Last night I finally met Mr. Tomas Lorenzo, the youthful President of Lapanday Properties Philippines Inc. (LPPI). He was with his sidekick for the LPPI Ciudades Project in north Davao, and I was with Archt. Christopher Ong. We were at the resto of my choice in Pasong Tamo Ext., Terry’s. When Mr. Lorenzo said I also got to choose the wine, I felt the vibes between us were positive. I chose a Margaux 2006 Bordeaux.
I had been dealing with Mr. Lorenzo mainly through Mr. Jacinto, known in Jesuit circles as Ricky. Through him, the “Terms of Reference” for the proposed collaboration between LPPI and ADDU have been being revised and re-revised. At first I did not even want to consider the proposal, there being enough to do in our Jacinto and Matina campuses. LPPI’s firm offer of a five-hectare donation, however, tempted me to consider Ciudades as a site for a future ADDU Career Academy in line with the K-12 reform. But after discussing the proposal with the Board, my mandate was to renegotiate the Terms of Reference with LPPI.
The Margaux uncorked, it needed time to open up.
After considering the nightmare for our students and parents of the scenario where early learning, elementary and junior high school are in Matina, college and graduate school in Jacinto, and senior high school in Ciudades, I felt that the best project for both for ADDU as well as LPPI would be to put up “a mirror” in Ciudades of our operation in Matina. This meant an entire Play School through Nursery and Kindergarten to Senior High School (K-12). Through surveys and focused group discussions among our faculty and staff in Matina it became clear that there are teachers and administrators ready to pioneer in this possible venture. So I proposed 10 hectares plus one additional for a church that would be open to the Ciudades community.
Happily, Mr. Lorenzo agreed – even without the benefit of the Margaux Bordeaux. In fact, the offer came with a complementary grant of the value of 50 million pesos in built facilities (upped from and earlier 25 million.) As Mr. Lorenzo’s choices for the Spanish meal were served, the Margaux become better. Archt. Chris Ong presented a preliminary concept of an entire ADDU Moro Lorenzo Campus in Ciudades. Much was said, but for me what shall be unique and most valueable in this campus will be an early learning children’s village; it will be so attractive to children they shall have difficulty going home. Envisioned are not classrooms but interactive-learning cottages and pavilions, sand boxes, wading fountains, and a leaning menu that is close to nature and designed for excellence in science and technology.
I added the latter feature after my encounter during the Ateneo Alumni Association of North America Convention with Dado Banatao. Learning science and technology “with depth,” he and I agreed, has to begin in basic education. It has to be “hands-“ and “minds on…” teaching kids not only to memorize principles of science, but to master them. Unto this end, Fr. Dan McNamara, S.J., has suggested an “Exploratorium.” I have discussed this with our faculty in Matina. They are ready.
From the early learning village, the campus will then provide facilities for the other levels of K-12 along with our usual high school perks like a 400-meter track, a football field, covered basketball courts, a campus wide jogging path, swimming pool and the like.
Last night, the revised Terms of Reference were presented to me as the second bottle of Bordeaux was opened.
In the quiet and sobriety of my room, I now read: all publicity campaigns have to be discussed and agreed upon before disclosure to the public. True. But the Board has yet to approve the project on November 10. As I have yet to sign.
Meanwhile, in vino veritas.