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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The UP Oblation (Replica)

I first time I saw the replica of the Oblation at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman was in 1993, during my last year at high school. I took the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) but I didn’t make it for Diliman. I only made it to UP San Fernando (Pampanga).

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The famous icon of UP Diliman, The Oblation, is actually a replica. The original is inside the Main Library.

My second visit to UP Diliman was just recently when my aunt who’s living in the US went here for a short vacation. We passed by UP on our way to visit a relative in Quezon City. This was the first time that I took a picture of the UP Oblation, which I later found out from Wikipedia, to be a replica.

Today, that sculpture is only a bronze replica (which was recast from the original in Italy in 1950,under the supervision of Tolentino himself) dedicated on U.P.'s Golden Jubilee on November 29, 1958. The original sculpture is being kept at the Main Library (Gonzalez Hall), the former site of the U.P. College of Fine Arts. (Wikipedia)

I would probably visit again UP Diliman for the 3rd time to visit the original UP Oblation statue. By the way, the markers about the Oblation read:

ANG OBLASYON

Ang Oblasyon ng Pamantasan ay nilikha ni Guillermo E. Tolentino (1890-1976) bilang walang pagkupas na sagisag ng mga adhikain at tradisyon ng Unibersidad. Nagsimulang pag-isipan ang pagbuo ng bantayog ng Unibersidad sa panunungkulan ng Pangulong Rafael Palma at natupad sa panahon ng Pangulong Jorge C. Bocobo.

Ang Oblasyon ay nagsasaad ng patuloy na pagtuklas ng karunungan at katotohanan, kahusayan sa lahat ng gawaing pantao, pag-ibig sa bayan at paglilingkod sa sambayanan at sangkatauhan. Ang makisig na kabataang lalaki na nakatindig nang tuwid, nakadipa, nakatingala, at bahagyang nakapikit habang nagninilay ay larawan ng lubos na pag-aalay ng kabataan sa mga adhikaing ito.

Niyari ang orihinal sa pinatibay na kongkreto at pinintahan upang magmistulang bronse. Ang kalakhan sa ginugol upang ito’y matapos ay galing sa abuloy ng mga estudyante noong 1935-1936, sa Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, na pinamunuan ni Potenciano T. Ilusorio sa unang semester at ni Jose B. Laurel, Jr. naman sa pangalawa. Nag-abuloy si Ilusorio ng karagdagang halaga upang matapos at mapasinayaan ito noong Marso, 1936.

Unang itinayo ang Oblasyon sa Padre Faura, Maynila, inilipat sa Diliman, Lungsod ng Quezon noong Pebrero, 1949.

For the benefit of my Czech friend Honza and other foreign readers, allow me to translate it (to the best of my ability) in English:

The Oblation

Guillermo E. Tolentino (1890-1976) created the University Oblation as an eternal symbol of the desires and traditions of the University. The plan for the construction of the University statue began during the term of (University) President Rafael Palma and was fulfilled during the term of President Jorge C. Bocobo.

The Oblation symbolizes the continued search for knowledge and truth, excellence in human endeavor, love of country and service to society and mankind. The well-build young man who stands straight, arms stretched with slightly-closed eyes on heaven while contemplating shows the youth’s commitment to these ideals.

The original (statue) was made of reinforced concrete and painted to look like bronze. The amount used to finished it came from student donations in 1935-1936 and from the Student Council headed by Potenciano T. Ilusorio in the first semester and Jose B. Laurel Jr. in the second (semester). Ilusorio donated additional funds to complete the statue for inauguration in March 1936.

The Oblation was first built in Padre Faura, Manila and was transferred to Diliman, Quezon City in February 1949.

Another marker near the Oblation reads:

University of the Philippines

(Founded 1908)

25th Anniversary of the “Exodus”

1949-1974

This marker commemorates the transfer of the University from the cramped quadrangle on Padre Faura, Manila to the spacious campus in Diliman, Quezon City. President B.M. Gonzales effected the Exodus during the Christmas recess of 1948-1949 and classes were resumed on the new campus in January 1949 in sawali and Quonset huts vacated by the U.S. Army. The transfer enabled the University to develop into the multiversity it has become. Now known as the University of the Philippines System, established in 1972. The spaciousness of this campus, matched by the largeness of the ideas to which the University is dedicated as well as the purpose it serves. We owe to the courage and vision of President Gonzalez.

