Monday, January 23, 2006

To UPCMC and Back Again

The invite said "Tawag Ka Ni Aling Suming." Only a fellow graduate of the UP-CMC would know who Aling Suming is and understand what a big deal it is if she was personally calling you back to the College. I initially had no plans of going to yet another Alumni homecoming thing, but after gentle prodding from bosses and co-workers, I found myself walking up to the front steps of the College one Saturday afternoon, where an old professor greeted me with a smile on his face. "Kamusta ka na? Buti nakarating ka," he said. I never took any of his classes, so he probably didn't know me from Adam (and he was, most assuredly, no Aling Suming), but I nevertheless appreciated the welcome. (Later I would find out that Aling Suming herself couldn't be there. Bummer.)

A student walked up to me after I had paid the registration fee and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed over DZUP, the college radio station. I saw no reason to decline, so she took me to the spanking new studio on the second floor of the Media Center. It was an odd feeling, having to answer questions like "What were your fondest memories of college?" and "What's your advice for students so they can survive CMC?" I didn't feel like I was wise or experienced enough to dispense advice, particularly the kind that actually makes sense and kids can actually use, but I answered anyway and managed to get through the interview without making a complete fool of myself.

Needless to say, the UP CMC has produced some of the best media practitioners in the country today, and many of them heeded the call of Aling Suming and were there to support the college. Sadly, there weren't a whole lot from my batch, but it was good to see some of the older and more prominent graduates there, like former Sen. Loren Legarda and film director Maryo J. delos Reyes. Of course, some of my colleagues from work also dropped by, and we all sat there patiently as the hosts explained what the real purpose of that get-together was: to raise funds for some badly-needed improvement projects for our dear-old alma mater. As always, the college lacked money for everything from research and development projects and curriculum improvement to building maintenance and salary upgrades. With the amount of funds they raised from pledges from the alumni and other sources, I'd say they're off to a good start. Let's not kid ourselves though; it's gonna take a while though before they raise enough to actually make a difference. Suddenly, the P500 I plunked down seemed insignificant. But it's something, at least.

Afterwards, my co-workers and I had dinner at Treehouse, a grill-type of restaurant of the Dencio's and Gerry's variety right inside UP. I didn't even know about that place, which just tells you how long it's been since my last visit to the campus. We talked about a lot of things, including work, but we also chatted about our own memories of being students in UP - places we visited, professors we hated, things we did (and didn't do), and a bunch of other stuff. After dinner we headed back to the CMC and by that time, the place was practically deserted. (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say this, but...) Over a couple of bottles of wine we had won earlier at the raffle (yeah, we won bottles of wine at the raffle!) we, did some more chatting and reminiscing. For a few hours, it felt like we were students again, just hanging out after classes. I would have wanted to have seen Aling Suming personally, but all in all, I thought it was a Saturday well-spent. She may not have been there, but her influence, and the college's influence, still reverberates in every one of us. And for that, I'll always be grateful.


Anonymous Hazel said...

I miss Aling Suming, too. If you do see her, tell her my family and I miss her :)

I'm reliving college again at the very moment. You may want to consider grad school, too.

Take care, PJ.

2:07 AM  
Blogger peejay said...

Hey, I know you're from UP, but I didn't know you were from CMC, too! Yeah, I miss Aling SUming too. =)

Maybe I'll get me one of those Master, Phd thingies...=)

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

I was a Film major for a year. Then I shifted to Econ. Yep, the capitalist mindset won out :D

10:35 AM  

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