UST High School:
Thru the eyes of a
by Renato Jose Ma V Molano, Batch 80
1976 was our year of entry to the world
of Secondary Education, or so they say. It was more of primary
to me because of many firsts. Fresh from my UST Elementary days, we were
the first freshmen who would occupy the new UST High School building
after the old building got burned down in 1975. Having been arranged
alphabetically then, I was seated between Pablito Mendoza and
Christopher Nitura, both good orators, it was hard keeping up with them
during English & Filipino classes. It was our first encounter with Mr.
Antonio Villaruel, our Filipino Teacher who gave Dead Poet’s Society’s
Robin Williams a run for his money. He was the only teacher I knew who
used the blackboard at the back of the class room(!), who dances (or
glides) his way around the room and gives you that infamous Ricky
Reyes smirk with beautiful eyes to boot. It was my first encounter
with our homeroom adviser, Ms. Evelyn Ariola, the then popular Geraldine
look-alike, so pretty and sweet I made a portrait of her using my Mongol
#2 pencil! There was Rosana Raroque for our Science class. She later
became a newscaster in one TV network. Then there were these two Reyeses,
Ms. Leilani and Ms. Henedina, Religion & English teachers, respectively.
Then there was “thunder-like voice” Mr. Gregorio Platon of Practical
Arts fame. My favorite of them all was Ms. Evelina Estiandan (because I
always got the highest grade in Mathematics), who was petite but truly a
In our year of entry, Mrs. Evangelina
Teodoro was our School Principal, with Mr. Francisco Torres as the boy’s
administrative assistant (AA), and Mrs. Araceli Murillo as the girls’
AA. Our regent then was Fr. Maximiliano Rebollo, O.P.
It was the same year when we were
encouraged to participate in the Science Fair. I remember vividly how
our exhibit was vandalized by outsiders, we lost our group’s Lego
blocks, owned by a classmate, Gerald Nalagan. It took him weeks to
inform his dad about it. Those were very expensive then.
That was the same year that I was
outsmarted by a girl during the annual Math Quiz Contest, and a Bautista
at that! Oh well, our respective families were institutions in the UST
High School. Why not? Three of the Bautistas (63, 66, 75) and three of
the Molanos (74, 76, 78) have graduated Valedictorians from UST High!
And ours is the batch when the two families were represented! We would
end up graduating at the top of our respective sessions.
Sophomore year was also unforgettable.
It was 1977. I was in section 221. Students always look forward to the
annual Song Festival sponsored by the Student Catholic Action (SCA)
Cultural Section. And this year was no different. Our class prepared
well for it, following our terrible heart-breaking loss during our
freshmen year. In our freshmen year we were the crowd’s darling after
having performed “Up, Up and Away!” and “Buhat” with matching over-alls
as costumes and balloons as props. But we didn’t win at all, not even
fifth place! Hahaha! But we made Ms. Ariola proud!
This time, we came in all prepared with
full battle gear: body-fits with sequins and mirrors on our hands and
glitters all over our bodies as we performed “Pippin” and “Binibini”. We
ended up Champions in the afternoon session beating even the juniors &
seniors! Not to be outdone, our sister section, 211 took home the
championship trophy for the morning session! That was a first in UST
High School History! That year, we became close to our sister section.
That’s the year I got to meet Me-an Sanggalang, Monette Hilario, Monette
Ventura, Dha Vasquez and Emy Villapando. And that same year love teams
1977 was the time I met my favorite
teacher – Ms. Jacinta Ual-Constantino. She was so very motherly to all
of us we loved her so much. She was generous with grades especially if
you put colors on your drawing assignments in Biology. That same year
she was appointed A.M Session AA upon Mrs. Murillo’s retirement. Mrs.
Irene Orogo was our adviser and Filipino teacher and she was equally
amorous. Our Social Studies teacher was Mrs. Victoria Cachola; English
was handled by Mr. Felicisimo Velasco; Algebra was under Ms. Morillo;
Practical Arts was with Mr. Reynaldo Tubadeza; Consumer’s Math was under
Ms. Maximiano; and, Religion was under Mr. Mariano Carpio.
It was our first experience of a high
school fair. It was held at the UST High School grounds right beside the
canteen. That was really something: the jail booth, the marriage booth,
the love chain. We took every opportunity to make the most out of our
daily allowance, which during that time averaged only 1 peso! Jeepney
fare then cost only 15 centavos. I remember saving up enough just so I
can join my classmates eat at Magnolia House right along Dapitan, or
that carinderia nearby which served the best halo-halo for only PhP5!
