Monday, December 1, 2014

ICA Golden Jubilarians receive roses and kisses for they have come a long way

Famous heartthrob Daniel Matsunaga gallantly gave the Golden Jubilarians long-stemmed roses when he appeared as guest performing artist at the Immaculate Conception Academy’s recent alumni homecoming. The serenade highlight of the evening’s memorable program saw the tall and dashing actor and model of Brazilian and Japanese parentage plant kisses on a few of the surprised honorees in long gowns.

The Batch 1964 alumni included Pho Hoa restaurateur Nancy Cua, Miriam College dean Lourdes Samson, CEO of Philscan Travel and Tours Sylvia Sangco and journalist Nancy T. Lu.

A Microsoft PowerPoint presentation of pictures from Helen Cokee's scrapbooks of memories unfolded while the Golden Jubilarians were in the limelight. With help from her staff at the Miriam College, Lourdes Samson put this together for projection during the program.

The 6-foot-1 entertainer’s moves titillated the audience during the “CHICA NA!” event on November 22 at the ICA Greenhills campus in Little Baguio, San Juan City. As he suavely romanced each of the 18 alumni in the spotlight with his song, the watching younger alumni gushed and screamed with delight. Crowd pleaser Matsunaga at one point went down on his knee before the flabbergasted alumna Mary Ng. Unstoppable fans finally rushed onstage to mob the 26-year-old ever-smiling Matsunaga.

During the preparatory meetings called by the Silver Jubilarians who were behind “CHICA NA!” on November 22, Hilda Tan So served as coordinator for the Golden Jubilarians. She kept everyone posted on the developments regarding the details of the program.

The ICAns belonging to Batch 1964 went through months of preparation for the celebration of their 50-year milestone as alumni. The fund-raising for their beloved alma mater got launched last year with Helen Cokee and Lourdes Samson opening a bank account for the purpose. The target goal of one million pesos was surpassed during the bank account closing time. One million pesos went to a scholarship fund for the poor and 300,000 pesos to the health care of the aging sisters. The money turnover took place after a Mass offered by Father Ari Dy, principal of Xavier School and himself a Silver Jubilarian of the Jesuit school he now runs.

Two days before, on November 20, the Golden Jubilarians gathered at the Quezon City Sports Club to remember their departed classmates Imelda Ang, Hedy Yu Galan, Catherine Chua, Lucille Chan and Ruby Nubla as well as their mentor Sister Teresita Canivel at a Mass offered by Father Ronald Bagley. In his homily, the priest reminded everyone about looking back at the past as a gift to be thankful for and the future as a gift of promise and hope.

Wearing a long dress on the big day itself was Helen Cokee’s idea. She had the sample look created and made by a designer in August. She bought the needed fabric combinations personally. A dressmaker was also found by her.

More than for any other reason, the alumni homecoming was an occasion for happy bonding among classmates gone separate ways due to different callings over the years. Some never crossed paths for half a century. Others were privileged to have reunions during their travels overseas.

Sister Dina Ang warmly welcomed back the alumni. Those who were revisiting for the first time in years were amazed to see the many changes in the campus.


Most of the alumni recalled and shared the happy moments in their lives as fulfilled mothers and even grandmothers. Reveries of halcyon days at ICA, sometimes filled with mischief, kept flooding back. There were suggestions to revive the singing Amorettes. Discussions of health issues were inevitable. But the general spirit was very upbeat.

Those who traveled all the way from the United States and Canada to keep this rendezvous enjoyed the bonding which continued in the home of Lourdes Samson at Ayala Heights. The Cabuyao Fun Farm and the Tagaytay Highlands were part of the memories of a few. Dancing feet found their way to the Roxy on Tomas Morato Street for an afternoon of ballroom dancing. There were lunches and dinners to keep the animated conversations going.

The question finally was: when and where will the next reunion take place?


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