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USTHS Batch'68 Supports Gawad Kalinga

November 3, 2005 - As part of its outreach activity, the UST High School Batch of '68 will be donating one house for the Gawad Kalinga project site located near Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City.  Gawad Kalinga is a project spearheaded by the Couples for Christ, a Christian family renewal ministry whose aim is to bring families back to the plan of God.  Gawad Kalinga 777, or GK 777 for short, envisions 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years. GK 777  was formally launched last Oct. 4, 2003 and the target date for delivery of the 700,000 homes  is 7 years from Oct. 4, 2003, that is on Oct. 4, 2010.  The Couples for Christ is supported in this project by a host of partners from different sectors of society, local government units, civic organizations, schools and parishes, professionals and the simply concerned. GK777 aims not only to build houses but more importantly, communities whose members are made aware of their human dignity and are given the chance to have decent lives.  While there is still very much to be done, GK has enkindled hope in the hearts of the poor, as it has mobilized various sectors of society to a common goal - that of lifting up our distressed brothers and sisters from filthy despair in the slum areas.

Our batch President, Don Mejia, has sent the following e-mail regarding this activity:
     "Our batch will be donating initially one house for GK located near Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City, thru the initiative of Bebet Gozun. Last Oct. 8, 2005 at the birthday celebration of John Tan, they thought of pursuing this idea which was discussed in one of the fellowship meetings at Ricky Yatco's residence. Right then and there, they were able to raise enough seed money for the upcoming donation. Gurmel Singh responded by donating also $200.00. Other batchmates from the States expressed some interest too.
     This Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005 the group will meet at McDonalds at the corner of Mindanao Avenue and North Avenue at 9:45 in the morning and will proceed to the GK site to inspect the project site and make the formal offer to Gawad Kalinga. The cost of one house in GK amounts to P50,000. We have raised more than the required amount. This is the reason why we said initially, mayroon pang kasunod!!!
     Then the group after the GK formalities will continue their fellowship at the residence of Ricky Yatco in Mayon St. for Ricky's birthday celebration.
     Please join us in this outreach program. You are cordially invited to participate!!!" - Don Mejia

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2004 Soup Kitchen and Get-Together in Ricky's Place

Dec. 31, 2004 - In honor of our late batchmate Benny Guidote, who inspired our very first outreach activity in 2003, our batchmates have committed to hold an annual soup kitchen to share our blessings with others. For 2004, the soup kitchen was held last Dec. 30 at around 2:00 pm at the multi purpose gym inside the premises of the Sta. Teresita Church in Mayon, Quezon City. This is the same church where the memorial mass for Benny was held sometime last July 2004. The parish priest, Father Monching, who officiated during the said mass requested that our batch's soup kitchen for 2004 be held in his parish to help most of his underprivileged parishioners.

     About 100 children from the depressed areas around the parish were able to participate in the soup kitchen. The children were served chicken arroz caldo and orange juice. Our batch group proudly wearing their white collar shirts with USTHS '68 logo, again distributed buckets of groceries to each indigent family. We were lucky to have with us some nuns from the Sisters of Mercy in Victoria Homes, Muntinlupa, who were invited by Odette. They sang Christmas carols to the children. (Note: These nuns were the ones who were willing to accommodate Benny to live with them when our batchmates brought him there sometime January 2003. Sadly, Benny declined to be uprooted from the streets of Retiro, Q.C.)

     As usual, the group took the opportunity to again have a pot luck get-together at Ricky Yatco's place (which is actually a multi-storey building) beside the church. It was an afternoon filled with good food, laughter, retro music, exchange of stories, gift-giving, etc. The Sisters of Mercy nuns again serenaded the group with Christmas carols. Those present generously gifted the nuns with some cash donations to help the various projects of the sisters and about 20 buckets of goodies for the elderly and the homeless in their Bahay Kalinga project in Ermita, Manila. And as though not satisfied with the generous soup kitchen and gift giving, some batchmates also had prepared presents for each other. What a generous bunch! Sana Christmas palagi.

     Our Class'68 Alumni Association President, Don Mejia, took the opportunity to inform the batch of some important matters like the forthcoming UST High School Grand Alumni Homecoming on February 26, 2005 and encouraged everyone to attend. He also announced our new website address at http://www.usths68.com and urged our batchmates to visit our website and send in their profiles. Baby Balatbat De Guzman, the association's treasurer, reported on the batch's financial position. That afternoon, the group tentatively agreed on the date for the 40th (Ruby) anniversary - to be held on December 30,2008 to accommodate our balikbayan batchmates who usually go home to visit their relatives during the Christmas season. Our batchmate, Danny Diy, has graciously agreed to again have the venue at Petron Plaza. (Note: We have announced this in our news update and hope to get the feedback of our foreign-based batchmates on the proposed date, which is Dec. 30,2008.)

