Archives - 2007

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Batch '68 Christmas Party

The Batch'68 2007 Christmas Party was held last December 8, (Saturday) lunch time at  China Bistro in Libis, Quezon City.  The affair was well attended with  a total of 32 batch mates who came.  It was a pleasure to find some new faces among the attendees.  You can view the pictures in our Reunion Page.

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Some Newsbits about the Philippines

Dec. 5, 2007 -  Don shared with us some positive news about our country -

"Good observation in time for our grand reunion...who knows, many friends might want to come back for good, he he.... Mabuhay!!!"  - Don Mejia

Newsbits!!!
The Philippines is on the verge of a phenomenal future

  • The Philippine currency has reached a 5-year high in 2007 and continues to be strong and resilient, fortified by the economic management of the current administration.

  • Among the 25 priority infrastructure projects expected for completion by 2010 are the LRT line 1 to NAIA, the P21 billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the P6.9 billion Subic Port development the P1.3 billion North Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connection via C-5 Project, and the Edsa Rehabilitation Project. Six of the major projects are set to be completed by March 2007.

  • The Philippine Stock exchange hit a nine year record in 2006 and opened 2007 some 30 percent higher and continues to be strong.

  • The overall business climate is upbeat and industry leaders and CEOs perceive that 2007 and 2008 will be even better.

  • The Philippines has emerged a strong second to India in the global outsourcing market. In 2006, it recorded $3.6 billion in earnings, a 50%-percent jump from 2005 and by 2010 it is expected to earn as much as $12.2billion.

  • Big outsourcing players in the U.S. such as Sykes Enterprises, Convergys, PeopleSupport Inc, Accenture, and eTelecare Global solutions have already set up headquarters in the Philippines, and Dell computers recently opened a contact center and is on schedule to open a second one this year. The Philippines is becoming a much preferred option as it has stronger cultural ties to the United States than India, and it is expected to catch up and even overtake India as market leader.

  • Remittances from Filipino Expatriates have grown to over $1.2billion dollars a month!

  • We are on the verge of the biggest real estate boom in history, set to totally eclipse the 1997 Asian crisis, and fueled by money from Overseas Filipinos, foreign investment, and a strong and bullish economy.

  • A surging demand for real estate is expected to sustain a continued surging growth of the Property industry.

  • The current economic managers of the country have remained steadfast in pursuing a blueprint for an economically prosperous future.


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Seattle-based Batch Mate Visits SoCal

Nov. 23, 2007 - Manny Aquino (formerly from Hawaii. And has now moved to Seattle, Washington), was in California during the Thanksgiving Holiday, 2007. His wife, Grace, was having her own class reunion at a dinner-dance event in Southern California. Unfortunately, the timing was not feasible to most of us (being Thanksgiving IS a big American Holiday). But SoCal batch is united in ensuring a welcome reception is done for any batch mate passing through the Los Angeles Metro area, when possible. It may not be the ideal get-together that we would have preferred, but nonetheless a heartfelt & genuine effort is extended to warmly welcome a visitor. Such was the case last Friday, November 23rd. Our ever faithful Ernie Morales, JV Omana, Gus Estrada & Chito Pangilinan stepped up to the plate. They welcomed Manny in West Covina for dinner at the Max's Chicken eatery. None of the ladies was present. Thus, this turned out to be "A Boys Night Out!" According to JV everyone was there at 7pm, and they were the last patrons to leave at 10pm. Besides the food galore & que sabroso San Miguel beer (according to JV)—there were definitely joyful conversations of days gone by, updates on the who is who; a little touch of speculations on the whereabouts & "how is life" kind of thing about a few once upon a time popular guys & gals of our high school days. And certainly, excitement about the Ruby Reunion.   - Bing Macavinta

Manny Aquino sent the following e-mail expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome extended to him by our SoCal batch:
11/28/2007
- "I wish to express my deepest appreciation to our SoCal batch mates namely: Ernie Morales, JV Omana, Gus Estrada and Chito Pangilinan for the warm welcome extended during our recent trip to Los Angeles. We had a grand time exchanging stories reminiscing the past, purely 'for the boys' only affair. We stayed at Max's restaurant until they told us to leave already as they were about to close. It was indeed great seeing them again especially for Chito and Gus whom I haven't seen for 39 years. As usual, the lady of the group, Bing, wasn't there again. She always goes on a trip every Thanksgiving weekend. I hope to see her on my next trip to LAX, ok Bing? Old reliable Ernie made this possible and the comic JV has always been there.

It was actually a UST High School Alumni Association of America reunion where my wife Grace, a batch '71, was invited. It was attended by batches from 1970 to 1974 and there were coincidentally 2 from batch'68, Chito Pangilinan and me. The reunion was organized by batch '71. We had dinner and dancing ... and then dinner again at a Chinese restaurant after the party. They were all just full of energy. Cannot cope up anymore. "- Manny Aquino

Here are photos of our handsome guys including one taken during the USTHS Batch '71-74 reunion attended by Manny and Chito.    Photos >>>>

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Birthday Celebration of John Tan and Welcome Party for Tisha Reyes Nixon

Oct. 24, 2007 - The heavy rains and traffic did not deter batch mates from trooping to John Tan's residence in the early evening of October 23.  It was a belated birthday celebration for John Tan, whose birthday was last Oct. 11.  It was also a special evening since it was an opportunity to welcome Tisha Reyes Nixon, who is visiting from Canada after more than a decade of absence.  Those who came to celebrate with John his birthday and welcome Tisha  were: Baby Balatbat, Albert & Lorna Buenviaje, Marlene Molano Cabilao, Juliet Casis, Bebet Gozun, Jimmy Guieb, Renee De Los Reyes Nolasco, Jojo Panganiban, Liway Geronimo Pelayo, Peter So, Jimmy Tan, Jun Tullao & Ricky Yatco.  As usual, it was an evening filled with reminiscing our high school days, jokes and delicious food prepared by John's charming and gracious wife, Ruby.

That same night, Bebet Gozun convened and chaired the meeting of the organizing committee for our ruby anniversary, to get updates of the various key persons tasked to handle the celebratory activities.  Jun Tullao presented the proposed program of activities for the 3-day event.  (Please refer to our Plans for 40th webpage for details of plans for our 40th anniversary.)

Tisha Reyes promised to try her best to come back in Feb. 2008 to attend our ruby anniversary.  We really hope she can make it since we have assigned to her  the task of leading the opening prayers during our batch reunion party.  The Souvenir Programs Committee got a much needed financial boost that evening when they received their very first advertising contract courtesy of Tisha Reyes, who placed an advertisement for her book, Meditations on the Holy Eucharist.  (Thanks a lot Tisha for your generous contribution.)

Of course, the evening will not be complete without the usual dancing, led by the dance instructor brought by Bebet.  The group also practiced for their presentation for our batch reunion party.

Click here to view photos taken that night.  Photos >>>

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Welcome Lunch for Tisha Reyes Nixon

Oct. 16, 2007 - We had an impromptu lunch get together to welcome Tisha Reyes Nixon who flew in from Vancouver, Canada last week.   The lunch was arranged just this morning and almost did not push through since only very few could make it.   At the last minute, Renee De Los Reyes and Tisha decided to go ahead since we were all eager to see Tisha, who was here way back 1995.  Baby Balatbat De Guzman, Renee De Los Reyes Nolasco, Cherry Mijares, Julie Casis and Lorna Buenviaje hosted the lunch for Tisha at Via Mare in Greenhills. 

 It was an afternoon of catching up, trying to fill in within the few hours we had, all that had happened since we graduated from high school and college.  Julie and Tisha were classmates since kindergarten.  Renee and Tisha were seat mates in high school. Tisha still remembers vividly that Renee generously shared with Tisha her notes  in class since Tisha would always be out of the classroom attending to some errands as President of the Student Council and other extracurricular activities that she had.  Baby recounted that she remembers Tisha always walking hurriedly, a very busy body during our high school days. 

