Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Future Mosque in San Pablo City, Laguna?

Been toying with this thought every time I see this building under construction in San Pablo City, Laguna. This can be found near San Pablo Medical Center (or what San Pableños commonly call “Medical”). I wonder: will this be a future mosque for Muslims in San Pablo and nearby towns?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pakikipamuhay: Brgy. Mojon, Liliw, Laguna

 * Mojon will be forever memorable thanks to this store
where one can actually rent VCDs and VHS tapes

 * view of the town of Mojon from the rooftop of the barangay hall

* Kap welcoming Mojon’s visitors

I say this here again: we can find new things in the unlikeliest of places. And a few months back I got to learn some basic insights on life in the placid village in Mojon in the town of Liliw, Laguna.

This immersion activity was in connection to a youth activity in which I was involved in recently. Carrying a hastily-packed bag, I trooped to our meeting place in preparation for transit to Mojon.

We arrived a bit late but we were nevertheless welcomed warmly by the barangay officials. Afterwards we were assigned to our foster families. My assignment was a mixture of confusing and comic nature. But in the end I gained a new place and family in this little village.

Perhaps what I appreciated the most was their high regard for the old traditions (religious ones in this case). It felt like I was back in the old times (old times for me have always been the Spanish times in the Philippines), praying to the Christian God while preparing for a village-wide religious event. We event attended a mass where most of the attendees are the elders of the village. (I found the raffle draw after mass very enjoyable.) In addition they value the concept of the family and it was with envy that I witnessed some of the people there see weekends as family days.

* during an afternoon via crucis

 * the color does injustice to the scene;
the actual color really impressive;
this, I can say, is a well-tended front garden

* yellow-fin tuna being prepared for devouring! that’s my foster father

* Pransisem screaming his lungs out

* in mass

* the village church façade

The passing months may have dissolved some of the strongest reactions to this activity of ours and so I am appending here portion of the narrative which served as an output for us in the immersion activity:

Intersecting Two Parallel Lives: A ‘Pakikipamuhay’ Experience

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
- Socrates

Somehow these words from the great philosopher Socrates gain a spectrum of meanings depending on the viewpoint of the person. And such thought made me realize one of its meanings through our activity in…Barangay Mojon, Liliw, Laguna. Essentially an immersion activity, it was part of our training and development as outstanding youth of the province of Laguna.

Having participated in a number of immersion activities already, there are prime concerns that always crop up: the worries of having rough relations with the foster families, the living conditions, among others.

I did not take it as something fortunate when I was assigned to a family of modest living (three families in one actually), in fact above average type of living. My thoughts at that time were how I would be able to cope up with them or what chores I can actually do.


* co-‘immersionists’

 * my foster parents

 * SK Chairwoman Cielo thanking us for the freshly
concluded activity for the foster families

* another shot with foster family and friends

I was able to do some activities after all: attending to an afternoon praying of the stations of the cross with other elders of the barangay, looking after a special child in the family, and attempting to help (albeit too late) to catch an escaped pig. But the bulk of my immersion came in the form of conversation, something which was dear to me and something which I see as an effective way of getting to the foster families.

For several hours, I got to know my self-adopted three families, learning how the bread winners essentially work in the same line of business and their family background as well. They may be a well-to-do family clan, but in talking with one particular bread winner, I was opened to the hard fact that wealth and security in life do not come easily from the heavens.

I learned of his hardships as a young man, his wide array of occupations which he took to sustain his family, and his eureka! moment which brought him to his present status. He has all the right to take pride in what he has reached for he definitely worked to obtain it.

The other family – my real foster family – is an example of simplicity: a happy married life, good children to take care of, and a simple living which the couple share every time they are together. Weekends are the dearest to them as the husband goes home and it is happy to see them allot bonding moments for them. Again, it was there that I saw that happiness can still be found even in the simplest details of life.

So where does the ‘quotable quote’ of Socrates come in? It is in that moment when you get to see your life balanced against the life of another person. What was ingrained to me during my two-day stay in Mojon was the fact that my foster family and I have completely different and parallel lives. Learning and inspiration occur when those two lives intersect during the immersion activity. And I went home after the event carrying with me a load of thoughts that I could not have imagined learning by just sitting in front of my laptop for two days. Immersion veteran or not, there are always new things to discover and learn for every immersion activity. Much like travelling, excitement is not only confined in the act of travelling; it is also found in the anticipation of new things, of new experiences. I thought to myself on the way home, even after this…activity, it would be good indeed to indulge into another immersion activity in the future.

Was I able to examine my life? I think I did. And, yet again, I was taught that we all have different levels of easy life. It is only left for us to appreciate them.

[How to go to Brgy. Mojon, Liliw, Laguna: One can reach it through two different routes. 1) Via Sta. Cruz, Laguna: From Manila, one can board a bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna found near Gil Puyat LRT Station and EDSA Cubao. Drop off at Sta. Cruz Sambat and board a jeep bound for Nagcarlan town proper. 2) Via San Pablo Laguna: Board a bus bound to Lucena in either in Puyat LRT Station and EDSA Cubao. Drop off at San Pablo Medical Center then ride a jeep o the city proper (there are instance when the bus enters the city proper). Then board a jeep near the San Pablo Cathedral bound to Liliw, Laguna. Drop off at Nagcarlan town proper. Then look for the jeepney terminal near the Nagcarlan market. Board the jeep bound for Sta. Cruz. Ask the driver to drop you off at Mojon.]

