Saturday, March 31, 2012

Switching Off for Earth Hour 2012

"I Will If You Will" is this year's Earth Hour 2012 campaign. At exactly 8:30 till 9:30 tonight, cities and provinces all over the Philippines will be switching off the lights to coincide with that of other countries along with the International Space Station where Earth Hour Astronaut-Ambassador Andre Kuipers will be on vigil looking over our imperiled planet.

Earth Hour founder and Executive Director Andy Ridleof is set to lead the Earth Hour 2012 celebration in the Philippines, as a reward for topping Earth Hour’s global town and city participation levels for three consecutive years. The Philippines is now declared a "Hero Country".

Together with my sons, we will be shutting off our power too. For us, it's going to be an hour of sacrifice that will help ease the burden of Mother Earth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Agnes Academy, 100th Anniversary

The Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) issues a block of 4 stamp to commemorate the 100th year of St. Agnes Academy.

The 7p stamps released today, March 21, 2012 were designed by the St. Agnes Academy Centennial Committee with Victorino Z. Serevo doing the stamps' lay-out. Ma. Theresa S. Ras shared her expertise as design coordinator. The stamps were printed by Amstar Company, Inc.

Stamp # 1 highlights the artistic view of the St. Agnes Main Building façade

Stamp # 2 shows the façade of the St. Agnes Main Building World War II Ruins

Stamp # 3 features the façade of the St. Agnes Main Building in graphic rendition

Stamp # 4 sensationalizes the front view of the St. Agnes Main Building

St. Agnes Academy was founded in 1912. It was used to be known as the Academia de Sta. Ines and is the oldest Catholic School in the province of Albay, Bicol, Philippines. In 1912, Rev. Fr. Juan J. Calleja, the parish priest saw the great need of a Catholic School in Albay. He appealed with the help of Msgr. J.B. Macginley, D.D. Bishop of Diocese of Nueva Caceres before the Apostolic Delegate Msgr. Etheus. 

On May 30, 1912, Srs. Ferdinanda, Alexia and Edilburgis came to Legazpi City in response to the call. This led to the birth of St. Agnes Academy on July 1, 1912 with 47 enrollees in the parish’s old parochial convent.

The Academy survived a lot of forces that threatened her existence. Strong typhoons destroyed the physical structure of the school. The 1928 Mayon Volcano eruption affected the school while  World War II claimed the lives of the three pioneering Benedictine Sisters – Mother Clodesindis, Sister Edilburgis and Sr. Gertrude, an oblate. The determination of the sisters to educate the young Bicolanos succeeded and survived the turbulent years. 

St. Agnes Academy grew with a stronger spirit and indomitable courage, despite the trials and difficulties that occurred. A free school was opened for the poor. In the early 1940’s, Vocational courses where incorporated with the academics. On January 1974, accreditation was granted to the Grade School Department by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), the first in the Bicol region and the fifth in the country to be accredited. In March 1983, the High School was accredited by the PAASCU, the second school to be accredited in Legazpi City. 

Bursting with new life, on that same year, the High School became co-educational, primarily, to provide a more integrated education to the young. These developments led to a gradual increase of enrollment that also saw the need to rearrangement and improve the existing facilities of the school.

Adapting with the changes of modern society, St. Agnes Academy found it necessary to become involved in a wider program of activities. The school reached out to the poor through its socio-pastoral apostolate that gave maximum service to its students and to the larger community as a whole. The Agnesian family involved themselves in a lot of activities. Ecological drives, medical and dental missions, catechetical instructions and community workshops formed part of the school’s effort to keep in touch with present day realities.

In 2006, the school encountered another challenge. While preparing for the PAASCU re-accreditation, Mayon Volcano erupted and typhoon Milenyo and Reming hit the country that damaged the school's infrastructure and all its preparation that bought it to its knees. Despite all the setbacks, the morale of the school community remained strong and the spirit of volunteerism and cooperation helped them to bounce back with a new start.

Since then, the school went on with its facilities improvement progam. They intensified and restructured its Social Involvement Program. Parish and diocesan linkages were strengthened and program thrusts and services were refined. The school's centennial celebration was launched during its school year 2011-2012 to honor a century of Catholic Benedictine in Albay.

