Saturday, April 23, 2011

Balik Regional, My Alumni Homecoming Speech

Breakfast at Am Rei Hotel, Bacolod before we left for Isabela

At the Registration table with some of our classmates
Dear distinguished guests, beloved principal, teachers, classmates and fellow alumni of INHS, friends, and relatives, Maayo nga Adlaw sa inyo nga tanan

  • When Ma’am Remee Riza Coralde asked if she could recommend me as the guest speaker for today’s celebration, I could not believe it.   Why me,  I asked her.  Why not our handsome class valedictorian; why not the most glamorous one among our classmates; why not  the Pinaka madatung in our      group; but Ma’am Coralde answered that I don’t have to be the Valedictorian nor the most glamorous one nor the Pinakamadatung – as long as I am able to inspire and impart knowledge to others, I am the woman for the job. I was both flattered and humbled, and I told myself, why not, I’m not one to turn my back on challenges.  Kay bisan gamay man ni, matilaw man ni. In modern term, Adja! 
Our welcoming banner
  • Kidding aside, why not?   This is payback time. Balik Regional na tayo.  Balik as in physically come back or we give her time and effort as she gave us those before. We give back to our Alma Mater for preparing us well for college; for preparing us to meet new people, for providing us new experiences, for preparing us for the rest of our lives.  Aside from God, and our parents and guardians, we have lots to thank our teachers, our coaches and mentors.  We also thank them for the solid, irreplaceable friendships that we developed while we were in this school.   Why don’t we give everyone a round of applause! 
Ma'am Remee Riza Coralde flanked by Welvic, Marlon, Sandy, JC and Mahong
  • And thank you Batch ’86 for accommodating our wishes that this celebration happens today. Thank you for coordinating with us, Rema Joy Hechanova and Alma Teorima Garnica.    
Reminiscences:   39 years had passed since our graduation day in 1972. In these classrooms and corridors we had so much fun.  Who said that studying is no fun?  
Dante, Joy+ and Me
Charie as Mother Philippines
    Jingh or JAGG with Gilda, during our JS Prom

  • Discussion with our Biology teacher about the reproduction of flora and fauna made us respect how life seeks its own how the species preserve its own.  We learned well the law of reproduction, di ba, at least most of us…….   Our beloved History teacher, Mr. Fuertas (may he rest in peace) talked of history as if it happened the day before. We heard and learned the rise and fall of governments, the rape and glory of nations as if they were our neighbors in the barrio.  He told fascinating stories and our mind wandered from our next mischief to the streets of the country he was telling us about.  
  • I so enjoyed our English Teacher’s wit, suabe lang talaga.   I looked forward to attend her classes each day as I enjoyed her wit so much.  I remember her telling a talkative classmate, Sophia Palomares, “I think you need fresh air, you may step outside and refresh yourself’.  And to Cesar Chin, a classmate who was rushing to class as he was already late, she asked, “Is there a fire, where’s the fire?”  During one of our graded oral recitation, she called a classmate and it so happened that classmate did not know the answer to her question.  Our classmate looked at us meaningfully, hoping to hear an answer.  One of us (that was me) dictated the answer and that classmate recited the answer one word after another, as  was dictated.  Ma’am Calvo asked, Is there a Hitler in our class”?  I looked around…thinking wala naman kaming classmate na Hitler ang apelyedo.   She asked again, Is there a dictator in our class.  Ah oks, ga dikta kasi ang answer….. Even with our childish monkey business with our classmates she showed us how to respect individuals and groups.  We have great respect coupled with love for our beloved 4th year adviser, Mrs. Angelina Calvo.  Thank you Ma’am for your kind guidance.  And with Mr. Calvo at your side, you are an unbeatable team.
Our former teacher, Mrs. Porter,  becomes friendly with us and even invited us to her house!
Sandy, Outstanding alumni with Mahong, Class Valedictorian, now successful businessman
Mr. Calvo flanked by Joe, Jingh, Charie, Jusimen, Sandy, JC, Cezar, Mahong Welvic and Marlon

  • We learned glamor by example from Mrs. Porter. She is the picture of the modern, sophisticated and refined woman.   One disapproving look from her and we all behaved. She brought her magazines to our classroom and our imagination are richer for them.  Thank you, Mrs. Porter.
  • I mentioned only a few of our teachers, but this does not mean that those not mentioned have contributed less to our progress.  Each and every teacher we had, left an indelible mark in our development and we are grateful for that. 
  • We had many idols among our classmates too.  We have a classmate whom we call Ms. Coca Cola as she has beauty, body and brains, her nickname is coolness itself,  JAGG – Juhriza Ann Granada Granada.  We had our own Miss Philippines – Ada Tabunda, also Jusimen Garrido.  We had rock stars – the Geocaniga brothers who sang and serenaded us – also the Maninantans, the Dianalas.  There were  girls younger than us whom we admired greatly - how they were more gracious and lady-like than us – the likes of the Gayares sisters, Teorima sisters, Gatuteo sisters. 
  • Our learning was not confined in the 4 walls of our classrooms.   We were lucky to join the camping of 4-H Club in Mambucal,  4H club -where youth are trained for leadership and life skills.  We competed in cooking, dancing, declamation, etc.  We had fun, we made friends and we thank you INHS for the opportunity.  These experiences gave us confidence to go wherever the opportunity leads us.  We are more resilient and adaptable and in fact we have gone global because of those qualities.   
Let me give you an classic yet a practical quotation:  Knowledge is power by Sir Francis Bacon
I remember that well for that is posted in front of us students, inside our classroom.  Only after we went out in the world to seek our fortune did I learn the full impact of that quotation. Yes, knowledge is power.

