Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Faces of U.P. Los Baños 2: UP Rural High School

* former UP Rural place, now OVC for Community Affairs

* former UP Rural place, now UPLB Math Building

* present UP Rural place at Bay, Laguna

One family member of the UPLB community is the U.P. Rural High School. Today the school is found at Brgy, Paciano Rizal (Mainit), Bay, Laguna where the construction of additional school buildings is currently underway.

But earlier it was still within the premises of the then U.P. College of Agriculture. The school was created in 1927 together with the Department of Agricultural Education. The first school building, which now houses the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (just behind the present College of Development Communication [CDC] Building initially served as a laboratory for teachers who were training for vocational agriculture. It officially opened on June 10, 1929. War came and it was soon made into a college preparatory school (the high school itself, more or less). In 1932, five students graduated from the said school.

That building became the school’s home until 1969. But I am not so sure if the next building that the school acquired was the present Math Building. But in any case, the Math Building has been U.P. Rural’s place (as have been popularly known through a MTV show that featured Ebe Dancel, a Rural alumni). Again, the school is now found at Bay, surprisingly far from the main UPLB campus.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Faces of U.P. Los Baños 1

* the remaining part of the sugar mill that was once in existence inside UPLB; it was constructed in 1928 but was destroyed during the Second World War

Call it UPLB nostalgia. Or whatever one would describe it. Staying in the university far longer than what was expected of my course had in effect a strong attachment to the place. And in knowing that the very grounds on which UPLB stands today were witnesses to some important events in our country’s history made every single day of my stay in the university all the more exciting. Of course one can just crawl up to that newly-built room in the university library and dig in that comprehensive history book of UPLB, complete with pictures from the past and narratives to describe the places and events inside the campus. But in the end, nothing beats the never-outmoded process of strolling through the campus’ sidewalks and see UPLB with the bare eyes.

Although I have already posted some of the places in UPLB (which can be accessed through these links: link 1, link 2, link 3), they are in fact incomplete and have been the only ones which were readily available before. The contents of the following series have been captured during those hectic thesis days of the previous academic year – brief moments of breather, knowing that the last of the school days would soon come.

As in the case of some of my Back Trails, these are by no means exhaustive. Limitations include times and opportunity to fully cover each and every place of interest (not necessarily of historical significance) inside the campus. One major handicap of the series is that I was not able to go up the upper campus and cover it. But then, tours are sometimes more intoxicating the second that around. Let us then look into the many faces of UPLB.

* the UPLB campus with my divisions

Post-note: I have decided to divide the campus into three and make details of them respectively. And, it’s quite amusing to note that things are getting more and more like features (as in a feature article) here at Back Trails. Better improve on them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles IX: Sunsets in the City

* sunset shot, 2009

* sunset shot, 2010

I have mixed feelings right now. On one side is the anxiety over my job hunts and the future in store for them. And on the other is the excitement in realizing everyday that there are essentially an infinite number of things to be discovered in the outside world. Even a roam around our city would attest to that. These thoughts and feelings are merged in a somewhat shaky wish that I’d be able to do work (that is, to get a work) that would cater more to my interests. Many have said that we cannot always afford to be choosy in getting a job. But there is, I believe, a big difference if you have a work that is so close to you that you don’t consider it a work at all.

Anyway, anxiety is not resolved by alcohol or even smoke (as I have learned many times before). A short walk in the city is, and will always be, therapeutic. Posted here are two late afternoon shots from the city plaza. The quality is not that superior. Even if a high-tech camera was used, I believe the experience in seeing them yourself is far more superior to any other photo.

This may be my last SPC Chronicles entry for the present, as I have literally run out of photos to share. But hopefully I was able to share to you, chance reader, fellow San Pableño and fellow Filipino, the beauty of our city – combined with the simplicity and elegance found around. These chronicles may not have been the most exhaustive ones. But experience, fundamentally, is a personal thing. And in sharing these things about our city, some other people would hopefully be motivated to discover more things about San Pablo or to discover more things about the cities or towns where they reside.

And in fact, as I go along with this Back Trails enterprise, I get to realize that nature and history seems to have an intimate connection of some sort.

Mabuhay ang Lunsod ng San Pablo!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles VIII: The Train Station

* waiting in abstraction – a man sitting on the waiting area of the train station

* the tracks!