Dedicated on April 27, 1974.

(Signed) Salvador P. Lopez

President

There were other markers scattered around the UP Oblation and it reads:

The University of the Philippines has been erected on this new site with the aid of The People of the United States of America under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 as a lasting contribution to the education of the youth of the Republic of the Philippines

The last marker I’ve seen reads:

University of the Philippines

Founded on June 18, 1908 under Act No. 1870 of the First Philippine Legislature. Commemorated the U.P. Diamond Jubilee Year on June 18, 1983 to reassert the University’s role as the fountain of learning and source of leadership of the Filipino people. Proclamation No. 2147 of His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines, created a Presidential Commission on the U.P. Diamond Jubilee composed of:

Cesar E. A. Virata, Chairman

Onofre D. Corpuz, Co-Chairman

Edgardo J. Angara, Vice-Chairman

Members: Manuel S. Alba, Roberto S. Benedicto, Francisco Tantuico Jr., Simeon Datumanong, Muss Isquierdo, Juan Ponce Enrile, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Emil Q. Javier

Oscar M. Alfonso, Secretary

Dedicated on the 77th Foundation Day, June 18, 1985.

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Gat. Andres Bonifacio also has a monument in UP Campus, Diliman.

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The replica of The Oblation in front of Quezon Hall.

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Several markers giving information about UP Diliman.

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Taken from the back of Quezon Hall in UP Diliman.

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UP Diliman has several parks and open-spaces like these. This campus is very ideal for photo-walk.

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One of the major streets within UP Diliman that passes along Palma Hall.

The Day I Met A Freemason

Disclaimer: These are just my personal speculations (and opinion) on how I view Freemasonry. This should not be considered as facts.

RAB, Freemason

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The symbol of Freemasonry -- the Square and Compasses with the letter "G" in the center. "The square, to square our actions; The compasses, to circumscribe and keep us within bounds with all mankind". Wikipedia

My coworker often calls me as "a person in the dark” – someone who hasn’t seen “the light” in Freemasonry. He's a Freemason and the first of its kind that I encountered in person. He was just recently accepted in the Oldest Fraternity in the World, Quezon City branch. Let's call him "RAB". During our Language Training week, he told us that it's one of his greatest achievements to date.

The first time I've encountered the term Freemason was with the movie "National Treasure" starring Nicholas Cage. It also has a sequel which continued the tale of Solomon's treasures -- how it travelled from the Biblical Israel to Rome (during the sack of Jerusalem) up to modern-day USA. It's an excellent movie -- one that incorporates legends, myths and facts.

The Da Vinci Code also added some interests to the subject of The Lost Gospels of Jesus Christ. Even before the popularity of The Da Vinci Code, I've already heard a similar story -- on how Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and ended up with a Bloodline that is being protected by a secret society. The Holy Grail is Mary Magdalene herself, according to this book (that I can't remember the title). So Dan Brown's idea for his book is not new to me.

Going back to my Freemason coworker, I asked him the question: "If photography club members aims to improve their photography skills, and members of a bloggers' club aims to improve their blogging skills, what does a member of Freemasonry aims to achieve? Certainly not their masonry skills, right?"

He responded by saying that his ultimate goal, as a Freemason, is for improvement of Human Morality through symbolism (something to that effect). I just uttered the word "oww-kei" (okay). The next question would have been "Is it the best way to improve a person's view of human morality?" I asked him that question by writing it down on my notebook. He wrote his reply on the same notebook but after a few minutes, he decided to tear it from my notebook. I guess he doesn’t want to be quoted for that.

One of his lines is: "It's beyond your comprehension to understand" whenever I ask him some questions regarding Freemasonry. I don’t know if it’s just part of the secretive nature of a Mason or he really thinks that I’m not open to new ideas. He always refers to me as "a person in the dark ". On my understanding, it somehow equates to the idea that "he's in the light" and that being a Mason, he knows a lot of things better than I am. I would then reply "ikaw na [ang] nasa light. Ikaw na ang may full understanding ng mga bagay-bagay". [You're the enlightened one. You already have a full understanding of things].

