Q: We learned that you are familiar in Manila, isn't it?
A: Yes, I am very familiar in Manila because when I was in Philippines, I lived in Caloocan City and Caloocan City is a neighbor city of Manila. Manila is a very crowded city in Philippines because Manila is the National Capital of Philippines and it is the oldest city in Philippines. We were always go to Manila to have a tour with my family since when I was a child. I remember also that when I was a child, we went to Sta. Cruz, Carriedo and Escolta to buy clothes, shoes, things for school, and eating a snack in the restaurants. Escolta is very memorable to us because I think that when I was a child, most of the stores and restaurants are located there. Escolta is also an old street in Manila since Spanish period. Thanks God that Escolta did not changed its name because most of the streets in Manila are changed its name like Azcarraga into Claro M. Recto Ave., Aglipay into Taft Ave., Avenida into Rizal Ave., Governor Forbes into Arsenio H. Lacson St., Misericordia into Tomas Mapua St., Enchague into Carlos Palanca St., Morayta into Nicanor Reyes St., and so on. Manila is one of my favorite city in Philippines because of the places there are classical and historical.
Q: Your relatives and friends said that you were lived in Manila. Why is it that some folks said that Caloocan City is also called Manila?
A: Well, some folks especially in the provinces said that Caloocan City is also part of Manila because Caloocan City is near to Manila. Caloocan City is also a rich city not only in the Province of Rizal but also in Greater Manila Area. Greater Manila Area consists of not only Manila but also the cities and towns of Rizal which are near to Manila.
Q: Could you please describe about City of Manila if you are familiar in that city?
A: Well, Manila is located west of Rizal Province, South of Bulacan Province, and north of Cavite Province and Laguna Province. Manila is the most crowded city in Philippines because as I said, Manila is the National Capital of Philippines. Manila is the center of business in Philippines since Spanish period. During Spanish period, the old province of Manila was named from the word "May Nilad" meaning there is a Nilad. Nilad is a kind of plant that grows near to riverside. In 1901, the old province of Manila is converted into City of Manila when the towns of the old province of Manila is incorporated into Rizal Province. Intramuros was the oldest city in the old province of Manila.
Q: How big is Manila?
A: City of Manila (Map of City of Manila) is classified into six congressional districts. Manila consists of the following districts:
Intramuros is the oldest and classical district in Manila. Tondo is the largest distict in Manila.
Q: We learned that Manila is one of the rich city in Philippines, isn't it?
A: Yes, Manila is one of the rich city in Philippines. Manila is not only rich city but it is the crowdest, oldest, and industrialized city since Spanish period. Sta. Cruz is a well-known area for having a lot of offices, buildings, and establishments particularly in Rizal Avenue, Claro M. Recto Avenue, and Escolta Street. Intramuros has a lot of historical parks, golf courses, and antique items and houses. The restaurants, bars, hotels, offices, and condominiums are located mostly in Ermita and Malate Area. Binondo is a well-known area for Chinese community. Most of the Chinese there have their own business. San Nicolas or Divisoria is a well-known place where the people can buy cheap clothes, shoes, textiles, vegetables, fish, meat, things at home, things at school, and so on. Malacañang Palace is located at San Miguel Area. Malacañang Palace is the official residence of President of the Republic of the Philippines. There are many industries and factories in Manila particularly in Paco, Pandacan, Sta. Mesa, Tondo, and Binondo Area. Rizal Park or Luneta, Children's Playground, and US Embassy are located in Ermita Area. The three well-known oil companies are located in Pandacan Area. There are many shopping malls, department stores, and cinemas in Sta. Cruz, Quiapo, Sta. Mesa, Binondo, and San Nicolas (Divisoria) Area. Most of the schools, colleges, and universities are located in Manila. Many students from different provinces in Philippines are going to Manila to study and finish their courses. There are many boarding houses and dormitories in Manila particularly in Sampaloc, Sta. Cruz, Quiapo, San Miguel, Paco, San Andres, Ermita, and Malate because of the large number of students that are studying in Manila.
