Monday, 13 August 2007

LEGACY CONTINUES

Post 18: Lolo Ramon's Story

The nearest primary school for Ambassador children before was Poad Elementary School which is located in Acop Tublay Benguet. Its an everyday morning walk of four kilometers for my aunts and uncle, Eddie, Juling, Mary and Betty just to attend school. Then another 4 km going back home.

"Daniel 'Danny', envied his siblings who were leaving the house everyday. He convinced Meding first before my wife convinced me. I was not in to it because he was only six years old. But, he went anyway. Danny was always crying when he comes home from school. He was always bullied by his much older classmates. They even eat his lunch and worst put cow's dung into his lunch box after. He stopped going in the middle of the school year." Ramon smiles as he tells this.

Ramon being the mayor made a proposal to his colleagues to build a school in Ambassador. He volunteered to donate a part of his land for it. The 'Munisipyo' has no money for this project but they agreed to work for it's legalities. My grandfather presented this to the residents of Ambassador and they immediately started to work.

" First, we have to level the mountain and we don't have any equipments such as bulldozers like they use today. We did it with our bare hands. Old and young , men and women were all helping. I could not forget what we did before we put up the long, high ceiling-ed and big 'inatep'(nipa hut). After loosening the soil manually, we have to flatten the land. We did this by tying ropes in both ends of a huge long log. Then we pull the rope while others were pushing it."

"Its worth remembering the oneness and sincerity of every person who helped in putting up this school. All you see were smiles on their faces no matter how hard the effort they have to give. Being there was like a feast or being in a party. Even if the sun had set, it seems no one likes to end the day"

" It was 2 years of hard work from a scratch before it was finally completed on 1951. The first students were the old people so that they could at least learn how to write their names. Meding volunteered to be the first teacher because the government could not provide a teacher yet."

" The next year, Grade One formally started then Grade II the next year with a real teacher now. Grade III and so on. Danny's batch was the first elementary graduate of Ambassador Elementary School on 1956."

When my grandfather died, the people in his town requested for the name of the school be changed. It was later granted and changed into Pontino Elementary School in honor of my 'lolo' Ramon Pontino. It was where me, my brothers and sisters graduated elementary.

The location of the school is the best part of my grandfather's inherited land. The scope extends to almost two hectares. It was just below our house, a minute walk and its where I spent most of my childhood. Hide and seek, 'pinal-paltugan'(shooting), playing under the rain and throwing hard cow's poop to our 'kalabans'(opponents) were what we used to play. Then volleyball, basketball and soccer as we grew up.

Now, the number of Ramon's grandchildren is rapidly growing. Each one of us dreams of putting a house of our own close to our known home. His land is no longer enough for all of us. And, since its close to the highway, now the price of that land is worth millions.

The site of the school could have accommodated us - the 3rd generation and even three succeeding cluster of great - grandchildren. But, my 'lolo's' effort, our education and our childhood memories will never be replaced by a house, wealth or any material possession. 'What inheritance could be better than that?'

4 comments:

Tina

Hi Lovelyn,
I've been at the edge of my seat reading your posts about your ancestors. All the reason to be proud of your roots! Way to go girl!

lovelyn

Thanks Tina!

These stories would have been buried in the archives of BCO if you didn't lead me to the blogsphere.

kuzu

I'm proud to be part of this school if not mistaken way back 1995? but I'm sure I'm with Danica.
Thanks for sharing....

lovelyn

Ciao Kuzu,

Thank you! It means a lot to hear it from someone who graduated from the same school. Grazie also for dropping by.

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