All posts by The LaSallian

Viva Il Papa - Jan Villarosa

The Papal Visit: What we could be

Pope Francis bid the Philippines farewell last January 19 after a five-day apostolic visit to the Philippines. Over the duration of his stay, the pontiff visited several locations, including Malacañang Palace, Luneta Park, and Tacloban, Leyte – one of the locations most devastated by Typhoon Yolanda. In each of his appearances, huge crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father, highlighted by the six million attending his concluding mass at the Quirino Grandstand.

Viva Il Papa - Jan Villarosa

The effect of Pope Francis’ presence in the country for just five days was staggering, to say the least. The country, especially the areas that the Pope visited, was almost unrecognizable over the duration of his visit. The streets were clean, the police well-behaved, and the crime rate was close to zero. Metro Manila, which is usually known for its pollution and treacherous streets, seemed to transform into an entirely different city, one of peace and order.

It leads many to wonder why all of this was possible for one person’s visit, but not for the daily welfare of the several millions of people that reside in Metro Manila. The fact that it was entirely possible for the nation to celebrate in solitude shows that the Filipino people are indeed capable of changing for the better. However, in the days following his departure, though the sample size is still small, it seems like we have reverted back to our old selves, rather than continuing the discipline and order exhibited during the Pope’s stay.

After the fanfare and celebration wear off, what does his visit truly mean to us both as Filipinos and Catholics? As the dust has settled and the lively songs and presentations have come to an end, the success of the Papal Visit cannot only be determined by the grand celebration that happened when Pope Francis was on our shores, but by how we act even after he has departed the country.

It seems highly unlikely that the Philippines will transform into a first-world nation overnight, but as to the long term effects of the Pope’s messages of mercy and compassion, as well as his comments against systematic corruption in the government, concrete changes are yet to be seen and will definitely take some time. The country must prove that the Pope’s visit was not just an excuse to garner international media attention, but instead, show that we can translate the message delivered by his Holiness into legitimate action.

It is time to show that the behavior of the nation during the stay of the Holy Father was not fake hospitality done to better our image in the eyes of the rest of the world, but instead, actual warmth born out of affection for the head of the Catholic Church. In the wake of the Pope’s departure, will we truly live his message of mercy and compassion towards our troubled nation? Or will our country continue its state of corruption and poverty, only covering everything up until the next Papal isit?

There are high hopes that this time around, things in the country will change for the better, but only time can tell if the progress that we have gained from the Papal visit will once again be nipped in the bud.

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Pope Francis in the Philippines: As told by social media

Pope Francis’ five-day visit to the Philippines has officially come to a close, signalling the end of His Holiness’ week-long Apostolic Journey of mercy and compassion that started in Sri Lanka.

The Papal Visit, which started with the Pope’s arrival in the late afternoon of January 15 and concluded with his departure on the morning of January 19, was an event of grand celebration. It literally drew millions from all over the country who sacrificed countless hours waiting and endured uncomfortable circumstances just to catch a glimpse of him. What added to the people’s excitement was the fact that this papal visit was the first since Saint Pope John Paul II visited for World Youth Day in 1995.

The LaSallian helps you relive the Pope’s historic journey to the Philippines and all its highlights, through the eyes of social media, which has become a major part of today’s culture. From the moment he arrived, to his emotional journey to Tacloban, Leyte, to his concluding mass in the Quirino Grandstand, every step of the #PapalVisitPH of the Holy Father is highlighted here.

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The build-up and Day 1 – January 15

Anticipation was high from the get go as the Philippine government meticulously prepared for months to ensure the Pope’s safety during his short visit. Several roads were blocked off while thousands of volunteers and police officers worked to keep crowds in check. On the other side of things, the Holy Father himself humbly asked for prayers via Twitter before setting off on his journey.

The head of the Vatican arrived in Villamor Air Base in the afternoon of January 15. He was welcomed by government officials together with a dance number by students from schools in the Diocese of Paranaque at the tarmac.

JUST IN: The Papal plane has landed at the Villamor Air Base | via @TVPatrol on Twitter #PopeFrancisPH #PopeTYSM A photo posted by ABS-CBN News (@abscbnnews) on

Upon exiting the base, he was welcomed by a massive and energetic crowd who lined up along his entire route to the Apostolic Nunciature along Taft Avenue.