During our previous conversations, he already mentioned that most of our heroes are Freemasons, including Jose Rizal. That's a little known fact about our National Hero but if you read the Wikipedia article on the List of Freemasons, Jose Rizal is listed there.

Another thing that he mentioned is that our national flag is somehow influenced by the Freemasons. I asked what particular aspect of the flag and I remember him saying about the 3 stars, which we all know stands for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. He hinted that it means something else (something to that effect). I told him that the stars have been incorporated in almost all cultures on Earth as a symbol for something. How can they (Freemasons) claim that it means something else and that they're the only ones who know it? [Edit: I later found out, through the report of Jeff Canoy, that it was the Triangle that they’re claiming to be of Masonic symbol.]

Whenever I ask something about his Club, he sometimes gives me the line "If I tell you, I have to kill you". I learned from Discovery Channel's feature on Freemasonry that it's a common joke coming from a Freemason. I find it creepy. Anyway, I manage to find 2 videos and 1 PowerPoint presentation that give an overview about Freemasonry. This is my way of being open to the idea of Freemasonry.

Discovery Channel: Secret History of the Freemasons

A magnificent video about Freemasonry

The Discovery Channel’s episode on the Freemasonry is an interesting one. It tells the history of the Freemasons and even showed the initiation ritual involving the myth of Hiram Abiff. The video also showed the interiors of some of the Lodges in Europe, which is very impressive in its extravagance and design. These Lodges are really work of art and truly showed the craft of skillful masons.

The video of Discovery Channel pretty much gives a non-Mason like me a general idea on what Freemasonry is all about. Honestly, I see it as an Elite Club for guys – straight guys. Although on the video, it was shown that Freemasonry already opened certain Lodges to accept woman as members. RAB mentioned that sexual preference is not being asked during the interview. However, he doesn’t give me a straight answer to the question whether an openly-gay guy could be accepted as a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines.

The motto (or marketing slogan) of Freemasonry is “Making Good Men Better”. Since I don’t consider myself a good guy, I don’t meet the minimum requirement for being a Freemason. The other requirement (thankfully I qualify) is a belief in a Supreme Being – The Great Architect of the Universe as the Freemasons (in the video) calls Him.

Another thing that fascinates me with the Freemason is the long-standing ban by the Roman Catholic Church to join such fraternity. Not to mention that publicly-known Masons are denied Catholic funeral rites, as mentioned in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (Canon 2335). The most recent case regarding this is issue involves the late Brig. Gen. Josefino Manayao of Nueva Ecija who died in an ambush. Although he’s a Catholic and his wife already requested Cabanatuan Bishop Sofio Balce's for a funeral rite, she was denied, quoting the Canon Law. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 6, 2000, p.1 and p.4)

Inquirer on Freemasons

As of today, the Roman Catholic Church still bans its members to join the Freemasonry and other “secret societies” or societies with secrets.

As a Roman Catholic, I really find it hard to accept that the Freemasons views Jesus as a mere mortal, similar on how the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo view Him (based on the novel The Hiram Key). Since I’m reciting the Apostles Creed, I firmly believe in the Divinity of Christ. I believe that’s the main reason why the Catholic Church bans Freemasonry. Here’s an interesting article from the website of Society of St. Pius X District of Asia regarding this issue.

On matters of annual fees, I was surprised to learn that some Lodges have an annual fee of P3,000, which is the same amount I pay as a member of our photography club. I was under the impression that being a Freemason means breaking the bank. Probably it’s true to other Lodges – and it’s the reason most of its members belong to the Upper Class.

My Freemason coworker RAB also mentioned that Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista was denied membership to one of the Lodges since he needs to learn what humility is. He told us the story behind Mayor Bautista’s denial, which is an interesting story. It only means that the Freemasons are not pressured by a person’s status in society or influenced by a person’s wealth and power. Another story that RAB shared is that President Noynoy Aquino was also denied membership to the Freemasonry because he is “a high profile personality”. RAB hinted that before being a member, a candidate is required to perform some “deeds” or task and it’s a bit awkward for the Masons to ask the President to do some of these “deeds”.

