Sunday, January 22, 2017

420. REMEMBERING HOLY ANGEL ACADEMY’S HIGH SCHOOL DAYS OF 1941

DAY OF ALL DAYS. The town motorcade is one of the highlights of the pre-war High School Day celebrations of Holy Angel Academy, with thematic floats created by different classes taking centerstage on Angeles roads.1940s.Personal collection.

The stirrings of an imminent global war were already being felt in Europe in 1941, as Germany’s assaults continued all over Europe and in Africa. London had been bombed, and the U.S. had also been girding for war in the Pacific with the appointment of Admiral Husband Kimmel as Commander of the US Navy. News of the impending spread of the escalating war made the front-page of newspapers every day.

But to students of Holy Angel Academy in Angeles, the war--in 1941--seemed far, far away. Since its founding in 1934, Holy Angel Academy had grown to become a premiere school in the province, with a reputation for accessible, quality education, known for a perfect balance of academics and activities. At least, for now, the war was no cause for worry,

That year’s edition of Holy Angel’s High School Days was truly special, as a new high school building had just been completed in the sprawling campus. The week-long event from 18-23 February was packed with many activities that would be hailed and talked about by local papers for days.

The kick-off event began on February 18, Tuesday, with an English operetta, “The Magic Ruby”, staged for the public by students. The stage décor, the costumes, and the performance of the actors earned rave reviews, but the highly-anticipated Wednesday parade got even more enthusiastic media responses. Each high school class fielded a carroza (float) that visualized a relevant theme.

A reporter from Pamitic, a local paper, gushes: “ Ding carroza mipapatlu la casanting…Quing iquit cu queting parade, aburi queng dili ing macabansag “POWER”, uling masanting yang tutu sasabian. Queting carru, lerawan de ding qñg cuartu añu, ing TRES CAIDA na ning Apung Guinu. Qñg lugal ning Apung Guinu, binili reng mamusan qñg cruz ning Democracia. Iting tragedia ning Democracia tatañgalan nang Juan de la Cruz at Uncle Sam cabang ding bansang-upaya macapadirit la qñg Democraciang misubsub. Ila ding Judios?” (The floats are beautiful…In what I have seen in the parade, the one that I like most was the one that had for its theme-“POWER. The float was made by seniors  in the manner of the “Third Fall of Christ”. In place of his cross,  Christ is made to hold the Cross of Democracy.  Juan de la Cruz and Uncle Sam stare at this tragic scene, while powerful countries surround the “fall of democracy. Do they represent the Jews?)

Also joining the parade of floats was Miss Holy Angel Academy, Maria Narciso, who was met with resounding applause from people who lined up the road to watch the colorful proceedings. “Cabud iquit me,  aguiang emu uculan, macapacpac ca. Ing jinjin na bague na ning cayang lagu!”.  (Once you see her, you will instinctively clap. Her demure manner fit her beauty!)

Day 3 ( 20 Feb.) was Field Day, in which calisthenics demonstrations, folk dances and games were held on the school grounds. Notable was the “Bailes de Ayer”, choreographed by Miss Aranda and danced by the high school seniors, which included the reigning Miss HAA, Maria Narciso and Miss 4th Year, Clara Setzer. “Iting terac da, e ca marine”, the same reporter noted,  “apaquilimpu mu qñg masanting diling folk dance king America at Europa” (You'll be proud of their dance;  it can stand alongside the best folk dances of America and Europe) .  As for the games, ”Spot the Spot” drew the most participation and enjoyment.

On Friday, 21 February, different high schools from Pampanga vied for the governor’s tropy—Copa Baluyut—in the military exercise competitions. Adding excitement to the contest was the presence of the Philippine Army Band which thrilled the audience with various march music. Five officials from Camp Del Pilar and Camp Olivas judged the drill contest that was hotly contested by Guagua Institute and Stotsenburg Institute. In the end, the cadets from Guagua Institute won the coveted Sotero Baluyut Trophy. The host contingent from Holy Angel did not win, but their bevy of corps sponsors were adjudged the most beautiful.

Saturday saw the return of HAA alumni in a grand homecoming, and the re-staging of “The Magic Ruby” in the evening that was open to the general public. The High School Days drew to a close with an exciting basketball tournament highlight. The  school was jampacked with students and Angeleños who watched  the nationally-ranked U.S.T. college team play against an elite MICAA (Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association) selection.

In just 10 months, the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor, and then invadethe Philippines on 8 December.  World War II would take away much from Pampanga, but not the memories of that year’s Holy Angel’s High School Day—six special days that are still fondly remembered by oldtimers and alumni who witnessed these and all—“ding mangasanting nang pepalto ning Holy Angel..”.

SOURCE:
Ing Pamitic, local weekly Kapampangan newspaper, February 1941 issues.

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