Q: What are the main roads in Manila?
A: Well, I know most of the main roads in Manila like the following: Roxas Blvd., Rizal Ave., Claro M. Recto Ave., Escolta St., Gov. Forbes, Quirino Ave., Jose Abad Santos St., Quezon Blvd., Morayta St., Juan Luna St., Tayuman St., R. Papa St., Bonifacio Drive, Blumentritt St., Oroquieta St., Felix Huertas St., Antipolo St., España Blvd., A. Maceda St., V. G. Cruz St., Dela Fuente St., Ilaya St., Dagupan St., Dapitan St., Raon St., Legarda St., P. Burgos St., Ayala Blvd., Jose P. Laurel St., Doroteo Jose St., Zurbaran St., Quintin Paredes St., Tomas Mapua St., Enchague St., Carriedo St., A. Soriano St., Muralla St., T. M. Kalaw St., Bambang St., United Nations Ave., North Harbor Blvd., Velasquez St., Balic-balic St., Nagtahan St., R. Magasaysay Blvd., A. Mabini St., M. H. del Pilar St., P. Faura St., Singalong St., San Andres Bukid St., Vito Cruz St., Pedro Gil St., and G. Adriatico St.
Q: Do you go to shopping malls and department stores in Manila and where?
Q: We learned that you were arrived in Philippines on November 16, 2002. Since you are Balikbayan, did you have a tour in Manila?
A: Yes, I went to Manila on November 21, 2002 to have a tour there because I missed the City of Manila for two years since I came in United States on November 11, 2000. I went to Manila with my friend, Mrs. Zenaida Lee Ponce (ChE-1974). Mrs. Zenaida Lee Ponce is also my schoolmate and co-alumni at Mapua Institute of Technology. Thanks God that she has a time because she is always busy in her business in Laguna. She gave me a ride and a tour going to Manila. We went to different places in Manila and have a lunch and a snack after a tour. We went to De La Salle University to get my transcript of record that I will need for job applications and studying doctoral degree in United States. Mrs. Zenaida Lee Ponce has a daughter who studying at De La Salle University and so she gave me a tour going to De La Salle University. We went also to Mapua Institute of Technology, our Alma Matter School, to get my transcript of record that I will need for job applications and studying doctoral degree in United States. We visited our former professors at Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Department and of course, Dr. Consuelo Viray Flora, Vice-President of Academics. Mapua Institute of Technology has a lot of changes since I came in United States for two years when it comes to the administration, the curriculum, and the surroundings. After that, we continued our tour after we visited at Mapua Institute of Technology. Well, I saw the different places in Manila again after two years when I migrate to United States on November 11, 2000. We went to Rizal Park, US Embassy, Malate Church, Sta. Cruz Church, Intramuros, Binondo, San Nicolas (Divisoria), Manila City Hall, Escolta, PICC, Folk Arts Theater, Manila Cathedral, Malacañang Palace, Quiapo Church, and España Street. I gave thanks to her that she gave me a time to have a tour.
Q: We learned also that you went to Rizal Park or Luneta again, isn't it?
A: Yes, I went to Manila again on November 23, 2002 with my relatives at Rizal Park or Luneta. My relatives, Balajadia Family, were visited me at my cousin's house and beauty parlor in Quezon City. They were visited me in the afternoon and they brought some Philippine snacks such as Pancit Malabon, biko, and puto. After we eat the snacks and share some stories, we went to Rizal Park or Luneta. They want to go there to have a tour because in the previous days, they are always busy in their work and they want to relax while we have a tour there. I saw the whole place of Rizal Park or Luneta two years after I came in United States on November 11, 2000. Thanks God that Rizal Park or Luneta has a lot of changes and improvements within two years of my staying in United States. The City Government of Manila did the improvement of Rizal Park or Luneta courtesy of Manila City Mayor Lito Atienza. Previously, it was so dangerous to go to Rizal Park or Luneta especially in the evening because there are many holdapers and prostitutes that are going to Rizal Park or Luneta. Sleeping in the park is no longer allowed in order to avoid the cases of rape and murder. The City Government of Manila wants to improve more the Rizal Park or Luneta because it is one of the historical places in Manila and it is one of the tourist attraction in Philippines as well. Right now, it is safe to go to Rizal Park or Luneta even in the evening till dawn. There are many policemen there in order to protect the park and the people especially the foreigners that are touring in the park. We went to Rizal Monument, Quirino Grandstand, and Manila Bay. The park is now really beautiful and clean. We spent our time at the park till dawn. This is also my memorable tour and thanks to the City Government of Manila especially to Manila City Mayor Lito Atienza. They make Rizal Park or Luneta clean and peaceful. We ate taho, a well-known pudding or dessert in Philippines, bibingka and puto bumbong, a well-known snacks or desserts in Philippines.
