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Pope urges for change, action to save Earth; Thomasians respond

Pope Francis called humanity for radical changes in “lifestyle, production and consumption” to help avert human-driven global warming and climate change and protect Earth.

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Pope Francis delivers a message to the youth during his visit to the University of Santo Tomas last January 18. Photo by Adrian Castillo

Pope Francis called humanity for radical changes in “lifestyle, production and consumption” to help avert human-driven global warming and climate change and protect Earth.

“In truly caring for others and for the environment, disinterested concern, self-centeredness and self-absorption must be discarded,” said the Pope in the new papal encyclical entitled Laudato Si.

“If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.”

The encyclical also supported practical steps that benefit the society like recycling, taking the public transit, car-pooling, conservation of energy and water.

For Abbeygail Jean Gonzales, an incoming AB Communication Arts senior, this serves as a wakeup call. “Tingin ko ito na ‘yung ‘calling’ sa atin na gawin ‘yung dapat gawin para sa environment. Dahil ang environment ay regalo sa atin ni God kaya dapat lang na alagaan natin [ito.]

Gonzales added that even the little things can contribute a bigger impact to the betterment of the environment.

Karen Krizia Constante, an incoming AB Journalism senior, shared that joining organizations that promote environment-friendly practices and influencing other youth to take good care of our environment through social media, are ways which she can contribute.

One of these organizations is Earth-UST, the premier environmental University-wide student organization of the University of Santo Tomas, which “proudly favors” Laudato Si.

“This exemplifies humanity’s short-sightedness in that we do not consider how our actions today will reverberate for decades, even centuries,” Earth-UST said in an online interview with TomasinoWeb.

Francis denounced the excessive worship of technology, irrational consumerism, human exploitation and the throwaway culture for causing environmental degradation.

“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” the Pope said wanting an urgent action to fix the “structurally perverse” economic system of the rich which caused the deterioration.

As part of a generation which keeps witnessing advancements in many fields, Janis Alano, another incoming AB Journalism senior said, “Though for us this means our lives will be made easier, kailangan parin natin i-keep in mind ‘yung sinabi ni Pope that modern innovations do not equal to progress for humanity.”

Kailangan tayo, na mas bata pa at marami pang ideas to change the world, ma-gets ‘yung message na ‘to so we’ll be able to work on things in a way that doesn’t kill the world we’re making these advancements for,” Alano said.

The Pope claimed that these challenges mostly affect the “most vulnerable people on the planet” – the world’s poorest. If these modern trends continue, it will have its worst impact to the poor as they lack resources to adapt to climate change and thus, are not capable of protection from disasters.

Pope Francis appealed in the 184-page manifesto for a new dialogue on how people shape the future of the “common home.” “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

Though he stated that progress has been made in terms of worldwide ecological movement and in raising awareness on the matter, concrete solutions were proven ineffective because of “powerful opposition” and “general lack of interest.”

Humanity’s dignity ‘at stake’

The Pontiff also strongly criticized abortion, saying that caring and protecting for nature does not validate the act of abortion and controlling the population does not solve the problem.

“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues,” he stated in the encyclical.

Furthermore, he stressed that “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary” as well as learning to accept, care and respect one’s body is important to be able to enjoy the specific gifts of others.

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he asked, urging “every people living in this planet” to help save the Earth for future generations and “see that what is at stake is humanity’s dignity.”

In January 2015, Francis also shared these sentiments to the Filipino youth in his encounter with them in the University. “It is a challenge, which is a challenge of integrity. This is not only because your country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. It is a challenge to [have] concern for the environment.”

Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Laudato Si means “Praise be to you” and is taken from the first line of “Canticle of the Sun” by Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology. The encyclical has a subtitle, “On Care for Our Common Home” and was published Thursday, June 18.

It is the first papal document to focus on creation care and ecology although it is not the first time that Popes addressed environmental degradation. Pope Paul VI in 1971, Pope St. John Paul II’s 1979 encyclical Redemptor Hominis (The Redeemer of Man) and Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 issued statements regarding the crisis.

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Millions of Filipino faithfuls display devotion to Black Nazarene for Traslación 2019

In display of their unwavering devotion, the devotees, young and old, mostly barefooted, endured a 21-hour long procession of the annual Traslación, Wednesday, Jan. 9.

