Saturday, August 27, 2011


This is a backgrounder on the series of posts I am doing on the ASEAN-Japan Frienship Program for the 21st Century . Of course, this is based on my own experience as a Philippine Science Student in 1987 and definitely not an official post of JICA.
From the JICA Files:
Youth Invitation Program (Friendship Program for the 21st Century). The "Friendship Program for the 21st Century" was launched by the former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone during his visit to ASEAN countries in 1983 and started in 1984 originally as the ASEAN Youth Invitation Program. Under this Program, the youth of developing countries, who will shoulder the task of future nation-building, are invited to Japan approximately for 1 month. It is anticipated that through this Program the youth of these countries and Japan foster friendship and mutual understanding, which is the cornerstone of long-lasting relationship between the countries in the 21st century. Because this Program was highly appreciated both in the ASEAN countries and at home, in 1986 Japan extended the Program to Burma, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. In 1986, Japan invited 799 youths from ASEAN countries, including 50 from Brunei, 10 each from Burma, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
note that this picture was taken from my 1987 album, thus, the use of the typewriter!

Another JICA File.
From JFY 2007, JICA has been implementing the "Training Programme for Young Leaders", a technical cooperation program aimed at promoting human resources development and nation-building in developing countries.
The program was an enhancement of the Youth Invitation Program (formerly the ASEAN-Japan Friendship Programme for the 21st Century), which began in 1984 for six ASEAN countries, and which has since expanded to cover approximately 120 countries. For more than 20 years, the program has served as a significant venue for cultural exchange and for the promotion of friendship and mutual trust between Japan and the ASEAN countries.
JICA is implementing the program with the view of contributing to more sustainable capacity development for young leaders through greater emphasis on specialized technical training in various fields.

The Friendship Program for the 21st Century is still considered as one of the best things that ever happened in my life. 


1) This is the first time I ever traveled abroad! (and should have been one of the topics of my first travel blog)
2) Aside from this, we had a chance to visit Japan for a whole month for free!!!...and that includes, free airfare and all means of transportation needed, free hotels and all accommodations necessary and of course, free food!
3) The chance to appreciate their culture and technologies as we visited temples, natural and cultural sites as well, as universities, hospitals, factories and places with high technology...
4) Then, they gave us the opportunity to meet Japanese dignitaries, people from the same field, people from other fields and form friendships, which we are now trying to reconnect and strengthen...
5) Friends also formed from the Alumni Associations especially, in the ASEAN...
6) And given $1000.00 (equivalent at that time) to boot!
 After 24 years, this is a sentimental journey and of course, I had to refer to my old albums to help me remember details of a very vivid perfect travel experience! I remember from the Little Prince, we should be thankful for keepsakes... they help us remember things we otherwise forget. (do you remember this part, Ray I. ?)

By the way, since we were students, our topics were more on college life, family life, culture and things which were close to our heart, so no pressures in this area.

We just had to be the best delegates to project a positive image of our dear Philippines, and most of all, be ourselves to be able to make the best out of this very precious and rare experience.

I decided to make separate blogs so you wouldn't be overwhelmed by the blog and the pictures.

Let me start with the overview of how we were chosen then the program of activities we had, here in the Philippines and in Japan.

In 1987, the Program was not yet disseminated well throughout the country and so I received an application letter from a cousin who also shared it with my other cousins.

I remember, I finally received an interview call scheduled in Cebu Plaza Hotel (now Marco Polo Hotel in Nivel Hills, Lahug). I didn't know what to expect and who to expect but I heard there were only six of us from the Visayas for interview, and I said to myself, I better be accepted or  I would really be depressed that I didn't pass when there were only six of us! I later found out that thousands applied in the Luzon area especially, NCR. I think we were all accepted from the Visayas and two of them, Ronnie P. and Raymond I. were also in the Science Students group.

When we were accepted, we got a telegram (do you know what a telegram looks like!) stating our acceptance and things to prepare and of course, also the contact numbers.

In a time when travel was elusive, I was very ecstatic... but also apprehensive on what to expect, what to prepare and if this will really turn out fine!

In the later batches, the Program became more organized and interviews were done at the Regional Development Council levels, which gave better chances for delegates from the far-flung places in the Philippines.

Then, I was set to go to Manila for the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar with this schedule given.

This gave us the chance to meet 25 other delegates also for the Philippine Science Students 1987 group and at the same time, the First Batch for the Year 1987, the General Students group and the Teachers group.

We had our conversational Japanese lessons, lessons on Japanese culture and protocols, lessons on the Philippines and some RP-Japan issues as well as our practices for the presentations we had to perform.

with General Students and Teachers group
Field Trip to Precision Electronics, Taytay, Rizal
The Tinikling, of course!