     Again, we wish to acknowledge the support of our batchmates who generously gave their time, effort and funds to ensure the success of the various activities of our batch. There were 9 ladies and 19 gentlemen who set aside their pre-new year preparations to attend the soup kitchen and get together. The ladies are Baby Balatbat De Guzman (who ordered and brought the chicken arroz caldo), Odette Ko Wallace (who braved the Divisoria Christmas shopping crowd to buy the buckets of groceries for give aways), Offie Ramirez Lanto, Fe Cristobal Raval together with her niece Janice Cristobal and daughter Alla who also invited her friends Maris and Aileen Clemente, President of Rajah Travel Corporation, (they all donated juice drinks, toothpaste and toothbrushes for the indigents and generously helped in the soup kitchen), Letty Banzon Tecson, Evelyn Del Rosario Laurel (who gave plenty of tasty bread), Lorna Cayas Buenviaje, Tessa Sierra, and Wilma Bautista Domingo. The gentlemen who attended were Ricky Yatco (who again made his house open for our get-togethers), Don Mejia, Danny Diy, Jun Tullao, Albert Buenviaje, Jimmy Tan (who brought his beautiful wife Celia, a USTHS Class'67 batch who helped in the soup kitchen) [Note to Jimmy: Nagtataka talaga kami pano ka nagka- asawa ng maganda, ahem, Jim boyish look ka pa din huh, you have no white hair till now dahil ba sa use of extra virgin coconut oil!!], Ed Alimagno, (who donated a sack of rice), Bach Cuyugan (who brought bottles of mineral water both for the children and for the get-together), Alfredo De Jesus (our generous balikbayan batchmate from Las Vegas), Alex Noda, Plut Cardenas, Pete Dobles, Albert Sy, Tony Velasco, Peter So, John Tan (who came with his wife and adorable kid, John Jr.), Caloy Corsiga, Jorge Tadena and Manny Villafuerte (the honorary member of Batch'68). To all those who brought the mouth-watering food - Ofie for the pancit bijon, Odette for the Singaporean chili crabs and Malaysian tofu with curry, Baby B. for the salisbury steak and St. Cinnamon coffee, Lorna for the lengua and roast beef, Bebot for the pakbet and ampalaya salad, Caloy for the steamed shrimps, Peter So for the fried chicken, Danny Diy, Manny Villafuerte, Bach Cuyugan for the drinks, others for the spaghetti and fruits... thank you for adding inches in our waist lines.

     We also would like to thank the following: Plut Cardenas who risked a flat tire by loading 100 buckets and 10 cases of canned goods (two trips) in his little car from Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa to Mayon, Quezon City; Manuel Manuel, Don Mejia, Plut Cardenas, Ricky Yatco's family and staff who helped in packing the goodies and Bebet Gozun who donated packs of instant noodles and all those who helped to make this a success and other anonymous donors who contributed cash donations. Special thanks also to the following batchmates for monitoring an orderly soup kitchen and gift giving - Offie Ramirez Lanto, Letty Banzon Tecson, Evelyn Del Rosario Laurel, Baby Balatbat De Guzman, Odette Wallace, Fe Cristobal Raval, Tessa Siera, Tony Velasco, Pete Dobles, Jun Tullao, Bach Cuyugan, Jimmy Tan and his wife Celia, Albert and Lorna Buenviaje.

     WHITE COLLAR T SHIRTS with Class '68 logo are still available at P150 each. Fredo De Jesus bought 6 very nice shirts for P900 but paid $100 and donated the rest to the batch fund.

      Here are some pictures of the soup kitchen and the get-together.

From left to right: Don Mejia, Fe Cristobal Raval, Letty Banzon Tecson and Odette Ko Wallace

Our batchmates proudly wearing the class'68 t-shirt. From left to right: Baby Balatbat De Guzman, Evelyn Del Rosario Laurel, Fe Cristobal Raval, Danny Diy, Lorna Cayas Buenviaje, Ofelia Ramirez Lantoand Albert Buenviaje

Tessa Sierra surveying the children to be fed.

Fred de Jesus (our balikbayan batchmate from Las Vegas), Odette Ko Wallace and Jun Tullao. At the background are the Sisters of Mercy.

From Left to Right: Jimmy Tan, Danny Diy, Jun Tullao and Albert Sy

The nuns from the Sisters of Mercy singing Christmas carols to the children.

The first batch of children who were fed. Feeding was done in batches of 30 children per group.

Jun Tullao and Odette Wallace handing pails of groceries to the children with Jimmy Tan.

Jun Tullao calling for reinforcements with help from Odette Wallace and Ofelia Ramirez Lanto.

Bach Cuyugan and Tessa Sierra manning the line of children waiting for their turn to get their Christmas give-aways.

