A summer to remember- 2nd NDM Alumni International Reunion by Frances Marian Morales-Estella

This is quite a lengthy report of our recent NDM alumni reunion but to give you a short summary will not allow you to know the joy and excitement that we experienced during the 3 summer days when we gathered in Atlantic City. Read this only when you can spare the next few minutes to savor the wonderful time we had with fellow Notre Dameans. 

The 2nd Notre Dame of Marbel International Alumni Association Reunion held in Atlantic City, NJ was a blast. The 3-day affair started with a Meet and Greet at the 6th floor rotunda of Ballys Hotel & Casino at 5:00 p.m. on July 15, 2011, Friday. The hors d’oeurves of assorted cheese, crackers, bread, fruits and veggies were spread out and the bartender was ready to serve. We have prepared the souvenir bags filled with goodies.  My ever-efficient classmate, Alicia Silauso-Cimene from Reseda CA, and I eagerly positioned ourselves at the registration table. My husband, Tino, put up our NDMIAA banner where everyone would notice it. But where were the alumni?  The 3 of us,  the bartender, and the waitress looked at each other every few seconds. As I sip my cocktail drink, I was getting a little antsy. Were we going to waste all these food? Will we keep ordering drinks and get ourselves drunk just so the bartender will not be bored?


Anyone coming? Finally, the Notre Dameans did – past 5:30 p.m. First to arrive was Loreto (Toto) Yap from Toms River, NJ carrying in his arms a box containing our souvenir programs. One by one, two by two, in groups, the alumni trickled in; at first with a little bit of trepidation. But once they saw a familiar face, they smiled followed by a loud exclamation and warm hugs.  “Hoy!” “Aaay! abaw!…”  “Kumusta na?”…. ” Dugay na guid wala ta nagkitaay, no?… Maayo nag-attend ka” “…Ambot na lang, a.” The room filled with excitement and laughter.  More than 70 came to register. After 40 years, I saw my batchmate, Eddie Reyes, and his lovely wife, Nenita Madria-Reyes (HS 71) who now live in Troy, MI, Marian Hilomen-Robinson (HS 71, Corinth, TX) looking much like she did in high school, Rebecca Himan-Titus (HS 72, San Jose, CA), Rebecca Dela Flor-Evangelista (HS 72, Norwalk,CA), the Yap siblings: Anna Yap-Pastor (HS 64, Corona,NY), Teodulo (HS 68, Reno Park, NY), Ric Yap (HS 71- Gen San City); Zeny Evangelista-Claudio (HS 69- New Milford, NJ ) with husband, Dr. Luis Claudio, among others. The Sandig siblings – Erlinda (HS 67), Angel (HS 70), Gloria (HS 72) Emy (HS 82), all from central New Jersey, were present with their spouses (Ed Visca, Bert Mabilangan, Adonis Crispo) and relatives- Bal (HS 62) and Mila Trespeces (NDMC 66, Jersey City), Dr. Luis Reyes (HS 60) and wife Josie from Ft. Washington, MD. They were joined by Dr. Ben Lamorena (HS 63, Chicago, IL). The lovely Soriano sisters- Gladys Dionisio (HS 71), Dinah Abad (HS 72), Azela Gozar (HS 76) all from the New Jersey shore area, walked in with Oscar Bugante (HS 72, West Covina, CA),and Reynaldo (Bebot) Bugante (HS 67, Sterling Hts, MI). Sally Ong (HS 67) and husband, Noli Liangco, arrived from Toms River, NJ with Tootsie Dela Cruz (OLPH 70, Florida).  Dr. Diosdado Non (HS 54) and wife, Chris, drove from Jackson, NJ with his batchmate, Nang Lucring Aguirre who flew in from Tennessee. My beautiful classmate, Redempta Dela Flor, from Chino Hills, CA looked radiant with husband, Mark Dela, by her side. Straight from California and Atlantic City International Airport, President Don Donaire (NDMC 85) with his entourage -wife Eva, Fr. Roming Subaldo (NDMC 85), and Fr. Alex Salas (NDMC 87) came with our official banner and T-shirts. A happy Jerry Llaban (NDMC 89) joined them. Bro. Paul Meuten, Assistant Provincial Treasurer of the Marist Brothers, and Bro. Willy Lubrico, NDMU President, with Edith Plecis (HS 60) caught up with the rest of us. My sister, Anne Morales-Reinoso (HS 74, Houston, TX) and husband, Manny, with children, Daniel and Gabriel, were seen chatting with batchmate Willie Acosta, wife Veda, and his charming mother- Mrs. Julita Acosta, all from Chicago, IL. Of course, our active alumni officers, Paeng (NDMC 79) and Ellen (NDMC 78) Fernandez from New Haven, CT were there to lend a hand as always. Nang Nilda Infante-Lozada ( HS 57) came all the way from Marbel. Grace Camiring-Bernardo (HS 78) from Jersey City and her husband were happy to join us even if according to her, she did not know anyone. That’s the spirit, Grace. She did find friends before the evening was over. It was a happy sight to see everyone interacting.


