By SansanV. Misa ‘87
When I heard that Woodrose was turning 40, it got me quite excited. It meant that the school had grown by leaps and bounds. It also meant that my batch (’87) was turning 30 (pearl). You see, back in 1977, when the school opened its doors in a grand, old house on the corner of 4th and Gilmore Streets, I was in Grade 2. Many of my fellow “pioneers” spent a good ten years in Woodrose; four in Gilmore and six in Alabang.
Gilmore was a former home, complete with a courtyard and a huge garden. We were 76 girls from Grade 1 to Grade 5. Each year, they would add a grade level. Lunch breaks were fun, with the older girls teaming up with the younger ones for a challenging game ofagawanbase or touch ball. Sportsfests started. Contests were held. Clubs were formed. It was a fun time in a big house with so many “sisters.” A few of my classmates were cousins, while some had sisters in higher or lower grade levels. Everyone knew each other. My own sister was our class adviser. At that time, we had no school song. However, Ms. Lorenzo, our first directress, loved the song “Fill the World with Love.” And so, that was our unofficial school song, and in hindsight, as Leah Puyat said, those words were our marching orders.
The school opened in Alabang in 1981. Our uniforms were changed the year before from brick orange to the present plaid. Our skirts were itchy. We were surrounded by fields. There was only one school building but we were all right. The usual sports fests were held, this time with red and blue teams. The sisterhood was alive and well. Those were great years.
The first high school batch graduated in 1984. Three years later, it was our turn. Most of us felt that the school was only too glad to say goodbye to the batch that was famous for its naughtiness. You see, we were the batch with the most suspensions. I suppose that at a time when we were eager to find our own identities, we were also hard-put to toe the line, which we resisted with all our might. We annoyed our teachers to no end but loved quite a few of them dearly. That resistance would be futile in the end, though, because as much as we knew how difficult it could be to “conform” and be moulded in true Woodrose fashion, we relented. After all, we had great times, too, as the kookiest, most creative batch. I think it’s called A.D.D now hahaha.
And so, as Woodrose’s Ruby anniversary came up, the “sisterhood” of Gilmore girls as well as the “Alabangers” cooked up a number of fund-raising activities for the school. There was a movie premiere, a dinner-dance party, a musical and even a comedy show, among others. Meetings were held, Viber group chats bounced off our phones, assignments and suggestions were made in preparation for the big day. A special chat group worthy of mention is one that Bubbles de Mesa (’84) started. It gathered all the Gilmore girls for a special number in the homecoming.
Fast forward to November 18…we trooped to Woodrose(not without the usual Saturday afternoon traffic) and gawked at how huge the school had become. Some of us were in charge ofregistration. With the other batches that graduated after us, we felt like a true bunch of titas. Then again, our former teachers had hardly aged! How crazy was that?It was a time warp of sorts, and a recollection of fun times to be celebrated. Our batch, the noisy, rowdy class, had the most number of attendees, being pearl jubilarians, and we were determined to party (resistance was futile, we realized, again).
After the mass, registration, the national anthem, the school song and the welcome remarks from hosts, Leah Puyat (’86) and Erika Canoy-Sanchez (’94) a speechfrom WAA President Trina Chavez-Reyes (’94) and a special number from the Woodrose Dance Crewcame the videos of the jubilarianbatches.The montage of photos feverishly dug up from our respective bauls were a poignant collection of fun flashbacks of tears and laughter. It brought back so many memories which we had tucked away for so long. It made us miss our home and the sisterhood even more. Special thanks go to Suzette Montinola (’87) for putting our batch video together.
Two batches participated in the lip sync battle: 1997 and 1987 (our batch). It was a head-cracking thing to think of a number. You see, our class is fiercely competitive. We like to put on a good show. After much wrangling, intensive practices and discussions on costume design, five of our classmates performed an unforgettable number from the musical, “Priscilla.” Our girls (Angie Gonzalez-Hager, Pauline Calero-Eizmendi, Tisha Zarate-Caeg, Anna Marco and Suzette Montinola) were decked in fiery wigs, drag make-up, full, fluttering false eyelashes, high heels, and costumes fit for the Rio carnival, complete with huge, flowered headpieces. Outfits were colourful flared pants and silvery sexy (but decent) dresses. Yes, their dance and lip sync number brought the house down and had everyone dancing, laughing and singing with them, and our batch eventually won. It was a feat that set a precedent for other batches to follow, or even outdo.What wouldn’t you do for your batch and your school, right?