 We were all in agreement that Tisha has not changed at all - she's still very pretty, very bubbly and full of stories.  More importantly, to date she has remained very much involved in various religious activities, both in her parish and in her work in Aquinas Institute.  She has published a book, Meditations on the Holy Eucharist, a compilation of articles written by bishops, priests, religious nuns, members of the laity and children. The book was endorsed by the Bishop of Saskatoon and  the Secretary-General of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress.   The Archbishop of Vancouver granted Imprimi Potest to the book  and the Vatican gave permission to include the Ecclesia Eucharistia encyclical of Pope John Paul II in the book.   The book  was released to coincide with the Eucharistic Year in 2005. Tisha promised to donate 12 copies of her book for our 40th anniversary.  She has also promised to advertise her book in our commemorative yearbook, in addition to the donation that she has given to Baby.

Tisha is happily married for the past 28 years to Barry Nixon (no relation to Richard Nixon) and they have been blessed with two sons.  Her eldest son is based in Rome, Italy where he is working with the United Nations.  Her youngest son is still studying.  She would like to pair off her eldest son, who is a very eligible bachelor, to a Filipina,  preferably to a daughter of a batch mate. (So for those interested, you know whom to contact.)

Click here to view pictures of our lunch get-together.  Photos >>>

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New Look and Feel of our Website

Oct. 11, 2007 -  We have decided to change the look and feel of our website.  The colors used now reflect the official white and gold colors of the University of Sto. Tomas.  The format of our website also follows the modern trend in website development, the use of margins on the side.  The obvious drawback however is that the reading space got smaller.  Thus making the website a little unfriendly to the eyesight of those above 50 yrs. old.  But who among us is above that age? - Albert & Lorna Buenviaje

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SoCal Batch Dined and Bowled

Friday, Sept 21st, 2007 SoCal batch put a different twist in spending “time together” and it turned out great!  It’s been customary for us to render a special welcome to a new member.  This time we gathered to welcome our latest member, Rosaleda Reyes- Alesna. I invited former teacher, Precious Lotilla- Javier, but she backed out at the last minute.  It was wonderful to see Cory Gillera  able to join us this time.  Likewise, the loyal attendees – Ernie Morales, JV Omana, Cesar & Lynne Balbontin, Dolly & Pete Galang, Chito Pangilinan, Joseph Bautista, Gus Estrada were all accounted for & me.  A special thank you to Gus, who drove home first  (from work in Beverly Hills) just to pick up our honoree in Carson & turned around again towards L.A. & meet us all in Burbank at the Macaroni Grill.  The dinner was, as usual, pleasant.  We talked about the upcoming Manila reunion. (Please note: Dolly & I added $5 each to our earlier donations, as its exchange rate was valued at 4800 pesos & we want to be fair with those who have given and will give the suggested contribution of 5000 pesos.  I know Joseph Bautista gave his $105 donation too to Cory, along with our $5, as Bebet is coming over to the states soon.) Chito, aka as Camera man, took all the pictures.

It was a wet evening, but we’ve long planned to go bowling (as oppose to dancing) after.  So, bowled we did.  Most of us have not bowled in a long time, while one or two have not bowled at all.  Nevertheless, everyone was game.  It was the battle of the sexes.  Two games and the ladies decided to give both games away to the guys.  It was so wonderful and truly fun to see the guys have fun and making all the high fives as they knocked those pins down.  Everyone was focused on bowling a strike, if not at least a spare, -- truthfully, at least knocking down some pins – as the word G U T T E R is spelled out on the screen when those pins stay standing. Pictures at ProWick Bowling were pretty dim and just a few were taken.  Our camera man, Cesar Balbontin, was a little “tamad”  to do his job.

Here are the pictures we have.  Photos >>>>>

These pictures can also be viewed at this link in a slideshow format: http://good-times.webshots.com/slideshow/560824826cZeFbt 

To view all of our pictures since the birth of SoCal batch on Aug. 20, 2005, you may go to http://community.webshots.com/user/usths68 . - Bing Macavinta

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Gani Buenaflor's Surprise Birthday Party

Sept. 27, 2007 - Last Sept. 15, 2007 (Saturday), Gani's wife Teody hosted a surprise birthday dinner party for Gani at his Eucalyptus Bay Resort in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.  The said resort will be the venue of our batch picnic/outing  scheduled on Feb. 17, 2008 (Sunday), which will be the culminating activity of our 3-day 40th anniversary celebration.  Some batch mates were on hand to celebrate Gani's birthday.  Don Mejia shared with us some photos taken during Gani's birthday together with some pictures of the  resort to give us an idea of the venue for our outing.

Click here to view some pictures of Gani's birthday celebration.  Photos>>>>

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Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Awards Night

Sept. 27, 2007 - Don Mejia shared with us some photos taken during the Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Awards Night last August 20, 2007, wherein, Bebet Gillera Gozun, was one of those honored and granted with the said prestigious award.  Bebet was awarded Outstanding Thomasian in Community, Civic and Social Service for her environmental advocacy in both rural and urban areas in the country.

Click here to view some pictures of the awards night.  Photos >>>>

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Condolence to Liway Geronimo Pelayo on the Death of Her Husband

Sept. 4, 2007 - Our condolence to our batch mate Liwayway "Liway" Geronimo Pelayo, whose husband, Antonio M. Pelayo passed away this morning.  His remains lie in state at the Magallanes Chapel in Makati.  Let us all pray for the eternal repose of his soul.

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Last Moments of Batch'68 with Mike Raffer - A Happy Day To Remember

August 31, 2007 "My computer's ability to share photos is back again. I simply cannot let the day pass without sharing with you these pictures of perhaps just another good time but truly a memorable one. It is alright to cry Helen and rest assure that where Mike is now , he is singing his songs for his one and only love. And he left us too with joyous mementos that will fill our hearts and thoughts.  Naku Chito I forgot to tell may sama ng loob si Mike sa iyo kasi pagkatapos daw siyang nag ihaw ng talong at tinapa on a hot afternoon, ang pinapak daw ay ang pinakbet mo with bagoong and grilled tilapia . Pero thank you for the hot garlic peanuts na binaon ko for the 2 hr. drive back to Napa. That kept me awake.  Salamat meron pa ba? Luto ka ulit ha. Thank you all for the memories, and for the good time always. Love, Odette"

The bday girl with mom,Lydia, my mom , Enrie with mom in law Pauline

The Sacramento Duo-Mike and Al

The Laguardia secret

With full gusto, Mike sang.

The Puruntong Idol

Chito's date for that day

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Condolence to Helen Pacis Raffer and Family on the Death of Her Husband Michael and Sister-in-Law

August 28, 2007 -  We would like to extend our condolence to our batch mate Helen Pacis Raffer and her family on the untimely death of her husband Michael Stanley Raffer, 54 and his sister 63-year-old Carol Donovan, who figured in a train collision last Friday evening, August 24, 2007.  They were in Los Lunas, New Mexico, planning the funeral of their mother who died that morning. 

Below is the news item featured at http://kob.com/article/stories/S176665.shtml?cat=500 regarding the tragic accident:

Rail Runner Accident Kills Brother and Sister  

"A Rail Runner commuter train struck an SUV, killing a brother and sister Friday evening. The victims, Michael Stanley Raffer, 54, of California and 63-year-old Carol Donovan, of Los Lunas, died in the accident. They were in Los Lunas planning the funeral of their mother, who died Friday morning.

The Associated Press reports that the train just left the station when it struck the SUV at a private crossing. The train carried the wrecked vehicle about 1000 feet before derailing.  Passengers on the Rail Runner say that they heard the conductor sounding the train’s horn to warn the vehicle.  No major injuries were reported by passengers or crew on the Rail Runner. The 60 or so who were on board were taken to their destination via school busses.

