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By: Danica Akiat

UP Shopping Center is very extraordinary. The first time I visited the place, it was not what I expected it to be. I imagined it to be like a market - large, crowded and disorganized. I was wrong. It is a small building that has three openings which are also the ways out of the building and has concrete floors. The place is just enough for the rows of stalls to fit next to each other. I was not only impressed by the orderliness and cleanliness of the place, but also the way the sellers symbolize the cleverness of Filipinos with regards to earning for a living. Only in the Shopping Center did I first see that there could be a parlor, photocopying, bookbinding and computer related services available in exactly one small stall. This is just one of the main reasons why the UP Shopping Center is one of the most visited places in the UP community. While I was observing the whole area, I discovered that the various services offered by the Shopping Center are inexpensive and of high quality. By way of example, Alvida Digital Express has bookbinding and rush ID services for a minimum price of 30 pesos and 35 pesos respectively. Beside the stall of Alvida Digital Express is the Western Union. Also, Glaparrel does not only give clean haircut at 60 pesos but also has watch repair services. In the Acebedo Optical Co., Inc., they have a promo that offers frame and glasses at 1800 pesos which are durable as remarked by my friends in UP who have availed their services before.

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Most of the consumers in the Shopping Center are students. They consider the place as a convenient store. They have an easy access for their school requirements and needs. Aside from the fact that it is a walking distance for most of the dorms inside the school, all types of jeepneys in UP - Ikot, Toki, Pantranco, Philcoa, SM North, and Katipunan pass by the area all the time. With just a minimum fare of seven pesos, one could end up and have an enjoyable and productive time in the UP Shopping Center. Though past its prime, the Shopping Center is still well maintained and in good condition. According to a few vendors that I had interviewed during my visit, the Shopping Center was built in the 1950s which shows that the establishment has more or less 50 years of existence. Furthermore, it is open to all, associating the university’s value of freedom. Everyone is welcome to visit the place. The UP Shopping Center is a rewarding and worthwhile place to be. I found the services offered by the different shops very valuable and constructive. Even though it is old, it found its way to make the people keep coming back. Certainly, one’s visit in UP is not complete without shopping in the Shopping Center. Nothing beats the affordable and wide variety of goods and services in the Shopping Center.

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He and Noel are close and admit that their

His wife also helps pay the bills. “May

asaran is their form of lambingan. He said he


moved to Mindanao to get married to a woman

nagbabantay” (My wife tends to our small store.).

he met at an earlier job as a toymaker in

That’s why his family couldn’t come with him here

Pampanga. He will only stay in Manila for less

to Manila, where he currently works.






Being so far away from home and having to

than a year as he is returning to Mindanao in

work 12 hours a day in a parking lot sounds tough,

December. “Bakit po kayo bumalik sa Manila?” (Why did you return to Manila?) I asked. “Para





trabaho,” (To find a better job.) he replies.

actually either of the two alone doesn’t sound enticing at all. “Ano po pinaka ayaw niyo sa trabaho niyo?” (What do you hate most about your job?) I asked. “Wala.” (Nothing.) “Kahit

He says the best part of his job is when he is asked to wash cars because of the higher





niyo?” (Any experience you didn’t like?) “Wala rin,” he replies after a short pause.

income he receives. He is a family-oriented man, and, the more I think about it, the more he



reminds me of a Nescafé commercial. “Para

After the interview, I see him put his arm

kanino ka bumabangon?” the narrator would ask,

around his fellow watch-car boy, and say, “Oh, hati

and he would answer, “Para sa pamilya ko.” I asked him if he missed his wife. He replies, “Syempre naman, kasi malayo s’ya eh.” (Of course, especially because she’s far away.) “Nagtetext po ba kayo?” (Do the two of you text each other?)

na tayo dito (referring to a siopao and a

bottle of

Coke I gave him to thank him for the interview), para








ininterview.” (I’ll split this with you so you don’t feel bad that I was the only one interviewed.) They both laughed. It’s so refreshing to talk to someone who is satisfied with his life. I thought I’d get a list of

“Oo naman, tawag pa nga eh. Lagi kaming

things he didn’t like about his job, like how dull it

magkausap, araw-araw, gabi-gabi,” (Of

could get, or at the very least, one experience he

course we do, we even talk on the phone

hated. I think as long as he can do all that he can

every day.) he said as his smile grew a

to take care of his family, he is happy. He has

little bigger, and his eyes sparkle a little.

found a job that helps not only his family, but all the

Seeing his hard work and love for his fami-

visitors of SC. He has found a way to make a living

ly, I asked him how he provided and will provide

by giving some help, yet his face will never be

for them back in Mindanao. “Ayun, nagbebenta

remembered. One will never pass by him and say,

ng isda. (…) Hindi ako (yung nangingisda), ano

“hey, he’s the guy who helped me park yesterday!”

lang, naglalako lang ako.” (I sell fish. I don’t fish

Instead, he is just some other random person you

though. I just sell it.)

passed by.

