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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Of Maryhurst, flowers and drizzles

IN MY BAGUIO sojourn, there are three things I wish I could still have in my life here in Manila. Those who lived in Baguio would certainly agree with me, 100%. These include my unforgettable and treasured memories of Maryhurst garden, the flowers of Baguio and indolent weekend strolls amidst the afternoon drizzles.

When I went to Baguio recently, I have reminisced about the good life I once had while in Baguio.
With nothing to do during weekends, and with depression creeping in after college, I spent weekend afternoons with long walks while contemplating about my work, thinking about the ‘could-have-beens’ about many things, and life as a whole. I just love the drizzles slowly wetting my skin. This experience made me shiver in cold but I just loved the way these tiny drops fell on my face. The cool wind that comes with it just made me so refreshed and relieved of loneliness and fatigue after a week of work and studies. Starting from Session Road, down to Leonard Wood Road, up to Gibraltar, I end up at the Mines View Park and stare at the endless Antamok ranges. On many occasions, I would go to Camp John Hay just walking and enjoy the cool pine scent, the humming of the wind and sprawling greens that sometimes I found myself lying on the dried pine needles, and catch a nap afterwards.

One of my favorite destinations in my long walks is Maryhurst Garden. For those who do not know the place, you take Villamor Street, which is the road on the right facing Mansion House. Further down, you arrive at an intersection and you take the road to the right. Approximately 500-600 meters is the Maryhurst Seminary, which owns the place. The gardens start right at the gate. However, I regret that nowadays, outsiders are no longer welcome after they closed it to the public.

Maryhurst was and still is a very special place for me. Right at the gate, you could already smell fragrance! It was a point in my life that I said I have known and felt how it was to be in paradise. I could not recall the exact scent, but definitely, it is a mixture of lavender, roses, and other sweet smelling flowers. And I am not boasting if I would say Maryhurst was a natural perfumery.

When the seminary was ravaged by fire in 1990, I felt so bad that I thought my good memories of Maryhurst have also turned into ash. Since the time it was closed to the public, I have never been to the place. Honestly, I felt that it was a good decision for the CICM priests to close the garden. Why? First, I would no longer have the reason why I should go there and relive the past, and second, Maryhurst, which was a very wholesome place, was transformed into a day motel by some lovers who had their sexual trysts done in broad daylight. How could some lovers be so indiscriminate that they have not respected the place, which is, in fact, a seminary? I guess, this is the main reason why they closed my favorite garden.

I do not know if Maryhurst Seminary still has its beautiful garden. Like the Camp John Hay, which was stripped off its historical value, perhaps Maryhurst, too has also changed tremendously! But I would say that those who had been to the place would agree with me. It was a place for reflection, for clean fun, for clean love, and for peace of mind.

Priceless! That is how I would describe Maryhurst garden now. Even the memories that come with it will always be treasured. It was the place where I literally stopped from the daily grind and smelled the flowers! Nowadays, Baguio seems very crowded and Baguio now is no longer what I have experienced it to be.

Places, people, and things change. The face of Baguio has transformed a lot after 18 years. I may no longer see the same people whom I have befriended. Perhaps, they might have forgotten me, or I have forgotten them, except for that kind of familiarity that make you smile when you meet them again along Session Road. But what is important to me is what Baguio would offer me when I go back and say hello to my old friends. I have a treasure with me, that is-- the memories of Baguio, and the people I have related with. And that treasure will always be kept in my chest of memories. It will not burn down just like Maryhurst, nor change like the Camp John Hay (and I still call it by its real name and not exchange it with ‘adulterated’ Club John Hay!). And I am writing it now and sharing with you these treasures so you could also partake in the love, peace and calm I once savored in my young life.

My recent trips to Baguio made me wish I could spend time walking again in the afternoon drizzles.