Q: Are you familiar in Divisoria Area? Most of the people were mentioned that Divisoria is the best place to buy cheaper or wholesale items, isn't it?
A: Yes, I am very familiar in Divisoria Area because my parents and their friends were buying items there like textiles, clothes, and other household items there since my childhood. We were used to go there by taking a public transportation like jeepneys and mini-buses from Caloocan City, Philippines. Divisoria is located in San Nicolas, Manila, Philippines and it is adjacent to Binondo, Manila, Philippines. Divisoria is a well-known place to buy cheaper or wholesale items for many decades already. The well-known streets there are Claro M. Recto Avenue, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Juan Luna Street, N. Zamora Street, Moriones Street, Ylaya Street, and Delpan Street. This places are very crowded always because there are many street vendors there. Be careful with your bags and pockets because there are many pickpockets and snatchers there. It is a nice place to buy items but be careful when you are planning to visit in Divisoria. I went to Divisoria on December 4, 2002 with my relatives especially my cousins to buy the items that they need to sell at their store. During my visit in Philippines, I have a plan to visit the places that I used to go and thanks God that my dreams were came true. We went to Tutuban, a well-known train station in Manila for many decades already. I remember that I went to Tutuban with my father and my brother when I was a kid. Sometimes, it was hard to take the jeepneys because the jeepneys are always full. Thanks God that there's also a train station in Caloocan City, Philippines which is a walking distance from our former residence. Anyway, at Tutuban, we saw many old trains there and they are also now a tourist spot in Manila, Philippines. Right now, there are many shopping malls in Divisoria like Tutuban Mall, a well-known shopping mall that they sell cheaper or wholesale items, too like the street vendors that are doing. Also, there are many restaurants, offices, and condominiums, too. After our tour there, we went to a restaurant there to try their shabu-shabu, a food that you will cook at your table. Their food is so nice but affordable. Divisoria is now also considered a good place to visit in Manila, Philippines and it is also a memorable place for me as well.
Q: We know that you are also a member of PIChE, did you attend the seminar or technical session during your vacation in Philippines?
A: Yes, I attended the seminar or technical session of Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE) on December 5, 2002 at Manila Midtown Hotel in Malate, Manila, Philippines. The topic was "Air Pollution" and it is also a technical session for Continuing Professional Education (CPE). CPE is a requirement for the renewal of professional license by having enough points thru CPE certificates as required by Professional Regulations Commission (PRC). I met many officers and members of PIChE that I know majority for many years already including Ms. Adela "Baby" Y. Anota, our secretary of PIChE for many years. The guest speakers were came from industries, academics, and government. Also, there were many guests and speakers in the seminar. The seminar was started at 8:00am and finished at 5:00pm. This is also a memorable seminar during my vacation in Philippines.
Q: We know that you are also a member of PIChE, did you attend the Chemical Engineering Congress during your vacation in Philippines?
