Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sibale’s biggest event of 2009

There is no doubt that the Sibale Academy’s Alumni Homecoming last April 11-14 is the grandest event of 2009 in the history of Sibale.

I am not exaggerating. I’d like to direct you to the photo and video gallery of www.sibale.amorfrancis.com to believe this. After browsing this site, write me your thoughts and tell me if I’m wrong.

Joey M. Fradejas and Merwin F. Mosquerra had posted on this site excellent photographs and raw video footages of the event not only for those who were not able to attend, but also for those who are interested. These photos and videos would be a rich source of visual information in the future, when historians write the continuing story of the only private high school in Sibale.

Many alumni left Sibale after the homecoming with plenty of stories to tell. In fact, some, like Rhodora Pinky Fabreag-Labordo, had already sketched blow-by-blow accounts of their experiences during the homecoming. I encourage those who were there to write their thoughts, too, and submit it to me for a possible book project.

If you wish to know more about the school and the event, perhaps you’d like to buy a copy of the Saha, the 108-page souvenir book of the homecoming. Saha is already on its way to becoming a collector’s item, with over 300 copies sold, so order your copy now from Ruben Ferrolino. He teaches at the Sibale Academy.

Now, for my own observations.

There were fears expressed as gossip before the homecoming that the event would be a political one, or would be politicized. Those who entertained this fantasy can now eat their words and swallow their saliva. Nothing of that sort happened. Try again, next time.

Then, there were those alumni who were there in Sibale but did not bother to show up at the homecoming for reasons known only to them. By being “killjoy”, you missed an important part of your life. Please attend next time.

And then, there were the hits and misses of the whole event. One of the hits was the parade. There were almost 600 alumni who joined and the happy colors of their T-shirt uniforms made Sibale’s 2009 summer a kaleidoscope ecstatic to behold.

Another hit was the rain—no, the downpour—that spoiled the cultural night on Sunday, abbreviating the dance party that the alumni had been looking forward to since news of the homecoming became a noisy breakfast table fare.

The rain was a hit because it doused the summer heat, and cleansed the whole Sibale Academy grounds and its environs of the dust and detritus of the dry season. It also quenched the thirst of the island for farm water, and therefore, was warmly welcomed at the expense of a gaily baylehan.

One of the most notable successes of the homecoming was the medical mission, the social service part of the event. So many came to be treated and examined, to be circumcised, to have a tooth extracted, and to receive free medicines that the homecoming organizers had to feed them merienda and lunch.

And speaking of food, nobody got hungry during the four-day affair. The tables at the Sibale Academy were roaring with food and drinks that we had to give away extra rice and meat after.

Another social service of the homecoming, which many perhaps did not notice because it was done low-key, was the Patabo. The alumni distributed rice, noodles, sardines and other food items to Sibale’s poor, many of whom expressed happiness and gratitude for the assistance.

The misses were few and should be overwhelmed by the overall success of the event, but they have to be mentioned so that lessons would be learned.

One was the diversion from the homecoming schedule. There was supposed to be a day, April 14, to be devoted to alumni classes, but instead of doing it on the fourth day, many alumni scheduled their picnics and class reunions on the third day, April 13, so there was no attendance to the Alumni Business Forum. There was also no news about the planned clean-up of the beaches.

And then there was the failure to follow the sports activities. There was a breakdown in the games that were supposed to be played because of lack of interest among the alumni. Only very few games were successfully held.

The other hitches were minor compared to the major accomplishments of the other activities, demonstrating once again that in big events such as this homecoming, organizers should plan very well in advance and anticipate unforeseen hitches.

Overall, I am happy that the 2009 Alumni Homecoming is over. I am glad, too, that despite a few setbacks, mostly in coordination, we were able to prove that if only really we set our sights on something and work for it, we could make things happen.

By the way, the homecoming theme, “Hulma ka Rana, Ragipon ka Saha!” was felt and realized by the Sibalenhons. For this alone, I say, “Mabuhi!”.

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