist Guillermo Tolentino’s Oblation. Nakpil’s carillon nearby is also featured in the calendar.

After these are sketches of the first buildings around the main university loop: the original Malcolm Hall that is home to the College of Law and the mirror twin Benitez Hall across the sunken garden were designed by pioneer Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano and completed before the Second World War. Also in the calendar is Bocobo Hall, a component of the College of Law complex.

  Gonzalez Hall is the university's main library and also used to house the College of Fine Arts.

Aside from Quezon Hall, the calendar highlights Gonzalez Hall, which is the university’s main library. This structure, designed by Juan Nakpil, sits in the center of the campus’ core. On opposite sides of this central green are the two large complexes of Palma Hall (Liberal Arts) and Melchor Hall (College of Engineering). These were designed by Cesar H. Concio, who was the university architect in the 1950s.

The calendar also features the catholic and protestant chapels, created by National Artist Lindy Locsin and Cesar Concio, respectively. Many UP students sought divine intervention during midterms and finals seasons in these chapels.

  Melchor Hall is home to the College of Engineering and hosted the College of Architecture for over three decades.

The calendar has three sketches of the College of Architecture complex. The calendar is, after all, a project of the college’s alumni association. I spent a good number of years at the college all through the 1970s graduating with two degrees (in architecture and landscape architecture). I also taught for a spell in 2003-2006. Sketching the campus and the buildings was an exercise in sifting through memories of the several points in time that UP Diliman had been a key part of my life.

This calendar should serve to frame your memories of it, too, as well as color the coming year, hopefully with someone new at the helm… and a UP alum.

To order the calendar, please contact Amerigo dela Paz by text at +63 9776837599 or by email at [email protected].