When I was 18, I was introduced to the Knights of Columbus (K of C). I became a member for about 2-3 months and then I suddenly became inactive. I only remembered the K of C when I watched the video about the Freemasons. There’s a similar blind-folded initiation rite in the K of C, which I assumed is inspired by the Freemason’s initiation rites. When I mentioned to RAB that I was a former K of C member, he thought that my negative idea of the Freemasons was because of K of C. In fairness to K of C, I never heard them mentioned the word Mason or Freemasons during my stay with them.

I asked RAB about the perks of being a Freemason or why I should prefer it over Rotary Club or Lions Club. These organizations are all International and have charity works. I guess RAB mentioned that since Freemasons have been around for ages (although the first Grand Lodges was founded in 1717), they have secrets (and books) that are not known to the public. According to RAB, this information would probably shake the foundations of my faith (or not). It’s probably similar information or books that are only found in the Vatican Library.

Well, I’ve already learned the most important rule or knowledge in the world – The Golden Rule. I just have to practice it. Besides, I haven’t read the New American Bible from cover to cover, so why should I bother myself reading other books? I already have enough on my plate. Everything I have to learn in life, I’ve learned in Kindergarten.

Jeff Canoy on Freemasonry

Mga Lihim ni Dimasalang

The Freemasons in the Philippines was featured in a report by Jeff Canoy on ABS-CBN. He interviewed some of officials at their Ermita Lodge regarding Freemasonry. The interview tackled 3 things: the general information about Freemasonry in the Philippines, Masonry symbolism in the Philippine Flag and Jose Rizal as the foremost Filipino Freemason.

In the first part of the interview, Teddy Locsin Jr. also gave some general information about Freemasonry – that the main goals are Brotherly Love, Relief (Charity) and Truth. They also frequently mentioned Mutual Support as one of the objectives of Freemasonry, which is also a common goal of the different fraternities in the country. Other things that can be gained from membership to the Freemasonry are Organization Techniques and how to operate in secret.

Regarding the Masonic symbols in the Philippine Flag, which RAB discussed to me as well, it was actually the Triangle in the Flag and the Number 3 that they are claiming to have Masonic symbolism. After all, the Triangle is related to the Pyramid, which is also present in the US 1 Dollar. They often associate the Pyramid to Freemasonry thus they’re claiming that the Craft is as old as the Pyramids of Giza.

The Philippine Flag evolved from different flags including the Pirate Flag (a skull and 2 cross-bones) and the one that has a Sun with a Face. It was the Sun with a Face that they are claiming to be Masonic in origin. After all, Emilio Aguinaldo, who commissioned the creation of the present-day Philippine Flag, is also a Mason. Although the modern day flag no longer has the Face, the Triangle remained. I really can’t understand how a symbol like the Triangle (which is as old as Geometry itself) can be equated to Masonry. I’m equally fascinated how the Masons also adopted the Eye of Horus (an Egyptian symbol) as Masonic.

The last part of the interview is about Jose Rizal as a Mason. According to the Masons that were interviewed by Jeff Canoy, Jose Rizal became a member during his stay in Spain and reached the status of an 18th Degree Mason and Master Mason. He used the name Dimasalang as his alleged Masonic name and according to the Masons, he never retracted his Masonic status as opposed to what the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is saying. This retraction controversy is open to debate. In college, we have a subject about Jose Rizal and I can’t remember if it was even mentioned in class that he was a Mason. I also can’t remember that Jose Rizal mentioned his Masonic membership to his best friend Ferdinand Blumentritt in all those letters. The Masons that were interviewed by Jeff Canoy presented documents related to Rizal’s membership to the Spanish Lodge (his speech to the Lodge, certificates, etc.) but they never presented any letter of Rizal that mentions his membership. Nevertheless, the interview was very informative.

History of Freemasonry in the Philippines

freemasons philippines

The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons Philippines celebrated their 100th Year Anniversary in 2012. This momentous event was also commemorated in the P100 peso bill.

