MC tribute to former advisers evoked fond memories

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By Benny Balweg

Snapshot Focus

Friday, December 27, 2013


THE Mountain Collegian, the college student paper of the Benguet State University, La Trinidad Campus, reached its 50th year of existence this year. The celebration thereof that ensued included a program to pay tribute to the past advisers of the paper held on December 21, 2013. It was held at the RSDC Cafeteria following an hour of religious Thanksgiving Service that was scheduled at 4 p.m. but actually started some 20 minutes later, as collegially decided there and then.

After attending a number of celebration programs involving mostly elderly people, it was a sort of pleasant respite for me to be with the young staffers of the Mountain Collegian together with a former adviser and again an incumbent adviser, innovative Dr. Grace Bengwayan, herself a former staff member of the pager. Grace was surnamed Taguba at the time of her stint, while now Dr. Mike "Mr. Environmentalist" Bengwayan was MC editor-in-chief that I remember. My memory of their terms and positions was not that clear-cut because I was more with the publications of the MSAC (later BSU) Research Journal being a director of the Publications Office. I was MP adviser only once. It was Rudy Abastilla who served as automatic adviser as long as he had the time, which he invariably accepted whether he liked or not. Whether staffers hundred percent liked him or not did not matter either. He was like Mr. Robert Jaworski in basketball. You either liked him or hated him. No in-between. But that assured him endearment and be an icon. From him was oozed the definition of a journalist that a journalist is one who, when present, is a pain in the neck but when absent, is a pain in the heart. This came about when Art Laking and I tortured him with some bottles of beer while we were self-appointed members of the "After-Five Club."

What? Torture? That was his energen! The more he "sipped," the faster and refined he pounded on the faithful "Remington." Encoding was not yet in the vocabulary of local journalists then. But back to our topics…

Ptr. Henry Hacholna, in the opening prayer, gave us deeper and wider insights into the rationale of thanksgiving vis-a-vis the Mountain Collegian 50th anniversary. He delved into the power and magnetism of word. It can construct, it can destroy he asserted with conviction.

Thus, we could continue, arises the great responsibility in handling the word. The idealism of the young handlers should be tempered by the wisdom of older hands, the adviser.

The budding journalist, in the word of Past Adviser Gloria Lee "should not be afraid because if you are afraid to bring out what you think [is the truth], you have no business to be with Mountain Collegian."

Atty. Sumayden and Mr. Ampaguey, former advisers of the Mountain Breeze of the High School and so a high school counterpart of the Collegian, lengthily recounted neophyte experiences that encouraged and inputted much to the molding of the thoughts and achievements of the great institution that we now see and call as our very own Benguet State University.

As for me, I could have talked and talked but I held myself in rein bearing in mind that action word is stronger than the mere verbal, that audio-visual outdoes mere audio. I opened my handbag and brought out weekend issues of Sun.Star where Snapshot Focus appears to show the young staffers what they could do and be to enhance their community and people long after they have left the campus.

Have you not experienced that, Sam Poliden, Cheryl Launio y Casiwan, Nelson P. Palispis, John and Giselle Ocyaden? It was indeed satisfying to have heard in your testimonies that you are doing fine in your present jobs and that Mt. Collegian spelled a weighty difference between you and other job-seekers after graduation. With these in my mind, I accepted and received my Certificate of Recognition as Former Adviser with a genuine sense of truth and pride.

Finally, congratulations to Kylie Binay-an and Ryan Bestre for their versatile and entertaining emcceing! May you reach higher planes of success.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 28, 2013.

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