Saint Stephen High School Celebrates Centennial by Issuing Commemorative Stamp

Saint Stephen High School marks their 100th founding anniversary by having a commemorative stamp issuance held at the auditorium last June 22, 2017 . At around past 9:00am

Dr. Judy Tan- High School Principal 


stamp unveiling ceremony

ceremonial autograph signing of the first day cover

Mr. Joel L. Otarra, Postmaster General and CEO of Philippine Postal Corporation delivered speech . Cultural performance and stamp presentation was held at the auditorium with hundreds of students, alumni , parents , teachers and invited guests.

Photos courtesy of Saint Stephen High School 


Saint Stephen High School Stamp Awareness Exhibition

Saint Stephen High School , 1267 Guillermo Masangkay Street ,Santa Cruz,  Manila -Philippines

Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus ( class 1971 alumnus) address the students about the importance of stamp and letter writing. 

Philippine Philatelic Federation in partnership with Saint Stephen High School and with special participation of the Philippine Postal Corporation conducted a Stamp Awareness Exhibition from November 10 to 13, 2015 at the main lobby area of the elementary school.

Ms. Josie Tacus ( Assistant Principal for Administration ) Mr. Hans Becker ( IPPS editor-in chief and Cebu Philatelic Club president) Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus ( SSHS alumni 1971 and Stamp Advisory Committee member PHLPOST ) Dr. Judy Go Tan (Principal ) Mrs. Milagros Endo ( Elementary English Supervisor) and Mrs. Merriam Alempolo ( Elementary English Assistant Supervisor )

Philatelic awareness

The school boast of winning 3 stamp design contests organized by the Philippine Postal Corporation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources ( DENR) and United Nations (UN) from 2010 to 2013.

International Year of Biodiversity- issued by PHLPOST : October 27, 2010

Saint Stephen High School students won First place Ms. Krysten Alarice Tan ( third year high school ) and Second place Mr. Justen Paul Tolentino ( fourth year high school) .

International Year of the Forest 2011- issued by PHLPOST:  October 24, 2011

Saint Stephen High School student : Ms. Trisha Co Reyes

Valentine’s Day – issued by PHLPOST : January 27 ,2014

Saint Stephen High School – Ms. Jamia Mei Tolentino

some elementary students were given leaflets and free stamp starter kits courtesy of Philippine Philatelic Federation member Mrs. Josie T. Cura and Mr. Alfonso Cruz

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The students did not just brought their school so much recognition , but they also brought recognition to the country in the eyes of the international community .

The stamp exhibit main aim is to bring awareness about stamp collecting , letter writing ( particularly hand penmanship writing ) , postcard collecting to the students.

presentation of token gift to Dr. Judy Tan ( principal ) Saint Stephen High School

Note: Saint Stephen High School will be celebrating their 100th founding anniversary in 2017 and there are plans to have a commemorative stamp issuance. People who collects stamps, memorabilia  and  Saint Stephen High School alumni cannot wait for their issuance.

The author would like to ” Thank ” Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus ( alumni ) , Dr. Judy Go Tan (principal)  and the faculties and staffs of Saint Stephen High School for the warm hospitality extended. All photos are taken by the author

Saint Stephen High School:

Valentine’s week celebration at the Philippine Postal Corporation

Manila Central Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio, Ermita , Manila -Philippines

 Postmaster General Maria Josefina Dela Cruz together with Ms. Jamia Mei Tolentino ( Saint Stephen High School)

Philippine Postal Corporation ( Philpost) open another opportunity to young students from different parts of the country when they organized an on-the spot painting contest last year. The winning designs will be featured in Philippine stamps ( such as  Valentine’s day 2014 ) and other succeeding occasions like Christmas season 2014.

Ms. Winnie Cordero host of  ABS-CBN channel 2- Umagang Kay Ganda program

Inviting local students , amateurs ,  professional artists and designers to a stamp design contest in not new in the Philippines, This had been a tradition for several decades which tapped the young generation artists in expressing their thoughts and ideas into a new concept in designing colorful stamps that are issued to the collecting public and those people who collect mails, postcards, greeting cards on special occasions from around the world.

Philpost  caravan through main thorough fares in metro manila

The  top winner of the stamp design contest  last year received Php 15,000 , a certificate of participation, framed stamp and a her works feature in Valentine’s day 2014 stamp issuance of Philippine Postal Corporation.


