Sunday, August 02, 2009

An afternoon at my alma mater

Last Friday, my staff and I went all the way to Chocolate Kiss just to eat. And eat and eat. Chocolate Kiss is a tiny restaurant on the huge campus of the University of the Philippines (UP Diliman). I studied here, finishing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English: Creative Writing. I fought hard against my parents to take that course and now I wish I hadn't. I simply did not learn anything about writing that I already knew. But, hey, I'm a magazine editor now so maybe wasting 4 years of my life wasn't so bad.

I spent all 4 years here at Palma Hall, or
the College of Arts and Letters.

A sculpture of the muses I passed by every day in college

I walked down this tree-lined road on my way home

The trip began when Joanna said she wanted to eat at Chocolate Kiss. Though I studied at UP, I've never eaten there. Joanna wanted to eat there so badly that the entire OK! staff got intrigued. I wanted some barbecue at the famous Beach House--a scraggly place nowhere near any beach. They just sold the best damn pork barbecue ever.

Chocolate Kiss is housed in Bahay ng Alumni.

The sad-looking Beach House

Unfortunately, we weren't able to eat at Beach House because the place was packed. This truly did annoy me--the capitalist part of me would buy more tables and chairs, cement the area so that it won't be muddy, and do something about the huge flies plaguing the place. I haven't eaten there in more than a decade and instead of showing signs of progress, it was just decay all around. So off to Chocolate Kiss we went!

Joanna and Elaine at the jeepney stop

Kristine and Joanna on the UP Ikot jeepney

The Carillon, or the Bell Tower. Its bells used to be
rung by members of my family.

A beautiful inky cat looks at us in boredom.

After a hearty lunch, we all had cake--the sour cream
cheesecake (bottom left)
and quezo chiffon cake (left, center) were the best!

We ate all afternoon--from 1 to 4 PM! We also discussed the October issue of OK!, which called for more food and drink. With our tummies so bloated, we decided to walk to the Sunken Garden so we can burn the calories. Walking under trees is so much better than running on treadmills, so since we're city girls, the walk was a treat.

At the Lagoon

A tree on its side

Looking up at the canopy

The walk tired us out plenty. So we plopped down on the grass and the benches. The day was pretty humid, too. We were all sleepy at this point but we waited patiently for our van to come pick us up. We poked fun at the joggers to while away the time.

Obviously tourists!

Lana and the very wet green grass

Joanna and the jeepney stop

Elaine enjoys the fact she can still pass as a student!

Kristine with a fashion magazine, naturally

Me, battling the humidity and failing

It was a pretty fun food trip. I did find it strange that I felt nothing for the campus--there was no nostalgia at all. I guess that's because I had an abusive boyfriend all of college so the place was just filled with bad memories. And even if I had loved college, I'd never go back. I like where I am now--I'm working, I have money, I have real influence, unlike when you're a kid and everything had to be approved and your fury was mostly impotent.


  1. This post made me miss the days when I was applying for the UP College Admission Test. Hayyyy...

  2. "I fought hard against my parents to take that course and now I wish I hadn't. I simply did not learn anything about writing that I already knew."

    Really? I've always been impressed with CW majors, thinking they get to learn so much about writing while I was taking a supposedly "unintellectual" major . Wanted to take the course myself, at some point. Buti na lang hindi ko tinuloy.

  3. Eeep, I can't believe you haven't tried Chocolate Kiss during your UP years! But better late than never, right? I loooove Choco Kiss, and your post reminded me of the main reason I love it: the cakes! I'm drooling at your cake photo. I miss the barbecue at Beach House too (and the super yummy sawsawan.

    I really need to schedule a trip to visit UP soon.

    ~Dea (former CAL student--Speech Comm)

  4. ate! nakakaiyak naman to! naalala ko kasi ung unang date namin ng bf ko sa UP. haha grabeh! pero parang mini tour na din to ha.. =) nice!

  5. With my student allowance back then, ChoKiss was reserved for birthdays and monthsaries. I love their cream of mushroom soup, chicken ala kiev and blueberry cheesecake! Yum!

    Btw, I just bought your August ish. I love the feature on the celebrity babies! But what stood out for me was your Editor's Note, the way you were able to write about cute babies then about celebrity deaths then shift to current hot stars - seamless! Perfect! Galing! :)

  6. Hi Frances, fellow iska!

    I miss UP, and I loved dining at Choco Kiss! By the way, Palma Hall used to be called College of Arts and Science. CAL is in Bulwagang Rizal or in UP lingo, FC. :)

  7. I've been to Chocolate Kiss years ago. My med school classmates who took their premed in UP brought me there. Masarap naman na food even then. More years later, my husband and I brought our kids to Sunken Garden even though we're not UP alumni. The kids enjoyed the trip. But I think the field in Ateneo is more beautiful. :) We're not Atenistas ha. ;)

  8. Glaiza and Apple, I don't miss UP at all. Not at all!

    Rachel, don't be impressed with us CW majors--we're just a bunch of know-it-alls who happen to be able to write.

