Monday, 6 February 2012

Letters from Port Moresby

      A “bahay kubo” put up by Batch ’73 at Capakuan, Paracale, to mark its 35th 
      anniversary in summer of 2008. The batch held a grand party – ala-Pista sa Nayon at 
      the farm owned by the family of a batch mate. – MWBuzzpic by ARNEL P HERNANDEZ

JPNHS alumni homecoming: How would it be this time?

Batch ’65
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

THE general homecoming reunion of the JPNHS alumni is barely two and a half months away.

The usual scenario, as it was in the last homecoming in 2007, is that it would be grand and cool.

To my mind, this is just normal. I encourage this in heaps.

It’s the only time when schoolmates from 60 years back – for those still around and those who came next -- would have a rare chance eyeballing one another.

In 2007, it was great and many were surprised to see a new-look JPNHS campus grounds, with all those buildings that were unthinkable three to five decades ago to even exist today.

It was a proud moment to see such a big leap by their Alma Mater in terms of academic feats and in the quality of its graduates.

                                          Arnel P Hernandez poses next to a roasting lechon 
                                          prepared for his batch’s reunion in summer of 2008. 
                                          – Photo courtesy of Batch ’73

 But the big thing was that everybody was happy to be around to see each other once more after all these years.

Who would ever expect that right under the roof of the JPNHS auditorium ex-lovers, ex-would-be-lovers, enemies, academic competitors, buddies and gang mates would be mingling together to see how the other looked – physically, socially and financially? And to honor the teachers who shaped them into what they are now.

The big question mark this time: What should be the                          appropriate                                            
scenario during the April 28-19 homecoming?

Right now, prime movers within the alumni association are in a frenzy of plotting the course of the two-day event.

In fact, a good friend to everybody – Samuel Tatum (Batch ’66), who is fondly referred to as “LoloSam” on Facebook’s “Taga-Larap Ako” – wants the course of the expected two-day socializing gig altered, overhauled, or totally dropped for an event that is more relevant and life-changing.

In recent emails sent to the members of the LaPIMa (short of Larap-PIM Association) and to prominent members of the JPNHS alumni association, LoloSam had expressed frustrations over the younger alumni generation – those below 40s – whom he said are not yet ready for such a socially-relevant homecoming event.

On one hand, he won’t count on them in any way to help push an agenda that would have a footprint and benefits that are more lasting than mere “harambugan, karainan, tarayan and irinuman” affair, to say the least.

       Children of Batch ’73 alumni members have a grand time. – Photo supplied by Batch ’73

On the other, LoloSam is putting his bet on those who are mid-life termers, the 60s-and-above alumni who would now be more at home in doing worthwhile bits in light of the growing number of jobless people and out-of-school youths in Mambulao.

It is always a great wonder for this group of individuals to see in this stage of their life what is lacking in the community, what has to be done and who should be doing it.

Within the JPNHS alumni, LoloSam and a core group of like-minded fellows wired on the same social wavelength and who have now achieved a level of economic security and independence are plotting to change the world.

But this group has realized it is facing an uphill climb.

So far, of the 10,000 plus alumni spread out worldwide, only a handful seemed to be in concert with the change-plotters.

Without the big number being out of tune or unaware of what is going on, projects the alumni association would like to launch are already doomed.

For instance, is the big chunk of the members willing to chip in, say to push the TESDA scholarship program for the deserving OSYs in Mambulao?

What about the livelihood programs for families who could barely meet their everyday needs, much less the need for healthcare of their family members?

And other social assistance that needs to be looked after since there’s no other group in Mambulao to tap for this.

In living color, we are looking at Php500,000 to fuel all this. This is an amount that could not be plucked from thin air, but could be raised through the usual “bayani-hat”.

To achieve this, a great deal of planning, brain-wringing, arms-twisting conscience-hacking would have to be the order of the day. LoloSam’s core planning group is inclined more likely towards this option, and with more reasons.

Time is of the essence and something has to give; the alumni must have a consensus – and that is to help – before they set off from wherever they are across the globe for their Mambulao partying.

The April 28-29 “summit” must not be wasted just like an overflow of sizzling Coke from a plastic cup.

Homecoming is a time to reminisce, to look back, to see how it was during our younger days and to rejoice for the simple reason that we are all able to come home – in one piece, in pink of health and high spirits – for this big, rare event.

But it would also be a fitting moment to salute one another for being around to find out what each of us could do to help, and to move on with a simple pledge tucked in our wallet: that help will surely come for the needy Mambulaoans.

So, what would it be this time at the homecoming?

Let’s just make a simple consensus: Let’s help

       The “beauties” from Batch ’73 and the escorts during their 35th anniversary 
        homecoming in 2008. - Photo courtesy of Batch ’73

No comments:

Post a Comment