Ok. Juned tagged me with the me-meme (note to self: that was three weeks ago!) so loathe as I am to cave into what Philip Dawdy calls "the pornography of the self," I do have to play by the rules of the game. In turn, I tag nth-time-new-father Wily Priles, and the Chesca-the-ex-skindiver, J0-the-Manila-Rat, Gauden-the-world-public-health-advocate, and Steph-the-full-time-artist-part-time-grinch. (That is, unless they've already been tagged. I was always kulelat in the playground anyway. Oh, and I'm also tagging Mayang-a.k.a.-chimchim-a.k.a-ninang-to-babycakes but will not link to her blog.)

1. Names

There's nom de blog Urbano dela Cruz (and no, I am not and have no relation to screenplay writer and director Uro de la Cruz) which breaks down as:

  • Juan de la Cruz - the filipino everyman
  • Jun de la Cruz -maybe a dimunitive for Juan?
  • Jun Urbano - just free association (with paeans to another great director)
  • Urban -> Urbano - what this blog is all about
  • Urbano dela Cruz - the filipino urban everyman
Then there's my real identity.

Like Juned, I am a junior to my late father's senior. Being the youngest son of an old-time protestant pastor in catholic Philippines carried its own peculiar responsibilities and benefits.

My family name literally means "of the rock" - so I probably had some miners in my ancestry. To be "of the Rock" is also apropos for a minister, and pretty much describes my own spiritual aspirations.

In high school, my generous cheeks earned me the nickname "Siopao" or "Siops."

Some insolent former students (who shall remain anonymous) from St. Scho Manila took to calling Mr. dela Pong, I think also because of the cheeks. There were nastier nicknames but let's not go there.

2. Date of Birth

The ides of October. So i'm Libran. Year of the Fire Sheep. Not that either of those zodiac signs really say anything about me.

It does mean though that I will enter my fourth decade this year. Mid-life crisis should be lurking somewhere around the corner but it'll have to wait its turn since I'm still struggling with the cognitive disonance of being 8,000+ miles away from the city I'd really like to be working in/on. (So if you know of anyone who needs an urban planner...)

3. Education

I'm a product of the public elementary school system. Spent half of my grade school life in Pura V. Kalaw Elementary School in Project 4, then the other half in GSIS Village Elementary School in Project 8 -both in Quezon City. (I moved around a lot as a child, mostly in QC. I lived -in consecutive order - in Cubao, Project 6, Project 4, Project 8 and then Fairview. As an adult, I got to live in Valle Verde, Anonas and Zobel-Roxas in Makati before I moved to this part of the world. I am very peripatetic.)

I met Juned and the rest of my geeky high school friends in UPIS - where, as Juned points out, we went to grades 7-10 instead of 1st to 4th year high school. I had a blast -even if i was in the out-crowd for most of my stay there. It did feel good to have come from the same halls that produced some of the most prominent pinoys of our day (though I'm not so hot with some of their politics) and, like them, I did learn a lot more than what was in the curriculum. (To this day, I remember the plotlines of Alfonso Mendoza's "Tipaklong, Tipaklong, Bakit Bulkang Sumabog ang Dibdib ni Delfin Balajadia” and Alberto Florentino's "The World is an Apple" and "Oli Impan.")

Like high school, I also didn't let my academics get in the way of my education in college. So I spent more years than I should have to earn my B.A. in Journalism from the UP College of Mass Communication (which was still an Institute when I entered as a freshman). Those extra years where spent attending classes for credits that I didn't need, taking Econ 11 several times over (don't ask), and rubbing elbows with the who's-who in Philippine media today. The better part of my education came from the long talks in the tambayans and the favorite watering holes of the UP Journalism Club, the UP Christian Youth Movement, TUGON and Quom-SAGM. I also tutored under the demands of the CMC Student Council but found time to help put up the CMC Volunteer Corps (Motto: "Qua Modo Nunc, Spadix Bos") and the UP CHRISTMass.

I also got to sit at the feet of Raul Ingles, Tessa Jazmines, Solita Monsod, Cheche Lazaro, etc. etc.

More than a decade after college, I had the crazy idea of studying again -this time after becoming enamoured with urban planning. The dalliance lasted eight years before I consumated, but the long wait was driven by an increasing obsession to understand and find solutions for the city I love.

I threw my coins in the fountain and one of them landed in Cambridge, Massachussetts. So now I have my ivy league credentials but an incomplete education. I still have so much to learn about cities in general and our city in particular. This, though, is one long-distance love affair I hope to succeed in.

4. Work Experience

I am a jack of all trades -and was a master of none for the longest time. Here it goes in one breath: I was -a chidren's camp director, a freelance photog, a freelance A/V producer, a freelance lay-out artist, a freelance graphic artist, a disc jockey (for a jazz bar), a writer, an editor, a public relations intern, a freelance speechwriter and a freelance lyricist -all before I finished college.

Then I taught HS for three years then worked for the Ayalas for the next 12 next 8. (My wife reminds me. I am getting old.) Under the Ayalas, I got to (again, in one breath): edit HR policies, run some training programs, write-edit-design-and-publish internal communications, manage some external communications (I helped build the company's first website), manage an internet service provider, run comms for the takeover of MWSS, help internal comms for the change management in Manila Water, create and run the Community Relations program in Manila Water, manage the Y2K certification for MW, run the Ayala Young Leaders Congress and help a bit in some of iAyala's programs.

Crazy, eh? I don't think HR was too happy about my hop-abouts.

5. Hobbies and Pastimes

Hmmm. Staying too long in school and moving jobs and addresses. Haha.

I read (currently on my night table: "Runes of the Earth" by Stephen Donaldson; "Consilience" by E.O. Wilson; and, "Spiritual Direction" by Henri Nouwen.)

I am a map geek and I am totally into GIS and all things Geospatial and Geodatabase driven.

I am also a techie-geek and have 3 different boxes at home running windows (xp and 2k), linux (ubuntu) and mac.

Oh, and yeah, I am crazy about this kid though not as crazy as I am about his mom.

So there. I think it took me so long to blog this because of the I in my INTP and all this public retrospection is bothering me so I'll end it here.


DanieL said...

hahaha, we attended the same high school. upis! Ü

Urbano dela Cruz said...

aha! another UPISser.

of course you haunted those grounds more than a decade after I did.

one of your teachers was probably a batchmate of mine.

TheresNoTylerDurden said...

Still writing very well I see -- three coins in a fountain.... You're a good man Urbano dela Cruz. Perhaps, now you should qualify more also by saying many nights "sleepless" and proud father too.

chesca said...

i will get around to doing this.
as my life is an open book, i find it difficult to find 5 things people don't already know about me ;)
btw, i laughed when i read (on Juned's blog) about your:
'eight hour “video documentaries” on homo sapiens reproductive behaviour'
:) really benj, you surprise me.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

TNTD (sorry mitch, haba ng nick mo eh),

thanks. consider me sleepless in DC.


what can I say? we were pimply high school kids.

and I'm sure you'll have something unexpected to share. you are always surprising. always!

(I still remember that college trip to Baguio with the barkada, your sister and Joy C. and her boyfriend. There was that famous "mixup" where someone pinched someone else's rear-end by mistake and someone ran around demanding a fair turn.)

benjie a.k.a. udc

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