High School Reunion

From Ribbon-cutting to Tête-à-tête

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Mansoor L. Limba on February 7, 2017

MAKATI CITY (7 February) – February 4, 2017. I woke up at exactly 4:10 am. At exactly 5:28 am, I was already inside the campus of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC). All sporting a maroon T-shirt, many people of various age levels were also coming in.

As can be gleaned from the number of vehicles starting to gather at the playground of the leading public institution of higher learning in the city, a historic event was about to unfold that early morning.

Formerly known as Cotabato High School, Cotabato City High School, and then Cotabato City National High School, CCSPC kicked off its first ever Grand Alumni Homecoming – after 93 years of its existence – with a long motorcade around the city.

After the motorcade, the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed alumni building was held in which the college president, Dr. Dammang Bantala, expressed astonishment at the huge number of vehicles that participated in the motorcade. “If each of us will contribute one thousand pesos, we could immediately put up the alumni building,” he said in his short speech.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Soon after unveiling the project of Batch ’85, Dr. Bantala proceeded to the main library for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Batch ’89 project for our alma mater – four units of built-in steel benches for the library visitors.

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In our Batch ‘89 general meeting on January 4 last year, in which the agendum was the batch project for the school, we had identified the current CCSPC bid for university status as the guide, and it was thus pointed out that these two areas are crucial to this bid, viz. (1) the pool of faculty members with postgraduate degrees, and (2) library facilities; hence, we finally opted for the benches (and books to be donated). After a year of facilitations by the batchmates, generous sponsorship of a benefactor batchmate, and free labor offered by an engineer batchmate, the project was finally materialized.

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As the college president went to the next inauguration after a brief exchange of pleasantries and picture-taking with our batch, we were invited to the library for a ten-minute visit, and then we rushed as a group to the social hall of City Mall, the homecoming program’s venue.

Tête-à-tête

As my notebook’s battery began to be depleted in the early afternoon, I had to look for an outlet to charge because I was then catching the deadline for paper abstract submission for a conference abroad.

I was then charging my notebook at the entrance to the hall while seated beside Badrudin Ali, our Batch ’89 2nd vice president, who was then filling up his CCSPC High School Alumni Association Membership Form, when somebody casually greeted us – “As-salamu ‘alaykum!” – and then joined us in the table.

It was no other than Tatay Bantala, as Badrudin would address the college president.

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Our not-so-private tête-à-tête commenced with Sir Bantala’s re-expression of surprise at the large number of vehicles in the motorcade and, of course, the first-ever-held homecoming since the school’s establishment in 1924. He then navigated us through his bid for college presidency way back in 2012 and then his recent retention as president.

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The conversation soon drifted toward the nitty-gritty of CCSPC’s present bid for university status, and the procedural and attitudinal issues surrounding the second semester enrollment last month.

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In the end, we all shared the common view that while the proposed alumni building will surely be an important infrastructure of the school, what is more important is to attain the ideals of ‘scholarship,’ ‘development’ and ‘loyalty’ which are enshrined in the CCSPC logo.

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[Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, was the Valedictorian of CCSPC High School Day Class 1989 as well as the President of Senior Class Organization Student Council. He has also been the President of CCSPC Day and Night Class 1989 Alumni Association since its creation in December 2014. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]

Categories: Education, High School Reunion | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is ‘Gems Sigay’ a Kaleidoscope, Rainbow or Mosaic?

Gems

Kaleidoscope. Rainbow. Mosaic. These are three words which are commonly used to describe a high school reunion’s reorganization, and its subsequent gatherings and activities.

Kaleidoscope refers to a tube-shaped optical instrument that is rotated to produce a succession of symmetrical designs by means of mirrors reflecting the constantly changing patterns made by small objects. It depicts a high school reunion group that constantly changes its colors of activities. At one time, it is all about wining and dining, while at another time, it is purely community service and civic action.

Rainbow, as we all know, is a bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the sky opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of rain. A high school reunion is said to be a rainbow if its planned activities are too high and too big to be implemented or realized. And after a long period, they will just remain as ‘planned’ activities.

