Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Batis ng Kasaysayan 2011 Book Launch

The Philippine National Historical Society and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts are set to launch Batis ng Kasaysayan 2011 – The Movement for Independence in the Philippines (1896-1898): Calendar of Documents in the Archives of the Cuerpo de Vigilancia de Manila. Its Executive Editor is Bernardita Reyes Churchill. Associate Editors are Eden Manalo Gripaldo and Digna Balangue Apilado.

Date: September 5, 2011
Time: 4:30 pm
Venue: Tanghalang Nicanor V. Locsin, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila.

RSVP: 921-4575 / 926-1347

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fiesta Bayeña 2011 (Bay, Laguna)

* Fiesta Bayeña 2011 Trade Fair Exhibit

* the ubiquitous arc put up every time a fiesta comes

A sudden change in vehicle routes in Bay (Ba’i), Laguna led us to the town proper, first to take a much-sought lunch and then to be in the midst of a festivity, the Fiesta Bayeña 2011.

* some of the booths installed for the trade fair exhibit

The feast in the town proper of Bay is not new to me as I have been a commuter who passes by this town for seven years already. But this year’s celebration is different as it has a quite pompous list of activities and a longer list of sponsors. One such addition is the Fiesta Bayeña 2011 Trade Fair Exhibit. The exhibit is composed of several booths from each of the town’s barangay designed with local materials. In each booth special products are either shown or sold. This is quite good as it compels each barangay to bring out their finest produce. Whether it is a simple malunggay or grilled fish, a showcase is a good part of the feast as it enriches the celebration.

Another salient addition is the stage in Arietta Park, found just in front of the town hall. Called Tanghalang Bayeña, the townsfolk now has a sturdier place for programs and presentations. (I remember the truck they used last year for presentations. It was good but not that appealing.) But it was quite obvious that the construction of the stage area was rushed to make it to the dates of the feast. At least it will no longer be a makeshift stage.

* Tanghalang Bayeña

*despite the rain spectators await in Arietta Park
for t
he presentations to start

* tarpaulin put up to show the official candidates to the Ginoo at Binibining Bay 2011

I wish I could have taken note of the other activities but the incessant pouring of rain and strong winds discouraged us to stay longer. We’ll have our luck hopefully next year.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Peek into Museo ng San Pablo (San Pablo City, Laguna)

* Museo ng San Pablo: A Cultural Work in Progress

* the main entrance to the old municipal/city building
to the Museo ng San Pablo

* the flight of stairs fronting the Museo has been tiled

The news of the opening of the Museo ng San Pablo definitely excited me. For one, I am expecting that some of the exhibits would help me in building my draft for my little project on the history of the San Pablo. Unfortunately, the Museo seemed to be closed when I visited although I am aware that it is open throughout the week. Maybe it was temporarily closed for that particular day.

* the grand staircase leading to Museo ng San Pablo

* parts of the staircase, however, must be repaired immediately

* a banner of the Museo

Anyway, there were some exhibits on the outer corridors on which I feasted upon. There were old photographs of group meetings, sceneries in San Pablo, and politicians printed on small-size tarpaulins. There were also some fixtures that have been put up although there were no indications that they came from old San Pablo families. I was also informed that artworks of young and talented San Pableños were put up for exhibit there but I missed them too. Perhaps it was not really my day to view the contents of the Museo.

* some furniture found as one enter the Museo

* chandelier art

the Museo seemed to be closed on the day I visited it

“Museo ng San Pablo: A Cultural Work in Progress” – it is indeed a fitting title, as the city is just building a work on which the people of San Pablo could look upon to see their cultural heritage (although such term is debatable) and their history. Yes, history. I do hope that they put up and they will put up a lot of exhibit that would give us a real view of the city’s past. I strongly believe that it must be the most crucial element in the Museo that must be highlighted. Finally, I do hope no subtle political advertisement or political pa-pogi would grow from that place. Let the Museo be free from such things. After all, the Museo is all about San Pablo, the place and its place, and no other.

Again, I look forward to seeing the whole of the Museo and sharing its contents here in Back Trails.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

History Comes Alive! with Dr. Ambeth Ocampo | Queridas ni Rizal: Love and Sex in Philippine History

The 2011 leg of Sir Ambeth Ocampo’s lecture at the Ayala Museum continues with “Queridas ni Rizal: Love and Sex in Philippine History” which will most likely tackle the love affairs of Rizal and other things in Philippine history revolving around the (battered) concept of love and the (semi-controversial) issue of sex. The lecture will be held on September 10, 2011, 3 pm, at the Ayala Museum Lobby.

