CSA-B: As I see it

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I ENTERED the corbel of Colegio de San Agustin-Bacolod at the start of school year 1969-1970. The remnant of Casanova founded by Mrs. Soledad Locsin was still there. For a neophyte like me, the three-storey college building along the road was already a gigantic structure. “Too big for a farm boy.”

The late bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod, Msgr. Antonio Y. Fortich, described the 60’s as decade of confession and the 70’s as the decade of demonstration. There was confusion in the lives of the Filipinos which turned out to be liturgical, social, theatrical, economical and even comical. Demonstration in the workplace, crowded streets, schools and other venues simply proved that the Filipinos were reacting to something they did not like.

Colegio de San Agustin-Bacolod opened my eyes to reality (and also to something not real). The out-of-town students were given the chance to rub elbows and brains with the children of the sugarcane planters. St. Augustine was right that virtue and science is for everybody and any Augustinian who has the courage can always reap victory.

As an emerging community, our college was able to bring us closer to one another. We knew “who is who” in every department. We identified the peculiarities of our mentor and we were given the opportunities to join the campus organization of our choice. Student activism in the campus was a “hot potato” but an Augustinian has always the option to be in or just stay calm. College Day Celebration was the most awaited. The latest model of cars was out for show off during the motorcade. Food booths selling what would fill in the eyes and the stomach dotted the quadrangle.

Sports events were scene stealers. Fr. Angel Dulanto would bring his boys to the football field. The volleyball and basketball players would always draw bigger crowds for two reasons. They got the skills and hot legs. The Grand Velada was an Augustinian trademark for excellent cultural presentation – dances, songs, plays. Peace-ta Filipina provided the campus with barrio atmosphere bringing out the best Filipiniana attire. Augustinian beauty would descend for a campus tour – Binky Montinola, Editha Sazon, Marle Aventura, Leah Poblador. Cheering competition occupied the centerstage to present the best cheer leader and cheering squad.
The Student Catholic Action was always persistent in its outreach program, “for the poorest of the poor” with Fr. Paeng Arguilles and Arthur Ruiz. The catechist group, glee club, theater guild, visual artist brotherhood, fraternities and sororities, cadet corps, dance troupe, culinary experts, book wizards, group of scholars, minstrels and even the association of working students and the out-of-towners had always something great to add to the laurels of CSA-B. It was my Alma Mater that gave life to the “Legend of Sugarcane” on stage.

Some teachers and priests of my decade could not be forgotten. Fr. Eduardo Perez plunged us on stage just with a script. Everything else was a work in progress. Sr. Ricarda Mendoza made B.S. Nursing the best in Negros Occidental. Tim Manalo taught us that government is good. It could be bad also. Atty. Alba’s fluency in English and knowledge of law inspired student leaders. Atty. Wilson Gamboa challenged us to be like him. Meriam Baniel opened our eyes to the world of journalism and called a spade a spade. Teresita Ikalina made world-class teachers. She is unforgettable.

Rosella Manzano was a great disciplinarian. You go out of her class with a vision. Fr. Bienvenido Junquera, a member of the Spanish royalty, memorized events in history – from Adam to Sadam. Arsenia Salva made us surgeons of frogs. Natividad Gatuz gave me perfect attendance in library. Roberto Silloriquez taught us that Chemistry is wonderful if you are a wonder boy but not to those who wandered during his class. Boys trooped in front of the class of Lilia Flores in the Elementary Department. She was not our teacher. “She is simply beautiful.”

We were like this before… no cellphone, no lap top, no iPod, no digital camera, no mall and no “baon.” We amused ourselves with yema and polvoron but we always say, “Our mentors have provided us the best knowledge and preparation to face the challenging world outside Colegio de San Agustin- Bacolod. We are out for global competition. “When there is difficulty, we do not surrender. We get even. That’s the Augustinian spirit.”

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 05, 2014.

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