As investigators seek answers for the crash, some are criticizing the lack of railroad crossing arms at the location of the wreck.  Rail Runner spokesman Lawrence Rael argued that the crossing was on private property, akin to a residential driveway. He said that crossing arms would cost between $200,000 and $500,000."

Brother, sister die in crash with commuter train  

"LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) - A brother and sister are dead after driving across the train tracks south of Los Lunas and being hit by the state Rail Runner commuter train.  They were identified as 54-year-old Michael Stanley Raffer of California and 63-year-old Carol Donovan of Los Lunas. Their mother had died Friday morning and family members had gathered to plan her funeral.

Authorities say no Rail Runner passengers were seriously injured in the crash yesterday evening at a private crossing between Los Lunas and Belen.  State police Sergeant Andrew Tingwall says the train had just left the station in Los Lunas and was headed to Belen to drop off commuters as the SUV approached the crossing. He says the train came off the track about a half-mile after hitting the vehicle. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"

********

Let us all pray for the eternal repose of Helen's husband, Michael and his sister Carol.  Let us also pray for Helen that God will give her the strength to sustain her during these trying moments. 

Our batch mates who have had the pleasure of meeting Helen's husband Mike, remember him with fondness.  Below are excerpts of the emails of Odette Wallace and Enrie Samson Sabio regarding Mike:

"............. This is truly shocking. We were just with Mike and Helen for her birthday.  Mike sang songs he was so passionate about and gave us pure entertainment.  He also spent time on the grill for that sumptuous lunch.  Chito called me last night .I was going to host another get together before I leave Napa because we were rehearsing a number for the ruby celebration. It was a real pleasure to have met Mike , a gentleman, a gracious host, a wonderful family man. The north cal batch will surely miss him. Let us pray for their souls. - Odette"
 

" ...........We had the pleasure of Mike's company two weeks ago when we had a get-together of the USTHS '68 batch at their house.   He was a gracious host and we had so much fun with him while he rendered songs he was fond of.
Let us all pray for the eternal repose of their souls and also pray for Helen that may God's loving grace comfort her in this time of sorrow. - Enrie"

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Request for Prayers for the Successful Operation and Complete Healing of JV Omaña

August 16, 2007 - We received news that our batch mate, JV Omaña, will undergo a gall bladder surgery next week.  Let us all pray for the successful operation, complete healing and full recovery of JV.

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Please Update Your E-mail Addresses

August 15, 2007 -May we request our batch mates to please check your e-mail address in the Contact Us Webpage if it is updated.  We tried sending some e-mails to some of our batch mates and they have bounced back with error messages such as "No such account or account closed...."  You can send your correct and working e-mail at albuen82@globelines.com.ph. Thank you for your cooperation.

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Revised Plans for Our Ruby Anniversary in 2008

August 15, 2007 - During the last meeting of the Organizing Committee for our Ruby Anniversary in 2008, which was held in the residence of John Tan last August 3, 2007 (Friday night), revised plans were drawn up for our three-day celebration on Feb. 15-16, 2008.  You can view the revised plans in our Plans for 40th webpage

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The Great Wild, White & Gold Affair in Full Bloom

August 15, 2007 - We received the following e-mail from Leebai Gamboa, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the UST Grand Alumni Homecoming in 2008:

"After several weeks of keeping it under wraps while feverishly fine-tuning it, the latest& hottest item in the agenda of the newly formed USTHSAAI is open to all and sundry – detailed, and in its full glory. This joint affair spearheaded by USTHSAAI in close partnership with the College of Engineering is to replace the annual high school grand jubilee celebration traditionally held on February at the Manila Hotel. As a prelude to the university’s 2011 quadricentennial anniversary, UST High School will host the celebration together with the College of Engineering, Pharmacy and Education. This will be university-wide in scope and will be held on campus.

In last night’s meeting attended by Rocky Siasoco, Quiel Delgado, Tony Ereneta, Jun Pascual, Weng Terranal, Arn Cruz, Pet Bautista and Yna Torres; Leebai Gamboa and Rino Datuin presented to the body the Great Wild, White & Gold concept. It was a labor of love and good taste. Although the plan is grand and ambitious, it has a sense of proportion that has infused this project with the necessary excitement to successfully round up alumni from everywhere and make them want to revisit and rekindle their love for our alma mater. This will not be a regular reunion; this will be a full-blown love affair. Any reunion that has no vision and a deep sense of purpose is a mere party. This festivity was conceptualized with the intent to make alumni and current organized student bodies to work hand in hand for a keener appreciation of our school, develop loyalty and foster camaraderie.

On February 16, 2008, the appointed date, the campus will be festooned with white and gold ribbons and banners. Alumni, elegant or casual in pristine white will be welcomed at the Arch of the Century and will be feted by cadets in full regalia, they will then be given the red carpet treatment as they are ushered into the refurbished Benavidez walk and Plaza Mayor in front of the Main Building where the stage will be placed. In case of overflow crowd, the Quadricentennial Square at the back of the Main Building will be suited for that. The campus has seen so many changes the last two decades and alumni will be given a tour on customized transport bedecked in the affair’s color motif. White tents, transparent ones, gazebo type, umbrella-type, and air-conditioned ones will be provided to accommodate varied and valid needs and preference. Come inclement or good weather, there is no stopping this show that will begin with a Mass, followed by a well-prepared program, concise and meaningful, and will be climaxed by a breathtaking display of fireworks that will frame the Main Building already bathed in light.

Batch and university websites will be provided with a video presentation of the affair so that alumni from here and abroad can simply click and have a full grasp of the whys and the how’s of this wonderful occasion. Why wild, white & gold? Wild for it dare be different, challenging mindsets while white because it shall engender the ideals of purity and integrity that should characterize every goal and under-taking, and gold, because it is the color of the university representing our pontifical and royal history. This will remind us not to simply glory in our rich history but take responsibility as we forge ahead to redefine our role in society and improve on the legacy of the UST.

Lastly, why great affair? Because a wild, white & gold affair needs you and I, and it is always people; passionate and responsible, who appropriate sacrifice and turn it into greatness. " (written and posted by Yna V. Torres, Batch 80, USTHSAAI Board Member)

Leebai Esquivias-Gamboa. Batch 78
Vice President, USTHSAAI
Chairman, USTHS GAH 2008 Organizing Committee

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Bebet Gozun - Recipient of Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award

July 26, 2007 - Our batch has again something to be very proud of.  Our very own, Bebet Gozun, will be conferred the Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award by UST on August 18 (Saturday) 6:00 p.m. at the UST Seminary.  Recently, Bebet  was also named as one of the "Champions of the Earth" by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in recognition of her environmental advocacy.  Let us all join in celebrating Bebet's achievements by attending the awarding ceremony on August 18.  Entrance tickets to the affair inclusive of dinner is at P650 per person.  Please contact Don Mejia at cellphone no. +639209241801 or email him at donmejia@yahoo.com to confirm your attendance.

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A Wild Gold and White Affair - UST Grand Alumni Homecoming 2008

July 17, 2007 - Bebet Gozun forwarded the following e-mail from Leebai Esquivias-Gamboa, USTHS Batch 78, the Vice President of the  USTHS Alumni Association Inc. giving us an update on our grand UST reunion next year.  For the first time, the UST Grand Alumni Homecoming will involve the different university colleges and departments and not just the high school department.  Bebet and Don Mejia are coordinating closely with the USTHS Alumni Association for our group's participation in the said event.

"July 15, 2007 - Now it can be told!  The University of Santo Tomas' university-wide Grand Alumni Homecoming 2008 has been officially set for February 16, 2008. This will be held at the grounds of the UST campus, focusing mostly on the Arch of the Century, the Rizal Lane, the Benavides Monument, the Plaza Mayor, the Main Building and the Quadricentennial Square.