The Science Students 1987 batch prepared the following preparations:
1) the Tinikling, for a traditional Filipino dance
From Wikipedia: The tinikling is the National Dance of the Philippines, according to the Philippine government.[1] The tinikling is a pre-spanish dance from the Philippines that involves two people beating, tapping, and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles in a dance. The name is a reference to birds locally known as tikling, which can be any of a number of rail species; the term tinikling literally means "tikling-like."[2]
This is an example of the Tinikling, definitely the dancers are not from our Science Students Group. This example is from the Leyte Dance Theater which I grabbed from You Tube.
2) the modern dance, "Break Out" by the Swing Out Sister... so 80s! Here's the link:
3) Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo The most commonly chosen song by the Philippine delegates during the 80s. Usually after singing this song, we get teary-eyed from the song itself and usually we also sing it during farewell parties... From Wikipedia: "Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo" (lit. "The Offer of the Filipinos to the World") is a 1986 song recorded in Filipino by a supergroup composed of 15 Filipino artists. The song became the anthem of the bloodless People Power Revolution. The lyrics of the song are embedded on a wall of Our Lady of EDSA Shrine, the center of the revolution. Songwriter Jim Paredes wrote the song in three minutes, with no revisions, using the success of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution as his inspiration. After finishing the composition, he sent it to WEA Records, who at that time is compiling an album of patriotic songs. The song eventually became its carrier single.[1][2] Here is the You Tube link:
Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo by Apo Hiking Society
'Di na 'ko papayag mawala ka muli.  'Di na 'ko papayag na muli mabawi,  Ating kalayaan kay tagal natin mithi.  'Di na papayagang mabawi muli. 
Magkakapit-bisig libo-libong tao.  Kay sarap palang maging Pilipino.  Sama-sama iisa ang adhikain.  Kelan man 'di na paalipin. 
Ref: Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo,  Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.  Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan  Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.  Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat. 
Masdan ang nagaganap sa aming bayan.  Nagkasama ng mahirap at mayaman.  Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo.  Naging Langit itong bahagi ng mundo. 
Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim.  Tinig ng bawat tao'y bigyan ng pansin.  Magkakapatid lahat sa Panginoon.  Ito'y lagi nating tatandaan.  (repeat refrain two times) 
Coda: Mapayapang paraang pagbabago. Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan. Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas. Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat!
4) Isang Mundo, Isang Awit by Leah Navarro, who won the Grand Prize of the annual Metro Manila Popular Music Festival in the late 70s.  This is the other song we prepared which is about love.  Here is the You Tube link:
Here are the lyrics: Isang Mundo, Isang Awit by Leah Navarro Ngayon mundo'y gulung-gulo At lahat tayo'y litung-lito Pag-ibig sa kapwa tao Sa daigdig dapat ituro Kung bawa't puso ay marunong magmahal Kapayapaa't kasiyahan tiyak na makakamtan [ Lyrics from: ] Lahat tayo'y pantay-pantay Sa biyaya ng Maykapal Lahat sana'y akbay-akbay Handang tumulong kanino man Kung bawat tao ay marunong magmahal Ano mang kulay o salita Tiyak na makiki-isa Je t'aime, te amo, I love you Watashi wa anata o aistomasu Ich liebe dich, iniibig kita Gua ay di Paano man sabihin Ang mundo'y turuan natin Tanging lunas ang pag-ibig Isang mundo, isang awit Isang sigaw, Pag-ibig. These are some of our pictures during the farewell dinner...
"Break out!" by the Swing Out Sister with the You Tube link:
We were given our schedules for our General Orientation in Japan as well as the schedule for the rest of the trip. Note: I had to type the schedules (using typewriter) since computers were a luxury then!
Off we go to Japan...

Together with the rest of the First Batch for 1987 -
Science and General Students and Teachers groups
as we arrive in Narita Airport, Japan
Here we are!!!
The details of the Japan trip will start in Part 2. By the way, happy reading from Part 2 to Part 12!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


(Archidiocesis Zamboangensis)
Created Diocese: April 10, 1910. Elevated to Archdiocese: May 19, 1958. Comprises the City of Zamboanga. Suffragans: the Prelatures of Ipil and Isabela, Basilan and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo. Titular: Our Lady of Pillar: Secondary Patron: St. Pius X, Pope.
Stained Glass of the Lady of the Pillar in Centro Pastoral, Archdiocese of Zamboanga
From 1607 to 1910 the entire island of Mindanao was under the Diocese of Cebu and Jaro. On April 10, 1910, Pope Pius X created the Diocese of Zamboanga and gave it jurisdiction over the whole island of Mindanao, including the adjacent islands of the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Cagayan de Sulu.
Zamboanga was raised to an archdiocese on May 15, 1958 by Pope Pius XII. As an ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese of Zamboanga now comprises the City of Zamboanga and part of the province of Zamboanga del Sur. As suffragans it has the Prelature of Ipil, also in Zamboanga del Sur, the Prelature of Isabela, Basilan, and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo. Its titular patroness is Our Lady of the Pillar, and its secondary patron is St. Pius X, Pope.

In the next set of photos, we can appreciate some parishes and schools of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga from the bird's eye view* circa 2005.
The Archdiocese of Zamboanga presently holds office at the Archdiocesan Chancery and Plenary Hall, Centro Pastoral, Gov. Camins, Zamboanga City. The Archbishop at this time was Archbishop Carmelo D.F. Morelos.

from WikiPilipinas:
Archbishop Carmelo D. F. Morelos was born in SorsogonSorsogonPhilippines. He had his sacerdotal ordination on April 3, 1954 in Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral,Sorsogon. He was appointed bishop of ButuanPhilippines on April 4, 1967 and was ordained bishop of Butuan on July 5, 1967. He was appointed archbishop of Zamboanga on December 8, 1994 but retired as archbishop of Zamboanga on November 13, 2006.

