Durian Central: The night to remember

AFTER years of preparation, it was a rousing success.

On December 30, 2014, the Ateneo de Davao High School Batch of 89 (Grade School batch 85) pulled off a very successful grand alumni homecoming well attended by former students, their families plus the company of their well-loved teachers and the present faculty led by no less than the current university president Fr. Joel Tabora S.J.

Compared with previous batches, the host batch discarded the tradition of having an annual theme but instead came up with a brand for the event, Ateneo Forever.

"We do not want that this event to be exclusive for our batch, we wanted Ateneans from all batches to feel that they are part of this event. Thus, Ateneo Forever," said Dr. Jeremiah Braganza program director of the event.

Thus months prior to the December 30 event at SMX Davao, Ateneo Forever videos graced by alumni like One Network Bank president Alex Buenaventura, film and TV actress Valerie "Bangs" Garcia and City Tourism Operations Officer Lisette Marquez were shown on social media to hype up the event.

"What lightened up the load was a great team who shared the same passion and endurance in making this thing happen," said Batch president Dr. Victor Espino who recalls the very demanding preparations prior to the event. The batch head said they were greatly helped by generous sponsors who assisted them in the event's logistics.

Braganza said the batch wanted the event to be a very memorable alumni homecoming party thus the plans and preparations for a one-of-a kind affair.

Among the featured performers include rock icon Juan Miguel Salvador and The Music Authority Band who belted out classic hits from the 1980s, DJ Melvin from Manila and the pretty DJ/models Zombettes composed of Ornussa Cadness and Sanya Smith who played electronic dance music mixes to pump up the younger crowd.

True enough, the opening salvo, the history of dance which is a medley of dance hits from the 1950s to the current Gangnam Style era which was performed by the Batch 89 dancers immediately brought frenzy to SMX.

Juan Miguel Salvador then resurrected the spirit of the 1980s teens with a variety of hits from the iconic decade known for its over-the-top fashion and unforgettable music.

A grade school batchmate, Alfred Galvez, one of the country's celebrated muralists, contributed realistic murals of Ateneo de Davao landmarks reconstructing a bygone era which brought awe and nostalgia to old-timers.

Film actress Valerie Garcia (ADDU HS 2004) fulfilled a promise to the batch to drop by and add color to the already colorful event. One of the highlights of the night was the children of the batch 89ers honoring their parents by performing The Dawn's "Iisang Bangka Tayo" and "Salamat."

Capt. Michael Lasa of Addu HS 76 was perhaps the luckiest person during the homecoming raffle when he won a Vespa 150cc scooter with Addu decals.

The very fun and memorable night culminated with a set from the Zombettes which attracted a retinue of young and old Ateneans to the dance floor.
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