To be co-hosted by the UST High School, UST College of Engineering, UST College of Pharmacy and (possibly) UST College of Education.  A university-wide Grand Alumni Homecoming that aims to be different, to be more festive, to promote greater bonds of kinship and to foster greater fellowship among Thomasians, and to make a major impact to Thomasians worldwide.

Working hand-in-hand to make this event an event that Thomasians will be extremely proud of are the UST High School and the College of Engineering. We will carry the colours of our alma mater: Gold and White! And remember once again how it feels to be a true Thomasian.

It will be bold and daring, yet beautiful in its simplicity. Casual yet elegant. Laidback yet graceful.

This is your wake-up call: Thomasians Unite!" - Leebai Esquivias-Gamboa, USTHS Batch 78, Vice President, USTHS Alumni Association Inc., Chairman, Organizing Committee - USTHS

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June 2007 Napa Get-together

July 6, 2007 - Twas another stress-busting afternoon with good friends ,good food, perfect music courtesy of Chito C., and lots of dancing through our salsa guru, Ernie M. As if to guaranty a great picture, the flowers bloomed their best. The birds in their nest also did a bit of entertainment. Unfortunately my mom couldn't stand the pain on her back due to her osteoporosis, she had to stay in bed. Albert La Guardia drove from Sacramento with Helen and mom. Chito Zuniga rode with Chito Cardenas and wife Normie. The three of them picked up Ernie Morales from Oakland airport. What a treat to have a dance instructor for free. Thanks Ernie for visiting .

And we welcome too the appearance of Luisa Acal Novenario and husband Lesty. Luisa is a nurse in San Leandro. She heard about the preparations for the coming ruby celebration from TFC (The Filipino Channel) here in the Bay Area. She called Chito C. and informed us that she will be available that Sunday. That TFC idea is a good channel for calling lost batchmates..

I learned from Freya that Imelda Ilagan found her.  Albert Laguardia also found Purita Gutierez. Bing Macavinta is also in touch with Terri David. How exciting!

For Baby Balatbat's and John Tan's record: I collected the following monies......
Luisa Acal Novenario , Chito Zuniga, Albert Laguardia.............. $300.00(plus+ $100 from Bing Macavinta)=$400.
Ernie Morales (he also gave last time in Manila)....................P2,500.00 (left over ng pambayad niya sa D.I sa Pinas,haha)

Thank you Luisa for all that yummy siopao.  Chito and Normie, thank you so much for the Arroz caldo merienda.  Albert , Chito Z and Ernie, thank you for taking the time off from your busy calendar.

Next month August 11, Helen and Cynthia will be hosting in Sacramento for their joint birthday celebration. Mark your calendar. I was given a go signal to invite those willing to drive to Sacramento...... And lastly to end the summer balik Napa kayo for the harvest September 1. Everyone is invited and bring your dancing shoes.

P.S. to everyone ... WE NEED MORE FUNDS TO COVER EXPENSES FOR THE RUBY CELEBRATION. THE MONIES ARE TRICKLING IN SLOOOOOOWLY. WE ARE SIX MONTHS AWAY......Please open your pockets and checkbooks and be more generous to Batch 68. We know you can do it. -  Odette Wallace

A new comer, Luisa Acal and husband Lesty on the right. Luisa is a nurse in San Leandro.

Seated: Helen and Luisa

Standing (l-r): Albert, Ernie, Chito C., Odette and Chito Z.

L-R: Odette, Ernie, Helen, Normie (Chito's wife), Chito C. and Luisa

Helen and her mom

Helen and Odette amidst the beautiful and colorful flower's in Odette's garden.

Lesty and Luisa, Normie and Chito C., Ernie and Albert

Our salsa guru Ernie M. teaching Chito Z. the latest dance steps.

It's dance time.

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Dollar Account for Remittances from Foreign-based Batchmates

June 17, 2007 - For our foreign-based batch mates who would like to contribute to our 40th anniversary celebration next year, please be informed that we have opened a dollar account for your remittances, the details of which are as follows:

Name of Bank/Branch



 
:
 


 

Bank Of The Philippine Islands (BPI)
SM Megamall Branch
G/F Bldg. A  SM Megamall
Bank Drive, Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City
Account Number : Savings Account No. 2424-0145-86
Account Name : Elizabeth De Guzman or John Tan
SWIFT Code for Foreign Remittances :
 
BOPIPHMM

For peso remittances, we have maintained the same peso account with Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom), details of which are as follows:

Name of Bank/Branch



 
:
 


 

Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom)
Corinthian Gardens Branch
Sanso St. Corinthian Gardens
Quezon City
 
Account Number : Savings Account No. 242-10-000357-4
Account Name : Elizabeth De Guzman or John Tan

Kindly inform Baby Balatbat De Guzman of the deposit made so she can confirm your remittance. Her email address is ebg114@yahoo.com .

Our 40th anniversary  celebration is almost eight months away and your contributions will help the organizing committee in realizing its plans and programs for our ruby anniversary.  So, we encourage our batch mates to start their contribution to our fund.  Let's keep the Thomasian spirit alive!

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Condolence to the Family of Mrs. Victoria Cachola

June 12, 2007 - We just received two e-mails, one from JV Omaña and the other from Wilfred Yu, informing us of the passing away of our former high school teacher, Mrs. Victoria Cachola, an aunt of our batchmate Wilfred Yu.  Mrs. Cachola used to teach History in high school.  She died last June 10 (Sunday) and her wake is in their ancestral home in No. 1010 Sta. Catalina St., San Antonio, Biñan, Laguna. 

Again we would like to extend our condolence to our batchmate Willy Yu and to the other members of the family of Mrs. Cachola.  Let us all pray for the eternal repose of her soul.

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Condolence to Willy Yu and Family on the death of their Mother

June 12, 2007 -  We would like to extend our condolence to our batchmate Wilfred Yu and his family on the death of their mother last May 25.  Let us all pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Mrs. Yu.

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Bing's Visit with Terri David Munsayac

June 9, 2007 -  My day with batch mate, Terri David was just WONDERFUL! I cannot say enough to describe the fun, especially the bonding we had together. First off, THANK YOU so much TERRI for spending the day with me and for the nice souvenir. It was very thoughtful of you. It’s my first trip to the nation’s capital & I was very excited. Arrived in DC (Reagan National Airport) Saturday evening. Thunderstorm was forecasted & I did pack an umbrella. I didn’t want Terri to take a special day off for our meeting, so we’ve agreed to meet on Sunday, June 3rd; And that I was going to take the metro train to Fairfax, Virginia- less than 30-minutes away. I did on that rainy Sunday morn. Neither one of us had an idea how each other look now. I called her as soon as I got @ West Falls Church station, where I was to get off. Described what I was wearing and where I would be standing. She said she has a white car. A few minutes later, a white car came & it was Terri. We proceeded to a church nearby, St James, to catch the 10:30a mass. From there, she took me to Tyson’s Corner Center in McLean, Va – a premiere shopping mall. It was still early for lunch & since I haven’t had my shot of caffeine yet, we went to Starbucks at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Sat down first & talked a bit, just reminiscing about the who’s who of our teenage days. Then, we had lunch at Brio Tuscan Grill (Italian cuisine). I wanted an outside patio seating, so we waited a while & continued our conversation. We got our seats, ordered my alcohol drink ;) – she’s treating, so why not (just kidding). It was a very delicious & satisfying meal, but most importantly, we talked & talked & talked…& talked again, seemingly forever…. I’d say we were there for about 3-hrs, give or take. After that, she drove me to see the Pentagon (Arlington, VA), which was quite to see (well, everything in DC is- for me). She brought me back to the train station close to 6pm. It really was a very well spent rainy day for me! And thank you again Terri for being a very gracious host! I told her next time she comes to California, SoCal batch will definitely give her a welcome reception. We were so engrossed with talking that here are just 4-pictures I was able to take (one taken w/my cellphone). Enjoy – ‘cuz we found one more of our own. - Bing Macavinta

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General Meeting of USTHS Batch'68

June 6, 2007 - We will have a general meeting of all  UST High School Batch'68 graduates to finalize plans for our ruby anniversary next year, details of which are as follows:

           Date and time :  June 15, 2007 (Friday) 3:00 p.m.
           Venue:              Kamayan at SM Megamall (4th floor)

June 15 is also the birthday of Bebet Gozun and she has generously offered to pay for the bill for the merienda at Dad's Saisaki  on that day.  So we enjoin everyone to come and join us in planning for our ruby anniversary and to celebrate Bebet's birthday. 

