"Fall in Love, Stay in Love"

February 12, 2019
Jamaico D. Ignacio

What follows is the reflection piece shared by Araling Panlipunan faculty Jamaico D. Ignacio to the AJHS community during the Linggo ng Kasaysayan, Kultura at Sining (LIKKAS) celebration held in the morning of February 11, 2019 at the AHS Covered Courts.


When I asked ordinary students like Paolo, Mari, and Clarence of 10-Garate about reflections, they said an AJHS audience prefer straightforward personal stories with a core message. Let me start then with my own personal story.
I will be very frank. When I was around grades 1 or 2, I never really intended to be a teacher. I never wanted to be a teacher. In fact, my earliest dream job during this time was to be an architect. It involved a lot of drawing (which I loved). It also involved a lot of ‘me time’, a thing that I most value since I’m an introvert after all.
Then came my first year in Ateneo High School. I was a transferee from Claret School. As most students were excessively talking about girls or outings in EK, I, along with my small group of friends, was more concerned about Pokemon cards, Beyblade, Star Wars, and our favorite subject, History and Politics. We were Geeks and History buffs… and at the same time, we were social outcasts of our class. We were targets for bullying. Me, particularly, for being too… “quiet.”
Then I met my first year moderator. She was one street smart and loving moderator. She publicly confessed her love for teaching CLE and humanity to people. Her love for people and love for teaching manifested itself when she passionately cared for our class.
In fact, when she was selecting a person to entrust as a class beadle, we expected her to assign the most popular person in class, the one who knew how to get on the good side of teachers. Yung magaling mambola, kumbaga. We were wrong. She assigned me as class beadle. And she assigned as FMO and CTA other ‘not so popular’ nerds in class.
We were shocked. “Why trust people like me… like us for this position?”
Ma’am didn’t exactly say why, (she just said kaya ‘niyo iyan!’) but her trust empowered me and my friends to do our jobs well. In fact, I fell in love with doing my job as a beadle. I made sure that signatures are signed accordingly in the beadle’s report. I made sure no roughhousing happened in class. Subsequently, I realized, the bullying died down... and while I (and my fellow nerds) was still not close with the rest of the class, at the very least, a degree of respect and cordiality was established.
This was the power of her trust, her love for us. This is the power of a passionate teacher. That’s why we’re forever in debt with my first year moderator, Ma’am Meng de Guia.

Ms. Meng de Guia and AHS freshman Jamaico Ignacio in 2005

Similarly, I had another teacher who has the same passion, but with a different style.
This teacher was my 1st year Araling Panlipunan teacher. In contrast to my first year moderator, she was not motherly… at all. In fact, she was our STRICTEST teacher. Every time she entered the class, my classmates would tremble upon her entry. Her sly eyes and menacing facial gesture frightened even the bravest jock of our class.
Admittedly, she was also very smart. She knew her Philippine History very well. Her insights into the Galleon Trade or the Philippine-American War would silence the class not out of fear, but out of curiosity and wonder of her reflections and thoughts on History. She might have been spine-chillingly frightening, but she was also insightful.
Then One day she called me, with me trembling. She then asked, “gusto mo bang maging representative ng iyong klase sa darating na AP Quiz Bee sa LiKKAS?” I was shocked. Why me? Although I had high marks in AP, I knew of three more people higher than me in the subject. She then responded back: “dahil alam kong kaya mo.”
I was honestly humbled. The strictest but smartest AP teacher I knew showed trust and love for a person, something we rarely saw. Although I lost the AP Quiz Bee for that school year, she continued to encourage me to a point that I joined the org she was moderating, KaTA (the school’s AP org). That is when I realized: she really loved History… and it manifested by imparting it through her love for her students.
Although this AP teacher, Ma’am Bettina Regino, is no longer in the Philippines, she will be forever be ingrained in my heart for sparking my love for AP and igniting my desire to BE AN AP TEACHER.

Ms. Bettina Regino (second from right) with KaTA students
Ms. de Guia’s love for Humanity. Ma’am Regino’s love for History. Their love for the Humanities and the Social Sciences manifested through good things. I noticed this as well from my other teachers, like Mr. Apo (Panitikang Filipino), Mr. Tomas (English Literature), Mr. Flojo (English Literature as well), Mr. Yucoco, (Music), Mr. Santos (Arts teacher), and so many more.
I realized how much passionate teachers in the Humanities and the Social Sciences influenced and changed my life forever.

It is because of these teachers I found my own vocation: to be an AP teacher in the AJHS. I fell in love teaching wonderful classes like 10 – Berthieu, 10 – Garate, 10 – Gelabert, 9 – Fenwick, 9 – Berno, and the org KaTA. It is because of these teachers, I found lifelong mentors like Mr. Aquino, Mrs. Salido, and Ma’am Rivera. It is because of these teachers, I found understanding and wise friends Like Mr. Regado, Mr. Samson, and Mr. Torralba. Because of them, I became HAPPY and CONTENTED. And for sure, many other students of theirs were affected positively as well.

It is because of their passion in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, they manifested their love for students, for people. Love for Students. Love for people. Love.
This week marks a celebration for the Arts, Music, Culture, and History. When these disciplines are mentioned, the names that typically come into mind are the likes of Da Vinci (Arts), Mozart (Music), and the historian Teodoro Agoncillo (Philippine History). Their contributions such as the Mona Lisa, the Mozart Symphony No. 40, and the book “Revolt of the Masses” are some great works considered pioneering for their generation. All of these contributions are by-products of one’s passion and love for their craft.
More than that, I hear beautiful stories related to such products of passion. I heard of people being inspired to become prodigious artists and musicians upon seeing a Da Vinci artwork or listening to a Mozart masterpiece. I heard of people in universities becoming more socially aware and pro-Filipino upon studying the historical scholarships of Teodoro Agoncillo.
Because of the PASSION and LOVE of the likes of Da Vinci, Mozart, Shakespeare, Agoncillo, Ma’am Regino, or Ma’am de Guia, more people found their place in the world. More people became productive and kinder people in the world… all because of one’s love and passion.
This week, let us remind ourselves: how can you express your love? If dancing, drawing, reading History, analyzing Shakespeare, or playing musical instruments like a saxophone drives you to become a better and kinder person, then DO IT. That is love, gentlemen.
Remember, as mentioned in 1 John 4:16 : “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
Find your passion, your LOVE, that will make you a better and kinder person. IF you do that, everything will fall in place… you’ll most likely be happy and contented. As the Jesuit Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, once said, “Fall in love, stay in love, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Let us pray:
“Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; 
teach me to serve you as you deserve, 
to give and not to count the cost, 
to fight and not to heed the wounds, 
to toil and not to seek for rest, 
to labor and not to seek reward, 
except that of knowing that I do your will.