9 people have commented. Leave your comments too!:

hello, i was wondering why the maryhurst garden was never written about and so i googled it and voila, here's you! yes, like you i have very few, but fond memories of maryhurst. back in high school in the late '60's, we spent one recollection day each in 3rd and 4th years at the seminary. and this was in the best months of baguio, during jan or feb. after our recollection, we'd have a picnic at the open space behind the building. the garden you mention if i am not mistaken was started by the late br armand. one great spot in baguio and it is only now, from you, that i learn it has been closed to the public. na 'virus' pala. thanks for your maryhurst post.

Thank you for your interest in this rather very personal journal entry, which I wrote some years back! I agree with you, Maryhurst Seminary does not even have a workshop. I wonder why SLU website does not even have a link to the Seminary and the Seminary itself does not have a website.

Nonetheless, I am trying to get in touch with my friends if there would be a chance for me to go back there and see for myself the change it has gone through.

hello,i am a CICM seminarian, a product of Maryhurst Seminary.. I spent my 2 years of Pre- Novitiate Formation in that Very, very, very beautiful place . . .but now, isa na akong theo student at isa sa mga namimiss ko ay ang Maryhurst Seminary . . but honestly speaking, Maryhurst Seminary still one of the best places in Baguio City . .kakaiba talaga ang klima dun compare to the downtown areas in Baguio City . . but your are luckier coz naabutan mo pa ang Maryhurst garden ni late Bro. Armand Lamminuer, CICM. . he passed away without even teling to others his secret kung bakit kakaiba ang mga bulaklak sa kanyang garden.. according to some people, it was a combination of our local flowers mixed with Belgian Flowers . . so far, when i started my formation there, yung Maryhurst Forest ang nagsisilbing tambayan namin at you could really feel the presence of God kapag nandun ka. .lalo na sa Chapel . . hehe.. ganda kasi ng Chapel namin . .

marami talagang pagbabago ang nangyari sa Maryhurst after nasunog yung building.. . at tha back portion there is a Covered Court at yung CICM Memorial Park.. so if you have time, you can visit the remains of Bro. Armand Lamineur, and thank him for allowing you to see the real beauty of nature . . hehehe . .

actually, i cant tell you everything coz i cannot really grasp the beauty of Maryhurst . .

anyways, thanks for sharing your personal experience about Maryhurst.. (",)

Thank you too sir for sharing your good recollection about Maryhurst! Hayaan mo, I will try to visit it when I go to Baguio one of these days.

Hi Ding... I was a freshman in SLU Psych when you were a Senior... While reading your articles, I felt like I was back in SLU Psych Dept. surrounded by "deep" Psych students.... And the photos show your real interest in people & nature... Will show your blogs to my colleagues who are also SLU Psych grads... Galing !

@ Anonymous, my apologies for not replying to your comment. I was so darn busy at that time and my Mom passed away. It is only the time I really got glued on my computer chair again at home and update all that needs to be updated.

Anyway, thanks for the appreciation! Can you give me a hint of who you are? thanks!

i am a graduate of maryhurst seminary. i graduated from saint louis university in 1994. i started my years in maryhurst with the great earthquake of 1990. then, i was on holiday when maryhurst was ravaged by the fire. we were without a home and it was good that the tuding sisters (sisters of the immaculate heart of mary) welcomed us in their home. we were the first batch to graduate from the new building. maybe it was a blessing that i have a connection with the old and the new. there are memories of the old and the new maryhurst returning as i read your blog. thank you for sharing your thought.
fr. rene candelaria, cicm japan

Fr. Rene, it is indeed an honor to be reading and responding to your comments, and sharing a piece of your memory to this blog. I guess, "OUR" Baguio (Maryhurst) experience will never be the same, but as I say, it will never be gone! Thanks to blogging too that I begin to recollect and put the pieces together...

God Bless!

hi ding,

i shared your blog on maryhurst to the fb group maryhurst cicm...

hope it is ok with you...

john maryhurst class 68-72

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