Batch'92 at bacon beach before graduation. Posted by Hello

Hain na kamo Batch 84?

an Batch 84 sa BAMS sa Masbate. Nano na an balita saindo mga sano?

Alter Christus

I initially wanted to become a priest.

In fact, for a time, I thought I would eventually become one. I spent more than thirteen years inside the “hallowed” walls of the seminary and at least, as far as my spiritual director was concerned, that was more than enough proof that I was indeed being called for the priesthood, that that was more than enough initiation to be able to join the men of the cloak, and ultimately, that I was indeed destined to become an “Alter Christus.”

read the rest of the article here

Hain na kamo Batch 85?

recently posted on the batch 87 website are some pics taken during the 59th Homecoming last October 2004.

Happy B-day Fr. Gerry!

greets to fr. gerry on his birthday today (may 16)
(photo taken 20 years ago. from junie's photo book)


to those wondering what seminary life is, do read this nice write-up by gilbert cadiz about his and his class' experience of being seminarians. I put this here because a lot of people began asking me about seminary life and about being a seminarian ever since i told them about this blog :-)

clik here to read the article in its original location, the Batch 87 blog or kung medyo superbagal connection nyo read on na lang :-) a bit long but a good story nevertheless.

the batch 87 blog features lots of stories and crazy pics. head on there now!

CLASS OF 1983 (Recollections of a charmed life by the boy in a young man)

By Gibbs Cadiz
Originally published in The Aquinian Folio, December 1990

I NEVER PLANNED to enter the seminary. My best friend in Grade 6, who had a friend whose brother was a seminarian, talked me into it. We both listened to tales of how good it was to be inside, how delicious the food was (chicken every Sunday), how excellent the academic standards. And so that summer of 1993 we bravely took the tough entrance exams with sixty other boys, and passed.

Partly because I had never been to many places outside of my home before, the remoteness of the seminary fascinated me. The tricycle took about 4-6 minutes from the town to its gates, but to my young mind then it seemed like forever.

When my mother finally left me alone at the place, I stood awkwardly at the lobby, looked around--and knew I was hooked. The grass was lovely and verdant in the wide rolling plains, and the great expanse of the sprawling buildings looked simply awesome. There were bewildering stairs and rooms and nooks and crannies to get accustomed to, not to mention the strange little faces that floated all around me.

Those strange little faces turned out to be my new classmates. We were supposed to be 30 new additions to the family. I recognized my best friend, and six other contemporaries from elementary school. The rest were absolute strangers.

That evening Father Rector introduced us one by one to the community amid a terrifying cacophony of catcalls and jeers. Everybody's way of testing our insides, I suppose. And that first night away from our homes, we were so homesick half of us wept in bed and couldn't sleep. The next morning, the loudest sniffler was the most popular boy around. To this day, however, he adamantly denies ever wetting his pillows with his tears.

Also that first week, two boys tearfully backed out and begged to be returned home. The Rector had to use all his persuasive powers to convince the incosolably homesick pair to stay, but in vain. In later years, we still diminished until we were down to 25.

EVENTUALLY, THOUGH, we got used to the place and to one another.

We quickly found out that not everything was as good as the stories. There was no chicken every Sunday (the food, relatively good at first, slowly deteriorated), the enjoyment was tempered by much hard work, and the life was supremely monotonous. Every activity was on schedule, and every schedule was a rigid affair. To walk from the chapel to the refectory (that's the dining room for you), or from the study hall to the chapel, meant walking in two straight lines--no deviations allowed. The beadle's voice would roar out over the lines: "Lopez, your line! Angeles, look straight ahead!"

In those days, the beadle was the law. He was the right-hand man of the priest-formators, and he could even recommend the expulsion of students. The mere widening of his eyes reduced us to trembling lambs. It was only years later that we found out the man was also a frequent lawbreaker. He smuggled drinks and erotica into his locker, for example. But ever conscious of his responsibility and respectability, he and his classmates gorged on the contraband only after we'd begun snoring in our sleep. The sneaky little devils...

As for the class, we quickly found out that we we stuck with each other--for better or for worse. The first time we gathered together to vote for our class beadle, the noise was so overpowering that higher authorities had to intervene. The community beadle himself had to direct the proceedings. We were able to elect our own leaders, all right, but thereafter, we never enjoyed a reputation for good behavior or restraint.

It was shortly after this that the little demons in us began to pop out, to the chagrin of the priests. A small, loose clique of boys soon formed themselves and began wreaking mayhem on things. They were the rowdiest, most uninhibited adolescents in our class. Their first formal pronouncement of existence was to hang a smelly sock atop a fluorescent lamp one tumultuous afternoon when the Match teacher couldn't get her figures and her charms up.

