OF TREES AND FOREST
By FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT MANNY VILLAR
More than a week ago, I saw the past, the present, and the future.
Class 1970 of the UP College of Business Administration, to which my wife and I belong, held its 50th year homecoming. There were a couple of events to celebrate this momentous occasion for our batch and one of them was a gathering we hosted in our Las Piñas home. Yes, that’s 50 years since college.
Fifty years is a long time. It’s half a century. And it’s amazing to think that it’s been five decades since we stepped out of the UP campus into the world which we now live in. When we left UP, the world was radically different from the world we live in now. A lot has changed. We have changed.
The class of 1970 tackled the real world that was in flux. There were a lot of things—in our communities, in our country—that were transforming our world and the way we view our world. I am proud to be part of our batch whose members had an impact in shaping the future. Many of us became captains of industry, community leaders, government leaders, the best fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, the best persons we wanted to become.
In it deepest sense homecomings (or reunions) are precisely about coming back home. It’s about all of us, after a long journey in our corners of the world converging where we all set foot at some point in our lives. I am sure you have attended one or two reunions of your high school or college. It is always nice to reminisce stories when we lived simpler lives.
It is, in fact, during homecomings and reunions where we reminisce about the past that we all shared. The best teachers who made learning fun for us. The strict mentor who terrified us into becoming good persons. It is during homecomings and reunions where we relive special moments in our lives. Maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend during freshman year who eventually became the love of your life. Or, maybe a secret crush that still remain top secret. Friends who became enemies, and enemies who became friends for life.
But here, we also share stories from our own journeys. Some good, some bad. But always a learning experience. We also share what we have become, our present. We share our triumphs and our defeats knowing they made us better persons. Personally, this is what I enjoy the most, knowing what has happened to friends, how they have grown, how they have struggled and bounced back from adversities.
In a way, a homecoming is also a place where our present meets our past. This the reason why remembering the quarrels we had during this younger phase in our lives seems all petty now. This is why we remember our mistakes not with regret but with a particular pride because we managed to overcome those obstacles.
In a sense, a homecoming is also about the future. It is a tribute to our alma mater who helped made us who we are today. In our case, we were thankful for UP for shaping our future. And I am proud of my batch mates who selflessly give back to UP and the College by sharing in the efforts to make sure that UP will continue training the best and the brightest, the crème de la crème. I am proud to have had the opportunity to know many people whose stories, vision, and conviction has time and again restored my faith in our ability to change the world despite the cynicism around us.