Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Letran marks quadricentennial with commemorative beep™ card

Letran-beep Contract Signing.  In Photo (L to R) : Jhennie Villar (Letran Quadricentennial Events Co-Chair), Rev. Fr. Lauro de Dios, O.P. (Letran Vice President for Financial Affairs), Sharon Fong (beep Business Development Head), Raymond Dolor (beep Business Development Manager)

“Colegio de San Juan de Letran is ushering in a new era of positive developments and we at beep™ card are truly honored to be part of it. Students have always been among our biggest supporters and we believe that the special Letran beep™ card is a great way to showcase school pride,” said Peter Maher, President and CEO of AF Payments Inc.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran is celebrating its 400th anniversary next year and as part of the celebrations, it will be releasing limited edition commemorative beep™ cards bearing the Letran 400 logo.

“We are celebrating our 400 years in 2020. We thank beep™ Cards for partnering with us. One of the thrusts of our celebration is to give back, thus, we are targeting to have 400 scholars. This is one way of helping your beloved Letran celebrate its 400 years. Siempre Arriba, Siempre Letran!” Jhennie Villar- co-chair of the Letran Quadricentennial celebration.

Specially designed for students, alumni, and other beep™ card collectors, the Letran beep™ card will be sold at Letran Bookstore for Php500 each, beginning August 1, 2019. The sale of the special cards is in conjunction with the fundraising program for the school’s Grand Celebration in 2020.

Letran kicked off its quadricentennial celebration in November 2016 and has since been celebrating it with special events, homecomings, and tributes to alumni who have been part of weaving the school’s long and colorful history. The celebrations are divided into phases  (the past, the present, the future, and forever) covering important parts of Letran’s story, among which is the Conquistar Nuevas Glorias (Conquering New Glories) phase, where celebrations dwell on the future, looking forward to everything it holds.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was founded in 1620 by Don Juan Geronimo Guerrero, a retired Spanish officer, and Diego Santa Maria, a Dominican brother. Since then, it has survived wars and calamities and remained true to its commitment to pursue knowledge and excellence, producing stalwarts in the fields of medicine, sports, media and entertainment, business, and public service, to name a few.

Letran’s main campus is located in Intramuros, Manila, accessible via LRT-1, LRT-2, and e-trikes, in which beep™ card is the main mode of payment. Those who will purchase the special edition Letran 400 beep™ cards will also enjoy the benefits of the planned expansion to establishments and tourist attractions within the Walled City.

beep™ is a tap-and-go payment card used in all three elevated railways and select buses, PUVs, tollways, and retail partners. It is reloadable and valid for four years. More information about beep™ is available at its website and official social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About AF Payments Inc.

AF Payments Inc. is a consortium of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and Ayala Corp. that provides contactless payment solutions in the Philippines through its integrated product and service offerings, thereby enhancing the transaction experience of every Filipino.

Its tap-to-pay system, the beep™ card, is available for use in all three elevated railways (LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3) and select PUVs, tollways, and retail partners. It is reloadable up to P10,000 and is valid for four years.

Website and Social Media

Discover the Wonders of Camarines Norte - My First Exploration Day 1

Katooga Team organizes by the founder Mr. Mike Zuniga in partnership with Department of Tourism of Camarines Norte along with 11 Manila bloggers is set to discover the yearly celebrated event in Camarines Norte which is "The Bantayog Festival 2019".

It's the 15th Bantayog Festival and the 99th Camarines Norte Founding Anniversary dubbed as "Nagkakaisang CamNorteno Tungo sa Bagong Siglo" it's more than a month celebration that starts from April 2 to May 6,  2019. Various activities are scheduled every day and some of these are I'm going to share in this blog.

Our journey begins last April 26, 2019. We left Manila past 9 pm and arrive in Daet around 5:30 am. It's an 8-hour trip if you ride with the Van and less stopover. I remember we stop once only in part of Quezon province just to urinate, rest,  and eat for some snacks. You can ride also some provincial buses available in their designated terminal in Cubao or Pasay but I don't how long it gonna take for buses before you can reach Daet Camarines Norte. 