Day 2 – January 16
On his first morning in the Philippines, Pope Francis visited the Malacañang Palace to meet with President Benigno Aquino III and other civil authorities. Afterwards, both the Pope and President delivered speeches to address the Filipino nation.

The Holy Father then travelled to the historic Manila Cathedral in Intramuros where he celebrated his first public mass in the Philippines. Members of the clergy filled the historic venue while thousands gathered outside in the scorching heat just to get a glimpse of him.

Several mass-goers waited in front of the Manila Cathedral to catch a glimpse of the pontiff but he surprised everyone at the last minute, exiting from a side door instead to greet a different set of pilgrims in that area.

Upon returning to the Papal Nunciature, he sent out a message to his followers on Twitter in both English and Filipino. Inspired by the mass he had celebrated just moments before, he said, “The Philippines bear witness to the youthfulness and vitality of the Church.”

Up next on Pope Francis’ itinerary was an “Encounter with Families” at the Mall of Asia (MoA) Arena in Pasay City. Thousands gathered along his route and both inside and outside the MoA Arena to listen to what he had to say.

Inside the MoA Arena, Pope Francis heard testimonies from several Filipino families before addressing everyone with an important message of faith and love. He stressed the importance of praying together as a family, saying, “When you lose this capacity to dream [as a family], you lose this capacity to love.”

After the event, the Pope took to Twitter again and shared a reflection from his most recent event, saying, “The family is the greatest treasure of any country. Let us all work to protect and strengthen this, the cornerstone of society.”

Day 3 – January 17
On his third day in the Philippines, Pope Francis flew out to the city of Tacloban in the province of Leyte for the day. This is where Typhoon Yolanda, known internationally as Typhoon Haiyan, struck hardest, killing thousands of people and wiping out entire cities and towns in November 2013.  To make matters more complicated, Tacloban was under Storm Signal Warning No. 2 due to Typhoon Amang (International known as ‘Mekkhala’). As a result, the pontiff had to wear a yellow poncho over his vestments while celebrating the holy mass at the Tacloban airport and for most of his stay in the city.

Pope Francis had with a homily that was prepared before hand, but he decided to speak from the heart instead when the moment came. “I prefer today to speak in Spanish. I have a translator, a good translator. May I do it?,” he asked the crowd who responded with a “Yes”.


He began his homily by saying that “Jesus is like us” then he revealed to the crowd, “I’d like to tell you something close to my heart. When I saw from Rome that catastrophe I had to be here. And on those very days I decided to come here. I am here to be with you. A little bit late, but I’m here.”


The leader of the Roman Catholic Church then ended his homily, addressing the people saying, “And holding onto her mantle and with the power that comes from Jesus’ love on the cross, let us move forward and walk together as brothers and sisters in the Lord.”



Afterwards, Pope Francis had lunch with survivors of Typhoon Yolanda at the Palo Archbishop’s residence then blessed the Center for the Poor.

Unfortunately, the Santo Papa’s visit was cut short due to the intensifying storm which would have made it difficult to fly out at the originally scheduled departure time of 5 pm. Pope Francis flew out of Tacloban and back to Manila at 1 pm.


Post by CNN.


Upon his return to the Papal Nunciature, Pope Francis sent out another set of tweets, one in English and Filipino once again, that read, “The com-passion of God, his suffering-with-us, gives meaning and worth to our struggles and our sufferings.”

Day 4 – January 18
For his last full day in the Philippines, the public was invited to join Pope Francis in two major public events: The Meeting with the Youth at the University of Santo Tomas in the morning and the concluding mass at the Quirino Grandstand.

After listening four young people give their testimonies about the issues of the youth today, Pope Francis took his turn to speak to the audience at the Pontifical and Royal university. He chose to speak in Spanish once more, ignoring his prepared speech once more and instead choosing to answer the questions posed by the youth straight from his heart.

One of the highlights of the pontiff’s allocution was when he said, “Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand. Look out for this fact: she is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn’t put it into words but expressed it with tears.” This was in response to the speech of 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar who was the only girl out of the four speakers. Pope Francis then quipped, “So when the next Pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.”

He also discussed challenges that the youth face including climate change and the approach one must take with the poor. He closed by sharing a line that has now become iconic, “The reality that you have is superior to the paper I have in front of me. Thank you very much. Pray for me!”

