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UPLB's Newest Attraction, the Nihon Koen: A Japanese-inspired Garden

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) is considered as one of the top schools in the country.  Located in the province of Laguna, 64 kilometers southeast or two-hour land ride from Manila, this 105 year old campus is home to 12, 000 plus students. 

UPLB is known for its distinct research, awards and courses related to agriculture and biotechnology. I will blog a separate post about the most interesting sights to see inside here soon so keep checking .

I got two siblings who study here. First is my sister Marie Joy who already finished her bachelor's degree and currently taking her Master's. Second is my brother Jan Vincent who is a college student here. Both of them stay in the dormitories within the campus because aside from its proximity to their respective classes the rates are cheaper compared to the outside for - rent places. By visiting them once in a blue moon as I am always busy, I get to explore Elbi more as the locals call it. It's like a school within a forest. I love seeing lots of trees and walking leisurely at its wide space during daytime.I love hearing crickets and seeing fireflies at night.

 Last weekend I came to visit them after over a year and I saw one that really captured my attention, the newly installed Nihon Koen, a Japanese - inspired garden located in between the Thai Pavillion and the International House dormitory where my sister stay. It is also a few minutes away from D.L. Umali Auditorium where they always hold their graduation ceremonies. I could not help but really grab my camera and take photos because I felt like I was transported in another country - in Japan particularly.

It's marker says:

The Nihon Koen is a traditional Japanese garden with the Torii as the centerpiece. It symbolizes the Philippine - Japan friendship which was enhanced by strong bond and academic partnership between Filipino scholars and universities in Japan. This project was conceived and funded by Philippine Association of Japanese Government Scholars Inc. - Southern Luzon Chapter (PHILAJAMES - SLC) with  the support from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, fellow scholars, private donors and Japanese friends.

I remember a few years ago this is just a space where a lot of stray plants dominate so I could not believe it was transformed into a beautiful foreign scenery. I like the red color of the Torii because it gives a lively energy and at night one can really appreciate this even from a distance. Those small lanterns hanging in between the Torii and swaying indefinitely because of the winds blowing all the time also give the place a touch of romance and nostalgia. 

The Nihon Koen of UPLB was not created merely as a tourist attraction because those cemented stairs lead anyone to the upper part of the campus where a lot of faculty residences, classrooms and the university's hospital -  the University Health Service is located. Behind the Nihon Koen I saw this bridge also colored in red and with all those towering trees that surround, this is a priceless sight for a city rate like me!

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