The SAS Ai Field Team

SAS Ai Field Team

The SAS Ai Field Team with Estrellita G Purugganan, Treasurer

The SAS Ai scholarship program employs a Field Team locally based in Tagudin. The Field Team recruits applicants and looks after the welfare of the scholars. They also check on the academic performance, and the scholar’s behavior on and off campus. They regularly report their findings and observations to the scholarship committee.

The Field Team ensures that the scholars keep up their grades and that they attend monthly meetings. The Field Team also regularly checks with the home room teacher on the scholar’s school work and they supervise the Internet CAFE activities of the scholars and help them with their school supplies.

The success and effectiveness of the SAS Ai scholarship program rests on the shoulders of the Field Team. They work right there where the rubber meets the road. Without the Field Team, the help beneficiary is left to his or her own devices. Without any accountability required of the beneficiary, the financial help given might as well have been an investment loss.

Mr Albert D Bunoan heads the SAS Ai Field Team. Working professionals, business owners and operators, most with school age children volunteer as members of the Field Team. The Field Team is the face of SAS Alumni International present there in Tagudin and on the SAS campus.

The SAS Ai Field Team makes our non-profit organization the premier organization and the standard of measurement for all other providers to follow.


The 2010 SAS Centennial

Margie and Fred

Love in bloom

“When you look at me like that my knees turn to jello,” Fred didn’t utter those exact words but his eyes spoke them plainly as he gazed into Margie’s bright eyes and radiant smile.

Margie and Fred were both at the 2010 SAS centennial celebration along with members of SAS Batch 1958. It was the night of the SAS Ai community ball. There was dancing, reminiscing with classmates and reliving past school day memories.

Static electricity charged the atmosphere. Sparks flew and their friends knew what was about to happen. Love was in the air. Three raffles were held during the program and in one of them, Margie won a prize. Momentarily she hesitated going alone up the stage to claim her prize. But Fred was ready to lend his services. Margie glanced at Fred. Fred dutifully escorted her up the stage. They marched to the rhythm of the music, gracefully, playfully, manifesting open delight in each other’s company.

The night wore on; the moon traversed the night sky. The Milky Way was all that remained. Underneath a canopy of twinkling stars Fred and Margie fully understood the message of the moment. Love walked in, sweeping them both off of their feet.

The next time they descended and walked on the ground was when they exchanged vows as Mr and Mrs Fred and Margie Lasmarias.

Where have all my classmates gone?


At the SAS 2010 Centennial, Andring and his wife Lina danced magnificently.

For many years Alejandro worked hard to improve his lot in life. He left home early, working as a first mate apprentice aboard the Honcho Maru, an old, rusty banana freighter, just after high school graduation. His experiences were mostly centered around his work in the rice fields – plowing, irrigating, planting, harvesting and clearing the field for the next rice planting season to begin all over again.

The Honcho Maru brought Alejandro to distant ports. The world certainly was larger than his hometown, he realized. His thoughts went back to his elementary school days at St Augustine School. Mr Dalog, his geography teacher, would come around the room during the lesson and without warning stop at a student’s desk, stab his finger to a place on the open map book in front of the student. The question would come next, “Alejandro, where in the world is my finger pointed at?”

Alejandro, we’ll call him Andring for short, had a sense of humor. He was quick on his feet. He would reply to Mr Dalog, “Sir, your finger is now pointed at a spot on my map book, on top of my desk, here at SAS, in the town of Tagudin, province of Ilocos Sur, Republic of….”

A crescendo of laughter would erupt. The class would always go wild. In the din of the wild laughter, Mr Dalog would always cut Andring’s answer short with, “Alejandro, you will never make it. Not a day passes that I don’t pray for you. I feel bad for your father. I have nothing but sorrow for your mother. I feel terrible for your late grandfather, God rest his soul. Your grandmother weeps for you in the public market. You are only in elementary school and already you think you are a philosopher. You may think you are Socrates, but I tell you, only by the grace of God will you ever make it. Mark my words.” That remark would always silence the room.

Andring shook his head and smiled at the recollection. That was so long ago. Those memories of school were as fresh in his mind as the day he attended SAS. Andring settled in Vallejo, California, comfortably retired from the merchant marine service and raised a family there.

He went back to the old hometown one last time to help celebrate the SAS 2010 centennial. He was incredulous as no one knew him and he couldn’t recognize any of the other people there. He looked for old classmates. He couldn’t find any. They either have gone overseas like he did or had already passed on.

Andring wearily ambled into the old church, sat down, prayed and reflected on the way things were generally. More specifically however, he began to check his current situation on the times and his plans. “What have I done for my school? Where has everybody gone? Has it been this long? How is it that I never stopped to notice? How long have I got left? What can I do to help others.” His thoughts became heavy indeed. Questions. Questions… and more questions.

Stepping outside he paused by the grotto. His gaze caught the famous grated side window in the nun’s convent overlooking the plaza. A smile crossed his face. So many old memories streaming. By the school gate he noticed a huge SAS Alumni International, Inc. sign announcing their mission:  “We help bright and promising kids who come from poor families get a good high school education at SAS through scholarships.” They were asking for donations to their scholarship fund.

Andring found answers to his prayers and questions. He knew what he had to do. He knew he was in a good place to help out. His own kids were already grown up and had families of their own. Here are bright kids but who are too poor to attend SAS – his Alma Mater. He can help them get an education.

He headed straight to the SAS Ai, Inc. KIOSK. “Hello… what do I need to do to sponsor a scholar through high school here at SAS?” His question sounded like beautiful music to the ears of those who were manning the SAS Ai booth.

Indeed it was. Today, Andring and his wife are proud sponsors of one SAS Ai scholar who is about to graduate in a couple of years.

Mr Mariano Taay, Field Team Volunteer

Stephanie Taay with her Grandfather Mr Mariano Taay

Mr Mariano Taay and his granddaughter Stephanie in front of their house in Sevilla

Mr Mariano Taay (photo at right) is a retired school teacher. In his life as a retiree, he enjoys the peace and quiet of his surroundings. He does not miss the cacophony of the classroom. He is into beach combing, cat naps and reading good books.

Mr Mariano Taay understands how important education is to one’s future. Fact is, he is a great proponent and advocate for education.

SAS Ai selected his granddaughter, Stephanie Kaye (photo at right) as a SAS Ai scholar and is now attending SAS high school. Mr Taay is very proud of his granddaughter’s intelligence and moxie. When SAS Ai selected Stephanie as one of the scholars for school year 2011 Mr Taay was not surprised. He fully expected it. His granddaughter is smart and comes from a needy family.


Albert D Bunoan, Field Team Leader

Mr Mariano Taay volunteers as a member of the Field Team. Albert Bunoan, (photo at left) Field Team leader, was pleasantly surprised when Mr Taay showed up at one of the weekly scholar meetings. He said he was there to help in any way. When the scholars had their Christmas Party last year and none of the other Field Team members could make it because of family obligations, Mr Taay showed up to lend Albert a hand with the party logistics. The Christmas Party went well and as planned.

On behalf of our President and CEO, Atty Romeo J Somera, CPA, and Field Team Leader Albert D Bunoan I would like to thank Mr Mariano Taay and formally recognize his unselfish service to SAS Ai, Inc. Thank you Mr Taay for your hard work.