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Philippine Bible Society’s The Bible Museum

 * a few word of welcome as one enters the Bible Museum

Despite the waning affinity to many aspects related to religion (regardless of denomination) I still find the commonly known history of the Bible (the book considered holy by the Christians in general) interesting. It was because of that old reason that I immediately went to the main office of the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) in United Nations Avenue in Manila – a short walk from where I currently work – to see the Bible Museum.

The museum itself is housed inside the PBS building’s second floor. In entering one can find the Bible House where you can buy devotional books, religious CDs and tapes, and a variety of bibles. It must be noted however that one must make prior arrangements before going to the museum as visitors will have a guided tour of the museum. It was fortunate that I was included in a group of visiting students.

Sir Jeremiah Dalida currently manages this guided tour. Inside the museum, one will be introduced to what he calls modules which included the start of the Abraham’s relationship with God, down to Moses, up to the time of Jesus Christ. In between modules there are interesting details such as the making of the papyrus, one of the ways through the early people write (the other two being the tablets and scrolls) and some of the replicas of what I can call biblical fixtures. Replicas included the menorah, a candelabrum with seven branches used during the Bible times; the Tabernacle; and the Second Temple in Jerusalem. I was once again reminded of the quiet discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls thanks to the recreation of a cave found also in the museum.
 * Philippine Bible Society's Bible House

Perhaps the highlight of the museum is the air-conditioned room where one can find the bible collection of PBS, from the oldest to the biggest. What caught my attention was the story on how the current PBS was founded. During the Spanish times, a certain Señor Lallave initiated the printing of the bible for distribution but the iron rule hindered such distribution. We can see here that during that time, new ideas were considered dangerous. The Spaniards did not see the Indios capable yet of digesting the Scriptures.

The American Occupation period ushered the relative freedom of bible reading and distribution and in fact, translation. It gave me goose bumps to see the earliest translated bible in the country, the dialect of the Pangasinenses. Add to that the presence of the oldest bible in their possession, an 1816 bible published by Blaire and Bruce. Unfortunately, picture taking is not allowed inside the museum.

Other features included a relatively-famous life-size image of Apostle Paul in the act of writing and a costume area where one can wears clothes from the Bible times.

In the end I gained refreshing insights on the Bible which I see now as possible historical capsules, carrying with them the stories of the times when they were made and the stories as well of their distant past. What else can I say? This is the start of my bible collecting activity.

For further details you can contact Ms. Helen Saldana, Resource Development Officer at PBS, 890 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Telephone Nos.: (02) 524-5337; (02) 526-7777 local 620, e-mail address:, website:
[How to go to the Bible Museum, Philippine Bible Society, Manila: PBS is located at 890 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila, near the United Nations LRT Station. So one can board the nearest LRT Station (if you are from Manila) or board the Gil Puyat Station going to Monumento (if you will be coming from the provinces and dropping off at Gil Puyat-Taft Avenue intersection). Drop off at the UN LRT Station and walk up UN Avenue. PBS is across the street from the Manila Police District Headquarters.]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Retaking of Channel 4

* tarpaulin for the commemoration of the retaking of Channel 4 in 1987;
the celebration was dubbed “25th Anniversary: Defending Democracy”

As the month of August ended last week, I chanced upon the decorations just outside the Manila Police District Headquarters (MPD HQ) along United Nations Avenue in Manila. The decorations were in connection with the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the historic retaking of Channel 4 on August 27 to 28, 1987. What could have probably immediately attracted the attention of any chance passerby would be the imposing enlarged tarpaulin-printed photo of a younger Alfredo flanked by armed individuals on both sides.

* the memorial in front of the Manila Police District Headquaters

* Honor Roll, Manila Police District

At first, I thought it was something connected with the EDSA People Power but I was hit by the fact the year was 1987. Definitely post-EDSA People Power. So under the shameful awareness that I missed reading more on this particular part of Philippine history, I resorted to some news articles online detailing the program that was held in the MPD HQ on the morning of August 28, 2012. In there I got some historical tidbits about this event.

The newly established government of Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino in 1986 did not proceed smoothly. Coups d’etat haunted the infant leadership. Perhaps one of the most remembered, at least for us post-EDSA People Power generation, were the attempts of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement or RAM. One of the establishments that the then rebel soldiers occupied was Channel 4 (now ABS-CBN). The cause of last week’s celebrations was the successful retaking of the said station.

* Citation for the MPD HQ Memorial: “To the Eternal Memory of the Gallant Officers and Men of the Manila Police Department who willingly and gladly laid down their lives to uphold the Law and who Deeds of Heroism are now part of the glorious tradition of this organization; this humble memorial is dedicated July 31, 1953; initiated by Lt. Col. Cesar V. Lucero, Chief of Police of Manila and erected under the sponsorship of the Manila Lions Club”

* Manila’s Finest: seal of the Manila Police District

* classic streamer for the occasion

the decorations, a memorial of sort built in front of the headquarters was also refurbished for the occasion. News reports said that there was a photo exhibit and there was a move to make them permanent. I wish I could see them soon.

Additional References:,

Morning Views: San Pablo City, Laguna

Kill the growing impatience brought about by the seeming bus scarcity every Monday by these beautiful morning views in San Pablo City, Laguna. It doesn’t have to be from atop a mountain or along a beach. The sky can overwhelm us even in the simplest of place, in this case along a dusty highway.