Graduation Day in the Philippines
Our 12-year-old niece from Guimaras, Den Den, graduated from the sixth grade recently. In a rare spontaneous mood, the day before the event, I informed my asawa that I wanted to attend the ceremonies. Our niece would be entering high school next year and these closing exercises would be a milestone in her young life. My stunned spouse agreed. Because I wanted to surprise our relatives back in the mango province, we didn’t inform anyone that we would be attending.
The graduation ceremony was to begin at 8 am. As an American expat living in the Philippines for nearly four years now and married to a wonderful Filipina for over 13, I am well acquainted with the concept of “Filipino Time.”
I doubted that the event would start on time. I was right. We arrived at 7:45 from our home in Iloilo. Den Den and her mother, Alida (see following photo), came at 8:20. The graduation ceremony started at 8:25, only 25 minutes late. The 40th Closing Exercises for San Miguel Central School in Jordan, Guimaras had begun.
Roaming the grounds of the school as I waited for the commencement exercises to begin, I unleashed my asawa’s Sony Cyber Shot digital camera and took some pictures. Here’s the entrance to San Miguel Central School in Guimaras. The school is located between the “Old Site” and “New Site” markets in San Miguel, Jordan municipality, where my wife and I first lived when we moved to the Philippines from the States.
I couldn’t resist taking the next picture of the Math Mini Park located on the school grounds. Mathematics was my least favorite subject when I was in high school. Hated it. I struggled to get a “C” in mathematics. Art, history and literature were my favorite courses.
Loved this huge Mountain Dew sponsored signage for the school canteen. Wandered in and gulped down a bottle of Pepsi and checked out the assortment of junk food available. I downed a whole bottle. 10 pesos. No soda with a straw in a little plastic bag for me.
Taking a cue from legislation in the States (something very common in this archipelago) Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill that would regulate the offering of soft drinks in all grade schools and high schools in the Philippines.
Santiago stated the following: “”It is the responsibility of the State to protect our children from exposure to harmful substance. The sale of beverages that pose serious health risks can be curbed under the State’s POLICE POWER.” (Italics mine.)
Den Den and her fellow classmates were patiently standing during the graduation ceremonies. The event lasted over 2 1/2 hours. My asawa and I stayed outside underneath a few trees for some shade. The temperature was 26° C, 79° F with 76% humidity. Not blistering heat yet. We had some classroom chairs provided by the school and were comfortable in the shade.
Here’s part of the large crowd at the closing ceremonies. Her sixth grade class was composed of several different sections. Students attend from all around the area of San Miguel. Den Den is actually smiling in this photograph as she gets ready to take the stage to receive her diploma. English was spoken the whole program. The guest speaker, a local dentist, was the speaker and kept her speech at around five minutes. Good thing I wasn’t giving the commencement address. Would have lasted a lot longer than five minutes. Ask my asawa.
Here’s Den Den with some fellow classmates. She’s the tallest of the bunch. I missed the actual photo op when she was handed her diploma onstage. I tried to focus the camera but couldn’t turn it on in time. But I’m a 61-year-old geezer. Cut me some slack. I didn’t even have any adult beverages at the time either (that would come later at Lisa’s Talabahan.)
And here’s my niece with the last photo for this post. Glad we made it for the graduation. Nanay had to return home since she had students of her own waiting on her at her preschool. Papa was home minding the sari sari store and keeping an eye on our younger niece JalAmiel.
My asawa stood in as the parent while Alida was gone and was quite happy to do so. We’re proud of Den Den and her accomplishments thus far in her young life and expect great things from her. Her mother and father expect no less. Neither do we. I don’t believe anyone of us will be disappointed.