Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Season Marvels

March 27, 2009

In my backyard garden, I have a handful of plants and trees that never fail to capture my attention and admiration during the brief moment when Spring season rolls in. The two trees that always becomes the center of my attention at the opening curtain of spring season are my Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida rubra) and also my Eastern Whitebud (Cercis canadensis alba). The branches of these two trees produce astonishingly beautiful flowers and it has become an annual tradition for me to watch the buds of their flowers open up to greet the new season.

I planted both trees in my garden four meters apart about nine years ago. The Eastern Whitebud is able to take full sun exposure and so I planted it on an open plot. The Flowering dogwood, on the other hand, is a type of tree that normally grows in cold climate. Since I live in southern California, our summer sizzling temperatures is sure to toast the dogwood’s leaves and so I decided to plant it on the eastern part of my house where it only receives the rays from the morning sun.

When the weather started to warm up signaling the arrival of spring, I made a daily habit of checking the status of the flower buds of my dogwood and whitebud trees. Last Saturday morning, our area received a light downpour and when I looked outside my dining room window, I was surprise to see that the flower buds of both trees had opened. Minutes after the rain stopped, I hurriedly went outside with my trusty camera and took a few pictures of the flowers on both trees. The following day, the sun shined the whole day and so I decided to take more pictures of the flowers just to capture its beauty.

The show that these two trees bring to my garden is an annual event for me but the spectacle it displays is very brief because the flowers wilt 10 days after they bloom.

This morning while a soft breeze of wind was blowing from the north, I watched the little flowers danced on the branches of the trees. While looking at the swaying flowers, I cannot help but be reminded that my son and daughter are like the flowers on my trees. They will bloom for a short period during their youth. After that brief moment, they will turn into a full grown man and woman wanting to step beyond the boundary of our fence. It made me realize that one day soon, my wife and I will have an “Empty Nest” because our children have grown and flown to the horizon.

There are times when I would ask myself if I am spending enough time with my children. Is our annual trip to the mountains of Yosemite and Mammoth lakes too short? Should we walk on longer trails during our long hikes in the surrounding mountains of Big Bear lake? Should I just throw our strict budget out the window and take more family trips to places like Niagara falls, Canadian mountains and Alaskan wilderness? The sands of time seemed to be sipping through the spaces between my fingers and there is no pause button to hold everything from moving on. I guess I just need to hug my children more and to crack jokes with them as much as I can while the worries of the world has not engulf their attention to the cruel realities of life.

It astonishes me to discover that my garden plants and trees provide not only beauty to my family’s eyes but they also provide lasting lessons to my soul. As an avid gardener, I have realized that my work in my garden will never be finished. There will always be seeds to sow, weeds to pull, plants to water, compost to pile, trees to trim and leaves to rake. It is pretty much like being a father to a family—the role will never cease. My wife will always depend on me to do repairs around the house, to fix our backyard, to keep our cars mechanically sound, to cook the daily meals and to give a guiding advice to my children when they are walking on a shaky path. But one of the most important duty that I believe I have as a father is to remind my children that in times of extreme hardship, they can always come home to our humble house where the meals are always hot, the beds are always warm and the garden will always bloom during spring season.

Sniffing the fresh air of spring and fatherhood.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Rick S. for president by Ivan Y.

March 13, 2009


I stumbled into your blog this morning and was able to read your interesting and amusing articles. Looking at my calendar, I noticed that today is Friday the 13th and it made me wonder if spotting your blog in the world wide web is a good coincidence or a frightful portent. It is my firm belief that it would be the former because reading an article written by a good friend and fellow writer always reinforces my belief that the art of writing is still very much alive in this lighting speed and ever mutating world.
Ricky, I am astounded and at the same time inspired after finding out that your 2010 personal goal is to attain the highest position in the Philippine government service—President! My heart palpitates a little faster just by thinking about the amount of pressure that seat holds. It has been said that the presidential seat is the hottest seat in the land. The soul that occupies the seat will surely be scrutinized every second of every day by every citizen in the whole nation once the occupier of that powerful post rests his/her “behind” on that hot seat.

Many political leaders in the Philippines are born leaders but a high number of them act as if not a tissue in their hearts exists to serve the interest of the Filipino people. It seems like nowadays, Philippine politicians are always faced with two options when they step into the political arena: Defy the devil or dance with the devil!

It is believed that the political arena is full of filth and many friendships are false bonds. Loyalty is conditional and strings are attached to every favor. Is it possible for a politician/public servant to serve the people without compromising his/her integrity? Few humans dared to do so and almost all of them suffered severely; Gandhi was imprisoned, Rizal was executed, Martin Luther King assassinated, Suu Kyi (Myamar) six years in house arrest. The only way evil will prevail is if good men/women do nothing.

