WITH more than a year of preparation, collection, bonding and rekindling old ties with classmates after 25 long years of absence, the pressure could take its toll.

Remarkably enough, the Class of 1984 (to our dismay, a silly, Hollywood B-movie with the same name was created in this year featuring a futuristic violent campus with bad actors) managed to pull off one of the most fun and entertaining alumni homecomings I have witnessed by far.

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Well, of course, loyally speaking, it's because I belong to the batch host. But then again, I haven't attended or hosted an alumni homecoming that I didn't enjoy.

There's always a nostalgic rush in meeting old friends and childhood playmates (ex-crushes and ex-sweethearts included but awkward situations always dissipate sooner) in surprising transformations.

Admittedly, our boys have evolved handsomely from thin, lanky bugoys, to broader dudes and gentle fathers. Our women still have the same quirky personalities and faces of the past. Most of us didn't age quite a bit, but are now bringing teenage kids in tow.

The ballroom of Garden Oases Resort was transformed by classmate Annie Paz-Lim, one of Davao's foremost event decorators, into a fiery room filled with energy and festive mood, right down to the long glass canisters on each table filled with stress balls with smiley faces, red tablecloths and curtain drapes onstage.

I happily hosted the event with classmates Mon Lu, a jetsetter based in Cebu and childhood buddy Sesil Criador.

Picture a jam-packed ballroom, the batch host moving around, all wearing red tops and blue jeans, welcoming guests, ushering them in to make sure everyone is seated well.

Meanwhile, a coffee counter is happily whistling brewed concoctions for hyper folks. Our bar was open as well for flowing beer drinks for everyone.

We showcased a slideshow presentation I created, featuring past photos and present activities of the group. Months of medical missions, distribution of medicines, food and books to orphanages through Drs. Felix and Cha Dioso's initiative, have allowed good bonding and community service with batchmates.

These activities also extended to late night meetings, dinners, and a boat cruise courtesy of classmate Cheri Ng Suy-Garcia.

Our opening dance number included our valedictorian (Rica Sison-Salvador) and salutatorian (Judy Ann Magno) who swayed to the 80s music of Just Got Lucky.

We honored our old teachers by calling them onstage and presenting them with simple tokens of appreciation for having molded us into well-rounded personalities, literally and figuratively today.

Our batch also donated P50,000 worth of school equipment. The key of responsibility has now been turned over from our batch president Leah Uy-Garcia to batch 85's rep Sheila Quiachon.

Presentations were given by the SMAD Chorale Group and a high school dance group. So many prizes were raffled away from ipods, gift certificates, to a microwave oven, a bicycle and a laptop. As a finale, our batch did a congo line which snaked its way around the ballroom.

Kudos to tandem of Leah Garcia and alumni President, Michael Co, who made sure everyone gets home happily intoxicated (I was told the drunken winner of the laptop couldn't remember how he went on stage to claim his prize, which got misplaced afterwards).

The turnout was terrific. At least 50 percent of my batch appeared, those who flew in from Canada and the US, Visayas and Mindanao just to be with us. It was a touching moment to be together again, after all that we have gone through individually as proud Marisians.

Nobody wanted to go home early. Maybe, just maybe, a grand reunion is set soon. Then again, we haven't finished bonding with late night dinners until now.

SMA Batch 84 wishes to thank its major sponsors RDL Skin Care Products, Happy Feet, Eunice Inc., Garden Oases, BNC Ingredients Corp., Edi Yu, Unionbank, Smart Inc., Majestic Press, Top Agro Products, Banawe Car Accessories, Prime Meat & Deli, and all the other minor sponsors.

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Email writer in jojiealcantara@gmail.com or visit her website www.witerary.com.