As an invited stalker (mildly a lurker) to the 35th year homecoming of the SPCT Grade School Batch 1975 post activity and relating as a fellow Paulinian, I can not help but comment on the individual pre and post descriptions of the alumnus in their commemorative documentation.
The final test for me whether St. Paul has positively influenced our lives is when we can confidently declare that “our destiny is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice.” Congratulations to SPC Batch ’75 on your successful homecoming.
We have come a long way, from our first communion on December 8, to the numerous intramurals and foundation days that nurtured our talents in singing and dancing (some with great passion and matching costume of the Hawaiian dance – probably today’s version of otso otso).
We look back at the piano recitals, Christmas choral concerts, and the numerous stage musicals like “Cinderalla”, “The Sound of Music”, and stage plays such as Helen Keller’s Miracle Worker. These activities have later nurtured in us a great appreciation of the arts.
We look back to the days we were in the campus where we played Chinese garter, shatong and tumbang preso, jackstone and shato, marbles and matchboxes which we bought at the Variety Store in the old market. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that in those days we did not have computer games, or PSPs that would have curtailed our ability to socialise with our playmates . We are a happy bunch of kids then, because we knew how to play with others with much gusto.
As we look back, we remember the people who touched our lives because of the service they rendered to make life comfortable and convenient for us. We remember the sisters assigned to care for us: Sr. Mary Martha, Sr; Yolanda Caridad, Sr. Giles who accompanied us in the piano, and Sr. Gabriel who sold the the textbooks every enrolment day.
We remember our teachers: Mises Macapagal, Allayban, Coballes, Liban, Rola, Taguinod, Gatan, Cabalza and many more.
We remember Berong who was the friend of all the pupils in the elementary department with his calesa that brought most of us to school and back home after classes. Who can forget lolo Deyong? We flocked to his store infront of the ermita to buy lubban, santol or bayabo wrapped in newspaper and sprinkled with asin. Simple, but heavenly pleasures.
Most specially today, we remember and pray for the classmates who went before us to the bosom of the Lord our creator: Warren Salvatierra, Mary Alexis Gacutan, Honorio Daraway, Anselmo Almazan, Benjamin Collado, Jonathan Cortez, Alexander Dona Martinez, and Benito Valdepenas. May the Lord welcome them into his heavenly fold and grant them eternal rest.
We are not here just to remember, but to reflect on how far we have reached and to see if our perspectives changed. Just like St. Paul our patron saint who moved from one country to another, some of us have moved away from Tuguegarao to far distances.
The capital cities we used to memorize in Social Studies have been visited and, like dogs who pee around a tree, we have made our marks in those countries we have been to. Some have reached the height of their careers; with a list of achievements, or a wider scope of influence. And we ask ourselves: How far have our dreams taken us?
Some of us have sailed great emotional oceans; and we have been gashed by the fiercest waves and storms of life. What was once played “Four Strong Winds” have become the image of emotional struggles. And just as Paul came to strengthen the spirit of his disciples when they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, we return to find strength in each other.
When we remember the past, we look back because we’ve changed. And the past have made us who we are today. But the little boys and the little girls who once inhabited St. Paul, we retained one specific thing that is important - we continue to nourish our friendships.
With the spark of just one photo, we have rekindled memories of friendship that we will forever cherish in our hearts.
And this is what we celebrate in thanksgiving today. We are here with grateful hearts for the people we have met along the journey through life: our classmates, teachers, administrators, our parents who made a Pauline Education possible for us, and the people who made life comfortable for us.
Nothing binds relationships, but this beautiful memory of friends. What makes us different from other batches are our stories.
And these stories, brought together, form one collective memory which we share today. And in addition, nothing strengthens individuals in a relationship but affection. In this gathering, we show how much we care.
This is what we have learned in St. Paul College (now university). Our motto “Caritas Christi Urget Nos.
Like St. Paul, what makes us great is the extent we are willing and committed to give for the ones we truly love.