How do you cleanse politics? There are a million suggestions and formulas that exist out there. Personally, I believe that people has to change the yearning of their hearts for the economy of the Philippines to flourish. Unless we extinguish the zeal of greed in us, politics will continue to remain despicable in the eyes of the common Pinoy.

Ricky, if you become president, tinuhon mo man kami sa pang-pang habang nakasakay at nagiinum-inum ka ning vintage Romanee-Conti Burgundy sa presidential yacht mo. (Just kidding, buddy).

Ivan Y.

From Beer to Blood Pressure by Chods L.

Dati, pag nagkakahirilingan an grupo, chicka babes an favorite na topic habang na tagay nin gin asin sumsuman na pampahoven.

Ngonian, an favorite na topic iyo ini: high blood pressure, sugar level, arthritis asin an pinakamasakit na kamugtakan sa gabos - erectile dysfunction, habang sinasakitan ubuson an sarong SanMig light habang pasimitsimit lang kan mani asin sumsuman na chicharon.

Message from Teody Laquindanum

March 19, 2009

Under the leadership of Dean Mckoy, the 2009 batch activities were drawn and divided among the four LGs of our batch. LG-17 will sponsor the first quarter, LG-18 will handle the second quarter and so forth.

The major activity of LG-17 shall be on the 4th of April and it will be a batch family day at the Penafrancia Resort. Before everybody heads up to Mount Isarog, we shall have a morning Mass at the Ateneo chapel in memory of our batch mates that had gone ahead of us to heaven. Incidentally, April 4th is also the anniversary death anniversary of Jabords.

LG-18 is planning to sponsor a Lenten recollection on Holy Wednesday. So, if you guys are in Naga during these dates, come and join us.

As for the Manila group who will meet tonight (March 20th, 2009), alalay lang sa SanMig lights and remember your arthritis and cholesterol level as you enjoy and have fun.

See you and God bless.

Chods Laquindanum

29th graduation anniversary message from Chris Canlas

March 20, 2009


For the past 29 years, each of us from AdeN Might 80 family had gone through a lot in life which changed many of us in many ways. Some of the things we experienced in life were pleasant and beneficial. A few of them were not so pleasant and a number of them even regrettable.

But looking back to our past, there are millions of things that we should be thankful for.

  • Our Successes (No matter how big or small they were).

  • Our Triumphs ( In whatever field we were in).

  • The feeling of Fulfillment (Personal or professional ).

  • And, of course, the continued Friendship within the batch and our cordial ties with the other batches.

This has kept the ADEN Mighty 80 Spirit going and will give us the spirit to continue for another 29 years!

Exactly 29 year ago, a great, fine and rare breed of young men made history that will forever be part of Ateneo De Naga. The GRADUATION DAY that was 29 years ago.

I remember our good batch mate, Ivan, also kept a copy of our graduation program.

Allow me to share with you the copy of our graduation program.

The GMA Aden 80 group will meet tonight, March 20, 2009, and its a Friday! You guys know what that means! Let us celebrate our graduation anniversary! Where? Sain pa kundi sa territory ni Bogs ( Gerry's Grill- Ali Mall, 7pm).


Chris Canlas

Friday, March 20, 2009

ADEN high school batch celebrates 29th year anniversary

March 20, 2009

Dear Batch mates:

Did you guys know that it has been 10,590 days now since we had our high school graduation back in March 22, 1980? If you want a more exact time count, from the time our graduation ceremony started at 5PM on March 22, 1980 until the first minute I started writing this letter, the time that had lapsed is 15,250,176 minutes.

Time is perceived by many in different ways. Some consider time as an opportunity to earn green bucks thus creating the belief that “Time is Money”. To avid historians, time should be Marked/Tagged with a title, painstakingly recorded in great detail and fervently studied so that the knowledge extracted from it can be passed on to the next generation. To the God fearing, time is owned by our Creator and these men and women chose to devote their lives towards the worship of the Almighty and the service of mankind. To an Atenean from ADNU, time should be devoted towards blindly following the all familiar university motto of “Premum Regnum Dei”. What does time mean to you?

Twenty nine years is a lengthy period that was given to us by our Maker to chisel our path through life. I do not doubt that all of us fought wild winds and stormy seas during our journey. Like the stock market, we encountered profits and losses in our lives. But to some, their life’s debits out weighed their life’s credits. I continue to pray for our batch mates who are currently weighed down by misfortunes (Debits). May the Almighty someday provide them a grace of life’s credits that would relieve them from their anguish.

