Congratulations, classmates!

The other week, I was surprised to find on my table a paper bag containing a violet-colored something. It was the class jacket of MMSU Pharmacy Class of 2009, with my name embroidered on the chest part. A personalized handkerchief came with the package.

On the paper bag were notes handwritten by members of the class. The words were so moving, I began to understand why they gave me a hanky as well. Sorry to disappoint you, but I stopped reading after a few lines. For one, it feels awkward when people love and adore you so much. Also, I felt undeserving of such words which can only be as sweet as those who wrote them.

Our friendship started in 2007 when they were my students in Society and Culture. They were already in their junior year, and I was on my first semester in the university. All members of the class were so jolly and vibrant that no one looked sleepy nor bored even when our class was scheduled at the proverbial “unholy hour” of 1:00 p.m., and was held in a humid classroom in a faaar-away building. They always came on time, listened to me attentively, participated in all activities and, most importantly, laughed at my jokes even when they were not so funny.  These students sure know a lot about modern medicines, but they confirm that laughter, as the cliche goes, is still best.

After that semester, we met very rarely. But we knew, deep in our hearts, that we have established a special bond. We would occasionally meet at the corridors and in the stairs, and each time was always as if we had not met for years.

I think the class appreciated it very much that on the Valentine’s Day of 2008, I sent them an acoustic band to serenade them with their favorite songs. This year’s season of hearts was even more memorable. Shortly before V-Day, the class invited me to speak on Job Hunting in a training-workshop they organized with much fanfare. On the scheduled day of the event, I was set to join my colleagues in a trip to Adams, a place we had always wanted to visit but never had the chance to do so. I was really looking forward to the trip, but gave it up anyway. My favorite class was more important. Adams will be conquered on another day.

Classes come and go. Faces and names are forgotten. But I have reserved a special space in my heart for this group. I appreciate it very much that they have considered me as their “honorary classmate”.

I am publishing their names in this space in the hope that the next time I read them, it will be on a national newspaper announcing their successful hurdling of the board exams. And, why not, our university has been perennially recognized as a top-performing school in Pharmacy, among many other fields.

So go their beautiful names:


Abbang, Rovie A.

Acio, Divine Grace A.

Alonzo, Trinity Joy E.

Andag, Richie Mae A.

Andres, Lorimel A.

Bagasol, Hazel T.

Bagasol, Reigndelle A.

Cabrera, Kristie Anne I.

Callitong, James V.

Cañete, Jonalyn J.

Coloma, Roselyn Mae S.

Daduyo, Jethrew E.

Delos Santos, Jhelly N.

Estavillo, Desire G.

Gabriel, Imee U.

Ganir, Novelyn V.

Garalde, Gizzle Vie P.

Macadang, Alvin James P.

Magdaraog, Nerie D.

Mata, Sherille Jane M.

Menor, Karen P.

Mina, Berna Kristie A.

Nacion Jr., Jerry G.

Nebab, Leah O.

Niño, Cinderella V.

Pajas, Armynne Mae A.

Pascua, Gigi Elaine R.

Quina, Flordeliza P.

Rafanan, Juliet B.

Ramos, Maelyn B.

Santos, Charen Jasrell Joy T.

Umoso, April Rose G.

Valencia, Mae I. (Cum Laude)

Viloria, Jo-anne D.


I have never thanked them for the jacket, the hanky, and their generous notes (which, to this day, I still don’t have the strength to read).


In the mean time, I would like to thank them for helping me become a better teacher, a better person.


I wish my friends well in their continued journey through meaning. May peace and love always find them.


Congratulations, classmates.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

120 thoughts on “Congratulations, classmates!”

  1. i know you are a toughie but there is a softie in you! he he .it takes one to know one. you are willing to give up something to be with your class?that tells something about you. you are a role model to these kids no doubt..

  2. somebody has to do it. my sister in virginia is a special ed teacher in norfolk public school here.she is in her 70’s and still plugging along.she had been doing it forever.GOD bless you have all the patience in the world. i’ll have my psych patients anyday.[ i just blend in with them] hehe

  3. yes i worked as a psych nurse in a pysch unit at CATHOLIC MEDICAL CENTER for 30 years.i retired 4 years ago .

