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Bacolod City, PhilippinesFriday, April 24, 2009
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‘Siddharta’ set tonight

The Bacolod Foo Guang Shan, Yuan Thong Temple, in coordination with the Cebu Foo Guang Shan Temple, will present a musical called “Siddharta” on the life and time of Sakyamuni Budddha, will be held 7 p.m. today, at the Univeristy of St. La Salle, Bacolod City,  a press release from organizers said.

Interested parties may call the Bacolod Yuan Thong Temple, through Master Yung Ko at Tel. Nos. 432-2733 or 0917-300-8856, or Ray Granada Pe (0929-212-6899), the press release added.*

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Malaspina St.
renamed Agustin Drive

Bacolod City ordinance 491 authored by Councilor Alex Paglumotan, has renamed Malaspina Street as LN Agustin Drive in a turnover ceremony yesterday in honor of West Negros University’s founder Leodegario Agustin.

Paglumotan said Malaspina Street, located behind the WNU, has played a significant part in the daily life of Agustin when he founded it in 1948.

Paglumotan, who used to be WNU’s scholar, added that the renaming of Malaspina Street is not enough to honor Agustin’s unparalleled contribution to education.

He said that from the time Agustin founded WNU, it has molded thousands of students into professionals.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that with the numerous contributions of WNU to the city of Bacolod, renaming Malaspina Street after its founder is the least thing that the city can do.

Over the years the institution has achieved academic excellence, rich cultural heritage, and global competitiveness, Leonardia said.

He said that while the city is honoring Agustin, he and its officials are also condoling with his family for the passing away of Agustin’s wife, Georgina, who is presently lying in state at the Audio Visual Center of WNU.

Leonardia stressed that it has always been the policy of his administration to recognize the good deeds of the city’s citizens.

Agustin’s eldest son, Leo, thanked the city officials for honoring his father.

He said that they are thankful to the Lord for making their father instrumental in the education of the poor youth in the province by giving them scholarships and affordable tuition fees.

Aside from Paglumotan and Leonardia, Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, Councilors Roberto Rojas, Catalino Alisbo, Greg Gasataya, Al Victor Espino and Celia Flor were also present at the ceremony yesterday*APN

Most Memorable Nights

One of the most memorable nights of my life started when I stepped into Fox Studios in Hollywood last April 13.  I was fortunate to have been chosen to attend the advanced screening of “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler”, starring Anna Paquin, Marcia Gay Harden and Goran Visnjic. 

This movie is a made-for-TV biopic focused on the self-sacrificing deeds of Irena Sendler, a magnanimous heroine and a Polish-Christian social worker, who spent much of her days in war-torn Poland, risking life everyday by rescuing the Jewish children of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Academy award winner Anna Paquin (The Piano) portrays Sendler with a fervent passion. Every beautiful, pained expression she displays tugs at your heart strings especially in moments when her vulnerability was tested and when she wished she could have saved more. 

I found myself clutching my chest numerous times, feeling as if my heart had been wrenched when I saw devastated parents parting with their children, knowing full well that that would be the final time they’ll be in each other’s lives.

When Irena was finally caught and inhumanely tortured by the Gestapo, the fear for her life became my own. The movie ends showing a video clip of the real Irena Sendler, giving thoughtful praise to the courage and unconditional love of the Jewish mothers who gave their children a fighting chance to survive the hellish war, and the Polish Christian mothers who put their lives at risk by welcoming the orphaned children as their own. 

I finally learned why it took a long time for Irena’s courage to be known worldwide, when I was introduced to the industrious efforts of four brilliant rural Kansas high school girls who, in 1999, were responsible for breathing life to Irena’s story. They did this by making the play, “Life in a Jar”. One of the surviving children Irena had saved was also presented to the audience.

A most notable event that night was the arrival of Anna Paquin, accompanied by Stephen Moyer and Sam Trammel. 

I can not find words to describe how beside myself with excitement I was when Stephen Moyer, who was wonderfully kind, and dashing as well, led me to meet the movie’s biggest star, Anna Paquin.

Those two embraced me with such warmth that it made my heart swell with happiness and admiration.

The night was memorable, indeed. In a few hours’ time, I had met new friends, new colleagues and a better understanding and awareness of the testament of courage, and the life and legacy of Irena Sendler.*

(The writer, who covered the premiere showing of Paquin’s latest movie at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theater at the Twentieth Century Fox Studios in Hollywood, is the daughter of Bacolod architect Prospero Leonardia and the former Nena Delfin. She now resides in Irvine, California.*)

Bacolod girl Gretchen Leonardia-Dumatol (center) with Stephen Moyer of True Blood and Oscar winner Anna Paquin whose latest movie she reviewed for The Vault online.*

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People & Events
Malaspina St. renamed Agustin Drive
Most Memorable Nights