June 15, 2009

Blue day

Last December, I mentioned that the Ateneo de Manila University will be celebrating its sesquicentennial, its 150th anniversary, on December 10, 2009. Yesterday was the grand kick-off celebration for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Since the Ateneo is a Roman Catholic university, it was but fitting that the day began with a mass. And since Intramuros was where it all began in 1859, the mass was held at the Manila Cathedral. It was concelebrated by about fifty Jesuit priests (I didn't get an exact count) and the main celebrant was Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the Archbishop of Manila. The mass was at 7:00 a.m. but we were there at 6:00 a.m. to greet and welcome all who were attending.

facade of the Manila Cathedral decorated for the 150th anniversary of the Ateneo de Manila

I posted a photo of the ruins of the Jesuit San Ignacio Church last week and wrote that the Intramuros Administration would be building an ecclesiastical museum on the site and that the groundbreaking ceremony would be held on the day that the returning Jesuits set foot in Manila in 1859. That was yesterday too. After the mass at the Manila Cathedral, there was a procession to the ruins a few blocks away. The land was blessed anew by Cardinal Rosales and four Jesuits, the Pangkat Kawayan bamboo orchestra performed for the crowd, and breakfast was served on the old walls of the city fortress.

the groundbreaking program for the new ecclesiastical museum that will rise at the ruins of the San Ignacio Church in Intramuros

After breakfast, the motorcade began. It stopped at all the past and present campuses of the Ateneo de Manila University. When the Intramuros campus of the school was destroyed by a big fire in 1932, it was relocated to Ermita, Manila along Padre Faura Street. Since the school again transferred to Quezon City in the 1950s, the lot was sold to the Gokongwei family which owns a chain of malls and department stores in the Philippines. So, yes, the first stop was at a mall: Robinsons Place Manila. There was a simple ceremony to unveil a brass marker beside the mall's Padre Faura entrance. On the marker was etched an image of the old school building and an explanation of the school's history in that location. What made the ceremony memorable was the presence of about two dozen alumni who studied in the Padre Faura campus. They even sang one of their favorite Ateneo cheers after the unveiling of the marker.

Padre Faura Street entrance of Robinsons Manila decorated for the unveiling of a marker explaining Ateneo de Manila's history in that location

Unfortunately, I missed the rest of the motorcade because of my assigned tasks for the day. In fact, I missed all the ceremonies yesterday except the one at Padre Faura. I was at the Manila Cathedral, but wasn't able to attend the mass. I saw the procession begin, but wasn't able to join it. I walked to the San Ignacio ruins, but only to immediately get in a car to go to Padre Faura, so I missed the performance and the breakfast. Yesterday was work for me and for everyone in our office, after all. But once it 's produced, we can all watch the video of yesterday's events and be proud of the fact that everything came to be because of us.


Olivier said...

un beau reportage, j'aime bien la deuxieme photo avec l'aigle.

a beautiful story, I like the second picture with the eagle.

James said...

What a fantastic event, too bad you missed most of it. I'm sure you enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.
I'm glad you found time to get the pictures.

Eki said...

i like grand arches with its decorative motives.

The Philippines has a better educational traditions that we do in Indonesia. Our oldest university is only 90 years old.

VP said...

Great set of photos of a memorable event.
The second image is really beautiful, but I like also the last one, showing us that quite emphatic but greatly effective composition.
I hope that you have some other photos of this event and that you will be able post them.

Cezar and Léia said...

Hello dear Hilda!
I think a mass was a right homage and great way to start celebrations for the University's Anniversary!
Your University seems a wonderful place! Glad to know about these happy and important news!I liked a lot that "mural" ( sorry I don't know if it is the right word in English for that)!Anyway beautiful shots!
Very informative post and many thanks for sharing!
God bless you

Dina said...

God bless your good works on the big day.
FIFTY priests concelebrated mass?!
And on Friday I hear the Year for Priests is beginning.

Lois said...

Sorry you had to miss so much Hilda, but at least you and your co-workers can be proud that you made such wonderful memories for all who attended. The pictures are beautiful!

Judy said...

Beautiful pictures of the big day!

stromsjo said...

...and that has got to be a very rewarding feeling. Incidentally, sesquicentennial would be a fantastic word for any spelling bee contest! ;)

Don and Krise said...

What an event. I'm sorry for what you missed. That is quite the grand entrance with all those arches.

escape said...

congratulations to Ateneo. it has retained its integrity. 150years of excellence i should say.

crocrodyl said...

Great event! The first photo is so impressive. Congrats!

Hilda said...

I asked a colleague how many priests were able to attend. 'About 80' was the answer I got!

Layrayski said...

Congratulations Ateneo =)

That's a lot of priests Hilda. It must've been very special indeed. Heard mass officiated by Cardinal Rosales once. That was when I was in Manila at Scalabrini Center. Good job! =) I can feel your excitement, (or is that exhaustion) in your comments hehehe

George said...

This sounds like a very magnificent event. I'm sorry you had to miss so much of it, but I thank you for the pictures and the explanation of what happened that day.

Dina said...

It's getting better all the time. :)