The 3rd material about Freemasonry that I read was a PowerPoint presentation made by Norberto C. Bautista, a Mason from LuzViMinda Lodge No. 317 (Washington, USA). His presentation entitledFilipino Freemasonry in Washingtongives a history on how Freemasonry started in the Philippines and some of famous Filipino Freemasons (including most of our heroes). To summarize the PPT presentation:

  • September 22, 1762 – an English fleet anchored in Manila Bay carrying on board the English Masons who did the first Masonic work on Philippine soil, labor was conducted inside the Manila Cathedral.
  • 1855* -- the PM of Spain, III. Bro. Sagasta, sent three 33rd degree Masons to the Philippines. He was then the Sovereign Grand Commander (of the Scottish Rite) and the GM of the Gran Oriente de Espana.
  • 1856 Lodge Primera Luz Filipino – first Masonic lodge established in the Philippines. Spanish Navy ensign, Bro. Jose Malcampo, is credited. No pure blooded Filipino was accepted for membership.
  • 1886 – Filipinos participated in the organization of Lodge Solidaridad No. 53 in Barcelona, Spain. Years later, they established Lodge Revolucion also in Barcelona.
  • In 1890, Filipinos started a lodge in Madrid also named Solidaridad, composed exclusively of Filipinos.
  • 1892 (January 6). Nilad Lodge No. 144 was the first all-Filipino lodge chartered and constituted by the Gran Oriente de Espana (Grand Orient of Spain).
  • Filipino “Clandestine” Masons Cited in Mainstream Masonry: Dr. Jose Rizal, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Gen. Antonio Luna, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Apolinario Mabini, and Juan Luna.
  • Bro. Rizal was made a Master Mason on November 15, 1890 at Logia Solidaridad 53 in Madrid, Spain. He affiliated with a lodge under the jurisdiction of Grand Orient of France on October 14, 1891, and was made honorary Worshipful Master of Nilad Lodge No. 144 in 1892.
  • Publicly executed by Imperial Spain for advocating Philippine independence from Spain and exposing tyranny of the colonial government. 10 of these men are Freemasons.
  • “Worshipful” or “Worship” is the old English for “respected”

Conclusion

One of the things that I find odd about the Freemasonry in general is that “no Masonic historian has been able to establish the exact date as to when non-operative members were accepted into the Craft” (Bro. B.J. Torres, The River Delta, Issue No. 2, June 2006). Why would I join an organization that claims to know a lot of secrets about our history and yet they don’t know their own history?

Bottom-line, the Freemasonry is a good organization that promotes the improvement of men from being good to better and promotes belief in God. Given the opportunity to be invited to be a Mason, I would still decline the offer though since the Roman Catholic Church discourages it and also because I don’t want to get involved in an organization that has so many secrets. Besides, I don’t think I can handle another clubs since I’m already a member of two organizations in photography.

It’s good to know though that because of a close encounter with a Freemason, I was able to know a little about the oldest fraternity in the world.

Disclaimer: Again, these are just my personal speculations on how I view Freemasonry. I let my Freemason coworker RAB read the draft of this blog post but he refused to comment on the contents. He strongly advised me not to publish this blog post.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Nokia Lumia Series From Abenson

I'm a longtime fan of Nokia ever since they released their 5110 and 3210. I then purchased a 3310, 1100 and 2700 classic. Nokia is known to be a durable brand of cellphone and I remember back then that we always look for the ones made in Finland.

nokia fast facts

Fast facts about Nokia Lumia

Now, Nokia partnered with Microsoft to release the Windows Phone, which includes the Nokia Lumia series. It's powered by Windows 8, the latest operating system from Microsoft. This is Nokia's way of competing in the smartphone market and regaining their spot as the #1 mobile phone brand in the Philippines. I'm pretty impressed with the specifications and features of the Nokia Lumia series.

I tried the Nokia Lumia series at Abenson Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City. One of the perks of shopping at Abenson is their proximity to my place of work. I'm currently working at Wynsum Corporate Plaza in Ortigas Center, which is just a few meters away from Shangri-La Plaza. Whenever I want to check a new gadget, I can easily passed by Abenson after work.

abenson fast facts

Fast facts about Abenson

By the way, Abenson is one of the biggest appliance networks in the country. They're also a major destination for shoppers of the latest in mobile technology. If you have credit cards, you can pay as low as P500/month for that mobile phone that you really wanted.

