Friday, October 24, 2008

Silliman University Visit

Still full from that hefty lunch at Lab-as, I had to push myself to start roaming Dumaguete lest I run out of time and lest I not be able to go see Siquijor tomorrow anymore. I told myself I must not be near a bed for the call of the pillows might overpower my need to see most of Dumaguete!

As advised by the hotel staff, I walked from Harold’s Mansion to Silliman University. Target sights were the museum, the church and whatever else I can see in this university. It was a nice and easy walk on a row of houses and buildings that seemed to be already part of the university.

As I walked on the right side of the street, I passed by a concrete wall that was just a little bit taller than me. I could read something that said Active8 Internet Café. There was nothing untoward on this side of the road until something suddenly climbed up the wall from inside caught me by surprise that I had to run a few steps forward. Recovering and realizing that it was no danger, I stepped back close to take this photo…

Do you recognize anything? Nothing much really, right? But check the same photo enhanced below hehe:

That poor little cute big thing was the one that suddenly perched himself on top of the wall over my head that I initially thought it could climb over and attack me. But in fact it was not and it did not. The little big darling seemed to be begging to be let out and it was looking farther beyond me at a woman – probably his master who just left the house. Oh my imagination! I thought it would attack me? Yes, but I was wrong. It did not even bark. When I came back nearer, I even heard it yelping as if begging to be allowed out of the fence. Poor dear… but my heart almost jumped outa my chest ha?! Grabe! Anyway…

Oh so there was the Coco Grande Hotel on the left side of the road. That was one of my choices but Harold’s prevailed. Hmm, I thought it was nice enough. There were old men in barong probably just done attending a party or wedding reception or something. I moved on!

First sights, my views seemed to be on residential houses and buildings, some of which are actually old, but I was sure those were already part of the university since they were inside the fences. There was a gate to my right, I asked the guard where the church was and I was told to walk further on, so I did. On the other side of the street, oh yes this is Hibbard Ave., the writings and postings on the building’s walls seemed to indicate that they were classrooms for little children (probably elementary or even kindergarten).

Back on my side of the street was a small chapel and another building named “Divinity School”. Hmm, it’s probably the equivalent of seminary. Across it is the university high school building. Then the College of Business Administration Building to my right. Big and I think even bigger than UP Diliman’s CBA. But like at UP, the building is obviously a recent addition to the university. Sleek and very corporate looking for a school building, I thought! And aha, there was the gate and a lot of signage but I never saw a church or museum on the writings. Asked the guards on that gate and I was told to walk on further to the “main gate”. Looking to the left were the elementary school buildings but the gate in front of them was not what I was looking for. If this was elementary, then the first building I saw earlier must have been a preparatory school. Big ha?!

I silently laughed remembering the instructions of one guard that said something like “you see that Acacia tree? Beside that is the main gate” – but this place is peppered with a lot of trees hehe! How do I know what is acacia versus narra versus Balete versus gumamela hehehe. I obviously do not remember my high school biology anymore hehe! So, I just told myself to enjoy the sights walking on and the museum should be in sight anytime soon.

Hey, after the CBA and the gate, a beautiful old building caught my fancy. It is marked the ‘Katipunan Hall’ but underneath that it says ‘Mission Hospital’. Got a bit confused so I asked a student passing by. Then I learned that yes this was a mission hospital built sometime 1915 or therearounds but now holds the offices of the various faculty departments.

Next to the Katipunan Hall is a modern looking building (it better be hehe) that is the Uytengsu Computer Center obviously donated by that admirably rich Uytengsu clan of business people! Then followed by the College of Law building and voila, a gate!

When I stepped in front of the guard who was busy opening and closing the gate for vehicles to enter (can’t they automate it yet?) I already saw the church up in there after a wide expanse of grassy field. Whoa what a sight! But I thought that could have been more beautiful under the morning sun. The sun was already starting to fall behind it so my amateurish attempts for a good shot would be futile. Now I remember Cebu Pacific did this to me. But I cannot curse, I was in front of a church!

