SCENE CITY| Ugly ducklings no more!

WE NEVER wondered when we would meet again when we were in Grade One. A million things occupied our mind, but the least was if we would meet again when we were past 60 of even 70 years old.

VICKY Smith, a PWC Alumna who now resides in Bacolod, Myrna Palma-Miravalles, Adelina Cuizon-Royo, Wilma Feranil-Lagdameo and Marilyn Roque get together for lunch at Abreeza’s Yakimix

VICKY Smith, a PWC Alumna who now resides in Bacolod, Myrna Palma-Miravalles, Adelina Cuizon-Royo, Wilma Feranil-Lagdameo and Marilyn Roque get together for lunch at Abreeza’s Yakimix

None of our grade school classmates wanted to see our class picture, nor even recognized our faces at that stage in our lives. But since some of us have saved those grade school photos, we treasure the memories as well.

Recently, some of our classmates found us on Facebook, got curious and made effort to get in touch.

One day we saw a surprise message on Facebook messenger, from Myrna Palma-Miravalles. Myrna says she wanted to move from the Immaculate Conception College when we were in grade school, to the Philippine Women’s College of Davao, where we transferred in 1953. Her parents did not approve of her transfer to PWC, so she spent her high school days at St. Scholastica College. It was only this year that we really met after more than five decades. They used to live at Legaspi St. here in Davao City, where we used to bake cakes during weekends when we were in grade two. We loved to bake cakes, and so we did that at the Palma residence.

Myrna studied piano at the Fernandez Piano School in Davao City. We also remember her Mom, Nannie Ong-Palma, who used to play the Hawaiian guitar at social gatherings. Myrna has obtained her college degree of Bachelor of Arts, Major in Business Administration. She married Lemuel Miravalles, who studied at Princeton University, and a classmate of Imee Marcos. He was once the Director General of TESDA in the early 70’s, and is now a consultant of World Bank. Myrna’s love for Davao is evident with the couple buying a unit at the Magallanes Residences in the downtown area, a project of DMCI.

Another Grade One classmate at ICC and PWC of Davao is Wilma Feranil-Lagdameo. Wilma was left behind when we graduated from the intermediate grades, as she was one of those who passed Grade 7. We once talked to her over the phone, in 2008, as she stays in Staten Island, and we were on our way to Virginia in the USA. It was a surprise to find a message from her this month of August, during the Kadayawan Festival, that she was at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, after a trip to Malaybalay, Bukidnon to attend a wedding.

Much has changed over the years, but we yearned for each other’s company. Our grade school classmate, Adelina Cuizon-Royo invited us over to her farm in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte. We stayed there for snacks, lunch and another round of snacks, a tour of her banana export processing plant and her goat-raising area. Deling is an active member of Toastmaster’s Club, Soroptimist International of Davao, past Dean of the Pharmacy Department of the University of the Immaculate Conception, San Pedto College of Pharmacy, and Holy Child College. At present she is PRC Commissioner for Pharmacy.

Grade One classmates Teresita Amigleo-Bunquin and Norma Monfort have been around more often for our bonding moments. Terry finished her college course at St. Theresa’s College in San Marcelino, with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, but her roots are here in Davao City, being related to the Quimpo family. The family business started with the “Ang Mahunit Department Store” along San Pedro St., corner City Hall Drive.

Norma Monfort has developed her legacy in Samal Island and earned the Guinness World Book of Records Title for the largest population of fruit bats in the country.

But being together, once in our lifetime as Grade One pupils, means, the years have been good to us, sometimes through rough sailing, and sometimes going smoothly. But we are convinced we are no longer “Ugly Ducklings”, as our grade one photo shows. We have metamorphosed into beautiful, graceful swans and try our best to serve the community we live in as best we can.

A classmate we have not met personally, Teresita Crisostomo-Bernard, got in touch through Face Book, She married a German national and keeps posting messages and even sends flowers to greet us. We hope to see her in person soon.

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