I met Deanne of Abenson Shangri-La Plaza and she told me the latest with the Nokia Lumia series. She also demonstrated the units to me and gave some of the features of these phones. Right now, they are selling the following models:

Nokia Lumia 920 (will be available in April 2013)

Nokia Lumia 820 at P20,990

Nokia Lumia 620 (price TBA)

Speaking of the Nokia Lumia series phones, I'm planning to purchase the 620 because I believe it’s the cheapest among these three. It comes with Windows 8 and one of its features is the Live Tiles. Other features present in the Lumia phones include the Nokia Smart Shoot, Nokia City Lens, full-versions of MS Office, Outlook and Internet Explorer 10. The Nokia Smart Shoot will let you take a series of photos with a single click while the Nokia City Lens will allow you to see your city differently.

The Nokia Lumia 920 comes with a 7 GB SkyDrive subscription (online storage), an internal storage capacity of 32 GB, Kid’s Corner, Bluetooth, Custom Font Size, Wireless Charging, Contact Transfer, among others. The Nokia Lumia 820 and 620 comes with micro-SD capability and SkyDrive subscription as well. All these 3 phones can create, view and edit MS Word and MS Excel documents as well as view and edit options for the MS PowerPoint.

If you're from Makati, you might want to visit The New Glorietta branch at the 3rd floor near Food Choices. If you're near Trinoma, Abenson have a branch at the 2nd level beside Nike. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and try the new Nokia Lumia series at these stores!

PLDT myDSL’s Best Commercial For Me Is Derek’s Anna Banana Song

The Anna Banana series of commercials from PLDT is a commercial success. The number of views for these commercials could attest to that. It has evolved from a single commercial (that features a boy singing a song with catchy lyrics) to a series of commercials that's almost similar to a telenovela of the Lorenzo Family. Right now, there are 4 videos that tell the story of Derek and his family:

Derek’s Anna Banana Song

 

Derek got busted

 

Aria is the new Anna Banana!

 

Booster, the Lost Dog

Among these 4 commercials, I think that "Derek's Anna Banana Song" best shows family-sized connection and sharing at home. In this video, Derek made a video for Anna and posted it on YouTube. He showed it to his mom who's very supportive of him. His mom watches Derek's video from almost every place in the house, which shows how the Internet connection is shared at the Lorenzo's place. Derek was very jubilant when his movie finally reached 100 views (or his mom watched it 100 times).

If you're familiar with this first video of Derek, you might want to subscribe to the PLDT myDSL Anna Banana YouTube Channel ww.youtube.com/annabananaDSL so that you can be up to date with what’s happening to the Lorenzo family. I was actually surprised that a dog was introduced in their storyline!

Remember, your home deserves unlimited sharing from the strong, reliable, family sized connection of myDSL. The strongest connections are at home, so visit www.pldthome.com to get your family connected today!

PLDT Anna Banana 3 8.5x11 Mag

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reach For The Sky (Year 3)

It’s my first time to attend the Reach for the Sky project held yesterday at Angeles City Flying Club, Mabalacat Pampanga. Reach for the Sky project gives chance to kids with special needs to fly in an ultralight (small airplane). This year, kids from an orphanage in Cavite were also given the chance to fly.

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Reach For The Sky is a yearly event for children with special needs.

This project started 3 years ago and it was John Chua who’s behind this advocacy. John Chua is a Canon brand ambassador and has a son who has special needs. He formed the group Photography With a Difference (PWD) who aims to bring smiles to kids through photographs. Eventually, John Chua formed the Canon Advocacy Team (A-Team) who was given the task of taking pictures of each and every kid participant of this event. Canon A-Team was formed in 2010.

Reach For The Sky aims to give kids with special needs, orphans and their guardians to experience a worry-free day. Photographers, specially the Canon A-Team, aim to capture that moment where the kids enjoyed the day made for them. Hopefully, these kids would take a look at these pictures and remember the day that they were truly happy.

