MANILA, Philippines – Alumni of the University of the Philippines have one less reason to visit the vast Diliman campus.
Beach House canteen, one of the iconic places on campus, closed on Wednesday, July 9, after serving patrons its famous pork barbecue since 1986.
“July 9, 2014, 9:30 AM: Isinara na po ng sheriff ng Quezon City ang Beach House. Hindi po nila dininig ang ating pakiusap. Napakarami pong pulis ang dala nila. Akala yata nila ay nandoon na tayo para pigilan sila. Wala na po ang Beach House sa ngayon,” according to a post on “HUWAG ISARA ang BEACH HOUSE naming MAHAL” Facebook page.
(July 9, 2014, 9:30 am. The Quezon City Sheriff already closed Beach House. They didn’t listen to our pleas and even brought along a lot of cops. Maybe they thought that people were there against them. Beach House is closed now.)
The closure was ordered by the Branch 31 of Quezon City Regional Trial Court following a legal battle between the UP Diliman administration and owners of Beach House, Carla May Bautista who is in close contact with the owner of the canteen told Rappler in a private message on Facebook.
“UP said it is unsanitary to have a canteen very near a drainage system as it might affect the health of the students eating there,” the FB administration commented on one post. “UP already won its eviction case against Beach House. The same decision was upheld in an appeal.”
Vice-President for Public Affairs Prospero De Vera said that the decision came from the local Diliman and not from the system-wide administration.
Not just food
Occupying a small piece of land behind the UP Main Library, on the edge of the Sunken Garden, the eatery owes its name to early customers who noted that the wind coming from the area made them think of a shore.
“Ang beach ng UP Diliman ay ang Sunken Garden kahit hindi ito dagat,” the FB Page admin explained. “Malilikhain ang mga mag-aaral ng pamantasan kaya naman pagkadali lamang isiping may mga along tahimik na idinuduyan ka sa tabi.”
(The beach in UP Diliman is the Sunken Garden even if it’s not a sea. UP students are creative so it’s very easy for them to imagine that there are waves nearby cradling them.)
The order for closure was met with disappointment by the UP community. Earlier this year, online petitions that sought to stop the closure were launched in various sites such as Facebook and Change.Org.
“Beach House is not only about good affordable food for students. It is a mindset. It is culture. It is UP,“ Bautista explained.
Supporters of the eatery expressed their sentiments over the removal of an important part of their stay in the university. According to supporters, the small establishment was witness to many first dates, breakups, victory lunch after getting a perfect grade, and even stress eating after flunking an exam.
“UP has to preserve its institutions, kasama na ang Beach House. It is part of UP culture,” Olivia Estrada commented on one of the FB Page’s posts. (UP has to preserve its institutions, including Beach House. It’s part of the UP Culture.)
Days before the canteen’s closure, huge crowds flocked to the canteen to show support and also get to eat a stick or two of the famous barbecue.
The long lines were likened to scenes during UP enrollment, bringing nostalgia to patrons.
“Parang pila sa enlistment sa Nat Sci 2 noong araw na wala pang computerized registration system o CRS,” one patron said. “Waaaaaaah! Matanda na kung matanda!”
(It’s just like the lines when enlisting for Natural Science 2 back in the day when there was no computerized registration system or CRS. Waaaah! I don’t care if I sound old already!)
According to the FB page administrator, UP gave the Beach House an option to relocate to one of the colleges inside the campus.
“The problem with such an arrangement is that it costs P720,000 exlusive of rent for two years to be a new UP concessionaire,” she said in a post. “So how much will a barbecue cost then?”
The canteen could also be moved to the nearby Teacher’s Village along Maginhawa Street, now famous for hole-in-the-wall restaurants, the FB page posted. – Rappler.com