SOME go through a lot of emotions at the thought of attending a class reunion. Luckily, there was none of that drama when I joined the reunion of section Ivory of the Immaculate Conception College (now UIC) 4th year high school circa '83.
I actually spent only a half-day at section Ivory on the first day of class back in 4th year high school. The rest of my senior year was spent with section Emerald, where I asked our guidance councilor to move me.
It was a case of quit-varsity-so-you can-focus-on-academics thing. I loved playing volleyball so much, as long as I was not flunking any subject and I was fine with my grades, I felt it was best to move to another section where I would be allowed to stay with the varsity team.
So I was technically not a classmate during our senior year, but most of those in class Ivory had been my classmates since kindergarten, and the rest in grade school. This bond was solidified during our 4th to 6th grade as the pioneering class that undertook Individual Instructions, also called I.I. Hence, when they extended the invitation to me some years back, I was happy to accept.
Every 30th of December, class Ivory meets at one of the classmates? The houses where everyone goes potluck, stays at least four to six hours catching up on each other and talking of interesting current issues.
I was the first one to arrive at Jocelyn "Jojo" Alderite-San Pedro's house at Central Park, and the others started arriving in the next hour or so.
Of the 13 that confirmed, only 11 of us arrived. Many are abroad or based outside of Davao. Others could not join us, and the rest, well, we were just not privy to their whereabouts.
Jojo, who is the admin head of High Yield Sugar Corp., played our gracious host for at least a couple of years now if I'm not mistaken. It looks like this is going to be her last hosting of our reunion as she and her family are about to migrate to the land down under.
Julie Belandres-Otadoy, a professor at the AdDU Biology Department,ÿ was on top of the reunion preps (thanks Julie!) and told us to be early so we could have more time together.
We all teased her when she arrived about two hours late. But she had good reason for her tardiness: she bought our drinks and traffic caught up with her all the way from Lanang to Bangkal.
We all shared a hearty meal and settled down to catch up and share the highlights of our lives the past year. It was fun to just chat and keep each other up to date, and we took great pleasure in sharing heartfelt laughter at our anecdotes and funny remarks.
We found out Julie is eyeing retirement, and might pursue new challenges in distant shores. Just like Royina "Yoyen" Ranido-Damaso of Metrobank who will soon be finishing her nursing studies. Intent on staying put in Davao is Maria Rosario "Marie" Cue-Cordero, a veterinarian and owner of Lourmon Garden specializing in culinary herbs.
The others also have thriving careers that keep them busy throughout the year, like Mary Grace "Mage" Garces of DTI-XI, Maydeline "May" Viloria-Camomot, a medical transcriptionist, and Dr. Floranne Margaret "Gay" Lam-Vergara, an Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist.
The business savvy classmates are Marie Eleanor "Leny" Cordero-Buaya of the Lemuel Business Center in Tagum City, Jessica "Jecjec" Vida-Casintahan, proprietor of ECJ Plastic Center, and Myra Pasia-Estrella, who owns GenRev Food Products based in Gen. Santos.
We missed Lynda Jumilla of ABS-CBN Manila and Gina Estipona of the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support, both of whom earlier confirmed but could not make it at the last minute.
I texted Gina Caballes-Tan whose family owns and runs a trucking business, but she had just arrived in Manila from a holiday trip in Asia. They all missed the good food, hearty laughter, and most of all, our congenial company.
When we talked, it was like the years since we graduated from high school just melted away. Despite the added years (and pounds for some of us, lol), we were still the same as we were in high school.
It brought me back to the good ole years of high school life, especially the events that we all enjoyed like the intramurals, fiestas, the C.A.T., and school programs like the "reading of honors."
My most vivid memories were centered on being managing editor of the student publication, member of the volleyball varsity, and regular visitor of our school library where I found peculiar excitement learning vocabulary using a Reader's Digest book.
There's just nothing like high school. I'm pretty sure my other batchmates feel the same way. Some were quick to send their comments on the reunion photos I posted on my FB a few days later. Like Socorro "Sockie" Arrogante-Candelaria in Texas, Elsa de Castro-Cada in Canada, Luz Sanchez in New York, and Marie Christine Valdez who works at Microsoft. All wish they could join us in the next reunion.
There were more of us in the Ivory reunion in 2008, 16 to be exact, when Marilou "Marmar" Isleta-Tomambo and Imelda Solomon came all the way from California to join us.
We were also silver jubilarians in the UIC alumni homecoming that year, and Dr. Pamela Grace "Gay" Gonzalez-Famador and I exerted all efforts to reach out to as many batchmates as we could. Now our batch has its own Yahoo Group where we can keep abreast of each other.
We wondered about the others whom we have not seen or heard from all these years, and wished they would join us in a reunion. If you belong to our batch, get in touch with any of us, or email me at the address found in this column head. It would be good to touch base with each other again.