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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Renewing the Ties - DPS Class 67 43rd Year Class Reunion




February 5, 2010 - 6:30 PM: Welcome Dinner


Bagasbas Beach was alive that Friday evening of February 5, 2010. The BACNA Medical mission volunteers were holding a party. Not too far away, there was also a community dance party going on. Meanwhile, inside the Kusina Ni Angel, a small group of adults on the verge of acquiring second citizenship● were having dinner and getting updates on what each one is currently busy with, two years after their last get together. ‘60s and ‘70s music from the CDs brought by Remo Balce was being played in the background.

(• senior)

Welcome Dinner for DPS Class67 was set at 6:30 pm. in Kusina ni Angel in Bagasbas. Joe Chavez – (Jose 1) - arrived first followed by me (Toti Grageda – Jose 2). While waiting, we ordered ice-cold San Mig Lights to go with the usual kumustahan. Joe C said he stays in Cavite most of the time. What seems to be new with him is his newfound spirituality and health consciousness. He says that before going to sleep he leaves everything that could happen to him to Bro and upon waking up, he thanks Bro for giving him life to start a new day. (I didn’t ask if May Bukas Pa had anything to do with this.) He does not have hypertension he says, because he eats garlic everyday. (I did not come too close to check if this has any effect on his breath.)

A little later, Marybeth Regalario and Willy Bautista arrived followed by Joe ‘Pepito’ Yadao (Jose 3). A few minutes later, Mendy Balon-Ching, with Mona de Jesus-Luzarraga and Anabelle Abano-Adica arrived. The rest began arriving – Joe Zano (Jose 4) completed the Jose Quartet (Joe Sales was missing to make it a Quintet), Estring Asis, Mila Echano-Rosales, Emily Herrero-Cruz, Dra. Yoly Hernandez-Reyes, Remo Balce, Millet Adem-Banal, Maning Abogado, Efren Mago. Willy announced that drinks were on him as he started taking solo pictures of everyone, after which, he continued documenting the occasion with his beautiful and I’m pretty sure, very expensive camera.

Buffet dinner started, which consisted of a special menu that was personally selected by the over-all coordinator Mendy (not the usual Kusina ni Angel fare). She also cooked one of the dishes, delicious misua noodles.

Mendy has always been the work horse since the very first class reunion. She makes the venue reservations, pays the deposit, selects the menu, cook additional dish, take care of transporting the food, and communicating with classmates. Before the age of the internet, Mendy had to write all DPS Class67 members.

Mendy is ably assisted by other classmates like Remo, Maning, Boboy, Dra. Yoly, and Susan. Remo’s assignment is also tedious. It involves selecting and buying the best quality seafoods and ordering kakanin (pasadya) for the outing. He begged off from doing most of these this year since his alalay was not available. Nonetheless, he brought the delicious hinalo (although problematic for those who were not true to their teeth, so now, they are false to them) and angko, and took care of bringing tables and chairs for the socials. Dra. Yoly has been providing us the live band, and Maning, the lechon. These are becoming more expensive every year, such that we have to assume part of the cost now. Susan does coordination work and Boboy contacts, informs, and makes follow-up of DPS class 67 members’ attendance. All of them are also very busy with their own work yet they find time to fulfil their commitments just to ensure that every reunion is a successful gathering. We salute and thank all of them!

The group wondered whether Boboy Ong would be able to come as he was busy with the Bicol Meet. He did come and happily announced that Camarines Norte grabbed the overall championship from the Palarong Bikol’s perennial winner, Camarines Sur (which turned out to be a sore loser by not leaving any representative for the awarding ceremonies the following day).

Fechie Alarcon came, gorgeous as ever. She was with the BACNA Medical Mission, a commitment she does yearly. Then the “enigmatic” (that’s his self-description) Felino Jacobo arrived, so with Elmer Auro. Almost everyone was looking for Boy Rios. Several tried contacting him but his cellphone could not be reached. I told the group that Boy took the bus based on the information of Alot. He was supposed to ride with Tess Cereno-Solis, Alot Barbin-Arcilla, Lina Angeles-Nieva and Sis Tere Azanes early Friday morning. Unfortunately, Alot who was very eager to attend the reunion developed colds and wasn’t feeling well enough to travel. She backed out past midnight (12:45 AM). Tess sent me a text message that Lina too had some heart problem (not about love and romance, but with her heart organ), while Sis Tere was having therapy. Tess decided not to proceed anymore as she said, “Ayaw kong ipag-drive si Boy Rios, baka magka-developan kami sa daan!” A week before, Tess also said Roberto Manly would be riding with her. That announcement immediately found its way into the internet. That was an added incentive for Fechie to attend the reunion. Others were also excited to see if Roberto has remained Manly after all those years. It turned out that the news was a dud. Nakuryente lahat. Nang gud-taym lang si Tess. She said it was meant to make Fechie happy (??)

Manuel "Ebo" Lukban, couldn't find where Kusina ni Angel in Bagasbas was. He did find it though and finally arrived. It was Ebo's first attendance to a DPS Class 67 reunion. He has been a regular though in gatherings in Manila.


In the middle of the dinner, Boy Rios, finally arrived. He was very tired and hungry after taking the bus from Olongapo to Manila, then Manila to Daet. Dorset Dwyer, our host the following day, came late and explained that he was attending to the BACNA Mission.

Aside from Alot and her group, super-missed were the couple Bert and Marie Padrigon (who gave moral support and generously remitted some amount for the reunion). Many didn’t know that Bert and Marie are now based in the US. The group more or less anticipated that Rudy Surla wouldn’t be able to make it again because of the Chinese New Year. Maning relayed the information that his Pading Rudy will be retiring on his birthday this May. (Rudy is not in government service, so do not associate retirement with age 65!)

Susan-King Pural who has always been present in all major activities of the Class. However, she developed heart palpitations and was advised by her doctor to take a full rest for three days. She was not allowed to travel to Daet (from Naga City). Does the forthcoming February 14 have anything to do with several classmates having some heart problems during our class reunion dates? Danny de la Fuente also said that he would be seeing a cardiologist.

Dra. Liding Ferrer-Ty texted Mendy that her husband was recovering from a surgery. Wilma Quintela-de Belen had a prior commitment in Catanduanes. Manuel Tutop in Pangasinan no longer answered subsequent follow-up calls and text messages.

Fechie and Dorset asked permission to leave earlier because they had to cross over to the BACNA Medical Mission Party. Before eleven pm., the welcome dinner was over.


(Coming up Next... the Outing on Saturday)

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