The University Belt is something that didn’t cross my mind.
I knew I had to go to college although I’m not sure what course will my parents approve excluding anything related to art.
They were so sure that they bought educational plan for me while I was in kindergarten. That explain the incessant reminder of finishing school, blah blah blah, and getting a diploma . . . not related to art.
Feeling lost, I ended up in the University belt.
It is the part of Claro M. Recto where you ca find different universities and colleges line up close to each other. The proximity confused me even more. What my eyes set upon while the jeepney was passing by, were the school that I had an exam and passed.
I get to like the school because it looks like a park with chapel and fountain. If only I can sit outside all day long.
Exploring the university has become an adventure. I became Huckleberry Finn curious to know what to find in every corner.
#1: Flood Wherever, Whenever
The part of Caloocan City where I grew up can turn into Waterworld every time it rains.
Our place like the other houses are like islands. As long as the water doesn’t enter the house, we are not worried. It’s a typical day.
But I never imagined to step into a flooded street one afternoon.
My shoes were drowned while I was lucky not to be infected or got sick. (I can’t remember if I bought new pair of shoes after that)
After that tragic day, I avoid going to school if there’s a tropical storm forecast. Every time I skip classes, the class were suspended in the morning or in the afternoon. Perfect timing. (Don’t worry; I have permission from my parents.)
In times of unlikely class suspension or gloomy skies, bring an umbrella, extra socks, and slippers. I cringe for those who wear white uniform and have to brave an awful weather.
May the odds of pristine look be on your favour.
#2: Rallying Left and Right
When the 1st EDSA revolution happened, I was only a toddler. Seeing the old videos on TV made me wondered what are they fighting for. Then as a college student, I saw rallies along the road almost every month.
I didn’t care as long as my route to home was clear off traffic, barracks, and angry mob.
The street wasn’t the only place to express anger against government, policy, or any institution.
Inside the university, a group of men protest against the policy of haircuts length and style. Obviously, the men and gays want to wear their hair, as they wish, either short or long or nothing at all.
That tactic was effective because the seemingly models of shampoo donning shiny, incredibly straight hair continuously frequents the school ground.
A crowning glory of victory.
#3: Student on a Budget
It was in University Belt that I learned to save my baon so I could buy my school shoes and bag and other stuff.
Mind you my daily school allowance is enough for pamasahe and food.
To save as much as I could, I have to cut down my expenses for food. My equally frugal classmates found carinderias where I would buy ulam (mostly vegetables because it’s healthy and cheap) and rice. Water and soup were free.
When Jollibee and Burger King were stiff affordable, I would occasionally spend Php 50.00 or less for a meal.
Shopping was also tempting but absolutely unnecessary unlike buying food.
My classmates and I would often window shop. They at some point ended up buying something. But not me. Not once was I tempted to buy while I was wearing my school uniform.
Needless to say, it was in University Belt that I embraced frugality as a way of life. No peer pressure can force me follow the trend.
#4: Long Commute and Traffic Jam
From where I live I had to take two jeepneys. I’ll pass by Divisoria and Morayta.
Most of the time, I didn’t get my baon’s worth because I was forced to walk than wait for the traffic to go away. Well, the driver insisted that the passengers should walk so there was no point of arguing. It’s a way of traffic jam.
That’s how I started to love walking. It took four years for me to fall in love with it. Definitely not a love at first step though.
Divisoria is synonymous to traffic back then. I’m not sure if the situation improve for the better and hopefully not worst. From Tutuban Mall, I walked as far as Moriones to Sto. Nino Church to catch or chase a jeep going to Caloocan City.
I spent most of time as a student in University Belt commuting.
It was an adventure indeed.
Study in University Belt
I do hope that I didn’t scare you away with my stories as a student in the street of Claro M. Recto.
Have a look of what schools are located in the University Belt.
- Arellano University
- Centro Escolar University (CEU)
- College of the Holy Spirit Manila
- De Ocampo Memorial College
- Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
- Far Eastern University (FEU)
- La Consolacion College Manila
- Manila Business College
- Manila Law College
- Manuel L. Quezon University
- Mary Chiles College
- National Teachers College
- National University (Philippines)
- Philippine College of Criminology
- Philippine College of Health Sciences
- Philippine School of Business Administraion
- PMI Colleges
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines
- Saint Jude College
- San Beda University
- San Sebastian College
- STI College (Recto Campus)
- Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP)
- University of the East (UE)
- University of Manila
- University of Santo Tomas
Hmmm . . . I haven’t even seen half of the schools on the list.
Anyway, fate has led me to my alma matter.
Did I regret studying far away from home? It was a challenging experience with a lot of whining and swearing (only to myself).
But I never regret anything.
I do wish that I could have been wiser traversing the territories of University Belt.
But I am now.
I love walking. I am purposely frugal. I am a vegetarian. And my goal is to get an alumni ID when I have a vacation in the Philippines. Did you get yours?
Among the schools in the University Belt, which one do you want to go to?