Posts Tagged With: Cotabato City

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

What Autumn Means to Me

autumnintehran

TEHRAN, Islamic Republic of Iran (November 26, 2007) – In a short inadvertent chat last winter with a fellow MSUan and batch mate who is presently based in Toronto, she asked naively, “It’s too hot there, isn’t it?” To her astonishment, I retorted “Yes, it’s extremely ‘hot’ here as it’s the peak of winter now”. “Do you mean there are four seasons there in Iran like here in Canada?!” she queried. “Yup,” I quipped.

As the Middle East region as a whole is commonly associated with a portrait of camel-driving nomads in a vast arid desert, there is no blame if someone outside the region is unaware that Iran has four seasons. In fact, even fewer outsiders know that its calendar, whose basis of reckoning is centuries older than Christ, is accurately divided quarterly according to the four seasons. It commences on the very first day of spring (March 21 or 22) and ends on exactly the last day of winter.

Since September 23, it’s been autumn now here. Skies turn grey. Leaves of trees change their colors, usually turning into a reddish or brownish hue and begin to fall. Rain showers and at times downpours are frequent; hence, a natural boon to the polluted Tehran metropolis. The days get shorter and cooler while the nights get longer; thus, a rare opportunity to those who are keen to perform optional fasting. In short, it marks the transition from summer into winter.

Just as deciduous trees have different colors of leaves at this period, so are the meanings of autumn to different people.

To the tillers of soil especially in the temperate zone of both the northern and southern hemispheres such as the Philippines, autumn means time of reaping and fecundity. To me as a schoolboy then in the first half of 1980s, harvest season meant variegated and relatively cheaper fruits such as atis and rambutan at the Cotabato City Fruit Stand which is just outside our school.

During my college years in early 1990s, this season meant mushrooming of madang/marang fruits in certain spots of MSU Campus such as in front of PLH, Commercial Center, 5th Street, and Baryo Salam. Unless provoked by certain PLH dwellers, I would evade buying marang in front of PLH as the price was somehow heavy to my pocket. Instead, Baryo Salam which is near the dormitory where I stayed in during my first three years in the campus was my favorite hub where I could buy one marang as cheap as 2 pesos–after three to five minutes of bargaining, nevertheless. Around this time, lucky were those who had classmates or roommates who are from the nearby town of Balo’i because invitation to their hometown meant free-of-charge marangs to the heart’s content.

To the poets and ‘outdoor’ individuals like my wife’s Trinidadian friend, the fall season means melancholy and gloominess as the chill of winter and forced indoor retreat are in the offing, nay imminent.

To a bachelor or spinster, fall season may be linked to strong feelings of sorrow as it symbolically represents his or her own ageing self. It serves as a nagging reminder that like the natural world, he or she has also reached the prime of his or her youth while having no offspring.

To the mystics and spiritual wayfarers, autumn constitutes a stage of journey toward perfection as well as yearning for the forthcoming and sought-after reunion with the Beloved and the attainment of the state of felicity after life-long smashing of the idol of I-ness.

To the leaf peepers, this season means the time to come out of their cocoons to enjoy the mellow sight of fall foliage. It is therefore a seasonal godsend to the tourism industry of Eastern Canada, the New England region of the United States and Eastern Asia including China, Japan and Korea where colored autumn foliage is most famously noted.

To the Iranian households, autumn (and winter) means more consumption of gas as the source of heat energy.

To the Palestinians, this year’s autumn means possible reenactment of the Madrid Conference and its dismal repercussions while to their cousins, it means more incentives by forging diplomatic and/or trade relations with [Persian] Gulf sheikhs.

To the inmates of the world’s largest concentration camp called Gaza Strip, this fall and the approaching winter signify further suffering and starvation.

To the “coalition of the willing”, this year’s autumn means further dwindling with the impending pull out of the Australian buddy. To the Australians, in turn, the same means self-rescue through the ballot from the five-year old quagmire that is Iraq.

To me, every autumn means more emotionally charged reminiscence and re-experiencing of the MSU-Main Campus climate though, unfortunately, without the soothing panorama of Lake Lanao and the centuries-old serenity of its Sleeping Lady.

(An excerpt from my book “My Tehran Diary” (2015))

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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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