The other side of Msgr. Ting Ancajas-A A +A
Sunday, September 23, 2012
PRIEST is a priest is a priest forever. But he’s a human being too, and some have talents that have to be nurtured and used for the greater glory of the Supreme Giver.
One such talented priest is Msgr. Agustin ”Ting” Ancajas. He entered the priesthood only after finishing a degree in communication from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Ordained a priest in 2000, he was first assigned to the Lonergan Communication Center at the Seminario Mayor. Then, until the retirement of Rufino J. Cardinal Vidal, he became the cardinal’s secretary.
It was at this time that he was able to do something with what he calls his hobby—interior design. He redid the rooms of the Cardinal’s Residence, giving them motifs playing around Filipiniana, Chinese, Victorian, and Italian notes.
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral dining room he also did in the Venetian style, with high quality prints of Michelangelo’s paintings. For his friend, Dr.Lourdes Jereza, he designed some of the rooms for the practicum needs of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation’s hotel and restaurant management students.
For them he designed a captain’s cabin, a wellness and vanity room, a bachelor’s pad and a resort-inspired room.
Interior decoration is a flair that Msgr.Ting also made use of when, in 2006, he was assigned, on top of his other duties, to be administrator of the Pope John Paul II Home for Retired Priests at the Seminario Mayor grounds. He says the “home” is Mediterranean-inspired, with individual rooms, complete with toilet and bath, for each of the priests residing there.
If interior design is his hobby, playwriting is his passion. He started to write plays in 1998 under the pen name Angelo (his favorite name) Zige (the family name of his great, great grandfather who—shhh—was a Portuguese friar, whose picture is with one of Msgr. Ting’s aunts). So far he has written 15 one-act plays. He explains: “I grew up with radio shows. I just love to write plays because of that. Sometimes when I am inspired, I write non-stop from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. When I’m inspired to write, and I get the momentum to do so, it’s hard to stop.”
His two latest plays are Laptop and Living Downstairs. He arote Laptop in 2010 when he was in London taking a six-month course, from September 2010 to March 2011, on acting and directing at the Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London. Living Downstairs is about domestics living in London, for which he actually became a domestic for two weekends to get the feel of their life.
Laptop is a contemporary play about two brothers and a sister in London.
“It’s about family relationships,” Msgr. Ting says. “The laptop is an important gadget to connect people, to break or mend relationships, especially for people who move around.
It’s the laptop, especially through Skype, that connects them.”
Msgr. Ting says his plays have been shown in the seminary, as well as in other parishes when their priests ask to borrow the plays. He will show Laptop on Sept. 28 and 29 at the Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center. He originally wrote Laptop in Tagalog, a language he grew up with during his childhood days in Manila, but he has had to translate it in Cebuano for this presentation, which will see him as a better-prepared director honed in the “Method Acting” to “be natural, be realistic as much as possible.”
Msgr. Ting is still very much a priest, despite his other interests, (he became a “monsignor” in 2010), assigned to the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Capitol) Parish, and still the administrator of the Pope John Paul II retirement home for the priests, for whose benefit he is staging Laptop.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2012.