For the ticket details:
- 350 pesos for adults
- 200 pesos for students, senior citizens, teachers and Ayala Museum members

For other details and further inquiries, you can call (02) 757-7117 to 21 local 24/25/35 or send an e-mail to

(Will I be able to make it to the lecture this time? I hope so.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Child on a Wall in Batangas City

The photo you see above was taken one night in a busy main road in Batangas City, Batangas. Partly covered by shadows, this wall drawing can give one goosebumps. This can also jerk you into consciousness especially if you are tired from work or travel or just plain sleepy. I would admit, this is somewhat creepy.

The Sky in Two Places

It is worthwhile to take note of the sky every now and then. Ignoring for a while the fact that the features of the sky are governed by weather, climate, and the concept of chaos, we can appreciate the different images and emotions the sky evokes.

There is this photo I took while traversing a road in the city proper of Calamba. The gathering clouds reminded of the presence of Death Eaters (in the Harry Potter series) who signal their coming (or killing) by the Dark Mark (an image of a skull with a snake slithering out of its ‘mouth’), which is often preceded by the gathering of dark clouds. It was a picture of gloom. Minutes later, I was literally soaked in heavy downpour.

This is in contrast with this photo I took while treading a rural road in Rosario, Batangas. The wide fields (which, unfortunately, are obscured by the poor editing of the photo) and the outlines of mountains in the background give one an overwhelming perspective. Not to mention that there were no objects that would have obstructed my view of the sky. Too bad I lost a camera; a series of photos of the Rosario sky would have been superb. Anyway, there will still be a next time.

As in any travel, seeing and exploring things on the ground is a fine activity. But we must not also forget to look up and behold the wide expanse of this chaotic blue canvas we call sky.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Café Lago: The Café by the Lake

* all green inside Café Lago

Found below the hill on which the Doña Leonila Park is found is a café known for its cozy atmosphere, ideal for intimate meetings and reflection – Café Lago. Armando “Mandy” Mariño was the one who opened the café. Café Lago can be seen as part of the larger context related to Sampaloc Lake: the desire to introduce Sampaloc Lake as an ideal tourist spot and a more subtle desire to bring people closer to nature. As the café is literally just beside the lake, it can only be expected that its owner/s is/are the prime advocates of such thrusts.

* a survey of Café Lago’s surroundings

* banga – a jar inside Café Lago

One trivia about the place is that the First San Pablo Comics Festival held on December 7, 2003 was held on the grounds on which Café Lago is now found. See the photos of the said event here.

Food wise, the menu is relatively cheap and the workers are hospitable as well. I heard from one acquaintance that the suman produced by Café Lago is exceptionally delicious, and so I better avail myself of that food the next time I come to visit the place.

* orgmates during a meeting inside Café Lago

* org members pose for a shot outside Café Lago; Sampaloc Lake is on the background

Again, I say that the place is very conducive for reflection. Bring a book, or a notebook and the ambience would definitely put you into a relaxing mood. If any chance reader would want to visit the place, just send me an e-mail so that I can bring you to the place.

[How to go to Café Lago, San Pablo City, Laguna: From Manila, board a bus bound for Lucena, Quezon Province. Drop off at San Pablo Medical Center (buses only enter the city proper at 8pm onwards). Then board a jeep bound for the city proper and drop off at San Pablo Central School. A landmark would be the overpass just in front of this school. Then hail a tricycle and say to the driver to bring you to Café Lago in Sampaloc Lake. The Café is generally known to San Pableños.]

Come and Join “Run Rizal”

Come and join the fun and be part of this once-in-a-lifetime running event!

This is the slogan statement from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) website for the upcoming fun run entitled “Run Rizal.” This activity is still part of the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Jose Rizal and is jointly organized by NHCP and Animo Events Management, Inc.

“Run Rizal” will be held on September 18, 2011 and will start from the Rizal Monument in Luneta. Run distances include 3K, 5K, 10K, [the registration fee for the three is 500 pesos] and 16K [registration fee: 600 pesos]. (Personally, 5K seems quite easy but I have misgivings about participating in the 10K run.) The amount that will be raised for this fun run will be used for the benefit of Rizal Shrine Calamba, Rizal Shrine Dapitan, and Rizal Shrine Fort Santiago.

Upon payment of the fees, you will be given a singlet, a timing chip, and a bib. Discounts are offered for government employees, students, and novice runners at a cost of 150 pesos for 3k run only.

Registration areas include:
- NHCP Main Office, T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila
- Quezon Memorial Shrine; Quezon City Circle
- Team Manila Stores in Trinoma, SM Mall of Asia and Rockwell
- Phiten Stores at Robinsons Galleria and Shangri-la Mall.

For further details, do not hesitate to contact Rovic Canono (Race Director) at telephone number 975-1317 or Mona Lisa Quizon and Quennie Ann Palafox at telephone numbers 523-9050 and 523-1037.

* Photo credit:
*Details of this post came from:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gradual Makeovers of San Pablo City Cathedral

* the elegant façade of San Pablo City Cathedral
* a closer look at the church’s bell tower;
who would not wa
nt to climb it?

