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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Recollections of the '79ers

(This article was written in celebration of the 25th Homecoming of our Batch '79 held last August 2004)

It was a time of growing chaos. When our parents sent us to a relatively new institution called St. Jude Catholic School situated a stone's throw from MalacaƱang Palace, little did they know that the restive and tumultuous days of pre-martial law would soon engulf the San Miguel district of Manila. Rallies and molotov cocktails were almost a daily fare. Bombs bursting were regularly heard and even St. Jude Catholic Church was not spared from the ire. School suspension was something we looked forward to.

Through it all, we grew up and studied in relative calm within the four walls of St. Jude Catholic School. Nurtured by the discipline and guiding hands of Rev. Fr. Peter Yang, SVD and Rev. Fr. Charles Tchou, we were largely unmindful of the dark clouds hovering over the country. And when martial law was declared and school was indefinitely suspended, we cheered and only thought about vacation and cartoons. It was still martial law when we graduated.

But between the 1972 martial law proclamation and our high school graduation in 1979, we slowly melded and awoke from our individual consciousness. It was a period of growing friendships. As we were shuffled every year, companionships were cultivated across gender lines. And as a co-ed school, it was inevitable that boy-girl relationships flourished. In fact, several of our batch mates ended up living happily married.

It was also a time of adolescent rebellion. Several of us would become regular visitors to Fr. Tchou's Discipline Office. To be marked with conduct "C" was our equivalent of the Scarlet Letter. It was something most of us studiously avoided but for others, it was something assiduously courted.

It was also a time of mentor relationships. We came to rely on our teachers not only for knowledge but for guidance as well. Teachers became our big brothers and sisters. We confided and shared our deepest yearnings. Some of us developed crushes and not a few became teachers' pets. "Sipsip" was something unheard of then.

Through it all, we enjoyed the fellowship of one another. And we now hardly recall the academic pressure in St. Jude not because there was none. On the contrary, the pressure was so constant it became a staple for us that we learned to take it for granted.

When we graduated in 1979, we proudly called ourselves "The Last of the '70s". Our training in St. Jude was complete and we were prepared to meet the challenges head-on. Indeed, times were changing and a few short years thereafter, so did the whole country.

Twenty five years and pounds after, we relive the halcyon days of our residence in St. Jude Catholic School and how richer our lives have become because of it. And as we celebrate the 25th reunion of Batch '79, we recall and yearn for a time past, when we were not saddled by burdens, when life was lived day by day, and where the four walls of St. Jude offered a refuge from the drudgery of everyday life. And for this, we shall be eternally grateful.


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