During the recent meeting of the organizing committee held last May 15 at the residence of Baby De Guzman, some plans for our ruby anniversary were discussed.  You can read the update in our Plans for 40th webpage.

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A Double Take for SoCal Batch

May 25, 2007 - The weekend of the 18th was indeed an extremely busy time for us entertaining visiting batch mates.  Friday:  SoCal batch opened up its arms and welcomed Manila batch mate John Tan and his lovely half, Ruby.  She has such a sparkling personality and truly a wonderful trooper!  Ernie coordinated the affair—Good job!  It was a pleasant surprise to see SoCal pulled together a good crowd on this particular evening.  We all met at Marie Callenders in Glendale.  They had this private room that could accommodate comfortably a party of 10 (number expected).  Beyond 10, would mean a terribly tight place, with little wiggle room.  But as more batch mates arrived, the excitement of having more of us was evident (despite losing the wiggle room).  There were more “Mr & Mrs” in attendance this time & it was just great to see these other halves be present & share the joy of the occasion.  Thanks Gwen Estrada, Lottie Eusebio, Lynne Balbontin, Evelyn Omana and Pete Galang for making our celebration more complete.  Afterwards—then the dance!  Eight of us proceeded to Philippine Village in Eagle Rock to work out those calories ;). Just look at our dancing stars evident in these pictures J
Sunday
, the 20th:  SoCal Batch went out again – just a few of us but nonetheless as fun, if not more. This time we welcomed visiting batch mates from Sacramento Lynn Po- Ruisla, her husband, Timo, and a pleasant surprise addition, Manila batch mate, Ofelia Ramirez- Lanto!  We decided to go to the upscale neighborhood of Irvine -  Javier’s Cantina at the Irvine Spectrum.  Beautiful weather and a good seating in the patio was just the order of the day.  After that, we decided to have our dessert across Javier’s at The Cheesecake Factory.   The wait was long for the number in our party.  So, we just decided to buy individual slices and ate them at the patio tables positioned throughout the place for shoppers.  Fortunately, there were 2-tables w/patio umbrellas available just in front of the restaurant.  And the guys grabbed those right away.  With good cool weather, and good seatings, it was picture perfect eating our sugar-allowance for the day.  Pete & Dolly have other commitments, so they left along with Gus Estrada, Chito Pangilinan and Ernie.  For the rest of us, we chose to hang around for a long while to do catch up.   Ernie picked up Ofelia, but I took her home so that we can continue talking about the high school days.  On the way to drop Ofelia home, Terri David- Munsayak called me on the cell phone as I’ve been playing phone tag with her for three days—trying to set up our date when I visit DC in June.  I gave the phone to Ofelia instead, so they chatted.  These two days proved to be so much fun and enjoyable for me.  And I think it is safe to say that it holds true for the rest who were there." - Bing Macavinta

Bing, John and Ruby Tan

Ruby Tan, Lottie Eusebio, Evelyn Omana, and Lynne Balbontin

Lottie Eusebio, Ruby, Evelyn, Bing, Lynne, Gwen Estrada & Dolly Cunanan- Galang

Here's our cozy room

Bing, John, JV, Ernie (standing) Joseph, Lottie & Raffy Eusebio, Gus & Dolly (back)

SoCal Bath'68 with John & Ruby Tan

The ladies can dance.

Our star dancers.

Ruby & John showing how it is.

Ernie & Ruby just swinging

JV & Evelyn Omana just into it.

Ruby & Evelyn - just move those hips!

Pete, John, Gus, Cesar, Ernie (partly hidden), JV, Raffy and Joseph

Gus, Joseph B & Pete Galang

Dolly, Bing & Ofelia in Irvine

Here we are at Javier's Cantina- that's Chito P in the far left

Another angle.

Bing, Lyn Po- Ruisla & husband Timo, Pete & Dolly Galang

Gus looking at Pete's yearbook from USTHS Class of '95

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Batch mate Gani Buenaflor's Company, Diamond IGB,  Featured in the News

May 7, 2007 -  Our batch has again reason to be proud, this time with the feature in the major newspapers and television stations of batch mate Gani Buenaflor's company, Diamond IGB, regarding their P300 million expansion program.  Your can read the details at the following links:

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/39356/Diamond-IGB-in-P300-M-expansion

http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2007/04/29/BSNS2007042992820.html
 


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Change in Our Website

May 3, 2007 -  To our batch mates and friends, please be informed of some slight change in our website.  In lieu of the Guest Book, I have changed this page into a Message Board.  The form for comments/message inside the Guest Book was removed.  Instead, those who would want to have their message or comments published in our website can e-mail them directly to me.   Just click the e-mail address link in the Message Board and a new mail message box will appear which you can use to create and send your message.  For the past months, I have been receiving thousands of spam e-mails which make use of the form in our Guest Book.  For security reasons, I have decided to make these changes in our website.  Thanks for your cooperation. - Lorna Buenviaje

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Update on the Northeast Chapter of Batch'68

April 25, 2007 - "Last Saturday, April 21, 2007, our USTHS'68 group had dinner in Edgewater, NJ Crabhouse and Seafoods restaurant- a place on the edge of the Hudson River which overlooks the Manhattan skyline.

In attendance were Rey Protacio and wife Mel, Michael Mendonez and wife Grace, Peck Pecaña and wife Marie, Joey Bote, Joseph Bautista (visiting from LA and taking a Diagnostic Quest Seminar), Annie Viri Pazcoguin and myself Timothy Mendonez and wife Josie. The evening was filled with good chit-chatting, reminiscing the old high school days and the missed few decades of news/ jokes and laughter, while beer, wine and cocktail were served. We all had those different giant crustaceans for main course except for Rey who is a fish lover.

When it came down to business, we all decided to share $100 each as our contribution to the housing projects for our beloved Filipinos-in-need of shelter. Mike Mendonez collected our donations and will soon pass this on through the proper channels.

We would also want to recognize Rey Protacio for spearheading the effort.

Wishing you all a nice summer in the Philippines, a good spring in the USA and hopefully a warmer winter in the down-under." - Timothy Mendonez

In reaction to Tim's update, Chito Cardenas wrote:

April 25, 2007 - "Thanks Tim for the news. I have not seen you since high school though I met Michael two years ago here in San Francisco.

Kudos to Rey Protacio for taking up the cudgels of organizing the USTHS '68 group in the Northeast. With several groups like this – one in Southern California and in Northern California, I am sure our 40th anniversary in Manila will be successful and well attended. Rey is very committed to Batch 68 even when he was here in the Bay Area, he always attends our reunions. I heard there are more of you there in the Northeast like Jerry Ongsiako, Ed de Leon, Merle Fernandez, Fred Andes among others, so keep on enlarging your group

Joseph Bautista hosted a party for me in his beautiful home when I was in LA last year and it was also there that I met Joey Bote last December.

