When one is committed, along with that commitment comes excellence, and if, it is mixed with excellence in service with no regard to seek power, a lot of things can happen good things, nice things that will be remembered as the years go by. That is exactly what will occur. But, it takes a gut feeling of choosing the right person to lead us to that which we want to accomplish. But when you have to bring together people from different parts of the globe, all the more that things become difficult unless one is focused. Our class was very fortunate to have those kinds of individuals that one could lean on with a bond that was strengthened and nurtured from our student days up to this time.
Thus, our two class coordinators working together to turn the wheels of this reunion—our ever energetic Joe Tandoc, from the US side, and Manny Ramos, from the Philippines side. Interestingly, our two coordinators were friends during our school days and, during our graduation, found out that their parents were also friends during their school years. This made it all the better that both were involved in our activities. What more could you ask for, but success at the very outset?
Technology made all the communication easier through E-mail, text messaging, and cell phones aside from the ever reliable use of the telephone. Ah, the wonders of science. This is not to brush aside the bond created by those who have attended previous alumni gatherings through the years and who have invited through relentless calling those who have not been seen attending the past reunions. When everybody wanted to touch base with each other—considering that everyone has started to grow “younger”, having undergone through the process of taking a lot of vitamins aside from taking hypertensive drugs, anti-diabetic drugs, and so forth, with some extreme “measures” like having to contend with the use of pacemakers, knee metals, heart bypasses—cooperation was the order of the day.
Thus, the very successful staging of our 40th or Ruby Reunion, started early last year, 2005, culminating in the largest ever gathering of a graduating class in Houston, Texas during the UERMMMC Annual Homecoming. Our classmates were so carried away by that momentous occasion that they vowed to meet again as time dictates because the burden of the years have somehow, already weighed down on the brains, heart, lungs, knees, and so forth. After all, how long shall we still be here, in this planet of ours?
And, with that, Manny Ramos and company, especially with the help of his angels—Abelsenia Alcantara-Noche, Monina Alcanta-ra-Macam, and Edith Magos-Regalado—went into high-gear action. The three of them were so persistent in getting through to you that they won’t let go until they get an answer, whether a yes or a no, but more often than not, a YES answer, though uncertain. On the sidelines providing sporadic support were Boy David, Ric Tuason, Pitong Uy, Bonnie Butaran-Pagaduan, and Rene-Edgar Mendoza. And so, the die was cast.
Registration started at the Crowne Plaza on February 8. Wednesday, at 8:00 A.M. Amidst our noise and laughter, 32 registrants signed up and, finally, all were off to UERM.
The first set of activities consisted of courtesy calls to UERM-MMC President Romeo A. Divina-gracia and then, to Dr. Geogina T. Paredes, Dean of the College of Medicine. A tour of the school campus and the hospital grounds followed. Lunch was served at the Student’s Lounge just outside the Alumni Office.
Everything was set for the evening program at the ballroom of Crowne Plaza. The program started at around 7:30 pm. It was a Bing Gempesaw show, our “Master Showman,” with Boy Sion interject-ing from time to time.
Generally, the program went well with President Romy Divina-gracia delivering the message for the Medical Center. Then, it was the band’s turn to show their stuff. Those with dancing feet did their thing very well. Enjoying them-selves immensely were Luis Ylagan and partner, Miyagi (Ronnie de la Vega), Mike Ollada, and partners. Rudy Canos was seen dancing with his wife, most of the evening, even with his bad knees. But, the “dancingest” feet of all were Alice’s who asked her DI partner: “Can you keep up with me?” Hurray for Alice. But, as with good things, there is always an end. The evening ended at midnight with the party going up to Mike Ollada’s room, complete with more drinks this time, and tête-á-tête about our yesteryears up to the wee hours of the morning.
February 9, Thursday, dawned bright. Most were gathered around laughing at old jokes, or just making small talk. Finally, we left for Tagaytay City reaching that scenic city just before one in the afternoon.
After we ate, we continued our tête-à-tête. Before we knew it, the program organizers, Monina, Abel, and Edith started the ball rolling by assigning classmates to enter the games which they planned. Seeing our classmates join in the fun games with such gusto made you think that they were back in the 1960s The child in each was shown in the way they moved and acted. Of course, there were prizes presented to the winners, courtesy of the trio.
All in all, it was a very good day.
Another exciting day awaited us Saturday. We checked out after having a sumptuous breakfast. Once again we were on the road, this time going to the Bee Farm of Mr. Magsaysay where we were given a lecture on the benefits of honey.
Lunchtime was at Viewsite Restaurant, overlooking Taal Lake. Buffet lunch was really delicious. Then back to Manila, this time to the house of Joven Cuanang in Antipolo. Finally, we arrived in the hilly Mansion of Joven at 4:30 pm, where he welcomed us. It was eating time again from thereon until night time.
Before we broke up, we had a general meeting. Class ’65 decided on four things: Joven Cuanang was adopted as an Honorary Member of Class’65; we pledged to continue supporting the Dra. Alejandra Paz-Garcia Professorial Chair which was established during our 25th Anniversary; we will continue to support the Community Medicine Project of the UERMMMC College of Medicine; and, lastly, we will conti-nue the publication of the revised/improved Class ’65 40th Yearbook.
And, I quote: “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind…” Rene-Edgar R. Mendoza, M.D.