Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ambeth Ocampo in Parricide in Paris: Juan Luna in His Paintings

Part of the Sabado sa Museo: Museum Foundation of the Philippines (MFPI) Lecture series is the lectures of Ambeth Ocampo, a famed columnist and writer. His next lecture is entitled “Parricide in Paris: Juan Luna in His Paintings” slated on March 10, 2012, 3:00 pm at the Museum Foundation of the Philippines Hall, 2nd floor National Arts Gallery (Old Legislative Building), Padre Burgos Street, Manila.

Admission fees are: 1) 200 pesos for regular attendees, and 2) MFPI members, students, teachers, and senior citizens. Fees are inclusive of entrance to the National Museum and a complimentary copy of Sir Ambeth Ocampo’s book.

For inquiries and further details contact Elvie (0949-3338211) or Mae (0927-8484680) or thru fax number 404-2685 and telephone number 697-9509 and e-mail address

This event also presented by The Consulate of the Republic of Angola, Luis Ablaza Holdings, Inc., and Security Bank.

[I hope this time I will be able to make it to the lecture. Been wanting to hear Sir Ambeth lecture on Philippine history since last year.]

Friday, February 24, 2012

Remembering the Los Baños Raid of 1945

* tarpaulin put up outside Baker Hall announcing the activity
for the 67th anniversary commemoration of the Los Baños raid

* portion of Freedom Park where the barracks for the prisoners were put up;
Fertility Tree and Carillion Tower seen in the background

* Baker Hall in 2012

A chance visit to University of the Philippines Los Baños (UP Los Baños) aided me in recalling an event in the place which I have been deeply interested in when I was still in the formative stages of my research about World War II. The Los Baños Raid which happened in the early morning of February 23, 1945 was facilitated by the combined efforts of the American forces and different Filipino guerrilla groups. Their attack was to free hundreds of war prisoners in the grounds of what is now University of the Philippines Los Baños. It was a feat worthy of retelling as accounts show the rescuers’ efforts in gradually breaching the tight security made by the Japanese forces in the area. It gets on one’s nerves if one would only recall that the peaceful grounds of Freedom Park were once the barracks of the tired and war-torn prisoners.

This year, the celebration is on its 67th year and one can assume that the activity held inside Baker Hall (which was also made into a prison camp during those times) was attended by those who, in one way or another, have been associated with the event.

* commemorative marker for the prisoner camp in U.P. Los Baños

In 2005, on the same commemoration activity, a marker was installed by then National Historical Institute. It reads:
“Pook ng Bilangguang Kampo sa Los Baños: Ginamit ng mga Hapones bilang bilangguang kampo para sa mga bihag na Amerikano at ibang banyaga noong 1943. Nilusob ng pinagsanib na pangkat ng gerilyang Filipino mula sa mga kasapi ng ROTC Hunters, Hukbalahap[,] Ika-48 Iskwadrong Tsino, Sariling Pangkat ni Pangulong Quezon, Pangkat Marking, at iba pang di-regular na tropa noong 23 Pebrero 1945. Ang pinagsanib na puwersa ay inorganisa ni Tinyente Koronel Gustavo Ingles na kasapi ng Hunters at kinatawan ng puwersang Amerikanong nangangasiwa sa mga gerilya ng Katimugang Luzon[.] Pinamunuan ni Tinyente Koronel Honorio Guerrero at ng ROTC Hunters ang unang salakay. Matagumpay nilang nakontrol ang paligid ng kampo at sa tulong ng mga Amerikanong miyembro ng Company B, 511th Paratroop Infrantry ay napalaya ang 2,147 bilanggo.”
Compared to events during the Spanish times in the country, World War II is a more recent event and so this generation must take time in knowing and understanding more the events before and during those tumultuous times of 1941 to 1945.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

An Ambulant Life: Meeting a Maglalako

* a man selling native products

In these times when a purchase can be made with just a simple click on the computer mouse, it is quite surprising to still see ambulant vendors selling household materials. We have of course those who sell taho, rice delicacies, among others, but bulky objects are simply an exaggeration. Tiredness definitely overcomes the prospect of profit. Lugi ka pa, ika nga. But then we see those kinds of vendors even from our history books and so it can be said too that such activities are rooted from our culture and tradition. It will be a long time before we see the extinction of our maglalako.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 UPLB Feb Fair Experience

February comes with the scent of roses and chocolate in the air. But besides the much anticipated Valentine’s Day, there is also this particular fete being awaited by Iskos and Iskas and in fact anyone who has been there. I am talking of the famed February Fair (or more commonly called as Feb Fair) celebrated yearly in UP, particularly in Diliman campus and Los Baños campus.

* the ferris wheel sponsored by the UPLB Grange Association

This year, we were able to sneak in the campus to visit the booths and meet org mates and some friends. It was exhilarating to talk again to them as it brought back memories of fun, youthful antics, and romances. To see those young faces of the students enjoying their free times was enough to convince myself that yes, I was once part of UPLB and have been there too, devouring each night of the Fair.

* darkness and light (and the people in between)

Meet-and-greet moments were great but the biggest setback of our visit was the mud that seemed to grow on just about every portion of the ground which does not have grasses on it. Mud and all mud. No thanks to the slight drizzle that night. That is how I can describe it. Add to that the unfortunate situation of not having my camera with me. Thus I contented myself with a few shots from my cellphone.

Nevertheless it was good to be reminded every now and then that a breather is good and that a good way to unburden one’s self with thoughts of current problems is to just enjoy, however brief.