There was also this “Aling Ester’s gotohan” behind the carpentry shop
that most boys frequent.
It was in our third year that the SCA
decided to merge the songfest into just one. Perfect timing! Now is the
time to work closely with our sister section. The result of the 311 &
321 partnership: Meistersingers. It was also the year that
USTHS started adopting saints for our sections’ names. We were St.
Charles; 311 was St. Candida. Why the letter C? The seniors’ had saints
whose names begin with the letter D. Sophomores were “B” and Freshmen
were “A”. But for one reason or another, we all carried on with our
section name till we graduated the following year.
Since then, my world revolved around
Charles & Candida. I never made acquaintance with boys or girls from the
other sections, except for some former classmates who once belonged to
our block. But my classmates had friends from Chrisostom, Clement, Cleto,
Conrad, Constantine, Cornelius, Cyprian and Cyril. Their counterparts
were Carina, Catherine, Cecilia, Christina, Claire, Claudia, Clotilda
and Crescentia. I still wonder now why I wasn’t able to make more
friends with the other sections.
My favorite teacher in junior year was
my Geometry mentor, Ms. Carina del Rosario. She was also petite, but so
smart and motivating. She even gave me a 96, when 95 was the highest
possible grade in the report card! Our Filipino class was shared by Mr.
Tony Villaruel (who left for Nigeria in the middle of the year) and Mrs.
Luningning Perez, who was also our class adviser. Advanced Algebra was
under Mrs. Angeles. Chemistry was under Ms. Teresita Santos with her
mini microphone and AM/FM radio cassette recorder. She’s also known for
throwing erasers or anything she can lay her hands on at students who
misbehave or make so much noise! Economics was made more entertaining by
good-natured Mr. Edilberto Balingit, who never ceased to amuse us with
his antics; Oriental History was more appreciated under Ms. Zoraida
Ongsansoy’s interesting narratives.
In senior year, everybody was
pre-occupied looking for an organization to join more as an officer than
just being a mere member. Why not? We’ve got to have something to
include in our Veritas profile! That year nobody was allowed to head two
organizations, to give more chances to other potential leaders. I was
only eyeing for the Math Society Presidency, as I had been its Vice
President in junior year. Little did I expect that Fr. Rebollo would
strongly recommend me to be the Treasurer of SCA. He wanted somebody who
was good in computations to ensure proper disbursement of funds.
Membership fee then was only thirty centavos! And when the Veritas
started searching for new editorial staff members, I readily applied
eager to share my artistic skills. Again. I was so surprised yet happy
to have been appointed by then adviser, Mrs. Lourdes Salcedo, to head
the boys’ staff, much to the disgust of other people who was interested
in the position. Ah, high school life had also been filled with
intrigues and controversies.
Another first for me was my first
“courtship” in senior year. She was from St. Candida. She was every
boy’s “fantasy” & every girl’s “envy” but for me she was my “dreamgirl”!
Tamey (what a beautiful name!) and I worked together for more than a
year, having been editors-in-chief of the Veritas. I had more than three
“competitors” then. I had the edge. In fact I was able to get her to be
my partner for our Graduation Ball at the Philippine Plaza. Thanks to
Johnny Francisco for the giving us a ride in their automobile. Our date
didn’t end up so well though, coz I remember a “rival” asking her for
the first slow dance of that night! Hahahah! I never spoke to her again
until I brought her home. Sigh!
Our professors then: Mrs. Cipriana Yu,
World History professor was our adviser who had also been my two older
brothers’ adviser; English was shared by Ms. Ochoa (who left for Japan)
and Ms. Joycelyn Velarde, the Celeste Legaspi look-alike; Physics was
handled by Mrs. Corazon Gonzales when Mr. Pangandian passed on;
Trigonometry by Mr. Danilo Concepcion, whom everybody treated like a “barkada”;
Spanish by Mr. Benjamin Roda, whom we called “Prometheus” for his Greek
God-like hair-do; Religion by Mrs. Evelyn Ariola-Songco; Filipino by
Mrs. Lunigning Perez; Practical Arts by “tight-polo” Mr. Roy Ropa; and
Speech, by Ms. Erlinda De Chavez. I loved my speech class because that
was where we broadened our vocabulary (imagine having to learn ten new
words per meeting!) and got to come up with a play for our final
Ever wondered how I was able to recall
the names of my former teachers even without the help of former
Nine of these people became my
colleagues when I decided to join the teaching force of my Alma Mater
when I graduated from college! (I taught Math, Physics & Computer) Lani
Reyes-Austria, Mr. & Mrs. Evelyn & Rey Tubadeza, Tess Santos, Ning
Perez, Baby Yu, Jackie Constantino, Evelyn Songco and Greg Platon.