We registered everyone and distributed souvenir bags and T-shirts. Sorry, we ran out of extra large size. “Nagdako ka?…. American size na abi,e”  Everybody looked happy. It was a good start – seeing old familiar faces now matured and older, former schoolmates exchanging pleasantries and reminiscing about their Notre Dame days, meeting new friends and long lost relatives, and cameras flashing all around to record the moment.  I knew the next two days would even be better. We parted a little after 8:00 p.m. The night was still young and groups went their separate ways to enjoy the rest of the evening. My hubby and I had a nice dinner with Bro. Paul, Edith Plecis, Alice, and Nang Nilda at Caesars Kwi Restaurant. Some tried their luck in the casinos. May nagdaog ba?


Saturday- July 16, before 9:00 a.m., Alice, Tino, and I went to the Community Center by the beach at Ventnor, NJ to prepare for the Alumni Luncheon. First alumni to arrive were the Yap siblings who helped us set-up. Gladys and husband, Jr., came with donuts and coffee. Thank God for cellphones- it was easy to give directions to those could not find the place……kung mabati-an ko mag ring.    By half past ten, the hall was bustling with noise from the same group as last night’s.  “Late na kami natulog….. Napuyat kami…..Nagdaog ka?…. Wala a. Nag-deposit lang sa casino….  Hoy bayad anay kamo sa registration bago maubos ang kuarta niyo.” We proudly wore our alumni reunion T-shirts. Once again, cameras abound and spouses like paparazzis were busy taking group pictures. ” Hoy upod ako sa picture.” Newcomer Dr. Joesan Gabaldon arrived from New Milford, NJ and mingled easily with the crowd. So did my niece, Kristine Morales-Starks (NDMU 95) and her husband, Greg, from Lebanon, PA; Jerry Sandig (HS 76) and wife Joy; Malou Trespeces-Garcia (HS 72) and hubby from Jersey City, NJ. At past eleven, trays of food were brought in by the Soriano sisters and their spouses (Jr., Dong, and Raffy). We had our lunch catered by a local Filipino restaurant. Pancit Bihon, Pancit Canton,lumpiang shanghai, sweet and sour tilapia, Bicol express ( sarap ng sauce),pepper steak, apritada, ginataang sitaw at kalabasa (kanamit no’) fried chicken wings, and adobo. For desserts, we had maja blanca, bico, cassava cake, brownies, and pakwan.Fr. Roming said grace. Now, we can eat. Over 80 alumni and their families got together for lunch. We initially ordered for 50 registrants. Fearing that we will run out of food, Gladys and Oca ran out to get some more from a Chinese restaurant. Everyone was fed and more. Better late than never, my sister, Eileen Morales-Pelaez (HS 60, Cherry Hill, NJ) arrived with her husband, Ray, and family members including her first grandchild- Xavi. Her classmates, Edith and Luis, (who she has not seen since high school- 50 years!) were very happy to see her.

After lunch, we had fellowship games with my sister, Anne Morales-Reinoso, as game master. One of the games was “Sing that Line” with “boys” versus “girls”. I must say they were very impressive. Not only did the contestants sing very well and on note; they knew the lyrics to the songs….well, most of the words anyway. In the tie breaker (yes they were that good), the guys beat the ladies by singing the correct line to “Immaculate Mary”.  Hey, ladies, weren’t you members of Sodality of Mary? But wait a minute now……..Fr. Roming Subaldo was in the guys’ group. May expert coach gali silaWala abi madre sa grupo sang mga babae. The games were so much fun for both participants and spectators. Ay! kasadya gid.  Siyempre, may prizes ang nagdaog. Even the losers got something. After many group photos in front of our banner, we dispersed at 2:30 p.m. to allow guests to shop at the outlets, make pasyal on the boardwalk, watch the sunbathers and swimmers on the beach by the Atlantic Ocean, or try their luck again at the casinos. After some accounting and working on our checklist for dinner, Alice (my expert accountant turned R.N.) and I opted to take a restful nap.


Before 7:00 p.m., we headed to Ballys Traymore Ballroom for our fellowship dinner.  The hall looked elegant with the lovely place settings. A few alumni were already there. I finally met Wilson Reyes (HS 55, Chicago IL) in person. He is a regular writer to our Yahoo group and a good friend of my parents. He brought with him his wife, Connie, and son, Chris. More guests came with their spouses and family members. The Del Rosario family from California- 6 in all which included Cesar Sr. (HS 73), Mena (HS 74), Cesar Jr. (HS 97)- made it to Atlantic City after some delay in their trip. Eileen Espanol (HS 77, Houston, TX) came with her cowboy boots on. The young Gabaldons showed up- Jesse II (HS 88) and Randy (HS 85) with their dates, as well as Jerry Corpus (86). Chit Calingasan-Teodoro (HS 60, Stafford, TX) drove all the way from Canada with her mother. A lively group of 8 guests from ND Lagao and ND Dadiangas from all over the US joined us in our celebration. Romulo Roda (NDMC 70) was not to miss this reunion and came straight from Brooklyn, NY after a hard day’s work.

