This photo of a firetress shedding its blossoms got a lot of attention online. Photograph by JAMES PARREL ABAO

IN PHOTOS: An empty U.P. looks lovely & peaceful in these pictures we asked a resident to take

We’re not crying, you’re crying. Photographs by JAMES PARREL ABAO
ANCX | May 22 2020

Many of us—this writer included—can only dream of visiting UP Diliman these days and walking around it’s picturesque oval, but James Parrel Abao gets to wake up to the beauty of the campus’ spectacular greenery everyday. 

The UP Oblation plaza just this Wednesday late afternoon.

James is head teacher at the PAUW-UP Child Study Center and lives inside the university with his folks. That’s why he got to take the stunning photo below which led us to look for him: a photo of a fire tree whose blossoms are falling on and coloring one of the campus streets. He took the photo around 6PM Tuesday last week and got a lot of attention when he posted it the day after. 

The firetree photo in full. 

And so we asked him to step out for a few more snapshots, and he thankfully obliged. The young teacher says outsiders are still not allowed in the UP property these days, and he doesn’t always get to stroll around campus himself. “Bawal pa rin magpasyal and may part ng UP na hindi pwede puntahan or mas mahigpit, like Palma Hall/AS,” says James over Facebook Messenger. “May mga SSB/police na nagbabantay. Ginagawa kasing temporary medical facility ang buidling for PUI/PUM.” UP's Palma Hall recently opened its doors as an isolation space for those suspected with coronavirus within the UP Diliman property. 

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James, who took the pictures here, is a resident of UP for the last three decades.

James has been living in the campus for the last 30 years, and his favorite spots include the Oblation plaza, “lalo na Pag sunset after a 5K run.” It seems it’s still going to be awhile before the rest of us can jog again, or walk again, or just sit around idly inside UP Diliman. We miss it terribly. And it slips into our dreams every so often. Meanwhile we’re going to daydream a little and take a virtual tour around campus via James’s photos. 

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The UP Oblation. 

View from the UP Oblation plaza. 

Firetrees all aglow. 

The university is one of very few public places with lush greenery. 

Another one of UP's gardens.

Favorite site of weekend joggers. 

Behind the Oblation plaza. 

The famous loveseat.

The UP Sunken Garden. 

Palma Hall is currently being used as a medical facility.