Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Long overdue

By: Neneng Espiritu Babanto

MANY of us who graduated from Columbia, St. Michael’s Parish High School are going to witness the opening of the new Mahinog National High School. It is going to be established in Mahinog poblacion. Some of us sent comments to Mahinog Trumpet and expressed fear of the future of our parish high school.

My fellow alumni, you are not alone. I also experienced that melancholic feeling. That was my first reaction and I carried the emotional pain for quite awhile.

Question came to mind, “What if CSMPHS may experience losses because of low enrolment?” I could not help reminiscing the tedious effort, determination and perseverance of our founder, Reverend Fr. Patrick Cashman (blessed be his memory). I was there at the right place and the right time. I witnessed and observed his optimism, hearing his laughter, seeing his sweats flowing from his face as he helped carpenters and laborers built the one room cottage made of nipa. I saw him hauling dirt, pushing and pulling the wheelbarrow. I was only a little girl attending fourth grade. During recess time I have to sneak and run to the building site and watched my hero, Fr. Cashman. The first freshmen were housed in that small cottage with dirt as the flooring. I remembered familiar faces to mention the few: Sinforoso Tabamo, Jr., lawyer and retired judge, and Perseveranda Labadan, now residing in Cebu and made quite a success story in their family business.

CSMPHS stood up in the test of time. Changes of administration and the transition from Columban priests to Sisters of Mercy were experienced. CSMPHS continued to run its course and alumni members got involved in public service. Mayor Alex Jajalla was one of my students back then when I was teaching from 1970-1978. Another CSMPHS product is our former Mayor Jesus Pacuribot who continues to serve as Sangguniang Panlalawigan member in the province of Camiguin. Many others reached their highest potentials in their own way. CSMPHS produces graduates who serve communities far and near as legislators, teachers, doctors, nurses, homemakers, entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, engineers, architects, farmers, agriculturist, priests, nuns, religious leaders, music educators, healthcare providers, nonprofit organizers and many others.

I imagined that if there was no high school in Mahinog poblacion during my time, I might not be able to attend high school. I remembered the obstacles of attending school that was three kilometers away from home. My brother attended Mahinog High School in Hubangon. In those days, back in 1950’s there was scarcity of transportation. Students from Mahinog had to walk early in the morning and walk back home after school.

That observant girl was talking to herself while watching Fr. Cashman worked hard, “I don’t need to walk to attend high school far away because Fr. Cashman builds this high school for me and the rest of the boys and girls. It’s going to be expensive to attend private school, but if I keep my dream alive and focus on it, I can and will reach my dream to finish high school.”

After languishing from fear of the unknown, I settled down and tried to calm down and focus instead on the children, our youth who are our future. I need to be broadminded. The feeling of limitation is the work of the mind.

The chatters of negative thoughts have to stop. Education is for all. Education raises the dignity of man. It’s a mandate. It’s the right of every child or human being to cultivate his mind and reach his or her highest potential. It’s a human right. Education develops character. Education develops a whole person worthy of respect as the child of the Creator. That’s the universal mission of education whether it’s run by public or private institution.

I remember when I went home last September 2010, I encountered this young kid who struggled going to high school every day. His family resided on the hill of Kinabkaban. Pocket money for school daily needs became obvious. There was no enough money to pay for the motorela ride or snacks. The distance became a barrier because there’s no enough money for transportation. He could walk home, but that meant a delay because he had to feed the pigs and tend other family responsibilities to help his parents make ends meet. Sometimes he was stranded and ended up sleeping over in someone’s house in the poblacion. This kid told me that the distance affected his focus on continuing to attend school. My heart went to this young boy whom I had seen the potential to be a great leader in the community. He could talk and he could express himself. The last thing I heard was that he eventually quit.

The wish to have a public in Mahinog poblacion is long overdue. The silent voices are finally heard. Our children are finally heard. Let their dreams fly and soar high in the sky like an eagle.

Many young people yearn to attend school but distance and financial problem become a hindrance to their desire to reach their dreams. Public education offered by Mahinog High School is free.

We are thankful to the administration under the leadership of Mayor Alex Jajalla, and to Honorable Congressman Pedro Romualdo for this invaluable gift to the children and youth of Mahinog poblacion, barrios, sitios, hills, mountains, and other neighboring towns.

As for CSMPHS I do believe that it will continue to exist as long as it takes under the guidance of the Divine Providence. 

Alumni members need to also step up and support our Alma Mater in various ways. Providing scholarship to young minds who just need a little lift can be a good idea. Assisting the CSMPHS administration through volunteer work like teaching can be a good one. Helping maintain the building through monetary aid is another terrific idea. It needs group effort to realize these goals and it can be done.

We join together in this jubilation. The future is bright for all of us parents, children, religious institutions, public institutions, our communities, our country and the world. 

That’s the beauty and effect of education as I remember this song taught by my mother in Cebuano dialect.

Hupong sa Himaya

Hupong sa himaya ning akong dughan,
Nga gitinguha ang hiyas nga bililhon,
Nga mao ang kaalam nga akong naangkon,
Kay maoy gitinguha, hiyas nga bililhon.

Bililhon gayod ang kaalam,
Daw bulak nga mangalimyon,
Sa atong panumduman,
Ang kahumot niya nga motidlom.

Sa tawo walay gipili,
Kabos siya ug adunahan,
Ginasangyaw ug ginadayeg,
Ang iyang kahimtang.

Malipayon ang ginikanan,
Kon sila ang makasud-ong,
Sa makugihong mga anak,
Sa kaalam nakakab-ot.


  1. i salute you my dear Maninay for the very inspiring thought you shared. xx

  2. well said!i hope you continue to published articles related to Mahinog and its journey to development.I enjoyed reading your article!more to come?

  3. informative! very well said!


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