We shrieked in delight at the floating apparition, but our teacher was outraged. She stormed out of the classroom towards the library, eyes brimming with hateful tears, and proceeded to execute a maidenly faint.

As punishment for our Act That Stank, the rector grounded us that evening in the cavernous auditorium with no lights and a delayed supper. We were deeply contrite in the darkness, but then again, we enjoyed the respite from the schedule so much that some of us blissfully slept and some thought the punishment was great, after all.

THE SYSTEM of discipline in the seminary was all about punishment. There were no rewards. It was reformatory in character, however much our formators protested against the word. In his endless sermons to us, the Rector cautioned us not to think of the seminary as a place where misfits were sent over to be refined and reshaped. With great passion, he would explain to us over and over the seminary's mission as a preparatory ground for future servants of God. Our roles in it, he said, were by far nobler, by far higher than going to a mere finishing school for boys.

To our ears, then, those words seemed like the Niagara, or perhaps the rushing of the tides. To me, particularly, it sounded like some choral society belting Handel's Messiah seven octaves higher. After such grand rhetoric, we would slink to our beds tingling with wonder and awe, our faces alive with the majesty of God and the mysteries of the Church. Yet in truth we understood so little. It would take years, and perhaps God's grace, for us to understand.

At any rate, the perception stuck. Among parents especially, the seminary was THE place for their growing pack of boys, the blessed spot where miracles still happened. Else how explain the transformation of their kids from unruly ruffians to little gentlemen?

That transformation required nothing less than for us to breathe, eat and sleep discipline every day for four long years. We had to kneel down (sometimes with arms outstretched) the moment we were late for any activity. We had to work on the grounds every week, clearing rubbish, cutting cogon, hauling off boulders, rearranging plots, burning compost until our eyes went all bleary from the smoke. (In our third year, a new Prefect of Discipline even decreed that one instance of tardiness was equivalent to 2 meters of land to be cleared of vegatation. Some incorrigible seminarians clocked 4-5 "lates" a week!)

Rotating house assignments also gave us large areas to clean, and no recreation was allowed until after they had been thoroughly scrubbed. We were never permitted to walk in slippers, trousers or sando (undershirt) in town. We had to wear socks and shoes always. Comic books, liquor, cigarettes were absolute prohibitions. And certainly no disco.

At an age when we were full of youthful outrage at authority and rigidity, we saw the rules as silly and unnecessary. Our class, all adolescents, was naturally rebellious. We spent hours whining over these cruel and oppressive straitjackets. Everybody was so 'unjust' (our favorite word): the priest who fined us P1 for every non-English word we uttered, the teacher who chastised us for not paying enough attention to the lesson, the beadle who beat us for straying out of line (the beating consisted of three knocks in the head).

Nowadays, of course, we laugh at our immaturities and marvel at the childishness of our coming-of-age years. But that's what reunions are for--a time for great laughs and some fair amount of cringing over the good old days.

WHEN I WAS in third year, I was religiously reporting to my parish church during once-a-month home visits and summer vacations. My best friend and I and another classmate usually served the 7:30 a.m. mass on Sundays. One balmy morning, just before mass, we were so engrossed with our chatter that we forgot all about the time. The boy acolyte, the one we had so airily dismissed just a few minutes ago, came running and announced, with barely hidden glee, that the priest was already marching down the aisle.

We ended up running after the priest by passing at the side of the altar, the whole congregation meanwhile chuckling and staring at our faces that alternately turned red, white and purple in extreme embarrassment. Had the world ended that very instant, we would have been glad.

It was clearly once instance when we were made acutely aware of the fragility of the image people had about us seminarians. Pious folk in our province liked to think we were a breed apart, a special progeny meant for holy responsibilities. Kids, yes, but we had a sort of respectability to live up to. Our formators drummed to us the same thing, explaining why we had to conduct ourselves well at all times.

But to many of us this was sheer baloney. We felt we weren't any more different from the rest of the boys in other schools. We wanted to think we were the same, because we wanted the same youthful freedoms and choices and adventures. We failed to explain, however, why we felt guilty whenever we walked down the highway in less-than-appropriate attire, or why we scampered away immediately the moment we found ourselves near a moviehouse with Maria Isabel Lopez garishly painted on its billboards. We felt uneasy with the simple strolls. We felt there were eyes looking at us, recognizing us as a "seminarista." And how we wished we were a little less uptight, and more anonymous.

BY THIS TIME we were no more the naive, guileless little chaps that we had been when we entered the seminary. The vagaries of the adult world were starting to creep in. On clear, silent nights when everything had settled to a deathly stillness, footsteps would shuffle in our dorm, followed by the clinking of glass. Four ghostly shadows would flit to a corner, sharing smuggled rhum with one ear cocked to the tell-tale jangling of the Rector's keys. One or two would surreptitiously unfold erotic literature, trying to read by feeble flashlight.