So the table was set, the dance floor was polished and the banquet was ready. What’s left to do- get down and have fun!  We started with an invocation by Fr. Alex Salas, followed by a welcome address by Pres. Don Donaire. Our first course of the evening was mixed baby greens with mandarin oranges and pecans topped by balsamic vinaigrette dressing and crumbled blue cheese in crepe. Everyone liked the dressing and said so. Our entree was a combination of grilled filet mignon, chicken breast, and shrimp with baked potato, sour cream and asparagus. The meat was tender, with each bite almost melting in my mouth. Heavenly! Then the dessert- Oooooo……a plate of chocolate sampler of flourless chocolate cake with fresh strawberry, Godiva chocolate quenelle raspberry sauce, chocolate mascarpone cheesecake, and ivory mousse with Contreau in a cup. Yum!!! Thank goodness our DJ played funky music in between courses so we could dance away those calories. Music was great and everyone hit the dance floor.  Even the men joined the women in line dancing. You should have seen Bro. Willy dancing the boogie. ( I think Edith caught it on video. Check it on FB )  Our emcees, Anne Reinoso and Paeng Fernandez, hosted a lively program.  Bro. Willy gave an informative talk about NDMU, its status and projects being undertaken. Bro. Paul gave a short message replete with jokes which kept the audience laughing. Way to go, Orb Luap! Drs. Louis and Josie Reyes presented a special number of Tango.  Their graceful and artistic performance in ballroom dancing entertained a delighted audience wanting for more.


We had a game of trivia to test the memory and knowledge of alumni in the history of NDM. And guess who won?  Table occupied by graduates of the 1950’s!  They got 9 out of 10 correct answers. That goes to show their brain cells are still intact and wala pa Alzheimers. Congratulations!!!


We also gave special awards and recognition to the following:


Oldest batch- HS 1954: Dr. Non and Mrs. Lucrecia Aguirre

Oldest Alumni- 1950s- Mrs. Julita Acosta

Oldest Guest- 86 y/o- Mrs. Flor Calingasan

Youngest Alumnus- HS 1997- Cesar Del Rosario, Jr.

Youngest Guest- 6 y/o – Gabby Reinoso

Most Number of Batch Alumni- HS 1972 (Oca Bugante, Becky Dela Flor-Evangelista, Becky Himan-Titus,

Gloria Sandig-Uy, Dinah Soriano-Abad, Marylou Trespeces-Garcia)

Most Number of Alumni Family- Sandig Family (Erlie Sandig-Visca, Angel Sandig-Mabilangan,

Gloria Sandig-Uy, Jerry Sandig, Emy Sandig-Crispo)

Alumni that traveled the farthest to the reunion- Ric Yap (GenSan), Fr. Roming Subaldo (Alabel),

Fr. Alex Salas (Banga)

First Alumni to register first for the reunion- The Del Rosario Family


It was a great evening to remember. Everyone enjoyed a good dinner, and they had a good time dancing for hours. Kapoy pero sadya kaayo. Of course, more photo ops. We danced until the last song was played and we called it a night at a little past midnight. Well actually, Alice and I stayed up till 2:00 a.m. doing more accounting. Sorry, Alice, may pagka-slave driver ang amiga mo.


Sunday, July 17- Once again, we gathered at the Traymore Ballroom, this time for Sunday mass at 9:00 a.m. We were fortunate to have 2 alumni priests with us so we were able to arrange to have mass celebrated at Ballys.  Fr. Roming was our main celebrant with Fr. Alex assisting.  We rehearsed our mass songs the day before at the picnic so everyone joined us in singing. Despite lack of practice, I strummed my old guitar to accompany the lead singers- Emy Sandig, Ellen Fernandez, Fr. Alex, Don, Eva, and Tino. Kabalo pa man gali mag gitara. 


After mass, we shared another meal and our last of the reunion- brunch prepared by Ballys with good selection of pastries, fresh fruits, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sausage, hash potatoes, French toast,

granola and cereals, assorted juices, coffee and tea. Busog na naman.


Right after brunch, we held our biennial alumni meeting and elected our new set of officers for 2011-2013 who were inducted by Bro. Willy:


President- Willie Acosta, HS 75, Chicago, IL

Vice-President- Mariam Morales-Estella, HS 70- Cherry Hill, NJ

Secretary- Ellen Fernandez, NDMC 78, New Haven, CT

Treasurer- Alice Silauso-Cimene, HS 70- Reseda, CA

Auditor- Oca Bugante, HS 72, West Covina, CA

PRO- Eileen Espanol, HS 77, Pearland, TX

Immediate Past President- Don Donaire, NDMC 85, Pacifica, CA







East Coast- Joesan Gabaldon, HS 64, New Milford, NJ

Dado Non HS 54, Jackson, NJ


West Coast- Redempta Dela, HS 70, Chino Hills, CA

Rebecca Himan-Titus, HS 72, San Jose, CA


Mid West- Ben Lamorena, HS 63, Chicago, IL

Nitz Madria-Reyes, HS 71, Troy, MI


Central- Marian Hilomen-Robinson, HS 71, Corinth, TX

Anne Morales-Reinoso, HS 74, Houston, TX


Philippines- Fr. Roming Subaldo, NDMC 85, Alabel, S. Cotabato

Ric Yap, HS 71, General Santos City

Nilda Infante-Lozada, HS 57, Koronadal City


We also voted on the venue for our 3rd International reunion in 2013.

Chicago, IL won hands down despite Dr. Lamorena (a Chicagoan) trying to dissuade voters facetiously from choosing Chicago over other suggested places. Well, get ready, Ben. Chicago is our kind of town.


After singing Notre Dame Hymn and Notre Dame March with gusto, it was time to say goodbye.

It was kind of sad, but a warm and happy ending nevertheless.