Thoughts? Watch the #PopeFrancisPH live stream on

A photo posted by Rappler (@rappler) on

After his moving speech at UST, Pope Francis tweeted out in both English and Filipino, “We who are Christians, members of God’s family, are called to go out to the needy and to serve them.”

Later that day, it was time for the Pope’s much-anticipated celebration of the holy mass at the Quirino Grandstand. Thousands of pilgirms came hours in advanced–some were even a whole day early–just to get a good spot for his concluding mass.

The last Papal Visit to the Philippines was in 1995 when Saint Pope John Paul II came for World Youth Day. To close the said event, the holy mass was held, also at the Quirino Grandstand, where four million people were said to have been in attendance. Twenty years later, Pope Francis’ concluding mass broke the attendance record as six million people were reportedly present.

Parade at the Quirino Grandstand. #PopeFrancisPH A video posted by Rappler (@rappler) on

Before the end of the mass, both Bishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, thanked Pope Francis in front of the millions in attendance.
Tagle, who has a well-documented friendship with the Pope, closed his message strongly, “Before you go, Holy Father, send us, your beloved Filipinos, to spread the light of Jesus, and wherever you see the light of Jesus shining, even in Rome, even in Santa Marta, remember: the Filipino people are with you in spreading the light of Jesus.”

After the historic mass, Pope Francis would tweet again in both English and Filipino upon returning to the Papal Nunciature. He shared to his followers a message saying, “How often we forget to dedicate ourselves to that which truly matters! We forget that we are children of God.”

Day 5 – January 19
The morning of the 19th of January marked the end of his Holiness Pope Francis’ historical five-day visit. For the last time, crowds of Filipinos lined the streets leading from the Apostolic Nunciature all the way to Villamor Air Base just to get a glimpse of the Holy Father.

Pope Francis’ well-wishers #PapalVisitPH

A video posted by CBCP News (@cbcpnews) on

Pope Francis blessed the faithful for one final time before boarding his plane and departing for Rome.

While on his flight back to Rome, Italy, a reflective Pope Francis tweeted, “To my friends in Sri Lanka and the Philippines: May God bless you all! Please pray for me.”

Pope Francis’ apostolic visit was truly an event of monumental scale, and tweets, posts, and photos can only partially capture the impact that the Holy Father has made on our country. There is no doubt, however, that the words and blessings given by the pontiff over these past five days will be remembered by the faithful for many decades to come.


Fighting for zero

18 casualties.

Considering that Typhoon Ruby was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in 2014 and that typhoons of lesser strength in recent years have claimed more lives, 18 casualties (as of press time) bodes well for the country’s disaster management. Even if Ruby was downgraded from super typhoon status as it crossed the Philippine Area of Responsibility, the government deserves due credit for minimizing the damage that could have been done—a marked improvement from last year’s Typhoon Yolanda disaster, which saw thousands of lives lost and millions displaced.

Ruby was classified as a Category Five typhoon, the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, and with this imminent threat, more than a million people were evacuated from at-risk areas. As a matter of fact, the United Nations (UN) Office for Disaster Risk Reduction called it “one of the largest peacetime evacuations in the Philippines’ history” and later on compared it to the commendable evacuation efforts in preparation for the threat of Cyclone Phailin in India last year.

Despite all the praise coming in and the noted improvements in our disaster preparedness, there is still a long way for the Philippines to go. Humans are not just numbers or statistics, and those 18 people who lost their lives should be a constant reminder that we could and should do better.


As much and more of the rehabilitation and rebuilding in Ruby’s aftermath are brought to our television screens, radios, and social media feeds, it is important to remember that typhoons are more than the floods they cause, the classes they suspended, and the overall destruction they bring. They are signs of just how much there is left that must be done.

The well-praised resilience of the Filipino people must be concretized into the finding and funding of ways to build back better. Evacuation and relief efforts must be streamlined, new evacuation centers must be built, and existing ones improved. With climate change intensifying more than ever, these improvements have to come now because typhoons and other natural disasters will definitely not wait for them. We must not stop until the number of casualties falls to zero.

In a country that experiences 10 typhoons making landfall every year on average, it is important to never get accustomed to the number of lives they claim and the damage they bring. A marked improvement must be made every year and this is a good start, but it is far from enough. 18 casualties may be better than 6,300, but it is still 18 too many. Zero might not mean anything on most occasions, but in this case, it represents lives saved and families kept together – in short, everything.


