The Oblation is a concrete identity of the University of the Philippines. It was sculpted by the National Artist Guillermo Tolentino which symbolizes the offered sacrifices of all the Filipino heroes during the Spanish colonization.
The obra is also said to be a characterization of the second stanza of Mi Ultimo Adios, one of the grandest work of our National Hero. The University has been living up to the symbolism for more than a century now.
It may not be serving the same war sacrifices but its vast educational contributions and achievements are the facets that keep on building up its prestige.
The University was primarily founded as a medical school on June 18, 1908 by the American colonial government with Murray S. Barlett as the first President. Through the years UP was able to extend education and establish its satellite campuses.
To date, there are 5 campuses – Diliman, Manila, Los Baños, Visayas and the UP Open University which is a cyber-institution aiming to cater students in the country and abroad who are unable to physically attend colleges and universities. All campuses share an official seal which exhibits a bald eagle carrying a shield.
The eagle with its outstretched wings symbolizes the city of Manila and the 13 American colonies which fought for independence against the British. In the shield is a lamp, a cogwheel and a volcano and a tree which represent the 3 areas they uphold in excellence – science and medicine, engineering and agriculture, respectively.
The University has produced countless alumni which gained prominence especially in politics. Four of them became presidents – Jose P. Laurel, Ferdinand Marcos, Elpidio Quirino and Manuel Roxas. Three were former vice presidents – Salvador Laurel, Arturo Tolentino and Jejomar Binay. Senate presidents Edgardo Angara, Juan Ponce Enrile, Franklin Drilon and Aquilino Pimentel III, together with 6 others are also UP graduates. And of course, many of our great minded senators such as Ninoy Aquino, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Chiz Escudero, Francis Pangilinan, Pia Cayetano etc. are also product of the university.
Not only lawmakers and politicians are made in UP but also Filipino celebrities in different genres. Our 2011 Miss Universe third-runner up Shamcey Supsup Lee graduated as magna cum laude in Architecture and she also topped the Licensure Examination. Another alumni pageant queen is Miss Universe 2010 4th runner-up Venus Raj. UP also have a number of outstanding alumni journalists – Karen Davila, Kim Atienza, Gretchen Fullido, Christine Bersola-Babao, Atom Araullo, Luchi Cruz-Valdez, Kara David, Bernadette Sembrano and Jessica Soho. In the entertainment industry, directors Cathy Garcia-Molina, Antoinette Jadaone and Rory Quintos; comedians Ramon Bautista, Tuesday Vargas, Eugene Domingo and Giselle Santos; actresses Agot Isidro and Angel Aquino; and singers Chito Miranda, Christian Bautista, Sitti Navarro-Ramirez, Ogie Alcasid, Ely Buendia and Ryan Cayabyab are all but few of the countless UP alumni.
Internationally, the University of the Philippines has also proven its honor and excellence. It is currently the 4th best university in Southeast Asia. It has garnered international accolades from various awarding bodies. Some of these grants are the Galileo Galilei Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Southeast Asian Writers Award, IUFoST Award, Premio Feronia, John D. Rockefeller III Award, TOYP, Plinius Medal, Cochran-Hansem Prize, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Philippines Promising Star Awards 2016 and Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers. All were due to achievements in their areas of excellence.