Today, after the debris of typhoons, ashes of eruption and devastation of war, St. Agnes Academy continues to soar high and stands proud of her achievements. As another century unfolds, she continues to commit herself to the struggle for justice, peace, preservation of the environment, children and women’s rights, moral regeneration and social transformation. All these for God’s honor and glory. Dios Mabalos, Dios Mapadagos.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU), 100th Anniversary


The Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) comes out with an issue on March 19, 2012 that commemorates the 100th year of Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU).

Printed by Amstar Company, Inc., the 7p block of 4 stamp and the 28p souvenir sheet was designed by the Ateneo De Zamboanga University Centennial Committee. Victorino Z, Serevo did the lay-out while Sheila L. Pagotaisidro acted as design coordinator.   

Stamp # 1 features Fort Pilar Shrine built by Jesuit engineer, Fr. Melchor de Vera, S.J. The arrival of the first Jesuit Missionaries in 1635 marked the systematic beginnings of the Catholic Church of Zamboanga;

Stamp # 2 shows the Fr. William H. Kreutz, SJ Campus, the campus for basic education units;

Stamp # 3 portrays the Ateneo Brebeuf Gym, the oldest structure in La Purisima Campus.

Stamp # 4 depicts Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.

Ateneo de Zamboanga started as Escuela Catolica, a small parochial school in 1912. Located at the old Immaculate Conception site, it was run by the Spanish Jesuits headed by Fr. Manuel M. Sauras who was committed to serve the community by educating and instilling the values of St. Ignatius de Loyola. The school was later called Ateneo de Zamboanga in 1916.    

During the Second World War, it was closed down but was reopened by the Japanese who made it as a public elementary school. On March 8 and 9, days before the liberation of Zamboanga City, the Americans shelled and bombed the school.

In 1947 the high school began accepting students and a year after, Ateneo de Zamboanga was officially recognized as a Jesuit school that operated independently from the parish. This historical transformation gave rise to what is now known as the century-old tradition of Jesuit Education.

In 1952, Ateneo de Zamboanga's college department was established while the graduate school came out with its first program in 1976. It was in the 1980's that Fr. Ernesto A. Carretero, SJ  worked so hard to acquire the university status of the school. When Fr. William H. Kreutz, SJ replaced Fr. Carretero as president in 1989, he continued the call to elevate the status of the school to a university.

On August 10, 2001, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted the university 
status along with the full deregulation and autonomy.                

After 100 years, Ateneo de Zamboanga continues its mission in working for a progressive Western Mindanao. To date, it has two undergraduate schools and three colleges (Arts and Sciences, Education, Management and Accountancy, Science and Information Technology and Nursing) as well as three professional schools (Graduate School, School of Medicine and the College of Law in partnership with Xavier University).

With a 6,822 population and a new building in Tumaga, Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) continues to gear up for a wider horizon and a promising future.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Davao City, 75th Anniversary

On March 16, 2012, the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) comes out with a commemorative block of 4 stamp highlighting the 75th anniversary of the City of Davao.

The 4 stamps were designed by the Davao City 75th Anniversary Committee with the photos provided by the City Tourism Office of Davao. The lay-out was by Victorino Z. Serevo with Atty. Lyka Lopez and Jason Magnaye as design coordinators. Amstar Company, Inc. printed the stamps.

Stamp # 1 shows the façade of the City Hall with the anniversary logo;

Stamp # 2 highlights the Kadayawan Festival, the King of all Festivals known to Davaoenos. Kadayawan is derived from the Mandaya word “madayaw”, a warm and friendly greeting used to explain a thing that is valuable, beautiful, superior, good or profitable. In 1988, it was renamed as “Kadayawan sa Davao”. The festival honors the city’s richness, diverse artistic, cultural and historical heritage in a grand celebration of thanksgiving for all of Davao City’s blessings.

