Honestly, I don’t know how I could write this piece without being affected emotionally as we—alumni of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila based in Toronto—are witnessing the impending end of our scholarship project— a program which has been closest to our hearts all through these years.
One Sunday afternoon last month, we gathered at Ollie Bermudez’s home in Mississauga not only to hold a Spring get together but also to discuss who among us would be interested to be the next president of the group.
Of course, this gathering would not be complete without lots of chatting, greetings and some sumptuous food on the table: fried chicken, inihaw na isda, laing, sinigang na baboy labanos salad, suman and ube desserts.
After a while, we began formally discussing who’ll be the next president of our group—the issue was finally settled when Ollie Bermudez reluctantly accepted the post, though fearing that she might be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the office. Eventually, she calmed down when told that some of the tasks will be farmed out to the rest of the alumni.
However, out of the blue, the conversation veered on the scholarship program that with our ages now—most of us are already seniors—there seems to be no option but to wind it down.
I think the old drive is not there anymore; we have lost our steam and as they wont to say “ the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.
However, while discussing the winding down of this project, most of us seemed very comfortable and relaxed—there wasn’t much discussion, no debate, just a simple and silent acceptance to let it go. And we were all in agreement that it’s about time we ended our scholarship program.
Regrets? None at all—maybe because we think that we have done our best to make this project a real success.
Frankly, we had this little uneasiness ending or winding down the scholarship—it was like swallowing a bitter pill with a relaxed smile But since most of us are either retiring or have retired from our secular work, it seems that we don’t have much choice but to accept the reality that our circumstances have changed, that we are not getting any younger.
Who knows in the near future, some younger batches of alumni might join us and infuse our group with their zest, thereby becoming instrumental in reviving this scholarship.
For so many years, this scholarship has been the epicenter of our group’s activity; we have helped hundreds of students becoming what they are now: nurses, engineers, accountants, social workers and other professionals who are now working in various fields of endeavor.
We also take pride that this scholarship, which we launched in 1995 in Toronto, has inspired other PLM alumni in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Australia to set up their own scholarship projects.
However, just like any man’s death, we don’t want this scholarship to suffer an abrupt end, so we’ve decided to wind it down until the last batch of scholars have finished their courses.
For the meantime, we’ll be holding more social gatherings to strengthen our camaraderie and to find ways and means by which we can still continue helping our beloved alma mater.
As Canadians would say, “Anyways, Dani, have you received all the payments for our group tour in August, Eh?”
It’s time to relax, folks!