Sunday, August 7, 2016

July 2016 Travel Diaries | Jesuit House & University of San Carlos

We headed to the old Jesuit House, repurposed into a museum. It's currently undergoing construction to become a full-fledged museum that transitions from modern to the preserved wooden houses. This is why it felt like a huge den for storing pipes and construction materials.

The current museum is through these Chinese lanterns and then it's slightly underground.

Lots of artifacts once again explaining Philippine history. No better place to experience them than in a repurposed stone house! :)

Can I please be as talented as whoever drew this. :(

After the airconditioned museum, you transition into an ancestral home.

Our guide showing us how sturdy the construction is despite the building's age.

We proceed into the sala or the living room where guests are usually entertained.

The roof is exposed and you can clearly see the rafters and the battens and the most notable thing here: the roof tiles! These were made by Chinese craftsmen - clay roof tiles painted to look like marble.

Visiting this house was a real treat for me as I spent a large part of my childhood in a house just like this one. I had a tutor who lived in a similar house and we used to have after school review sessions, but I never realized just how old it was until I studied the history of Philippine architecture. :O

From there, there's a bridge that extends to the dining room or the komedor.

What a Pre-War master's office looks like.

As a snack, the proprietors prepared an old Cebuano snack for us - melted chocolate tablea, mango, and suman. (Glutinous Rice cooked in a Pandan leaf) You really have to eat everything together to love it. Definitely one of the most interesting treats I got to try in this trip. :D

The kitchen was still pretty warm and still smelled of chocolate!

For the last stop of our first day, we visited the University of San Carlos in Talamban and I was especially excited for this! This university has a pretty great reputation especially when it came to their architectural college. The campus itself is insanely large. Forget what you know about University of the Philippines Diliman, this is definitely the largest campus I've been to. Also the highest! Expect a lot of sloping roads and interestingly planned buildings! As I'm typing this, it makes me realize that maybe the buildings are designed even better here because the architects wanted to make the most out of the challenging terrain.

But that's enough about me spazzing out over the planning of the university, let's get onto our tour of their School of Architecture, Fine Arts, & Design (SAFAD) Building! :D

The dean (on the far left) greeted us in the lobby and had us split into groups of 4. The two adults in the middle are our chaperones for the trip who were coincidentally my professors for the past two semesters.

The first thing you feel when you enter their building is how refreshing everything looks. All white with pops of color from the murals that students of the different courses collaborated on. There's just so much light, it was safe to say our tour group was really overwhelmed. In my building, everything's super dark and I'm not even lying when I say that our environment feels completely hopeless compared to this place.

Our guide led us to the Planning department first where we were given a quick impromptu lecture of the type of projects they hold in their course. This was yet another moment of awe for me because their projects are a hundred times more relevant than the ones we have. In the photo above, the professor shows us a model of their proposed transitional shelters for the victims of typhoon Yolanda as well as a great earthquake a few years back. They even went as far as to design a new type of sustainable concrete hollow block suitable for fast construction of the houses.

These are the types of projects they had their students take a shot at, but they definitely weren't thrown off the deep end like we are in UST. The students here are taught a proper way to handle their designs as early as freshman year - which is so much more than I can say for us who were expected to get it right from the get-go. *Can you guys feel my frustration*

I was also pretty surprised at their classrooms. No division from the corridor! I loved the message of openness this gave and it added to the whole light and airy feel of the place. Our guide, Ralston, explained that when enough funds come in, the university plans to put a glass wall to close off the rooms but retain the transparency.

Forever in love with their seemingly floating stairs.

A student lounge you could actually chill at.

All around their building, there are areas where you could get an amazing view of Cebu and I think this is one of my favorite things about this building. /more frustration

The chapel also peeks out majestically in one of the balconies.

We then proceeded to their various lecture rooms. Here, they have rooms for fashion design and graphic design and tons more I can't even-

Also, the girl on the left is my friend, Lianne! Definitely one of the deciding factors that made me join this trip was so that we could finally meet again - albeit briefly. (Definitely have to go back to Cebu so we can legit hang out! Or hopefully, she can come to Manila soon! Haha) As luck would have it, all her classes that day in the Engineering Building got cancelled and she got to join me in our tour of the building! It's pretty crazy how it's been six years since we saw each other.