Dusk at the Haunted Mansion in Tiaong, Quezon

Situated just a few blocks from Tiaong’s town church, this mansion famous for its history and eerie accounts of the supernatural, gives one a full blast of goose bumps especially if you visit the place as night time nears. We have been fortunate to experience it.

* Trailer Pransis posing at the gates of the
famed haunted mansion in Tiaong, Quezon

* a statue of Elias killing a crocodile;
found in the garden area

* several garden fixtures

The neglected garden fronting the mansion adds to the spookiness of the place, represented by the depiction of Elias’ (of the novel “Noli Me Tangere”) killing of the crocodile which was to attack Crisostomo Ibarra’s party in a lake.

* a view of the fence

* a closer look at the mansion

* the tree behind the mansion which resembles a dog

A closer inspection of the mansion (at least from the fence area) reveals that a thorough renovation of the place is needed. We chanced upon a transient vendor in Tiaong who spends his nights with the current tenant of the place. He said that the owners of the mansion reside in Barangay Lumingon and the place is being readied now for reconstructions. That, of course, is good news as its makeover would attract more visitors to the place, at least to the perimeter if not inside. I also saw a number of houses in town which can be approximately dated back to the American period in the Philippines but they also need the same renovations treatment. Tiaong, I can say now, is also a treasure place, a treasure place of our past.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Revisit to the Town of Tiaong, Quezon

* entrance to the Moises A. Escueta Ala-Ala Park

* park amenities and views
* monuments honoring the Tiaong townsfolk
who fought during World War II
* a building donated by Lucio Tan;
found inside the Escueta Pa

* a monument in honor of General Ye Fei (Sixto Mercado Tiongco),
Filipino-Chinese Tiaong native who joined the Chinese Liberation Army

I have termed Tiaong, Quezon as Quezon’s gateway, and I see it now as the province’s beginning and end, at least in the geographical sense. A rather free (and uneventful) afternoon compelled me to go out and seek for some merienda to eat but ended up traveling in a jam-packed ordinary fare bus to Tiaong, Quezon along with my ever-reluctant sister.

* a statue of slain Congressman Jun Punzalan
near the town municipal building

* view of Tiaong municipal building

* seal of the town of Tiaong

* a Rizal statue found near the entrance
of Tiaong municipal building
* promotion materials of the town of Tiaong

The general calmness of the place even in the town proper imbues the place with a rural feel. Despite the Moises A. Escueta Ala-Ala Park being found along a busy highway, the place is still a conducive place to enjoy with friends or family or just relax solo under the towering trees which cool the place.

* a bust of Moises Amat Escueta

Man Behind the Park’s Name: Moises Amat Escueta

A bust of Moises Amat Escueta (November 25, 1925 – January 8, 1983) is erected near the entrance of the park along with the following note:
“Ka Isis”, as he was fondly called served his birthplace and his country well as a young guerrilla fighter during the Second World War, a lawyer for the poor and needy, a town mayor of Tiaong, Quezon from 1960 to 1969 and a congressman of the then 1st congressional district of Quezon Province from 1969 to 1972.”
I see that the townsfolk of Tiaong really has the deep sense of respect for their local heroes.

* an old, dilapidated house near Tiaong church

* a road sign now partially concealed by the new highway

* the facade of the church in Tiaong

* a Christmas tree made out of old bottles;
now you’ll know when we did the revisit

* a taclobo held by a pensive angel

* candle stands

* statue of the risen Christ
* the baptistery inside the church in Tiaong

The residential area encircling the central place that is the town church will still remind a visitor of the traces of Spanish-imposed form of settlement. The church itself, with its pink facade, is reminiscent of festive events. Unfortunately though, I was not able to obtain any notes regarding the beginnings of the church.

* monument in honor of Claro M. Recto

* an image of Claro M. Recto

One bonus for us was the ‘discovery’ of a monument for Claro M. Recto, a Tiaong native but more known as a staunch nationalist during his lifetime.

* a bas relief / mural of the life and works of Claro M. Recto;
made by A. Bulaong in 1998

* Trailer Pransis striking a pose

A short note found on the place provided by the National Historical Institute in 1984 reads:

Claro Recto y Mayo (1890-1960): Makabayan, Estadista, Parlamentaryan, Hukom, Mambabatas, Awtor, at Orador. Isinilang sa Tiaong, Quezon noong Perbrero 8, 1890. Nagtapos ng A.B. sa Ateneo de Manila 1909; LL.B. at LL.M., Pamantasan ng Santo Tomas, 1913 at 1914; LL.D. Honoris Causa, Pamantasan ng Maynila, 1936, at Pamantasan ng Arellano, 1949, kinatawan ng Batangas at lider ng minorya ng mababang kapulungan. Senador, at pansamantalang pangulo at lider ng mayorya ng Senado ng Pilipinas. Pangulo, Konstitusyonal Kumbensyon at Ama ng Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas, 1934-1935.

Kasapi sa Bar ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman ng Estados Unidos at Katulong na Mahistrado ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman ng Pilipinas. May akda ng tulang Bajo Los Cocoteros, dulang Solo Entre Las Sombras, at maraming aklat pambatas at pangkasaysayan. Namatay sa Roma noong Oktubre 2, 1960.

The monument resembles an obelisk. And although the place where it is found is rather unfortunate as it stands quite too far from the busy town center. But before the sunlight finally left the town of Tiaong, we unintentionally found the famous haunted mansion of Tiaong.