Knowledge is power, power is money, money is happiness...

or  Knowledge is power, power is control, control is freedom...

Sophie, our nurse classmate, now based in Chicago
I would like to give you life examples to illustrate that but I will not be mentioning names as we don’t seek fame, but I hope that my stories will inspire you. Classmates, you know who you are, we know who you are and for those who don’t know you may come and ask us personally who is who later.   I will mention their accomplishments for the inspirations that they provide us. 
Charie, with Sophie and Gilda, now based in Germany
  • Let’s take for an example a classmate who became a nurse.  She knew she had to prepare well for the career she had chosen and she got her education from the best school available the family could afford. She pursued her dreams of working abroad, worked in several countries in Asia until she got her chance to work in the U.S. She became an immigrant and now a U.S. citizen.  She had been helping her family tremendously.  She helps them not only in sending them to school, she also nurtured their dreams.  She built several homes for her loved ones, provided capital for their businesses too.  And she keeps abreast of the new trends in her chosen field by attending conventions regularly.  She knew the value of keeping her knowledge updated and used it to her advantage. And di ba tax deductible din? For her, knowledge is Power is money, Money is happiness and love as manifested by enjoying what money could buy for her loved ones.
Charrie alighting from the van.
  • Another classmate is now a business woman, with alkaline water distribution as her main line of business.  Thirty years before who would have thought of selling and buying water, especially alkaline water?  We drank tap water all over the country before.  Our classmate studied the market, and being health conscious herself found a product which has a marvelous effect one’s health and in balancing the body's pH – alkaline water!  Also, her working knowledge of supply and demand assured her of profitability of her business.  Needless to say she is a successful business woman.  To her, knowledge is Power, Power is money. money is happiness, as  she is able to help her family, relatives and friends.
Ric Maninantan in stripes, is now based in Brunei
Marlon Malapitan and Rev. James Carr Federico, our past 'heart throbs'
  • Aside from nurses, and other health workers, we also have engineers who are now respected in their companies and by their peers.
  • We have men and women who worked in government offices not only here in Isabela Municipal hall but in cities too.  
  • We have classmates who became teachers, librarian, Records Analyst in an international organization, photographer, photo editor, video editor, call center agent, blogger,  ghost writer for E-zine articles and E-books.
  • We have turned out OFWs who worked in the Middle East and the U.S., Canada, Europe, etc.
  • We have seamen too and others got promoted to second mate, first mate, captain of their ships.
  • There is one classmate, James Carr,  who used to be  quiet and shy in our class.  He is good-looking and was always teased for his choice of crushes.  To him “a thing of beauty is Joy forever”. Yes, he had Joy in his life.   He has regrets though, because he was not able to express himself well while in high school.  Na torpe daw sya eh. So when he was in college, he sought the university library for self-help books.  He studied public speaking,  how to exude more confidence, how to think positively, how to be a leader, how to overcome his shyness.  This knowledge enabled him to overcome his perceived limitations and helped him to be what he is now:  a leader, a persuasive and charismatic Pastor - living a happy life with his beautiful wife and children, and with his apos doing Apo stolate work.  To him, Knowledge is Power, Power is fulfillment, peace and love as he is able do his calling – that is to help the needy and to spread the word of God.
  • In conclusion let me again stress that knowledge is power, and with the internet, new technologies constantly developed, it’s easier and more convenient to gain knowledge.  We don’t stop learning or we become stagnant or obsolete!  We should continue learning, and gain and share knowledge from our own experiences and other’s experiences too.    
  • And for all the alumni gathered around here today, let me congratulate all of you, all of us, for we are all successful  because we did our best, no matter what life has handed us, no matter what cards we were dealt with, we survived and we are successful in our own way.  I proudly say that we all look successful.  We are all successful. We all look waffa, waffu!   Tama ba? 
  • And even as we gather here and speak of our current successes, our journey in life has not ended yet, we are still in the running, success in the making, until they bury us 6 feet under the ground, it’s not the end until it’s the end. And even after that, some of us may have works and services that even after death will be remembered and appreciated.   For now, we don’t rest on our laurels, for our journey has not ended yet, we move on, we move forward.
 Thank you all and God bless.


  1. Congratulations! IHS made the best choice in you..You did a very good job! Guest Speaker of excellence,for imparting good lessons to such event,"Knowledge is Power".Eversince we are in grade school,I am your #1 fan...because you are intellectual & beautiful!Wala pa Internet no-on,BFF na pala tayo..ha..ha..Been meaning to tell you,thank you for everything and our Family frienship.

  2. Anonymous! Sophie, alam ko ikaw yan, what are we BFF's for kung hindi ko mahulaan, hehehe. Thanks for the friendship too and thanks that the friendship extends to allour family members too. I am so happy for our successful Class reunion. You and Charrie made it so. All of us, our classmates had a memorable time, thanks to you, Charrie, Kits, Lorna, Mahong, Joe, Jingh, JC, Marlon, and everyone who were so helpful!

  3. wow! this is so great... :) ang haba actually.. what a blogger.. hehe.. may I request for a link exchange sa inyo Ma'am? please put me po sa side nyo as one of your 'MINAMAHAL KONG MGA KABLOG' . Thanks!

  4. Thanks, and you're added,
    May I request link exchange too?

  5. love the pictures! and thanks for sharing. Reunions are always a blast. :)

  6. Thanks, tndcallphilippines. Reunions like this happens only after decades, but can't do it more often. And it may be better that way :P


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