The main event of the day is for the kids to experience flying via the ultralight. Aside from that, there were numerous side events and activities while the kids wait for their turn to fly. There was a treasure hunt, an ice cream for all, origami-making, bubble show, RC plane exhibition, performances from the Canon mascots, among others.

The photos taken by the Canon A-Team will be displayed in a travelling photo-exhibit which would start at SM Clark next month. It would then travel to other SM malls like SM Pampanga, SM San Fernando, among others.

Reach For The Sky is made possible through numerous sponsors including The Philippine Air Force, SM Cares, Canon, Baliwag Transit, Jollibee, Creamline, Catsville, Lil People, Monster, Krispy Kreme, Goldilocks, Pizza Hut, Shakeys, Red Ribbon, Karate Kid, Zoocobia Fun Zoo, CF Copy Fax Design, Unleashed Media and TV 5.

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The commentator during the RC plane exhibition.

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Children with special needs, their guardians and the photographers.

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Some of the ultralights that helped the children touch the sky.

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One of the visually-impaired kids who experienced flying in an ultralight.

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Another ultralight.

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The remote-controlled plane that flew during the exhibition.

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One of the numerous planes at the hangar.

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Another remote-control plane.

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Thanks to the sponsors who made the event possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day!

from hdwallpaperfansdotcom

Photo courtesy of hdwallpaperfans.com

It’s that time of the year again when everyone’s in the mood to send flowers and chocolates. I wish I have someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. Nevertheless, it’s okay to be single but I’m still hoping to have a lover very soon.

Anyway, here’s a cute video shared by one of my Ragnarok friends. I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Great job to Green Mango and the cute kid named Jacobo for this wonderful video!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine

I worked in Bacoor (in a construction site) from 2001 to 2005. During that time, I never bothered to visit the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine which is just a few minutes away from SM Bacoor.

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I finally visited the historical Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine.

It was only last December 29, 2013 that I finally visited the place where our Independence from Spain was proclaimed in 1898. The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine is located at Kawit, Cavite. From SM Bacoor, I took a min-bus and it passed along this famous landmark.

I was a bit disappointed because I noticed that it is smaller than what is portrayed in pictures. Since it’s Saturday when I visited, the museum is closed. Still, I was able to take these pictures of the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine.

The marker on the entrance reads:

Site of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence

On June 12, 1898, Philippine Independence was proclaimed from the center window of the original house of the family of General Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy, President of the First Philippine Republic and leader of the revolution against Spain and America. Through the reading of the Acta de la Proclamacion de la Independencia del Pueblo Filipino by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista. During this occasion, the Philippine Flag made in Hong Kong by Dona Marcela Marino de Agoncillo was officially unfurled as the band of San Francisco de Malabon proudly played the Marcha Nacional Filipina (now the Philippine National Anthem) composed by Julian Felipe.

This historical marker is installed by the grateful Filipino people in observance of the Centennial of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence unveiled by his excellency President Fidel Valdez Ramos on June 12, 1998.

 IMG_0204The Philippine Flag that we’re using right now was first raised in this balcony. 

IMG_0205The Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine is smaller than I thought.

IMG_0206Closer look at the balcony.

IMG_0209Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine on the morning of December 29, 2012.

IMG_0211The Balcony

IMG_0214The Marker

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Weekend Like No Other

One of the benefits of joining a photography club is the numerous invitations that you’ll receive to visit different places. Last December 2012, I was invited to spend a weekend like no other at Barangay Malico, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya. It was a 3 days, 2 nights vacation to a fabulous place that resembles La Trinidad, Benguet in terms of climate. It also resembles Baguio before it became crowded with buildings and people.

IMG_9989 Barangay Malico in Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya offers magnificent view of the mountains.

I left Manila via Victoria Liner en route to Tugeugarao, Cagayan. I dropped off at Sta. Fe town proper and it took me around 6 hours to reach this part of Nueva Vizcaya. From the town proper, it took me another 30 minutes (via motorbike) to reach Barangay Malico. It was the most exhilarating ride I’ve ever experienced since we’re trekking the mountainside. My heart is pounding with every turn on our way up the mountain.