This is our Day 1 to Daet Camarines Norte and before we head up to our scheduled activity for the day, we stay first at Jocelle's Garden and Tourist Inn located at Diego Linan St. Brgy. 7 Daet, Camarines Norte. We stay here for a while to rest, take a bath and eat our breakfast.

After our refreshment, we are ready to start our trip to some of the highlight events of the Bantayog Festival. Our first destination is the Bangkathon located at The Community Fish Landing Center Brgy. Mangcamagong Basud, Daet Camarines Norte. It's a 30-minute travel from the hotel where we stay. 

Bangkathon - is a boat race competition showcasing the talents of Bicolanos in maneuvering their respective boats from the start up to the finish line. Since Bicol is surrounded by bodies of water it's become a tourist attraction for Bantayog Festival every year. This is a 2-day that consist of different race category. We witness one race category which is a head to head match up. Two racers will go around the obstacle course that they need to pass fighting the waves of the sea up to the finish line.

We just stay for almost an hour only here in Bangkathon so we could reach the other activities of the Bantayog Festival.

Our Next Stop is the "The 1st Bantayog Angling Competition" located at San Jose, Talisay Camarines Norte. It's a 45-min ride from Brgy. Mangacamagong up to here.
"Angling" is another term for (hook fishing), participants are given a limited time to catch as many fish as they can using their fishing rod and of course their skills. After 3 hours of fishing, the time has come to declare who wins the competition. To determine the winner, participants will submit their caught fishes and will put on a weighing scale and whoever gets the highest weighted fish wins the competition regardless of the quantity or size of the fish caught. The aim of this event is to measure the cleanliness of the seas which enormously important for the people of Camarines Norte.

After the two events, it's already lunchtime so we went to Bonita's Lechon Haus to have our lunch. They serve different varieties of viand and their specialty is the "Lechon Sinigang and Brown Rice Coffee". Next to our launch is a tour to Daet's Capitol Plaza and the famous landmark monument of Bantayog dedicated to our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

The Rizal Monument in Daet, Camarines Norte was the first monument built to honor José Rizal and is the oldest surviving such monument in the Philippines. It was designed by Lt. Colonel Antonio Sanz with the help of Ildefonso Alegre of the Philippine Revolutionary Army and through the financial contributions of the locals of Camarines Norte. The three-tiered stone pylon with its square base supporting a triangle in two stages was the first monument and memorial marker in memory of the Philippines' National Hero.

The construction of the memorial marker started on December 30, 1898, 2 years after the death of Rizal and in compliance with a decree of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to observe the said date as a national holiday in the "Free Philippines."

It was declared as a historical landmark in 1961 by the National Historical Commission and was declared a national monument on 9 July 2008 by virtue of Resolution No. 12 by the National Historical Institute (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines).

Three Stars and a Sun

Standing at about 20 feet, the three-tiered stone pylon has a cube for a base, a three-sided pyramid in the middle, and a triangular pyramid which tapers off to a point at the top. Pinned on top is an eight-ray sun and on each of the three sides (middle) is a bas-relief of a golden star. The famous "Three Stars and a Sun" was originally a symbol of the Katipuneros fighting for the independence of the country. (By Christa Dela Cruz)

The phrase "A Jose Rizal" (To Jose Rizal) can be found on two of the sides of the middle tier (no inscription at the back).

The podium was inscribed with the titles and publication year of Rizal's novels: "Noli Me Tangere" (1887), "El Filibusterismo" (1891), and "Morga" (1889). The last is not really an original but an annotation of Antonio de Morga's "Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas" (1609), which he copied verbatim from the British Museum.

One hour later we reach Bagasbas Beach which known to be the surfing and kite spot. On our way to this beach, we pass on the longest Boulevard in the Philippines with approximately 8.7 kilometers stretching the towns of Daet, Mercedes and Talisay.