PRESS RELEASE: Boto Lasalyano, Sulong Pilipino – Voters’ Registration for National Elections 2016

Are you a registered voter already for the national elections 2016?
If not, then need not to worry because you can now register without the hassle of encountering long lines and hours.
The iRehistro Voter’s Registration is finally here!

See you at the SJ Lobby from 9AM to 5PM this Nov 24-27, 2014.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be a registered voter!

See you there!

Brought to you by:
Office of the President
Office of the Vice President for External Affairs

Supported by:
COMELEC Republic of the Philippines


November - Editorial Cartoon

Plebiscite, take two

After several months of meetings, Legislative Assembly sessions, consultations with community stakeholders, and delibrations, the 2014 University Student Government (USG) Constitution was all set for the plebiscite which was to be held last November 3 to 7. The aim of the plebiscite was to gain the majority approval of De La Salle University’s students on the proposed USG constitution change which was a product of Operation REFOCUS, spearheaded by last year’s USG President Miguel Moreno.

Moreno raised three questions regarding the effectivity of the USG. First, is the USG living up to its founding identity and purpose? Second, is the USG really one and united? And third, is the USG able to serve and represent all the students? It was in answering these three questions that the major restructuring of the USG began. One of the perceived benefits of the new constitution was to remove redundancies in the offices under the USG to ensure smoother, more united operations.

Despite the clear importance of this plebiscite, students remained largely unaware of the event, even on the week of voting itself. This led to dismal turnouts, and those who were aware of the plebiscite questioned the lack of interest among students. Many tried to identify whether the root of the problem was the information dissemination of the USG or the student apathy that has unfortunately become a norm in the University.

November - Editorial Cartoon

In an unexpected turn of events on the second day of voting, two concerned students filed a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the voting process of the plebiscite, claiming that it was unconstitutional. Their reasons included a lack of respresentation from the freshman batch while amendments were crafted in the Legislative Assembly, poor information dissemination, a lack of consultation among student sectors, and poor handling of the plebiscite’s voting procedures.

The tension between the USG’s top officers and the petitioners was evident during the grueling two-hour hearing held by the Judiciary last November 10, while some even hypothesized that the petition was politically motivated. USG representatives even claimed that the petition was done in bad faith, but eventually dropped the allegation. By the end of the night, the Judiciary decided to junk the petition and declare the plebiscite constitutional, allowing the voting to continue at a later date.  The USG was spared. It took a hearing and petition to do so, but suddenly student apathy turned into interest as media coverage of the hearing sparked discussion among students online.

The situation at hand is sadly comparable to that of the Philippines, where majority are apathetic in nature when it comes to policial activity, only being awakened by scandal. When it comes to important matters that need the attention of the citizenry, Lasallians have mirrored the general culture of the Filipino people. This is where the problem lies. Remaining apathetic will lead to no good and opinions will carry no weight until proper action is taken.

However, the USG must also step up in order to engage students better. The effort that is put into electoral campaigns – extensive room-to-room speeches, well rehearsed presentations, and countless hours of planning – must also be present in the information dissemination and educational efforts regarding the plebiscite. If not, how can students believe that the plebiscite is a matter of importance if it does not reflect in the actions of their leaders?

That students are much less informed of the changes in the USG constitution than the platforms of candidates during election season is telling in itself, given that accusations of student apathy are present in both. More than repeatedly telling Lasallians that their voice matters and that the fate of the student government is in their hands, engaging students in an active discussion regarding the proposed changes in the USG Constitution is also needed. Proper education regarding the 2014 Constitution will take time and effort, but the consequences of not educating students are dire. The tendency to vote blindly, if at all, is high, and all the efforts from those in charge of the 2014 Constitution will go to waste if this does not change.

With the decision of the Judiciary, the plebiscite gets a new lease on life at the end of the month. Both the students and the USG get a chance to get it right this time around, and it is our hope that they do. The USG must do its job well to get the students informed and interested in the plebiscite, but at the end of the day the fate of this plebiscite lies within the active participation of the students. This is the chance to instill change, and for the outspoken, to walk the talk.


