Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ateneo: Fresh Air in the City

 When I read Soliloquium's post, I thought of  the Carnation Food Tour 2009 where we went to Balai Isabel and Tagaytay Highlands, Astoria Boracay in 2010 and Lima Park Hotel last year.

What do you call this tree part?  Seeds?
 There's already a lot of info on these places, so I thought of a place where I have played tour guide before:Ateneo.

I've brought clients, relatives, a balikbayan, her husband and a tourist to Ateneo before, and they seemed to enjoy it.

My Isang was surprised that a place with so many trees was so near San Juan.  She thought that Ateneo was far, far away.

Isok said that Ateneo reminded him of his school in China.

Besides, my Atenean friends don't know what Ateneo looks like anymore.  And my Favorite Cousin, who had gone to UP, has not been there yet.

The Bs posed in front of these trees.
My latest trip to Ateneo was last November 1, when the choice of places to go were limited.  I asked my balikbayan friend JK where she and her husband would prefer to go, Ateneo or Makati

The Makati plan was to check if Glorietta was open in the morning.  If not, we could have pancit luglog and halo-halo at the Pen 'if necessary,' as BB put it.

Football field where Jayson watched games before the Bonfire.
JK decided that Ateneo would be interesting for B, because of the Ateneo Fil-Chi books that she had bought in the mid-2000s at the UP University Press.

Everyone I know thinks that entering Ateneo is as difficult as entering DLSU or CSB.   At least, that was my experience when I went to La Salle and St. Benilde with friends.

And the last time I went to UP, I was asked to pass the visitors' gate (versus the sticker gate).   I hope to bring my defunct UP ID next time I go to UP.

When Jayson went to an Ateneo bonfire in 2010, he said that he was a media person.

Plant at the Ateneo Grade School
I told him that to enter Ateneo, all you need to do is leave your ID with the guard.  Just say that you're going to Gesu (church) or Moro Lorenzo (sports center) and you're good to go.

As Moro was probably closed, I brought the Bs to 'the forest,' the Grade School, the Loyola House of Studies where I had borrowed A Question of Heroes as a student, and the Church of Gesu.

I had not been to 'the forest' in years.  In the mid-2000s when JK and I went to Ateneo, there were shrubs lining the paths with benches every 100 meters, maybe.  Around that time, I remember that someone was praying the rosary as she (or was it they?) walked around.

 Now it was a full-blown 'forest.'  Too bad the pond was dry but the frogs still hung out there.

The funny thing at the Grade School was that, amid so many trees and plants, we saw a fake plant.

Trying to replicate my friend's shot of The Church of Gesu.
Walking to the Loyola House, we saw a swimming pool center which was more like Xavier's.  It looked more competition-style than the Ateneo Grade School's, where I had swim class as my college PE subject.

Because I sucked at gym class, my PE teacher assumed that I was not good enough for the intermediate swim class.  He thought that Basic Swimming was more appropriate for me.

Little did he know that I had gone to ICA when it was mandatory to know the Individual Medley and life-saving.  I wrote our swim teacher Mrs. Arellano a thank you note for being so strict.  She in turn told my mom how much she appreciated my letter.

 It was my first time to see it.  JK was impressed that Ateneo was progressing, what with the new Rizal Library with its modern look and moat.  We also saw the old Rizal Lib, maybe twice as big as when I was a student.  I wonder if the new lib was an extension or a replacement of the old one.

Hilda Kapauan-Abola?

At the Loyola House where I last went to attend Fr. Lahiff's wake in 1998, we chanced upon Fr. Guido Arguelles' wake.  We met his niece.

Leaning plants at the Ateneo Grade School.
I told the Bs that it was customary to leave a wake without saying goodbye.

I wish that I had given them the overall view of Ateneo in the car then looked at the campus more closely by foot.

We ran out of time so we didn't even see Bellarmine, the High School and even the facade of Moro, where I would have wanted to show them the PT clinic, the 'suspended' running oval from where a now-deceased colleague had called out to me in the badmin court below, and my favorite place in Ateneo, the quiet, Zennish prayer room.  Heck, it's one of my favorite places in the world.

I'm partial to light green leavesAGS.
Come to think of it, soon would be a good time to bring a depressed friend to the prayer room.

And of course, I'd like to show them the Ateneo Art Gallery and the University Press, as they thought that the Ayala Museum was fantastic.  Not that the Ateneo Art Gallery--I haven't seen it since I graduated--is better, but they're art lovers.

Maybe I can show these places to J's brother D, when he comes over late this year.

Total cost for going to Ateneo: gas.  Maybe P 50 if you want to run in the oval.  And change for the vendo machines.

Tree trunk at AGS.
Incidentally, I'm sad to learn that Ateneo does not allow dogs anymore, as it is perfect for dogs.  This reminds me of a dog owner, who was disappointed to learn that Velasquez Park does not allow dogs.

Isn't it what parks are for? she went, standing on the periphery of the park one Salcedo Market day this month, along with other dog owners and their pets.

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