The president Cory Aquino Boulevard serves an access road to the various tourist destinations in the province of Camarines Norte. It is situated along the fine shores of Bagasbas Beach with wide boardwalk cast from semi adobe bricks intended for tourist view deck.

A few moments later we went back to our hotel to rest for a while and for some refreshment. Around 8 pm we are summoned to have our dinner in Dulzenia Catering and Restaurant that receives an award for the official caterer for Bantayog festival in 2016.

They serve us their best selling dishes like pancit, spaghetti, sisig, and many more. Right after our dinner, we went again to the plaza to watch the variety show program. This concludes our Day 1 here in Daet Camarines Norte. 

Watch out for our Day 2 Adventure. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/GoCamNorte/

To God Be the Glory!

John Lloyd Cruz first endorsement appearance after 2 years is he coming back to the limelight?

The number 1 shawarma food stall, Turks with its latest campaign -- ANG NAGBABALIK. Photos and videos of matinee idol John Lloyd Cruz have been surfacing after being on hiatus from the showbusiness since 2017. This is a video of John Lloyd Cruz, which shows him walking through different paths.
Cruz, one of the most bankable actors of the Philippine cinema and very effective endorser once again proved that his fans are still waiting for his return. In a teaser video, which lasted only for a few seconds and only shows the back shot of Cruz’s, and posted in the Facebook page of the number one selling shawarma Turks a few weeks ago had been viewed 3.2M times, shared almost 800 times and gained a huge number of comments.
Without any clue in that teaser video, his fans already assumed that it was him in the video. Actress Bea Alonzo on her Instagram also posted a screenshot of that teaser video, which garnered almost a million likes.

This Monday morning Turks finally revealed in the 1-minute and 17 seconds video of Cruz showing the actor walking through different destinations, which somehow depicts Cruz’s sojourn. The video is very simple, yet there’s drama the way it was created, and in a very subtle shot, he stopped and took a bite of a Turks pita donner.
The rugged look of Cruz in the Turks video titled Ang Pagbabalik is way too far from his guy-next-door image and a lot of people in the industry are asking if this signals his return to the limelight. His fans are still wondering about the life he’s been living since his hiatus.
According to Turks president Gem L. Zenarosa that during the course of his talks with Cruz, they never talked anything about his showbiz career or plans. He added that he got Mr. Cruz as the latest ambassador of Turks because of his great confidence working with Cruz.
“I am really grateful that John Lloyd trusts our company, he is a brilliant and very creative young man. Aside from acting, we have discovered some of his remarkable talents. John Lloyd is the best endorser for this because like him, despite his absence in the show business for a couple of years, the warmth and love of his fans for him never dwindles. With our Small Pita Doner we believe that our customers will be happy to know that it is back in our menu. To keep up with the demands of our customers, Turks continues to improve our menu and offerings to satisfy the discriminating taste of our loyal patrons.” ~Gem L. Zenarosa, Turks President

The Ang Pagbabalik according to Zenarosa is actually about Turks Small Pita Doner, which will be available again in all its branches. Just like Cruz who is seen to have a different image since he last appeared in the big screen, a clear indication that the actor is recreating himslef and exploring different grounds, Turks is also doing the same thing to keep its customers excited whenever they visit a branch.

In  time for the release of Cruz's endorsement video, Turks also released to the market its newest offering --- Turks Rice Bowl, which is a complete meal. You can choose beef or chicken for your rice topping, and it is priced at P50. The Small Pita Donner on the other hand, is priced at P35.
John Lloyd Cruz now joins the roster of endorsers of Turks such as Piolo and Inigo Pascual.
Watch the full video of Ang Pagbabalik
You can also watch the video on Turk FB page: official.turks.

Reminisce the Catholic Faith an Invitation from DOT to the Newly Opened Museo De Intramuros

It was long ago since I have roamed to this famous historical place in Manila and still many establishments I have not yet visited. Thank you to the Department of Tourism for the kind invitation that gives an opportunity for me to discover the newly opened Museo De Intramuros. It's a great pleasure to see some old craftsmanship made by our very own Filipino artist. You can feel their deep devotion out of their creation. This is must be seen Museum for everyone of all ages in this generation.

