Having a camera in my bag, I didn’t hesitate to shoot images of my old alma mater inside and out. (I’ve done both with my lenses peeking along and in between the barricades of the fence) And what did I get? Since it is vacation for all the students and teachers alike as of this writing, I’ve seen nobody in school uniform except for the insipid guards manning the gates, one of them bears a familiar face. Our uniform back then was combination of gray bottom and white top for high schoolers (black and white for college). I guess they still have that same protocol today. By the way, I never complained about wearing a uniform several years ago maybe because I didn’t have the luxury to get myself fashionable dresses.
The school’s façade obviously suggests the same old picture. Unknown to many, the main gate was once ruled and conquered by progressive and militant students when I was a freshman highschool. The conflict between the school administration and the students over the issue of unjust tuition increase made the officers of the college student council at that time, resort to boycotting enrollment and in general, the entrance of the students in the school. They effectively paralyzed the school’s operation. I never minded that issue in the past, nor did I pay serious attention over it. I was 11 years old and having weeks of suspended classes was like having a trip to Neverland.
I didn’t witness how the boycott ended but I’ve learned that policemen physically dispersed those students and their leaders. I’ve seen chocolate boys (those policemen wore brown uniform with guns and insignia’s attached in it) holding batuta and shield. Poor students, they were automatically kicked out of the school and their names written in the block list. Poor me, school was back to normal with only one month remaining before the summer break. The schedules and examinations were all shortened so as to accommodate what was left.
Soon after the main gate was cleared, the school immediately put up huge iron bars and fence covering the entire perimeter of the entrance, I guess for fear that the students might retaliate and regain control of the area. The school façade was like a perfect replica of a max security prison gate. The schools name was totally wiped out from an outsider’s point of view.
It took more than 5 years before dissolving these huge iron bars and returned the front gate into its old image as it is displayed today. It even improved better. Passersby have the privilege to see wall size advertisements similar to those ads pasted in the walls of MRT along EDSA. These commercials showcase what the school is all about. Walking a few meters along the sidewalk, it was evident that they even converted a portion of the concrete walls into see through bar fence. The familiar halls and columns of the Main building stands tall and proud for all the public to see. The statue of an angel with a kid portrayed as a student can now be seen from the outside. Freedom park, Social hall, new buildings on the rise, and even the school bus was totally exposed and brought out in the open.
During my school days, these walls are all hard concrete and one can even suspect that beyond these walls are activities far beyond studying, hehehe.