What We Lost in the Fire: 8 Reasons the UP Shopping Center Will Never Be Forgotten

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What We Lost in the Fire: 8 Reasons the UP Shopping Center Will Never Be Forgotten

End of an era.

| March 11, 2018


Was there any doubt that Rodic’s would have its own entry on this list?

Boasting legendary tapsilog that attracted people from near and far, Rodic’s first opened their doors on campus in 1949, and quickly became an institution, to the point of being immortalized in a Larry Alcala illustration of UP landmarks that hung proudly near the counter.

Rodic’s was so well-patronized that they opened branches in Makati, Marikina, and Quezon City, and it was still tough to get seats inside the classic SC branch. But soon, even that lone branch wasn’t enough. In the words of advertising professional Erielle Pineda: “Yung sobrang pagmamahal ng UP sa Rodic’s na naging dalawa sya at magkatapat. Nangyari to, grad na ako tapos nalito kami bakit lumipat yung Rodic’s sa tapat; yun pala, nagmultiply na!”

The joys of comfort food cannot be overestimated.



The multitude of copy shops in the UP Shopping Center offered everything from simple Xerox services to book binding and reproductions of profs’ required readings

While, at first glance, the SC seemed to be dominated by identical copy shops, each had their own areas of expertise and carried the readings of different professors, for easy replication of the required materials. For many a student, hitting up a copy shop at the SC was a rite of passage, and – thanks to the low prices – one practiced even if you were from another university. Even if you somehow managed to avoid going there throughout your stay in UP, chances are pretty good you had to step in when it came time to print and bind your final thesis.

According to Singapore-based food photographer and art director Nikko Pascua, “Pinaka-murang paprintan ng papers sa balat ng lupa, also pinaka-murang printan ng digital plates at pubmat for org events!!” And he wasn’t kidding; the prices were so low, it wasn’t just students or teachers who came down to get their copies done – law firms, paralegals, and interns of major corporations could regularly be seen getting copies alongside independent entrepreneurs and artists.

One such artist was illustrator Mich Cervantes, who said her fondest SC memory was “Printing and holding my very first graphic novel in my hands, almost three whole years ago, and returning every month to reprint literally every zine i’ve sold in the last 3 years.”



Via yelp

Gifts, novelties, school shirts, and more awaited visitors to Handog and Maroons, which were conveniently located right next to each other

Maroons and Handog. Located right next to each other, these were the shops you went when you wanted to wear your UP school pride loud and proud or needed some kind of gift. Shirts? Check. Stickers and lanyards? No problem! Blue book? Backpack shaped like a blue book? Yes and yes! Whether you were shopping for UP apparel, souvenirs, books, toys, board games, or gifts for any occasion, you were sure to find them here. You could even get a sablay for graduation!



The UP Pep Squad Drummers created this tongue-in-cheek tribute to the SC for the eighth edition of their annual Elevate concert in 2008

Ask anyone what their memories of the SC are, and chances are, it’s never going to be just one. Take, for instance, the answer of illustrator AJ Dimarucot, who rattled off, in no particular order, “Jumbosilog sa Rodics. Yung photocopiers sa gitna. Tsaka yung mga nagbebenta ng mani at mais sa kanto.”

Random? Maybe. Accurate? Absolutely. The fact of the matter was, the SC was a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and that was made it special. As time moves inexorably onward, and isolated fires burn down iconic UP structures with increasingly alarming frequency, it must be remembered that the SC was more than just a place we went to when we were hungry or needed something in a hurry.

For generations of Iskos and Iskas, in ways too many to list or recall, the SC was an indispensable part of their formative years, and beyond. Whether you were a graduate or a freshman, rich or poor, it didn’t matter – the moment you stepped into the SC, you were home. Sure, it could be crowded, dark, sketchy and/or noisy, but that was all part of the charm. It may not have been, strictly speaking, the best, but it didn’t need to be – It was ours, and it was perfect.

It will be missed.


What were your fondest memories? Share them with us below!