July 31, 2013

The soldier

statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola Today is the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Before his spiritual conversion at the age of 30, Ignatius was a soldier, hence the common depiction of him wearing a coat of mail and breastplate, and carrying a sword. This statue is in the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila Grade School in Quezon City.

July 30, 2013

Love for the Filipino

Rapa Lopa Rafael C. Lopa, better known simply as Rapa, is the Executive Director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and concurrently the President and Executive Director of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF). In various and sometimes diverse ways, both organizations are committed to alleviating poverty in the Philippines and developing competent and ethical leaders for the country. You can just imagine what kind of man chooses to lead such organizations in a country where one-fourth of the population live below the poverty line, and where stories of corruption are received with a shrug because it is so pervasive. Listening to him speak about his motivations, heartaches, and joys during the 2013 Ignatian Festival was profoundly moving and inspiring.

July 29, 2013

Wasted trip

Folded & Hung outlet store When it comes to fashion, I try to buy local brands as much as possible. Many of the shirts and blouses I use at work are from Folded&Hung, so I finally visited their outlet store along Quezon Avenue. I was disappointed in the selection, though; most of the items on sale at the store were the casual stuff like jeans, tees and sport shirts. Oh well.

July 28, 2013

My guardian dear

statue in the Holy Guardian Angels Park of the Ateneo de Manila Grade School There is an old story by Ateneo de Manila Grade School teacher Mr. Juan Javier which explains how the Holy Guardian Angels became the patrons of the Grade School and the special guardians of young Ateneans. The story takes place at Padre Faura, during the term of Fr. Henry Lee Irwin SJ as Headmaster.

Mr. Javier narrates how, on the evening of September 28, 1933, a group of Ateneo boarders were seated outdoors after having dinner. Nearby was a shrine of the Immaculate Conception. As they were singing and laughing, an earthquake shook the ground and a wall collapsed on them, but to the amazement of everyone, the students were not hurt. At the school assembly the following Monday, the Headmaster, Fr. Henry Lee Irwin SJ, declared that October 2 would, from then on, be the school feast day. This was because the community believed that it was the Holy Guardian Angels that saved the students from harm during the earthquake. The feast of the Holy Guardian Angels falls on October 2. Every year since then, the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels was celebrated at the Grade School with a procession, a school-wide Mass, and salu-salo (get-together). When Ateneo de Manila Grade School transferred to Loyola Heights in 1954, the chapel was dedicated to the Holy Guardian Angels. Images of the Guardian Angels were also commissioned for the chapel and the garden.

Every human being has been blessed by God with a guardian angel. They are messengers of God's love—our personal protector and guide. They lead us to God, helping us live a life of faith, excellence, and loving service. As patrons of Ateneo de Manila Grade School, they are forever our companions and friends in the Lord. May we be guardian angels to others—especially to those in need.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, 
to whom God's love commits me here, 
ever this day, be at my side, 
to light and guard, 
 to rule and guide. Amen. 

It is with deep gratitude to the Lord that this Holy Guardian Angels Park is blessed and dedicated on the 20th day of October 2010.

~From the plaque in the Holy Guardian Angels Park of the Ateneo de Manila Grade School

July 26, 2013


Halili-Cruz School of Ballet The Halili-Cruz School of Ballet was established in 1985 by Shirley Halili-Cruz. This is the main studio along Quezon Boulevard, but they have four other branches in Metro Manila, three of which are within the campuses of academic schools.

July 24, 2013

Modern Filipino

Café Via Mare The interior design may not be traditional Filipino, but Café Via Mare serves some of the best Filipino food in Metro Manila (and in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone). This is their branch in the University of the Philippines - Diliman GT Toyota Asian Cultural Center.

July 23, 2013

But of course!

Because of the presence of the President of the Philippines during the Ignatian Festival (see yesterday's post), all participants (and the working staff too, for that matter) had to go through bag and body checks by the Presidential Security Group (PSG). There was even a special check for cameras. I just had to prove that my camera really is a camera—by taking a photo of something.
 camera check for the Presidential Security Group
So I took a photo of the PSG guy checking cameras. The poor man lightly protested, saying it might end up being posted somewhere. Guess what my reply was.

July 22, 2013

Man in blue

President Aquino at the 2013 Ignatian Festival My husband and I attended the Ateneo de Manila University's Ignatian Festival last Saturday, which was keynoted by the president of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III, an alumnus of the university.
 President Aquino at the 2013 Ignatian FestivalThe only other person on the stage during the opening talks was the university president, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin SJ. It is widely known that President Aquino is not a morning person, so I guess it shouldn't have irritated us that he was 40 minutes late.

July 21, 2013


Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels of the Ateneo de Manila Grade School The chapel of the Ateneo de Manila Grade School is called the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels. Very fitting patrons for a school full of young boys.

