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.
Welcome home my Woodrose sisters! We are gathered here today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our alma mater, Woodrose. Seeing the red-brick walls, polished marble floors, the now mature trees, inhaling the fresh Alabang air, one can’t help but remember not so long ago when we were running around carefree in our red and blue plaid skirt and white top uniforms, black shoes and white socks, our growing-up and formative years and our silly and sometimes rebellious teen-age years.
We gaze at the buildings and classrooms where our early learning was honed by beloved and dedicated teachers who have left a lasting imprint on our intellectual growth, the greenery of our surroundings where we cultivated friendships with classmates who have, through the years, become more than cherished friends, some of them now godparents to our own children.
Woodrose, through our teachers, tutors, confessors, hand in hand with our parents shaped our spiritual and moral values, our core, our foundation, before we set out to face the real world to pursue our dreams, our challenges, careers and professions.
The Woodrose Alumnae Association or WAA was established 19 years ago to promote a mutually beneficial and enduring relationship between Woodrose School and its alumnae. It seeks to foster among its members continuing personal development programs on womanhood in the family and society and sponsor fund-raising activities, proceeds of which support the Binhi Scholarship Fund where children of the Woodrose Auxiliary Staff receive financial assistance, giving them and their families a better quality of life through educational opportunities.
As early as April 2016 our relentless, indefatigable PE teacher and Woodrose alumna Ms. Sarah de Mesa (aka Bubbles) would fly to Manila from Singapore where she is now based, to call and follow-up a core group of Woodrose alumnae to help kick-off a Woodrose Ruby Anniversary celebration. To commemorate the milestone, presented to the group was a plan to raise funds for a new high school building to meet the needs of the growing school population. After months of planning and brain-storming, camaraderie and fellowship, our more senior alumnae proposed that each batch of graduates raise a target amount of P400,000. Among the series of fund-raising events lined up were Shop for a Cause, garage sale, movie premiere, stage musical, bingo, art sale, music festival, cocktails and comedy, dinner-dance, etc. On this Ruby Anniversary, we reflect and ask ourselves: How do we give back and show appreciation for our blessings? How do we create a support system in this community of learning? How can we be catalysts for growth and development in a spirit of sharing?
As in any organization we are beset with a look-see attitude, of some of us watching in the sidelines. Now is the time to establish a connection, a collective direction. Yes, we will see the new high school building rise up. This shall be our legacy to the future generation of young girls who seek to leave their mark in society through positive change; of facing up to the challenges of a rapidly demanding and competitive culture of modernization and development which require upgraded skills and learning tools.
Later, we will see how each batch fared in their fund-raising activities to reach the P400,000 quota per batch.
As a reminder, we are called upon to come home to Woodrose every 3rd Saturday of November, our Homecoming Day. Mark this in your calendar as it shall be the beginning of a tradition.
To everyone who contributed their time, money and resources to ensure the success of our Woodrose Ruby Anniversary celebration, thank you so much and may God bless you a hundred-fold!
This grand homecoming is the peak of our 40th anniversary celebration. I surmise that upon entering Gate 5, memories of your school life came into play. Each one has stories to share…stories that speak about sense of wonder in learning, your journey with your mentors, sportsmanship exhibited during your intrams, the language of hope you have whispered to the poor children and parents nearby, the spiritual guidance tirelessly given by our beloved late Father Guzman, Father Lisa, and the rest are to be written in your autobiography. Your stories are part and parcel of how you are now and your personal trajectory.
On the part of Woodrose as an educational institution, we also have stories to share which have a prologue characterized by a great dream passed on to us by St. Josemaria. He inspired us through his words: dream and your dreams will fall short! How we evolved as captured by the exhibit outside this multi-purpose hall says it all!
Let me end by saying thank you, we are sorry, and continue helping us…
- Thank you for the invaluable support you have given us;
- We are sorry for whatever we have done that may have hurt you during your school life. You could fill in the blanks: we could have been less dogmatic and thus less judgmental and more open-minded, more understanding. We have learned so much from you. Tell us more what we can still improve on.
- Continue helping us…in what way? We need teachers in History, Literature, Science, Economics, Business Management. Share your expertise with our young learners. We need mentors. You can be our effective mentors. We need more students. Behind each new student is a new family we are reaching out to. You cannot imagine how happy we are to have more children of our alumnae enrolled in Woodrose.
Let this be a refrain within our 40th year anniversary: thank you, sorry, and help us! We learned this refrain from Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, the first successor of St. Josemaria.
Happy 40th anniversary to all of us!
Marielle Benitez (fourth from left) — Photo Courtesy of Mia Montayre
Marielle Benitez, class of 1998, steers the under-16 girls national youth football team to a second-place finish in the AFF Championship in Vientiane, Laos.
Read the full story from INQUIRER.net
Chiqui Agoncillo, Woodrose Class of 2012, is the first female Summa cum Laude to graduate from the History Department of the University of the Philippines! Furthermore, she is only 1 out of 4 to have ever graduated Summa cum Laude from the same department.
Read the full story from ABS-CBN.
Recipe from the family of Marisa Reyes-Tablante (’84), Apaz Reyes-Gonzales (’86), Marina Reyes (’98), Rosario Reyes-Garcia (’99), Tina Reyes (’01), Tata Reyes-Sibayan (’03), and their mom Maricar Reyes.
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
7 tbsp imported cocoa powder
2 packs all purpose cream
Lady Fingers (Broas)
1. Cream butter in a bowl and with a mixer, beat until fluffy.
2. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly add sugar. Raise the speed and whip until light and fluffy.
3. Stop the mixer and add cocoa powder. Beat again on low.
4. Add cream and mix until just blended. Do not overmix.
5. In a 9-inch square ovenproof glass container, put a layer of lady fingers, just enough to cover the bottom. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate cream. Place another layer of lady fingers and top with the rest of the chocolate cream. Spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
Source: Woodrose Family Cookbook
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