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Hills and class memories

/ 09:31 AM July 08, 2012

Part of the monthly treats of the families of distinction of Cebu City is a one-day trip to the hillylands of Cebu City. As a member of the Diamond Corps Group, I have joined three hillyland trips with three different families and I could not help wonder at the richness and the lushness in these hills. It was in 1981 when I first visited barangay Busay and Babag where I brought one section of the YCAP class (a fourth year subject then required as a community extension). The issue then was the planned conversion of the vegetable and flower farms into a golf course.

My class sent petitions to the media protesting the plan. They decided to visit the place. We took a jeepney which could only reach Busay since there were no other roads then. We had to hike to the top of Busay and turned to Babag where we walked back to the waiting jeepney. Everytime I see the RCPI tower I am reminded of how we climbed the hills in contrast to how comfortable it is today  to travel to these hills. But there’s more to vegetables and flowers in the hills, there’s so much history that took place which every Cebuano should know.

In Col. Manuel Segura’s book “Tabunan”, the hills were  the center of guerrilla resistance against the Japanese in World War II. In Dr. Resil B. Mojares’ “:War Against the Americans. Resistance and Collaboration in Cebu 1899-1906”, the hills were also the main setting of the revolutionary movement against the Americans. The book ends with an American visiting the city during peace time and finding the place so different from what it was. Dr. Mojares ends the book with a provocative line in italics – It was a different city but the hills are still there. Yes, the hills are still there bearing the brunt of development projects, varied resort houses and restaurants, sports and recreation activities. But the highest portions and the back are providing a streak of hope to the environmental conditions of the city where we still can find the last frontier with exotic plants and animals. The hillylands is one untapped learning resource for our students in addition to the museums in the city.

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The UP Cebu High School class’87 had its silver jubilee reunion last June 29 and 30 where they visited their Alma Mater and presented their sponsored scholar on the first day. On the second day, they invited the faculty to a dinner at Vistamar beach resort in Mactan Island. Everytime I get invited to a reunion I have to recollect the particular memories of the class coming together after 25 years. Although the class had a reunion five years before the silver jubilee, it was still exciting to meet more of the members of such a big class (there were three sections).

I remember class’87 as a group of multiple talents and they never disappointed me whatever requirement or activity was assigned to them. In my Asian Civilization class, I required them to have a big, thick notebook as a research notebook for the subject which I collected every Friday. Majority came up with very good, neat, and well-researched notes. Discussions in class were animated.

I also had them for Creative Dramatics as an elective and that class specialized in Mimetics. Their love for drama and theater was exhibited in their annual Pilipino Play Production where my homeroom advisory class garnered the major awards. They also were fun loving. In fact, it was this class that started the Crazy Day which the whole college has been adopting but the difference is that the context of fun has diminished. What was striking with this class was that they were like brothers and sisters, so team work was never a problem. But the most unforgettable incident was related to the summer training for aspiring officers of the CAT. The boys threatened to boycott the training because they did not like the way the girls were treated by the training officers who were all male.

It is in reunions that we get to know what we said before but do not remember saying it. The class gave each faculty member a hardboard scribbled with their thanks for specific things. One thing struck me where one lawyer wrote, “You were right that lawyering could sap my creativity, so I decided to quit lawyering and work for the environment instead.” A physical therapist wrote, “You told me once that I should practice yoga so I could relax.” It was also my chance to personally thank Mary Alice Roa-Ramos who gave me a very beautiful Thank You card before their graduation. I am also very happy that many of the members of Class’87 went to UP Diliman for their college degrees. To UP Cebu High School Class’87, thank you for making us a part of your high school days and memories. Continue the good work in your respective fields. Wishing all the best to your families. May you have more years and more opportunities to paying it forward in addition to paying back.

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