Oh, pare-pareho lang ang laman niyan. Walang lamangan. (Jimmy Tan, Odette Wallace, Jun Tullao, Letty Banzon Tecson and Bach Cuyugan handing the Christmas giveaways to the children.)

Teka!! Kasali ba kayo dito? (From left to right: Odette Wallace, Jun Tullao, Don Mejia and Bach Cuyugan)

Don Mejia and Wilma Bautista Domingo taking a short respite.

The Sisters of Mercy rendering some Christmas Carols to Class'68.

Hmm...sayang ang gaganda pa naman ng mga madreng ito. (Seated - Alex Noda, Standing from left to right: Danny Diy, Tony Velasco and Albert Buenviaje)

Seated: Back: Pete Dobles; Front: Bach Cuyugan, Fred De Jesus and Alex Noda; Standing: Don Mejia and Peter So

Listening intently to the Christmas carols of the Sisters of Mercy. (Front: Odette Wallace: Back: Evelyn Del Rosario, Jun Tullao, Pete Dobles and Don Mejia)

Some of the pretty ladies of Batch '68. (From left to right: Wilma Bautista Domingo, Tessa Sierra, Fe Cristobal Raval, Letty Banzon Tecson and Ofelia Ramirez Lanto)

Mouth-watering food!!! (The boys observed that most of the ladies were fond of bananas, which you can see prominently displayed on the buffet table.)

Standing (left to right): Albert Buenviaje, Danny Diy, Alex Noda

Seated: Jimmy Tan and Ed Alimagno

Standing: Ricky Yatco; Seated (left to right) Don Mejia, Manny Villafuerte, Peter So, Plut Cardenas (partially hidden) and Fredo De Jesus

Tessa Sierra (the face that refreshes) with the batch '68 boys.

Baby Balatbat De Guzman catching up with Bebot Bautista Domingo, while the boys at the back are making papogi..

Danny Diy, Fe Cristobal Raval, Letty Banzon Tecson and Odette Wallace


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2003 Soup Kitchen and Christmas Party

December 23, 2003 - At about lunchtime of Dec. 22, 2003, the UST High School Batch of 1968 sponsored a soup kitchen, feeding about 250 homeless and indigent families in the vicinity of Lourdes Church in Retiro, Quezon City. One of them is our own batchmate Benedict Guidote. We served chicken arroz caldo and menudo roll. Afterwards, we gave each family, plastic buckets full of basic goodies like rice, canned goods, sardines, noodles, soap, cooking oil, etc. In our small way, we were able to bring Christmas cheers to our brethren.  

    Tessa Sierra, Odette Ko Wallace, Offie Ramirez Lanto, Fe Cristobal, Lorna Cayas Buenviaje and Baby Balatbat De Guzman took charge of the feeding and distribution of Christmas packages. We also acknowledge the invaluable help of Ricky Yatco who took charge of buying and packing the giveaways, and Bach Cuyugan who brought the utensils and drinking water.

    After the outreach, we held our pot-luck Christmas party and fellowship at the Lourdes Church parish center. Those who attended were Ronnie Galang, Nestor Pete Dobles, Ed Tameta, Peter So, Benjamin Ang together with his wife, sister in law and a lady friend Jo,, Ed Adriatico, Jun (Tereso) Tullao., Vicente Cuyugan, Manny Manuel, Gurmel Singh, Don Mejia, Ricky Yatco and wife Effie, Manny Villafuerte, Albert Buenviaje, Carlos Corsiga with his son and daughter, niece and nephew, Benedict Guidote, Odette Ko, Teresa Sierra, Baby Balatbat, Ofelia Lanto, Fe Cristobal, Ella Macaraeg and her son. and Lorna Cayas Buenviaje. WE HAD FUN AND DANCING. The party lasted from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    We would like to thank our friends especially our honorary member Manny Villafuerte and batchmates for the all-out support they have willingly extended to this outreach project. We brought Christmas cheers to Benny Guidote and touched even for a brief while many other poor homeless people around Lourdes Parish in Sta Mesa Heights, Quezon City.

    The group decided to institutionalize this outreach activity. We are thinking of doing this every quarter in different areas. We are even thinking of creating a foundation to handle the outreach programs of Batch '68.

Highlights of the Soup Kitchen in Pictures
(Please click the pictures to enlarge.)

Ofie Ramirez Lanto and Fe Cristobal manning the soup kitchen.

Baby and Odette serving arroz caldo.

Tessa insisting that everyone finish their food or else....

Some of the families fed during the soup kitchen

Yummy....Can we have some more please?

Pails of goodies given away to each family by Odette.

Highlights of the Christmas Party in Pictures

His Royal Highness, Bach Cuyugan giving his blessings to his two loyal subjects, Albert & Jun.

Group Picture

Chow time.

Photo session with Benny Guidote.

Odette trying to convince Benny to dance.

Benny and Odette hitting the dance floor.

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Copyright 2007 UST High School Batch 1968