By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – From elementary and high school, the next natural step is college, of course – and the venue to building another Circle of Friends.
Even though I had the opportunity of attending more prestigious schools in the Philippines and here in the United States (Letran, UCLA, University of San Francisco), the years I spent at St. Joseph’s College in Borongan were the best ever.
My parents didn’t have the money to send me to Manila, Cebu, or Tacloban even, so I had to stay behind while my classmates went to “classier” and therefore, more expensive colleges.
But my resentment turned into gratitude (although it was in later years that I realized that), as the years at St. Joseph’s were actually the calm before the storm, the prelude to the tumult of the 70s, student activism and the First Quarter Storm.
From 1969 to mid-1971, I studied to become a teacher under the RVM sisters, and surprisingly, I enjoyed every minute of it, forging friendships that lasted till these days.
Not surprisingly, those friends have remained loyal and true, providing a resource that now is a big help as I embark on this audacious quest to create a fund for my kidney transplant.
Ben Alar and his beauteous wife Marilyn were two of my closest friends at St. Joseph’s. Ben ran for president and I was his running mate for the student council. We both won, with some effective campaigning by Lynlyn and her group of friends.
With more or less similar political beliefs and persuasions, Ben and I have been in contact through the years. Lynlyn have been friends with Christie the past few years.
Ben and Lynlyn contributed $500 to the Bert Eljera Kidney Transplant Fund, one of the largest so far.
I met Fr. Nilo Apura formally for the first time when I went to one of his religion classes at St. Joseph’s. Our lively classroom discussions were a delight, and I learned a lot, not only on Catholic doctrine, but more so in presenting ideas and arguments in a coherent manner.
Now a pastor in one of the parishes in New Jersey, Padre Nilo donated $200 for the Bert Eljera Kidney Transplant Fund.
Bless you Father!
Other donors from my St. Joseph’s Circle of Friends were Chit Yap, a relative, who we used to call Lubay; Elsie Gerna Lucien of New York, and the Australia-based buddies Elsa Casillano and Nieva Cenera.
Thank you to you all!
And here’s a what if. What if St. Joseph’s College did not close on the year I was supposed to graduate, and I got my teacher’s degree, what would my life have been?