Missing the MPHBy madrilena de la cerna
Cebu Daily News
For UP Cebu High School students from 1975 to 1992, MPH was the Multipurpose Hall that used to stand on what is now the Sugbo Cultural Center. Built in 1975, the only other building aside from the administrative building, when UP Cebu did not have the library building which houses the conference hall and the audiovisual room. Neither was there the undergraduate building nor the management building.
It served several purposes as the name suggested. It was the venue of high school graduations from 1975 to 1990 (the undergraduate graduation was always held outdoors), the UP College Admissions Test (UPCAT) held every first weekend of August and the UP Cebu High School entrance exams held every first Saturday of March. Junior Executive Trainings were also held occasionally. During sports intramurals, it provided an alternative venue when it was raining (Intrams were scheduled during the rainy season). It also served as a cultural center with the UP Cebu College Mixed Chorus’ Debut Concert in 1976, the protest song contests which climaxed the weeklong Asian Festivals of the Social Studies IV classes from 1984 to 1989; the Nukleyar Concert of Class ’86 and the Peace Perspectives Concert (at the height of the Gulf War) of Class ’91; the culminating activities of the Creative Dramatics classes from 1984 to 1987; and the monthly Most Well-Informed Student Quiz Bowl which produced very good contestants in general information. Most memorable was the debate in 1977 by the second year Philippine History class on Who is the Better Hero, Rizal or Bonifacio? where Eileen Mangubat was judged the best debater. It was the annual Pilipino Production Dramafest of the fourth years that would transform the MPH into a theater arena. The Multipurpose Hall was the center of UP Cebu High School life from the seventies to the early nineties.
Lucky for me, I was on study leave when the MPH was demolished. When I came back after five years, what greeted me was the unfinished cultural center and the unused though completed student dormitory. Also, I was no longer with the high school so I would not see it more often. But the UP System decided to pay off the student dormitory and named it AS building (Arts and Sciences Bulding), and started to occupy it in 1999 and gradually classes in the Social Sciences, Math and Computer Sciences and other offices moved to the AS building. The wide car park facilitated our movement to and from the building but we were always looking forward to the completion of the cultural center which lay dormant for almost two decades. First hope was doused when the ASEAN Summit in 2007 caused the construction of the Cebu International Convention Center and the Sugbo cultural center was not attended to. Then in 2010 it was rumored that it would be finished and inaugurated but had to wait for another year for its realization.
We were looking forward to a more solemn and grander graduation in 2012 but it just eluded us again despite the memorandum of agreement, for UP Cebu had offended the gods. How ironic that the Sugbo Cultural Center is at the heart of the UP Cebu Campus and yet we could not use it while outsiders can. If only for the almost two decades where we were deprived of a Multipurpose Hall, which was like a mini cultural center and ten classrooms for a growing student population. Six years from now, UP Cebu will celebrate its centennial. This week the library building which houses the conference hall and the audiovisual room has been vacated due to several cracks in the building as a result of the Feb. 6 earthquake. The first casualty was the change of venue for the July Photo Exhibit and Memorial Lecture of the 75 Families of Distinction of Cebu City which UP Cebu hosted last July 20. Originally scheduled in the conference hall and the lobby, we had to move the photo exhibit of the families’ contributions to the lobby of the undergraduate building, while the memorial lecture was held at the ILC (Interactive Learning Center) at the administrative building which could accommodate only 90 people. Everyone was asking why we could not use the Sugbo Cultural Center which was ideal for a photo exhibit and a memorial lecture for a much bigger audience. All the spaces and rooms in the campus will be used by the library. The situation will continue for some time considering that the building will be renovated. Well, if UP Cebu cannot use the Sugbo Cultural Center, then I propose that the province replace the Multipurpose Hall with a new one somewhere in the campus. It is not very expensive.