By Joe Espiritu
There was a Grand Reunion of the Central Visayan Institute Alumni Association the recent week. This was attended by expats from the US particularly from the East Coast, West Coast and Texas. We can boast of having one from Europe. Do not count out Antiocho – did we spell his name right? – Lloren. He came from Europe but settled here for good. The rest were made up with locals, the famous near famous and not so famous. And the bums, yours truly included.
Anyway, we should have had a sign on the Jagna Gym entrances paraphrasing (shades of Mrs Maria C Pajo) the sign to Dante's Inferno "Abandon all titles and honors all ye who enter here". This means forget who you are now, be what you were before, a student wrestling with syntax, despairing over physics experiments or trying to speak Tagalog with a Pangasinense accent. But it would be no need. No one was putting on airs... That is the CVI spirit.
We could not say we had full attendance. This cannot really be attained. When the prewar alumni were called, the ranks were empty. There were few who answered for the 45 to 48 alumni call. When the 49 attendance was called we were surprised that only one hand was raised. Ours. Rip Van Winkle – er – Melquiades Abrea is still around but perhaps sleeping. Also Juaning Galagar Caseñas but she forgot her Skelan. She did not attend
As for the rest of our class we could either point to Pangas or the great cross in Kota, or to heaven for those buried out of town like Justice Bernardo Salas. And Magdaleno Rangas. They all have RIP after their names. We would not like to have the letters DOM on their crosses or tombstones. They were clean living citizens when alive not Dirty Old Men. Besides we have ladies among us too. After the 49 call there were again voices who answered.
The CVI had come a long way. She had graduated the greats, not so greats average Joes, the mediocre, goats and bums. Presently, the bums were gone; they were a dying breed when the Drs Bernido took over. There are still goats but they can easily wear sheep's clothing. Oh, we had use for the bums. They turned out to be demagogues, charlatans, ambulance chasers, accountants who cook up ledgers to make companies in verge of bankruptcies appear thriving. Lawyers who cannot find their way to the courtrooms and whatever, some became politicians. An improvement? They are the people who make the world interesting.
The CVI had undergone an evolution. As Central Visayan Institute, she thrived under Mr Fernando N. Pajo Mrs Maria C Pajo Pacifico Custudio, our beloved Guro Jose P Cavardo, who always challenged us to a fist fight when we inserted Visayan cuss words in Tagalog grammar. The CVI became CVC briefly, turning out elementary school teachers taking up inverted courses. Then she reverted to CVI once again until she became a foundation under the Drs Bernido.
Under Dr Ma Victoria Carpio Bernido – sorry Chris ladies first – and Dr Christopher C Bernido, the passing for the UP College Acceptance Test UPCAT keep rising. While graduates of expensive high schools study specialized review centers to pass the UPCAT, a CVIF graduate takes it even shortly before graduation. And the CVIF passing average is high.
One thing. For one whom finishes a course in UP, he will never lack employment. When employed, if he starts at the bottom, he will never feel the bottom anyway. After UP he can become a college instructor then if he continues, a professor. When he becomes a lawyer, he will never become an ambulance chaser. The ambulance will chase him. Or a hearse. He could either become a scientist, technologist, politician or a Communist. If he prefers.
There may be other reunions but we may not be able to attend anymore we will be sporting an RIP but definitely not a DOM.