Nurturing the Essence of Giving and Sharing in SVS Festivities

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Nurturing the Essence of Giving and Sharing in SVS Festivities

Post by SVS Headliners on Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:53 am

Written by: Mark Preston S. Lopez & Frances T. Culallad

At first, the alumni’s “Walk for a Cause” project that had commenced the two-day festivities called SVS Family Day and Alumni Am-among seemed impossible because of the freezing breeze that enveloped the early morning of December 21. Fur coats, thick jackets, knee-high Christmas socks were all that clothed the early risers who had heard the Aguinaldo mass. The threatening rain has brought forth in their minds a bleak anticipation of such impossibility to walk from the church to Sitio Sukhit (Samoki) and vice versa, but an imminent cheerfulness gleamed through their faces. The walk has to go on. And so the daring folks started to trip the dew-wetted roads like warriors braving the battle ahead of them, minus the weapons of spears and shields but the imposing morning climate that has blurred the mountain tops. In all their complete garbs, the Green Bikers Club -Mountain Province appeared dauntingly, the MPSPC Criminology interns coming into sight with their aqua blue garments that spoke of gallantry and the SVS pupils, students, alumni and family members visibly manifesting thrill and exhilaration with the signal of the festivities fired out. Treading the Samoki bridge down to the avenue adorned with high-rise buildings then out to the emerald hue of the teeming ricefields and the sparkling Agoyo was not which defined the excitement but the idea of marching for nothing but a noble project for the future generations. Indeed, the walk was really for a cause.
In the mid-day, nothing was much of a thing. Everyone went back to his usual daily weekend routines. Nonetheless, the SVS pupils and students were all pre-occupied with the next bustle that was about to unfold in a few hours..the anticipated Variety Show in the evening.
While we were losing no time to face-lift everything for the Variety Show at 7 P.M., we sensed a frenzy feeling on air. We knew it will be an impressive show as manifested in the rehearsals that most performers sweat out their efforts to contribute to its success. Not only that, teachers, parents and alumni pitched in to hand their service.

Twilight came into view, lights are still being installed in place and pupil-performers played around while waiting for their turn for a slight make-up and hair set-up from a pool of volunteer make-up artists. The high school student-performers also barged in carrying their heels coupled with their sweet greetings. Some breezed in with their simple smiles and some with their unwanted nervousness. But we were glad they all look amazing.

The clock struck past 7, we were about to start. We noticed the Alumni President, Pao Tumapang so calm and confident. He gave the go signal to start off the show. We unveiled the opening.
At the onset, the spectators were already enormous-nearly a thousand I supposed as all seats were occupied and a number yet remain standing. The stream of fascinating presentations came rolling- sweet- sounding songs, rhythmic dances, melodious piano rendition and even a relaxing fun number. The night ended with a beam of happiness on everyone’s face, coupled with the ever alighting cold December breeze that was associated with the Savior’s coming.

As one of the writers of this piece and a non-SVS alumnus who simply played the role of a spectator of the show, I had sensed the success of a quality show at par with my level. No blank spaces, no dreary moments and no show-stealing. The excitement was sustained until the very last spoken words.

Anyone who had attended the Sunday mass of December 22 celebrated by the SVS School Director Fr. Ric Amiling, Jr. would have been puzzled with the young people coming to the SVS grounds dressed in the native Bontoc attire, both the young men and women. It was a signal of a culture-anchored endeavour as a natural consequence of the creation of SVS’ School of Living Traditions that left a profound impact to the present generation which tends to become oblivious of its rich cultural heritage. The reverberating sounds of the gongs and the dancing girls like birds tripping grains on the ground as described in Amador Daguio’s Wedding Dance captivated the morning audience from all walks of life-toddlers, kids, oldies and even non-Filipino visitors who never cease from taking photos and videos. The traditional ufung si e-madli came as a gesture of generosity and selfless sharing, the very essence of such gathering. With various menus made from the watwat, no one was left alone longing for a handful of rice and a cup of viand. Everyone’s watering palate was quenched with a generous amount of provisions courtesy of the SVS alumni who served as collaborative chefs minus the aprons and the hair nets.
The nostalgia that December evenings bring about was circumscribed with the warmth of the alumni’s flaming torches, a very wistful scene that wraps the town of Bontoc every time alumni homecomings happen. Every careful gait of anyone who had joined the torch parade meant a lot, for it wouldn’t only light the rain-soaked streets and provide warmth but also the pride that goes along with holding a torch that has long represented victory and success since time immemorial. In literary parlance, this night parade seemed like a re-enactment of a pagan-inspired ritual in a religious setting and it looked like a foreshadowing of a bigger event that will happen in 2015. This is the SVS Grand International Alumni Homecoming that was significantly launched during the culminating night at the SVS elementary grounds.
Indeed, it was not luck that brought the success of these festivities, but more importantly the hand-in-hand effort that each brought into play. While some few may have had the anxiety of giving some bits of help, many have put a hand into the various activities that made it all work. After all, such is the essence of Christmas and the coming new year – giving until it hurts and giving until it does not hurt as stressed by Fr. Marcs in one of his homilies.
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