We then passed by this small cafe that reminded me of Cafe Illy so much. What is better than chilling at this very spot? This place would kill in my college, for sure.

Colorful drafting rooms that also demonstrated the same openness their classrooms had.

Exhibits of the architectural projects of the different year levels could also be seen downstairs.

Other than the outdoor gallery, they've also got an indoor one with airconditioning. Here is where they displayed the Fine Arts projects. In the photo above, the artwork was done by Ayumi Endo who visited the college last November and did a live painting event. (Kuya Ralston, if you're reading this, I did my research! Haha!)

Quirky wall art by the students.

Remember the model that the professor showed us in the Planning department? This is the scaled prototype! As a project, the students constructed the transitional shelter and quite amazingly.

The best thing about projects like this is that the people who make it really understand what's taught to them in class, and it's pretty great for lower year students to observe so they can understand what' being lectured.

Their design makes use of this white wall that the residents can personalize. Where the house is proposed to be built, there's definitely going to be a lot of it in one place. With the personally designed white wall, the residents can easily tell where their home is and there's definitely going to be a better sense of place. It just feels very hopeful to me and I can't believe this hasn't been adapted for use yet.

Intentionally exposed wood frames so people can see the details.

It's incredibly well-made and is designed to resist typhoons and earthquakes. *o*

More quirky art in the exhibits.

Moving on, the levels of this building vary so much that you can actually check out the painting rooms from a higher floor.

Probably the coolest spot we visited, the painting room was definitely meant for expression. They even let their students paint on the walls.

The SAFAD Building just wins on every level. *o*

We also did a quick tour of their library which is the largest library in the Philippines! It was a bit of a tiring walk there because of all the sloping roads but it isn't far from the SAFAD Building. Once we were there, I was literally so stunned that I completely forgot to take photos. Believe me when I say it's impossibly large and again, beautifully designed. One of the things I remember most is that they also have ramps that reach the upper floors, making the building completely accessible to the people with disabilities. The same can also be said for the SAFAD Building. Everything here is designed *so well* that it's crazy! If circumstances allowed, I'd transfer here in a freaking heartbeat. Haha!

Stay tuned for more Cebu travel posts! :)


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing this piece of wonderful post. These are amazing pictures.

  2. The openness of the classroom made me wonder if the noise from the other classes won't bother the other one that is just beside it. The setup is quite unique and it's the first time I've seen anything like it.

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  4. It looks like School of Architecture, Fine Arts, & Design is a wonderful school! I studied Drafting for 3 years in high school and was planning to become an architecture as well. However, I took a different path. What courses do they offer at SAFAD? Thank you for sharing the tour. It looks awesome.

  5. Wow.. I want to go here. I love your pictures too. It's so nice that they're building a museum like this.

  6. I definitely agree on how big USC-Talamban Campus indeed and how competitive they have been as well. Got several friends who studied at the said university - in the department you have featured specifically. I haven't been there yet but as per my friends, it's really the largest campus among its branches in Cebu.

  7. This looks like a movie set and some of the photos are so lively as if we are watching some movie.

  8. Those fine arts projects look so quirky & creative. To have a view like that from atop your college is fab!!!!
    Btw I do love it when old building are converted to museums like this... Helpa us understand how our forefathers were...

  9. This whole place looks so vintage. I loved that painting so much.

  10. Looks like you had a great time and it was truly a wonderful learning experience especially for students like you. I like how they've maintained the buildings especially the second one, with the open classrooms.

  11. Looking at these photos reminded me of my university school days. And now to think of it... next year will be exactly 10 years from the year I entered university... feelin really old now!

  12. The Jesuit house would be an excellent addition to a Cebu Tour. It teaches you a lot and it also makes you appreciate the heritage.

  13. I've never been to the Jesuit House nor heard of it before. It looks grand and I hope to visit this some day. My mom studied in USC-Talamban but I haven't been here, too. -Claire Algarme

  14. What a great tour! Love the part where they serve food & drinks with nostalgic value, brings back memories!

  15. Lovely architecture tour.. It's very interesting and nice... Great place to visit..

  16. How lucky you were to have experienced this type of tour. This seems to be something I would find very interesting as well. The excellence and the dedication of the guide is very important in such tours.

  17. San Carlos is in Visayas right? Thats one of the best school in our country. Love the artwork and i would love to visit the museum once its all done