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Interesting Person

By: Clarisse Madamba

From afar, it seems just like any other building in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. With a worn out and old look from the outside, one would wonder why on earth so many people would be coming in and out of this building. As one steps inside, he/she faces a long hallway with an array of shops both on the left and on the right. This is the famous UP Shopping Center. A jeep ride away from Katipunan, the SC, as it is more popularly known, hosts an array of shops which address the needs of every college student, even those not from the University of the Philippines. From affordable restaurants, to cheap printing or lamination services, it’s a one stop shop for every college student who’s in need of low-cost services. While the Iskolars from UP might be experts on what the UP Shopping Center is all about, many college students from the Ateneo de Manila University or other neighbouring schools in Katipunan might still be at a loss with the numerous things to do there, so here’s a quick guide on the top 3 activities that can be done in the Shopping Center.

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Human Interest

Storied and historic, the UP Shopping Center is a

By: Jenaro Matias

veteran of the Philippine’s modern history. It stands grey and stubborn amidst the myriad streets and overarching trees of the one and only UP Diliman campus. It is a small building, with a profile resembling that of an elongated shoebox from the outside. Inside, the floor plan is simple with a main path that runs down the middle of the rectangular floor that is bisected at the center by a smaller walkway. Shops providing various services flank the walkways to the left and right. Nothing about the building seems to be very extraordinary, but what makes the SC so memorable to so many people relies very little on its appearance. Like the university around it, the center has weathered through much and so has much to share. Undoubtedly the Shopping Center - with its hair salons,






paraphernalia retailers and restaurants – is still an important part of the current UP student’s life. However, these students are merely acquaintances of the center. They barely know the building, and have yet to come to appreciate all that it stands for. The ones who can confidently walk its humble halls with smiles of true understanding are the ones who continue to visit their old friend, the SC, even after they have grown out of their student IDs. The only ones who truly understand and appreciate the UP Shopping Center are the alumni. It is unsurprising then that there is a common, old and enduring trend of alumni who visit the UP Shopping Center regularly to observe and reminisce.

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The answer comes, of all places, from an Atenean alumni’s reminiscing. When he was presenting to a room full of atenean students, he jokingly mentioned that Waffle Time, a stall in AdMU’s Gonzaga cafeteria, was as alive and affordable as ever. He mentioned no other place on campus. This was because AdMU’s Gonzaga was a meeting spot for him and his friends. It was a hub for them. The same can be said about UP Diliman’s Shopping Center; only the shopping center is more comprehensive with its hair salons, barber shops, printing services and restaurants. Again using my family as an example, more than three fourths of the stories my parents have shared had taken place at the SC. This is because the SC was a place they frequented often. It was a place they spent time in when they had hours to burn. The alumni who visit the SC must be remembering all the times they laughed with their barkadas or crammed for a submission with groupmates. Some stories are even of old university shirts that used to be sold there, like a yellow Ninoy shirt with the words “the Filipino is worth dying for” printed on the front. The SC must be bursting with cherished scenes from the past.

The UP Shopping Center holds a special place in the hearts of alumni of UP Diliman. The walls are not resplendent in beautiful and intricate patterns of color; but there is no need, for they are heavy with memory. The shops are not stocked with impressive and expensive goods, but the shelves are lined with little tokens of remembrance. The plain building holds no tangible treasures, only recollections of a life they once had long ago. Ever since it was built in the fifties the building had done its job of servicing UP’s students, and it continues to do its job like an old and majestic fisherman that still stands steady in high seas. Only the “old-timers” can truly understand what an accomplishment that is. Only they can pat the stout building’s walls with fondness and mutter words of thanks. With this in mind, it is a small wonder why they visit so often despite their lack of any real reason to go.

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