A Day with the Sculptures

During our last trip to the East Coast, we took a train ride from Philadelphia to Trenton, New Jersey. Our plan is to meet our friend there, who will tour us inside the campus of Princeton University. But our friend brought us also to a nice detour on a nearby park, the “Grounds for Sculpture.”

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This park is located at Hamilton, New Jersey, and was opened to the public in 1992. Since its inception they have collected more than 240 works of art, including sculptures of renowned artists. It is kind of unique that sculptures blend with the landscapes, and visitors are free to “interact and touch” the art.

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The sculptures are scattered all over in the 42-acre lot. Some are in spacious lawn…..IMG_1514

Others are up on a hill…..

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On water…..IMG_2431

On slabs of concrete…..

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And even up the wall.

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Some of the art pieces are abstracts…..IMG_1525

Some not so abstract, but still captivating…..IMG_1340

And some so captivating, I felt like ogling. (For your curiosity, that is a sculpture and not real.)

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Besides the art pieces, the terrain and the passageways are also interesting and varied. Below is a road in the open…..

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This one in the midst of bamboos…..

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Here’s a narrow path walled by trees…..

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And below is a walkway among the hedges.

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With all the walking we did, we got hungry. We came to this place inside the park where we had our lunch. The name of the restaurant is “Rat’s.” My son was disappointed when he learned that they don’t serve rats!

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The restaurant is beside a man-made pond and has this French garden ambiance. If you feel like you are inside impressionist Claude Monet’s painting, it is because that is exactly what they are imitating. Below is a view from our table.

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But the best part of the visit to this park is interacting with the arts. We tried to poke (or pickpocket?) them…….

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And whisper sweet something to them……..

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Do mathematical equation with them (supposed to be pie x radius, get it?)…..

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Imitate them……..

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Imitate and outdo them…..

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Or be a part of them.

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We really enjoyed our visit to this park and I hope you caught a glimpse of this beautiful and fascinating place through these pictures.

Here’s looking through the arts…….

Pinoytransplant.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

Here is my son. The future…..

Flight Commander to the mission to Mars.

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Chief engineer to the world’s tallest skyscraper that dwarfs Burj Khalifa.

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And a Medieval knight? Wait a minute…..Middle Ages is in the past, not in the future. Oh well, this is after he built the time machine!IMG_4604_2

(*entry for WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt)

Alma Mater

After finishing high school, I entered an old historic university whose campus was located in Manila. There I spent the next seven formative years of my youth – three years in College of Science (Biology-Accelerated) and four years in College of Medicine and Surgery.

It was more than twenty years ago since I left the university’s portals, and I have not visited it again, until now…..

As we entered the main gate in Espana Street, the familiar Arch of the Centuries greeted me. I was back in University of Santo Tomas.

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arch of the centuries

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arch of the centuries in its original location when the school was still in Intramuros

University of Santo Tomas is the oldest existing university in Asia. It was founded in 1611. In 2011, it celebrated its 400th year anniversary. Many of the beautification updates that I found were perhaps results from that celebration.

As I passed through the roads and pathways that were brightly lit with beautiful lights for the holiday, I mused on the hundred of times I walked through these passageways in the past in my quest for illumination.

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The monument of Bishop Miguel de Benavides stands in front of the main building. His pioneering desire to establish an educational institution paved the way to the founding of this university. This statue was originally unveiled in 1891, when the school was still in its original location in Intramuros.

I remember many times in my school days that I passed and communed with this statue with doubt and discouragement of where my future lies, and he always directed me “up.”

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statue of Miguel de Benavides, with his right hand pointing towards heaven

The Main Building, which functions as the university’s administrative center and houses the Faculty of Pharmacy and the College of Science, is arguably the most imposing structure in the campus. It was built in the 1920’s and first classes were held in this building in 1927.

Because of the big cross on the center tower of the building and with statues perched on its rooftop, it is often mistaken as the university church by people visiting the campus.

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The Main Building with its holiday lights

During the height of World War II, when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Manila, UST was converted to an internment camp for a couple of years. The university was finally liberated in 1945.

Who knows how many soldiers died in this hallowed building during the war? No wonder there were many stories that goes around about unusual occurrences as well as experiences by students that they felt they were being watched. Or maybe they were being watched to discourage them from cheating during exams.

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old photo of Main Building

Part of my precious memories were at the University Hospital, where my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of Medicine, but was also enlightened to the harrowing truth of sickness and suffering.

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University Hospital

On that clear December night, with all the festive lights and glitters, it was a solemn moment for me to return to the place where I received the light.

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(*old photos of UST taken from internet)