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Friday, January 1, 2010


Last December 29, my High School batch celebrated our 25th Anniversary back in Baguio and held a get-together. We were students of the former University of the Philippines Baguio High School. UP High (as we fondly refer to our Alma mater) was established shortly after Marcos had declared Martial Law, the pioneer batch having graduated in 1976. My classmates entered as Freshmen in 1980 and thus was known as Batch '84.

There were only two sections per year level. A class was composed of some 30-plus students. So in one school year there would be a total of around 240 students from Freshman level to Senior year. A tight community indeed that fostered camaraderie amongst batch members, healthy competition between year levels and encompassing pride for the Alma Mater by the alumni. UP High Baguio like all other UP High Schools was founded (supposedly) as a laboratory for a College of Education in a specific UP unit. But since UP Baguio was not offering Education courses in College, our High School was, you could say, a de facto institution. During the 80s, rumors were rife that our school would soon be abolished. But the students, faculty, alumni and parents rallied to keep the school operational. The UP system however stood its ground and so the last batch to enter was in 1992 and these students graduated in 1996. Gone forever is our High School (the original buildings were demolished a few years back and in its place new buildings were built for the College of Arts & Communication and the College of Social Sciences) but the memories live on in our minds and hearts.

Our batch had decided to meet up at 4pm and have early dinner at 6pm after which we were to open the get-together to the other batches as well by 8pm. Members from the early batches of '76 and '77 arrived, a sprinkling of members from batches '78, '79, '81, '82, '83, '85 and the last batch '96 soon followed. (A Facebook invite was put up in late June for this event)

At the get-together the usual catching up on friends and pleasantries were exchanged but as the evening drew -- there was the common hankering for what we all regarded as 'The Old Baguio'. Especially for the alumni who no longer reside in the city, nostalgia for what was once our beautiful town was expressed. Someone from batch '77 said; "Who would have thought then that garbage and traffic would be a problem in Baguio?" A classmate of mine, who had brought her entire family up to the city related that her son was supposed to write an assignment when school resumes this January on how he spent the holidays and so asked his mother what is there to see in Baguio. She excitedly told her son about the pine trees, pine cones, and beautiful flowers. On the day they arrived as they were driving around the city they did see some pine trees but her son kept asking all throughout; 'Where are the beautiful flowers, Mama? Where are they?" This went on repeatedly even after they had passed by Burnham Park, Mines View Park, John Hay, etc. My classmate was starting to get irritated and as they entered a hotel along Gibraltar Road for lunch, she pointed towards the side of the driveway and said; "There anak, look! Petunias!"

With the coming elections in May, talk gravitated to politics. Two members from my class apparently considered running for the city council. And so another classmate had said, "You don't just decide or choose to run, you get chosen." Another classmate, during our brief program prior to dinner where we took turns telling the group about ourselves and our present lives had humbly said; "I'm presently based in Abra... as a public servant." We were clapping and cheering and encouraging him because nary a trace of political ambition nor braggadocio was in his tone. This classmate had decided after graduating from College to go back to his roots in the province and work for the provincial government. After dinner we were teasing him that one day he'd probably be the first Governor or Congressman from our batch and he gamely said; "Barangay Captain muna."

It was at this point wherein I told our little group outside while drinking beers; "You know, a friend a few years back once asked me , 'Martin, diba you're a Martial Law baby, 10 or 15 years from now it's our generation that will inherit this country. Our generation will run this country. What are you going to do?'" I posed the same question to my classmates. It was a question no one was willing to answer or perhaps had no ready answer. This blogger, included.

I, for one, have no inkling for politics. I know I am not cut-out for that. That is definitely not my calling. The degradation of our country's institutions the past decades has tarnished the once noble image of public service. But I salute my batchmate from Abra for sincerely and proudly believing that yes, in his little way, he may someday effect changes not necessarily on the national front, but in his beloved hometown.

We all have our dreams for ourselves, our families, our beloved country. And I know that also in our own little way we will all contribute to the changes we wish to see for our beloved country. When Filipinos of my generation will soon take on the reins of running this country, I am hopeful it will be for genuine change and not for personal reasons. Because the future is not ours but for the next generation. The future for us is now.

There is a phrase from the song 'Children Will Listen' from the broadway musical 'Into The Woods' and it goes like this -- "What do you leave to your child when you're dead, only whatever you put in its head, things that your mother and father had said that was left to them too, careful what you say, children will listen, careful the things you do, children will see and learn."

Change begins with you and me.

Cheers to batch '84! I'm mighty proud of all of you!


  1. I cannot trust those who crave positions of power, who delude themselves and fool others into believing they are the answer when all they want is to raid the treasury.

    I keep saying that when a person insists he is THE ONE, he ceases to be The One. It is he who can engage the citizens in the transformation of Philippine, or Baguio society for that matter, into a better one who should lead.

    Just look at all those 97 people who filed their COCs for President! And those 10 people who are running for Baguio Mayor and 9 people running for as Congressional Representatives. Crazy!

  2. Agree with you there, Baguio Insider.