The newly elected officers had a short meeting thereafter to plan for the next reunion. Strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.


Well, we promised a good time in Atlantic City for our 2nd NDMIAA reunion, and everyone had a wonderful time. For all the work and effort we put in to make this 3-day affair a success, it was well worth it. Just seeing the happy faces of those who attended, and hearing all the positive comments were enough to validate a job well done. Your kind words and expressions of satisfaction were quite overwhelming and truly heartwarming. It will be remiss on my part not to acknowledge the people who made this all possible.


So thank you to everyone who contributed to our successful reunion:


Jing Ang-Ureta, NDM Alumni Coordinator, for her continued support and help in coordinating this affair;

Don Donaire, President, 2009-2011, for your leadership, and ordering the souvenirs and T-shirts;

Ed Fernandez, for taking care of the incorporation papers of our association and thereby legalizing our status as a nonprofit organization;

Paeng Fernandez for posting the announcement of our reunion on the Filipino channel and with wife Ellen – always ready to assist and help where needed;

Angel Sandig-Mabilangan for inviting all her siblings, relatives, and friends to ensure a good attendance;

Gladys Soriano-Dionisio and her sisters, Dina S. Abad and Azela S. Gozar for helping to find a location for our picnic, and coordinating food for our luncheon, and getting their husbands, Jr., Dong and Raffy to help;

Anne Morales-Reinoso for coordinating the fellowship games and prizes and acting as emcee of our dinner program along with Paeng Fernandez;

Alice Silauso-Cimene- for a smooth registration process and making sure everything is accounted for (sorry for the late nights, Alice)

Oca Bugante- for encouraging alumni attendance to the reunion and helping me navigate along the NJ parkway looking for picnic parks (even if he is from California). Together, we saw many parks I have never been to in all my years in NJ.

Toto Yap – for his generosity and services to print our souvenir program for free. You did a beautiful job coordinating with Jing and her IT crew from NDMU who did the layout.

Kuya Dado Non and Edith Plecis- for taking care of the ride, registration, and accommodation of our honorary guests- Bro. Paul and Bro. Willy.

Fr. Roming Subaldo and Fr. Alex Salas- for leading us in prayer during our gatherings at mass;

Bro. Willy and Bro. Paul- for your presence and representing the Marist Brothers at our reunion;

Tino Estella- my husband, for his understanding and support of all the reunion preparations I was engaged in. And for simply smiling while everyone spoke in Ilonggo, even to him who mainly speaks Tagalog.

And last but not the least- to all those who attended our reunion in Atlantic City. YOU made this event happen. YOU contributed to its success. We prepared a banquet for you and you accepted our invitation. Over 100 guests registered and out of that were 57 alumni. We made sure that you had a great time. And I believe that we delivered. We look forward to seeing you in two years in Chicago and we hope that many more will join us. I know you enjoyed AC and you will have an ever better time in the Windy City, right Willie? You have 2 years to prepare. Spread the word. Thank you for the opportunity to host the 2nd NDMIAA Reunion in Atlantic City.


It was indeed my honor, privilege, and pleasure to chair the event and provide an occasion where Notre Dameans from Marbel had a chance to rekindle old friendship and reminisce happy memories of their youth and education at Notre Dame of Marbel. For 3 glorious days in AC, we were blessed with beautiful weather and we gave you a piece of Marbel.  I hope that you all got home safe and sound; and best of all, keep the happy memories of your visit to the east coast alive and burning in your hearts. Jing and others have posted many photos and video of our 3 day reunion on Facebook and Shutterfly under Notre Dame of Marbel International Alumni Association. These are happy reminders of a summer to remember in Atlantic City.


Let us continue to stand for our Notre Dame and remain loyal and true.


And our hearts forever, praise thee Notre Dame.

And our hearts forever, love thee Notre Dame.


Most sincerely,


Frances Mariam Morales-Estella HS 70, Ch

2nd NDM Alumni International Reunion in Atlantic City


July 15, Friday, 5:00-8:00 p.m.-        Meet and Greet/Registration     Ballys Hotel, 6th floor Rotunda (near Traymore Ballroom)
July 16, Saturday 10:00-2:00 p.m. – Luncheon/Fellowship                   Ventnor City Community Center
                                                                                                                               6500 Newport Ave., Ventnor, NJ 08406
                               7:00 p.m.- 12:00 a.m.  Dinner-Dance                           Traymore Ballroom,  6th floor, Ballys Hotel
July 17, Sunday    9:00 a.m.    Mass                                                           Traymore Ballroom, 6th floor, Ballys Hotel
                               10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.  Brunch                                       Traymore Ballroom, 6th floor, Ballys Hotel
                                                    Alumni Meeting
                                                    Election of New Officers
                                                    Vote on Venue for 3rd International Reunion -2013

HS ’75 Bowling Tournament Champion

WE ARE THE CHAMPION!  Undauntedly,  the HS class 75 threw in the last ball  leading to their winning the 2010 NDM Alumni Bowling Tournament last Sept. 4 at the Fitmart Bowling lanes.  They claim that it was their team spirit and  the support  from classmates that made them win.  They were also motivated to improve their game with the presence and  participation of  classmate and now South Cotabato Governor Dodo Pingoy .