The young third- year student Ms. Jamia Mae Tolentino is a student of Saint Stephen High School – Manila .  The school is active  in sending representatives in  various art design contests . They proudly display the winners of various design contests in their hallways and lobby area.

edible flowers  for sale


The stamp and the first day covers was issued  last January 27, 2014 with no fanfare and elaborate unveiling ceremonies at the  ( Manila Central Post Office ) .

Mr. Allan Patrick S. Afable -marketing specialist ( contract of services ) Business Lines Department – Philippine Postal Corporation

Some stamp collectors , especially in the provinces are not fully aware that  the 2014 Valentine’s day stamp was  issued by the local post office.

Saint Stephen High School students and teachers paid a courtesy call to the postmaster and visited the ongoing stamp exhibition

According to some of the collectors, They have not even seen the 2013 Valentine’s day stamp and First Day Covers, How much more the 2014 Valentine’s day stamp? How ironic ? I think the marketing , logistic and Philatelic section must work double time to properly distribute all those 2014 Valentine’s day stamps and FDC’s to the regional areas , so that provincial stamp collectors can buy and somehow send them to their love ones and pen-pals from the other parts of the world.

First Day Cover-  with Valentine’s Day 2014 stamp

When i visited the Philatelic section last week ,  ( February 6, 2014 Thursday ) that was the only time i knew that there will be some sort of launching and the student winner of the stamp design contest will be invited to grace the important affair .

Technical Description

Purpose: Valentine’s Day -commemorative stamp

Date of Issuance: January 27, 2014

Printing: Litho-offset

Printer: Amstar Company Incorporated

Perforation: 14

Quantity: 55,000

Artist: Ms. Jamia Mei Tolentino ( Saint Stephen High School)

Theme: Mahal Kita  ( I love You)

Denomination: Php 10.00

Single: Sheet of 40

First Day Cover: Manila Cancellation

valentine’s day stamps issued by Philpost from 1992 to 2013


framed valentine’s day stamps and love letter exhibition

There were some love letters ( some dated between 70 to 100 years ago)  that were exhibited at the main lobby, framed valentine’s day stamps issued by the Philpost from 1992 to 2013 were exhibited. There are  some commercial booth sections were the public can buy donuts, edible bouquet, fresh bouquet flowers,  pocket books, pins , chocolates that can be send via post office couriers  from February 10 to February 14, 2014 to their love ones or special someones.

The stamp exhibit will last until March 2014 .

Note: I bought some first day covers for my friends and even gave some to Philpost employees who do not have time to let Ms. Jamia Mae Tolentino sign an autograph .  I personally believe that there are a lot of stamp collectors in the Philippines which still collect stamps.  One of  their problem  is the inaccessibility  of some current stamp at their local or regional post offices .  How can you promote a hobby of stamp collecting if the public is not aware and local post offices do not have those current stamp issuance?

Master Chua Hu Hua Bonsai Lecture

6th Floor – 820 – Liberty Hall, Benavides Street, Binondo, Manila -Philippines

Liberty Hall entrance

I received a personal call from Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus a few days ago . He told me that there will be a FREE lecture and demonstration about basic bonsai culture of a great bonsai master in the country.

It did not take that long to say ” YES” and I am eager to attend the lecture of the great bonsai and calligraphy  master.

After all, Bonsai is considered as an “Art  Form ” by plant hobbyists. It requires not only time but also patience. After conducting a short media, blogger and student tour at the orchid and garden show . Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus fetch the author and Lol Philosopher and we ate a hearty lunch .

a bulletin board in the lobby of the Liberty Hall 

Master Chua Hu Hua together with his personal collection of bonsai

We arrived a few minutes before the scheduled 2:00pm lecture , The room was air-conditioned with strong political flavors of ROC ( Taiwan)  . We were greeted by a group of  registration committee members  and registered as participants for the lecture. The lecture is properly advertised thru several Chinese newspapers,  temple associations , school alumni associations , members of YMCA were presents and also bloggers were also invited to join.  I am also very happy that we were among the few privileged people to attend this lecture for FREE.

bonsai and punning materials

Biography :

Mr. Chua Hu Hua  is an active alumni of Saint Stephen High School ( batch 1969).  He is in his  late 70’s and is also teaching Chinese calligraphy and Chinese style painting.

some of the bonsai displayed at the lecture area were between 24 to 25 years -old!