WAA decided to give lifetime achievement awards to three teachers. This was done through online voting. Recipients included Ms. Adajar, Mrs. Yupangco, and Ms Eugenio. Ms. Bautista received the award for Ms. Eugenio who could not make it as she was unwell. A beautiful duet, Changed for Good, by Marie Puyat (’98) and Hazel Antolin-Rosero (’02) was sung in their honour. It was so moving.
And then it was time for us Gilmore girls to sing our own “national anthem.” It started with a video of a number of girls who had settled overseas. They each sang a number of lines from FILL THE WORLD WITH LOVE. The rest of us on stage joined in singing the song which, I remember, we used to sing as kids at every one of the school’s special occasions.We sang it for the first time in decades as a tribute to our dear Ms. Luisa Lorenzo.I’m sure she would have been proud to see us all grown up.
To thank the school staff for their tireless efforts throughout the years, 30 Christmas baskets were prepared and given to them. During our time, I could count with one hand how many they were who used to do double duty. The school and its grounds have remained pristine after all these years.
A speech rendered by Executive Director Dr. Villegas was a simple and warm welcome, with thanks for a successful and well-attended homecoming. She also appealed for us to continue helping the school.A new high school building is also set to be completed soon, to which the WAA, through different batches, has made a significant contribution. She also said something that made my jaw drop. She said sorry on behalf of the school if it or its personalities, had hurt us in any way. It was a heartfelt, magnanimous apology. “We are sorry if we were too harsh,” she said. Apart from being gobsmacked, Dr. Villegas was admirable for her humility. Admittedly, it is not easy to run a growing school full of headstrong girls. I suppose it never was. We did not understand it then.On the morning after the homecoming, I remembered what Dr. Villegas said and I found myself in tears. Perhaps there were indeed hurts that needed healing. And perhaps the healing had to begin somewhere, somehow. Hopefully, that speech can be published and read by other alumnae who, for one reason or another, have refused to come home.
We were more than happy to be home, to reconnect, to party, to be silly and to remember the good times as we now look forward to better times together as a special kind of sisterhood.
Thank you, WAA, for making it happen.
After all, when the mothership calls, resistance is futile.
Declutter this summer!
Drop off your old clothes, toys, books, shoes, appliances, and anything and everything else you don’t need at Gate 5, Woodrose School between now and April 29 for the WAA Garage Sale. Kindly label packages “WAA Garage Sale Donations”.
This is a fundraising project of batch 2015 for the benefit of the High School extension building.
Thank you in advance for your donations!
Movie Screening of Beauty and the Beast
by Bubbles de Mesa
The Class of 1984, the first batch to graduate high school from Woodrose, held an exclusive screening of Beauty and the Beast at Power Plant Mall in Rockwell Center on March 19, 2017. The sold-out screening was part of a series of events planned by the Woodrose alumnae in celebration of the school’s Ruby Anniversary. Aside from the 1984 graduates, many more alumnae came with their families and friends to support the event.
The screening was sponsored by Meralco, as well as URC, which provided all the guests with various snacks including Griffin’s, Mintini Sweet Mint, Nissin Cup Noddles, Calbee, and Nova. URC also sponsored some games before the actual movie screening, the Nissin Cup Pyramid Game and Griffin’s Lucky Bear Game.The winners received gifts packs of Nissin Cup Creamy Searfood and Griffin’s cookies.
Over the next few months until the end of the year, the Woodrose alumnae will be holding events that would serve as an opportunity for alumnae to meet and reconnect with their batchmates as well as other graduates. These events will lead up to the Homecoming on November 18, 2017. We hope to see all of you in every event!
We begin the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Woodrose on the month of the Holy Rosary, this October 2016, with Holy Mass and an offering of 40 roses in prayer and thanksgiving to our patroness, Our Lady of Woodrose.
By Bubbles de Mesa, Class of 1984
On April 9, 2016, 39 of the Gilmore Girls, from Batches 1984 to 1988, gathered together for an afternoon.
We call ourselves the Gilmore Girls – a nod to those four vivid years when we lived our Little House on the Prairie days in that not-so-little house on Gilmore Street.