* a not-so-inspiring morning view of the station, being made into temporary shelter by people and materials

I have expounded on my affinity towards trains and train stations in an article I included in the maiden issue of our LagosZine project. What I would want to share here now is a message of anticipation about the make-over of our local train station. I was already under the heavy thought before that travel by train will never be resurrected in our city, thus preventing me to travel by it to Bicol, a plan which has been brewing up in me since high school. In a few months time (perhaps years, I can’t really say exactly) it shall be overhauled.

A note on the construction of the railways in our city can be read at the Museo ng San Pablo Blog. Readings through the existing accounts of those turbulent years of the World War II reveal that the local train station was the scene of the emotional arrival of the released war prisoners from Capas, Tarlac, as told in moving words by our very own Juan Hernandez. History-wise again, just across the train station is the Banahaw Compound (currently up for sale) which was once used by the Japanese as their garrison. With regards to the contemporary time, the local train station was included in the music video of a song by Wickermoss.

As I have ended in my LagosZine article, I am looking forward in taking my first train ride (excluding my LRT and MRT rides, of course) from our local train station.

Friday, June 18, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles VII: Structures of (and for) the Past

* another look at the Sampalok Lake Stairs which I took just recently; notice the structure on the left side, it is actually a restaurant presently thriving by the side of the lake

* our grand old SM – ‘sa Mangga’ or ‘Mangga’; this one has withstood many calamities and historical events; found at the city plaza just in front of the cathedral

Honoring our History’s Greatest Men

Although to a certain extent not surprising, the presence of many monuments in honor of some of the country’s revered heroes is quite a feat for me. We have monuments for Rizal (which I have omitted taking a picture of), for Bonifacio, for Mabini, for the Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite, and, believe it or not, for Ninoy. This one concerning Ninoy was an accidental find as I was making my usual ‘long walks’. That time I decided to walk through the length of the main road on Brgy. Concepcion and I saw this obviously recentl- built statue of Ninoy, erected right on the lawn of a seeming private house. I was not able to really hang around as the place is not conducive for it. Perhaps next time I shall be able to dig into it and take a picture of that as well. In the meantime, I shall be presenting only the monuments of Boni, Mabini, and Trece Martires.

* a monument for Apolinario Mabini, found at the city plaza, and gathering dusts and dirt from the daily vehicle smoke onslaught

* a monument for Andres Bonifacio, found along the view deck near the Sampalok Lake Stairs; inaugurated on November 30, 1996 and was made by a sculptor from Sta. Cruz, Laguna

* a monument for the Trece Martirez of Cavite; constructed in 1927 through the efforts of the Association of the Deaconess of the Philippine Independent Church; definitely one structure which survived the Second World War

* standing strong – the Iglesia Filipina Independiente church, not far from the Trece Martires Monument

* a design on the outside wall of the AERA Tennis Court; I wonder if this was also owned or conceived by Arsenio Escudero and Rosario Adap whose initials were used to name the Aera Museum at Villa Escudero (a tour experience of the Aera Museum shall be posted here soon)

The Defuncts

In many instances, it is good to look back on people, places, or events that have been part of our lives. With regards to these places that shall follow, it gives one – San Pableño or not – a picture of what the city was like a few years back.

* view of the now extinct San Pablo Ice Plant and Cold Storage

* the façade of the then Supreme Theatre found along Bonifacio Street; it is now home to a thousand garments, shoes, and bags for sale

* the building that used to house J.Bros. Theatre; I have almost forgotten the name were it not for a chance glance at the back of the building that still carries the name in big letters (position yourself along Burgos Street and you’ll see it if you look up towards the building); today it is the home base of Novo

I would admit that I have never been in any of the two theaters. But I do remember looking up to those posters found outside them as a small child.

Post-Note: Finding the Conducto Bowling Center(?) was one of my tasks during my walks. I have a general idea of where it can be found but was not able to do so. It is my belief that the place is now a hardware store.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles VI: The City’s Houses

As both Kuya Arnaldo (of ‘With One’s Past’ Blog) and I are of the same regretful feeling about San Pablo being left with nothing but a few houses from the Spanish and even American period, it is nevertheless fulfilling to note that there are some that still manage to remain despite the modernization around.

Again I do not profess an in-depth knowledge of the designs and structures of houses from earlier years. I am very much aware that I am equipped simply with aesthetic appreciation of them coupled with historical interest that could be probably be associated with them.

