Silliman Buildings: Katipunan HallPosted: April 9, 2013
Katipunan Hall, located along Dumaguete’s Hibbard Avenue, is one of Silliman University’s oldest buildings and was built in 1915. No sources indicate it, but the building was most likely designed by Silliman’s Master Builder, Charles Glunz.
The building was first used as the Silliman Mission Hospital, the first hospital in the province of Negros Oriental. While run by the same missionaries that ran what was then Silliman Institute, the hospital had an independent administration. But after many negotiations it was integrated into the Silliman system. When the College of Nursing was opened in the 1960s, The Mission Hospital first acquired its academic function.
In the 1970s, Silliman opened the Medical Center, located along Laguna Highway. All hospital functions were transferred there, and the vacated Mission Hospital building had since been converted into academic offices and classrooms. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the offices housed in it, the building was renamed “Katipunan hall” (“Katipunan” meaning “gathering”). But the hall’s past as a hospital could still be seen in its many features.
Katipunan Hall has housed various offices throughout Silliman History, including the Graduate School and the College of Nursing. Today, it houses the English Department, the Filipino and Foreign Languages Department, the School of Public Affairs and Governance, the College of Education, the Political Science and History Department, and other offices.
That it houses the English Department makes it particularly prominent in Philippine Literary History. Many great writers have sat as English Department chair: the National Artist Edith Tiempo, Dr. Edilberto Tiempo, Dr. Leoncio Deriada and Prof. Merlie Alunan. Many other writers have been part of the English Department faculty. The English Department still has a large role in the organization of the Silliman National Writers Workshop, the oldest writers workshop in Asia. In fact, some of the past workshop sessions were held in Katipunan Hall, earning it the nickname “Katayan Hall” (“katayan” meaning “slaughterhouse”) from workshop fellows.
Katipunan Hall is touted as one of the most haunted buildings in Dumaguete. Having a history of being a garrison during the war, the sound of marching soldiers are said to be heard at night. The sound of steps going up and down the staircase is also commonly reported. A little boy is also said to wander around the hall’s corridors. Many teachers also tell of how they find themselves locked up in a room for hours before being opened by nobody.
But the building has many charming features that are a result of either the conversion from hospital to academic building, the unique architectural style of the designer, or both. It was very easy for me to fall in love with it and call it home.