The place, where my photographer friend’s rest house is located, is being transformed to a vegetable field similar to La Trinidad, Benguet. Several rest houses where set-up near their rest house. Upon reaching this part of Barangay Malico, I immediately felt the cold climate which is at par with Baguio City. Another thing that I liked about the place is the absence of several houses. Barangay Malico is definitely a nature lover’s haven.

I also saw one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. We saw the province of Pangasinan from the top of the mountain. There are so many pine trees in the vicinity as well. It’s also good nice to see the fog coming down from the heavens. It’s definitely a wonderful sight.

The next day, we hiked to an area full of pine trees with magnificent view of the mountainside. This is probably how Baguio City looked like in the 1900s before the Americans discovered it. There was even a tank on top of the mountain which was there since World War II. We also reached the boundary of Nueva Vizcaya and Pangasinan.

After the morning hike, we attended the major event of the community. It’s a Christmas Party combined with Barrio Fiesta. There were cultural dances from the local grade school and high school students. Kids and adults also enjoyed the parlor games including the classic Trip to Jerusalem among others. After the games and dances, the locals shared the simplest meal I’ve ever seen – boiled native pig (without spices or salt). In spite the simplicity of their food, you’ll see how grateful they are for the meal of the day. The kids are also delighted by the toys that were given to them.

In the afternoon of Day 2, we visited the Imugan Falls. It was the first falls that I saw and I took the opportunity to take a bath in it. The water is very cold and the feeling of taking a bath in it is one of the best things that I’ve ever experienced. The hike towards Imugan Falls is also quite an adventure. There were plenty of ferns and flora along the way.

The 3rd day, Sunday, is spend preparing to go back to Manila. We visited a local shrine to fallen soldiers of World War II. It’s quite intriguing to think that Barangay Malico in Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya was a venue of fighting between the retreating Japanese forces (on their way to Baguio City) and the Filipino-American army. The Shrine also gives a great view of the rest house and the greenhouses. It was a beautiful place.

After lunch, we departed Barangay Malico and I promised to return this year on their annual Christmas Party. I sure hope you can also visit the place.

By the way, the people of Barangay Malico belong to the Kalahan-Kalanguya tribe. Kalahan is the local word for “forest” while Kalanguya is the language.  

IMG_0041 Christmas Day / Barrio Fiesta at Barangay Malico.

IMG_0064The kids posing for the camera.

IMG_0081 The local moms also attended the event.

IMG_0095 Elementary students in their native costume.

IMG_0104 The culture of the Kalahan-Kalanguya people are similar to the Ifugao.

IMG_0135 The kids dancing to the delight of the spectators.

IMG_0154 A kid fascinated by a toy.

IMG_0166 Kids enjoying a simple meal.

IMG_0186 The place is becoming a vegetable plantation similar to La Trinidad.

IMG_9727 Imugan Falls – the pride of Barangay Malico, Sta. Fe, Nueva Ecija.

IMG_9729 I took a bath in the cool waters of Imugan Falls.

IMG_9758 It seems that there is a fire on the mountain but it’s just sunset.

IMG_9786 The Shrine. It was dedicated to the slain Japanese, Filipinos and American soldiers in this part of Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya.

IMG_9787 The view of the greenhouses from The Shrine.

IMG_9795 Wonderful view of the mountains.

IMG_9805 One of the several species of ferns that is abundant in the area.

IMG_9814 A farmer attending to his crops.

IMG_9839 One of the several flowers in the area.

IMG_9854 My journey began here at the Victory Liner terminal in Kamias, Quezon City.

IMG_9857 The town proper of Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya. The smallest town I’ve ever been to.

IMG_9881 The cottage/inn at Barangay Malico, Sta. Fe, Nueva Ecija. This is where the annual Christmas Party takes place.

IMG_9886 Vegetable plantation.

IMG_9896 Several pine trees on the mountain.

IMG_9900 Wonderful sunset.

IMG_9918 Red disc.

IMG_9930 Gorgeous clouds!

IMG_9954 Sunrise!

IMG_9962 Mountain view.

IMG_9995Trekking on the mountain with several pine trees.

 

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