* a roaring lion – one of the two lion statues standing guard to a house (a house which one would typically associate with a lawyer) found on Balagtas Boulevard

* a seeming peaceful retreat, found just a block away from the Sampalok Lake Stairs; notice the lady on the circular design on the wall, one of the many ‘lady motifs’ found around the city, the most well-known perhaps is Doña Leonila, a small fountain is found on the left side

* more or less post-American, I venture to guess; this one houses the Castillo Photo Studio near the city plaza

* although the roof seems to tell us otherwise, the house itself exhibits traces of being built many decades ago

* this one is a great find; one which we commonly call ‘Mansyon’, found along the main road towards Brgy. Concepcion, this house, as the inscription says outside was probably built on August 19, 1924; although I was not able to really verify this, they say that this is where the movie ‘Tiyanak’ was shot

* a view of one of the windows of the ‘Mansyon’

* another view of one of the windows, this time showing one of the (many) doors the mansion has; all in all, this house needs one big overhaul

* found amidst the busy street of Hermanos Belen lined with computer shops, photocopy shops, printing press and food stores; it belongs to the family of one of my sister’s acquaintances, and it is believed that this house still carries traces of the Japanese occupation because of the bullet hole(s?) found in one of the rooms there

* one old and intact house I have found so far in the city; still found on Hermanos Belen Street, today it houses a clinic

* a very imposing one nestled right in the midst of ‘Bayan’, and its busy and often noisy streets

* a three-floored building, the ground floor of which is a restaurant; balconies are really beautiful, however small or big they might be

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mapagpalayang Araw ng Kalayaan

Isa sa mga nakakatuwang araw ay ang Araw ng Kalayaan. Dahil bukod sa mga kaliwa’t kanang mga flag raising at mga seremonya ay muling napapakatok sa isipan ng mga Pilipino na Pilipino tayo at may bansa, kasaysayan at kalayaang dapat alalahanin at dapat ipagdiwang. At least, hindi lamang tuwing laban ni Pacquiao tayo napapagbuklod bilang isang bansa. Mas mahalaga na mabuklod ang isipan at damdamin nating mga Pilipino ngayong Araw ng Kalayaan.

Umabot na nga tayo sa ika-isaang daan at labindalawang taon ng pagdiriwang. Isang napakahalagnang araw na hindi natinag ng mga nagsidatingang mga mananakop pagkatapos ng mga Kastila, ng pagkakasangkot sa bangungot ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig, ng isang mahaba-habang panahon ng diktaturya. Isang pambansang bayani, marami-raming mga bayani ng rebolusyon at digmaan, at isang kasakuluyang henerasyon na tumitingala sa isang magandang bukas sa tulong ng bagong administrasyon. Ilan lamang sa mga sangkap ng bansang Pilipinas at ng ating patuloy na pagdiriwang ng araw ng kalayaan.

Maraming pagkakataon nang naging paksa ang tanong tanong na “Malaya ba talaga tayo ngayon?” Marahil maganda talagang itanong ito sa bawa’t araw, lalu na sa personal na lebel. Pero mas makabubuting ituon natin ang ating mga sarili sa kung ano ang esensya, ang pinaka-laman, ang pinaka-karne ng pagdiriwang ng Junio a-doce. Iyon ay ang paglaya ng bansa, na kalaunan ay nasumpungan ng mga Pilipino nang sila’y naghimagsik laban sa mga mananakop, sa isang mahabang panahon ng pakakailalim sa impluwensya at pamumuno ng mga dayuhan. Napakaraming pagkakataon sa kasaysayan na tinangka itong burahin (at palitan ng petsa), nguni’t nanatili. Marapat lamang na ipagdiwang ito dahil naging hudyat ito na noong mga panahon na iyon, nakilala ng mga Pilipino ang pagka-Pilipino nila – na Pilipino sila – at sila ay may bansang dapat linangin, protektahan, mahalin, at ipagmalaki. Parang isang istroya ng pag-ibig na hindi dapat matuldukan.