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black nazarene/Traslación
Photo by Christine Tapawan.

The devotees, young and old, mostly barefooted, endured a 21-hour long procession of the annual Traslación, a re-enactment of the passage of the dark-skinned, cross-bearing Jesus Christ from Intramuros to the Minor Basilica, Wednesday, Jan. 9.

For centuries, the Filipino faithfuls have displayed their fervent devotion to the revered Black Nazarene, a historical and iconic statue that has become a symbol of fierce faith, devotion and sacrifice, as millions of devotees clad in maroon braved the push and shove in hopes to experience its supposed miracles.

Lola Mel, a devotee from Sta. Ana, Manila testifies to the graces she’s received from joining the procession.

“Nararamdaman ko ‘yung resbak niya sa’kin, feel na feel ko, hindi material—talagang hindi rin ako bumibitiw,” she said in an ambush interview with TomasinoWeb.

She added that the tradition of flocking to the route of the procession has been passed down onto her, generation after generation.

“Minana ko pa ito sa lolo ko, sa tiyuhin ko, sobra hindi ko na mabilang. Maliit pa ako nag-jo-join na ako,” she said.

Some faithfuls also believe in the miraculous healing powers the image hold.

Lita Castaño, 59, said she trooped to Quiapo to pray for her daughter and sister’s healing.

“This time ‘yung youngest daughter ko may sakit siya and my sister may cancer siya,” she said.

According to the Quiapo Church website, quoting Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, the devotion that has drawn millions to the Black Nazarene, he admitted, is a “remnant of the animistic faith of Filipinos.”

He added: “People have sensed the spiritual wealth in Quiapo Church and there is a huge attendance for Mass every day and especially on Friday.”

Fridays are known colloquially to be “Quiapo Day” where devotees pay homage and veneration to the renowned icon. Outside Manila, various grand celebrations also took place in Northern Samar and Cagayan de Oro.

“Filipinos are resilient, but where is this resiliency coming from? It’s the practice of our faith,” Msgr. Ignacio elaborated.

Furthermore, History Prof. Xiao Chua said that Filipinos established connection with the image because of its “skin tone and resilience.”

“When we look at the Black Nazarene, kulay natin siya, maitim siya tapos naghihirap siya pero alam natin na mabubuhay siya ulit so that is also the hope that every devotee brings into his heart,” Chua said in an interview published on 2013.

The day before the procession, the traditional Pahalik (Kissing) vigil already witnessed throngs of devotees as they awaited the morning mass that commenced the celebration.

According to Metro Manila Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar, nearly 4 million faithfuls took part in various activities including 2.5 million devotees who joined the Traslacion.

The image returned to its home in Quiapo Church at exactly 2:21 am of Jan. 10, after the procession started at around 5 am of Jan. 9.

Tightened security

According to the Philippine National Police, a total of 7,200 police secured and maintained peace and order on the route of the celebration. The Metro Manila Development Authority, on the other hand, deployed 850 personnel to aid the police and military.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed 400 personnel on stand by and 600 manning the route, with 18 first-aid stations and 50 ambulances scattered along the procession route.

By noon, PRC already aided and assisted 619 devotees, including 18 people who sustained major injuries like bleeding, difficulty in breathing and bone fractures, while some 131 devotees suffered minor injuries.

In 2018, an approximate of 1,150,000 devotees attended the celebration that took 22 hours to complete. — With reports from Alecsandra Go and Christine Tapawan

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Disney-themed Paskuhan attracts 100,000 crowd

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

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yael yuzon singing in paskuhan
Photo by Miguel Yap

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

According to the UST Central Student Council (CSC), this year’s Paskuhan played host to a crowd of an estimated 100,000 people, over 30,000 more than the previous year’s festivities.

The Paskuhan Fair concert at the UST Grandstand started at around 3 PM with a performance from the UST Drumline which went around the campus. It was followed by performances from I Belong to the Zoo, Fourplay, Quest, The Ransom Collective, Sponge Cola and other Thomasian bands and artists.

Thomasian Dance troupe ACES also graced the stage with a dance number and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe rocked the stage with their CDC 2018 performance.

The concert finished with the much awaited pyromusical display featuring Disney movie theme songs “I See the Light” from Tangled, “We Know the Way” from Moana, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, and “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, lasting about 15 minutes..