The Bay Area group will meet at the house of Cherry Roque – Ramirez on May 19th and expected to attend are Odette Ko, Enrie Sabio, Helen Pacis, Fely Aglugub, Cynthia Principe, Vic Carrion, Francis Magsaysay, Chito Zuniga and yours truly.

We extend our invitation to our batch mates in the East Coast to visit us here in San Francisco.

More power to your group." -
Chito Cardenas

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Condolence to Junnie Navarro and Family on the Death Of Their Mother

April 27, 2007 Our condolence to our batch mate Junnie Navarro and his family, on the death of their 92-year old mother. Her remains lie in state at the Desert View Memorial Park and Mortuary in Victorville, California.  The viewing is scheduled on Thursday, April 26 while interment is on Friday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m.

 Let us all pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Junnie's mom.

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Odette's Lunch Date With SoCal Batch

April 23, 2007 - Odette Wallace was in L.A from April 16-22 for a wedding party on the 21st.  Our SoCal batch took this opportunity to show their hospitality and treated Odette to lunch at Todai, a Japanese buffet restaurant in Glendale.  Again, Bing Macavinta gave us the details together with some pictures.

April 20, 2007 - "This was definitely a last minute notice, so only a handful of us were able to make it. I made sure that I can make this one. Odette & I have spoken on the phone a few times, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of meeting her in person again (after nearly 40-years for me). And along with my SoCal batch mates extend to her Southern California hospitality. She’s still as good-looking as I remember her in high school.

We met at Todai – a Japanese Buffet – in Glendale. Joseph Bautista, Ernie Morales, Cesar Balbontin & Odette were already there when I got there. Raffy Eusebio, Cory Gillera & JV Omana arrived shortly after. There were good exchange of some memories past and updates about the 2008 Grand Reunion. Everyone had a wonderful time chit-chatting, and simply enjoyed the time with Odette. And I also handed to Odette my $100 contribution to our Grand Reunion. Whether I make it or not to that- - at least, I've given my share."

The word is NorCal is having their get-together on May 19th, while SoCal will have theirs again on May 20th. So stay tune folks for the happenings from the West Coast, USA." -
Bing Macavinta

Here are the pictures shared by Bing.  Please click the pictures to view the enlarged version:

A closer look (told JV not too close 'cuz the "lines" are now showing on those pics.)

One more

I intentionally did not look 'cuz I thought this was getting too close - lines, lines - does that sound like a vain woman?

This was getting to the end. That's Cesar's head, still a full head of hair. J

That's JV telling some funny stories (oops, there are two pics of him)

Oh Ernie how can you cut out JV from the shot!

Bing Macavinta, Odette Wallace & Cory Gillera

Raffy Eusebio

Raffy Eusebio and Joseph Bautista

The SoCal batch with Odette


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SoCal Batch @ Pinoy Bistro

April 19, 2007 - "Meeting the newest member, Dolly Cunanan- Galang was something I was looking forward to. I certainly seek additional ladies in our group. So, definitely coordinating the meeting (with the help of Ernie & JV) was a pleasure! Pinoy Bistro was the viable choice. Many of the guys have been there & had a good time.

I used the eVite to make it convenient to respond. Even sent eVite to those unlikely to come, just to keep others in the loop as to what we are up to here in SoCal. But, believe it or not, it is a surprise to find out that NOT everyone checks their emails regularly, let alone, at all! So, follow up calls still needed to be made--- & that’s Ernie’s & JV’s department. The attendance was a good surprise as you can see in the attached photos. Mel Singh even dropped in & it was good to finally meet him. He happened to have some business in SoCal and Manny Tayag brought him along straight from the airport. Another new face is Gus Estrada. After several attempts of inviting him, it was good to finally see him join us. Many had a very long drive to do like Dolly & Pete, Joseph Bautista, Cesar & Lynne Balbontin.

The place was crowded and with the Karaoke entertainment going it was pretty difficult to make conversation. Nevertheless, we kept yapping along & enjoyed the meal. Well the evening will not be complete without some of our “American Idols” performing. Chito P rendered his good old “My Way” and a Tagalog song. JV, who’s not only a good dancer, is also a good singer. He rendered his “Act Naturally.” For the rest of us, perhaps a little bit intimidated by the crowd, we were just glad to be entertained & truly enjoyed the good sportsmanship of Chito & JV."-
Bing Macavinta

Here are the pictures shared by Bing.  Please click the pictures to view the enlarged version:

From the very far end: JV Omana, Lynne & Cesar Balbontin, Bing Macavinta & Ernie Morales

Dolly Cunanan Galang joined the group.

There's a cut shot of Manny Tayag, next to him are Chito Pangilinan & Joseph Bautista. At the foregoung are Ernie & Bing.

There's purple-eyed Bing and red-eyed Dolly

Dolly & Mel with the SoCal batch

Group Picture of the SoCal Batch

Cesar Balbontin

Chito Pangilinan

Chito, this time showing his singing prowess in his rendition of the "walang kamatayang" My Way.

Ernie Morales

Gus Estrada

Joseph Bautista

Manny Tayag

Gurmel Singh

Pete, the husband of Dolly


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Clarification on Planned Activities for Our Ruby Anniversary

April 16, 2007 In the  e-mail of Bebet Gozun last March (the full text of which is published in our Plans for 40th webpage), she informed us of the results of the meeting of the USTHS Alumni Association which she attended.  In the said meeting, it was agreed that the grand reunion of all UST High School alumni will be held on Feb. 16, 2008, with Batch' 68 as one of the members of the organizing committee.  In view of this, we will have to make some adjustments on the planned activities of our batch for our ruby anniversary, as follows:

  • Feb. 15, 2008 (Friday) -  Batch '68 party

  • Feb. 16, 2008 (Saturday) - USTHS Alumni Homecoming (Grand Reunion)

  • Feb. 17, 2008 (Sunday) - Batch '68 Outing/Picnic

The venues for said activities will be announced later. 

We will arrange  optional tours for our balikbayan batch mates.  To our foreign-based batch mates, kindly inform us in advance of your preferred  places and activities for your optional tours.

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Initial Survey Results of Batch'68 Theme

April 16, 2007 We are publishing the initial survey results of the  response of various batch mates regarding the proposed batch theme for our 40th anniversary next year.  You can cast your vote using our Survey Form.

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USTHS Alumni Association Reborn

April 15, 2007 - We received the following e-mail from Leebai Esquivias-Gamboa , USTHS Class of '78, the Chairperson of the Organizing Committee for the 2008 Grand Alumni Homecoming:

"April 11, 2007 -
Dear Fellow Alumni,

The UST HighSchool Alumni Association has been reborn!

The USTHSAA is now officially registered with the SEC and is finally acknowledged as a legitimate organization.

As such, we the alumni, can now look forward to a more meaningful and visionary alumni association for the USTHS which will include such undertakings as charity works, scholarships, etc as well as an extraordinary Grand Alumni Homecoming every year.

The first official USTHS Convention is set for May 5, 2007 at the Audio Visual Room, 3rd floor, USTHS Building. Two (2) leaders from each batch are requested to come and represent their class.

The Grand Alumni Homecoming has been set for February 16, 2008. Mark your calendars now for a guaranteed night of fun, laughter, reminiscing and lots and lots of fellowship!

(Please pass this message on to other USTHS alumni).

Leebai Esquivias-Gamboa , Class of '78
Chairman
GAH '08 Organizing Committee"

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April Get-Together of SoCal Batch

April 12, 2007 - We received an Evite Invitation from Bing Macavinta regarding a planned April get-together of  SoCal Batch'68, details of which are as follows:

"Location:  Pinoy Bistro, 11305 183rd Street, Cerritos, CA

When:  Saturday, April 14, 7:30pm

Let's join together to welcome our newest member
Dolly Cunanan-Galang & hubby.
 