It seemed even then that we were aware of being a part of something different, maybe even special, when school was not just school – because our familiarity with each other did not end with those who sat in the same room as us, because those outside of our own classrooms were not just a passing face or a familiar name. With only 76 or so girls to count on, school programs and Field Days had to involve all of us, whether we were inclined towards song and dance or not, and whether we had an affinity for ball games or not. It was every introvert’s nightmare. Unknowingly, we were taking part in an experiment that could work – or not. And that made us family, for better or worse.
From the perspective of 40 years, it seems safe to say that the Gilmore experiment has worked. Thirty-nine of us gathered recently – with mental faculties still sharp and intact, with arms and limbs still in place, each one with 10 fingers and, we assume, 10 toes.
As such gatherings go, this one did not so much challenge the memory, as push it to the fore. For who among us have actually forgotten about Ms. Lorenzo and her Opel Ascona, or the painting of the Annunciation that hung in her room? Who can’t recall, word for word, the lyrics to ‘Fill the World with Love,’ practiced in that little room that doubled as library that doubled as music room, and then sung as a congregation to end yet another school program on a make-shift stage on the patio?
For one afternoon, we were not just a Gilmore Girl, but a girl back in Gilmore. We could very well have been on that familiar walkway where we would wait for our ride home, where we would stave off the pull of time by clustering around random playground games, or joining ever-mutating knots of girls talking in overlapping fashion, voices rising higher and higher, racing faster and faster, as each one tried to get a word in, get a word out, hoping to elicit yet another round of laughter. The voices were familiar, and the names even more so as the same girls called out to each other – Montse! Leah! Rosanna! (Which Rosanna?)
For one afternoon, we were again either Red or Blue, challenging each other in games of no consequence, the lack of a prize not deterring us from fighting for and over every point. Shouts of encouragement and dismay were as heated as they were on Field Days on that Gilmore garden – shouts that, as before, just as quickly gave way to laughter, aware as we were that we had already won.
For that one afternoon, we basked in camaraderie, in the glow of remembrance of a time that was indeed unique to us, out of reach of the girls who came after – a remembrance so vivid it glowed in a tint of orange, such that, for a moment, it was as if we were once again garbed in that uniform of lore.
The school programs then had a home-made feel – one can only conclude that these two scenes were for the celebration of United Nations Day
Thank you to the alumnae volunteers who came to Woodrose on November 27, 2015 to prepare floral carpet at the chapel lobby for the Eucharistic Procession.
Tata Reyes-Sibayan ’03
Carms Hernandez ’02
Kat Lim ’02
Mylene Pineda-Mapa ’88
Marina Reyes ’98
Lisa Mapa-Sator ’93
Ria Arada ’06
Joy Herrera ’89
Carmela Vertido ’98
Ashley Aquino ’06
Jill San Juan-Singian ’99
Monique Basa-Halili ’93
The making of the floral carpet:
The Eucharistic Procession:
By Margaux Claros-Cupino, Class of 1996
Mrs. Paloma turned 88 on the 27th of August 2015. To many, Mrs. Lydia Paloma is simply known as the former Associate Director for Personal Formation of Woodrose from 1983 to 1995. Since her retirement, she continues to serve the school as Personal Formation Mentor to numerous high school students. To us, her former mentees, she is our beloved and very doting second mother who was very interested in our teenage lives – from crushes to prom dresses. And of course she never forgets, even now that we are all grown up, to remind us to go to mass and confession!
We couldn’t let this milestone pass without celebrating with her and showing her how much we love and appreciate her for all the care, concern, attention, and wise advice that she has given us. On August 29, while she was only expecting a visit from Tallie (Corcuera ’96) and Margaux (Claros-Cupino ’96), several alumnae came to surprise her with a food feast! We had cakes from sisters Nina (‘05) and Aissa (‘01)Atilano, siopao from Natalia Lobregat-Olondriz (‘97), barbecue from Annex Sta. Ana (’95), pizza from Niña Santos (‘09), chapchae from Margaux, and drinks from Tallie. An even bigger surprise is a photobook with a collection of messages and pictures from her mentees and friends!
Happy 88th Birthday, Mrs. Paloma! We look forward to having you as the mentor of our daughters when they get to high school in Woodrose.