A September to remember (Part 5)


St. Mary‘s Alumni Homecoming

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – After three days of exhausting – but exhilarating – ukay-ukay, the mood has changed from selling to, well, partying. After all, by Sept. 6, it was just two days before the Borongan fiesta.

That day was also alumni homecoming day for St. Joseph’s College/St. Mary’s College, and the ukay-ukay people changed their red shirts to various shades of blue – the color for the grand reunion.

Class ’63

A day that started with a bang – the bang of drums and a parade – ended with fireworks and a homecoming dance, and a tribute to this year’s jubilarians, Class ’62.

In between, there were class reunions, clan reunions, and family reunions as the fiesta spirit gripped everyone, although gone, perhaps forever, was the small-town feel of Borongan.

Class ’70

Vesper day, Sept. 7, saw more parades – and perhaps the most number of people the city ever has together in one day – and it was not even over yet.

A lovely lass performs at the parade

A traditional town plaza dance, interrupted by a short rain, as is often the case, capped the evening, highlighted by the presence of cash-throwing politicians, tossing money away like they just robbed a bank.

And it’s not even election season yet!

By Sept. 8, feast day of our Lady of the Nativity, one would think everyone was ready to drop from sheer activity. But no! The fun went on, and in the evening was the traditional procession.

It was time for the hermanos and hermanas, from the past and the present, to show off their nice gowns and ternos – and for the town’s elite to walk on the red carpet, so to speak.

Our Lady of the Nativity

In our youth, this was a highly anticipated event because that’s when you have the chance to see, and perhaps get a glance, from the girl who makes your heart sprint faster than out of your class during recess.

With the fiesta over, you’d think it was time to take a long nap, but a visit back to the place of your birth deserves no rest.

So, it was time for more reunions, and in our case, pilgrimages – to Sulangan, epicenter of the 7.9 earthquake, the Guiaun church, and Divine Mercy chapel in Llorente.

Sulangan Church

Guiuan Church

Divine Mercy Chapel – Llorente

Food was abundant everywhere, particularly in Sulangan, where Fr. Vito Picardal treated the group with a sumptuous lunch on the beach, and a late merienda at the farm of Roy and Lauren Ador in Locsoon.

There were other side trips – to Oras and Bangkok – and after a pit stop in Manila, it was back to the U.S. for most of the folks in our group.

Now, what’s next?

Remember that our ultimate goal is to build a library and museum for Borongan. That’s our focus and everything that we do is towards that purpose.

Our priority is to find a site for this library and museum. We looked around while in Borongan, and Dr. Nimfa R. Aguila has some ideas.

This maybe quite premature, but there has been preliminary talks, not formally, but through some people on the know, for the Kahidlawan, the Judge Juan Bocar ancestral home in Taboc, as a potential site.

Fittingly, the Kahidlawan photo won the P10,000 first prize for our photo contest. Details can be work out later.


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