A: Yes, I attended also the Chemical Engineering Congress on December 6 - 7, 2002 at De La Salle University in Malate, Manila, Philippines. This event is every year in Philippines and the purpose of this is to educate all the chemical engineers in Philippines about the newest or latest technologies in chemical engineering. This is also a point for the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) as required by Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) to renew the professional licenses. There were many people from different universities, industries, and government who presented their topics in the seminar. This is a 2-day seminar because there are many people who presented their topics and guests as well. I met most of my former co-professors at De La Salle University, my classmates, professors, and co-members of Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE) there. I learned a lot there and later I would like to continue my graduate studies so that I can do the presentation also. I will do my best for myself in order to increase my knowledge in chemical engineering.
Q: Are you familiar in Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines?
A: Yes, of course. Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines is one of the largest district in Manila, Philippines. Most of the well-known universities in Manila, Philippines are located there like University of Santo Tomas (UST). UST is the oldest university in Philippines. This place was named Sampaloc because it was a plantation of sampaloc trees especially along España Street, Dimasalang Street, Legarda Street, Morayta Street, and Governor Forbes Street. Until now, there are still sampaloc trees along the road islands of Governor Forbes Street. I used to go to Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines especially when I was a student at Mapua Institute of Technology. Most of the bookstores and other school supplies stores are located there. During my visit in Philippines, I went to Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines on December 6, 2002 to see the place again and to visit my friend's mother who was also a resident there at Crisostomo Street. I met my friend's mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Ricafort Yu, and her brother and sister. They prepared foods for our lunch and they gave me a nice entertainment there. After that, we went to my cousin's parlor in Quezon City, Philippines to invite them at my farewell party because I will get home soon on December 8, 2002. They met all my relatives there and they were asked me a favor to bring something goods for my friends. My farewell party was so nice because there were many foods and entertainments as well.
Q: We learned that you are a former math professor at De La Salle University. Did you visit the university when you visited in Philippines?
A: A: Yes, I was a math professor of De La Salle University in Malate, Manila, Philippines from 1997 to 2000 and this is my last job in Philippines before I migrated to United States. I would like to thank God first because He gave me a good opportunity to teach in one of the prestigious universities in Philippines. Next, I would like to thank Dr. Susan Abogado Roces, my co-professor at De La Salle University who helped me in giving me a good opportunity to teach there. I met Dr. Susan Abogado Roces in 1997 during the technical sessions of Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE) and she was one of the officers there. I took my Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering while I was a professor at De La Salle University thru Faculty Development. I did not finish my masters degree because I got my US Visa and I have to leave immediately before the expiration of my US Visa. I finished all my academic units but not my thesis. Anyway, De La Salle University is also memorable to me because I learned everything there and I gained friends, too. When I visited in Philippines again in 2009, I went to De La Salle University on November 11, 2009 to visit the university proper especially my former co-professors at Chemical Engineering Department. I met most of my former co-professors there even at the other departments and colleges. I met also the staffs in our department as well. They were very happy with my visit. I gave some chocolates and wines to my former co-professors there. During my visit also, we were planned to have a get-together soon and I will take in charge of it. Dr. Susan Abogado Roces will find a good place for our get-together soon. She and their department secretary, Juliet San Pedro, will invite my former co-professors for our get-together soon. During my visit there, I noticed that most of my former co-professors are promoted in their positions like the following: Dr. Julius Maridable is the Vice-President of Academics, Dr. Leonila Abella is the Chairman of Engineering Graduate Studies, Dr. Pag-asa Duran Gaspillo is the Dean of College of Engineering, Mr. Efren dela Cruz is still the Vice-Dean of College of Engineering, Dr. Josephine Borja is the Department Chairman of Chemical Engineering Department, Ms. Marylou Uy is the Vice-Chairman of Chemical Engineering Department, and Ms. Juliet San Pedro is still the secretary of Chemical Engineering Department.
Q: Did you have a chance to visit or have a tour in Manila when you visited in Philippines?