AND share your thoughts about our upcoming
2008 Grand Reunion in Manila.
Or just simply enjoy the night with us "

You can view the invitation at the Evite webpage.

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Update on Collections and Pledges for Our Ruby Anniversary

March 31, 2007  - We shall be giving a monthly update on the status of collections and pledges for our Ruby Anniversary in 2008.  You can view the details in our Plans for 40th webpage. 

For our batch mates who would like to contribute to the fund, you can remit your payment to the following account:

Name of Bank/Branch



 
:
 


 

Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom)
Corinthian Gardens Branch
Sanso St. Corinthian Gardens
Quezon City
 
Account Number : Savings Account No. 242-10-000357-4
Account Name : Elizabeth De Guzman or John Tan
Bank Code for Foreign Remittances :
 
CPHIPHMM

Kindly inform Baby Balatbat De Guzman of the deposit made so she can confirm your remittance. Her email address is ebg114@yahoo.com .

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Suggested Themes for our Ruby Anniversary

March 31, 2007 -  We have been receiving some suggestions on the theme for our ruby anniversary next year.  You can see the suggested themes in Plans for 40th web page.  You can also access the survey form which you can use to cast your vote for your preferred theme.

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Update on Our Reunion

March 12, 2007 -  We received  an e-mail from Bebet Gillera Gozun giving us an update on our ruby anniversary next year and the results of her recent meeting with the members of the USTHS Alumni Association.  You can read Bebet's e-mail in our Plans for 40th webpage.

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Technical Problems

March 10, 2007 - To all '68 batchmates and friends, we are presently encountering some technical problems in our website.  The message form in our guestbook as well as our directory form is not working.  Hence, if you would like to post a comment in our guestbook, kindly send an e-mail direct to lbuenviaje@tri-isys.com. (Please indicate in your e-mail if you would like to have your message published.) Also, to those who would like to have their profile added or amended, kindly send the info directly to lbuenviaje@tri-isys.com. Please bear with us.  We are doing our best to solve these problems.  Thank you for your cooperation.

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Mini Reunion for Merle & Jane

Feb. 19, 2007 - Batch'68 welcomed our balikbayan batch mate Merle Cruz Encarnacion and newly found batch mate Jane Fernandez to a lunch get-together at the Via Mare Oyster Bar in Greenbelt 3 last Saturday Feb. 17.  The early birds were Odette Wallace, who initiated the gathering and arranged the venue, Ernie Morales, who just flew in from L.A. a few days ago, Albert & Lorna Buenviaje, and Jun Tullao. When Jane Fernandez arrived, she was teary eyed to find her high school friends.  She was pleasantly surprised to see Ernie Morales who was her classmate in elementary at St. Mary's College in Quezon City.  Others arrived shortly thereafter - Bebet Gozun, Alice Yatco, Juliet Casis ( a first timer also, in terms of attendance of get-togethers), Renee' De Los Reyes Nolasco, Dr. John Pastores, Jess Samson and Gurmel Singh who came with some friends.    The group was happy to have Dr. John Pastores in their midst since he rarely has the time to attend the past get-togethers due to the demands of his work both as a doctor and hospital administrator.  John was a classmate of both Merle and Bong in medical school.  Another new found batch mate, Lourdes "Cherie" Mijares attended together with her son, who is a dead ringer for Piolo Pascual.  As usual, Don Mejia was one of the last to arrive  (that's  why we call him the late Don Mejia).

When Merle arrived with her husband (Dr. Cirilo "Bong" Encarnacion), she had difficulty recognizing some of her classmates - we're not sure whether its due to the improvement of their physical appearance since high school or was the deterioration that bad? (What's the verdict Merle?)  Those who saw Jun Tullao for the first time, especially the ladies, were really amazed at his metamorphosis from a short, dark-skinned, "ugly" boy (per Albert) into a tall, fair-skinned and handsome man (again per Albert).

Merle, who is a cardiologist based in New Jersey, usually comes to the country every year as part of a medical mission. She was our high school class valedictorian and was one of the few medical students who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the grueling grind of medical school.  Alice Yatco still remembers that way back in high school she and Merle who were part of the volleyball team would spend the entire afternoon after class practicing volleyball, and yet the following day, Merle was still able to come to class prepared for all the assignments and managed to top whatever  quiz or tests given that day.

It was an afternoon of non-stop reminiscing, jokes and laughter.  Everyone remembered with fondness the many parties hosted by Jane at their house in Dr. Lazcano in Quezon City.  Jun Tullao was among those who will eternally be grateful to Jane.  He recounted that in the very first high school party he attended, Jane was a very gracious hostess who welcomed him to the party and made him feel at ease.  Albert said that Jane's Dad, who is now 99 years old and still very active and mentally sharp, should be given a plaque of appreciation by our batch for the many parties that he paid for during our high school days.

After a hearty lunch of oysters, sinigang na tiyan ng bangus, an elixir of youth called binagoongang lechon kawali, puto't dinuguan, and lumpiang sariwa, the group still had room for dessert consisting of puto bumbong and bibingka served with salabat.  After the small talk, Merle very graciously found the time to look at the medical records of Jane, who is suffering from a heart ailment.  She gave Jane a second opinion on her health situation, based on her medical records.

Bebet Gozun took the opportunity to discuss with the group the proposed plans for the ruby anniversary next year.  As initial seed money for next year's activities, those present contributed a total of Pesos 6,500 and US$200 (in cash and check).  Please visit our Plans for 40th webpage for details of the plans for our ruby anniversary.

On behalf of all of those who attended the lunch get together, we would like to thank Odette Wallace for organizing the event, for taking care of  the venue, the food and other minute details like the seating arrangement and for going the extra mile just to make sure that everyone had a good time the entire afternoon.

We received the following e-mails from Jane Fernandez, regarding the said lunch get-together.  The said e-mails captured vividly the feeling of nostalgia and emotional ambiance that afternoon:

2/21/2007 - "The chance to be with some high school batchmates last Saturday, 17 February 2007 at Oyster Bar, Via Mare in Greenbelt 3, Makati City, I consider the best so far since graduating from UST High School, wayback in March CY1968. Although I still remember faces that I have not seen for several decades, I felt the excitement almost drove me to tears me seeing them, barely different from the last time, with the exception of Jun Tullao. It is really amazing and worth mentioning that I was still picturing him to be the small, dark and low-profiled guy then. But, he has now turned into someone bubbly, astute and must say pretty debonaire-looking. (I had to do this Jun because you were so generous in giving me compliments and can say attentive for me too, in that gathering.)

Anyrate, the presence of Ernie Morales is also something I feel special at that time, since I did not expect him to be gracing the occasion. Kudos goes to my former best friends, Odette K. Wallace and Lorna C. Buenviaje, who I know were both instrumental in putting up that meeting with Dra. Merle Cruz-Encarnacion and I, with the rest of the guys and gals there. Bebeth G. Gozun, who just came home a day before, from a meeting in Karachi, Pakistan came and it was also nice to see her once again. I can still remember her dainty mole in the face just below the lips. Alicia Yatco, Julieta Casis, Renee de los Reyes, Cherry Mijares whose faces never changed except to the added age. Same with John Pastores, Don Mejia, Gurmel Singh and Jess Samson.

The quips of Albert, Ernie and Jun contributed to the mirth, laughters in recollecting who's who and who used to be linked to who, including mentioning the many events that happened also, during those fun high school days. I remember well what Jun said then-that in a meeting such as that one, we are not who we are for the present, but who we were once-upon-a-time in 1968.

