Nostalgia Saint Jeromes Academy Bagabag 1980's
SJA Batch 87 priceless photos captured using Analog Camera Kodak film size 110,   36 Shots.

Who are the Jeromian  Batch 87?  Obviously,  they were the students of SJA within the year  1983 to 1987.   Within that period,  their young minds were molded in the boundaries of the gateless and fenceless SJA campus. 

Wait a minute,  there was a fence! Really, it was somewhat 1m width x 1m height of fence made from pre war old bricks situated infront of the school. The towering acasia and mahogany trees, combined with the orange fire tree infront of the convent, witnessed the colorful life of this once teen age students.

And who can forgot  the nearby  panoramic beauty of open plaza surrounded by breezing pine trees where town basketball tournaments, fiesta activities and school programs were held.  It was not part of the campus,  though it was the favorite hangout of the students to extend the fun outside the school.

They went to school by walking, by clunky tricycle, by sarao jeep and  by classic calessa coming from every barangay in Bagabag.   The only cemented road at that time was the national highway and some small asphalted portion of the public market streets.

Bagets of the SJA-87 infront of the School Stage

 Boys Look a Like

The boys usually go to the school in their white t- shirts with a big blue logo of SJA in front and a printed first name at the back of the shirt.  This is matched with a straight fit, acid wash, low waist, stretchable jeans and with a zipper just above the ankles.   The hair styles mimic the famous Menudo, Bagets, Lionel Richie et al.   When in  barber shop of  Mang Sibuyas,  just mention the keyword,  "Syete",  "A-Team",  "Ipus ti Manok" and you are in for style.  But when being subjected to free hair cut ( kultap) in the school courtesy of our mentors, they do have no other choice but to say "bob cut" "low cut" or "army cut".  

They love to wear basketball shoes going to school like adidas Top Ten Canvas,  Superstar, Grosby and Converse. This prepared them well for the outdoor game of sipa or basketball during breaktime, after class time, before class time or even during class time when the teacher was not around.   After and before school time, you can find them in billiard hall near rural bank or public market, campus canteen, bagabag tennis court,  top of the old convent, quadrungle, hexagonal building near church (now parish priest residence) or just inside the classrooms chatting with girls.

Bagets of 87 Near  SJA Canteen
Girls Look a Like

Girls on the other hand wore their classic white blouse with below knee  blue skirt.   This is matched with neon pigtail socks and LA gear white sneakers.   The hair styles mimic the madonna mania, cyndi lauper and also the likes of Sharon and Snooky.  The various styles were  spiral perm, side ponytail, and big hair bangs.  They sometimes wore braided headbands or big hair clip bows to temporarily comply to classroom good grooming policy.

With days of no school uniform,  you will see them in their blazer thing with shoulder pads like the football player, or  the flashdance thing with the sweatshirt hanging off the shoulder.   Back then, girls exchanges magazines like Liwayway and Kislap for the trends of fashion. If you are not wearing what was cool, then you are definitely called  "barbariotic"- meaning from the far flung villages.

SJA Classroom Scene  (True to Life Story circa 80's)

Once upon a time in one  beautiful Monday morning at one of the classrooms in SJA,  the class starts by prayer and reading the bible verse of the day.    When the class are now on their  respective seat,  the teacher starts to make a roll call.    Standing in front of the wide dark green blackboard, she writes some points.  And  then without warning she said " Alright class!  bring out one fourth sheet of paper, write your name and numbers  one to ten..."    Everybody is surprised,  staring each other, some starts to giggle, others utter disappointment.  You can hear them silently saying " Madik pay nakareview",  " pakopya man wen", "ikkan nak man papel".  

The teacher started to give the surprised quiz.   As she pronounce each questions,  the students listen attentively.  Eyes rolled to each other looking for clues and mercy.  Those who knew the answer covers their piece of paper very well, safe from the detective eyes of adjacent seatmate.   But one cannot  anymore withstand his still blank piece of paper  and resorted to body touching to signify his desire to at least get one right answer.  The other imitate the hand signal used by the deaf to share the answer to his close friend. 

