Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The flickr Philippines Group (flickristas) recently held a photo exhibit cum contest at the Trinoma Cinema Hall last October 15-18. There were 56 entries who responded to the “08-08-08: Ikatlong Banat” challenge and one of these is mine.

My photo entry’s story started with a brisk walk from the National Zoo to my hotel in Washington DC then passing by a small group of Tibetan exiles holding a vigil at the Dupont Circle. I saw them earlier picketing the Chinese Embassy while riding to one of our federal government agency meetings. The activist in me was naturally drawn in as the incenses started burning and the Buddhist monks chanted their prayer. I walked around, looking at graphic photos of bleeding and dead people from the recent crackdown in Tibet. In solidarity, I helped a couple of young Tibetans light up small candles. Then I started shooting. It was 08 August 2008, the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

I did not win though and I somewhat expected that. It’s enough for me that my work was included in the exhibit. I was happy too that jobarracuda went home with the Toshiba computer notebook first prize and angrylittleboy with the point and shoot digital camera second prize. I met them once during the final turn-over of the Lagalag Notebooks and I consider them as my friends and mentors. And thank you to Stitch who made the exhibit possible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Dear Shubert,


This is Manong Ben from Colton, CA 92324 USA. I am under the impression you are posting from the United Kingdom.

Be that as it may, I am extremely elated, albeit, euphoric I have come across someone who really and fully comprehends what I have referred to. AVL was my Junior & Senior classmate in NELA in 1968-1970 and my close friend. I was able to trace and see him and his family somewhere in a Bambang barrio in 1997. We reminisced those good old days. OF COURSE, I know Nana Ansing very well; same with the late Tata Peping --- kind, approachable and nice folks. Rollie once studied in NLA (Artacho) but only now that I learned he's now in USA, presumably New Jersey. I hope Cristopher Marlowe (as I called him then) makes it eventually. TIDBIT: You know I almost became attached to Almaguer "by, and in accordance to, law"; quite unfortunately it didn't materialize. Like you said, I was a young teenager then, full of idealistic utopianism and mindful of having a successful future in the USA --- on the condition I had the right partner in life. I have been divorced since 2003. In the late 1990s I often teased "Uncle Mike" (Americanized version of Micquias) here in Glendora, CA USA having failed --- utterly and so miserably --- not having had him as my uncle-in-law. Dang !!! But that is life. C'est le vie!!!

My younger sister the doctor spent the 1969 Christmas vacation with Nana Ansing's daughter and GC; I was having my Laoac, Pangasinan vacation then but went to Almaguer in the interim to catch-up with them; riding on the carabao-drawn cart of their relative from the National Highway to Purok 2 (Saranay), Almaguer and alighting from the cart directly in front of their house. Those were the days. On Saturday we went to Sto. Domingo; Sunday naman, sa Salinas Salt Springs and on Monday I went back to Laoac. I again saw them in March, 1971 when I spent the Holy Week there while GC and Nana Ansing's daughter came from NELA. I once more saw them in April, 1985 and lastly, March, 1997. None thereafter. (Since you call Nana Ansing as an aunt; then you must be by kinship related to her two sons. You know she has a daughter --- by the late FD. You can read between the lines...).

Uncle Mike has some "T-related" relatives in Villa Fermin, Echague, Isabela (Nana married to some SDA TP; their daughters LL and C, I believe, live in Spain). Too bad, his wife passed away --- cancer.

NELA has always been very close to my heart; but not lately since I had a stroke in August 2006; got confined; had rehab and recuperation for 5 months and won't be back to work till April. In my younger years, my older sister and I stayed with my Uncle and Aunt in the old NELA site in Divisoria, Santiago, Isabela; also we were there when it was transferred to Alicia in 1958-1959. They were Principal and Registrar, respectively. My dad EBG taught there in 1966-1970, inclusive, then assumed Principalship in 1969-1970. I again re-appeared in 1985; then continuously between 1988 and 1997; absent thereafter. As an alumnus of THAT school, a small part of what I received from America's bountiful blessings and comforts went back in return. It's a matter of remembering your alma mater. But times have changed and I'm no longer associated in any way coz of changed priorities.

I hope you understand that Almaguer and NELA are tremendously THAT close to my heart. THREE missed opportunities on the place; quite a success on the school. If by chance you come across any or all of them, please do extend my cordial and heartfelt regards. What it was then; what it could have been and just resting on all those what God has given... for keeps. I'll be contended with yesterday's memories, knowing some Almaguer lass thinks of me --- once in a while. The reverse, obviously, is true. Memories never die.

I think this sums up all things now. Kudos and continued success on your pictured churches, places and blow-by-blow accounting of events. KEEP IT COMIN'. You did a great job. Likewise, before the end of February, 2007 I should be able to post into the web a compilation of my appellation's clan/family tree (genealogy).

Take care and more power to you. Keep me posted. Warmest regards.


Manong Ben
Colton, CA 92324

Profile: Church of Imus, Cavite

The Jesuits built the first church between 1618 and 1629. This was probably replaced by another church that was built by the Augustinian Recollects at around 1686. The church was destroyed by a typhoon in 1779 and relocated to Toclong where another church was probably built. Not long after, the church was again moved to its present site.