Freeman Cebu Business

Viva @ 40

BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Girlie Garces - The Freeman

The cliché states that life begins at 40. I should say, it is a coming of age. An era of maturity where you no longer deal with trivialities. Instead you become more discerning in your judgment, knowing now how to separate the chaff from the grain. When you let go of shyness and hesitation, or whatever baggage has spurred those feelings when you were young, you liberate yourself and enjoy life as God intended. This was the general tempo of our class reunion as our batch Viva’77 of Silliman University High School took charge of happiness!

Like every reunion, there was time to renew ties with friends, and yes, create new bonds with classmates you knew existed, but were either too shy to approach-- bound by the segmentation of sections, gender or youthful consciousness , or simple indifference. But Viva’[email protected] 40 I say was designed and destined to be different. Attending our class reunion felt like having a good dose of my comfort food kiamoy, a Chinese plum preserve that blends the taste of sweet, sour and saltyinto one flavourful morsel.

In our 35th reunion, we did have a lot of fun. The organizing team made sure we would enjoy the experience enough to be back in the next five years. And true enough this year further levelled up. It was not just the parties and the dancing or the entertainment that moved from modern to classic to outright “whatever!”. From dance floors to beachfronts as backdrops, we mingled, talked, caught-up with each other. No bragging, no self-pity, no holier than thou attitude that usually creates a bitter taste after the dust settles. It was a time to accept who we were as individuals, what we were capable of as people, and what we had become as a result of our training and choices in life.

I missed the hug of Manette Maghanoy-Reyes, my classmate since elementary who I have not seen for 30 years. When she came over to me and gave me that tight embrace all the pictures of our paper dolls and barbies, and her mom’s cooking of guava jelly on their stove top all came back to me. Another elementary and high school classmate who joined us for the first time was Ma. Luz Ho- who was still as stunning and kwela (jester) as before.

Joel Gamo, our class valedictorian wowed our teachers with his speech of gratitude, showing us that life was a field of opportunities, one just had to know how to be there at the right time. Lucille Flores-Teves, read to us once again our class prophecy. We managed to tether with excitement to see if what she predicted came true. Some did, or sort-of did,while others renewed blushes long forgotten.

Seeing our teachers brought that warmth of gratitude. And it was a pleasure to see them beam with pride at the character the class displayed. The general air was of unselfish giving.  Our classmates from abroad and locally shared what they had, we were proud to have two civil servants from our batch with us, the Dumaguete City Mayor, Felipe Remollo, and Ipil Mayor, Anamel Olegario. Even our classmates’ families took part in sharing what they had for the class activities.

The talents and skills of our classmates were both displayed and unearthed. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez, who is with the College of Music& Fine Arts  brought us to a nostalgic trip to culture and the fine arts through her team’s mini-concert at Epe, who to the class was Eping, Remollo, and Tin Cuisia-Remollo’s residence. Cesar Cavalez, who was our glee club soloist once again serenaded the class with the melodious timbre of his voice.

It was good to have late night chats with my dear friends Annabelle Lagnason-Diao, Karen Villaluz-delos Reyes and Eugene Ferolin-Vendiola as we compared work stresses, weight, family, and health concerns, promising to be better fit in the next reunion. 

 It would have been nice to sit and talk longer with our other classmates. Those who we never really had the chance to talk with before as we were bombarded with the onslaught of our own academic pursuits.

There were 40 years-worth of stories that needed to be  shared and the days I spent in Dumaguete City  did not seem enough. So we are looking forward to our 45th year of Viva ’77, and yes Allen, thanks for naming our batch years ago. Being with Viva was like attending a family reunion. We were connected somehow even if in our younger years we did not even converse. It felt like there was that bond that kept us together and made us want to stretch time to stay longer and be children again. Maybe that is why our float won because it was a work of so many heads and hands at play. Oh and the music Eping made sure we had, could not keep us from dancing along. At the risk of being accused of blowing Viva’s own train horn, I should say I am lucky to be part of this gifted batch.

SoVidel Tarrosa, be warned, we haven’t forgotten, the Cebu Team shall make sure you sing in Viva @ 45!

Thanks to Viva @ 40 organizers.  I am out of space to mention you all.  But Viva, our hearts are where they should be…hugs.

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