Some Things Don’t Change


IndiaFruitStandWQOkay you are here. Well, what do you think?

Without zooming in to the picture and closely investigating the pasted bills on the walls, can you tell where this fruit stand is just by looking at the bananas, the structure itself and the bicycle and motorcycle in front? You bet you can.

I looked at this picture and immediately jumped on choice (a) Irisan road to Baguio City. These fruit stands dot the roadside from Bauang, Naguilian to Moonglo, to Irisan and so on. The structure looks the same, the thatched nipa roof is the same, the vegetation is the same. You get the picture. But, just to keep things straight, this fruit stand is in India. Yes, India. It could be in Bangalore, Madras, or even close to the Taj Mahal.

And for that matter, this fruit stand could be in Ulan Bator, Mandalay, the Silk Road, or it could even be in Sr i-langka or Java. I saw a fruit stand just like it in Costa Rica up on a mountain road somewhere towards San Jose. This same type of fruit stand can be found in many parts of the Philippines, in Nueva Ecija, Abra, Sorsogon, Cagayan de Oro. You can find this fruit stand in the outskirts of Singapore, or in the New Territories outside Kowloon.

There are some things that don’t change. In my experience, when I come to a place or structure that shares the same features of the places and buildings reminding me of home I feel a strange sense of déjà vu. The sensation is strange because you know you stand on strange soil yet your eyes perceive familiar sights. The atmosphere suddenly becomes charged with a mixture of nostalgia, homesickness, maudlin and sentimental emotions. There you stand, transfixed by your surroundings in a timeless moment of eternity.

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SAS Personnel Day Celebration


SASPersonnelDayWhen I attended St Augustine School back in the ’50s it was a gender segregated school. By this I mean the girls had their buildings and grounds and the boys had the church plaza and their boy’s department building by the belfry. It was a different world. A world without girls is not a natural world. To this day as I reflect on those bygone days of high school, I can conclude that gender segregation deprived us boys of an opportunity to develop social skills specially with the opposite sex.

But hey, that’s neither here nor there, and besides this is not the subject of this piece. The only SAS personnel when I attended SAS were the ladies who helped the Sisters in the convent. I remember one of them and her name was Agatuna. She spoke very little English and some disjointed Ilocano. But she managed to get work done from us kids in the book binding trade. She assisted Mother Urban in managing the book returns, refurbishment and rebinding, and text book re-issuance at the beginning of the school year.

We were just kids, day dreamers and playful boys who knew nothing about life and reality. We traipsed through high school and worked revitalizing those books out of sheer fear of Mother Urban who had a mustache and a goatee. She was tough. One look from her spelled spiritual death you had to go see Father Carlos to get back into the church’s good graces. Agatuna was the “good cop” in that Mother Urban-Agatuna tandem. Agatuna suffered much from our juvenile derision and mild rebellion but she got the work done by threatening to report us to Mother Urban for our sloppy work.

In my memories, Agatuna, SAS Personnel of long ago did a splendid job helping the Nuns run the daily operations at St Augustine School. In many ways she counseled us, she showed us how to refurbish the books properly, showed us true loyalty and respect for authority, exemplified for us the spirit of reverence for the sacred; she showed us self-discipline. I am grateful for the time I worked under Agatuna’s tutelage and although she didn’t have a degree in Psychology she always knew how to give public recognition for a job well done and how to criticize in private. That experience, to me, has proved to be invaluable.

Thank you SAS personnel for continuing with the excellent tradition of service.

Imagine. . .


Scholars at the store

Imagine if these bright kids never attended high school just because their families are too poor to send them to high school… what kind of future would they have?

What does the future hold for these bright kids who come from poor families?

They want so much to attend high school and to finish it – yet can only dream about it.

They own academic skills, an aptitude to learn, and a burning want to rise above the clutches of poverty that’s pinned them down all their life.

We see these kids – they are all around us – and we can help them. Can you imagine yourself doing nothing to help them become more hopeful by helping them get a good high school education? Can you imagine yourself being unmoved by their plight when all it takes is for you to give a little donation to the scholarship fund – and SAS Ai does the rest handling your investment?

School year 2013 starts in a month or two. Now is the time to give them a hand. Now is the time to share your blessings with these bright kids so they can attend high school and become hopeful again. Now is the time to send in your donation to the scholarship fund. Imagine… you are investing in the future!

Scholarship Costs


SAS High School Scholar

SAS Ai scholar and recent high school graduate Nesza Camonas

It costs $540 dollars USD to send one scholar to one year of SAS high school. This $540 pays for:

  • Tuition and matriculation
  • Books and Publications
  • Computer LAB fees
  • School Uniforms – pants and shirt for the boys, and blouse and skirt for the girls
  • Boys’ pair of rubber shoes
  • Girls’ pair of patent leather shoes
  • Pairs of socks
  • Athletic wear
  • School supplies – pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, sewing kit, crayons, stationery
  • USB stick flash drive for computer work storage
  • Internet CAFE fee for online research and email
  • Miscellaneous fees
  • Major school project needs

Other costs involve funding for out-of-classroom activities, such as, picnics, educational excursions to provincial landmarks and historic places, hosted sleep overs to promote camaraderie, effective leadership qualities, social development and bonding amongst the scholars.

(Above Photo at right) Nesza Camonas graduated with First Honors from SAS high school, placing next and right after the class Salutatorian. She lost by 14 hundredths of a point. Nesza Camonas was an exceptionally gifted student whose broken family is being held together by her maternal grandmother. Her parents separated and no longer are in touch leaving Nesza under the care of her aging grandmother.