He endeavored himself to studying Chinese painting and calligraphy under Masters Arcenia Chua (maiden surname) and Master Ju I-Hsiung (mentor of Virginia Lloyd Davies).

a jam packed venue

He started to appreciate bonsai in 1980 to present focused on Bonsai as an alternate branch of Chinese painting/calligraphy and the ascetic teachings of Buddhism.

Writer and poet for Buddhist organizations and Temples in Taiwan and the Philippines.

a fine sample of a bonsai ( ficus)

1985 to present lecturer extra-extraordinaire on many subjects involving the three main topics mentioned above mostly within the Chinese community and guest to most major Chinese Buddhist Temples’ cultural events.

Triphasia trifoliaTriphasia aurantiola Louror popularly called Lemonsito

 This  favorite plant  is  also called  lime berry, limeberry , red lime berry,  lemoncitong kastila , limonsito, kalamansito , limon de China is commonly used as bonsai material . It has a colorful and edible fruits . It is an indigenous to several tropical Asian countries from Malaysia, Thailand, Indo-China , Philippines.


It is probably called Lemonsitong kastila for a number of reasons, according to some gardeners –  It is one of the favorite plants cultivated during the Spanish regime -its leaves and fruits are used as natural insecticides .

It become naturalized in many Pacific islands .  An example is in Guam and Northern Marianas islands – It is called Limon de China – probably introduced during the Spanish regime .  Plants and seeds was  introduced from the Philippines but was mistakenly called – Limon de China as inhabitants “thinks’ that the plant had originated from China.

  Indian ocean archipelagos , sub -tropical areas of the United States like Florida .    Triphasias are very close relatives of citrus.  It is a spiny srub can can grow from 6 to 12 feet tall.  An ornamental plant , it can be grown as hedge or bonsai material .

My aunt also used the fruit as jellies .   My grandmother on the maternal side had propagated several lemonsito and gave them away as gifts for special occasions.

The fruit is a small berry-like . From green and when it is ripe the fruit turns from light orange , red to dark red .


A participant patiently watching Mr. Chua Hu Hua  while trimming his bonsai

Teaches and provides inspiration to serious cultural buffs of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy.

He shared with the participants his passion for bonsai and even admitted that he had his own share of trials and errors in maintaining his collection.

After his lecture, he was awarded a plaque and photo opportunity with the participants . Due to the warm reception and great interest of the public to his bonsai lecture. The organizers are planning to conduct another FREE public lecture before the end of this year.  All the participants were also treated to a light afternoon snack .

Upcoming Exhibit:

His works can be seen on the forthcoming Chinese painting/Calligraphy exhibit (October 27, 2013 – Sunday, 10am to 5pm) on the 6th floor of the annex building beside the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Binondo, Manila along Dasmarinas St. This cultural exhibit involves pupils and associates of Master Arcenia Chua who has actively kept the art of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in the Philippines with high esteem.

Saint Stephen High School student won UN art contest and stamp unveling ceremony

Saint Stephen High School, Auditorium,1267  Guillermo  Masangkay Street, Santa Cruz , Manila –Philippines

facade of Saint Stephen High School

It was a bright sunny day when I arrived in Saint Stephen High School compound; this is one of the oldest Filipino- Chinese schools in the country.  This is not my first time to come to this school; some of my aunt, cousins and nieces are alumni if not currently studying in this school.

students playing traditional Chinese music

History :

Originally known as St. Stephen’s Girl’s School, it was founded on July 22, 1917 by St. Stephen’s Mission composed of the Rector and the Chinese members of the church. The school expanded from its initial elementary academic programs to include Kindergarten classes, Chinese Junior High, Chinese Senior High and English High School curricula. It became coeducational in 1945.

colorful Philippine costumes adorned Saint Stephen High School students 

Then, a group of teachers and staffs of the school greeted me. The lobby was filled with student playing traditional Chinese music.