The Alumni Activity this year is only part of the planned activities before the homecoming in December 27, 2010.   Three years ago, when the game was scrap from the list of alumni activities,  the enthusiasm  to play  against each other  simply melted away.  The old bowling alley was gone  and the new venue at the mall was not really  that inviting.   There was no place where Alumni  can have a friendly competition ,  laugh and drink with high school buddies and friends.    The  bowling Alley has always been  a melting pot for the young and the not so young alumni.

This year, the High School Alumni Association under the leadership HS batch 85 , the host of  2010 Alumni Homecoming   have calendared sports events such as bowling, basketball and badminton  to bring together Alumni in the spirit of unity, camaraderie and friendship.

The tournament started last  August 14, 2010 with Bro. Willy, NDMU President , Tomasito Montano, NDMU IBED Principal and Merle Padua representing Sienna School leading the  ceremonial throw which signals the start of the tournament.  The battle cry of every Alumni team is “ Win or lose will hold thy name in honor  to Notre Dame”.

The day the flood water rush in…by Jing Ureta

It was raining very hard that evening and most people were probably in their home sleeping comfortably in their beds or staying late working on their computers or watching television. Everyone thought it was just a simple harmless rain . Little did we all know that upper Acub in San Isidro had a landslide and people were crying for help and assistance.   The flood water in Carpenter hill was slowly rising and making the road impossible to pass . Motorist were stranded and had to be diverted to Tampakan for them to reach Marbel. I take my hats off to both the Provincial and City Government for a quick response thus averting a more disastrous situation.

Last Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, the students (GIA Working Students and LEPS students) , together with Alumni who are at the same time HAKBANG volunteers distributed relief goods to the affected families now number 81 at Bacongco Elementary school. Our heartfelt thanks to Alumni of Batch 74 Sol Mangisel- Schmeckel from Germany who sent us 4 sacks of rice so we can distribute these among 81 affected families. thank you Sol for sharing your resources to the residents of Sito Acub. We turned over the relief packs to DSWD workers who were detailed in the elementary school. Susan Garcia-Restauro also of Batch 74 donated cookies which we handed over to the children. Our Batchmates Boy Boldios and Felipe Laguna joined us in the distribution of the relief goods.

We conducted interview with the Purok officials and some residents where they shared their harrowing experience. One person who was out drinking with his friends could not believed that his home was gone and his wife and 10 month old baby were carried by the flood. they died instantly. They remembered just hearing a rambling sound and a loud thud. they knew something was wrong but could not really see what was happening since upper Acub does not have electricity.

The Alumni accompanied the students to do ocular inspection of the flood site. it was a bumpy road up ahead and we were forced to leave our vehicles when we were nearing the landslide area. Alumni Roger Doronio’s truck  got stuck in the road and had to be pulled out by a Government vehicle. With nothing else that we could do, It meant , hiking for a few kilometers more.   Remia, Jo and myself were just thankful that rain did not come that day or else we would be buried in the mud since we were awfully slow and could hardly catch up with the students. Husband and wife tandem Nonoy and Liza Aliligay, Ralphy Palencia were walking so fast that they were the only adults who can catch up with the younger ones.

Alumni Dan Fresco was left behind to help Roger fix his truck . What we saw upon reaching the place really shocked us. We saw how mother nature unleashed its fury. The road suddenly turn into a river bed where rocks and boulders  just block off the entire road. The place was quiet , no sound of children that usually greet us whenever we come to visit their place. The school building remains intact and our paint cans are still there.

Why did this happen? I can only think that perhaps one reason is the slash and burn(Kaingin) practice of the residents. The source of income for them is to sell uling (charcoal). I really do not know  if the trees they cut are even replaced.     I hope this experience has taught us a valuable lesson in life that we should take care of God’s creation as this is HIS  gift to humanity.


The HS Alumni challenge..LETS BOWL!

Bowling has always been a favorite  game  of the alumni during homecoming season.  Three years ago when the game was scrap from the  list of  alumni  activities    ,  the enthusiasm  to play  against each other  simply melted away.  The old bowling alley was gone  and the new venue at the mall was not really  that inviting.   There was no place where Alumni  can have a friendly competition ,  laugh and drink with high school buddies and friends.    The  bowling Alley has always been  a melting pot for the young and the not so young alumni.

This year, the High School Alumni Association under the leadership HS batch 85 , the host of  2010 Alumni Homecoming   have calendared sports events such as bowling, basketball and badminton  to bring together Alumni in the spirit of unity, camaraderie and friendship.

Last August 14, 2010 the Alumni came  with their classmates and friends  to the opening of the  Bowling Tournament.   Everyone stood still as the singing of the Notre Dame Hym  and together sang  with so much  passion  as the  Notre Dame  March was played.   Cheerfully they tried to remember the lyrics to the song ..  HAIL! HAIL! To our Notre Dame, loyal and True will hold thy name.

The  ceremonial  throw was lead by   Bro. Wilfredo Lubrico, FMS , University President, Tomasito Montano, NDMU IBED Principal, Merle Padua representing the Sienna School and yours truly as Alumni Coordinator.

The games will stretch for  four Saturdays  starting last August 14 until September 4, 2010.  The  battle cry will always be “ Win or lose will hold thy name in honor  to Notre Dame”.