Though debits exist in our batch’s balance sheets, we also have notable credits. Did you guys know that our batch is populated with members that had taken a career in government service? Some held government jobs but has moved on to the private sector due to one reason or another. Below are the batch mates whom I know hold/held a career with a government agency/institution:

Porfirio Bragais – Philippine Law Enforcement Agency (Ret), San Fernando , Cam . Sur.
Joseph Abante – Municipal Court, Tinambac, Cam Sur
Arnel Abrigo – Naga City Prosecutors office, Naga City
Jerry Adolfo – Magarao Sheriff Department
Leoncio Badiong Jr. – Land Bank, Bulacan
Tomas Carino – Central Bank, Naga City
Perfecto Perfecto – Works for Land Bank, Naga in addition to having a private law practice(?)
Eduardo San Buenaventura – Dept of Agriculture, ATI-RTC, Guinobatan, Albay
Alexander Sayson – Provincial Assessors Office, Capitol, Cam . Sur.
Chito Torres – RTC office, Capitol, Cam . Sur
Jerry Borja – U.S. Navy (Served), City of San Diego , Department of Engineering, California .
Gabby Del Puerto – U.S. Navy (Served), Department of Transportation, California .
Mike Wyland – U.S. Navy (Retired)
Kenneth Pavilando – U.S. Army (Retired)
Decio Turiano – U.S. Navy (Served)
Glicerio Valenciano – U.S. Navy (Active)
Jesse Crescini – U.S. Navy (Served)
Enrique Besenio – Boy Scout of the Philippines
Noel Rabe – Department of Water District ( ? ) Naga City
Noel Motos - Department of Water District (?) Naga City
Cesar Concon – City of Cebu (?)
Sem Cordial – Philippine Department of Agriculture (?)
Ramon Estipona – Casureco
Johannes De Hitta – Central Bank of the Philippines
Engracio Imperial – Land Bank of the Philippines
Edwin Luntok – Naga City Court
Roy Ragrario – Philippine Department of Interior (?)
Reginald Reclusado – Philippine Army Engineering Corps (?)
Leandro Rellosa – Philippine Postal Service
Arecio Rendor – Councilor, Oas, Albay
Gene Sambo – Philippine Department of Interior
Clarito Santos – Philippine Army (Served)
Harry Samuel De Los Santos – Albay Regional Hospital , Physician (late 1980’s)
Alex Sarmiento – Philippine Law Enforcement Agency, Cebu (?)
Loreto Tan – City Hall, Naga City
Nelson Tuico – Personnel of U.S. peace keeping force, Iraq
Albert Villafuerte – City Hall, Naga City
Ivan Yuboco – Social Services Agency , California
Gerard Zantua – PAGIBIG funds, Legaspi City .
Rufo Burgada – Kagawad, Tinambac, Cam . Sur.

Please notify me if I made an error in noting the branch of the government agency that you served under so that I could make corrections in my records. If you guys wish to add a batch mate’s name on the list, kindly email me his name and branch of service.

Our batch also holds a noticeable marker in the historical books of ADEN ’s prefect of discipline. It was during our last year in high school that the KKK was formed by LG-20, headed by KKK supremo, Decio Turiano.

KKK is still active in ADENU high school but the identity of its members are now hidden from the prying eyes of OPSA. When I went to the new campus of ADNU high school back in February 2008, I spotted Jovie De Los Trino and we had a short but lively chat. When I asked Jovie where I can meet with any KKK members, Jovie’s eyes widened with alarm. He immediately chuckled a little bit and told me in a friendly tone, “Ivan, medyo bawal na ang kikiks ngonyan digdi.”. While Jovie and I were talking, Greg Abonal came by and was surprised to see me. After a few minutes of chatting with sir Greg, I told him about the book I was writing that contained memoirs of the members of batch 1980. Then sir Greg’s mood suddenly changed to a sour one and said, “Kamo baga idtong nagpuon kaidtong kikiks!” When I tried to respond to what sir Greg just said, Sir Greg immediately walked away with his head trailing a little smoke (Nag high blood si sir Greg pagkadangog lang kang pangaran na KKK). That was a clear indicator that our batch has marked a place in ADEN high school’s history.

Chris Canlas is right when he mentioned that our batch has a lot to thank about. Though we have chosen different careers and relocated to far away lands/countries, we are forever marked as Ateneans that belonged to an active batch called mighty 80.