Mosaic, meanwhile, is used to describe the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. This word portrays a high school reunion which determines a set of diverse activities and then takes small, yet constant, steps toward their realization.

Today, exactly three months (or a quarter year) after the first ever reunion 25 years after graduation in high school, it is worthwhile for CCSPC Batch ’89 (Gems Sigay) to assess the identity it tends to assume – a kaleidoscope, rainbow or mosaic?

Immediately after the reunion day, the following steps in building our Contact Directory have been proposed: (1) Maintenance of FB Group Page, (2) Listing of mobile contacts, (3) Grouping according to fields of endeavor or line agencies, and (4) Grouping according to locations. (It’s part of commitment to the first step that this nondescript has to join the FB community.)

The following guiding principles have also been suggested: (1) Managing the Batch shall be a microcosm of our ability to duly serve (a) others (batch mates), (b) our alma mater, and (c) the community; (2) Batch ’89 shall be a marketplace of different and differing ideas; (3) Transparency shall be observed in financial matters and motives; (4) Reunion shall be an avenue for community service and giving back of blessings; and (5) To aim big while doing the doable things no matter how small they may be.

With these proposed steps in building our Contact Directory and guiding principles, the scene of actions in the past three months is dominated by the following activities, among others: charity works, luncheon meetings, homecoming parties, reaching out to a sick batch mate, wedding events, funeral services, entrepreneurship seminars, birthday greetings, etc.

The coming months, until the next reunion, will determine if we could maintain this mosaic of small, yet diverse, activities and programs. We hope we can – and we will!

Categories: Community Service, Current Events, High School Reunion, Throwback | Leave a comment

How ‘Plain’ is Plain?

Housewife

As in other occasions, during our recently held first ever high school reunion (after 25 years) in Cotabato City, one recurring introductory phrase among the lady batchmates was, “I’m a plain housewife.” In other words, it is like saying “I’m only a housewife” or “I’m just a housewife.”

Let’s see how ‘plain’ this plain housewife is. Let’s see how simple function being a housewife is.

This housewife is the automatic Vice President of the house. In the military parlance, she is the second in command.

She is the acting President of the house in the absence of the husband. Her assumption of this role lasts for many weeks, nay many months if the husband is one of the men-in-uniform, and worse still, even for a couple of years if the hubby is an OFW or seaman.

For a single-parent mom or widow, this is no longer a temporary role. She is the de facto President and Vice President of the house. In this case, she serves as both the pillar and light of the home (“haligi at ilaw ng tahanan”). She is the towering moral foundation of the family to which the children cling.

She is the Secretary of the house. She is the ‘kalihim’. In other words, she is the husband’s co-keeper of family and household secrets. In fact, one of her most difficult tasks is her unflinching determination to keep the untold ordeals, sentiments and sufferings she has as a secret to her children, parents and even friends. That’s why whenever I learn that a mother or wife dies, I tell myself, “With her shall also be buried forever many a secret – pains, melancholy, ignominy, injustices, self-sacrifices, scandals, and abjectness, to mention but a few.”

She is the Treasurer and the Budget Officer, at the same time. That is, she keeps the limited financial resources and judiciously sets the priorities for expending the same. In sum, it’s making do with less. And worse still, sometimes or many times, she is also the breadwinner of the family. There’s no need to give details in this regard as the primetime telenovelas are already replete with this line of story.

Of course, she is also the Head of the Monitoring Team that meticulously keeps track of the whereabouts of the family’s President.

To sum up, this ‘plain’ housewife is the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Budget Officer, Monitoring Team Head, mother, and wife – rolled into one. This is how ‘plain’ plain housewife is.

To this unsung heroine of every household, it’s up to her to maintain the cliché, “I’m a plain housewife,” or to declare to the whole world that she’s higher in rank than the CEO of a multinational company by saying with utmost confidence, “I’m a housewife!”

Categories: High School Reunion, Jargons and Terminologies | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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