When one talks about UP Diliman (UPD), it is not only scholarly activities or academics that fi gure in the stories. There is another side to the so-called UP Diliman experience. To fully know this other side, one needs to literally go around the 500- hectare campus.
The UPD campus has a lot to offer to the gastronomically adventurous, from local street fare to the more expensive culinary experience in medium priced venues. If you are after student-friendly, lutong bahay kind of food, you have several options. The most popular and one of the oldest restaurants on campus is Rodics, inside the UP Shopping Center (SC). Here, one can order tapsilog (shredded deep-fried beef tapa on top of a mound of rice with fried egg) for around P65, served, believe it or not, even beyond breakfast. Rodics also serves other dishes, so one need not be limited to the -silogs menu
You can also find Korean food among the stalls in the SC, as well as others which offer Filipino food, fruit shakes, donuts and much more. There is also the UP Cooperative’s “Coop” canteen, which has relatively cheaper prices for kare-kare and fried chicken, among other local food. You can also fi nd street-fare like green mangoes with bagoong on a stick located at the side entrance of the SC, as well as others like monay with cheese and corn in a cup with cheese and butter flavorings, among others.
Another contender for Filipino food favorites includes Lutong Bahay, which is a few houses away from the street where the Diliman branch of PhilPost is located. It offers Pinoy meals like bopis, sisig, adobo and more for around P60 or less. One eats in a homey atmosphere since the food is served inside the owner’s home. During summer, Lutong Bahay also serves halo-halo and one can also buy bilaos of pancit for merienda or pasalubong.
Other places to get relatively low-priced meals include CASAA, between the Palma Hall building (more commonly known as AS building) and the Palma Hall Annex (or PHAN). At the CASAA, one can choose among different stalls featuring all kinds of food such as Mongolian stir-fry and roast beef, as well as the usual Pinoy fares like humba, sinigang, and inihaw. Another UPD “classic” is the barbeque at Beach House, which is located within the Main Library premises fronting the Sunken Garden. Lines usually form as early as 11:30 a.m. for those who want to get their pork barbeque fix.
For those looking for Persian or Indian food, there is also Khas Food House which is beside the UP Swimming Pool and located near the International Center dormitory. Here you can get ox brains, kebabs, and pita sandwiches with your yogurt shakes and tea.
Vegetarians can opt to go to Likha Diwa, located along CP Garcia near the outskirts of the campus. For other commercial restaurants and fast food establishments, Philcoa and the UP Ayala Technohub are just a few minutes away.
The more pricey restaurants that are perfect for meetings or dates include Chocolate Kiss Cafe at the Bahay ng Alumni which is famous for its Devil’s Food Cake, Kahlua Butter Cake and the classic Chocolate Cake. It also serves dishes such as Chicken ala Kiev, Beef Salpicao and Kalbi Chim. There are actually two establishments of Chocolate Kiss on different floors of Bahay ng Alumni which are open at different times of the day.
Another restaurant in the Bahay ng Alumni is the Restaurant of Choice or “ROC’s” Cafe and Restaurant. It serves Whiskey Glazed Pork Chops, Garlic Chicken, different pizzas, pastas and desserts like Banoffee pie.
Another newcomer in UPD is Via Mare Cafe at the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium. It serves oysters (if available) and Pinoy dishes like chicken tinola flan, sinigang, binagoongan, bibingka and puto bumbong.
But what really makes UPD famous are the isawan stalls beside the UP College of Law (Malcolm Hall) parking lot. These stalls offer the usual isaw baboy/manok or grilled pork and chicken intestines which you can dip in vinegar. It is common to see some celebrities lining up to buy isaw at these stalls.
Fishball and squid ball stands (which also serve kikiam and kwek-kwek or quail eggs dipped in butter and deep fried) are also scattered within the UPD campus, as are other sandwich and snack stalls in almost every college. The friendly bananacue and karioka vendors also roam the campus, as do ice cream vendors selling “dirty ice cream.” It is practically almost impossible to go hungry within UP with such delectable treats at almost every corner (assuming, of course, that you have some money).
Beyond books and classrooms
Aside from eating places, UPD also provides a lot of extracurricular and recreational areas. Places like the Sunken Garden are always busy in the afternoons as Ultimate Frisbee, soccer and sports teams play until dusk or until the light holds out. The Academic Oval is also a popular destination for runners, joggers, and bikers as the bike lane provides
a safe path for those who engage in these activities. Picnic-goers also favor the Sunken Garden and the Lagoon where they go to lounge and enjoy being surrounded by trees.
One activity that is increasingly becoming more popular within the campus is bird watching. UPD is home to a host of species of endemic and migratory birds, all of which can be seen by the patient observer.
Members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) regularly organize tours for which people can sign up to watch for the colorful and elusive birds found within the campus.
Aside from annual events the UPD community hosts and enjoys such as the UP Lantern parade every December and the UP Fair every February, student organizations and colleges also have their own events and programs. In the College of Music, for example, there are concerts by students. The UP Film Institute also shows movies with varying themes almost every afternoon and evening at the Cine Adarna.
If one is interested to catch up on the UAAP, all he or she needs to do is go to the College of Human Kinetics (CHK) and look for the varsity offi ce for the schedules of games.
If theater is your interest, Dulaang UP and the UP Playwrights Theater both have their own series of plays every year. Usually, announcements of these events can be seen
either at the colleges’ websites, or through the UPdate publication produced by the UP
Diliman Information Office (UP DIO).
And to take home the “UPD experience” with you (aside from filling your stomach with goodies and being dog-tired from all the activities), one can shop around for souvenir items within the campus. At the SC, the Maroons shop offers UP-themed shirts, jackets, and more for people who want to wear the school colors and letters.
There are also bazaars that spring up every June and December on campus where almost all kinds of goods, from bags to shoes to toys and books, are sold at bargain prices.
For bookworms, the UP Press bookshop located inside the Balay Kalinaw is also worth a visit as it sells UP-published books at competitive prices.
The UPD experience is truly not all about studying, as can be seen from the vast variety of choices available for recreation and enjoyment. This is not only true of Diliman, but also of all the other constituent universities of the UP System. It is always an adventure each time one steps on any UP campus, which are something worth coming back to if only to be reacquainted with their sights and sounds (and tastes!).