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Recalling good times at Tagoloan class reunions

Charlotte, North Carolina–Let’s talk about class reunions and why it’s both the most awaited and most dreaded of all events by people of a certain age.
For starters we should all attend class reunions to reconnect, reminisce on old memories and rekindle friendships and of course find out what happened to each other in nearly half a century of being out of contact or should we say out of the loop.
I belong to Class ‘71 of St.Mary’s High School now known as St. Mary’s Academy of Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental, northern Mindanao in the Philippines.
This school produced two town mayors and one governor of Misamis Oriental, doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, teachers, military leaders, community builders and so many others.
It’s been close to 50 years or half a century after high school graduation. That’s right, so many summers ago since we graduated on March 22,1971
During college and my work at the 6th Municipal Circuit Court of Tagoloan and and Villanueva towns, I saw some classmates every now and then but other than that high school life was forgotten as almost everyone was starting a life or pursuing one.
Fast forward years later and when I went home for a short vacation that ended last July 29, I decided to reconnect with the classmates I missed since the last get together was back in 2008 before I left for the US.
And true enough with the help of Facebook, phone calls and some networking we reconnected and started meeting at the lovely home of Sol Casino Pizarro (Solita Casino) twice in July.
It is interesting that Clea Palatulon (Clea Alaud) went traditional by going to each house of former classmates to tell them about the reunion as most of them still stayed in Tagoloan. Clea contacted Gloria Maceda, Josefa Jagualing, Milan Dagus, Jerrilyn Nabong Gervacio, Rolando Emano and  Santos ‘Toto’ Casino about the meeting.
Not to be outdone was Jovenil Tagam who recently retired from the City Court and called up classmates who lived or worked in the city. She got in touch with Mercy Salac, Lourdes Bersabal and Divina Escabarte and even Evelyn Sabio now Evelyn Pimentel.
On my part I left a message for Ella and Ruth Villegas for them to come and made some follow up on Venil, Clea and Rosemary Castillo who still lives in Manila. It was Rose who contacted Emma Cartajena since both are from Balauarte. I almost forget, Clea also contacted Martin Seno.

The hardest part on any class reunion is the preparation because there are classmates who don’t want to be contacted for whatever reasons but we should thank social media these days since it would be easy to contact friends of long ago if they are connected to the internet especially Facebook.

The first and second meeting were held at the house of Sol Casino, the daughter of Iyo Penito and Ya Gloria who saw to our comfort and served food to last for hours.
She recalled school life memories in classrooms and under the shade of old acacia trees, the church, the sisters convent or the public plaza which we had for our own during the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) or dance practice for town fiestas or foundation days.
I could not really believe how fun it was to recall past memories and remember our teachers which were the sisters of the Religious of Virgin Mary (RVM). It was fun hearing Sol telling us who was the girlfriend or boyfriend of a classmate and everyone present either denied or made excuses.
We talked about Literature and one that stood out was the poem ‘The Raven’ of Edgar Allan Poe and like a chorus we remembered the words” nevermore and forever more.”  We talked about Tagalog class and recalled Pantukoy, History and English.
We remembered our uniforms and who among us had the most pleated pink uniform because it was starched well. If I remember correctly I think Clea Alaud would be cited for her crisp, clean uniform and good behavior at the end of the day while my uniform was already crammed just like the others.
It was fun remembering the past. We did not talk about failures but we celebrated the successes of everyone by embracing it as our own. It was no longer about high school but it was all about life.  I am hopeful that the next reunion will have 100 percent attendance except of course for those who are not around anymore.

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