The museum is located in two important reconstructions inside the walled city: the San Ignacio Church and the Mission House of the Society of Jesus. The museum is envisioned to house the period art collections of IA that includes ecclesiastical art, furniture, vestments and textiles, and other artifacts.

It officially opened last April 29, 2019 and the event was one of the highlights of the 40th year anniversary of the Intramuros Administration as an institution. Museo de Intramuros is managed by the Intramuros Administration (IA). 

As the Philippines kicks off the National Heritage Month celebration this May 2019, the Department of Tourism (DOT) invites the public to explore and learn about Philippine culture and history by visiting Museo de Intramuros in Manila City. The museum will be open to the public starting May 2, 2019 and admission is free.

The museum's current in-house exhibition presents the story of the evangelization of the Philippines from the perspective of the Filipinos. It explores changes in the "Filipino" psyche as colonization introduced a new religion and culture to the natives The exhibition is able to highlight Filipino artistry and craftsmanship that was a result of the merging of the indigenous and the foreign, in the form of religious images belonging to the IA collection. 

The exhibition has six components:

1. The Immaculate Conception -
When the first missionaries arrived in 1565, they opined that the women of the islands as "unchaste." They were bare-breasted and bathe in the rivers with men. The scandalized missionaries, therefore, set up a model for the women to emulate: Mary-inviolate, pure, immaculate.
Inmaculada Concepción images from the Intramuros Administration Collection chronicle the local evolution of her iconography. Experimentations led carvers to self-assertion, drawing from their own culture and new-found faith to honor Mary.

2. The Religious Order 
Spain's overseas expansion had a two-fold purpose. The first objective, to gain more colonies for the Spanish Empire; the second was to "Christianize" the inhabitants, who were largely animists who believed that spirits inhabit their surroundings. To achieve such goals, Spain introduced a system called "reducción" which resulted in the subjugation of the early "Filipinos," for it kept them "bajo las campanas" (under the church bells). The spatial proximity between the colonizers and the colonized eased religious indoctrination and political subjugation. Five religious orders played an important role in the evangelization of the archipelago. The Augustinians arrived in the Philippines in 1565, followed by the Franciscans arrived in 1578, the Jesuits in 1581, Dominican Order in 1587, and lastly the Recollects (Discalced Augustinians) in 1606.

3. The Patronato Real and the establishment of Parishes
The Royal Certificate of Patronage in the Indies (Real Patronato Indiano) consolidated the colonial governance of the Philippines. By the time the Patronato Real was issued, the construction of churches, cathedrals, convents, hospitals, among others, all fell under royal authorization. Royal consent was needed because each new parish obliged the king to allocate funds from the Hacienda Real to provide the new parish priest with an annual stipend, as well as furnish each new parish church with the required sacred vessels. On the other hand, the citizens of every town were required to provide building materials and labor for the construct of their parish church and convent.

4. Religious Colonial Paintings 
Amid the disappearance of the ancient script of baybayin, the indio's deprivation of Spanish, and the scarcity of books in the local languages, the Spanish missionaries converted the lowland natives to Christianity, especially aided by the images of admonition depicted in paintings and statues, vicarious
experiences induced by dramas and rituals, and the consolation of songs. The rapid conversion of the lowland population brought to the fore the need for more paintings and statues. But facing the difficulty to obtain these items from Spain or from Mexico, the Spanish missionaries looked for local supply. At first, they turned to the Chinese inhabitants in the Philippines living in the Parian settlements outside Intramuros, and then later on to indio talents Painted representations may be classified as instructional, devotional or attendant. The distinctive preferences of the Philippine colonial community in its choice of devotion to particular saints were influenced by the frequency of occurrences of specific vicissitudes or the causes of suffering, and the resulting terror from these conditions. Hence, the outstanding number of San Roque (St.Roch), the patron against the plague, San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the Farmer), the patron of farmers, and San Vicente Ferrer (St. Vincent Ferrer), the patron saint against all disasters and intercession of impossible cases.

