Friday, February 22, 2008

tWS (the Weekly Sillimanian)

The school year is about to end and my friend, Odie, asked me to savor every issue of the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) as these next few weeks will be his last as editor-in-chief of the school paper. Indeed last week's issue was special to me, not only because it was Odie's fourth-to-the-last one, but because several entries were of personal significance to me.

1. My son Patrick’s name was there as he is one of the 571 Silliman students honored for academic excellence this year. :0)

2. On the front page I read the news that my literature teacher, Dr. Cesar Ruiz Aquino, has finally launched his second book entitled In Samarkand: Poems and Verseliterations. Samarkand is an ancient city in Central Asia, currently the second largest city in Uzbekistan. Dr. Aquino’s first book, Checkmeta, published in 2004, won a National Book Award under the personal anthology category.

3. Columnist Jan Paolo Bastareche wrote about his voracious hunger for books in “Bulimia for Books.” I can relate to that.

4. Mario Trinidad, Jr., an English major, wrote a feature article about something that hit so close to home because he expressed my sentiments exactly about the craze for the glorified flipflops called Havaianas, which I learned, is the Portuguese name for Hawaiian. When Havaianas floored the Philippines in 2002 I was aghast. The price was not double, not triple, not even quadruple the price of regular flipflops. The price was thirty times the regular flipflops!! O_o It would be quite insane to spend so much for slippers.

But I don’t know, maybe it was PMS or hormonal cycles or was it lunar eclipses, but one day I found myself getting a pair of such. I figured, since my doctor friends were making rounds in it and my literature classmates were wearing it to class, I had a good solution to my perennial problem of costume change from being a physician to being a student of literature and vice versa in the course of one day. But I guess that didn’t work out too well. I hear talk that the medical center is going to impose a new dress code. Bring back decency and respectability to the medical profession, etc. So in my car, there are several pairs of shoes and sets of clothes/costumes, for the myriad roles that I play. Mi coche es mi casa.

5. Here’s a special love story!

There is a new column in the Weekly Sillimanian called "In Retrospect" which features recollections of alumni, faculty, staff, students, retirees about what life in Silliman has been for them. Published last week was this memoir by my friend, Didil. This story is special to me because I was one of their campers when their love story began! (I like how that sounded, like they were camp counselors, which they were, and I was a "kid," when in fact there's not a lot of years between our ages. Hehe.)

By: Atty. Jose Riodil D. Montebon, University Legal Counsel

I am 53, she’s 47. Approaching 25 years of marriage, we have three wonderful children and two beautiful grandkids. We’ve shared a ministry for youth and children for 20 years, we’ve both invested our energies, talents and resources for the church and we’ve been blessed with a life surrounded by warm and sincere family, friends and colleagues. And together, we share fulfillment in each other’s accomplishments and the privilege to serve those in need.

Thirty-one years ago, we were personalities on the Silliman campus. Both Silliman products since early childhood, we moved around in our own little circles, knowing each other only by reputation. Seemingly worlds and a generation apart, it’s a wonder we ever met. But we did and we fell in love!

In the summer of 1977, we worked together as camp counselors for the SU Church youth camp. Seated together on the bus, our new acquaintance quickly transformed into an intimate friendship after the hour and a half ride to the campsite. We became so animated and engrossed with each other, neither hardly noticed or minded the bumpy, often winding and very dusty ride. I have never met anyone so smart, so beautiful and so challenging. The time at camp was magical for both of us, and the Carpenters’ song ‘You’ had special meaning along with Dennis Lambert’s ‘Of all the things.’ So this summer love nurtured and was nurtured in music, and I took to writing her songs… not all images are real, some we see and some we feel; still like children we must be, fresh as morning gay and free…

At the end of that summer, I left for law school and she continued her studies at Silliman. Being apart was unbearably lonely, but our letters, written with the regularity of our heartbeats, kept us connected and inspired. After she graudated from Silliman, she followed me to pursue her masters at the UP. From there, I joined a law firm, and she worked with the National Museum. In the summer of 1983, we got married and began to build our life together. Sustained by the love we found since that bus ride in the summer of 1977, and strengthened by our common faith in God, we have weathered many storms and trials typical for young couples. And as our family grew, so has our love. From a precocious young couple, now gently crowned with middle age, ours is a love which has become sweeter in the prime of life.

Mayet and Didil


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