Archive for the ‘Colegio de Sta Isabel’ Category

Erlinda Requejo-Arellano: outstanding Bicolana community leader of New Jersey

January 18, 2009

As the Bicol National Association of America (BNAA) gears for its July national convention in New York City this year, I can’t help but pay tribute to Erlinda Requejo-Arellano (Linda,) president of the Bicolandia Association Inc. of the Eastern Seaboard USA. She is at the helm of the preparations for the grand event which will draw Bicolanos and friends in the tri-state area.

I believe Linda is most capable in doing the job. She is a well-known community leader with outstanding accomplishments to her credit. Having been the founding president of the Filipino American Political Action Coalition of New Jersey, Inc. (FAPAC-NJ), she serves as the organizer and founding President of the Filipino American Political Action Group of Essex County and Vice President (Eastern Region) of the Bikol National Association of America.

She is the auditor of the Philippine American Communities Executive Council and the vice president of the Filipino Association of Northern New Jersey, Inc. (FANNJI). An adviser and three-time past overall chairperson of the Philippine Day Organizing Council (PDOC,) she is a mover in the Women’s Initiatives of Nutley headed by the mayor Joan Cocchiola.

Linda assumed headship and remains to be an engaging adviser of the Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association, Inc. (OLPDA,) a religious organization which promotes the devotion to the patroness of the Bicol Region. A strong-willed daughter of a war veteran-hero, she took the position of founding president of the Sons, Daughters and Orphans of Philippine American Veterans, Inc.

Among Linda’s other numerous community involvements was her longtime presidency in the Filipino American Voters’ League, Inc. She admirably served as a mentor in the Juvenile Urban Mentoring Program of Passaic Youth, treasurer of 2002 Multicultural Committee of Passaic, member of the 1999 Facilities Advisory Board and Chairman of the 1998 Quality of Life Program, both of the Passaic Board of Education.

From 1995 through 1998, Linda prominently sat on the board of the United Passaic Organization (a CAP agency) as an able treasurer, chairman of the finance committee, and member of the education and fundraising Committees. Professionally, Linda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Born with twin sister Mila, Linda hails from Canaman, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, Philippines where the Requejo family has humbly served the community for over 100 years, majority of the years were under the mayoralty of her grandfather and father Damaso who served the most. Her brother Emmanuel is currently the mayor.

A consistent honor student at the Colegio (now Universidad) de Sta. Isabel, Naga City, spanning her elementary and high school years, Linda was one of the Three Most Outstanding High School Students. She was bestowed leadership and academic excellence recognition from among over 5,000students in the city.

After high school, she won an American Field Service scholarship and spent a year in Kenmore (Buffalo) New York. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a Bachelors of Science degree in Commerce major in Accounting. Soon after passing the Philippine accountancy exams, she joined Sycip, Gorres and Velayo, CPA’s and LM Power Engineering until she immigrated to the United States.

She worked for Franwall Optical Co. while taking graduate credits at the State University of NY in Buffalo. She moved for a better career offer with an accounting firm in Clifton, NJ where she earned her New Jersey license as a certified public accountant (CPA.) She was senior accountant and office manager of the firm for 17 years. Presently, Linda is the comptroller of the Passaic Board of Education, a job of trust which oversees a budget of over $200 million.

Linda was recently feted with a leadership award for political advocacy by the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL). Her leadership in political empowerment has also earned her the Go an Extra Mile (GEM) recognition given by the Filipino Asian Bulletin community and the St. Vincent de Paul Public Service Award, for being among the first awardees of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel as an outstanding alumna.

Other sterling distinctions she has had the pleasure of receiving are the United States Special Congressional Recognition for Leadership and Community Service, the New Jersey Assembly Award for outstanding community leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Recognition Award for outstanding leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Bayanihan (Communal Spirit) Award, the Passaic Board of Education Recognition Award as chairperson of the Quality of Life Program, and awards from the Philippine American Friendship Committee, the Philippine Independence Celebration Committee, the Performing Arts of the Philippines, Inc., the Philippine American Communities Council, Inc., the Philippine American Veterans Organization, Inc. and the Bicolandia Association, Inc.

Above all these, what Linda brags to be an “award” that’s unparalleled, unsurpassed and only hers to claim is being mother of her two most wonderful children, Gerard, 29and Marie, 28. =0=

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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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