    1. I bet that experience made you even wiser. There are a lot of things one could learn from those patients.

  4. yes.,my patients loved me as i loved them .i used to tell some of them get your s— together.these are the ones that i know who are faking just to get something out of the” system” my patients range from different personalities,drug and alcohol abusers.depression etc… at times i miss doing it. when i get bored one of this days i will go back to work..

  5. how sweet naman..being serenaded on valentines day with their favorite songs. mine is “funny face i love you funny face i need you…when my husband and i were dating he have this song sung by the band all the time…that was 38 years ago.i am getting nostalgic…and also fav song now is “lead me lord ” by gary valenciano…just kidding.i like it but it is not my favorite!! love story is..

    1. Would you believe, I love “Lead me lord” so much that I even sing it in videoke bars… I hope it doesn’t sound sacrilegious.

  6. there is a guy named mr.valdez in batac that sings it beautifully in church on sunday mass there. you must get a 101 score on it?

  7. in the song lead me lord there is one thing i would like it to say instead of walk by me walk by me across the lonely road that i may take .i would rather be …walk with me .

  8. libra gets along with almost anyone.balance is the husband is aries and my son is taurus. go figure!!

  9. Hello, tita lita and herdy..I’m a libran too. You are right, we are the friendliest people on earth…

  10. librans are also risk takers.i am juggling with a ram and a bull.but i am able to balance what is expected of me. although reality seldom matches expectations..

  11. speaking of lead me lord…have you ever heard of yahweh , here iam lord, “. and you are mine”you will like it…go to you tube…i do not know if they have it in the videoke ..

    1. I love those church songs as well. The church is where you can your sing your heart out no matter how pitiful your voice is, and people won’t mind.

  12. donna…i am so glad that somewhere out there that’s another proof that we librans are “nurturing and caring”..he he

  13. i have all the respect in the world for teachers… when my son was in the grade school he asked me to help him out with his french…and so after translations of english to french or french to english..i said unknowingly that he was listening i said “mange le marde” and he told his teacher my mom said” mange le marde ” and so all the kids were laughing.the teacher turned red…he he

  14. i know..last sunday.this lady beside me in church her voice was so pitiful and overbearing so i did not sing at all because i was so distracted and i was blending in with her!!

    1. Haha, that’s why Christ urged us: “”Love your neighbor”, no matter how off key he/she may be.

  15. yes i will with a grain of salt even he he i was just taken out of my bath tub spa by this kids ringing my doorbell .i intended to stay 1/2 hr to relax but what can i say. yes sir i will carry my cross” it is lenten season.

    1. Amen. By the way, I saw Fr. Ericson yest at Batac Church, I will share with you later why I went there. Yes, he receives your email but never gets to respond to them. He says he’s busy. Poor PR.

  16. before having my cup of coffee i just read this…wake up to something new..turn your intellect and curiosity to a subject you know little about,opening your mind and heart.try to listen not just to hear,to see and not just to look,to feel not just to observe …today is already the 32nd day of lent.

  17. there are so many things you can learn in church…i.e people before church chit chats where they went,what they did the week etc and there is a cat in church in batac i had been observing as soon as the mass starts he starts at the altar then works its way up exploring until he reaches the immaculate conception do rounds up there and then comes back down..make no mistake about it i am praying and paying attention .i am just multi-tasking. and here most of the parishioners are elderly since St ANTHONY oF PADUA PARISH CHURCH IS OVER A 100 years old they make me can count younger ones under 70.there is one lady who is 104 years old.she gets roses all the time on her birthday. lucky her.i am not complaining i am over 64 my cut off .”.will you still need me will you still feed me when i’m 64″ husband still does.(beatle’s song)

  18. i made it..GOD listened to my” friend “in church i did not see her.but of course i am a little late because i cannot find my favorite” bling bling” the newest my husband bought me that goes very well with my black turtle neck sweater .i could have worn different one but i was determined to find it and even my husband was involved with the search.i normally walk .it is only 5 minutes but i drove. i have my preferences when it comes to jewelry.between my son and my husband buying them for me i should have are girls best friend.. so i sat in the back.i usually sit infront..and i sang this time.!!