The voice of the teacher happened to be the most powerful voice of that time.  Different body languages of the class is displayed in every seat.  Girls started to pull their hair as if some magical spell will come out from their head to give her the answers to the questions.  Boys occupied only half of the seat to give him the proper view and quickly maneuver to write the answer to his paper.  

When the  teacher finished the last question,  she said " Ok class, we will check your paper,  pass your paper five times counter clockwise".   For some, it requires desperate measures,  this is now the last opportunity to get some points.   Teacher now gave the answer to his questions earlier one by one and correspondingly check by the assigned student.  If your paper landed to your best friend,  and his to yours, you got the edge.  The wrong letter of "a" can become a correct "d".   If not,  you get the big X  or the big O in the paper.   The moment the paper is returned to the owner,  some complains will still surface, challenging the validity of his answer.  In his strong tone to the checker, he uttered " Apay ngay wrong mo ket ustu met dyay No. 7 ko ", in which she replied " ket wrong spelling met dyay answer mo gamin 

This argument continues from the door of the classroom,  corridors, under the acasia tree, in the canteen, inside the church, basketball court,  library, garden, graduation........and perhaps until this time to the alumni homecoming.  Definitely!

Junior & Senior Prom Program

Campus Beat

The extra curricular activities in the SJA during our time were undoubtedly spectacular and full of fun.  Most notably are the out of town field trips, Boy and Girl Scout Jamborees,  Lingo ng Wika, United Nation, Patronal Fiesta,  CAT Review, Foundation Day Unit Competitions, Backyard camping, Christmas Party,  Student Body Council Election and of course the most memorable JS Prom.

The SJA front stage along with the adjacent basketball court was the focal point of many student activities that stirred laughter and cheers.   One of our memorable events was the competition among the students where we displayed our declaiming skills rendering the historical "The Assasin " depicting the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who killed JFK.

It was also here where the school held the search for singing talents where a Boy and Girl duet sung the most requested love songs of the 80's such as Endless Love,  After All, Almost Paradise and among others.  This includes also the dancing craze of our time such as the strut, break dancing, rico mambo and body dancer.  If only we had a digital camera at that time to capture those fantastic moves and golden voice,  you can say we should have made that as our full time career.  

The most memorable event of our time was when our batch won the internal school choir competition rendering the songs " Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and " Minsan lang Isang Taon Pasko ay Dumarating" under the direction of our late Maestro Nestor Laguardia.   We were even invited to sing in the  municipal town programs and the exciting christmas carols in very house in town.  Our last piece I think was, when we performed onstage during the UN celebration the popular song "We are the World ".   The mere playback of those memorable songs in our car radios and Ipods is enough to send signal to our brain neurons to distribute free electrons in our static veins.

Basketball!  Alright, that's always what we came here for,  even during Saturdays and Sundays.  No school guard, no school restriction policy, nothing!  We played here day in day out.  Our  SJA Basketball team always win the match with other schools during our basketball match.  Thanks to the inspiring greatness of NBA Legend Michael Jordan and Larry Bird as well as the PBA players Jawo,  Samboy Lim, Fernandez.

Did you know that in the 80's the SJA Scout contingent always represent the whole Nueva Vizcaya in the nationwide and worldwide Boy Scout Jamborees?   This was then under the mentorship of our beloved Scoutmaster Rogelio Dulay.   It served us our first lesson in leadership, creativity, patience, resourcefulness and obedience.   It was really  fun going to places like Makiling Laguna,  Bataan Corregidor, Baguio,  Aritao and other places for scouting activities.