July 20, 2013

A hotel for shopaholics

Greenhills Elan Hotel Modern The Greenhills Élan Hotel Modern towers over the Greenhills Promenade restaurant row of the Greenhills Shopping Center. We've never stayed there, but their published rates are pretty reasonable. If you're a foodie and a certified shopping bargain hunter, then its location can't be beat. The shopping center is the home of the huge Greenhills tiangge.

July 19, 2013

Sweet sleeping beauty

flower that goes to sleep at night I don't know what this flower is, but it bloomed one day in our front yard and now, several bushes line the curbside. All I know is, the flowers go to sleep at night and only wake up if they're kissed by the sun. And bees seem to like them more than any others we have.

I confess, we ended up with nameless flowers because I bought several seed packs of different perennials several years ago, planted all of them in the front yard, and tossed the packets. I like surprises.

July 15, 2013

A fountain for a hero

fountain of Liwasang Bonifacio I've already posted a photo of the grand central fountain of Liwasang Bonifacio (Bonifacio Park) with the Manila Central Post Office in the background. This is what the fountain looks like from the post office, with the clock tower of Manila City Hall just peeking above the plumes of water and a view of the heavy weekday traffic of Manila. The park is named after Andres Bonifacio (whose statue is on the far side of the fountain, beside the street), considered the father of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

July 14, 2013

Single story

interior of Pinaglabanan Church The retablo (reredos) of the St. John the Baptist Parish Church along Pinaglabanan Street in San Juan City is unusually low for a more than one century old church in this country. It only has one level of niches for statues of the saints.

July 13, 2013

Hide and seek

TriNoma mall This is the side of TriNoma mall that faces North Avenue, taken early in the morning before its thousands of visitors (estimated at 180,000 to 200,000 daily) arrive and the streets get blocked by heavy traffic. There's a little boy hiding behind the palm tree in the foreground. Do you see him? I didn't until I uploaded the photo.

July 8, 2013


Airphil Express plane Airphil Express, which used to be Air Philippines before Philippine Airlines (PAL) bought it, this year got rebranded into PAL Express. Again. The low-cost, regional airline was called PAL Express for a short while before it became Airphil Express. So this plane now probably sports the sunrise logo of PAL on its tail. Again.

July 7, 2013

The Family

glass sculpture by Ramon Orlina This small glass sculpture by Ramon Orlina has always been one of my favorite pieces in the collection of the Ateneo Art Gallery. Orlina shapes his sculptures from blocks of industrial glass, hence the green coloration of most of his work. An architect by training, Orlina began exploring sculpture during the turbulent 1970s when his clients started moving to the U.S. because of the Marcos dictatorship. Completely self-taught in glass sculpture, Orlina has since won numerous international awards for his work, and was declared The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awardee for the Arts in 2006.

July 4, 2013

What a job!

diorama of underwater archeological excavation Ever wonder what an underwater archeological dig looks like? This diorama at the Museum of the Filipino People gives us a glimpse. The excavation site is in shallow waters near the shore, however, so barrel rafts rather than a ship could be used.

July 3, 2013

Twenty for half

fruit vendor on the sidewalk An itinerant fruit vendor on the sidewalk outside the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish church was selling green mangoes, sampaloc (tamarind), and kamote (sweet potato). Green mangoes are sour and those who like them eat them with bagoong (fish or shrimp paste) or sea salt. Tamarind is also sour but it can be candied, and the fruit is also used for the soup base of one of our most popular dishes, sinigang. It was the tamarind that was selling for twenty pesos (less than 50 US cents) for half a kilo.

July 2, 2013

Knowledge and virtue

Claret School coat of arms The coat of arms of Claret School of Quezon City includes the motto of the school, Scientia maxime cum virtute, which means "Knowledge is best with virtue." Their website explains that "This phrase has been adopted by the school as its own motto to embody the search for knowledge and the promotion of intellectual growth, which is made more sublime with the practice of virtue." The school is named after its patron, Saint Anthony Mary Claret, who founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1849 in the city of Vic in Spain.

July 1, 2013

Quonset hut

Blue Eagle Gym CITY DAILY PHOTO THEME DAY: FACADE When the Jesuits decided to move the main campus of the Ateneo de Manila from Padre Faura in the City of Manila to the no-man's-land that was Loyola Heights in Quezon City in the 1950s, the first structure they had built was the gymnasium. It served as the storehouse of construction materials for the other buildings. Now called the Blue Eagle Gym, after the university's mascot, it continues to be the most visible landmark of the Ateneo de Manila—if only because it is currently the only building that can completely be seen from the road. And, yes, the design of the Blue Eagle Gym really is based on the lowly quonset hut. That inexpensive, prefabricated shelter served the Jesuits and the school well after World War II.