One thing I couldn’t forget in senior
year was the seniors’ variety show “Something Old, Something New and
Something Borrowed”, with students from all sections participating in
song and dance numbers. That was fun, as I got to know more of my batch
mates like Chie Meneses, Linda Padilla, Alice Langit, Leah Militar, and
Sally Maniego. I also met Rowena David, who would later be one of
Ginebra San Miguel’s Super Angels. We also had our own version of
“West Side Story”, with Lifebuoy commercial model Grace Zamora
playing the lead role of Maria and Angelito Villamayor Jr. (he had more
hair then) as Tony. The Medicine Auditorium was jam-packed during those
High school life 1976-1980, I miss it so
much. It was the time of experimentation, dares and double dares,
competitions (even within the class!) and “chuchu” or “sipsip” with our
teachers. There was no mention of the word “sex” yet then, not even in
our Biology class! Ma’m Jackie was very careful and discrete in her
discussion of human reproduction.
It was also the time of Aling Otik and
Siopaoman. It was the era of OPM - Basil Valdez, Lea Navarro, Hajji
Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, Passionata, and the discovery of USTHS faces
like Janet Macabasco (Janet Basco), Aloha Carag (Ali Sotto) and
everybody’s favorite Visitacion Agbayani (Tet Agbayani). Other favorites
then were “Hotdog”, “Hagibis”, VST & Company and Boyfriends. “In” then
were bell-bottom pants, Magnolia House & Ali Mall. It was also the time
of fraternities, triple X betamax, identity crises and puppy love!!! But
I know of several high school couples who ended up tying the knot, and
until now are still together. Gerald Nalagan & Linda Padilla, Romy
Janairo & TJ Javaluyas, to name a few. Of course, many became lovers in
college & got married later like Timmy Gabriel & Icynth Baron, Rey
Rey-Matias & Beth Villanueva, Mervin Moulic & Mariam Agbayani, and
1980 was the year when the graduation of
the girls & boys were separated for the first time! The girls had their
graduation ceremonies in the morning, while we had ours in the
afternoon, both at the UST Medicine Auditorium. I wonder why we didn’t
hold it at the UST gymnasium that year. Finally this year a Bautista & a
Molano ended up graduating Valedictorians. We both made our parents
proud. Only in college did Regina Bautista and I finally became
classmates because we both ended up pursuing an Engineering course also
at UST. Gina is now the General Manager of Greenwich. Isn’t that great?
Me? I followed my Dad’s (Eduardo G. Molano) footsteps, as a teacher.
Having been a USTHS teacher and class adviser himself, he was well-loved
by this year’s Golden Jubilarians, Batch ‘55. And only now did I find
out that he was the adviser of the Veritas and of Section A! I am now
teaching at De La Salle University, after having taught at UST High
School for three years. Come to think of it, I spent a good 20 years of
my life in UST. J
High school life was an exuberant
mixture of playful pranks and serious business. However you put it,
nothing beats the unexplainable nostalgia that you would feel every time
we would talk about those high school experiences and most cherished
memories. We have shared each other’s triumphs and trials, joys and
sorrows, glories and pains, victories and defeats, rewards &
disappointments. Nonetheless, to one and all, no other period in the
life of man has been more enjoyable and unforgettable. The memory of
these past years has never been effaced by the onrush of the impending
struggles and problems that accompanied the pursuit of our respective
It is now 2005. Everybody is looking
forward to the Grand Alumni Homecoming on the 26th of
February, to reunite with bosom friends endeared to us by four long
years of coexistence - people we haven’t seen for more than two decades.
So as we celebrate 25 years as alumni of this venerable school, we beam
with pride as we all say, “We have all been part of that colorful,
wonderful and memorable life called UST High School!” Truly we have
reached silver, but we will definitely look forward to our Golden
Jubilee and hopefully share with one another once more the Magic of UST