It’s actually been 10 years since I graduated high school from La Salle Green Hills, a place I called my second home for 13 years. That’s kindergarten to high school, if you want to delve into specifics. And yes, that’s pretty long for somebody who’s as geographically-displaced as I am. (I live in Paranaque; why I was never sent to Zobel will forever remain shrouded in mystery. So stop asking why I was never sent to Zobel.) Prior to last Saturday, I only got to visit the school again on two occasions. First was in 2003, a few months after starting college, when I dropped by to pick up souvenir programs. The second was in 2007 during the bi-annual Kabihasnan Fair, which already seemed subdued compared to yesteryears. Apart from that, my only nostalgia outlets were occasional stares at the infamously spaceship-like facade of the St. Benilde Gym whenever I drove past the area. So, needless to say, it was great to be back.
The campus looks different now, which is hardly surprising. LSGH undergoes renovation almost every year. None of the buildings and classrooms we used from 1990-1995 are still standing; I don’t think they even made it past Y2K. And the beach volleyball court, purportedly the first in an Asian school, is now about to be replaced by another structure. That just goes to show how much LSGH invests in innovating and reinventing itself. More on that when I get the chance to go back and revisit every nook and cranny.
Greenfinity 2013 was the first alumni homecoming I ever attended. The hosting batch this year was Batch ’88, since it’s their 25th anniversary, but they also got us to co-host since it’s our 10th. One of the emcees humorously pointed out that while the expression “Tara Na Sa Field!” (Let’s Go To The Field!) is commonly used as a call for afternoon fistfights, it was also the appropriate tagline for this grand celebration. And what a grand celebration it was!
- My friend RJ Acdal and I arrived just in time to witness part of the opening. The celebration began with a video parody of the already-parodied-to-death “Gangnam Style”. (If you think you can handle another Gangnam parody, click here.) As far as local artists are concerned, I can’t think of a better Psy impersonator than Randy Santiago, with his ubiquitous shades and all. After the video, he stepped onstage to banter with hosts Sem Mercado and Robin da Roza.
- There were expectedly lots of celebrity guests. Curiously, two of them were former beauty queens. One was Gwendolyn Ruais, Miss World Philippines 2011, who went out for a quick chat with the hosts.
- The other one was Krista Kleiner, Bb. Pilipinas-International 2010, who performed a song number.
- RJ and I walked around the field for the duration of Kundirana alumnus Ogie Alcasid’s song number. We went back to our batch’s designated area just in time to see Carla Abellana and – surprise, surprise – Divine Lee onstage.
- A performance by the girl group P.Y.T. followed suit. During which, one of the girls yelled “Let’s go, Daddies!!!” (Yeah, in case you missed it, dear senior members of our alumni community, you’ve all been Daddy-zoned.)
- Time for more dazzling beauties. Next to come out were Georgina Wilson and Isabelle Daza…
…who invited select members of the audience onstage for some drunken limbo. (The dance, not the state of oblivion.)
- On that note, we’d like to thank Rico Balatbat, his high alcohol tolerance, and his supple spine, for bringing honor to our batch.
- The ultimate “This-feels-like-covering-an-event-for-work” moment: Photo-op with Edu Manzano.
- After that round of drunken onstage tomfoolery, everyone was treated to a song number by Iwa Moto…
…and a parade of feathered beauties.
- Then, there was Karylle, who exuded grace under pressure as that night’s token Atenean celebrity guest.
- All in the family: With my cousin Babes Calixto, who attends the homecoming almost every year. My other cousin Jorel apparently left early.
- Just when we all thought we’ve had enough surprise guests, out came Fil-Am hip hop sensation Apl.de.Ap, who sang “Bebot” while dancing with actual bebots.
- The evening ended with the proper spectacle. Moments after we sang our Alma Mater hymn (which I love up to this day because of its simplicity and straightforwardness), the sky flared up, aptly enough, in a shade of green and white. We were all treated to an amazing fireworks display. It was a mesmerizing visual feast, and the perfect way to punctuate the festivities.
- Fun and jubilant as the atmosphere was, our batch’s attendance still could have been better. To illustrate: One batch typically consists of around 400 students divided into 10 sections. Our attendance that night wasn’t even enough to form 2. But there was still semblance of solidarity (if not sobriety) when RJ and I yelled “BATCH PICTURE!” If anything, I’d like to believe that it was an indicator of grander reunions to come. If or when that will happen remains to be seen.
Once again, kudos to Batch 1988 and everyone else involved for all the time and effort they invested in staging this grand production. From the entertaining numbers to the surprise guest appearances, it was truly a fun and nostalgia-filled evening. The pressure will definitely be on us when it’s our turn to host in 2028. 😛