Dr Manny Dagala, Batch 73 president, closing the batch’s 40th anniversary celebration held recently in Mambulao.
By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
IT WAS YEAR 1973 again and Manny Dagala was on the podium donned in a white graduation gown and toga.
He was making his supposed closing remarks after witnessing the distribution of mock diplomas to the Batch ’73, the alumni members of the then Jose Panganiban High School, a community high school elevated later to its national level.
Dr Dagala, now a medical practitioner at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital said: “We were deprived of the pleasure of coming up the stage in white gowns when we graduated in 1973 from our Alma Mater, the Jose Panganiban High School, and so at this moment, we tried to relish the pleasure of a real high school graduation –white gowns and all.”
The Batch ‘73 mounted the graduation stage in old school uniforms as their names were called.
It was in 1973 that then President Marcos declared the much loathed Martial Law, turning upside down everything in and outside every school campus from the way every student behaved himself to the conduct of the school curriculum under the watchful eyes of soldiers in battle gear.
The mock graduation, participated in by close to 50 members of the Batch ’73, highlighted a reunion that was both nostalgic and roaring, having relived amidst the sights and sounds of the “Hippie Generation”.
It was held last April 26-27 under the theme “Blast from the past, back to the 70’s”.
Joining the fun with sheer abandon were two prominent members of the JPNHS faculty Madam Editha G Chavez and Madam Delia Floranda.
The two teachers conspired to hack the fun to the fullest by lending their presence on the stage to distribute the rolled white bond paper.
The weekend reunion was held at the multi-purpose hall at JPNHS campus where parlor games and a mini-conference were held.
It culminated at the Milagros Hall at the poblacion where the members gathered once more for a sumptuous dinner and for a quick blast of fun and thrill, courtesy of the roaring ‘70s dominated by the sounds of rock and roll bands led by The Beatles.
One important icon treasured by the batch was the so-called “touring tarpaulin”, which was nothing but the much-travelled banner proclaiming the batch’s 39th year in 2012.
Actually, it was post-parcelled from Japan several weeks earlier by batch member Arnel P Hernandez, who works as civilian personnel at the US Naval facilities at Yokosuka, Japan.
The tarp has become famous for being much-travelled in the sense that it went around the world with Hernandez, its custodian, whenever he was sent overseas on official work-related errands.
To date, the tarp has gone to more than 15 cities in about 10 countries and was pictured against the backdrop of famous landmarks such as the temples in Bangkok or the famous battle ships docked in a US naval facility in California.
Unfolded in public places, the Batch ’73 tarp had been photographed with Hernandez donning Filipino native attire while posing next to it.
In its 40th anniversary souvenir program, the batch paid tribute to 18 members who have joined their Maker over the past few years, and they were truly missed at the reunion.
Phids Advincula (center) “receives” his diploma from JPNHS faculty members Madam Editha G Chavez and Madam Delia Floranda during a mock graduation rites to highlight the batch’s 40th year anniversary celebration in Mambulao.
The Batch ’73 pose for a family picture with the anniversary banners.
The much-travelled tarp banner … touring about 16 countries. – MWBuzzpics by AP HERNANDEZ