Tomorrow evening, I will prepare a decent Filipino meal for my wife and kids. (Ivan cooks? Yes I do. Not as good as some of you but I can handle myself in the kitchen). During dinner, I will tell my children stories about my high school days. My children (specially my 11 year old daughter) always enjoy hearing my stories about the time when I was their age. Hopefully they do the same when their time comes to keep their memories alive.

Gentlemen, happy 29th anniversary

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Life On The Trail

Last weekend, I drove early in the morning to my favorite running trail to do my usual Saturday morning run. I jog every Saturday to continue the tradition that my old mentor, Nick Acosta, started a few decades ago back in Ateneo De Naga. Back then, Sir Nick constantly encouraged Ateneo high school students to challenge their bodies by running the distance between the Ateneo pillars and the Calabanga church thus adding a merit badge to themselves as a conqueror of the road that connects to both landmarks.

The running trail that I was at has three groups of users: Runners, Bikers and horse riders. The trail snakes through large trees, up hills and cuts across small residential streets. There are short sections in the path that is covered with wood chippings which gives runners a cushiony feeling while running on it. The whole area where the trail is located is mostly in an upscale neighborhood and so it is relatively quiet and safe.

When I arrived at the running trail, there was a thick overcast and the temperature was about 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. I put on an extra shirt to protect myself from the cold and decided to immediately hit the path before my mind can challenge my yearning to run.

Mile 1: The first half a mile was a bit uncomfortable because it felt like my face and body was cutting through what seemed to be a thick wall of freezing air. I continued to push on in spite of the fact that my mind is whispering a suggestion that I wait until the sun rays penetrate through the thick mist above. The slope of the path has moved up from 10 degrees to 20 degrees making running just slightly challenging. Half a mile later, I spotted a shapely figure of a female runner running about 150 meters ahead of me. She was wearing those high-tech anatomically engineered tights that provides warmth during cold weather and but also gives a ventilated feeling to the runner during warm weather. I judged her as being a college student and so I decided to make her as my point of reference to encourage me to continue running. Since the path has numerous curves, I was not able to determine how well I was doing towards narrowing the gap between this girl and myself. I increased my pace with the hopes of catching up to her. To my surprise I found myself 25 meters behind her after 1 mile. She is Caucasian with a height about 5 feet 4 inches and was wearing a neatly combed pony tail. I started thinking to myself, “How in the world did I catch up to her? Did she slow down or did I run a faster pace than I normally do? Hmmm, Did she allow me to catch up? Naaahh, I don’t think she would do that”.

Mile 2: A group of bikers passed seven meters on my right kicking dirt and dust as they zoomed through their path. I noticed that the girl I was following 25 meters ahead made a quick back glance over her shoulder to check who was behind her. All of a sudden the girl’s running pace increased upon discovering that I was following her. This caused me to keep paced with this girl and the race was on. The road narrowed and there were 20-meter stretches where the road turns to a 45 degree climb. Sweat the size of pebbles were beginning to drip down my neck. “Darn! This girl is good! What in the world was I thinking running against a well fit person more than half my age!”

Mile 3: The girl decided to maintain a constant speed upon finding out that she can’t seemed to widen the gap between herself and the stranger (yours truly) who was behind her. We are now at a wide path with a row of eucalyptus trees standing on our left. The path is covered with wood chippings and so this offered some comfort to the bottom of my feet. After half a mile, the path cut across an asphalt road then continued again but this time the path turned into a mixture of dirt and sand.

Mile 4: The dirt trail ran through rows of thin 50-footer trees and I noticed that the trail ended on a major street and continued on the other side near a bridge. As I was focusing my mind to continue this miniature race, the girl all of a sudden made a short 180 degree turn and started running on the same path opposite my direction. When she came to about 5 meters away, I was surprised to discover that this female whom I had been racing with for the past 4 miles turned out to be a woman on her mid-50’s! I was stunned! “Boy, she is in good shape at her age!”, I said to myself. Fifty meters later, I too decided to turn back because the trail ended at the major street and I decided to run another mile before calling it quits.

The running trail seemed to always offer interesting situations for me. Its winding path is decorated with wild beautiful flowers during spring season. The trees provide shade during the summer. The birds, bees and other creatures from the insect world entices children’s curiosity, specially the mischievous ones that carry a magnifying glass just itching to fry any unfortunate bugs that they happen to spot. For the grieving hearts, the gentle arms of the trail offer peace and solitude that seemed to keep at bay the problems of this world. And for those who want to tone down their bodies or challenge their endurance, the trail offers a variety of paths that will test one’s ability to handle physical pain while forcing their bodies to break a sweat.

Please support the preservation of your local wilderness trails because the benefits it offers to human kind is priceless.