Stamp # 3 features Davao City's famous Waling-waling orchid. It is described as the “Queen of the Philippine Orchids”. It is one of the largest species in the world and was discovered in Davao at around 1880 by Carl Roebellin, a German Plant explorer. It was named Vanda Sanderiana in 1882 by German Orchid taxonomist Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach and grows on tree trunks in the rainforests of Davao, Sultan Kudarat and other parts of Mindanao. The Waling-waling blooms only once a year, between July and October.

Stamp # 4 showcases  Mt. Apo, the Philippines’ highest mountain and home or nestling ground of the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi). Mt. Apo is a volcanic mountain that is located between the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato in Mindanao, Philippines. It is the country’s highest peak towering at 10,311 feet and the grandfather of all the Philippine mountains. On the other hand, the Philippine Eagle is n eagle of the family Accipitridae that is endemic to the forests in the Philippines. It is among the rarest and most powerful birds in the world. It has been declared the National Bird of the Philippines.

Davao's history was recorded as early as 1848. Davao used to be known as Nueva Vergara, a distinct geopolitical entity during the last 50 years of Spanish rule in the country. 

In 1868, what used to be known as Nueva Vergara became Davao, a name derived from its Bagobo origins. The Tagabawa called the river "Dabo", the  Giangan or Diangan who called it “Dawaw”, and the Obo called it “Davah”. 

During the year 1868,  the Spaniards became successful in the systematic and concerted effort in winning over the native inhabitants to the folds of Christian life. Three Jesuits missionaries who arrived in Davao to take over the mission from the lone Recollect priest in the Gulf area started this cause.

In the earlier years of American rule which was in December 1898, the town became the new growth center of the Philippines. The American settlers immediately recognized Davao’s rich potential for agricultural investment. Davao soon became one of the major producers of export products such as abaca, copra, and lumber in the first two decades of the 20th century.  Inter-island vessels made the whole province a regular port of call in addition to the rise in numerous stores and business establishments. Davao's population rose rapidly and became a key contributor to the country's economy and foreign trade.

On October 16, 1936, by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 51, popularly known as the Charter of the City of Davao, the Municipality of Davao became a city under the sponsorship of Assemblyman Romualdo C. Quimpo. On March 1, 1937, the city was officially inaugurated with the presence of Elpidio Quirino, the Secretary of Interior who was President Manuel L. Quezon's representative.

During World War II, Davao City was greatly devastated with the most number of lives lost compared to any city in the country. Gradually, Davao regained its status as the main agricultural and the trade center of Mindanao. Logs, lumber, plywood, copra and banana products replaced abaca as the major export products. The City of Davao came to be known as “the Melting Pot of the Philippines”. Davao aims to be the new Gateway of the Philippines.

To celebrate its 75th year, the City of Davao looks forward to accelerating further its economic development. As always, the city is blessed with a lot of picturesque landscapes and numerous ethnic tribes who continue to live as they did centuries ago.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cebu Stamp Club's Jerald Kervin Uy Turns 8!


Cebu Stamp Club's youngest collector Jerald Kervin Uy celebrates his 8th birthday today, March 14, 2012. It's a unique day for him because this is the first time that his party will have a Chinese theme. We made sure that his costume,  the house decors and the food live up to the theme.

Finding a Chinese costume for him was not easy. We had to go to different malls here in Cebu just to find the right fit, color and design. Lucky for us, we found just one left. We came out with 8 Chinese lanterns to accent the house as well as a red table cloth. 

The show stopper was his Chinese-inspired double-layered chocolate cake in red color. The food were all Chinese which I cooked myself such as sweet and sour pork, chicken in oyster sauce, steam rice, spring rolls and Cantonese noodles with pork, chicken, shrimp, fish balls and vegetables, Cebu Stamp Club's Bob Uy took the time to cook a Chinese vegetable dish in cream of mushroom  while Mark Uybengkee brought along some grilled chicken.

The guests were mostly family and close friends. As usual, Cebu Stamp Club Vice President Ricky Teves who is one of Kervin's godfather came together with his wife Linda. Later in the evening, Kervin wowed the guests with his song rendition of a Filipino song titled Dakilang Lahi (Great Race).