Asked the guard where the museum was. He pointed across the street behind me and beyond another beautiful grassy field to a nice looking building AND dropped the bomb I was praying to avoid. He felt sorry to tell me but still managed to do so… today was Saturday and the museum is closed… aaaargh! He was so kind enough to attempt at making me feel good by saying that if I were still around by Monday, the museum will be happy to receive me. Aaargh! He finished that with a consolation by telling me I could still go see the building and tour its vicinity.

I told the guard I would go see the church first (as I know the sun was inching its way down). So he asked me for identification in exchange for that cute visitor’s pass (much more like the IDs of little children in elementary school). Then I started wandering around from the College of Law all the way to the church.

After the college of law, I passed by a combination of old and new building. I could see from any angle that this building was built long ago and has been attached with newer wings. I liked the big sign on the main door that said “SCIENCE”. Asked a student if the was the college of science, the reply was a yes but this building is more prominently called the ‘Science Complex’. Whoa! And this student dropped another bomb on my aching heart… she told me that there is a biology museum on ground floor but that would be closed because its Saturday. Haaaaah!

But hey, I may have already been immune to this “museum closed on a Saturday” thingy, right? There has been the Albay, Zamboanga and just about everywhere museums where I experienced the same frustrations, right? So I was not easy to disappoint now. I can always make the most outa my trip and take fun at whatever else is there! So take a look at the picture below. Took this from a waiting shed or some kind of a roadside bulletin board near the science complex of THE Silliman University!
I was so amused to have seen that announcement inside a university campus – and Silliman at that. What would initially come to your mind having read the yellow sheet? I know, I know… like me, you might have raised your eyebrows and said “sheez, don’t they start speaking English as early as prep school at Silliman”? If that was your initial view, we’re on the same boat! That’s what I initially thought too!

But what if… just what if… that announcement was meant to invite the SU folks to LEARN those “wanna wanna”, “gonna gonna”, “I ain’t watchin it no more mah fraynd” kind of language? ‘y know… it says “AMERICAN CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH CLASSES”! Them American folks don’t necessarily converse in the kind of English that we speak, right? AND, even if we all right them in similar fashion. And mind you, it might be just too apt in this place since I saw a lot of Americans all over the city! yep ‘y know… those who would say “mawn’un doo” while many a bisdak will say “mawn-tane dyoo” to pronounce what we all unanimously write as Mountain Dew. Yes, the soft drink, ooops the soda, ay sus da sopdrink tawon hehehe!

So there we go to amuse me in place of a museum! An announcement that really set my mind working debating and wondering. In the end, I asked my very own inquisitive mind “why don’t I just call that number and ask?” but I still did not hehe! At least I got something to occupy my lowly brain as I went on hehehe! And hey, if the SU allowed that posting, then there might actually be some credence to what its inviting people for! Either SU folks are short of their American English or it’s the “wanna wanna”, “gonna gonna” that they need to learn. I think it’s the latter hehe. I do! Okay, let’s move on.

After the “announcement” thing on my right, what caught my attention was the expanse of grassy field to my left which is actually the center of this place. Interesting that they had to put those green benches in a semi-circular fashion facing the façade of the church. I thought maybe the university uses this area for bigger gatherings or religious activities. But for now as I passed by, it seemed to be a fine waiting place for the yayas and mothers of elementary school children – at least the edge that are under the shades of those big big trees!

Approaching the church entrance, I noticed an old building that seemed to be desolate called ‘Oriental Hall’. It seemed too worn and left to oblivion that I wondered why since it was adjacent to the church. Its location is “central” and “prime” so why does it look really really old? I just thought it might be a dormitory and did not anymore attempt to get near it and know anything more. Looking at this building, only a word came to mind, “autumn”. The leaves of the trees around it are strewn all over, it looks old and some kind of a pale pink (or was that pale cream) and it seems to be devoid of any human activity. Hmm, probably a house for monks? I just told myself to move on and leave that place the way I look at it hehe!

