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Nellie Sonido Feng

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華商 ICCHS Class 74 a special place to be
by Nellie Sonido Feng   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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looking back to my high school days 1970-1974

February 25,2014
Today we celebrate my high school Alma Mater's ( HUASIONG) 102nd foundation day.

To my Class 74 batchmates who were not able to join our Class 74 reunion last week, I share this article which I wrote for our souvenir program.May you find time to be with us next time.

華商 ICCHS Class 74 ~ a special place to be
AMDG Nellie Sonido Feng 2014 Jan25

It is said that as long as someone remembers, those who have gone ahead still continue to exist, very much alive and well in the memory of those they left behind. It is also said that long after words we have spoken are forgotten, people could still remember how we made them feel.

I am not very good in remembering specifics but mentioning high school days never fail to stirr heart warming memories . I remember our girls safekeeping intermediate paper pads and pens and pencils of our boys and having it ready at hand for the boys to use when we have quizzes. I remember our boys ever willing to go down all the way to the ground floor canteen from the fourth floor to buy snacks specially sweet butong-butong in pink plastic wrappers for the girls. I remember the nicknames (bayabas, baluk,mansanas, quiapo ,macau, etc) and the endless laughter.

I belong to ICCHS Class 74. First year high school started in school year 1970-71 and fourth year ended in school year 1973-74. Dekada 70 as it was known was a period of leftist unrest in the Philippines. Iloilo City too, saw its share of demonstrations , protests and marches against the government . The bombing of Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila on August 21, 1971 shook the entire nation. My mother’s death , November 20 the year before, shook my little world more .

Political unrest during that time was a vague memory. What I do have was a vivid recollection of me standing in front of the class, clad in black , singing the lines from “Mother Song” , feeling warm, unconditional love and compassion from teacher and classmates as my voice cracked while I sang. That particular day, though I cried tears of a twelve year old girl trying to come into terms with the loss of a mother, I felt serenely safe, understood and accepted in that particular special place. I could laugh and be myself inside and outside the classroom.In the presence my classmates and friends of Class 74, I felt I truly belong.

Martial Law was declared on September 21, 1972, school took a long time to resume that year. It saw the compulsory issuance of school identification cards and we got used having a security guard posted at the school gate.

In 1973 , Vietnam war ended. It was also the school year where we were told that we need to prepare for the very first NCEE (National College Entrance Examination).. So we spent time studying , wrestling with English propensity, math, logic and science test questions. The stakes were high , we cannot enroll for college if we do not get a passing score . We were all at tenterhooks!

To top that, we were also the first group of CAT ( Citizen Army Training) cadettes. During training at a plaza somewhere , I could remember crawling the muddy grassy grounds . I also recall learning to dismantle and assemble the garand rifle.

Class 74 have our own share of beautiful faces, beautiful minds, talented artistic performers , natural born leaders and authentic achievers.

We have a supportive English supervisor in the person of Mrs. Jajurie Go who made sure we know in no uncertain terms how she believed in our potentials.

We have a firm and caring Dean of Discipline Mr. Ty Engliong who molded us to be responsible and accountable young people .

We have teachers who mentored us ( Ms. Macalalag, Mrs. De Pili, Ms. Hechanova,Ms. Amparado, Ms. Pama, Mrs.Manua, Ms.Hover, Mrs.Antonio ,Mr.Celis etc.) the best way they know how.

We were fearless and adventurous, we made it possible to travel to Kalibo and join the Ati-atihan festivities before graduation .

We were products of Huasiong, we believe in ourselves and we were eager to conquer college, then the world!

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Reviewed by Ronald Hull
Wonderful read. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to attend my 50th reunion from high school. My classmates had not changed, they had just gotten older. In 1978 on my trip around the world, I stopped in Manila for four days and toured on two of them. I was struck by the beauty of the people I met and their openness. There was some concern about Marcos and I could see why, but the times were quite peaceful and enjoyable. Currently I have a Filipina tenant in my house. She is a bit younger than you, having graduated high school and gone to college in the 1980s.

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