Sa kasalukuyan ay napaglaanan ng pamahalaan ng humigit kumulang sampung milyong piso ang pagdiriwang sa araw na ito. Hindi ko masabing labis o tama lang ito, sapagka’t ang pagdiriwang ng kasarinlan ay isang bagay na tila personal na mahirap presyuhan. Pero hiling ko lang (kahit sa susunod na pamahalaan na lang dahil halos tapos na ang termino ng pangulo) na kung pano natin kasiglang laanan ng pondo ang isang araw na pagdiriwang, sana mapaglaanan din natin ang maraming aspeto na tumutungkol sa kasaysayan natin. Ihalimbawa na lang ang pagsalba ng mga makasaysayang mga istruktura o lugar. Nabasa ko ng minsan ang planong paglipat ng lumang bahay (o paggiba rito dati) na may kaugnayan kay Rizal sa Biñan. Sana kahit may nakaumang na malaking hamon na sawatain ang kurapsyon sa gobyerno, mapaglaan pa rin ng sabstansyal na atensyon at pondo ang mga ahensyang pumapatungkol sa kasaysyan. At sana mapansin din ang mga boses ng mga pribadong indibidwal na kadalasang tumatawag ng pansin para sa mga pangangailangang may kaugnayan sa kasaysayan.

Sa panghuli, sana makatulong ang mga malakihang mga pagdiriwang ng Araw ng Kalayaan natin para maibukas na ang isip ng mga bata ng Pilipino sa murang edad. Ito’y upang sa simula pa lang ay maitanim na sa kanilang kaisipan ang kahalagaan ng pagkakaroon ng pag-unawa sa ating kasaysayan at sa Araw ng Kalayaan na isa sa mga malaking aspeto nito.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

* artikulong matatagpuan sa aking mga blog na Viole(n)t Mugs, Back Trails, at Kamalayan

San Pablo City Chronicles V: San Pablo City Hall/Capitol/Museum

* the city hall of old times; housing some of the few offices such as COMELEC; a museum upstairs is supposed to be under construction

* a picture of of the city hall in the 1940s; photo from the Museo de San Pablo blog site

* stairs on the ‘main’ (second) floor leading to the floors allotted for the city museum

* corridor towards the city COMELEC office inside the building

* the infamous balete tree found just behind the old city hall

The old San Pablo City Hall or commonly called ‘Kapitolyo’ by the San Pableños stands on the ground purchased for local government use in 1937. The newly erected town hall, designed by the Division of Architecture of the Bureau of Public Works at that time, was inaugurated on March 30, 1940. President Manuel Quezon and Speaker Jose Yulo were the guests of honor. San Pablo was still a town then when it was inaugurated. But requests by the local officials paid off when the town was turned into a city that same year, making San Pablo the first city in Laguna.

Today it houses only a few offices as it is now being turned into a museum. I have been following closely the blog about the Museum de San Pablo. There are no substantial updates to date, but perhaps things are still ongoing, hopefully. In any case, it was a good choice for a museum for the building’s impressive architecture alone is already enticing.

More info about the city hall and its proposed conversion to a museum can be found at the Museo ng San Pablo blog, maintained by the principal of my alma mater, Ma’am Lerma Prudente.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles IV: Sampalok Lake

* the Sampaloc Lake stairs – inaugurated January 23, 1916; the land where the stairs were constructed was donated in 1914 by Cabeza Sixto Bautista

* a tilapia statue commemorating the donation of the first tilapia fingerlings to Sampalok Lake and Palakpakin Lake by Mr. And Mrs. Jose C. Agahan under Mayor Tomas Dizon as per Resolution No. 85, dated April 16, 1955

San Pablo City would forever be associated with its seven lakes. But among them, the most popular if not infamous, and the most easily accessible lake is of course Sampalok. Found just a few meters from the city hall, and below Doña Leonila Park, it is a beauty to behold in the city.

The name is derived from the equally famous legend, one that I heard since I was small and have encountered in letters during my fourth grade. It basically relates the story of an old man who asks for some sampalok from the tree of a mean owner which is found on the lake’s present site. As often expected in legends the old man was turned away. In some instances the old man turned out to be a fairy of some sort although my memory has failed to recall if this is the case with the Sampalok Lake legend. In the end, the character of the sampalok tree owners was duly rewarded with a heavy downpour swallowing their place and leaving a lake in its wake.

* contemplating on an afternoon by the lake

* the usual source of income by the lake dwellers – fish; shown here are a fish pen and lotus plants and some water lilies floating on the water surface

* a lone man fishing by the lake side

The lake is definitely wide in terms of area but not that deep. Unfortunately, it only has a very small outlet, which we used to call ‘tatlong butas’ where we used to hang out and take a bath (not me personally but my companions).

