Gemma Cruz Araneta

Farewell, Santa Ana

As painful as the truth. Manila is right now losing yet another cultural heritage treasure. There are people, among them local government officials, determined to make our capital a maze of high rises with no distinguishing aesthetic features; they want Manila to look like New York, I was informed. Very soon, it might not be worth a selfie because if you’re in Manila, you could be anywhere.

Viva Mexico!

Tomorrow is the National Day of the Estados Unidos Mexicanos. In English, the United Mexican States. That is the country’s official name for it is a federation of 32 states. In the Philippine context, their states are like our provinces. 

Nostalgic September

When I turned five, my mother threw a party. It was a barrio fiesta in the heart of Pasay where we settled after World War II. She was a young widow (juggling two babies, she used to say) living in her father’s house and writing for a newspaper on Soler Street in downtown Manila. I am sure I had other birthday parties as I was the pampered first grandchild of both sides of the family; but, the earliest one I remember is that barrio fiesta on Donada Street. 

Rizal’s ‘German Spring’

“Enigmatic objects: Notes towards a history of the museum in the Philippines,” Dr. Resil Mojares’ monumental opus should not (and cannot) be read in one sitting. I am still very attentively mining its 500 pages, rereading chapters for nuggets of wisdom I may have missed at first glance. Even those who were never dragged to a museum or library as a child will definitely change their view of these venerable institutions. 

Enigmatic objects of Dr. Mojares

Dr. Resil Mojares’ latest book – Enigmatic Objects: Notes towards a History of the Museum in the Philippines – is a fountainhead of knowledge. I dare say, this historian par excellence truly deserves the National Artist Award for Literature.