Time flies so fast. I could not imagine that it has been 53 years since our batch graduated in 1970 from the former Cagwait Community High School, which is now the North Eastern Mindanao State University (Nemsu) Cagwait Campus. As the second batch to graduate from the then newly established community high school in our hometown in Surigao del Sur, we were given the honor as the Golden Jubilarian.

This was my first to attend the Grand Alumni Homecoming, which is on its fifth year. It was initiated by the alumni association and the administration of Nemsu, Cagwait Campus.

The fast transformation of what used to be a community high school into a state university is so unbelievably rapid. But this development provided the younger generations in our hometown with the opportunity to take college courses. In our time, we either had to go to Manila, Cebu or Tagbilaran to earn a college degree. Kudos to all the school and local government officials for this.

In all homecomings, we cannot expect everyone to attend. For reasons that some of our batch mates are already living in far away places like in other countries, while others have left us in this mortal world.

Our batch was composed of 10 boys and about 15 girls. But during the homecoming on Friday, May 19, 2023, only Avelina Tuscano, Ceferina Mantilla, Genoveva Ondona, Maryjane Montenegro, Leonila Lamigo, Jimmy Alngog, Arnold Cabrera, Maximo Mondalo and I showed up. Our tribe, so to speak, is thinning as time goes by.

In our four-day get-together we never asked each other how many children or grandchildren we have, or what we have accomplished after 53 years from graduation in our then community high school. We just ate and drank, and reminisced about how lively and beautiful life was before even though we had less convenience compared to the present generation.

We had friends from other batches because we had barkadas from fourth year and third year, which made us somehow known in campus albeit not popular. All throughout high school, our hometown did not have electricity. Now, the younger generations keep abreast of the latest technology.

Our hometown, despite appearing to have been forsaken by politicians in the past, has produced professionals in different fields of discipline. Our hometown now has lawyers, criminologists, physicians, a priest, engineers, accountants and politicians. Others have ventured into successful businesses.

The other come-on to attend the homecoming, especially for those living elsewhere, is the town’s white and sandy beach in Tunga-Tunga where establishments, from hotels to restaurants and bars, have sprung up like mushrooms.

During our time, the only thing we could see were the talisay and coconut trees that lined the beach. Coconut is the primary agricultural product of our town.

During his homily in the morning mass last May 19, Rev. Father Nes Climaco, the only priest that our hometown has produced, ushered in the three-day celebration, reminiscing about his life as a young boy wherein he hung out with his older, “naughty” friends. He said he never thought he would become a priest, eliciting laughter from the alumni.

The Golden Jubilarian Awardees were recognized for their continued loyalty and commitment to the philosophy of the alumni association, and for exemplifying excellence and positive influence that has immeasurably contributed to the fulfilment of the vision and mission of the university for 50 years. The award was signed by Ponciano G. Alngog, Ed.D., alumni president.