* Trailer Pransis taking a tour of his college classmates

* a shot of the premises of Café Lago

The lake shore was once lined with restaurants offering places for drink, sea foods, and some other common food such as mami. During our grade school days, we used to spend our weekends under those restaurants hunting for small hipon and other fishes to play with. My first experience in fishing was also in this lake when we tried to break the monotony of a bible study together with a church mate by trying to fish on our own and consequently breaking the fishing rod that we borrowed.

Today it is a site for rest and leisure. The road covering the perimeter of the lake is always frequented by tourists, joggers, and other people seeking a breather. One cannot go hungry as food stalls are installed around the lake. I have also seen boats being rented for a minimal fee. And there’s Café Lago of course, where one can truly relax, read some book perhaps, while tasting the food and drinks they are offering.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

History Comes Alive! with Professor Ambeth Ocampo

Join Ambeth Ocampo as he gives a series of presentations on history at the Ayala Museum! From Jun to September, Ambeth Ocampo will take a selection from the museum’s beloved collection of 60 dioramas on Philippine history and explain the event in detail.

June 26 – 10:30 am – Pres-Colonial Philippines
Jul 24 – 3:00 pm – Philippine American War
August 14 – 3:00 pm – The Malolos Congress
September 18 – 3:00 pm – The Katipunan

Admission to each lecture is 200 pesos for students, senior citizens, Ayala Museum members and 300 pesos for regular adults. If you want to come to all 4 lectures, it’s 700 pesos for students, senior citizens, Ayala Museum members and 1,000 pesos for regular adults. Come to the first talk and get a free Ambeth Ocampo book!

For more information, please call 757-7117 to 21 local 29 or e-mail education@ayalamuseum.org. Reserved seating is available. Ayala Museum is located at Makati Ave. corner De la Rosa St. Greenbelt Park, Makati City.

Monday, June 7, 2010

San Pablo City Chronicles III: Doña Leonila Park

* a monument erected in honor of those Filipinos veterans who fought during the Second World War

* a detail on the WWII monument – Benjamin D. Emralino; man, got to dig in about him

* the figure of my struggle, the famous lady at the park, once thought that it is a figure of Doña Leonila herself

* small structures representing the city’s seven lakes; they used to be found beside the municipal trial court at the back of the old city hall

It seems pretty comic to me, when I used to think that the name Doña Leonila refers to that imposing figure of a lady carrying a bilao and a basket in the park. But then all is well now, for alas, I have learned that the name actually refers to the wife of the then President Carlos Garcia, to whom the park is named. It is officially a mini-forest park.

The park boasts a view-deck that gives one an enchanting view of the lake. Too bad, just too bad that some trees are blocking the commanding view, and some eye-irritating colors – of some structures and stalls – spoil an otherwise good stay at the park. I cannot help but note the big difference between the time I first found the park and its present conditions. Perhaps it was the overall theme, if I may call it, or the design of the past that was really eye-catching. Today, several structures have been added such as a small stage for different activities, but mostly they have been quite irregular, something that is not so pleasing to the eyes. Nevertheless, the place is a good place to bring the family to and immerse one’s self in a nature’s den in the heart of the city.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

San Pablo Chronicles City II: Houses and Structures

* Fule-Malvar Mansion, where once the late President Manuel Quezon lodged

* A simple yet elegant house, nestled in semi-obscurity behind the city’s telegraph office and an old bungalow structure seen partly on the left of the picture

* one big house found just a few steps away from the city cathedral

* the current city library hub; obviously an old one; been thinking if it housed any public office in its heyday

* one of the many similarly constructed houses that dot the city proper

* an old Meralco office; on the logo – Manila Electric Company Light 1903 Power

* this is one great find; got this shot in the outskirts of the city going to Tiaong, Quezon

A few random pictures I have taken of some of the houses and structures within the city proper. Despite having the setback of not having in hand my sister’s cellphone (which have the camera that I use to take such pictures), I contented myself during the summer to roam around the city and take note of those houses and structures of interest so that I shall be able to make my thorough picture-taking and note-taking the next time I’ll have the chance.

I am still intrigued by the 1938 fire that wrought its havoc in the city, its extent and any other stories related to it. From the few uploaded photos I got hold on to that depict the city, it must have been a very wealthy and if I may daresay, progressive town at the time. I don’t know, I think there is still much to be learned about this city of mine.