I probably am one of the few people who passed the UPCAT never got the typical “congratulations” acceptance letter. Instead, mine read “Due to the planned expansion of UP College Baguio…” and was told I can enroll in any course, except Com Sci.
I’ve yet to meet anyone who has the same type of letter that I did.
I went back to UP Baguio a few weeks ago, to get a copies of my diploma and transcript authenticated. I had seen some familiar people, met with a few of my former mentors and gone around the campus just to see how things have changed.
As interesting an experience that was, it was far more exhilarating to actually be in UP Baguio with your friends and classmates and be surrounded by familiar people, bringing in memories of the great times you had when you were still in school. In that weekend, I was called ading by many of the admin and staff, and I felt like a freshman once again, mostly due to the fact the buildings were all so new… and the fact that I saw a lot of my upperclassmen (the seniors and up when I was a freshman).
In the words of Ma’am Macansantos when she gave her speech during the lunch program, “Welcome home.”
Welcome home indeed.
Day 1: Friday
I arrived around 7 AM in Baguio of December 5. I took a day’s leave from work and got the 1 AM trip from Manila. Initially, I didn’t want to go because I felt that I was the only one who will be there. Somehow, at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to go, even if my batch’s attendance would be small.
I dropped my things off at my sister’s dorm (who was also studying in Baguio) and slept for approximately an hour. I met her later for breakfast (almost getting lost because I didn’t know there was a Jollibee in Assumption Road) then headed to UP. Baguio has changed a lot, but in some way, it hasn’t changed at all.
The atmosphere was festive. Students were milling about the campus, probably preparing for the activities later in the afternoon, or perhaps doing their projects and other requirements before Christmas vacation rolls in.
I headed towards the lobby, hoping to spot anyone that I know. I was about an hour early in meeting my friends, and I wasn’t fond of the idea of going around on my own.
I saw Ma’am Vicky Costina talking with a few of the staff about the registration tables. I saw several people in similar shirts, taking pictures, and talking. I figured they were alumni from years before I went to UP. Then, I heard a loud voice talking and when I turned to look, I saw Ma’am Claur. I couldn’t help but smile at her, remembering how intimidated I was during PE 1 (which we call fondly called Bio 1). She was talking to another alumnus, and rude as it may seem, I just stood there watching them. In my mind’s eye, she looked thinner than she did before, but on the whole, she looked the same.
Finally, my friends arrived. I think it was ok to greet them with shrieks and hugs, after all, it had been years since we last saw each other… well, years for my blockmate Thet and myself, though I saw Kat, Jang and Tiki sometime before.
We were among the first to register for the homecoming (I was #13 haha), so we were still able to choose our shirt sizes. We milled around the lobby for a bit, and saw the arrival of more familiar faces: Ma’am Helen from the clinic (retired now, and with whom I chatted with briefly about the many changes around the campus), Ma’am Brawner (my archery mentor and the team’s kakulitan during practice), and a few upperclassmen.
Afterwards we helped Tiki set-up a table for the memorabilia he was selling. We got a table from Ma’am Costina at the OPA office and found a good spot in front of the audi. There were a lot of people milling around waiting for the opening of the “Pagpupugay kay Sir Darnay” art exhibit.
My friends and I took that time to take pictures. I was sad that there were only four of us from our batch’s division (uy, college na siya ngayon!), but decided to make the most of it. Later, we found a few more batchmates from the Social Scienes and Nat Sci division, er, colleges.
We really didn’t do anything much except hang around, do some catching up and take pictures. Manang Mane came by and we just had to pose with her. Then I heard someone say “Sir Rolly” and saw him coming from the lobby. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. I literally jumped out of my chair, raised my arms and screeched “Sir Rolly!” I immediately corralled him for a picture with Thet, Kat and myself. I think I was hyperventilating. Oh well, that was heaps better than the last time I saw him, where I was so tongue-tied I could only grin at him idiotically.
Of course, we also tried to sell the memorabilia and chatted with a few of the alumni. It was cool to see the turnout from the earlier batches, and I was even more amazed when I spied a man who came from Class 1967! He was by his lonesome, which I thought was sad, but later on, he was with a few other people who were his friends back then. Cool.