Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Civil Service Exam Experience and a Short Revisit to Santa Cruz, Laguna

* morning views en route to Santa Cruz, Laguna

* a street in Santa Cruz town proper

* Civil Service Exam schedule

The plan to take the Civil Service Examination was brewed for three years already but it was only this year that I was able to acquire the time and resources to file the necessary documents and eventually take the said exam. This plan was made and carried out not out of whim but out of the desire to take the first few steps towards materializing one of the plans I have often talked about. That plan, incidentally, was posted by the organizers of a writing contest which I joined last year (click here to visit the said website):

* screenshot of my profile from energyyouthleaders.com

Whether I’ll be fulfilling this plan in the near future is, for now, unclear. In any case, the point is that I was able to take the exam.

* a tiny map for the room assignments for the Civil Service Exam

* the stage inside PGMNHS where I was awarded a prize for editorial writing

* exam takers after the three-hour test;
note that PGMNHS starte
d out as Laguna High School in 1926

The exam itself was relatively challenging and I can only hope to pass it. Except for a few glitches, the exam proper proceeded as planned. It felt good to feel again the pressure of time. It felt good to be like a student again, at least for three hours. But more than that, I was glad to return to Pedro Guevarra Memorial National High School where I was once awarded a prize for writing an editorial piece more than ten years ago. I could not help but take a few photos just to bring home a few remembrance of the place.

* two backs: the back of the Santa Cruz church and
the back of a Jose Rizal statue in the town plaza

* a statue erected in the town plaza most likely
in commemorat
ion of the soldiers and fighters during World War II

* a view of Santa Cruz Town Hall

* a wall art (a bas relief of some sort probably?)
found alon
g a street in Santa Cruz;
the sun on the bottom part contains the words ESSO CHEMICALS

* view of the bridge and the river near the town plaza;
too bad
I was not able to take note of the river’s name

* children swimming in a river in Santa Cruz, Laguna

I came out of the testing area in high spirits and passively endured the searing noon heat to take a stroll through some of the streets in the town proper and see some of the old houses still standing in town. The town center is somewhat sleepy during that Sunday afternoon except for the roaring engines of the passenger jeepneys plying the road breaking the general silence. Upon arriving at the bridge near the town plaza, I saw some children fighting off the heat by swimming on the river. An urge come upon me to go down the riverside and join the swim. Perhaps next time, I should really give in to such things. Small pleasures are sometimes the most memorable.

* different views of Villa Valenzuela in Santa Cruz, Laguna

A ‘Mansion’ in Santa Cruz: Villa Valenzuela

A rather prominent structure near this particular bridge and river is a huge house, more like a mansion to me, called Villa Valenzuela. I was able to track some online searches regarding this house and so this revisit is a fortunate one (as my previous shots of this mansion were rather blurry and dark). It is curious how the place ended up being a restaurant of some sort. The presence of a restaurant could have enhanced the place but the owners seemed to have a different thing in mind. But then, who am I to comment? At least the mansion itself is kept intact although the place obviously needs some thorough make over. If that happens, it would be like a welcome diadem of the town: an elegant mansion at the entrance of the town proper.

* view of some of the houses found in Santa Cruz, Laguna

As with the other houses in town, it seemed (without the benefit of history reading materials) that the town enjoyed a period of elegance as can be observed from the presence of those big houses. They are not strictly Spanish in form and structure and so I have a rather naïve guess that they are from the early 1900s era. It would be more elegant to see such houses in full bloom again; most of them are in need of repairs and repaints. I was not able to check yet if they are any cultural or heritage groups or organizations existing in Santa Cruz but it would be good to have one or two. The town is blessed to possess such architectural treasures. What remains to be done is for the townsfolk to take the initiative to preserve them. After all, they are already collective treasures of the Santa Cruz people.

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