Archdiocesan Chancery and Plenary Hall (Centro Pastoral)
Gov. Camins Avenue, Zamboanga City

The Centro Pastoral has a very large function hall on one side, which appears like a fan.
The huge grounds is also the venue of many gatherings of the Archdiocese and also extended to the community.

Just across the Centro Pastoral, we see the end of the runway of the Airport at the Edwin Andrews side. 
This is the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in La Purisima Street which was founded in 1816 and is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga. Feast day is held every December 8.

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Zamboanga City

I remember the old wooden Cathedral which was gradually eaten by the termites and which prodded the building of the new Cathedral. 
My son and I used to sit down while watching the demolition of the old church and he would say, "Sira Church" or may be translated as "Broken Cathedral"! He was amazed by cranes and heavy equipment and that's why we watched the old cathedral go.

the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
is between the Ateneo De Zamboanga University and Mindpro Mall

The new Cathedral is a two-storey building and has the form of the Cross in the aerial view.

The Parish of St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary is just a few meters away from the Cathedral and was then, the Personal Parish of the Chinese Community, after which became the Filipino-Chinese Parish.This parish is located in Nunez Street and was founded in 1954. Feast is on March 19.
Saint Joseph Chinese Community Parish, Nuñez St., Zamboanga City (Founded: 1954)

The Shrine of the Lady of the Pillar at Fort Pilar is the home of Zamboanga's patroness.
Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar, Fort Pilar

It is located outside one of the walls of the Fort. The Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora Virgen Del Pilar) has devotees which cross religious barriers.

notice that at 2005, the whole area around the Fort Pilar was cleared from "informal settlers"...

Feast is on October 12 and is also a very important feast for the whole city of Zamboanga.

The whole area around the Fort Pilar was cleared from the so-called "informal settlers", and thus, the surroundings look so clean.
can you imagine how the area would look with 
the Paseo Del Mar and the Paseo Del Pilar there now?

A lot has happened since 2005 and there is now the development of the Paseo Del Mar and the Paseo Del Pilar which would definitely change the present aerial view.
St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Barangay Tetuan was founded in 1836. Feast is on July 31. The people from Tetuan are among the very gracious hosts who love to celebrate their St. Ignatius Fiesta.
St. Ignatius de Loyola, Tetuan, Zamboanga City (Founded: 1836)
back of the St. Ignatius Parish

Beside the parish is the Pastor Bonus Seminary from which has helped form many of our priests.
the seminary is beside the St. Ignatius Parish

Pastor Bonus Seminary  started in 1967 as an archdiocesan seminary established for the formation of young men who are responding the call to priesthood and offers pre-theology.
It is located along Fr. Ramon Barua, S.J. Street in Barangay Tetuan, adjacent to the St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church.

Divine Mercy Parish in Divisoria, Zamboanga City was founded in 2005, thus, this picture still shows the building of the parish in its new location. The primary patroness of the parish is Our Lady of Fatima and this was a former quasi-parish.
the Divine Mercy Parish was started in 2005, thus, still under construction at this time

Our Lady of the Ransom Parish in Mercedes was founded in 1891. The shape of the parish church from the aerial view is that of the dove, a symbol of peace. Feast is on September 24.
the dove-shaped parish in Mercedes, Zamboanga City
Close to the Our Lady of Ransom Parish is the Mercedes Retreat House, which has catered to a lot of retreats and recollections for the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.
the Mercedes Retreat House is atop the hill

officially called Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar Retreat and Lay Formation Center

The retreat house is officially called the Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar Retreat and Lay Formation Center.

Here are some of the educational centers affiliated with the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.

Ateneo De Zamboanga University is run by the Jesuits with the main campus at La Purisima Street just beside the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The Ateneo De Zamboanga University beside MCIC

The Immaculate Conception Elementary School, fondly called ICES, is located at M. Natividad St. in Tetuan and is close to the Jumbo Bridge.
Immaculate Conception Elementary School (ICES)

The Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School de Tetuan is located across the St. Ignatius de Loyola Parish. This is called ICAS and is for high school and college courses.
Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School (ICAS)

The opportunity for a non-professional photographer to capture the aerial view of some of Zamboanga City parishes and schools is very rare and thus, I felt that it was a great blessing and honor in itself to do this.

After six years, lots have changed in the parishes and schools and in the areas around them, and I believe, mostly for the good. It would be wonderful to do these shots again...

* bird's eye view was via Chopper from Dacon thru Msgr. Cris Dela Cruz, who trusted me as the photographer. Msgr. Cris Dela Cruz is responsible for many of these projects, notably the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Ransom (Mercedes) Parish, Our Lady of Penafrancia Parish as well as his contributions to the different parishes and Archdiocesan schools during his term in the Archdiocese.