After taking what I consider as acceptable shots of the church, I was ready to move on but saw a guard walking by so I asked him why the entrance doors were closed. He told me the church was really closed because it was a Saturday. I found that weird. Then again, I have had many such encounters of “churches closed on a Saturday”, right? Remember the church in Legaspi? So, disappointed but not really hurt, I started to move on towards Hibbard Hall. Then the guard called out for me to ask “sir, mag-pray ba kayo o mag-picture lang”? Grinning, I said “pareho”! Then he told me to go inside the office (little building beside the church) and ask the personnel there if they could allow me in. He further shared that they would usually allow tourists to go in from the side entrances even on Saturdays. For some ugly reason I now dearly regret… I told the guard “its okay, I will just go home”. Hah! What on earth was I ever thinking?! I swear, that must have been a judgment lapse on my part. Oh well!

By the way, that building called ‘Christian Education Building’ was rather filled with a lot of children during that afternoon. Probably it is their catechism classes done on Saturdays.

Next on my path, as I circled the greenery on this side of the campus was Hibbard Hall. For whatever this building is used, I admired the way it looks. It’s like an old old edifice that reminds me of the UP’s College of Education. There were sounds of activity from within the walls but am not sure if that was a class or some kind of a meeting. Saw at least one girl entering the building but she walked too fast I could not ask her to know what might be inside Hibbard Hall nowadays. But the façade is quite inviting. It looks historical esp. with that name “19•Hibbard Hall•32” prominently inscribed. So I moved on.

Walked towards Hibbard Avenue where there is also a gate but closed. The building in that corner (was it still Hibbard Hall?) smelled of food - probably a restaurant or a cafeteria of the university. The view of the grassy area and the church from this corner is wonderful, so I took a few shots before heading north again to the main gate to retrieve my ID and return the visitor's pass to manong guard.

Manong Guard told me to cross the street to the opposite main gate if I wanted to go enar the museum's building. And so I did keeping my ID just in my hand. True enough, after the 6 or 7 steps crossing Hibbard Avenue., the other manong guard at the other main gate asked me for identification in exchange of another (though similar) visitor's pass. Then I moved on to roam this other side of the campus.

Hmm, on entry at this other gate, the smell of food was also floating in the air. Looking to my left I saw that the building is the SU Cafeteria. Then what was it I smelled at the other side of the road? Probably another cafeteria hehe, whatever. Moving inwards after the cafeteria is the Alumni House which I did not bother to ogle at. I could see though that behind it and the next building beside it is their College of Engineering. They seem to be reconstructing part of this fairly new building and hey, I dedicated a few miniutes watching the contsruction workers - they were trying to raise a "concrete mixer" (that big circular tube with wheels) via a crane. And oh boy, them workers did find that feat a challenge hehe!

A building named "Guy Hall" next came into my view and I heard some musical instruments being played. Not sure if it came from inside the building or just at its grounds. If there is a college of music in this university, then that probably would be inside that building. Between this building and another building called "Administration" is some kind of a marker, the logo of the university surrounded by two rows of flags, and the views of the Dumaguete City harbor can be seen beyond the perimeter fence. Went to the fence area and I could already see the Rizal Boulevard plus buses and other vehicles going to either the pier or towns to the north of Dumaguete.

Then the Silliman Hall. Yep, that is that beautiful building that houses the museum. Since it is closed, I just circled the house like a dog who won't be allowed in hehe. Had a few words with the guard stationed there, tried to peek in from the glass door and take a picture of the reception area and stood by the side watching Silliman Avenue and Rizal Boulevard. Then I noticed that facing the pier was some kind of a big big bust structure set on a little garden. Since it was facing away from the building, I asked the guard what/who it was. And I was told it was Dr. Silliman, the persom himself responsible for the rise of Silliman Institute now proudly the silliman University.

Oh there was a gate just outside of Silliman hall that would allow you to step out unto the corner of Silliman Avenue and Rizal Boulevard! But my ID was left with the Manong Guard... so passing by the road (Silliman Avenue) or retracing my way back inside the university grounds, I had no choice but to go back to manong guard and retrieve my ID. Oh well! Then I walked onwards to the center of town... but that's on my next entry, k?

For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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