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Urbanization and its perils

The pronouncements of my friend Aristotle Batuhan in the other day’s 888 Forum urging former congressman Raul del Mar to wait just a little while for a new Cebu City master plan before pushing for his costly flyovers are quite timely. This came as an international conference of nearly a hundred scholars and researchers from all over Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States opened at the sprawling Talamban Campus of the University of San Carlos.

I am referring to the 36th Southeast Asia Seminar of the Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) which is hosted in Cebu by the USC Cebuano Studies Center. This is, according to CSEAS director Dr. Hiromu Shimizu, only the third time in the long history of the conference that it is held outside Kyoto. The discussions and papers presented in the conference are hewed under the theme, “Cities and Cultures in Southeast Asia.” And nothing can be more timely than this topic as Cebu City and her neighboring cities and towns that make up Metro Cebu are now feeling the tremendous impacts of progress and development sans a unified and coherent master plan as well as an overarching body that would bring all of these towns and cities to ponder as one Metro Cebu’s future.

There are three sub-themes in the three-day conference (it ends today), namely: History and Heritage; Cities and Urban Communities; and Political and Economic Transformations. Coming from a multiplicity of disciplines, the papers in the conference attempt to understand the complexities that make up the city and I see it as extremely fitting that it is being held in Cebu instead of Manila, in that it is also important to look at secondary cities and how they are managing amid the shadow of great capital cities.

This had been a running discussion between me and CSC director Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu when we came to Kyoto last year to visit Dr. Carolyn Hau at CSEAS. (Dr. Hau is chairing this year’s conference.) I had wanted to look at how second cities, or in our moniker “Queen Cities” like that of Cebu City and Kyoto, for example, were faring despite the fact that these were away from what would be called the political and economic center, the capital city. And now the conference has finally arrived and I wish to welcome everyone and hope that they enjoy their stay in this queen city.

* * *

I would like to thank Ayala Center for hosting the exhibit entitled “The Canonization of San Pedro Calungsod: An Exhibition of Photographs by Fr. Generoso Rebayla, Jr., SVD.” This is part of the Archdiocese of Cebu’s program to publish a book on the historic event that was held at The Vatican. The University of San Carlos Press is currently preparing the book for eventual release in time for the Thanksgiving Mass at the South Reclamation Project on Nov. 30.

The exhibit will move to SM Northwing on Sunday. We hope that a book launching and signing ceremony will be held there perhaps after the hectic Nov. 30 event.

This coffee table book, titled “San Pedro Calungsod: The Canonization Album,” is a joint publication of the Archdiocese and USC Press and a significant number of copies are being printed so that the cost could be driven down to the barest price of P300. This 120-page book is not just a feel-good tome full of colored pictures but also contains an abridged biography of the saint, his virtues and the songs written in his honor. Also, the Novena to San Pedro Calungsod is also part of the book. The homilies of the Archbishops/Bishops during the Triduum Masses in Rome are also excerpted together with an extract from the canonization homily of Pope Benedict XVI.

For those who wish to reserve copies, kindly call Tina at USC Press (Tel. 2531000 loc. 175) or send an SMS to 0908-8803005 or e-mail calungsodbook@gmail.com.

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Tags: 888 Forum , Aristotle Batuhan , Cebu City , Flyovers , Raul del Mar , Road Transport , Urbanization

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