* some of the exterior fixtures on the church grounds

* statue of St. Joseph the Worker;
a shrine dedicated to St. Joseph the Worker and Universal Patron of the Church on the Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee of the Reverend Father Domingo G. Dolleton on July 1, 1987

On lonesome Sundays, when the computer screen is no longer a friendly scene, one can dampen boredom or any of those tiny random emotions by just taking a walk. I have been doing that activity since my college days, when the topics in textbooks do not penetrate the tired and feeble brain. A walk was, is, and will always be therapeutic.

* a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

* list of names of Madrinas del Monumento or
sponsors fo
r the building of the monument

* a head of a cherub

* new parking space for the churchgoers

Thus, a short walk brought me to the San Pablo City Cathedral, not to attend mass but to observe the structure of the church. I say that the choice of paint has always been good for the exterior. But landscape definitely changed I observed. The front grounds were stripped bare and filled in with stones usually used for cement work. Some of the people online said that the grounds are now being made into parking spaces. And so it seems. Nothing wrong with that. But if they are going to eradicate eye sores, the church administrators could come up with a way to pool the candle vendors and all the other vendors to one place. There are certain times that the outside grounds look like a market place with the number of vendors present.

* another view of the church tower, this time from the side

* Saint Paul the First Hermit went missing! the old site of the statue

* statue of Saint Paul the First Hermit in its new place

* statue of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

* St. Therese of the Child Jesus Commemorative Chapel

Anyway, what surprised me before was that the statue of Saint Paul the First Hermit went missing! I thought they got rid of him for good but later I saw that he was only transferred near the Home for the Aged behind the church. Let us leave to them (the church administrators, that is) the reasons for doing so.
* the church’s main aisle; on the center is the new retablo
* the “flags”

* the San Pablo Cathedral church grounds at night

Inside, the retablo was reconstructed but I am yet to make a closer observation of this new fixture in the interior. The big flags (can I really call them flags?) inside also often change depending on the occasion and they are, I think, good. Space fillers kumbaga. With those decorations, the interior reminds me of Hogwarts.

Not related to this post: I am still wondering whether my request to have access to the Diocesan Archives was read, deliberated, or tackled at all. It is quite saddening not to receive any form of response. Even a letter of refusal would do. But I really hope that they would grant me so that I will be able to make several steps forward in my self-imposed local history research.

Short Visit to St. Scholastica’s College, Manila

* the chapel (or is it church?) inside St. Scholastica’s College, Manila

* dark and grainy view of St. Cecilia’s Hall

* St. Cecilia’s Hall lobby

My visit to St. Scholastica’s College, Manila was made possible by the 20th Manila Studies Annual Conference because the organizers chose the college to be the venue of the conference this year. I could not have imagined being inside the college, knowing that to certain extent, it is still a predominantly girls’ school (although there are also male students particularly in the Conservatory of Music, as was said to me by an usherette who I have briefly interviewed).

* a painting found along a corridor inside the college

* view of a corridor

* a statue of St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica’s College traces its roots from the coming of the five German sisters from the Missionary Benedictine Congregation on September 14, 1906. They were M. Ferdinanda Hoelzer, Sr. Petronilla Keller, Sr. Crescentia Veser, Sr. Winfrieda Mueller, and Novice Alexia Ruedenauer. The school started out on Moriones Street in Tondo then transferred to San Marcelino Street in 1907 (the lot was donated to the school administrators by the Arcbishop of Manila). The official name of St. Scholastica’s College was officially recognized by the government in 1909. In 1914, they moved to a new place – 1532 Pennsylvania Avenue – where a new building awaited teachers and students alike. The college was destroyed during World War II, gradually reconstructed were made, and finally celebrated their centennial celebration in 2006.

* buildings inside the St. Scholastica’s College, Manila

* grade school children waiting for their kaon

* the dark skies of Manila as seen from the 5th floor of St. Cecilia’s Building

* Daughters True: 100 Years of Scholastican Education, 1906-2006;
a book I won from the book raffle during the conference

I was not able to fully roam the interior of the place as guards are all over the place; the presence of an out-of-place male could have raised their suspicion. I contended myself with the familiar corridors which I treaded during the two-day conference. Thus, the buildings I am posting along with entry are unnamed. Finally, forgive the poor resolutions of the photos as I only used my cellphone camera. My beloved camera was lost a few weeks before the conference.

[How to go to St. Scholastica’s College, Manila: From Gil Puyat LRT Station, there are two alternatives: 1) board the LRT and drop off at Vito Cruz LRT Station, or 2) ride a jeepney bound for Quiapo, SM Manila, or Manila City Hall and drop off at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. Behind Saint Benilde is Leon Guinto Street where St. Scholastica’s College is found so you only have to round the corner. What you’ll see first is the college’s chapel (or is it a church?)]