by Mighty Baylon
The anniversary celebration of UP Ibalon and UPIAA on December 1, 1995 was more subdued than 1994 (which was the organization’s 20th anniversary). But it was no less attended. Its ambience was even better as it was held in the old house of Lodie Padilla and Delen Padilla-de la Paz in Magallanes Village, Makati.
In my recollection the personal highlight of the event came when Min Paje-Banzon, a charter member and UP Ibalon’s second President suggested and led the singing of the old Ibalon songs. So there was the oldies in center stage crooning the old songs with real feelings that it drew tears from some senior members. It was the songs we sang in caroling (no we didn’t use pure Christmas carols then) and we used some really old songs to serenade our old supporters like the late Dean Irene Cortes and Dr. Pablo Botor’s family. There is some controversy now which Ibalon song we usually hold for the finale but I remember in that occasion we used the ditty, “Rimposon”.
When tears were shed, I heard comments na iba daa an bonds and respect to each other kan old members. Yes, I participated in UP Ibalon’s 1994 caroling and I knew they no longer sang the old songs (no use in comparing the quality now). They don’t have our pambatos Raul Sabularse, Fem Espinas (Paladin), Nips Valenciano, Gods Lanuza, Toti Mesia and Eden Borja (Fernando), our soloist.
A short while later the reunion started to break up and I thought Gerlin, the President and me should send off the members and take care of those that can’t go home anymore. But Gerlin was nowhere to be found. I didn’t catch her sight after “Rimposon”.
It was only daybreak when I saw her again and she told me she would walk home somebody. I didn’t really mind it then. She just told me we should talk soon.
A few days later I saw her and her opening was, “Do you remember I was nowhere around when the members were leaving?”. Of course, I noticed. “I was keeping company with a lady who started shedding tears when you oldies sang the old Bicol songs and she walked away crying copiously when you sang “Rimposon”.
“She and her best friend told me everything they knew. She also gave leads to other organizations that are already a-forming”. With her revelations I felt the hair on my back stand. I know the calm is over and my worst fears are now happening before my eyes.
The two ladies, both members of the BOD are founders of the organization of students from a Bicol province. And they gave us leads on members and other personalities that are involved in the formation of other Bicol provincial organizations–those from Camarines Norte, those from Camarines Sur, those from Albay and those from Sorsogon.
Suddenly, hugging the top of the agenda of the UPIAA were no longer alumni matters. And the privileged information was with a caveat that it not reach the BOD of the resident organization and some other persons.
The alumni directors sought out the dramatis personae of the proto-organizations and tried to establish a background dialogue for after all they cannot be perceived traitors. I was at the UP Fair that is traditionally held in the middle of December. No, I wasn’t looking at the booths or exhibits. I was desperately looking for people who I want to talk to and people who can talk to them, people I have not met before in my life and young enough to be my sons and daughters. I felt I cannot go home yet to my family and business in Mindanao.
And all of these discoveries triggered by the oldies’ rendition of the old Bicol songs and “Rimposon”.