LEARNING FROM YOUR PEERS
After the formal reunion of our Elementary Batch of 1966 in Quirino Elementary School, a number of my classmates decided to up the ante by proceeding to Davao where I am based. Actually, I suggested to the reunion organizers that after the preliminaries, we could stretch somewhere out-of-town, preferably Davao. There were a handful of takers.
And they are mostly residents from abroad and have taken a break to travel back to this country principally to attend our 50th year anniversary, a great divide from the time of our graduation. Truly, it was a gathering of survivors.
There was Belen Maglalang, our class valedictorian, a permanent resident of USA. Bless Reynon is based in Canada. Susan Villafrance and her buddy, Pricilla aside from being NSW residents have successful businesses in Sydney, Australia. Husband and wife, Rudy and Agnes Rupac are also long time residents of Australia. Sonny Salvador and family have become US citizens already like Edwina Villanueva and family.
Those who joined them in the field and never left the country are: Lorna Diaz, a retired executive from a pharmaceutical giant; Maria Lourdes Santos, a doting mother to a Human Rights Lawyer-daughter; Bella Sabares, a retired Luxury Cruise Captain; Beth JC, a retired computer wizard, and me, a retired government employee.
For a brief 3-day sojourn (January 24-27, 2016), we explored the de facto capital of Mindanao (Davao province) and retreated in an island (Island Garden City of Samal). Their observation of the countryside and comparison with their adopted country was very instructive.
And we had this conversation as sampling:
Classmate, noticing a pick up truck with several passengers: “Pare, sa USA hindi puede yang ganyan. Huhulihin ang driver and his license will be revoked immediately. That is dangerous because the passengers might be thrown out.”
Me: “Over here, it is even encouraged to lighten the burden of pedestrians trying to move from one place to another no matter how hazardous it may be. If noticed, the driver might even be feted as hero if he did that during flood.
Classmate: “Pare, madami din pala mga motorsiklo dito na for public utility ang dating, hehehe.” Grabe din mga driver niyan kung humarurot.”
Me, explaining: “Ganun? Eh, nakita mo ba yun motorsiklo na 7 ang angkas? Ang tawag dito nyan ay habal-habal?”
Classmate: “Ay, oo naman. Bago ako sumama dito papunta Davao, nasa Bataan ako at meron din ganyan. Meron pa nga angkas nasa manibela pa mismo ng nagmomotor!”
Me: “Hehehe. Walang kwenta yan dito pare. Ang mga motorcycle drivers dito bukod sa 7 o 10 ang angkas na pasahero, habang bumabyahe, nag te-text pa yun!”
While stretching on the fine white sands of the beach, a batchmate offered her thoughts.
Another classmate interjected: “Oy, alam ninyo, marami na akong napuntahang lugar, mainly beaches, pero ang pinaka-ok ay dito kasi organized at maya’t maya nililinis ang paligid. Tayong may mga edad na ay stickler when it comes to order. Stressful sa atin ang gulo at dumi. Over here, it is relaxing.”
We do not know if we still could replicate the same adventure, time will tell. We still hope that a better attendance may be possible in the future. But on the whole, our reunion rejuvenated our lives, gave us another breathing spell and has shown our respective family that there is still life beyond the retirement horizon.