Dan Garcia(Dubai), Jing Ureta, Virgie Estandarte, Janet Gargantiel (china), Fe Diaz (librarian) standing at theback from left Expedito Estandarte, Ben Rimando (Australia), Rudy Berin, Anita Albano, Eliseo Morales (New Mexico USA), Jean Misperos (Dubai), Rhodora Tuburan -Librarian, Engr. Victorino Tobias Dean-CET, Josephine Rosali- Admin office, Celsa lei (Japan), Marilou Caballo- Record Section,Romeo Babar -CCC

The annual celebration of the Tinalak festival is also the South Cotabato Foundation Anniversary.  This is a  week long celebration that  starts on the third week of July and culminates on the 18th of the month.  As expected South Cotabatenos from here and abroad comes  home to join the celebration.    NDMU on the other hand ,   takes part by welcoming visiting alumni to the University.

The Open House is a yearly tradition where alumni are invited to visit the university,   share their experiences, meet friends, teachers,  and enjoy a campus tour.  This year the activity was held last July 16, 2010 3:00 p.m. Alumni Center.  The visiting alumni came from other parts of the country and some from  US, Dubai, China,   New Zealand, Australia and  Japan.

Taken at the Marist House. Rudy Berin, Nimfa De Lira, Janet Gargantiel, Jing Ureta, Clement and Joh Paul Bendoy, Elma Rafil, Ben Rimando, Virgie Estandarte, Ex Estandarte and Bro. Willy Lubrico, fms University President

Listening to the alumni as they share their stories gave us a  glimpse of  their long hard climb to reach for their dreams.  It was not a bed of roses but  for them  it was all worth it.    Engr. Marjo , a BS Che graduate  recalled how he had to deal with certain biases when he took the Board Exams for Chemical Engineering.   His  experience did  not stop him from pursuing his dreams.     Wih sheer determination and perseverance  he even topped  the pre Board exams which eventually earn the respect of his peers and teachers.              

Rudy Berin, Ben Rimando(Australia), Jing Ureta and Mr. and Mrs. John Paul Bendoy(New Zealand)

 Mr. Berin, a high school batch 63 alumni talked about his high school teacher, Mr. Solivio.  He was  for him the best Art teacher.  He remembered the time he assisted  Sir Solivio in painting the Last Supper and St. Marcellin Champagnat ‘s picture.    With fondness, Rudy  said his teacher  was a real good painter and wishes to see his artwork displayed in the university.

Benjamin  Rimando, high school batch 72 alumni  who is now based in Australia as Safety Personnel  agrees that poverty is never a hindrance for success.    He said his mother was a laundry woman of the Marist Brothers and his father was a driver.  Yet despite this he continued to make a mark for himself proving that he can pursue his dreams no matter how poor they were. 

Nimfa De Lira(Chicago), Elma Rafil Personnel Officer, Emilna Sepaya-Dick(Australia), Elaine Labiao-Guidance Counselor, Dan Garcia (Dubai)

Nimfa De Lira a SPED teacher based in Chicago shared that Filipinos are known for their hard work and dedication to service.    In the US her immediate Supervisor was amased how this little Filpina can extend long hours just to help co teachers with their task .

Dan Garcia (Dubai), Janet Gargantiel (China), Eliseo Morales ( New Mexico USA)

The stories , sad or happy ones were endless  but it gave everyone an opprotunity to learn from each  their  past as well as their present undertakings.    Everyone agreed that the education they got from NDMU contributed to their success.  They are proud to be Notre Dameans!

teacher and student Eliseo Morales (USA) and engr. Marjo Detablan (Leyte

Bro. Willy , the University President congratulated the Alumni for making it this far in their careers. He was glad that they came to visit and see the changes that took place after they left the portals of notre Dame.   He shared that  the development at NDMU is geared to  giving the best education to its students.

HS batch 63 classmates Anita Albano, Celsa Lei and Rudy Berin

The fellowship ended with a campus tour where alumni were awed at the transformation of the university.  Strolling down the corridors meant   walking down the memory lane and remembering the best part of their student days.  For the alumni it was good to be home and for the university it was good to see them back.

Clement and John Paul Bendoy (New Zealand) with Andres Magallanes- Executive Vice

My experience as PPCRV-NDMU Volunteer…Jing Ureta

Let me share my experience on the 2010 election.  Funny how i use to tell everyone  that I have always been apolitical.  Being an election watchdog was never my cup of tea much more campaign for someone else.    Well,  my online friends have heckled me to join a group to support a particular presidential  candidate whom others says is our hope for change.  However,  i always have reasons to refuse.  I guess all  I wanted to see is that  the Philippines move out of its labyrinth of patronage politics.   Until now you can see how Politicians has mastered the art of persuasion. Well in fairness  we have good ones whose heart is to really served the country but  there are those bad eggs that you can really smell from the distance.   This year though is the Philippines first automated election and to be part of it means so much more.  The  change of heart comes from the fact that automated election is going to be tried on the 2010 election.  Its  success would mean moving forward to a better Philippines and failure would mean going back to the dark age of manual counting , of dag dag bawas.

