Monday, June 27, 2005

2005 LSQC Reunion, Class of 1985

The 20th reunion celebration for those in the United States was held on 24JUN05. San Dimas is a city near the San Bernardino county line and about an hour or two away from the city of Los Angeles depending on the traffic. On the day of the reunion, the sun beamed its rays on the park which bore the marks of a grassfire which happened about a week before the reunion. A gentle breeze constantly blew so that the temperature was mild and pleasant.

I approached the reunion with some sort of discomfort. I had not seen many of members of the batch since I left for the US twenty three years ago. What if they don't remember me? What if I don’t' know any of them? What if they ignore me?

Perhaps the great thing about being a Lourdesian is that you are taught the basics of living. Such that after twenty three years, any Lourdesian is welcome into the arms of brotherhood and sisterhood. And so it was on that Saturday. I did not know many of them nor did I remember their names from twenty-three years ago. Some had gone to LSQC after I had left. Some I had as classmates in elementary. But still we were part of one group: LSQC Alumni.

Here are some of my personal recollections:

As my brother and I drove around the park, we were wondering how we could find the location. We joked with each other that in the worst case scenario, we would just go home and eat pad-thai and mint leaf chicken for two days. But thanks to the LSQC sign provided by Jay Ortega '79, we easily identified the gathering. It was a welcoming sight to see that banner which bore the LSQC standard. The seal stood out proudly and I was transported to my youth in the Philippines.

We walked to the picnic benches under the bright sunlight. I squinted and tried to focus on the faces. In the end, I just introduced myself to everyone, "Rhett Pascual, nice to meet you." It's my standard greeting. I don't have to think, but I can focus in on their names and faces. Twenty-three years is a long time. I left teen-agers in LSQC; I met men in San Dimas.

The food was overflowing in its bounty. "Ito ang gusto kong tipong pagkain. Magaling ang luto at marami pa!" There was one hitch. A very small hitch which will probably make it to the annals of all reunions from now till forever. "Walang KANIN!!!" Where's the rice? BWAHAHAHAHAH! What's a Pin@y party without rice? Well, because most of us were Boy Scouts, we just adapted and enjoyed. As Glen Dimanlig would keep saying throughout the afternoon, "Ginawang asado…"

And speaking of Glen, I think it is fair to say that everyone wanted to know if he was still the "siga" that he once was. I believe Alan Sese joked that Ricafort was trying to sneak up on Glen with a metal plate to test if Glen was still the "maton" of the class.

The funny thing was that Glen said "Siga ba ako noon? Hindi ako siga. Ang siga, lalapitan ka at hihingan ka ng pera." Then someone piped in, "Glen, ikaw eh nanghihingi na ng pera nasa kabilang side ka pa ng kalye."

But folks, Glen is proof that maybe we just judged him by his cover. At the reunion, he was the most welcoming and the most gracious and the kindest. Look at the photos. He is hugging everyone and has got the widest smile.

Next up is Anthony Unite who was responsible for organizing the whole affair. Thanks Anthony for your efforts and your organization skills. You even managed to corral all of us into a prayer and into listening to Jay Ortega '79 who spoke on behalf of LSQC-USA. If there is proof that there is a fountain of youth somewhere out there, it lies within Anthony. I swear, the guy has not aged. He looks as trim and spry as a teen-ager.

Of course, we had to discuss who was going to lead the prayer. I think Alan Sese ended up with the honor. Alan is another "siga" that I remembered. But you wouldn't know it now. He is still the class clown however. During Jay's speech about LSQC-USA, Alan was taking pictures and being the class clown. Glen D said to Alan after much disruption: "Kaya ka laging bumibisita kay Paltao eh."

Later on the day, I saw Alan playing with a one year old baby girl. It was touching to see that a tough guy like Alan would grow up to be an adoring father. It must be the fatherly instinct kicking in. I can't describe the joy and happiness in Alan's face as he looked at that child.

The award for the alumni with the most kids belongs to Anthony Castan~eda. He had four children and all of them could dance. I guess they all took after Anthony because before you knew it, there was a Dance-Off. "Ano ito? Dance Fever? Dancing with the Stars? Ay, mali pala!" First up was Anthony's daughter. She popped; she rocked. She got some applause. But then it was her father's turn. And you know, he's a Lourdesian so, Anthony shimmied and slided. Back and forth it went. The daughter versus the father. It was mesmerizing to see the dance off.

At the end of the dance-off, Mike Faustino's daughter took over. Someone placed a hat with a dollar in it. And Mike warned us "Hindi titigil iyan. Nung huling party, naka-30 dollars iyan."

After Alan S. settled down, the reunion became the Mike Faustino show. He made jokes and comments which will not be repeated here because the computer might explode. As Glen D would say, "Ang sama ng mga tingin ninyo duon sa amin [the ones who were getting an early start to dinner]. Naisipan ko tuloy na salihan kayo dito. Hindi naman umiinit yung tenga ko, pero siguro dapat ay sumali na lang ako sa inyo."

This is part one of my recollections. Please feel free to continue or write up your own.

Pax et Bonum!

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