Indeed, we were growing up so fast. Every young girl within view became an object of awe that, in one of our unthinking moments, somebody suggested we create seminary history by holding a prom night (with invited partners). Naturally, our suggestion was turned down. Once more we griped that it was so "unjust."

At the same time, however, that we began to feel the pressures of the world, we were also increasingly drawn to the prospects of a life for God. The silence and the contemplation were having their effect, and we began to feel, in the most inscrutable quiet of moonless nights when we went out to the grotto and talked about our futures, that God might indeed be calling all of us 25 classmates to be His priests. We sincerely felt we had the seed of vocation (why else were we inside, after all?), and most of us, despite the trivial sinning and the occasional doubts, took real pains to nurture the spark.

While many of us entered the seminary thinking we would come out lawyers and surgeons and plain dads in the end, now we started fantasizing of a common ordination day--25 new priests in one blow! We knew it was a pipe dream, because from the seminary's experience, only one or two would end up getting ordained from a class our size. Nevertheless, the occasion was one more occasion for bonding among young boys who shared the anxieties of a grown-up future. One way or another during those days, everyone of us personally thought of climbing God's mountain and proving ourselves His worthy mountaineers.

And with this kind of pious optimism, everything that tempted us astray reeked of the devil. We knew there was something devilish in all the drinking and the smoking and the lying that we did, but we tried to rationalize them as momentary pleasures, harmless diversions.

Along the way, by the time we bacame seniors, we had become very close to one another. It was during our senior year that we developed and starred in so many stage productions that we felt audacious enough to organize a local theater company. We spent countless nights perfecting "Pasko Na, Sinta Ko" in four voices, simply because we thought we were mighty good singers and our voices blended beautifully (it didn't occur to us to get an outside opinion). In our younger years, we usually hid food from other hungry eyes (the bishop once called our community "bottomless pits"), but this time, most everything was shared. And with the grievances of a few, we outrageously staged mini-revolts against our formators.

At the height of our rebelliousness, we crawled at midnight to a certain dormitory for a secret meeting by candlelight, careful not to wake up other people, and began plotting how to strike back. Walking out of the seminary gates the following morning in full view of the community gathered for flag ceremony was a dramatic option. But then, tragedy. Morning came, and some members of the batch got into a petty shouting match with a fellow seminarian, which attracted everyone's scrutiny. That promptly broke our moral high horse. It was a blow to our pride. For days on end we rued our frailties and missed opportunities.

JUST BEFORE graduation, we had our last class retreat together, and the retreat master gave us this altogether remarkable observation. "We should be honest with ourselves," he said. "If we end up loving a girl, for example, and feel that God has designs for us other than the priesthood, then by all means let His will be done. You don't love God less just because you happen to love a girl, do you?"

Apparently, a great many of us in the batch took that advice a little more closely to heart. Because just over three years after completing high school, only six have remained inside to pursue the priesthood. (So much for mass ordinations.) But these guys might as well have the hearts and minds of their other nineteen batchmates!

As for the rest, we have scattered to different places, but are in close contact with each other most of the time. We hold reunions thrice a year--ridiculous by any stretch--and when we meet, happily mellowed now by time and a little more maturity, we revert to the riotous boys we've always been, bound by a friendship made special by those unique bonds: four sheltered years of shared hardships, joys and adolescent experiences. The best years of our lives, in a place unlike any other on earth.

Ah, the Kingdom of Heaven!

Blog troubles

pasensya na mga bosing kasi medyo nagkakaproblema itong blog. it seems nag-iiba an template niya kahit di ko ginagalaw. it is actually using the template of my other blog www.otrabidas.

i really don't know why kung bakit. its driving me nuts already. so all custom codes are gone na naman including the links, chatterbox, stat counter.

i'll have to put them back again,

anybody know how to fix this?

Msgr. Monje, former Rector of the OLPS minor. He is now assigned in Fatima. He celebrates his birthday today.

Visit Gibbs Cadiz' Blog

nice readings at Gibb's blog here. Gibbs Cadiz is from Batch 87. He presently works i think at the Philippine Daily Inquirer as an editor. anyways head off to his site to know more about him and enjoy his writings.

calling all sano! can anybody send me a wide angle shot of the seminary circa '80s? yung parang kuha mula sa gate.

i plan to use that pic as a header pic/ or masthead for the blog.

pls email the pic to

many thanks!!!!


or if you or your batch has a website or blog. just send me the link so i can post it here.

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