|Seminario De Jesus Nazareno, Borongan, E. Samar|
By Alon Calinao Dy: Writing was my passion ever since I studied at the high school seminary. Seminario De Jesus Nazareno has a smorgasbord of intellectual people - Fr. Leroy Geli, Fr. Inocentes Abuda, Fr. Noel Dilera, Fr. Cyril Caliba, Fr. Pio Aclon, Sr. Constancia Grana, Mrs. Sarah Mabansag-Puno, Ms. Nimfa Du-Bungco Avila, Ms. Ma. Teresa Sabulao, Ms. Arlene Labrador, Mr. Elmer Lavado, and Ms. Rosalinda Dala. These people changed my life completely and inspired me to do good things in life.
At the beginning, life for me in seminary was very rugged. It was hard to adjust in a secure environment because I came from a warlike one. I mean I became a member of fraternity at an early age since elementary. I had experienced troubles everywhere and watched some of my comrades being injured or killed by our rival gangs. I was young at that time and had no idea what I was doing with my life. I had no concern to my education at school.
I thought my life before was like a movie. I was a main character who always got away every time I encountered problems. I thought I would never change at all. Until one day, my father asked me, "Do you like to study in the seminary?" At first, there were lots of questions and hesitations in my mind. Honestly, I didn't even understand what seminary was all about. But in my heart, there was a little voice that was telling me to study in this educational institution. I had also nowhere to go because St. Mary College (formerly known as Sacred Heart College) rejected my application for the next school year.
In 1997, I took the entrance examination at Seminario De Jesus Nazareno. I failed the test. I knew there was no way I could pass the entrance. As I stated earlier, I came from a hostile environment and never read my lessons at all. But with the assistance of my Auntie Sarah Puno, who later became our Chemistry schoolteacher, I was given a chance to be part of the minor seminary.
Stealing, escaping, vandalism, drunkenness, and sexual assault were among the major offenses in the seminary. There were times I was accused of stealing someone's money from some of my classmates and seniors, but God was my informant, I never stole anything, and it turned out someone was caught as the culprit through thorough investigations by our priests. They were really good detectives and I admired them for doing such.
For the first two years at school, I was slow in academics. I would even pick a fight against my classmates and other seniors. I was a trouble maker and short-tempered. That's why I always ended up in a brawl. And now I felt regretful for the hurtful things I've said and done before.
Yearly, we have an evaluation for all of us in the seminary. Some students were sent home for two simple reasons, either academic or discipline problems. Luckily, I was able to survive. Ms. Nimfa Du-Bungco Avila, my favorite History teacher, was one of the people who believed and saw some potentials in me. That's why I was not hounded at the formation house. Thanks to her for standing behind me.
Today, Seminario De Jesus Nazareno is a popular school in Eastern Samar and all over the Philippines. This is where Commissioner Marcelino "Nonoy" Libanan and famous celebrity and TV host Boy Abunda graduated from high school as a valedictorian.
I'd like to thank the whole community of Seminario De Jesus Nazareno in Borongan, Eastern Samar for giving me a chance to grow as a good Christian with fear in God. I have never forgotten the teachings and values of my school and mentors. The study period that I didn't appreciate before and cursed it existed, really helped me when I was still studying nursing in Manila. I owe everything to my alma mater because of the kind of discipline and upbringing they've influenced me.
I love these old photos I found from my high school classmate Jun Cervantes and others.
I posted my personal story to buzzle.com and other sites a year ago. My intention is to help people be better people and that change is possible if you really want it. Life experience is merely a matter of choice. You can either choose good or evil, it is all up to you! But I hope and pray... you choose the right way of life.