Fr Theo Bonarious CICM

 Great SJA Mentors Who Touched Our Heart

a.)  Fr. Theo Bonarious -Parish Priest.  - Tall, White and Handsome, awesomely sung Papuri.
b.)  Mrs. Leticia Cutillon _ Principal -  When she rung the bell,  the recess was over.
c.)  Sister Jane -  Church Convent -   Sung Alleluia to the highest note.
e.)  Mrs. Teresita Gurat  -   Dare not to scrub the floor, or else she will do it for you...
f.)   Mrs. Juana Fernandez ( dec.) -  with mellow voice saying....class your very bad!
g.)  Mr.  Jimmy Guzman  -   Learning the bible from Old to New Testament.
h.)  Mr. Eulogio Dela Cueva  - Never thought Chemistry was hard, lots of fun and laughter instead.
i.)   Ms. Aida Villanueva   -   Learning English made Easy
j.)   Ms. Elizabeth Zapata  -    Stunning teacher of economics and social studies.
k.)  Mr. Celso Guiab         -   Silence in Physics Class was normally normal.
j.)   Mr. Rodolfo Cabading -  Stories and  Smile make us Laugh out Loud.
k.)  Mr. Rogelio Dulay -     Our HS life was colorful because of Boys Scout, CAT and Basketball.
l.)   Ms. Benedicta Dela Cruz - We were his First Students and She was our first Teacher/Adviser.
m.) Ms.Perla Abriam     -      Made the Philippine History as an interesting subject.
n.)  Ms. Ofelia Dela Cueva -  Smiling Wife of Sir Ely Dela Cueva.
n.)  Ms. Mila Laguardia  -     Learning how to cook arrozcaldo in HE subject  but we love to eat more.
o.)  Mr. Nestor Laguardia  (dec.) -  Music Maestro and gardening was our most practical subject.
p.)  Ms. Felicita  Esteves -    Classic beauty even when fuming mad.
r.)  Mrs. Rosalinda Guiab-   Smooth talking lovely wife of Sir Celso Guiab.
s.)  Ms.  Jocelyn Yarcia   -   Big Mam with a Big Heart.
t.)  Mrs. Lita Castillo  -     Learn to recite the Poem " Trees" I think I shall never see...
u.) Ms Arsenia Cabauatan -   Most of the boys in our batch wanted to marry her...
v.) Mrs. Evelyn Salvador -   Geometry subject applied very well in our billiard games.

SJA 87 lubi-lubi

What our Batch Did that the Other Batches after Us Did not...

As time goes by, a lot of changes happened in the school, the way we do things and the people's life in general.    There  are some activities we did enjoy before that today is not anymore available.  And there are some cool gatherings we enjoyed doing that the new generation may now find it boring or outdated.   Nevertheless, we've been there and happily done that.
  • We were the first batch to witness a demonstration of new PC XT CPU Green Monitor and a keyboard.   Unfortunately, they did not able to operate due to unavailable 5.5  floppy diskette. 
  • We asked questions like  if the PC can answer the results of our NCEE examinations,  who killed Ninoy Aquino etc.
  •  We watched movies in Betamax and VHS Tapes in the school or in our teacher's house.
  •  We sent love messages to girls using scented linen paper.
  •  We organized lubi- lubi ( Manual Grinding of Cassava )after periodical examinations.
  •  We were the last batch to play karamet in the smooth sand of Baretbet river.
  •  We played table tennis inside the school before and after class time.
  •  We asked our classmates to fill up our slum books i.e favorite color, motto, define love etc.
  •  We played game and watch (chicken laying egg) ,  during class time.
  •  We quenched our thirst in the manual deep well pump near faculty office.
  •  We expressed ourselves in the blackboard before our teacher arrived.
  •  We experienced ringing the big bell tower during angelus time.
  •  We can go inside the classrooms even on Saturdays and Sundays.
  •  We went to watch movies in Solano i.e  RTG, Diego and Encar Theater.
  •  We took our pictures using Kodak or Agfa size 110 and have it developed to either Miran or Natividad Studio.
  • Our graduation day used portable gas lamp in the stage because of sudden loss of power and after a while the rain poured down.  It was indeed a blessing!
We do not have cellphone numbers and email addresses but we can always connect to each other whenever we want to.   Our parents did not worry much when we were out in the evening because they knew we were safe and experiencing the things they themselves enjoyed before.  Our parents did not provide us tutors for our lessons because they knew we have the best teachers in town. 

We do have individual challenges and difficulties in life, but one thing for sure.....we really had a GREAT TIME!!!

Watch how we had some FUN!!!