2020 came with lots of nice surprises, especially the first week which I traditionally devote to general cleaning of the house and office. It is more about digging into very old stuff and memorabilias and getting rid of things that haven’t been of use but occupy space.
One of my precious finds is my Daddy Joe’s Elementary Yearbook. I found a very old yearbook of School Year 1955-56 of La Consolacion College (LCC) in Bacolod City. The school stands right in the heart of the city, almost occupying a whole block flanked by Rizal, Galo, Gatuslao and San Juan Streets.
The initial pages of the yearbook showed the image of Our Lady of La Consolacion, the patron of the school and a dedication page to Saint Augustine, the Father of the Augustinian Order.
My father Jose Batapa graduated from elementary in 1956 (School Year 1955-56) at the La Consolacion College (LCC) in Bacolod City. Now this sets the record straight. He did much better than I did in elementary since he was 1st Honorable Mention. I only got Fourth Honorable Mention in elementary and Fourth Honor in High School. Not to justify my feat, but I think I spent more time in extra-curricular activities and volunteering for leadership positions as far as I can remember. But then again, I am sure I simply got my leadership streak from Daddy Joe or Sandy as he was called by my grandparents, Jaime Batapa, Sr. and Pacita Rull.
Also in the yearbook is a very young image of Bishop Antonio Y. Fortich, one of the most brilliant church leaders of Bacolod. Find more details about Bishop Fortich in this link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Fortich
The Bishop of Bacolod at that time was Monsignor Manuel Yap. The yearbook showed his one spread message. Find more details about Bishop Yap in this link – http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/byap.html
Now saving the best for last. After years of listening to Daddy Joe saying she was in the same campus with this iconic lady – I finally saw concrete evidence. I am so ecstatic to see a picture of a famous Philippine actress and for me, one of the loveliest faces in the Philippine film industry – Susan Roces – in the same yearbook with my father! So instead of just posting on Facebook, I spared time to make this article. There is a whole spread of her with all her classmates who were graduating from high school during that year but I opted to only take a picture of her since the rest are private citizens. Well, I think Philippine actresses like Susan Roces are public figures.
I am sharing this beautiful photo of a 15-year old Susan, who was born on July 28, 1941. Her real name as appearing in the yearbook is Jesusa Levy Sonora. Wikipedia says she was born to a French American mother of Jewish descent and a mestizo father of Spanish and Chinese descent. Just imagine the complex combination to have produced such a lovely Bacolodnon and Negrense.
Her dream was to be a successful dramatist and today she holds the title of Queen of Philippine Movies!!! Inspiring life!
The other details about Susan Roces can be read in these links:
Pictures bridge time. Memories we leave behind are precious indeed. We owe to cherish them.
As we begin 2020, I am glad to see my 12 year old Daddy Joe as I am glad to see a teenager queen of Philippine movies. And just a wishful thinking, someday – I wish for someone to open my elementary year book and remember me too.
The picture below shows the 1956 facade of the school. The insitution’s facade have been lovingly preserved. 2019 was marked as the 100th year of La Consolacion College. Happy Centennial Year!
As we enter the new decade, let us look back to decades past with fondness and gratitude. Happy New Year!
As requested by friends, I am also posting the pages showing the faculty members for 1955-56.