Responding to the challenges  of the times, NDMU being part of  Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has accepted to be  part of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible  Voting (PPCRV).  The coverage area for the University  were  the following:  Koronadal, Tupi, Tampakan, Surallah, Lake Sebu, Tantangan,Norala, Banga anf T’boli.    PPCRV  is the only election watchdog accredited by the COMELEC  to   get a  copy of the election return.  NDMU personnel and students volunteered to be part of this huge undertaking.  Weird but i have this strange feeling of excitement and wanting to do more for my country. I guess everyone  who volunteered  that day  have the same feelings as well.

My husband and I were both assigned as Municipal Coordinator for PPCRV in Tampakan, my husbands hometown.  Two days before election were were rounding up volunteers who wanted  to take part even if it means getting a very small allowance for food.  We gave them their Tshirts and PPCRV IDs and everyone was eager and excited to get started.

May 10, Election Day!

We were monitoring  the polling places from the town of Tampakan  to the barrio of Maltana and Kipalbig then up to the mountain part  part of Lampitak, Liberty, Lambayong and San Isidro.  It was raining very hard yet  you could see people lining up to cast their votes.  Some PICOS machines were not working and had to wait for the technician to fix the problem. Despite this the people stood outside and waited until 9 in the evening.  The long line was due to the clustered precinct.     We were teasing some people we knew “hoy puli na kay  gab-i na hindi na kamo  makaboto”..(go home its getting late  you can no longer vote) we were surprise to hear them say..”dugay kami hulat sa pila hindi gid kami mapuli sayang ang boto namon.” (We have waited in the line and we will not go home. We will not waste our votes).

When votes were ready to be transmitted all poll watchers  stood and watch.  In all honestly my heart was beating so fast and i was trying to control my tears when i saw how fast the votes were transmitted.  For the first time no teachers were manually counting the votes!  Never before…  Some people think that the automation can be rigged ..maybe so.  But   i dare them say that the manual counting is much better and can not be rigged at all.  What a shame really!

For all its worth my spending the whole day at the various poll sites gave me more reason to be proud of what everyone has accomplished on election day.  It will be remembered and i can  say with conviction that i was part of the history of Philippines automated election.  God Bless us all.

2009 Alumni Homecoming

A yearly tradition among Notre dame alumni has always been the Homecoming activities  every december.    The host batch for this year’s homecoming is 84 and 59 who did a wonderful  job in hosting the event last December 26, 2009 at the NDMU grounds.  Children and adults  were entertained with music and magic ,  a yummy treat of free ice cream and cotton candy  for everyone , roasted Cow and lechon all of which added to the fun  part. homecoming events has always been a  time for fellowship among friends and classmates and sharing of experiences.  It is also a  time off from work to laugh  , cry a little and keep in touch with classmates one has not seen for ages.

One senior  alumni who came looking for his classmates is Mr. Sofronio Lebaguin of HS boys class 55.  He  brought his violin with him and shared his music to the young High school  band members and alumni.  He said he use to be a member of the band  when he was in high school.  He met  his classmate Bro. Eugene Pius,fms and both shared their  high school experiences. Attending reunions for him is like staying connected with friends and classmates.

The oldest alumni who came to register is Mrs. Marianita Causing of HS batch 53.  She felt sad when she found out that the Secretariat has not provided a registration form for thier batch.

She quipped ” “hey we are still alive..i am still here!”. There are about a thousand alumni who came to take part of the festivities bagged by the organizers as Pista sa Nayon.    Pinoy Games like palo sebo  made the older alumni think of how they use to beat each other back in  high school.

In full force was Batch 63 , the group to beat with.  They volunteered in all the games never mind the arthritis and the signs of aging. Despite the scortching heat of the sun, the alumni never quitted on the outdoor games.  Hala bira!

Popular alumni who flew in was  Kennet Duremdes (Captain Marbel) who has retired from the basketball scene of the PBA    but has join the  corporate world. Joining us for the reunion is Don Donaire, President of  NDMAI-USA.  He also attended the meeting called for batch representatives.  The homecoming is a blend of the young and the old the rich and the poor.  The entertainment later in the evening and the fireworks  made everyone look forward for the next homecoming.

Here are more pictures to enjoy:

(KARIKTAN DANCERS)(the new grandstand)

(HS BATCH 74)(HS batch 63)



NDMU’s response to Ondoy’s fury and election 2010

Last october 1, 2009 the Ssocial Science Department of the College of Liberal Arts, the  Supreme Student Council and the Campus Ministry /Relegious Education department  partnered with ABS CBN and COMELEC.  The registration of  new voters was handled by  the COMELEC to give students the opportunity to vote for the coming election.  Surprisingly, a good number of first time voters were recorded.  DSC01005

Simultaneous to the registration is  the symposium organized by the College of Liberal Arts and SSG.  Speakers shared their inputs on issues confronting the Philippines.  Mr. Julius Ubas, professor of  History  explained the election trend  in the Philippines.  He said that based on given statistics after the 1992 election , candidates never won the majority vote since the votes were distributed among various candidates running for the same office.  A winning President only got what he calls the plurarity votes and not the majority votes.DSC01011

Atty. Tanjili, also an alumni spoke about Election rules that guides the candidates running for a particular position.   DSC01019The News Manager for ABS CBN encouraged students to be vigilant to protect their votes. The symposium also launched the Boto Mo I Patrol mo-Ako and Simula!  around 400 plus students including faculty, non teaching personnel and administrators registered to a Patroler. 

The Campus Ministry and Religious Education Department was able to turn over to ABS CBN Sagip Kapamilya the amount collected from the donations made by students and personnel.

