You better watch out, you better not cry!


On the watch list of heritage activists are the following: El Hogar Filipino Building; Capitol Theater, Escolta; Ramona Apartments, M. Adriatico Street corner Pedro Gil St., Manila; Philamlife Building, UN Avenue, Manila; Cortes Mansion, Broadway Ave., New Manila, Quezon City; Roque-Fule Mansion, Broadway Ave., New Manila, Quezon City; South Sy-Quia Apartments, M.H. del Pilar Street, Manila; San Sebastian Church; Intramuros heritage buildings and  the former FNCB/Pacific Commercial Building.

SAINT Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637) is among the many saints venerated by Catholics. As customarily practiced, many streets and institutions in the country are named after saints.

It seems the good or misinformed archbishop thought it wise, as soon as he started work in his new assignment, to have the street where he lives renamed Arzobispado

What it exactly means to be on this special watch list, I really don’t know. Except that I know that the guardians of our national patrimony are shifting to a higher gear. Enough of blah blah, they say. It’s time to exert more pressure on those who would destroy national treasures.

Especially the politicians in cahoots with those who would destroy them for financial gain.

On the other hand, a friend active in the heritage conservation advocacy circles says being on this same watch list means as well that if you’re doing right and are helping conserve national patrimony, you can expect not just a citation for doing good but this country’s gratitude for all generations to come. What sounds impractical yet noble actually has a gift attached to it.

Don’t ask me the details but an owner of an old building in Escolta was telling me they were given certain tax privileges by the City of Manila.

If that’s not Santa Claus giving you that exemption, I don’t know by what name I should call him.

San Lorenzo double-martyred
Somewhere in the south, a group of voters is choosing their city officials based on whether the candidate is chummy with the archbishop assigned to their diocese or not. It seems the good or misinformed archbishop thought it wise, as soon as he started work in his new assignment, to have the street where he lives renamed Arzobispado. He reasoned out that it is the best way for people to easily know where his official residence is.  A councilor sponsored his cause in the local council and it didn’t take long for the street to be renamed Arzobispado.

Writer and musical impresario Pablo Tariman with pianist Cecile Licad.

The parishioners, it turned out, were not happy about the change since the name of the street was San Lorenzo, a most fitting one because on this main thoroughfare stands the local Catholic university, a minor Catholic seminary, a Catholic school run by a famous order, and, yes, the archbishop’s residence. Why the newly appointed archbishop insisted on having the name of the first Filipino saint removed and changed with the generic arzobispado made and still make the parishioners angry that’s why they’re not voting for the councilor responsible for the change of the name of the street. Unless the archbishop is trying to say that all those venerable institutions on the same street are his or are under his guidance, protection and support. Since they’re all on the same street, he probably feels entitled to staking his claim on the street as well.

Even one cardinal, a native of the city, spoke against the renaming, pointing out that four hundred or so years ago, “Lorenzo was killed, and now, in this very diocese, he had been killed again.” It was during the time of a much loved and admired bishop when this important street was named in honor of the first Filipino martyr saint. To a number of the parishioners, renaming it into Arzobispado did not only desecrate San Lorenzo. It also defiled the memory of the pro-people bishop.

Bernadette Lomotan (standing) with AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang and alumnus Isidro Consunji, MBM1975.

“It’s not as though the archbishop’s palace had only been recently built for the faithful to lose their way when visiting him. It has been there for all those years, long enough for any of the locals, who should be his immediate concern, to know where it exactly stands,” said a lay leader who has since begged off from participating in any archdiocesan activity. But on second thought, he said, “He is probably expecting guests to show off his new residence, refurbished to the tune of…” That is none of our business since the money could have come from his own pocket, but we’re quoting the lay leader because we could not help feeling amused by the way he’s making it sound like the archbishop had used up the money of the faithful to give vent to architectural and interior designing talent.

The impresario
Let’s all drink to Pablo Tariman, the veteran writer and concert producer who was recently recognized by the Aliw Awards Foundation for his consistent support for the arts as a writer for the past 40 plus years. Pablo epitomizes the line, “Man does not live by bread alone,” for indeed, he has lived successfully by keeping true to his passion, classical music, which he promotes among Filipino audiences. He may not have made millions of dough but he has instead earned countless friends, many of whom he had converted into becoming lovers of classical music.

The alumna
My dear friend Berna Lomotan was sharing with me that her Asian Institute Management Master of Business Management Class of 1974 was recognized as one of the Top 25 alumni donors to the fundraising drive held in connection with the 50th anniversary celebration of the number one graduate business school in Asia.

Let us drink to the AIM MBM Class of 1974 and Berna, past chairman of the AIM Alumni Association.

It was during the time of a much loved and admired bishop when this important street was named in honor of the first Filipino martyr saint.

Let us drink, too, to the top three favorite AIM professors for all time, Richard L. Cruz, Ed Morato and Jesus G. Gallegos, Jr. who were awarded by AIM President Dean Jikyeong Kang and former AIM Chairman Napoleon Nazareno of MBM 1973.

The world indeed becomes better when there are lovable educators who make learning fun and easy, and there are grateful students who remember and make it possible for their alma mater  to continue to give top quality education to the best and the brightest of the Philippines, Asia and the world.

THE first United Building in Escolta is an Art Deco building designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of renowned painter Juan Luna.

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