The Asian Center, since its establishment in 1955 as the Institute of Asian Studies, is known as the Philippines’ premiere culture and research center on Asia. Back then, with its name as evidence of its colorful history after having been changed so many times (from IAS, to AC, to PCAS, and back to AC), it was the home of legendary and pioneering scholars and academicians such as F. Landa Jocano, Cesar Adib Majul, and Josefa Saniel.
With the wide-ranging expertise of the center, AC (as PCAS) also became the brains of Philippine Foreign Policy. True to its mandate, the Asian Center became the primary venue for the Philippines’ broadening and growing relationship with its Asian neighbors. It became known as UP’s “embassy,” its representative in international and Asian affairs and a symbol of the Philippines’ flourishing relations with Asia through academic and cultural exchange.
A testament to these strengthened relations is the Asian Center’s collection of art works, cultural artifacts, and materials. These were mostly given as gifts and donated by the institution’s friends from other Asian countries, as well as renowned colleagues in the academe. These were housed in the Asian Center Museum in the institution’s old building, the Romulo Hall, and later transferred and storage of its collection to the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, a facility donated by Toyota Motor Philippines Foundation in support of the Asian Center’s mandate. The launch of the exhibit represents an initial effort to revive the Museum, and includes a tribute to former deans of the UP Asian Center.