by Ana de Villa Singson
HS 1983 | Proud to be!

The Rubies of 1983…”We are the dreamers…We make it happen…’Cause We Believe it!”

We are suffering from post-Velada blues. Practising every Monday and Thursday for almost 3 months, we got used to seeing each other’s faces, the comfortable camaraderie, the gourmet food from Mamou, Cibo, El Cirkulo, Milky Way, Hai Chix and some very talented cooks and bakers among our classmates. For those 3 months of Velada practice, we were back in high school, a noisy gaggle of strong opinionated women.

Strong opinionated women! Yes, that’s who we are. And of that…we are proud to be! Because, as our choice of theme attests, we earned our strength and culled our opinions from being dreamers. Not the dreamers who are content to dream of and gaze at their distant North Star. We are the dreamers who seize the moment, invest it with all our passion and action …and make those dreams happen.

Old Girls Day Mass! As always, everything starts with a prayer…lots of prayers!
Back in the red plaid! Feeling like giddy high schoolers again!
Rehearsing at the Mother Rose Auditorium, getting ready for Velada!

In our last practice right before Velada, I looked lovingly at each red-clad woman in our rehearsal room in Paradiso Hall. Someone asked me: “Was there anyone in your batch who surprised you with who they became?” I didn’t have to think too long nor too hard. My quick answer was ‘NO.” Because as I looked at my classmates with whom friendships were recast with stronger bonds by Velada, I was looking at women who have realized their dreams!

There are many distinctions scattered among us. We have classmates sitting at the helm of non-government organizations, foundations, pioneering technologies, medical departments (we boast of having the only Filipina Assumptionist surgeon among us!), senior partners in well-respected law firms. We have successful entrepreneurs who intrepidly built their own businesses from ground zero into multiple-branch entities known throughout the metro. We have awards scattered liberally among us. Among us is a Bayani ng Bayan awardee for her admirable work in uplifting nutrition of underfed child constituents. An election advocate won an Anvil Award then trekked to Malacañang to receive her organization’s award from then President Arroyo. We have a European Dance Sport Champion, who triumphed despite being hobbled by osteoporosis. We have a home cook ( who is really a home wiz but humbly won’t call herself a chef) who has had her steak numbered among the top in the metro and in Asia! We have artists who have staged exhibits in the most august halls of art, with one being featured in the very select and exclusive corridors of the Venetian La Biennale! We have those who dedicate their time and resources to heading foundations, charities, granting academic and dance scholarships. We have shrewd businesswomen who leveraged international franchises into local successes. We have those who built home businesses fueled by their incredible talent, courage and attention to detail. We have mothers who dedicate their lives to home and hearth and have built strong family units, a huge challenge in these times and very much needed as the most basic unit of society. We have writers, producers, home makers, business owners, corporate officers, resort operators, real estate scions, entrepreneurs, dancers, painters, artists, sculptors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, mothers, advocates of all colors of the charitable rainbow. Whatever their choice of focus is, we have women who dreamed, women who strove, women who rose to the many challenges. They were young girls who dreamed in high school … then became through deliberate life choices…women of passion, women of action. We.…are proud to be!

RUBIES! Decked in ruby red with flower appliqués and beads…and huge big smiles! Oh so ready to dance!
Section 1…proud to be!
The irrepressible fantabulous Section 2!
Bejeweled smiling faces of Section 3!
The gorgeous gals of Section 4!
Section 5…lovely ladies in red!
Always fabulous…Section 6!

The curtain has dropped on our Velada. But it has not dropped on any of our dreams. We are a “little bit” older now and age is no longer just a number. But underneath the changes that time has wrought on faces lightly lined by time and proudly sculpted by experience, remains the same high school girl. She dreams. She dreams for others too now: for children, for spouses, for partners, for friends, for the voiceless and marginalized who dream of a better situation in life. But always, always she knows…that as she dreams new dreams, one constant remains the same. She has us, her high school family to support her anytime, all the time! An encouraging word, a long lunch when news is good … or an even longer one when it is the very opposite and requires consoling. A pat on the shoulder for a job well done or an honest word that no one else except the dearest and oldest friends can tell you. A quick girls only drink or short trip (some of us hied off to Korea, Tagaytay, the beach for an all-girls do right after dancing our hearts away on OGD!). Sometimes we don’t even need to say a word. We sit with one who has lost, who has loved and just being there is enough. The silence says it all. We are here for you…always.

At a recent reunion for a dear friend who had flown all the way from the US to join us for Velada, someone said something that struck me. “You don’t grow old friends.” So true. How can you? Old friends grew with you and beside you.

And so we keep on dreaming. And as the last line of our Velada song expressed so beautifully, as borrowed from Jungkook’s BTS Fifa World Cup song: “Look who we are, we are the dreamers. We make it happen, ‘ cause we believe it. Look who we are, we are the dreamers. We make it happen, ‘cause we see it!”

Here’s toasting our dreams, missions, visions, passions, actions…and always, always….our friendships!

We are the Rubies of HS 83…We are proud to be!