Archive for the ‘Ateneo de Naga University’ Category

Aden-CSI University HS reunion a success!

September 15, 2008








Among UP Ibalon’s ever increasing friends, the alumni and alumnae of Ateneo de Naga Univerisity (AdenU) and Colegio de Sta. Isabel (USI) Class 1973 held their memorable reunion, the first in 35 years, in Naga City, Philippines on Saturday, September 13, 2008.

Spearheaded by Engr. George Yorobe, hubby of UP Ibalon’s Dr. May Magdalene I. Velasco, the celebration was a happy start to usher in Bicolandia’s feast of the Virgin of Penafrancia which will culminate on September 21, 2008. The combined group of enthusiastic batchmates that include Matt Lamit, Val Torrecampo, Chito Parma, Art Villamor, Nonong Molaer, Larry Limjoco, Bernie Palma, Mon Odiamar, Roy Fernando, Ted Orante, Monching Cervantes, Iggi Camacho, Willie Verdadero, Arlen Barrameda, Jun Briones, Totoy Buenafe, Dick Perez, Errol Angeles, Sam Sabocor, Joseph Buenavente, Boy Estiva, Paul Cunanan, Tong Pilar, Art Torralba, Bobby Garza, Walter Mendez, Ric National, Ed Nicolas, Paul Antero, Marcial Aguilar, Gisbert Beringuela, Ding Salvosa, Edwin Rivero, Rolly Salazar worked with Mary Ann Pelagio, Nini Ragragio-Bolivar, Girlie Badiola, Leilani Rosero-Odiamar, Marive Roco, Christine Ascarraga, Maricar Imperial and among others to make the event a smashing reality. Fr. Antonio de los Santos and Fr. Wilmer Tria served as the group’s spiritual advisers.

According to Nini R. Bolivar, the reunion which bridged old friendships and renewed memories was an opportunity to plan future group undertakings including joint socio-cultural projects planned for the community. The Class of ’73 thanks all those who in one way or another helped make the reunion a success. (Photo Credits: AdenUHS’73/Dr. Ramon P. Odiamar/CSIHS’73 Siiribananmi)


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AdeN-CSI University: a boy and girl thing that never goes out of style

September 10, 2008


Why are reunions more popular than before? Is it a sign of ageing or is it an affirmation of being forever young? Is it still that boy and girl thing that never goes out of style? Or is it the bond that’s hard to describe, but so easy to feel with the heart?

Members of Ateneo de Naga High School ’73 known as the Golden Boys of Quiborak (GBQ’s,) myself included, are holding a reunion on September 13, 2008 in Naga City, Philippines. It’s an auspicious time to meet the flashy dames of Colegio de Sta Isabel (CSI) Class’73, the magagayons who for years never escaped our minds.

In a gesture of amity, reconciliation, and love, we agree to meet with the ladies. Like before, we’ll have another kurumustahan—this time in a random mix of classmates, friends and families, unsupervised by our teachers, very much unlike the occasions of pabiristohans in soirees we know.

A milestone that definitely tickles the imagination, for the first time we’ll encounter the popular girls in blue that we used to ogle in front of la porteria, at el campanario of Naga Cathedral or at el canto of Ateneo Avenue. The four imposing pillars of the west end near Quiborak seem to draw us like pubescent fireflies in pursuit of the blue girls in their pheromone-rich enclave a stone’s throw from Colgante Bridge.

The reunion not only gives credence to the belief that memories last, it also reminds us of the downside of having same-sex schools at the height of adolescent social awakening. We, the students, sequestered by a compulsory gender divide of our time, still have that persistent longing for pure friendships out of our exclusive cocoons, away from the tangled allure of a strip joint.

The drive to relive the remembrances of our juvenile years is so great that we make ways to meet and be cozy with each other. Away from the watchful gaze of the Catholic nuns of the Daughters of Charity (DC) and the priests of St. Ignatius’ Society of Jesus (SJ,) we have built a shadow co-ed school of our own—the Ateneo-CSI University.


It’s a utopian school that we have established. The Ateneo-CSI University doesn’t have boring lectures. Except for foul behavior, no one has to pay tuition. Wearing long hair or being bald isn’t an infraction. We don’t have to take periodic tests; uniforms aren’t required. There’s no pressure to attend convocations or join protest rallies. Absence and tardiness aren’t punished.

As if to break open a precious time capsule left in the sand dunes of the past or rescue an old surf-beaten bottle that has finally rested on a rugged shore, the reunion will be celebrated in muted grace, pomp, and style. On this unique day, there will be no pain and discomfort— only boundless happiness of having to return to where we are most comfortable, right at the cuddly bosom of affable classmates and supportive friends.

After 35 years we will reach out for the past that will make us laugh and cry. We’ll go back to the roads we walked before. We’ll point the trees we climbed and the steep mountains we scaled. We’ll go back to the woods we explored, glance at the homey blue sky, feel the breeze on our faces, and recall the meandering rivers we roamed.

