By Deedee M. Siytangco
“If God gives you a burden, He will give you the strength.” —St. Josemaria Scriva
The Office of the Ombudsman and Jollibee Foods Corporation recently launched its “Corrupt-Free Philippines” caravan for this year.
The project is Omb. Chita Morales’ initiative to educate Filipino youngsters to shun and prevent corruption, and her efforts has taken the project around the country in various forms, essay writing for example. The education and awareness program is sponsoring a Corrupt-free Philippines video contest which is open to all college students.
The video must be filmed only by a cell phone and must be three to five minutes long, in English, Tagalog, or in any local dialects.
Omb. Morales hopes that, thru the videos, the people can be inspired to strive for integrity, efficiency, and high moral standards in the country. At the Bulong Pulungan forum, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera and director Dennis Russel Baldago were hopeful that students would take up the anti-corruption challenge of the contest and submit films that would inspire others.
The enthusiasm of Mosquera in discharging his duties is edifying. May we have more dedicated public servants like him and his boss Omb. Morales! Paulyn Lao of Jollibee stressed their pleasure and honor to be partners in the project since its aims are also the popular food chain’s corporate ideals.
The contest is open to college students currently enrolled. The deadline is Sept. 30 and more details can be gathered from the website http;//bit.ly1/1bHy010. Prizes are P100,000, P50,000, and P25,000. Let’s have a ‘Corrupt-Free Philippines!’
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Amid beautiful old trees and lush plants, the 68-year bungalow on 2650 Zamora Street in Pasay is an art, fashion, and food oasis. It is also the ancestral home of National Artist for Architecture Pablo S. Antonio. The children all grew up there, noted bridal designer Malu Veloso, architects Pablo Jr., Antonio Victor (RIP) Luis or Chito and Ramon, Pancho, and their adopted sibling Anette. They all take pride in the home that set the style for indoor gardens and all-around wide windows to bring the outdoors in. It is now a center of architecture, arts, and elegant dining, by reservations only.
The bungalow and its surrounding garden was a blueprint for tropical architecture, inspiring Antonio’s Manila Polo Club and a slew of other houses in the Philippines. Antonio also counts Far Eastern University, the pre-war PNR stations, and PNB offices, famous theaters such as Ideal and Galaxy, DLSU chapel, the White Cross orphanages, and about 300 other structures among his works. I was first introduced to its charms when Malu and I were classmates in grade school in Maryknoll College.
Born in 1902, Antonio was orphaned at a young age and worked his way through night high school, reporting to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the daytime. A chance to work on the then Legislative Building (now the National Library) led to a scholarship at the University of London. Upon returning to the Philippines, Antonio’s brand of Art Deco inspired tropical architecture immediately catapulted him to face.
Today, the Antonio heritage home is used as an atelier with daughter Malu Veloso and granddaughter Letlet Veloso, and Pasay Heritage Tours also bring guests there. The by reservation only restaurant, My Mother’s Garden offers casual but elegant dining at affordable prices. Clients can then browse thru the many art works and classic gowns and fashion accessories by Malu and Letlet. I love Malu’s buffet meals, and its house specialties that include mustard chicken; pasta with three different dressings and salads with cilantro dressing. A popular dish is her shrimp with cherry tomatoes. The meal is concluded with beautiful and delicious desserts, that include food for the gods, carrot cake, butter upside down cupcakes, and more, all served with coffee or tea. Repeat diners can try her curry dishes which include shrimp with lychee and fresh watermelon. Call 02 831 8407 or 63917 600 8886 for inquiries and reservations.
A gift shop, in what was once the bedroom of Pablo Antonio and his wife, carry these sparkling trinkets and fashion pieces like piña shawls, ponchos, and the like, just the thing you need to immediately transform a plain sheath into elegant, modern Filipiniana-inspired looks.
Recently, the Pablo Antonio Ancestral Home Project launched HEARTH, the first annual art show to commemorate Antonio’s death anniversary. The members of PAAHP include Malu Veloso and daughters Vicky Barrera and Letlet Veloso. Also active in efforts to keep the house sustainable are heritage expert Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista, art consultant Cynthia Estrada, and heritage tour operator Raffi Chavez.
HEARTH further demonstrates the many uses of the Zamora house, here as a venue for art exhibits. The first exhibit is top billed by Pandy Aviado, former Dean of Fine Arts at Philippine Women’s University and an established visual artist in prints, painting, and sculpture. The exhibit also introduces the works of Antonio’s great grandchildren, Joshua and Hannah Barrera, who, along with schoolmate, Nigel Villaceran, form the youthful Vibrant Art Studio (VAS).
There are also now two heritage tours that culminate at the Zamora house, one operated by Raffi Chavez and another by Far Eastern University professor Martin Lopez.
This coming September, there will be another first annual event at the Zamora house, this time focusing on fashion to honor the birth anniversary of Marina Reyes Antonio. The wife of Pablo Antonio was a luminary in her own right, designer to Nini Quezon, Mrs. Douglas MacArthur, and the cream of Manila society in those times. Her daughter, Malu Veloso, who followed in her footsteps, now holds shop at the Zamora along with daughter Letlet Veloso. Expect to see vintage Antonio as well as contemporary Veloso creations at this special salon type invitational show.
Heritage, fashion, food, and art all find a home, a testament to the timeless architecture of Pablo Antonio.
VIBRANT best describes the youthful trio of siblings Joshua and Hannah Barrera plus their schoolmate, Nigel Villaceran. Aged just 16 to 18, the three are joining their first exhibit at the HEARTH Art Show, which opened on Saturday, June 10 at the ancestral home of National Artist for Architecture Pablo S. Antonio. Joshua and Hannah are also Antonio’s great grandchildren. VIBRANT Art Studio, a portmanteau for the surnames of the young artists, sums up their collective output.
From early on, the three showed signs of their artistic bent. Joshua and Hannah, together with younger sibling Tatin, were encouraged by their parents to draw and color to their heart’s content, and art materials were always made available to them. Nigel, too, began crafting his signature sculptures out of office supplies in grade school.
Currently studying at Meridian International Learning Experience, the three already have an idea of how art fits into their future.
Joshua speaks English, Filipino, Mandarin, and is currently learning French. He is thinking of a career that can include both arts and linguistics. He may very well follow in the footsteps of his late grandfather Ambassador Sergio Barrera, a career diplomat.
Nigel is set on taking up Engineering and, likewise, does not see a conflict in pursuing two passions, engineering and arts.
Hannah, who is transferring to DLSU Senior High School this September, is looking at a Fashion Design degree from the College of St. Benilde, where her artistic bent would be very much in line. Her maternal grandmother is, after all, Malu Veloso, the noted bridal designer. The three are very excited for their first exhibit and the Pablo Antonio ancestral home is the most perfect setting for this celebration of family and art.