Sunday, August 30, 2009

Silliman University: Soaring through 108

I just realized recently that in this blog, I have always highlighted my being from PMA. I will try to correct that now in time with the 108th Founding Anniversary of my another alma mater, Silliman University. I also have to point out that much of the things that I am thankful now were nurtured while studying in this revered institution.

My parents at one point have been Sillimanians. My mother graduated from Silliman High School in 1968 and Political Science in 1972 while my father took a year as a Political Science student before he went to PMA. It was really my mother who insisted that I study there; and with the many stories I have heard from her and my other relatives (who were practically a bunch of Sillimanians), it was not a suprise that I was very much excited when the time came that I was to enter the lofty portals of Silliman University.

I was 12 years old and as I recall it now it was not that easy. I did not know anybody since I left all my friends in Manila where I graduated elementary. As an added problem, although I understood Cebuano, I did not know how to speak it. My only consolation was that my elder brother was with me (he was in fourth year then). I could remember how I felt very different with the new environment. My classmates sort of knew each other as most of them graduated from Silliman Elementary School. Those of us who were new (especially me) knew nothing of everything.

My first friend was someone that I sat with in THE Class (that's Technology and Home Economics). I remembered asking him how to have my School ID. Since he had been in Silliman all his life, he had all the information I needed. He accompanied me to a local photo studio Image Bank where I had my picture taken and then brought me to Hibbard Hall to process it. From that point on we became good friends. To this day, he remains a very good friend everytime I visit Dumaguete.

I can not fully remember how things happened in school then but every now and then I can remember bits and pieces of it when something triggers it. In one occassion I was out with one friend who was then at UP Diliman. We were walking around the campus when the Acacia trees reminded me of the Silliman Campus. I remember most especially the one in front of Silliman High School where I will sit and wait. I remember then how I will ask all the people that I know who passes there for one peso. I would reason that I need it for fare (at that time fare was 2 pesos). By the time I decide to leave that place, I would have around 50 pesos in my pocket. Today, that same act is called "kotong."

High School banter was also a large part of how my life was. I could remember how I ended up inside the Principal's Office to explain why my class went on an outing over the weekend without getting school permission. That was my task as Class President and remembering it now, I would believe that it was primarily the reason why I was elected president in the first place -- to answer to the principal when we get involve in any form of mischief.

I also could not forget how clueless a Korean classmate on the hysteria of the whole Silliman High School when some all-male group entered the Gymnasuim. That all-male group was the Eraserheads who just recently released their Circus Album. Then there was one teacher who always wore violet (I hope she's not reading this) to school, up to now I can not explain how I passed her biology subject. That teacher by the way had a PhD.

Well, I was not entirely bad. I mean those were normal for High School students. In spite of those shortcomings, I was very much involved in Boy Scouting and Debating. I was part of the group that hike to Balinsasayaw Twin Lakes. I think today it's easier to go there but back when I was in Third Year High School, it was very very difficult. I went to a National Jamboree and was the Scout Representative for the Local Executive Board of the Boy Scouts. My only frustration in scouting is that I was not able to make it to Eagle Scout, I was a few months short as I already graduated from high school.

Anyway, the point of this blog is that I am thankful for the experience that I had studying in Silliman University. It was there that I met countless friends that have a very special place in my heart. It was there that I learned the value of education and at the same time be able to enjoy that fact. Today I find myself realizing the value of education as I go about my task now as part of the Armed Forces.

Of course, the Silliman Spirit is a familiar feeling that I try to find every now and then. When one goes to a different place, we find some sense of connection. When I first came here, I was able to meet one Sillimanian. Our conversation took us back to the Silliman Campus that gave the feeling of nostalgia. When something makes such a big impact in your life, it can never really be forgotten.

Last week, I received a text message from the Matriarch of CAUSE Party. For those who know Silliman, CAUSE Party is a political party in campus. Technically a political party for the Student Government, its actually a family that has grown through the years from its humble beginning as a mere group wanting to serve the Silliman Studentry. Back in the days, I was part of the Student Government that lead the studentry of the University to a mass walk-out in the class rooms to protest the series of tuition fee increases in the past years. I look back to that experience and still consider it as part of the highlight of being a Sillimanian, I'm sure that all the others with me have the same sentiment. The text message was asking for confirmation whether or not I will attend the slated Grand Reunion. Inasmuch as I want to, I had so many things to do plus of course the coming of my baby girl in a few weeks time. I confirmed that I was not coming filled with wonderful memories as a Sillimanian.

After my graduation from PMA, I attended my cousin's pinning ceremony as a new nurse. Singing the Silliman Song was such a wonderful feeling. I promised myself that my children will be able to experience the same feeling. I feel that the experience is just so good not to share it with them. Thinking of how it had been not so long ago I am realizing how true Silliman Song is as it becomes a monument in the life of everyone who has passed through her halls.
"...Silliman our Alma Mater
Ever lovely ever dear..."

(Note: The picture I used is the banner in the Silliman Website, I hope the owner of the banner will not take it against me)


just.aian said...

Oh! So you're from Dumaguete too? Wow! That's nice to know.

Anonymous said...

Good to know that you're from CAUSE. :)