12 Feb Our Moment in Time
By: Kathryn Tantiansu Feliciano
This may sound like a cliché, but when our batch got together to start organizing for our silver jubilee, high school graduation seemed like just a year ago. We could still remember that day in 1992 when we were walking in our white gowns and togas, side by side–giddy, excited, anxious, wanting the practices to be over but enjoying the free days and the company. A few days later, it was, indeed, time to leave, and we wished we could relive the “good ol’ days” or spend a little more time together. Lines from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” came into mind: “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, (we) doubted if (we) should ever come back.” College led to work, some started families, some went abroad. Those good ol’ days were simply memories, and despite efforts to stage reunions yearly, we knew it was never going to be the same.
So, when meetings for the homecoming began, the Shrikers were again giddy, excited, anxious, but this time, relishing each moment, knowing from experience that it would be for a limited period. It was like our regular lives were put on hold, and all energies were directed towards one goal. We realized how much we missed each other, and we made the most out of the opportunity.
We heard all kinds of stories about other batches who worked on their homecoming, and the one rule that was laid down right from the beginning was to respect each other. This extended to genuinely welcoming every person who came in, listening to all ideas and suggestions, following the vote of the majority, asking for opinions, and considering each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It was refreshing to see how 25 years have matured us (although–and our teachers will surely agree–we were known to be a “good batch”).
Technology made communication easier with mobile chat applications. And, just like being back in ICA, we would talk before, during, and after meetings, and the conversations would continue in the chat groups long after. Even at present, we haven’t run out of stories and the interest to share and listen to them.
It was remarkable to note how the Core Group became one unit as the meetings progressed and time went by. With Trixie Suaco-Manuel at the helm, the members were like the arms of a Hindi god, acting as one body. But what made it even better was that we all had a wealth of ideas and talent. Each member contributed something unique, something necessary, and something useful that one only had to express what needed to be done for someone else to jump in and volunteer a solution. The collaboration was impressive, and the cooperation was unprecedented. And because nothing happens by chance, the Gospel for the anticipated Sunday Mass was “The Parable of the Talents”. Whether we had 5, 2, or 1 talent, we gave it our all.
We began rehearsing for our performance in August. In the beginning, our little group fit in small dance studios, but in the end, we filled out the Providence Hall and the DTASC stage. It was fun to observe how we transformed from shy, reserved, and, admittedly, bad dancers to confident, carefree, and well, passable performers. Of course, it took much prodding from our young (read: millennial) but very capable (and patient!) instructor, Mikki de Mesa (from the award winning dance group Addlib), and pep talks from Trixie and our resident batch dancer (and head of Sponsorhip) Jayjay Onrubia-Puno, whose famous line is, “I don’t need good dancers; I only need committed ones.” On homecoming night, we put our costumes, girdles, and our game faces on and set our fears and insecurities aside.
Our main header, #BALicanNATIN, was a call to come home with us. It was a call to everyone, no matter where in the world you were, to come back to ICA. After 25 years of being away, we were eager to revisit our alma mater and our past. This spawned a second theme: #grateful. Looking at and into ourselves, we wanted to convey our gratitude to the school that helped mold us, the teachers who influenced our minds, the administrators who protected us, the staff who completed the environment where we always felt comfortable, the parents who supported us throughout, and the other students we interacted with and learned from in our 13 years of stay. We were also grateful to have each other, for the friendships that withstood time, and the for the new ones we made because of this event. By putting it into action, we realized the truth of Mother Delia’s spirituality that joy is rooted in gratitude.
This is why–and we hope it shone through–we tried to execute the homecoming of our dreams. We wanted this not just for ourselves, but for the MIC sisters, our teachers, the staff and maintenance, our fellow alumnae, the students, and our parents and families. Every detail was given attention. Each decision was careful, thoughtful, and considerate: from putting adequate tissue rolls and soap in the restrooms to using a service vehicle for the elderly to be transported from the dining area down to the DTASC, arranging Instagrammable sets all around ICA, serving food that would satisfy our guests’ stomachs and palates (prepared by the award-winning staff of The Creamery ℅ our batchmate, Michelle Chang-Co), giving not just regular ang pao to our teachers and ICA staff and maintenance but big red envelopes decorated and calligraphed (containing gifts from our batchmates and not only money), posting a printed seat plan for the Mass, and even acknowledging all the ICA batches on flags outside the DTASC.
Fr. Francis Alvarez, our youthful but profound Mass presider and recollection master, provoked us with his homily: while we were there for “remembering, reconnecting, and rejoicing” (our recollection theme), we must also ask ourselves why–why we put in the effort, why we gave as much as we could (and more), why we allowed this affair to disturb our already busy lives. We proved both his proffered reasons right: because in giving more, we get more, and giving is joyful. Our lives have been made richer and more meaningful by the experience and the strength of our friendship. The years have given us the wisdom to appreciate these lessons, and we thank God for the opportunity to put them into practice.
We hope we have inspired everyone to #BALicanNatin and to be #grateful.