Some of us will visit the abyssal depths of our fears if only to remind that we’re all human beings who stick together, through thick and thin as though we’re tied in an unbreakable blood compact of Magellan.

We encourage and help each other in good days and bad times like a herd of gazelles grazing in the vast plain. Deep into the vestiges of our own insecurity and personal triumph, we will mark a phenomenal passage. In this reunion, three decades after we left high school, what we have is unity and love, a reward of being bonded and truly alive! =0=

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Ateneo de Naga University Northeast USA Alumni Reunion Away from Home

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Rice shortage, chestnut mannikins, & the specter of want

April 6, 2008


by Totie Mesia

Rice shortage and famine had been worrisome issues, but they made me recall the old days when I was a kid growing up in the 1960s. Food then wasn’t much of a problem in Bikol. The back of our house in Bagumbayan Street, Naga City was a quaint oasis of fish, waterfowls, and birds—a small paradise near the fabled Quiborakland where coconut trees grew tall and rice blossomed in abundance.

Yes, it was a swampy locale not far from the old Ateneo de Naga University campus where rice and grass grew in profusion. The black snakehead (talusog) rested in the mud and their babies formed bubbly gold balls of wiggly fingerlings beneath lush green lilies in the murky marsh. The frogs grew fat and lived satisfied with a steady diet of cicadas and dragonflies.

When the monsoon rains came, the place became greener and livelier. It teemed with jumping tadpoles, miniature crabs, and emerald salamanders which were elating to watch in glass jars I placed on the window sill.

The chestnut-feathered mannikins (aka rignos, maya, munia) flocked on patches of tall cogon grass, thick shrubs and thorny bougainvilleas which flowered in the peak of summer. The birds were awesome builders of nests made of dried zakate leaves when the fields were ripe with fruiting grains. Guarding the rice fields where they raised their young, I was rapt watching the mannikins foraged on grains which were outstandingly bountiful.

The birds were naturally happy in spite of the stern scarecrow’s presence on the rice paddies. They busily plucked food from rice stalks before the onset of harvest. And they sometimes blackened the sky in their amazing group flight each time I chased them. I had the child’s warped fun of trapping a few of them which I kept in a bamboo cage.

The mannikins sounded like thunder in their flight. In huge numbers, they flocked together incessantly chirping in the breeze, reminding us of unity which bound their species through the eons. Ravenously, they fed just like hungry human beings. Whenever they left though, I waited for their return—even if the farmers’ noisy tin cans suspended on a scarecrow’s breast banged incessantly to shoo them away.

In my innocent mind, I thought the plentiful rice grains back then would never run out. I was convinced both men and birds were in no danger of ever starving or dying of hunger.

But of course I was damn wrong. It didn’t take long when hordes of people moved in to live and disrupt the balance of the marsh. The grassy swamp quickly dried up, the vegetation thinned out, and the entire place looked fallow for rice or wildlife to ever thrive.

It appeared nature met extreme “environmental stress” with the encroachment of people in the fields. The green dragonflies with large iridescent eyes vanished with the slimy catfish that I used to hook with my fishing stick. The chestnut mannikins, lesser in number, did pass by as often. The black waterfowls (tikling) which dashed and sang on the mud were gone. Only the dengue-bearing mosquitoes remained.

I lamented thinking why fertile fields could turn so barren so quickly. It could be a reason why rice, our staple food, had suddenly become scarce all over the country. As news climate changed perturbed us, the grains couldn’t be coaxed to fruit generously as before. And the greedy rice hoarders held on for those rounds of price increases which ripped our pockets.

Yet, the national statistics disclosed, among our students, farming had never been as popular a profession as nursing, hotel and restaurant administration, or criminology. Many had been conditioned to believe that if they couldn’t get white-collar jobs, it was the only time to “go home and plant camote,” giving a bad rap to the humble sweet potato that sustained our ancestors. It had been a crooked way of regarding agriculture, a noble profession.

What could all these speak about us in the midst of the specter of want? Taxes had risen and many had been out of work. I heard many planters lost heart with farming and they dreamed of changing careers. With ineffectual agrarian reform program (CARP,) there had been less land to till and agriculture had been expensive for poor farmers without government support.

The cost of food brazenly shot up and the poor folks instantly felt the drag of spending for their families. There had been scary rumors of famine in spite of the move to make rice affordable. Grumblings and spotty protests rocked the streets as many waited for what would be next.

I wondered what these meant for the birds and the men without grains for the coming seasons. With our government’s proclivity to import rice from abroad, I pondered if interventions would ever work when leaders often bickered on issues which augured badly for clear solutions.

Was it wise to rely on rice imports from Vietnam without serious effort to make us rice-sufficient? What could 43 billion pesos do to our flagging agriculture, an industry which we shamefully neglected for a long time? Was unbridled export of brawn and brains the way towards national security and survival? Could we have done too little, too late because greed and corruption robbed us of what was essential for the nation?

I wished the people of the country would live through this uncertainty with sufficient courage. I always believed we still got the will and the energy to rise above our deepest concerns and worst fears.