    1. haha.. I am surprised. I was imagining you’d were handmaid bling-blings like the ones NGO volunteers wear. I didn’t know of that vain side of yours, hehe

    1. I’ll write about in detail when i have more time… He’ll leave for studies abroad immediately after holy week. After two years, he’ll be home to teach full time in the Vigan major seminary, no longer as parish priest.

  19. i am glad for him.and i am glad you did not become a priest otherwise i will not be having these conversations with you.

    1. priesthood was a childhood dream though.. I’d say mass to my playmates, complete with communion…

  20. i am not being selfish but i do not volunteer on any time now is with my family. i started working at the hospital when we just came from germany when my son was 2 years old.i used to work nights so we do not have to bring him to a babysitter or day husband use to work 3-11 and his father lived with us.he had cancer.taking care of a youngster is not easy let alone with a cancer patient.i look back now and i say “how did i do it”

    1. wow. You are a superwoman. It’s ok if you’re not into those cause-oriented groups. Each one has his/her own way of making the world a better place.

  21. i cannot find any of my crocus patch yet .maybe my bulbs that i planted died. i will send you later if they come out…if not go to the internet and let me know how you like them. one of my favorites are the brugmansia or trumpet plants.although we cannot plant in zone 5 where i live (too cold) i managed to grow them in pots ;bring them out during summer time on our back deck then bring them in when it gets cold. i saw over there that they become very big trees.the flowers emits sweet scent on nighttime like the dama de noche.

  22. i don’t know..i cant see you as a are too onery and spunky to be need to be gentle in words and actions to be one not an oppositionist or a debater..this is a compliment..he he

    1. I’d be an activist priest.. But no, i don’t entertain the idea now. I have a lot of ideological and theological differences with the church

  23. herdy, talaga? Ericson is leaving for abroad? Do you know where? Here in Europe, I hope.. It’s easier to visit him here.

    tita lita, you are right, the padi’s are oh so busy in the phils. Monday is usually their day-offs. And then the kumbentos are really closed…

  24. ericson is going to spain for his studies..if you see him there give him my best and maybe he will have more time to communicate with me .i miss the conversations in the kumbento grounds after morning mass with him and a retired doctor..and when he does the misa de gallo everyone is awake because he gives stimulating sermons..he will really be missed..

  25. hopefully fr. ericson will be able to go and give communion to my dad this friday before he leaves .i heard his last day there is easter sunday. herdy..i am having fun picking on you now .if you are a priest i will not be able to. i know my limitations!!

    1. awww… priests are as human as you and me… Quoting my tita lita, “I don’t give a hoot!”

  26. check your e mail…sent you some did not come out the way i wanted them to but at least i deliver not like some people i know i am still awaiting for the pictures that they said they will send me…a month ago??

  27. speaking of pagudpud ..cholo digital photography my multiply buddy just put out a very panoramic view of pagudpud beach..awesome photography.i went there once but it was so different then .i admire this young man’s works….

  28. donna..i don’t know if you see one of my notes that fr.ericson is going to spain..wish it’s near to me so i can visit..

  29. yes ouch..i am a computer illeterate .i can just do e mails etc none of the fancy schmanze stuff.

  30. yes cholo arellano is my on line buddy. the only thing i do not like are there are so many gay pictures.nothing against gays but…i have a gay nephew my brothers kid .he does make ups hairs etc.he is the best.very meticulous. he is the only one that can” pungot pungot” me .that is give me hot oil treatments. he is one of my scholars whom i wanted him to be a fashion designer and few more credits and he quit.

    1. Can you send me cholo’s link so I can see what gay pictures you don’t like? Just curious

  31. as long as i can send and receive emails,communicate through my ym,multiply, myspace, facebook. send pictures,.i don’t give a sh** about anything else. and.. and go to my riknakem and karikna…

  32. tita lita – so, ericson’s destination is spain…hmm..that’s 3 hours flying from here. Hope I will have the time to go there in the next 2 years. And you are not computer illiterate. You are into blogging..and emailing, that’s enough.