I like to thank everyone who came and joined Merle and I. Let me add that am looking forward to many occasions such as that one, not only to catch-up for the many times that I have not been present, but to join the camaraderie and take that nostalgia walk with batchmates 68. I miss you all really! Hugs!" - Jane Feliciano Fernandez

2/23/2007 - "This is an erratum and some additional postings I would like added please. I forgot to mention the presence of my dear, Kumpare, Albert Buenviaje from among those present last Saturday, 17 February '07, in my postings which I earlier submitted here, although I mentioned something about his good laughs and jokes in tandem, with Ernie Morales and Jun Tullao, during that special gathering. Pare, pasensiya na I overlooked that, but how could I ever forget you stole my best friend's heart, in fact married and stayed with her, through all these years, since our high school days...(winking)...Love you both and hugs!

Also, allow this gratitude conveyed to Merle, for patiently looking at and reading my medical catherization reports, and most especially for giving me the best boosters, since I got sick and from one true and honest cardiologist, saying that am not as bad as I felt and as I was made to believe, by my cardiologists here. Thank you very much for that, Merle. Hope to see you as well as you got to see me then, next year, when you return. Take care, please! Hugs!

Also, for Odette K. Wallace, I give my thanks for ably putting up that meeting with Merle and with the rest of those who came. Same with Lorna C. Buenviaje, thanks my Kumare. Love you both my best friends and hugs again!" - Jane Feliciano Fernandez
 

Here are some pictures of the get-together.  Please click the photo to view the enlarged version.

The early birds - Seated front: Jane Feliciano Fernandez and Ernie Morales; Standing (L-R) Jun Tullao, Lorna & Albert Buenviaje, Odette Ko Wallace

The ladies welcome Merle and Jane. L-R: Lorna Buenviaje, Renee De Los Reyes Nolasco, Alice Yatco, Juliet Casis, Odette Ko Wallace, Merle Cruz Encarnacion and Jane Feliciano Fernandez

Renee, Juliet and Merle catching up on the past 39 years or so.

Bebet, Odette and Jane doing the same thing.

Alice Yatco seems enthralled by Jun Tullao.

Albert Buenviaje welcomes Dr. Bong Encarnacion, Merle's husband.

Gurmel Singh joined the group of welcomers.

Bebet Gillera Gozun and Dr. John Pastores.

L-R: Albert & Lorna Buenviaje, Bebet Gillera Gozun, Dr. John Pastores, Jane Feliciano Fernandez & Odette Ko Wallace.

John, Merle & Ernie

Renee & Julie exchange some stories while Alice & Jun look on.

The long dinner table

The seating arrangement was intermingled between the girls and boys to ensure interaction.

The exchange of bantering continued while waiting for the food to be served.

L-R: John, Merle, Bong and Odette

Cherie Mijares, Gurmel Singh & Jess Samson

Bong, Odette & Cherie

Ernie, Bebet & John

Bebet took the opportunity to discuss plans for the ruby anniversary next year.

Ernie, John & Merle listen intently.

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Bebet Gozun among "Champions of the Earth"

February 2, 2007 -  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has named this year's "green leaders" of the world award, and our very own batch mate, Bebet Gozun bagged the recognition for the Asia-Pacific for her environmental advocacy.  Bebet takes her place alongside other awardees like former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, Jordan's Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, Algeria's Minister of Land Management and Environment Cherif Halafi Rahmani, Swedish Ambassador for the Environment Viveka Bohn, Brazilian Sen. Marina Silva and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.  These environment big shots are recognized by the UNEP for "bringing environmental issues to the forefront of political action".  It is with deep pride in our hearts that we congratulate Bebet for another laurel that she has added for our country.  Keep up the good work Bebet!!!  (To read the entire article on the said UNEP Award, please click here.)

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Lunch-Get Together to Welcome Merle & Jane

January 19, 2007 -  We received the following e-mail from Odette Wallace re: a planned lunch get-together to welcome our visiting balikbayan batch mate  - Dra. Merle Cruz Encarnacion and our new found batch mate - Jane Feliciano Fernandez.  Hereunder is Odette's e-mail:

1/19/2007 - "By this time you have put your ornaments in the storage, sent off the last overstaying relative, or you could just be getting ready to leave for the Philippines (if coming from abroad). If you are or will be in Manila on the 17th of February,2007 please mark your calendar for a luncheon at Via Mare, Rockwell, Makati, 1:00 pm. If you think a sundown drink will be better please say so and we can change venue. We would like to welcome Dra. Merle, in town from New Jersey and Jane, a newly discovered cruiser of our website. Merle was our valedictorian and Jane was the party kid next door, both section E girls. This will be fun so don’t miss it! Please text me for confirmation : 0916-382-1402. See you all and do spread the word around. " - Odette Wallace

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SoCal Batch Year-end Bash

Jan. 6, 2007 - "It was a beautiful and chilly evening as SoCal batch celebrated their last get together with a bang for the year 2006. The party was originally planned for a luncheon on the 31st, but was moved up instead to the 30th with a dinner. This was a short notice, so only a handful of the hardcore members attended the affair. Most of our batch mates had already made prior plans of going to Vegas or else where to welcome the New Year.

The attendees were Cesar Balbonin and wife, Chito (Armingol) Pangilinan ala Mr. My Way (buhay pa rin siya), Manny Tayag and wife, Ernie Morales, from the NorCal batch, Chito Cardenas ala Matt Multo (Portrait of my Love), Joey Bote, visiting from New York and Me (Nonoy Zuniga kuno).

The get together party was held at a restaurant- "Pinoy Bistro," in the beautiful city of Cerritos. Filipino dishes were plentiful. We asked our long lost guest from New York, Joey Bote of what he was craving for. He opted for "Lumpiang Sariwa". Of course the local boys ordered differently like kare kare, tenderized beef, sisig, laing, bangus, sinigang na baka to name a few.

A few hours later, Ernie and Chito C. arrived and of course the always generous and thoughtful Chito handed us CDs of the oldies but GOODIES. The highlights of the night were the renditions of songs from Chito P.(my way), Chito C. (Portrait of my love) and yours truly (Kumusta ka.)

Joey Bote was surprised to learn that the East Side batch had their first reunion initiated by Rey Protacio. I told him to check out our USTHS68 website for the latest updates and provide his biodata in the Profile section. REY, JOEY's CELL NO. is (646) 707-4711- so he can join in on your next reunion.

We stayed at the restaurant for a good 5 hours and everybody was suggesting for a private house next time around so we can act freely & can be more “kalog”. Present life and Good old days experiences were shared. It was almost 1:00 am when we broke up. I drove Joey to his crib in West Covina. Ernie drove Chito Cardenas home to Palos Verdes.

I guess this was one nice way to end the year and have a taste of SOCAL USTH68 BATCH hospitality. Everyone is welcome to visit us and our doors are always open. Please contact any of us: Bing Macavinta, Ernie Morales, Javier Omana and Cesar Balbontin. Our contact info is on the website." -
Javy Omaña

Here are the pictures shared by Javy.  Please click the pictures to view the enlarged version:

Chito P. survived after singing My Way.

Chito C. ala Matt Monroe, singing Portrait of My Love

Ernie M. listening intently to Joey Bote

Javy O. Bigay na Bigay

Joey B with Chito, Cesar and Wife

The two Chitos waiting impatiently for their turn to sing.

The newly weds - Manny Tayag and his wife

Joey B. with Manny Tayag and his wife


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Request for Prayers for Mrs. Victoria Cachola

January 5, 2007 -  We received the following e-mail from our batch mate Wilfred Yu, regarding the present health situation of our former high school teacher, Mrs. Victoria Cachola:

1/5/2007 - "This week, my aunt, Mrs. Cachola, our History teacher, was diagnosed with cancer which has spread to the bones, lungs and liver.  We do not know how much time she has remaining.  My cousins and her siblings decided not to undergo any chemotheraphy because she is 83 years of age.  Need your prayers for this one." - Wilfred Yu

Let us all pray for the healing and full recovery of Mrs. Cachola. 

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Copyright © 2007 UST High School Batch 1968