Kahilwayan was the term NVM chose to name the campus home at Diliman, University of the Philippines after his return from a long residence in the U.S. If you have been in Diliman before, you will recall that the house was surrounded by mature bamboo groves, kayamito, acacia and coconut trees. It was NVM's little urban forest of motley leaves and gnarly tree trunks that whistled and groaned whenever a breeze came early in the morning or at dusk. Under the large old acacia tree was a grotto that Narita built to honor Holy Mary. A tiny fish pond provided a natural mirror that bounced the flickering light from the votive candles that are placed at Mary's feet during summer nights. The house was a post-war American tropical bungalow, one of the first tract houses built by the University to house its faculty and their families and designated as a "Pioneer House". Area One was the first area to be accorded the privilege of these new homes while others homes made of sawali (matted bamboo) siding and zinc GI (galvanized iron) roofs – remnants from Diliman's past history as a U.S. military communications outpost,  remained in the older sections of the campus. Side-by-side, the sawali homes and the new bungalows evinced a picture of the past and future of the University. Naturally, the bungalow-dwellers were the envy of the whole campus but slowly the adjacent areas were razed of the old sawali homes and new ones constructed in its stead. At the eastern edge of  Area One, the mango grove – a long stretch of road lined by ancient mango trees where rumors of ghostly sightings abound – eventually got their bungalows; then Area Two, Area Three followed, and so on. For some reason, the other sections, Area 14 and 15, were never re-developed. The bungalows were, in a word, nondescript. There were three bedrooms, each separated by plywood walls with a common opening at the ceiling so air coming through the wooden jalousies would circulate. There was a bathroom with a shower and a separate toilet, and a screened porch. Built right after WWII,  in the 50's, they were practical, functional houses, period. Unlike the sawali houses that featured large sliding windows throughout the house, the newer bungalows were fitted with wooden louvered windows that while it let the air in it also would not completely shut to keep away the sheets of water that pound against it during a fierce bagyo or thunder storm. In contrast, the sawali house was naturally air-conditioned because the sidings were fashioned out of woven bamboo strips which never completely blocked the breeze. Unlike the solid concrete floor of the bungalow, the sawali house sat on a wooden frame and floor, a good yard from the ground, providing a natural air circulation throughout crawl space, which doubled as a sleeping place for pets or where an occasional hen might nest. Summer was therefore a rather pleasant tropical heat especially if there was a slight breeze that swept across the rooms, past the sliding windows frames whose sash were made from capiz shells instead of glass. Fortunately, the windows were screened and kept the pesky flies and evening mosquitoes out. And as if it meant business in its war against malaria, the campus was sprayed with DDT (courtesy of USAID) once a week during dusk, at which time the neighborhood kids would follow the spray truck and frolic in the cloud of sprayer mist that unbeknownst to us children,  was carcinogenic. Thank you USAID!     But Summer was also dangerous, for the sawali houses were literally, fire hazards. A conflagration in one house would quickly consume the highly combustible bamboo sidings and leap to the next sawali house. Area 5, the block of sawali houses across from the Law School was razed to the ground that way. Fires with the bungalow houses were rare at least while they were still newly built but later unfortunately befell us. With aging electrical wiring and walls dried to tinder state by termite infestation, they also became fire hazards. During one November day, within a span of a half hour, Kahilwayan of years of memories and memorabilia went up in smoke by fire, from an electrical overload. What remains now is the original concrete wall that marked the sala from the dining room. That wall is now a mute testimony to the many stories that filled the house on many evening hours when NVM's friends and students would visit, consume huge amounts of coffee and cookies well into the night, until the leaves of the ancient trees that embraced Kahilwayan, became still and quiet to await the stories of the next day. - Michael Gonzalez (2005)