Before the concert, raffle draws for minor prizes were held in front of the Main Building while major prizes were drawn during the concert. This year’s Paskuhan started with the opening of lights and the traditional Thomasian Agape held last December 4.

No Paskuhan date, no problem

In the weeks leading up to the Paskuhan season, many Thomasians on social media expressed (rather jokingly) their frustration over their lack of a date for this year’s Paskuhan, some even going so far as to advertise their need for one on Twitter. But most Thomasians managed to get along just fine even without a date.

Angel Adora, a senior high school student, said she still managed to enjoy the event even without a partner.

Una sa lahat, yung happiness hindi palaging nagre-revolve sa jowa, makukuha mo rin ‘to sa friends mo and family. May mga friends akong nandito” Angel expressed.

Gabriel Enriquez also shared the same sentiment when it comes to having a Paskuhan date:

For me, mas OK na nagsasaya ka lang kahit wala kang kasamang lover, ayos lang yun.” Gabriel said.

Non-Thomasians were also present in the 27-year-old Thomasian yule tradition. Both Maria Victoria Dela Rosa and Nathaniel Arizala felt “welcomed and one with the UST community.”

Hindi ko na-feel na out of place ako, kasi feel ko na welcome ako sa UST.” Arizala shared.

One of the highlights for them is the pyromusical display that capped off the event and made everyone in awe of the spectacle.

Highlight ng gabi ko ay yung Disney-themed fireworks, para talaga akong nasa Disneyland.” Dela Rosa said.

The yearly University Christmas celebration started in 1991 and included the sharing of donations to calamity victims, which is still observed today, and was formally named Paskuhan in 1993.

The Christmas lights and other decor inside the University will remain lit every night until January 6.

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University’s Rare Map collection featured in International Map Symposium

The 36th International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) Symposium visited Miguel the Benavidez Library’s Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section’s collection of rare and historical maps yesterday, October 16.

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one of UST's rare map
Photo by Corinne Vizconde.

Participants of the “Insulae, Indiae, Orientalis”: The 36th International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) Symposium visited Miguel the Benavidez Library’s Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section’s collection of rare and historical maps yesterday, October 16.

International delegates and local map collectors converged in the said event for the first time not just in the Philippines but in South East Asia held at Ayala Museum, Makati City.

Assoc. Prof. Giovanna V. Fontanilla M.A., Director of UST Office for Public Affairs, welcomed the international delegates and local map collectors participants of the event.

In his welcoming speech, UST Secretary General Rev. Fr. Jesus Miranda O.P. said that, “You made the right decision to visit the 407-year-old University of Santo Tomas […] Whether you like it or not, this is the pride of the Philippines and of the whole South East Asia when it comes to the rich collection of artifacts about our heritage and history.”

The University’s Prefect of Libraries, Rev. Fr. Angel Aparicio O.P. said in his words of appreciation that, “For some people, maps are a powerful tool, for others a tool of power. For me, a map is a metaphor, a vehicle carrying me through my piece of paper, parched me in canvass, or screen to another place that can be real or imaginary.”

“One of the speakers of this symposium has written that, and I put, ‘The Philippines is a young nation with a long history. Its narrative complex.’ From my own personal stand as a Spanish, as a Dominican, a resident of this beautiful islands and people, I like to make a personal correction to that statement. The Philippines is a young nation with many stories waiting for a historian to give us a coherent narrative, said Fr. Aparicio.

He added, “These maps I have seen in this exhibit tells many stories. I really commend and appreciate the efforts of the organizers of this symposium, to assemble all these map nobles, collectors, researchers and dealers around the Philippines, ‘Insulae, Indiae, Orientalis.’”

A small map exhibit will follow today, October 17 until October 26 at the library’s exhibit area and along 5th floor hallway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Philippine Map Collector’s Society, which is an affiliate of the London based IMCoS, and Gallery Prints organized the said event which presents series of lectures and excursions to libraries and museums and visited the Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section of the Benavidez Library as part of the said event.

The Antonio Vicencio del Rosario Library is a repository of rare and prestigious collection of books about the country’s history including Filipiniana rare books, rare periodicals, rare collection of books of medicine and pharmacy, and some collection of Chinese books.

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