Friendly rivalry games fought, sense of brotherhood enhanced
By Willie Jose
July 15, 2016
It was awesome and inspiring to see the friendly rivalry shown by the alumni of the various colleges and universities during the SummerFest of the Philippine Colleges & Universities Alumni Associations (PCUAA) held recently in the Mississauga Valley Community Park.
These alumni both young and old, together with their friends tried their very best to win in every game they joined in: it was uplifting to witness their grim determination, exerting all their mental and physical strength to pull some sort of victory.
More than winning these friendly games, these alumni, two-thirds of whom are seniors, the sheer joy of seeing their friends and having a brief chat with some alumni from other schools, have motivated them to keep on regularly attending this gathering and be counted.
These alumni had their own places of operation where they could put up their banners and set up the park’s wooden tables for their food and drinks.
To put some order in this gathering, some alumni groups had been given their assigned spots, setting up their schools’ banners on tables under the trees, while the others positioning their spots right under the covered roof of the Centennial Park site.
So noticeable were the many people clicking their cameras, cell phones and tablets to take photos; I saw a guy volunteering to take the shots, saying “ Oh, I’ll be the one to take the shots so everyone will be here in the picture “. And as expected the poor fellow was then asked to take the pictures from other people’s smartphones and tablets.
It was heartwarming to see the way a number of alumni crisscrossing the imaginary “boundary” separating schools’ designated spots-- hopping from one table to the other to have some taste of the variety of dishes laid on the picnic tables.
There was one guy who went around the picnic areas to share some free scoops of Taho to people sans the sweet syrup and sago.
So, this annual event is not just a sporstfest, it’s also a way of striking friendship and doing some networking to expand their professional and social contacts. While some were simply watching the games, the other seniors’ alumni were chatting with their friends.
I remember a conversation I had with some alumni from Mapua and UST—their tables were just beside our Pamantasan alumni group and out of the blue we discussed ways in improving the traffic mess in Metro Manila.
One suggestion was why not construct hanging cable cars to ease the traffic, I broached an idea why not simply improve the train system--the PNR-- and it’s more practical since the infrastructures such as these tracks are already in place; so it would be a matter of adding more coaches.
Another guy told us these manufacturing industries could be relocated elsewhere in the metropolis just like what they had done before, transferring some big manufacturing companies in Sta Rosa, in Laguna, thereby the workers don’t have to go to Manila to work.
Well, having a sumptuous lunch or dinner is what could define a Filipino gathering; and of course with the ubiquitous “Litson” menudo, adobo and laing, what more could we ask for. And the hot weather was not even an issue because sago and gulaman were within one’s reach, always ready to quench everyone’s thirst.
I would dare guess that maybe about a third of those who attended were seniors, so after the lunch, I saw some of them napping while some light games were going on. And because the picnic park is not near the site’s parking lot, many of these alumni were seen pulling their carts loaded with bags, containers, cases of water, going to their respective places.
I asked some alumni about the Lyceum of the Philippines, the alma mater of President Duterte where he’s said to be a former student of Prof. Jose Maria Sison but nobody could say anything, so I simply assumed maybe, these alumni are not organized yet in Toronto.
In the game tug of war, strong voices of “pull, pull, go, go, go” could be heard among various alumni, their way of showing their support to their teams, and the participants in this games were moving heavens and earth, giving all their strength to pull a victory.
During the start of the program, the UP alumni sang “O Canada” the national anthem of their adopted country and the country of their birth, Lupang Hinirang or “Bayang Magiliw” but even without saying it, these alumni though they are thousands of miles away from home, the Philippines is still very much close to their hearts, because when they sang this anthem, their right hands were on their chests – and almost everyone joined them in singing these patriotic songs.
After a while, an elderly alumnus approached me and told me: have you not noticed, in singing O Canada, there’s a word God, ‘ God keep our land glorious and free ‘ but why is it our own national anthem does not have God in it.”
Well, I could not utter anything because I didn’t know about the absence of God in Bayang Magiliw.
When the program ended at 4:30 p.m. these alumni before they left, they had cleaned the area of all the garbage—so we Filipinos are very disciplined lot, we obey the rules and we are a clean people. With some parting words, everyone was saying: OK, see you again, next year here”.
Well, surely my wife, Lilia and I will be there again next year simply because we enjoyed the camaraderie our PLM alumni friends— the couples, Ping and Dani, Gil and Ofy, Evelyn and Rusty, Gani and Linda, Myrna and Ador, Tita and Mira, Shierly and her children and Recsie.
Congratulations to all alumni of Mapua, UST, San Beda College, UE.De La Salle University, Adamson University, Ateneo University, University of San Carlos, PUP, UP, Feati, College of the Holy Spirit, Central Philippine University Centro Escolar University Far Eastern University and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) for making our get together a big success.
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