27 Jan Revive @ XXV
(Speech of ICA Batch 1994 Homecoming Chairperson, Mrs. Sophia Echauz Chua)
Bishop Jaucian, ICA President Sr. Irene Ferrer, MIC Regional Director MIC Sisters, ICAAA
President Julie Sy, dear teachers, all ICA Alumnae, dear family and friends, Good Afternoon!
I’m standing before you as Homecoming Chair but really I got this title because, while many of
my batchmates were willing to put in the work, I think no one wanted to give a speech like this
(on top of the audacious stuff that they make the homecoming chair do). So it’s as the
representative of the Aztecs batch that I am sharing this message.
The homecoming seems like some rites of passage for midlife. At this age, we are dealing with
grey hairs and the demands of ordinary life. My goals are now to simply be a decent mom to
happy and healthy daughters, a good child to my amazing parents, a nice wife and a
contributing member of society. The demands of simply trying to not fail in those ordinary
things can set on a weariness like a low-grade fever. Do you feel that way, or was it just me?
And here comes homecoming. And it comes at a genius time. It first seems like a demanding
and thankless job. But more than that, it was the perfect experience to conjure up the
capabilities, the love, and the joy that has been inside me since I was little ICA student, happy
and muddy, playing patintero in the grade school covered court. When we were young and
hadn’t learned much about limits, we had infinite energy, laughter and generosity. And
homecoming allowed us to feel that again. So today’s homecoming is entitled REVIVE@25. I
hope it resonates with all the celebrants as it did for us – Revive – to regain life, consciousness
or strength. To give new strength or energy.
This road to homecoming allowed us to receive and give this renewed energy because we
encountered inspiring people along the way. We got to know more of the MIC sisters during
the blessing of the newly constructed MIC Wellness Center. And dear Sr. Regie promised us
that if we ever had a fight with our husbands, we could run to her and stay in one of the rooms!
Remember that ladies! In the meantime, our single batchmates, natakot naman maging close
kina sister. Nirerecruit daw sila! Please give them a chance to find The One. But jokes aside
every time we speak or visit with one of the sisters, especially Sr. Irene, Sr. Nancy and Sr. Violy,
there is always some nugget of wisdom and peace sprinkled in our conversation. And for all our
bungisngis, we do remember and keep your words, Sisters! They are not wasted on us.
Our dear teachers are with us today too. In the efforts, to track them, which we credit to our
liaison Beverly who hunted them down, occasionally sold ICA Seiko watch to them, and then
shared with us her updates on our dear ICA teachers. In the process, we got to reminisce about
all the wonderful memories and lessons with them. We look forward to having a fellowship
with you very soon!
We also got to know our co-celebrants! What a bibo group of ladies – From the first graduates
of ICA batch 1954 setting the bar, with Achies Deanna, Elena, Emelita and Pacita, batch 1959,
batch 1964, batch 1969 Golden Jubilarians Chrysolites and Pearlie and their sexy legs, batch
1974 The Rookies but should be called “The Professionals” and should be entered into Asia’s
Got Talent, batch 1979 Palakas with super lakas sisterhood, some coming in from the province
to join practice, batch 1984 Whistlers who add a very classy, big sisterly touch to our group,
batch 1989 ProGens funny, crazy and helpful, batch 1999 Cozacks talented little sisters, batch
2004, 2009 Syntrix and 2014 Phoenix the versions 2.0 of all ICAns (we know they will rule the
world someday soon). We didn’t even realize that we hit the homecoming jackpot when we
graduated in 1994 into this group of jubilarians! Exactly last year in this chapel during the
turnover ceremony from the preceding batch to us, the Progens achies whispered to us –
you’re lucky, we have a great group of co-celebrants. And how true!! We also had the pleasure
of spending time with our immediate little shobes The Falcons 1995. With their positivity and
capabilities, we know they will do well as the next homecoming hosts. We got to know you all
during practices and we could not help but marvel at how each group is so game, and full of
enjoyment and dancing prowess! We see the strong school spirit, the solidarity and strength of
femininity watching you let loose and have fun. You make us want to be better. You are all
great role models and girl goals for us!
And finally, the most precious gift that this homecoming has given the Aztecs – our
reconnection and time with each other. I cannot even begin to talk about how this group has
something very special. Our high school days were spent with our neat little groups and
sections unshuffled for all of 4 years. We graduated and went on our own paths –keeping
touch with only our close-knit barkadas.
Five years ago, we took the first steps to prepare for the homecoming. We had 3 ladies to
represent each of the 4 sections. That is how we formed our Core Group. And what a privilege
it was to work with these hardworking, excellent and thoughtful ladies! Effie, Ivy, Rose, Ana,
Wendy, Pam, Patty, Lala, Candice, Kim and my Co-Chair, tagapatay ng sunog, magician super
capable sometimes scary Nikki Ng. It was the first time for some of us to even converse with
each other. So our relationship was primarily a working relationship. Our goals? For the
reconnecting our batch and producing a homecoming that we were to host in 5 years. We’ve
been together for 5 years and thankfully friendships were formed during our late nights of
planning, coordinating and working.
The work of the core group was made rewarding because the batch was receptive and quick to
volunteer. With every activity, the Aztecs would pitch in whatever they could, one’s physical
help, one’s creativity, one’s connections, one’s purchasing powers of our many products and
other resources. Together we have bathed in the dust of garage sale items or baked in the sun
of golf fun holes or drowned in lootbag items for our movie premiers. I counted and we
launched 20 projects together including 3 reunion dinners. Golf tournaments, movie
screenings, Kdee’s jewelry, CD’s art work, Seiko watches (last few pieces!), garage sales, art
fest, portraits, water bottles and pillows. The Aztecs put in so much work – and it was all
voluntary, save for the P2000 pesos that we requested from each one to get started. And in the
past year, we have revived our friendships and the spirit of sisterhood just like high school.
On the road to homecoming, we all surprised ourselves with our personal strengths – be it
organizing skills especially for the committee heads and project heads, dancing talent, coaching
gifts, boundless energy, and big big caring hearts! And the demands of putting up a
homecoming – practices after work and for the committee heads, even more work. I would
always wonder where we would get our energy especially the past few weeks leading to today.
But somehow we were keeping to our tag line #ICANBreakBarriers.
In the past weeks, our batch chats have been filled with, not only super funny messages, but
also loving and encouraging words for each other even from those overseas. From out of the
woodwork, help would come in whether for a batchmate’s personal needs or for whatever the
batch needed. In our recent practices, there was so much love flowing among us –natural
energy-boosting juices, words of encouragement, physical therapy sessions, bus driver services,
delicious food, the contraband drinks, custom fit clothes, gifts for each other’s kids, and simply
the hug and the smile that says “I’m so happy that you are here.” We had food for our bellies
and food for our souls by just being together and feeling connected. The Aztecs batch was able
to harness such reviving energy from the flow of the giving and receiving of love. That is one of
the most powerful thing about us ladies – that we can say I Love You, whether in words or in
many other ways.
In our chats and the past recollection, I kept hearing how lucky we all felt to be put in ICA and in
particular, in our batch with each other. I feel the same way and I could not be more thankful
to God. As Sr. Irene reminded us last Saturday, she said -it’s good to connect with each other
and to the One Source. God truly is the source of everything. All blessings, especially the gift of
our sisterhood, is from Him. All glory and praise for Him the One True Source of everything
that’s good. Thank you!