INSIDE ASIA’S OLDEST UNIVERSITY 2/2

A large segment from my previous collection of images was intended as my bid to the Digital Photographer of the Philippine’s photo story competition titled “LIFE IN UST.” Was it a long shot.

While a not-so-few images, I handed over to UST’S Office of Public Affairs as requested. My token of appreciation to the administration actually. In return, the OPA rewarded me with “The Academia,” the official international bulletin of the university, a flashy campus tour map, and — now this is boss — a PHOTO BOOK.

You want to lay eyes on the pages I tell you.

But the greatest gravy of them all, is how you, Tomasinos and Tomasinas, responded to my earlier set. No words. With this final installment goes my genuine thanks to you all.

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I must have been a Thomasian in my past life.

PHOTO ESSAY : INSIDE ASIA’S OLDEST UNIVERSITY

In 1611, Dominicans in Manila established the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario or the now University of Santo Tomas, making it the oldest existing university in Asia. Originally intended as a college for seminaristas, the school was built within the confines of Intramuros and became alma mater to many illustrious names in Philippine history. After the Spanish colonization — or 300 years later — UST expanded outside the Walled City and into the marshes of Sampaloc.

Today, the UST Main Building stands what could be the most beautiful architectural landmark in all of Manila. The grandeur of Renaissance Revival style. A reprieve from the eyesores along the stretch of Quezon Boulevard. And yes, the Pride of Sampaloc. (Although a number of newer structures inside the campus now do not go in harmony with the Main Building’s character.)

I took a shot at studying architecture here in UST on my way to college back in ’84. The admission test then consists of a massive structural questionnaire that could drive one crazy. And I was not that genuinely serious about academics during those wild days.

Today I’m taking shots of the university once more — from a different angle now.

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( My sincerest thanks to Rev. Fr. Winston F. Cabading,OP and to Ms. Arlyn Igtiben of the UST Office of the Secretary General, Ms. Michaella Lagniton and Dir. Giovanna Fontanilla of UST Public Affairs Office for their support to this project.)

DO YOU WANNA MAKE TEA AT THE BGC

It seems the 10-NO PHOTOGRAPHY PLACES IN MANILA will have to be edited to 9 after all. This after the BGC has rid itself of its photographer kick-ass policy and decided to — finally — be PHOTO FRIENDLY. This should send a clear “what’s the point anyway” message to the rest of photo forbidden places around the Metro.

Class act.

The juncture however is not without an “initiation” as landscape photographer and Canon Ambassador Mr. Jay Jallorina himself came to a brush with BGC security personnel as to this Photo Friendly catchline. The sekyu, apparently, had a different apprehension of the word friendly. Fortunately there’s Mr. Marc John Buencamino of the BGC to settle the issue. Mr. Buencamino, btw, is the name ‘neath each and every PHOTOGRAPHY PERMIT issued by the FBDC.

BOTTOM LINE. Although BGC has softened on its photo restrictions, it does not mean photographers can operate the premises in complete liberty. Read the fine print.

A welcome news nevertheless especially for commercial photographers.

In any case, I don’t really mind. Street togs function on any sovereign-tea. Or authori-tea.

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PHOTOWALK MORONG

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It seems we have destroyed the whole town and still could not find a decent jar of peanut butter. Morong is such a dormant little territory.

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Cut off to the west by the Manila bay and the mountains of Bataan, the town is in effect unheard-of were it not for a pair of notable pasts.

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In ’76 they built what could’ve been the country’s first nuke plant here. The multi-billion $ setup got mothballed by politics, Pinoy-style.

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In ’79 hundreds of thousands fled the horrors of Indochina War. The “boat people” crossed the high seas and ended up on the sands of Morong.

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Being the big-hearted nation that we are, the good government harbored Lao, Vietnamese, and Cambodians. You know, ‘so that others may live.’

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Google for Morong, Bataan and you get beach resorts. Morong = beach resorts. Sands and sea. I’m in the mood to break the monotony right now.

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The erstwhile refugee center is now a hall of cheerless faces. War doesn’t determine who is right — only who is left, Bertrand Russell said.

 

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One of two fishing boats which ferried 65 men, women and children from Nha Trang to Morong. The vessel braved the powerful waves for a week.

 

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The boat people left a legacy in cooking. In a small corner in Biniritan is Loleng’s Hutieu-an. Their ‘BUN TIT NUONG’ or ‘HUTIEU’ is divine.

 

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More on the peanut butter, Vit settled for a cheese spread before finding one in a sari-sari store. Morong is not that spiritless after all.

 

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Tomorrow. So what’s tomorrow? Tomorrow I shall be at the Photomarathon. Does my Canon make me a photographer? No. It makes me a Canon owner.

TRI TO REMEMBER

Vit and I used to be asthma-stricken as we grow up in Quezon city. The attacks were so hard you’d think our skin and bones won’t make it alive. In high school, we went separate ways in combating the misery: I became drug-dependent while he turned to sports. Running, cycling, football, taekwondo. The stuff. Cause he’s a little bit country, and I’m a little bit rock and roll. In any case, I guess we both won the battle.

The years rolled by and today — in our mid-forties — we are more or less the same. Except that he can swim 1.5 kilometers, bike 40K, and run 10. While I can hardly make 20 push-ups.

Saturday he asked me to come as he compete in the 7th Anvaya Cove Triathlon. Because one sport for him is not enough. I said sure why not. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

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I tell you, it’s not easy.

TAGAYTAY PHOTOBOMB

Dear Steve. Thank you for sharing this image on your fb timeline. I’ve been doing the same but via tweets! I know how you feel about this, considering how you adorn your site header. So today I’m veering off from my usual subject and spread this as viral as it could and maybe — at the very least — wipe out the plague from Tagaytay city officials’ coconuts.

In conformity with Manila’s Pambansang Photobomb, allow me to call this the Torre De Tagaytay. Or Tagaytay Photobomb.

In any case, your romantic adoration for the picturesque Taal Lake is over. You hear? Over.

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And FYI Steve, I took this image with a smartphone. Because you see, I don’t bring camera to this place called Picnic Grove anymore. There is nothing here worthy of a snap now. You don’t believe me. This place is a dump.

Truly yours. Elmer.