  33. you mean lola (grandmother) or lola in whatever ” lola wants lola gets.. which i am called at times..i just go to cholo arellano digital photography and it brings you to the website..i saw the ordinasion ti kinapadi of fr. ericson there and cholo said that he was proud to be the official photographer..and fr. ericson did not look like pulis na masiba or buwaya or gamrod. he he.

  34. look who is talking lolo herdy techie..sir herdy i am not a lola yet i do not have grand kids yet and you, you have already grandnieces..he he

  35. tita lita – my god, you are really into cyberspace. Can I be one of your contacts in facebook Herdy is already included in my circle of friends.

    I even bother him everytime I see him online in YM. Right, herdy? Kulit ko noh? How did the graduation go? Kapagod ba?

    1. kapagod.. Then nakakangawit kasi kailangan pagbigyan mo lahat who wants to have a picture taken with you. But graduation ceremonies are always a refreshing experience, andaming mga jeep at bus sa loob ng mga mmsu, hakot ang mga barangay.. Tapos ang mga parents, napakasaya. It is their own graduation too e.

  36. Ha..ha..sabi nga ng nanay ko. They were there yesterday, too. Na-traffic sila. 2 nephews of mine graduated too.

  37. herdy…you know me better than that..i do not give up easily and so do let me know..what will it be?..whoever wrote the poem closure is a paradox is very right,

  38. sister said fr.ericson went to give my dad communion and told them that fr.xavier will be taking over next month.he asked”how is manang lita? i wish he answers my e mails then he will know how i am doing.. please update me when you talk to him or see him. you can also reach me at my e mail address which herdy promised to send you through YM

  39. Herdy – Ha..Ha..korek..nag-parti da agpayso. Iddi kalman ti salo-salo da idiay Pasuquin.

    Tita Lita – welcome back!!! Okay I’ll let ericson know if/when I see/speak to him. Thanks for your email adddress. I’ll send you invitation in facebook as soon as I have it…

  40. graduations are so exciting.a year ago i was there for my niece’s grad in is for parents and also for the teachers for who without them they would have not achieved these learnings.

    1. But graduations are unnecessarily long oftentimes, even many teachers escape from the ceremonies. Speeches of guest speakers are also oftentimes a drab. I join always join the march though.

  41. Nabasa ko sa comments, Libra yung friendliest person. Pano po pag Leo? *rawr* haha! (Hindi ako naniniwala sa Horoscope pero walalang. ok lang malaman haha)

    1. from somewhere:

      The Lion is considered the king of the jungle, and likewise you Leos have an air of royalty about you. Some Leos even have hair resembling the thick mane of the Lion. But Lions are more than roar, for they are truly magnificent beasts. The Lioness proudly cares for the young, hunts and takes care of survival with relentless intent and ferocity, when needed. And proud are you Leo! Perhaps that’s why Leo often chooses work that puts you in the center of stage or in the spotlight of appreciation.

      Leo are warm of spirit, eager for action and are driven by a desire to be loved for what you bring to others. Leo are a magnanimous leader and a faithful servant. Once scorned in love, however, Leo will withdraw your affections and the light, once brilliant, can go cold.

      Leo motto might be “What you see is what you get.” You tend to live your live straightforwardly and with a flair for drama. In fact, many Leos are attracted to the theater, the performing arts and public relations, for you truly understand the importance of putting on a good presentation. As you blaze gloriously through your life, remember to take time to acknowledge the feelings of those around you. If you forget, you could unconsciously hurt someone you love. But, if you remain aware your impact, others can benefit from your presence.

      I partly believe in horoscopes because they reflect the forces of nature…

  42. Most of times, with those drab speeches, most of the people in the hall are falling sleep. I was one of those…but korek ka jan herdy, the graduation march will keep you awake…

  43. now that is funny.simple jokes like this i can follow..most of the time my husband is laughing and i am not because i do not understand that that was the punchline already.

    1. On the other hand, tita, I think you have a more complex mind and you fail to get simpler jokes. It’s funny when people do post-joke analysis because somebody was left out, hehe

  44. all of us has a favorite teacher or professor not because they gave us a higher grade or we have special bonding but because we learned to them and accompanied to the happening that we shared in the time that we are all together..we didn’t that professor for the rest of our life…..

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