L-R Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Mrs. Elenita San Diego , Bishop Dixie Taclobao and Dr. Judy D. Tan – Principal

I was then escorted at the second floor where I was greeted by Saint Stephen High School alumni president, Mrs. Elenita- San Diego ( Head – Philatelic and Postage Department of Philippine Postal Corporation)  Dr. Ngo Tiong Tak ( former stamp advisory committee member and alumnus of Saint Stephen High School) , Mr. Rey Ong de Jesus ( current stamp advisory committee member ) Mr. Robert Tan ( president of the Philippine Philatelic Federation ) Mrs. Judy G. Tan -principal of Saint Stephen High School and teachers of the school.

L-R Ms. Razel T. Nubla – trainer of arts , Mrs. Elenita San Diego , Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Bishop Dixie Taclobao , Dr. Judy G. Tan  -Principal and Mrs. Conchita ” Bhaby ” Co-Reyes ( mother )

ceremonial autograph signing of first day cover led by Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Mrs. Elenita San Diego , Bishop Dixie Taclobao and Dr.Judy G. Tan

International  Recognition:

20th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

What significance do forests have to our everyday life?  Answers were given through paintings submitted to the 20th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment.  With the United Nations declaring 2011 as International Year of Forests, the theme chosen for this year’s competition was “Life in the Forests.” Some 600,000 girls and boys aged between six and 14 from 98 countries sent in their illustrated messages.

sample of painting courtesy of United Nation Environment Programme


A love of walking in the forests in her home country of the Philippines inspired the winning entry of 13-year-old Trisha Co Reyes.  The competition was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

stylized muslim ethnic dance performed by the students

cultural presentation

Trisha’s entry shows a young girl pulling back a large grey curtain covered in images of dying trees in a polluted landscape, to reveal a colorful forest filled with abundant wildlife. She says the painting is an appeal for people to appreciate the value of forests and to encourage them to plant trees.

L-R Ms. Razel T. Nubla – trainer of arts , Mrs. Conchita ” Bhaby ” Co-Reyes , Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Mr. Rey Ong de Jesus and Mr. Manuel Yuchio ( alumni)

“My painting shows two side of the story ;  A good and sustainable forest with flora and fauna  and the causes of forest destruction”, said Trisha Co-Reyes .  “Forests are essential for life on Earth, but the destruction of the forest has become a worldwide problem. We must treasure the earth’s greatest biological treasure, so that we will always have forests in our lives.”

Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes together with her teachers

She received $2,000 in prize money and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Tunza International Children and Youth Conference on the Environment in Bandung, Indonesia, where she will formally received her award last year.  Because of her honor brought to our country the Senate  Resolution No. 67,   commended her peat last 2011.

A light morning meal which consists of Filipino- Chinese foods were served to the visitors , guests and vips.

The young artist was awarded with a DENR scholarship grant that will cover tuition and other school fees for the regular semesters and summer courses in any college or university offering environment-related courses; monthly stipend of P3,000; book and school supplies allowance of P1,500 per semester and P700 per summer course; thesis or research allowance not exceeding P10,000.

First Day Cover with cache design from painting of Trisha Co-Reyes with 1,500 copies printed

Aside from winning last year’s painting contest, she also recently won the 24th Annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest.  Philpost then launched a stamp last June 18 , 2012 to honor UN year of the forest .

Her winning last year is  “the most rewarding in terms of prestige, international fame and financial benefits among the 80 plus awards she has received since she started competing in art contest 10 years ago,” according to her mother, Mrs. Conchita Co-Reyes.

“This is the first time her daughter’s  talent has been recognized with a scholarship award,” Mrs. Reyes said.

Note: As of this writing, the Stephen High School alumni association had ordered over Php 100,000 pesos worth of stamps and framed stamps from Philpost , aside from the hundred of stamps and FDC that was ordered by various stamp collecting clubs and art lovers. A stamp is considered as a miniature piece of art in which paintings , sculptures, wood crafts , architectures ,  national heritages are featured .

Technical Description :

9p   International Year of Forests  (60,000)

Painting by Trisha Co Reyes, St. Stephen’s High School, Manila

Layout Artist:  Victorino Serevo

Litho Offset.  Amstar Company, Inc.  Perf 14

                                                    Singles, Sheets of 40 (10 x 4)

 Date of issuance : 2012, June 18.  Global Winner – 20th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

 Sources :

Media Kit from Philpost , UNEP and Saint Stephen High School

Philippine Postal Corporation:

Saint Stephen High School :

stephenianleaders. :

United Nations Environment Programme :

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