5. The establishment of a parish and sacred vessels
Under the Patronato Real or Royal Patronage that was m effect from the first colonization efforts by Miguel Lope de Legazpi  in 1571, and until the United States bought the colony from Spain in 1898, no parish or Pueblo (town) could be established in the Philippines without the consent of the King.
This was done either through a Decreto Real or Royal Decree or through a Decreto Superior, a decree signed by the Governor General upon orders of the King.

At the onset, Intramuros was dotted with the provincial houses of relgrous orders, A provincial house had an church or chapel within its precinets, whieh had to be equipped with ecclesiastical silver pieces, As mere churches were built by the orders, the need for silver ecclesiastical objects grew in the late sixteenth to the nineteenth century.

The first silversmiths were Chinese. By the eighteenth century. Filipino silversmiths, descendants of the first Chinese artisans who had by now intermarried for generations with Filipinos and were mostly based in Quiapo were adept in all aspects the silversmith trade They produced many masterpieces and mastered gilding and gold plating.

The burgeoning plantation economy of the 19th century brought in a prevailing air of civic pride that swept the towns. Each vied to have the most beautiful church in the province, so that towering main altar glittering with 23-karat gold leaf became the norm. Larger and richer towns, wanting to make a statement, sheathed their altars with beaten silver, a project that involved a lot of time and kilos of silver coins.

6. The Indio Response 
The initial response of the Indio to evangelization was intimate, personal their perception of godhood was tied to their own belief system of the Anito (spirits) and their own native pantheon of gods, being dispensers of good and evil. The carvers were not schooled either their productions described as clumsy even ugly, yet compelling in a visceral sense, In the changing landscape of their own homeland, they felt the comfort of the new faith, because similar to the Anitos, its saints could also intercede for them.

From the extremely naive and unschooled carvings, carving the likenesses of divinity moved into hands of artisans harnessed into production for churches ecclesiastics and more affluent homes.

With an emerging ilustrado class and mercantile economy, expressions of faith and devotion to patron saints took on new meanings, slowly being equated, with wealth and status it is in the realm of folk images, however, where the Flipino santeros achieved originality - unleashing vibrant colors and florid designs and expressive imagery, as in this collection of urnas and relieves.

It is curated by Dr. Esperanza Gatbonton, Gino Gonzales, Dr. Cecilia delaPaz, Santiago Pilar and Martin Tinio.

In the book Philippine Religious Imagery, curator Gatbonton said, "This collection of the Intramuros Administration is extremely valuable because it represents the first real attempt to collect and preserve within the Philippines an important aspect of the country's cultural heritage.

"The collection affords the viewer a panorama of the various styles, and enables him to compare them with the artifacts done abroad in the same medium. We Filipinos have always tended to accept that we were the passive receiver of artistic stimuli from abroad. This collection proves that the Philippines was as much a giver," wrote Gatbonton.

DOT Secretary and Chairperson of the IA Board of Administrators, Bernadette Romulo Puyat said, "IA's dedication in ensuring that the tangible treasures that immortalize our history are now accessible to the public is commendable."

She congratulated IA Administrator Guiller Asido and the cultural workers behind the museum and added, "This project, rooted in passion and a deep love of country, must be emulated and replicated."

"The Department of Tourism will be investing in the promotion of cultural tourism in the years to come. We're doing it not just because we need to expand our tourism products, engage a specific market and increase revenue Cultural tourism is telling the world our narrative. It is also a frame to ensure that our heritage structures and objects such as these will be preserved and enjoyed by our progeny," Puyat said.

The Intramuros Administration is an attached agency of the DOT in-charge of the restoration, development, and promotion of the historic walled city of Intramuros. 

The Longest-Running Campus Comedy Variety Show in the Philippines is Back!

[L-R] LIVE AIDS 34 Production Manager and SAMASKOM President  Danielle Asuncion ,  Mrs. Tan ,  Kaladkaren , and LIVE AIDS 34 Director  Bill ...