Across the miles: One Heart One Spirit..The 1st NDmarbel Alumni International Reunion..by Jing Ureta

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DAY I  AUGUST 1, 2009

Braving the summer heat in Las vegas , the alumni from Utah, California, New Jersey, Chicago, Texas, Philippines   came to be part of the historical event of the year….the 1st reunion of notre dameans outside the home country. 

What seemed to be impossible then was made possible through the use of technology.  The internet was the popular tool to plan, organize and implement the activities in  Las vegas.  The core group members were involved in planning the whole activity online.  dsd1 216  

(the core group members met for the first time at Ed Fernandez residence  last July 31, 2009, Don Donaire – San Francisco, Ed Fernandez – Las Vegas ,Marilyn Astrologo-Wolfe-  Stanton , Dennis Deveza – (non alumni) Las Vegas  , Cathy Devera  and Mina Del Rosario  – Sacramento and myself from the  – Philippines  program)

The day before the reunion, the heat was building up in Las vegas as it hit a high of 109 degree.  We were all praying hard for rains to come  since the heat was too much. 

We came early to the Mountain Edge Exploration Park the following day and immediately felt a breeze, yes! A rush  of  cold air was all we ever wanted that day.  Fortunately, the  temperature started to cool down  as if   it was God’s way of telling us to go ahead and have fun.  When the alumni came to register, Don and the rest of the organizing team were so inspired to meet the alumni coming from different parts of the US such as Utah, Chicago, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas, LA, Sacramento, San Francisco. Who can ask for more? 

(tight embrace, warm handshake, contagious laughter  marks the best of a Notre Damean ) dennispark 753

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(meeting new friends, renewing old ties, memories that last forever ….)

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 (  The children who came with their parents understood the importance of the bonding and how they became part of the notre dame family)

Mina and Cathy brought a Pinata (a mexican version of our breaking the pot).  Kids were delighted to see Sponge Bob hanging on a tree .  DSC06576It was fun to watch the  children hit the pinata and then run around the water sprouts..they were all wet and wild!  They  love every minute of it unmindful of the adults endless chattering and loud voices.

At 4 p.m., we  attended  the mass at St. Anne Parish church.  Our very own alumni Fr. Roming Subaldo was co presider  to  St. Anne’s Parish Priest.    CIMG4140Everyone felt a certain pride  knowing that Fr. Roming, an alumni came to say the mass and be with the rest of Notre Dameans in Las Vegas .  CIMG4153The activity on the first day was far from  over since  there was still the fellowhip dinner at the  Gimik  bar and resto where alumni can simply have a good time and  just enjoy great  moments together.  Souvenir items like bags, flashlight key chains, ballpens were given  out. CIMG4241 As part of the fellowship activity, Alumni were divided into four groups based on their birthmonths.  Each group were tasked to come up with their cheering numbers.      It was so amazing to see the senior alumni blend beautifully with the younger ones as they prepare their production numbers.  After the  competition, both young and old  took to the dance floor and just dance the night away.  Indeed,  across the miles the alumni came to foster camaraderie and friendship with fellow notre dameans and their families.    CIMG4291  Bro. Wilfredo Lubrico, fms, NDMU President  challenged the alumni to come together in the spirit of  St. Champagnat and St. Dominic to build bridges,  forge friendship and make a difference in the lives of other people.  The night ended with a closing song ” Notre  Dame our Mother “- a song every notre damean knows by heart.  


At 9 a.m. the alumni were  up and ready for the organizational meeting at the Oasis RV Park and Resort.  The mouth watering breakfast plus the aroma of the brewed coffee was more than enough to wake up the senses of the still sleepy and tired alumni.  The   meeting went smoothly and was able to meet its objective which was   to organize the NDMarbel Alumni international Association-USA .  The  meeting ended with a worship service conducted by Alumni Pastor Ed Fernandez .   The Officers and Board  stayed  behind for the luncheon meeting where they  discussed important matters concerning the  the newly orgnized alumni association.  Everyone looked forward to the next reunion in Atlantic City in 2011.

DSC06906(Bro. Willy Lubrico, fms , NDMU President installed into office the new set of officers and boards of the NOTRE DAME OF MARBEL ALUMNI INTERNATIONAL-USA)

DSC06902(Major Officers with Bro. Willy Lubrico, fms)

President                           –              Don Donaire (San Francisco)
Vice President                   –            Willie Acosta (Chicago)
Secretary                           –              Marilyn A. Wolfe  (Stanton)
Treasurer                           –              Mariam Morales – Estella (New Jersey)
Auditor                               –              Rafael Fernandez (Connecticut)
P.R.O.                                  –               Ed Fernandez (las Vegas)






                                West Coast     –      Nelly Necor – Duce (Los Angeles)
                                                               Mina Odifa – del Rosario (Sacramento)
                                East Coast       –      Angel Sandig-Mabilangan (New Jersey)
                                                                Ellen Custodio- Fernandez (Connecticut)
                                MidWest          –   Mary Anne Morales – Reinoso (Texas)
                                                                Condrado  Barranco (Texas)                               
                                Richard Lozada  (San Francisco)
                                Rose Oro – Nazworthy (Las vegas)
                                Jocelyn Paolo -Stevens  (Las Vegas)







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