Silliman Buildings: Katipunan Hall

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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.

View of the hall from Langheim Road, with the portico visible.

View of the hall from Langheim Road, with the portico visible.

The building has a Hispanic feel because of its latticed, capiz-shell windows. It is also dominated by the Terracotta paint found throughout the Silliman Campus

The building has a Hispanic feel because of its latticed, capiz-shell windows. It is also dominated by the Terracotta paint found throughout the Silliman Campus

One of what I call the two Katipunan Portals, which stand abandoned outside the fence. They used to mark the entrance to the hospital, and were the ends of adjacent hedges.

One of what I call the two Katipunan Portals, which stand abandoned outside the fence. They used to mark the entrance to the hospital, and were the ends of adjacent hedges.

 

The portico of Katipunan Hall

The portico of Katipunan Hall

What used to be the receiving area of the hospital. The part where the front desk counter used to be could still be seen as a wooden mark.

What used to be the receiving area of the hospital. The part where the front desk counter used to be could still be seen as a wooden mark.

 

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.

The second floor indoor balcony of the hall.

The second floor indoor balcony of the hall.

The Katipunan Stairs. This staircase lends its name to a part of Silliman History: The Upstairs-Downstairs phase of the great Tiempo-Deriada War

The Katipunan Stairs. This staircase lends its name to a part of Silliman History: The Upstairs-Downstairs phase of the great Tiempo-Deriada War

The main Hall of the building, taken from the Sociology and Anthropology Lounge

The main Hall of the building, as seen from the Sociology and Anthropology Lounge

 

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.

The Katipunan Hall houses the English and Literature Department

The Katipunan Hall houses the English and Literature Department

The English Department has housed many writers. Included in this collection of name plates is the great poet Cesar Aquino

The English Department has housed many writers. Included in this collection of name plates is the great poet Cesar Aquino

The English Department Table, which, according to older members of the Department, has been there since the early seventies. Fellows to the famous Silliman National Writers Workshop have at times been selected here.

The English Department Table, which, according to older members of the Department, has been there since the early seventies. Fellows to the famous Silliman National Writers Workshop have at times been selected here.

The English Department's Chairperson's Table. Judging by the design of the drawer handles it is most likely a Glunz table, and it may have been used by every chairperson since Metta J. Silliman, the first. Today the table is maintained by the lovely Dr. Evelyn Mascunana

The English Department’s Chairperson’s Table. Judging by the design of the drawer handles it is most likely a Glunz table, and it may have been used by every chairperson since Metta J. Silliman, the first. Today the table is maintained by the lovely Dr. Evelyn Mascunana

 

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.

The main corridor of the College of Education

The main corridor of the College of Education

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.

The inclined floor leading to the College of Education. Nobody can explain why the floor is so inclined.

The inclined floor leading to the College of Education. Nobody can explain why the floor is so inclined.

Wooden Latticework adorns many of the building's indoor windows

Wooden Latticework adorns many of the building’s indoor windows

 

There is a cupboard under the staircase. It is currently being used as a storage room by the English Department.

There is a cupboard under the staircase. It is currently being used as a storage room by the English Department.

The beams of the building's roof are stylistically ornamented in the same style as the beams found in Silliman Hall and the Silliman Church

The beams of the building’s roof are stylistically ornamented in the same style as the beams found in Silliman Hall and the Silliman Church

 

The Vent on top of Katipunan Hall. According to the research of my student Wilfredo Mata, it used to contain a bell, which was rang by the hospital during emergencies.

The Vent on top of Katipunan Hall. According to the research of my student Wilfredo Mata, it used to contain a bell, which was rang by the hospital during emergencies.

The Scheide Chapel is just behind Katipunan Hall. I speculate that this charming chapel, similar in motif to the Silliman Church, was for the use of visitors to the Mission Hospital. Nearby Alice Fullerton Hall, which used to be the quarters of the nurses, is another reminder of Katipunan Hall's past as a hospital

The Scheide Chapel is just behind Katipunan Hall. I speculate that this charming chapel, similar in motif to the Silliman Church, was for the use of visitors to the Mission Hospital. Nearby Alice Fullerton Hall, which used to be the quarters of the nurses, is another reminder of Katipunan Hall’s past as a hospital

 

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.

Katipunan Hall, viewed from Fourth floor Ausejo Hall

Katipunan Hall, viewed from Fourth floor Ausejo Hall

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2 Comments on “Silliman Buildings: Katipunan Hall”

  1. […] “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 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. ” – Antonio Galay-David […]

  2. Vitori Vita says:

    Wow! Great post on this historic place… 👍


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