BSU Retirees relive the Christmas spirit

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By Benny Balweg

Snapshot Focus

Friday, December 20, 2013

DO ELDERLIES relegate the celebration of Christmas to children? Not the retirees of the Benguet State University who are now members of the two-year-old BSU Retirees Association. In their last monthly meeting for departing year 2013 last December 10, they opted to forego with the usual business-like agenda to spend some hours for Christmas recollection and frolics.

Dr. Caroline Dimas, who became an instant “Pastora” for the affair opened the religious portion and where a solemn atmosphere that pervaded the occasion. She emphasized gratitude to the Almighty for all the blessings he has imparted to us during the year, especially for the fact that those who were in attendance were still around with verve and purposiveness. She also pleaded for understanding the situation of those who agreed with the plan for the date of the affair and yet could not physically come. I wish she insinuated that unlike some others, she still looked young and full of life, insinuating further how her better-half, Compadre Alberto, took care of her in body and mind for over half a century.

In her opening remarks, BOD Chair Dr. Esther R. Hufana, another of the never-grow-olds, greeted the silent throng with a rousing “Good morning! What a beautiful day and a fine place to celebrate Christmas with friends and former colleagues in the University.” She considered the day as a celebration of life because “as the year ends we anticipate another year …. filled with hope and expectations.” “Every year of our life,” she continued, “has been a gift – a bonus after our retirement. We may experience aches and pains or illness; some of our body parts are less dependable than they were, including our mind and memory, but let us face life and aging squarely and discover the meaning and mission of older years – lessons of strength, longevity, and fruitfulness and, most of all, love – as we celebrate Christmas in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.” She concluded by urging everyone to enjoy life and the Christmas party because “We are old only once.”
Christmas carols, dances and games took most of the controlled frolic time. Chicken dance earned a deserved anchor for entertainingly muscle-flexing.

The BSU-RA President/CEO that was yours truly substituted a brief message for the BSU President, who could not make it for the day, before giving his own assigned closing remarks. He used the chance to express his family’s very heartfelt thanks to those who commiserated and prayed for Ms. Sozima Ancheta Balweg, his wife, who untimely departed to the other life on October 30, 2013, at 3:40 in the afternoon. (She had accidentally tripped among her anthurium flowers and honeybee production boxes where she was plant production manager in a livelihood project supported by DIWA as conduited by BARP). The meaningful BSU-RA song, “Twas yesterday when Master Time” composed by yours truly and the closing prayer by retiree icon Dr. Carlota Lubrica punctuated the affair of children once-upon-a-long-time-ago.

The BSU-RA organization through its officials, particularly the Board Chair and the President/CEO, wishes to express heartfelt thanks to all members and friends who helped make the day greatly enjoyable and truly blessed. Secretary Dr. Jane K. Avila, in particular, and her committee deserve kudos for a job well done, not only during the celebration but during the whole year. How she had been gathering us to hold hands together for service despite the ravages of Master Time! Recognition is also due to the veritable trio of BODs Romulo Apolonio, Ramon Bocalan and members Ben Dimas and Fred Labi, who prominently represented the male sector.


If there is one thing that man can do that God cannot do, it is to thank God for all His benevolent bestowals to His creatures, like for those He has given during a passing year. It was therefore, edifying that, for their part, the members of the Blessed Association of Retired Persons Foundation, Inc. or simply BARP, had congregated ahead of BSU-RA last December 4, 2013, to celebrate their own annual Thanksgiving Day. They were led by no other than their President/CEO Prof. Federico A. Balanag and the other members of the Board and the Management. So far so good.

However, it happened again that the congregation was divided into two, all because of differences in religious affiliations. The Roman Catholic Christians proceeded to the Baguio City Cathedral and the denominational Christians, to the UCCP Church at Otek Street east of City Hall. Good that the community singing of the Thanksgiving Song as mandated by the BARP Code of Ethics was done in both churches.

According to ranking BMPC official, the better old practice of gathering into one big group at the Burnham Park Athletic Bowl to thank God for His yearly blessings will be restored to next year. That will really be better for that is Christ’s ardent priestly prayer as found in the whole of St. John Chapter 17:1-24. BARP will soon be a forerunner in religious ecumenism, especially in the hollowed act of thanking the One Godhead. That will bolster the much needed national unity for our country these days.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 21, 2013.


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