LaPIMA members register at the reception table as they arrive. - All MWBuzzpics by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
JPHS Batch ’65
THE sons and daughters of former workers and employees at an iron mine in Larap, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte relived on Saturday night the golden days at the former mining community.
The evening was gripped by nostalgia, as the members of the LaPIMA (Laking PIM Ako) went back in time to reminisce their younger days when the Philippine Iron Mines was a booming enterprise that benefited thousands of mining families both in Larap and in the nearby town of Jose Panganiban.
An audio-visual presentation drew awe and applause from everybody and even squeezed tears from many women who said they could not forget their former lives as youth when their parents, mostly fathers, had eked out a living from the mine.
|Alex Reuyan explains the purpose of this year’s LaPIMA general homecoming.|
Narrated by LaPIMA president Alexander A Reuyan, the nostalgic video show titled PIM …Happy Days Forever flashed on screen still photos and videos showing the present-day community of Larap and those that depicted the old mining community in mostly grainy black-and-white shots.
The presentation was the highlight of LaPIMA members’ homecoming reunion-dinner held at the Tejeros Hall inside Camp Aguinaldo.
Reuyan, in a remark, told the audience that the video show was a tribute to the former mining community of Larap and to the mine as well, declaring that the mine “made us what we are today”.
Thousands of families of families had depended for livelihood from the mine, with most of them living within the mining camp.
A group mounts the stage to show off its dancing prowess during a group dance contest.
Aside from being provided with housing, free water and electricity, the mine workers also received perks such as free education for their children along with transport service to the high school some seven kilometers away from the mining community.
Most of the LaPIMA members attended the Jose Panganiban High School, which is hosted by Baranggay Parang.
Larap until now has remained the second biggest baranggay among the 27 in Jose Panganiban with a population of more than 4,000.
The biggest baranggay is Parang with more than 5,000 residents.
Tita Gadi-Robles swings it away in a group dancing competition.
About 270 members from overseas and the Philippines showed up, with some coming from as far as Alaska and London.
“This was the biggest in attendance compared to similar events held in the past,” according Samuel Tatom, LaPIMA secretary.
He said that they had to put more tables to accommodate members who just walked in and therefore were not included in the original list of attendees.
Helen Hernandez-Cortes (left) with a group of ladies from overseas.
During a parlor game to determine who had worked the longest years at the mine, one 70-year-old former worker and member, said he worked there for 25 years. He came with the members of his family.
In his inspirational talk, Florentino (Jun) E Espana, Jr, told the audience that the association has decided to change the meaning of LaPIMA, which used to be “Larap PIM Association” to “Laking PIM Ako” to signify the importance of the Philippine Iron Mines in the lives of thousands of families who benefited from the mines.
Espana, who is the senior vice-president at the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund), said the former meaning of LaPIMA was “exclusivist”, giving the impression that the association catered only to those who came from Larap.
Tita Gadi-Robles (seated right) with Cesar Schneider, Ato Jimeno, Mark Ariola, an unidentified member, brothers Tony and Samuel Tatom (standing).
"This is no true," said Espana, adding that LaPIMA is open to all who had been involved with, and benefited from, the mine such the workers, miners, employees, contractors, suppliers, service providers, among many others.
Many workers also came from Jose Panganiban itself employed as miners, technicians, skilled labor administrative employees and managers.
LaPIMA’s homecoming reunion also aimed at raising funds for its various future projects.
The members took the opportunity to renew their acquaintances with former school mates and buddies and posed pictures with them.
A part of the crowd huddles for updates on their buddies and among themselves.
In between raffle draws, the members danced the night away to the tunes of the 60s.
Unsurprisingly, majority of those who came were in their 50s and 60s.
The mine, which was directly exporting iron ore to Japan, was the biggest iron mines in the Philippines until 1974 when it finally closed shop.
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