The Lasallian Scholars Society’s Lemniscate



Get ready as the Lasallian Scholars Society brings you LEMNISCATE: WE ARE WITHOUT BOUNDS


So what are you waiting for? Save the date November 20, 2014 6:00pm-9:00pm and grab the opportunity to have fun with your fellow scholars!

Pre-registration is available on the link below:

For more information contact the people below:
Thomas Bienvenida: 09053390697
April Velasco: 09358615998

FTK 2015 Publicity

PRESS RELEASE: For-The-Kids (FTK) 2015

De La Salle University’s Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) is currently preparing for For-The-Kids (FTK) 2015 which is
scheduled to happen on January 25, 2015.
FTK 2015 Publicity

FTK has been an institutional activity, attended by 500-600 kids, as well as 1000 ates and kuyas on a yearly basis. It is a big gathering of the members of the Lasallian community who are bound by the spirit of volunteerism. COSCA has been constant in this effort to reach out to children with special needs and FTK is the culmination of this.

For more information, you contact the following:

  • Pauline Sy – 0922 885 9520
  • Japok Cruz – 0927 231 2954
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Letter to the Editor by Tristan Felipe

Letters to the Editor is a section where The LaSallian publishes sentiments and opinions by members of the community on matters concerning life in De La Salle University in any of its aspects. Should you wish to send a letter to the editor, kindly email your letter to, or send a message to our Facebook page.

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Letter to the Editor of The LaSallian


Allow me to share with you a short anecdote of mine. Last General Elections 2014, I ran for a batch-level position under the banner of Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista. During one of my slate’s room-to-room campaign, a student raised an intriguing question. “Do you agree that the University Student Government (USG) is a microcosm of the Philippine Government, not just in structure but also in culture?”.  The observation of most students is that the problems we face in the national setting are the same problems we face inside the University. Others say that the attitude of the political parties during elections are the same as the attitude of the politicians during national elections. They use negative campaigning against each other. Their candidates say promises during campaign and immediately forget them upon winning the elections. The crooked system we have in the national setting is the same crooked system we have here in the University. And because of this, many students already lost their faith in the USG just as how many Filipinos lost their faith in our government.

At some point, I actually agree to these sentiments. However, I firmly believe that the elected officers and the candidates are not the only ones responsible for this government. We must keep in mind that as students of this University, as citizens of this country, we are part of this government, this system, and we are all responsible for what this system had become and what it will be in the future. Losing hope in this system equates to losing hope in ourselves for in this democratic system, it is us who hold the power to mold it.

Before I continue, I would like to emphasize that I am not writing this letter as a member of Alysansang Tapat sa Lasallista, nor as a proponent of the new USG constitution. I am writing this as a concerned student who wants to inspire my fellow Lasallians to act for the betterment of our University.

This week, November 3 – 7, the plebiscite for the new constitution of the USG is to be conducted. Through this, we are asked to express our stand on the changing of the structures in our USG, the changes in the powers, duties and responsibilities of the officers, and the changes as to how the USG shall operate as the sole, unified, autonomous and democratic representative body of the students. This plebiscite is an avenue for us students to explicitly use our power to mold this government into one that is really for the students. Let us take time see and experience the strengths and weaknesses of our present USG, and educate ourselves with the proposed changes of the new USG constitution. Let us reflect, and analyze these systems to know which of them will allow the USG to fulfill its role more efficiently and more effectively. And let us also commit ourselves and make an action to fulfill our role in this government by voting in this plebiscite.

I would like to end this letter by sharing to you a quote shared to me by my mentor, Mr. Mito Dizon. “It only takes one generation, hopefully our generation, to stand firm in changing the system – One generation not to succumb to the system – One generation that will further progressively define the Nation.” The reason why we have this crooked system in our government is not just because of the culture of our politicians but also because of the culture of the voters. Many of our fellow Filipinos fail to educate themselves well about the platform and the character of the candidates before voting for them. Some do not even vote for they already lost hope in our government. Others do not vote for they simply do not care. These are the people who have already succumbed to the system.

This poses a challenge to our generation. Instead of allowing our USG to have the culture of our national government, let us strive to make it a good example to our fellow countrymen outside the University. Let us be the generation to stand firm in changing the system, the generation not to succumb to the system, the generation that will further progressively define this nation.

The response to this challenge starts inside the University. It starts with us voting.


In St. La Salle,

Tristan Gabriel D. Felipe