    Guwapa, I didn't go to Chocolate Kiss because I didn't have any money. My allowance back then was P50/day and the cakes are P95 a slice! But ya, the cakes were good!

    Kae, cute ka talaga. You see everything through rose-colored contacts!

    TwistedHalo, thanks! =D

  9. TaniV, ya, I enjoyed Ateneo's field better. It's not muddy and walang surprise holes.

  10. I'm not so sure about you 'wasting the 4 years'...
    You've probably gained skills you're not even aware of - until you need to them!

    Have a great week!


    ps - thx for your sweet comment :)

  11. Me too, I'll never go back to college. Kahit bayaran pa ako. It was a nice experience (although I spent the first two years being a cliche: teenager na galit sa mundo) but I am just glad it is over and I can move on to do greater things. :)

  12. Nah, I'm pretty sure I didn't learn anything new in college because I didn't attend any of my classes and still passed!

    Ya, Pat, ganyan din ang feeling ko--masaya naman kahit papaano pero mas marami na akong nagagawa ngayon kesa nung studyante ako.

  13. I love Beach House! 2 barbecue sticks + salted egg + rice = Yumyumyum! Haha. Panira ng diet! :p

  14. The college looks like a great place to attend, too bad you didn't enjoy it more.

    Sour cream cheesecake? Never heard of it but I do love cheesecake. Although I have to admit sour cream sounds a little gross on it, I'll have to look that up to try.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  15. oh my gosh, austenfan, naglaway ako sa sinabi mo! ack!

    djane, oh yes, it's the best college to attend. and i had my suspicions, too, about the sour cream but it was such a big surprise--it was delicious!

  16. of all the entries in this blog, this one i don't like.

    i'm also from UP and yes, my major has probably nothing to do with the industry that i'm in now but i'm still thankful for the 4 years for i have met wonderful people and became friends with them, the training, and even as minor as the "prestige."

    i just feel that this post reeks of, for lack of a better term, ungratefulness and is "poser-ish"


  17. D-C, ya, the food was quite good!

    Mol, it's okay. If someone beat you up and abused you every single day in a certain place, you'd never want to see that place again really. And if that someone prevented you from meeting new people and making friends, then there are really no ties, no good memories to hold you there. All my good friends are from Assumption Grade School, Manila Science High and from work. I have no friends from college because of my abuser. You didn't have one. So if there's anything I'm grateful for, it's that you don't know how I feel because you've had good memories and I have absolutely none! Poor me!

  18. Now I sound like some heartless person... :-)Anyway, guess I shouldn't have expected all UP alumni to have good or warm feelings towards UP for one reason or another. I just felt that I have to say it because I've read the entry thrice and I get the same feeling everytime.

    Moving forward, glad that you're in a better situation now and thanks for posting a comment that is not the usual "i-like-what-you-wrote."

    All the best.

  19. Haha, no, Mol, it's okay. I rub people off the wrong way whenever the subject becomes schools and babies! It's okay--sanay na ako. Sometimes I don't remember to keep my mouth shut na lang. Actually nga, when my staff and I went, I kept pointing out, "This is where he beat me up, this is where I saw him with another girl, etc" Finally, Lana said, "Wow. Depressing ha." And I shut up na!

  20. I hate that ex of yours for tainting your memories of UP... But love that you survived him. :)

    Oddly enough, my friends seem to have more fond memories of UPD than I do. Maybe because I had such a full life outside of the UP that my most vivid memories of my college years are not really from those spent in the campus. Plus going there sometimes makes me feel like I didn't make the most of the time that I had there.

  21. Hi Verabear, ya, my dad, my sister and my brothers are huge fans of UPD. My mom? "Hmp, mga taga-UP puros hangin!" Nyark! I guess she wasn't very impressed with us (she wanted me to go to a convent because she'd heard that UP students do drugs and fornicate hahahaha!)

  22. I left a comment but didn't read the comments left before mine... ngayon lang, haha.

    Para sa maraming estudyante, hindi talaga regular na kainan ang ChocKiss. Expensive na yun para sa'tin eh. Minsan lang din ako nakakain dun while I was a student, and I think a friend and I shared pa. Pero masarap talaga.

    THere's a chockiss na rin sa Roces Ave, dito sa may Roxas dist. Dun kami naglunch nung birthday ko :) wala lang, na share ko lang. haha

  23. Yum! Buti na lang I'm still friends with Ruben hehehe. Let's go there when I get back! The Kahlua Butter Cake is also good :)


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