Sixteen photographers, professionals, including media, and hobbyists, will stage an exhibit at the Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House on Monday, May 31, that not only celebrate the 500th year of the conversion of the Jesuit Order’s founder Saint Ignatius of Loyola but also the grand and formal opening of the Mirador Heritage and Eco Park.
In Mirar, the photographers 16 will feature at least two photos each of the retreat house, its newly opened eco park and the beautiful vista the hill has to offer.
The newly landscaped portion of the hill feature a tori with a bell from an unexploded Japanese bomb that serves as a gateway to a fabulous sunset of mountains and the distant Lingayen Gulf that is now a favorite of photographers – both professionals and hobbyists.
The eco park was opened to the public in December last year but will be formally launched on Monday with Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as guest.
The photo exhibit to be staged at the retreat house’s Central Corridor will feature noted photographer Noli Gabilo, Lino Tabangin, Waffy Casem, Ric Maniquis, Boy Yniguez and Rich Martinez and journalists Andy Zapata of the Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Richard Balonglong, Manila Bulletin’s JJ Landingin and Neil Clark Ongchangco of the Public Information Office – Baguio. Jesuit priest cum photographer Father Ro Atillano will also have two of his works on display.
“The exhibit (is) to add attraction to the whole event which will be ribbon cut by the secretary,” said Tabangin, who grew up at the Mirador-Dominican barangay just a few meters from the retreat house.
He said that the photographers, who were chosen by Gabilo and the priests themselves, have been taking photos of the place from dawn until evening since its soft opening in December last year until last week.
“(They were) the photographers who were able to shoot the place before it will be officially opened on the 31st,” added Tabangin.
Tabangin recalled the place as being very peaceful and quiet, compared to the Lourdes Grotto found within the Jesuit compound, which since then has been frequented by tourists.
“It was really peaceful and I can remember when we were still very young, we use to play basketball at their basketball and pelota court. We all play there like we own the place,” recalled Tabangin, who studied at North Baguio Central School (now Josefa Carino Elementary School) before moving to Saint Louis Laboratory Elementary School on his final year in primary school.
“Now it is open to the public. People now can see and feel the serenity of the place,” added Tabangin, who for the first time saw the interior of the retreat house which gives him the feeling of the 1980s Camp John Hay.
The exhibit will also include the works of Dennis Pasag, BJ Pagtulingan, Rowena Tabanda, Arnold Rabaya Lanon and Jonathan Ponce Javier.
The Mirador Sanctuary and Eco Park is open from 6AM until 6PM with an entrance fee of P100 or a donation to help in the maintenance of the park.