A: Yes, of course. This is one of my dream when I was planning to visit in Philippines. I would like to see the places that I used to visit and see when I was a resident in Philippines. I went to Sta. Cruz on November 18, 2009 with my cousin, Mark Anthony Tan. Santa Cruz, Manila is one of the most popular district in Manila for having many stores, shopping malls, and cinemas. When I was a child, I used to go there always with my parents and brothers to buy clothes and shoes especially at Escolta Street. Escolta Street is one of the oldest street there and thanks God that Escolta Street is never changed its name because most of the streets in Manila is changed its name. We were supposed to visit at Mapua Institute of Technology located along Doroteo Jose Street where I finished my High School in 1987 but the school itself is already demolished and now a vacant lot for bus stations. When Mapua Institute of Technology is sold and bought by Yuchengco Group of Company, the High School Department, is changed its name as Malayan Science High School and it is relocated in Pandacan. There are many changes at Doroteo Jose Street after 7 years because there are many hotels, stores, and malls. While we were having a tour, we walked along the sidewalks of Rizal Avenue or Avenida in short. There are many cinemas, stores and restaurants along Rizal Avenue. We passed Claro Mayo Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga Street), Soler Street, Raon Street, Ronquillo Street, and then Escolta Street. These places are so memorable to me because I used to go there or visit when I was a High School student at Mapua Institute of Technology. The main tourist spot in Santa Cruz is the Santa Cruz Church. Santa Cruz Church is located at Plaza Santa Cruz along Ronquillo Street and Escolta Street. Escolta Street is still a tourist spot and there are many stores, office buildings, and restaurants there. After our tour, we ate at Savory Restaurant, a well-known restaurant there for many years already. The restaurant is still serving fried chicken and rice topping dishes. We used to eat there before when I was a kid especially after we did a shopping at Escolta Street. Our tour in Santa Cruz, Manila is so memorable and I would like to visit again in the future.
After we had our lunch at Savory Restaurant, we went to Intramuros by walking from Escolta Street. Intramuros is the oldest district in Manila. This is also a tourist spot in Philippines and you will see the old and classical buildings and landmarks there including Manila Post Office. The City Hall of Manila is also located there with a big clock. I used to go and visit in Intramuros when I was a student at Mapua Institute of Technology from 1987 to 1992. This is also a memorable place for me especially during my college days. Also, when I was a part-time professor of Lyceum of the Philippines, I used to visit in some places in Intramuros like the Intramuros Walls with canyons and old buildings along Muralla Street, Anuda Street, Victoria Street, Solana Street, General Luna Street, Burgos Street, and so on. There are many universities and churches in Intramuros including Mapua Institute of Technology. The old buildings and landmarks are preserved and maintained by the City Government of Manila. Intramuros has a lot of changes also after 7 years because there are many stores, restaurants, and offices that make the place more crowded especially with many students. This is a memorable tour also and I would like to visit this place again in the future no matter what.
Q: Since you were visited in Intamuros, Manila, did you have a chance to visit at Mapua Institute of Technology?
A: Yes, of course. I went to Mapua Institute of Technology on November 18, 2009 after we had a tour in Intramuros with my cousin, Mark Anthony Tan. I went there to visit the university especially the Northwest Building where the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Department (ChE-Chm) is located. I visited my classmates in college there like Ms. Ariziel Ruth Dizon Marquez, Ms. Nanette Dagdag Santos, Mr. Alvin Caparanga, and my professors there like Mrs. Elizabeth So Espiritu, Mr. Jacob Intia, Mrs. Nilda Sargento Eliquen, and so on. There are many changes at Mapua Institute of Technology since the ownership is transferred to Yuchengco Group of Company. Most of the classrooms, faculty rooms, and laboratories are air-conditioned. The library, gym, and canteens are also now air-conditioned. The university is now offering quad semesters in a year. During my college days from 1987 to 1992, the university was offering two semesters only. Later, the name of the university will be changed into Malayan College. Right now, the university has another building in Makati City which offers nursing and business administration courses. Thanks God that I saw the university again and this is also a memorable place for me because I got many friends there in spite of being weirdo and serious in the class. I had many accomplishments there because I got higher grades in Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. During my college days also, I won in Math Wizard many times and compete with many universities for Math Wizard and landed in finalist. Later on, I would like to see my classmates again, my professors, and the university in the future.