"Your friends from high school are the friends you'll have for life." Heard this many times and more and more this is becoming truer than ever before. The bond among high school friends are simply stronger than the bond(s) we make with our college friends or office friends. During high school, we grow up together, we all went to the same movies, enjoyed the same music, walked down the same hallways, endured the same hitlerite professors and savored the same good old cafeteria cooking.
We have grown from boys to seniors in high school.
That is why we always make it a point to try our best to attend the annual alumni homecoming at the Ateneo de Naga scheduled yearly without fail on the 30th of December. And for the 2015 celebrations dubbed Ateneo @75, we were in for a treat as one of the homecoming activities was a fun run.
We have the leadership of AdeNubenta, the silver jubilarians and sponsoring batch of the alumni homecoming, to thank for having a fun run included in the list of homecoming actvities. This is not so every year. A fun run is actually a rarity given that alumni homecomers would go for rather more bacchanalian pursuits. But with a marathoner, Mhentz Manaog, at the helm of AdeNubenta and the Ateneo de Naga General Alumni Association, the die was cast for the homecoming fun run.
Our Ateneo de Naga HS Batch 1983 was excited about the Dec 30 fun run. It comes in the heels of our launching of the Balik Alindog Program (BAP) wherein we encourage our batch members to engage in an active exercise lifestyle, be it biking, swimming, trekking, walking or running. We even celebrated the BAP with a batch mass at the Ateneo de Naga chapel last Dec 28. And after the mass, there was a get-together at the Flamingo Hostel.
|The 83neans listening intently to the homily of classmate Fr. Alex Badiola, S.J. at the Dec 28 Batch Mass.|
It was at this Flamingo Hostel that preparations for the Dec 30 fun run was discussed by those present. It was agreed that Batch 83 will send two of its strongest runners, Bob and Ric, to participate in the longer Ateneo 4 Pillars to Pacol and back which was measured at 16 kms. The rest of the 83neans, more than a dozen, pledged to tackle the 5kms by any means necessary, mostly walking actually. To made sure everyone are in the same page, a piece of paper with our names on it was signed individually by all those who committed. Thus was born the Flamingo Manifesto.
|Lively discussion at the Flamingo Hostel. The Debate: To Run or Not To Run.|
|Signing the Flamingo Manifesto|
|Twenty One 83neans signed up.|
Admittedly, many of those batchmates who signed had more than a bottle of beer already plus a pair of Fundador were all consumed by the time the Flamingo Manifesto was signed. So there was some doubts if those who signed would be at the starting line come Dec 30. A 50% attendance would have been considered better than expected.
Alas, come 5am of Dec 30, as I parked my trusty Montero, I was delightfully surprised to see more than a dozen 83neans already limbering about in the shadow of the iconic Ateneo 4 Pillars. All 83neans were garbed in the green BAP shirts. Plus, they were accompanied by our friends from row5runnin and and newly-founded Team Parakito.
All in all, there were 22 members of our batch that joined the Homecoming Fun Run. Definitely more than 50% of the number that signed the Flamingo Manifesto. Definitely more than 100% of signatories. Let me enumerate the names of the 83neans who honored their word: Epok Dacudao, Tox Llesol, Omar Mercurio, Joseph Dimabayao, Gil Guerrero, Enzo Cuyo, Ronel Gascon, Allen Tolledo, Alex Badiola, Art Abonal, Ruel Tolosa, Bob Castilla, Ric Lozano, Ipe Fabricante, Eymard Gomez, Jose San Jose, Enrico Inigo, Jojo Ibay, Alex Bailey, Ferdinand Reyta, Herbert Corpuz and the Bicolano Penguin. These are all honorable classmates.
More than the numbers, the quality of their participation got us all happy. Not many are used to running or walking for 5 kms. There was one 83nean who had to postpone in the morning a few deliveries of his softdrinks business. There was another 83nean who joined the run walk despite nursing a fever. There was an 83nean who was celebrating a wedding anniversary on that day, bringing with him his wife to the fun run. We persevered together The 83nean participants in the 5km all finished together. The photos would tell the story.
|At the starting line, there were more 50 year olds than younger ones.|
|We started the 5km run-walk with our Ateneo Marching Song - "Fron Isarog through Bicol Land to lofty Mayon Peak..."|
|"Our flag is carried flying high in vic'try or defeat."|
|" And never have we furled it yet in spite of foemen's might,"|
|"We'll cheer our men unto the end, we'll cheer them as they fight."|
|"Here's Ateneo Marching Song, we sing of victory, from boyhood days and manhood years, high shall our purpose be.".|
|"Regnum Dei is our cry, our fame and glory too, We'll fight and win or fight and die. Ateneo for God and you."|
|Marino, the fastest 16km runner, caught us 5-km 83neans just before we reach the Penafrancia parish church.|
|Rejoicing in front of the Penafrancia Parsh Church as we are more than halfway the 5km route.|
|The March of a Band of Brothers|
|Son and Father|
|We can see the 4 Pillars.|
|Time to show...|
|...our running prowess.|
|But alas, Bob, who ran 16 kms, finished ahead of the 5-km 83neans.|
|We all finished together.|
|Time for that traditional 4 Pillars photo. The 83neans were joined by AdeNubenta leader Mhentz.|
Such was the euphoria we felt in reaching the campus together. It made the picture taking in front of the 4 Pillars more meaningful. The morning of Dec 30 was full of celebration of the camaraderie we all had in our high school years.
In the coming yearly alumni homecoming(s) in our alma mater, we wish that a homecoming fun run be a regular fixture. Already the chances of a fun run in the 2017 alumni homecoming looks to be higher as the sponsoring batch for that year - Batch 92 - is also is becoming a batch of runners. Just like AdeNubenta. Just like the 83neans.
|Fellow row5runner Eng with Batch 92 classmates.|
Bumabalik na ang alindog sa kadakulan.