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Best of Both Worlds: The Dichotomy between Arts and Sciences in UP Diliman

Words and Art by: Pinky Castro and Hanz Clemente

“Iskolar ng Bayan”

“The Best of the Best”

Honor and Excellence”

These are only some of the many attributes used to describe the prestigious university that is UP Diliman. As the foremost champion of academic excellence in the Philippines, UP Diliman has great expectations to meet when it comes to the caliber of education expected of them. Little do most know, however, that when the best students in the country converge in a single campus, honor and excellence take on a different meaning. Due to the extensive list of courses offered by the university, it is inevitable that divisions in beliefs and perceptions between students are fostered, proving that the journey to a united university has only just begun.

Despite being often pushed under the rug, the division between the sciences and the arts pervades through colleges and persists the test of time. From mere matters of social prejudice towards arts and science students to the differences in the budget allotted to their respective colleges, prejudice exists in both communities, making it extremely difficult to reconcile differences and appreciate the significance of the other’s field of expertise. The prolonged divergence between the two fields then makes us wonder: what exactly is creating this staunch divide, and can we ever hope to bridge the gap toward a deeper appreciation of both fields in the future?


The Artist and Her Craft

In Philippine society, it is common to hear things such as “puro writing lang yan,” or “drawing lang naman ginagawa diyan eh” when referring to the study of the arts. There is a somewhat preconceived notion that the liberal and creative disciplines embody the “easier” fields due to a seeming lack of objective sciences to their craft. Professor Janice Zamora-Morales from the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy in UPD says that people often stereotype the arts as “easy, purely subjective, merely opinionated, and frankly, less important compared to other areas of study.” These misconceptions often manifest in tangible ways, including the writing off of numerous proposed projects by the social science departments, and a noticeably lower budget compared to their scientific counterparts.

What many people fail to recognize, however, is how the arts are inextricably linked to the sciences. Prof. Zamora-Morales emphasized that while considered a liberal art, the social sciences are labeled as a science because of the sheer amount of data analysis required to arrive at conclusions in their areas of specialization. This not only makes the discipline immensely intricate but establishes it as a diverse field of knowledge that finds its foundations in the physical world.