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THE BANTON HGH SCHOOL, 1983 - 1987 

(A Student's Perspective) 
By Lyndon Fadri

 

(as published in the souvenir program of the 50th founding anniversary of Banton High School)

The period from 1983 to 1987 was marked by political unrest on the national level with the assassination of former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and capped by the EDSA Revolution and the takeover of the administration of the pres. Cory Aquino. Alongside with that political situation was an economic slowdown, its effect extending to every Filipino, including of course the Bantoanons.

At the helm of the provincial government were Gov. Manuel Solidum and Assemblyman Nemesio Ganan, Jr,. both under the administration party, with the municipality under Mayor Jory F. Faderanga, then an oppositionist. After the EDSA revolution, Congressman Natalio Beltran, Jr. was elected. 

High school students dominated the youth sector, just like today, as graduates either pursued their studies or worked outside of the island.

With that situation, life went on in Banton, and of course, in Banton High School .


 

The Banton High School

The Banton High School , that time, was stagnant, if not deteriorating. The economic crisis put the teachers receiving meager pay into a more difficult situation. Apparently, the administration had financial problems. The non-publication of "The Diorite", the school organ, was viewed as a cost-cutting measure. There were no sport facilities, not even a ball for Physical Education use. Neither did the administration made efforts to replace lost or inoperational equipment in the laboratory. No new books were purchased for the library.

The Fabella building looked very old. Rooms flooded during hard rain. The walls were cracking. One room had to be supported with a bamboo pole to prevent collapse. There were no infrastructure improvements other than those put up by the Student Body Organization and other school organizations.

The situation could have prompted the formation of the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) in the 1983-1984 school year. However, other than completing a portion of the concrete bench fronting the Fabella Bldg., the PTA made no other remarkable projects or initiatives. 

In 1983, the catechism Class was introduced. The Diocese of Romblon sent Ms. Mangao to Banton High School . The Homeroom subject continued to be dedicated to cleaning and beautifying the assigned rooms. Fortunately, in the School Year 1986-1987, a real Homeroom was introduced.

Putting up a Drum Corps was the only notable undertaking by the administration. Michael Fadri, Yollie Fetalvero and Mary Grace Fabellon, after their trip to Odiongan, formed the BHS Drums Corps which had its first show in the 1983 town fiesta. The drums corps, now, is one of the most sought-after band especially during parades. 

The Asosasyon ng mga Kabataan sa Tanghalan, BHS Chapter was also formed in 1984 through the efforts of then POPCOM Officer Maines and some freshmen and sophomores who underwent stage training at Tungonan Brgy. High School. After coming up with a major show entitled At Naglaho ang Bahaghari , and few minor presentations, the group disintegrated in 1986.

The school was also cold in the proposed participation of the secondary schools in the 1986 dual meet between Corcuera and Banton that eventually led to the creation of the Maghali Athletic Association (MAA). Although a basketball was formed, apparently, no agreement was finalized so that the team ended up playing an exhibition game with the visiting Simaranhons, who were not even high school students.

Allegations of teachers favoring one student over another especially in the selection of the honor students and SBO election were present. In some instances, disgruntled hopefuls did not attend graduation rites..

Yet, Bantoanons continued to excel. NCEE results showed high ratings with at least one in each batch getting a 99- percentile mark. At one time, a BHS student topped the division with a 99+ percentile mark. It also produced a Department of Science and Technology Scholar. The Bantoanon bets to the Quiz Bee on Religion sponsored by the Diocese also made a good showing.


The Faculty

The faculty was composed of Mr. Buenaventura Fabella, Mrs. Imelda Fietas, Mrs. Helen Ferros, Mrs. Glorita Fano, Miss Lourdes Fabicon, Mrs. Elsie Fabicon, Mrs. Rosily Fegalan, Mrs. Adelfa Fabrero, Mrs. Rosie Fadrilan, Mr. Prospero Arcasitas and Mr. Reynaldo Fetalvero. Mrs. Arsenia Fabic, Mrs. Lorda Feudo, Mr. Senio Fababeir, Mrs. Arcelita Faz, Mr. Benjamin Famatigan, Mrs. Gloria Faigao, Ms. Ferrera, Mr. Cirilo Ilio, Mrs. Berlina Fabella, Ms. Mangao and Ms. Faminialagao also became part of the teaching staff during that period.

Mr. Fabella served as the principal until the school year 1985-1986 when he was replaced by Mr. Arcasitas. He then served as the administrator.

Mr. Fetalvero seemed to be the most popular of them all. All sort of jokes, stories and even tall tales originate form the Practical Arts Building especially during clearance time. The late Mr. Arcasitas was the joker of wisdom who would quip from time to time lines such as cheating is a sign of intelligence. Mr. Fabella remained to be the most feared – with his loud and harsh voice and with his concrete actions to discipline erring students. Mrs. Ferros was the friendliest or motherly as Class 85 puts it. Mrs. Gloria Faigao was noted for her expression all right class, while Mrs. Elsie Fabicon was popular for her cheat- spotting abilities. Mrs. Fietas was the guardian angel as she was fond of correcting the student's conduct.

Mr. Famatigan could be credited with some new activities for his cadets, the Cadets Ball and the Cadets' Graduation Rites.

The four batches who graduated during that period have not settled the issue of who is the most charming between Mrs. Fabic (then Ms. Feudo), Ms Ferrera, Ms. Faminialagao, Mrs. Fadrilan (then Ms.Fabellon) and Mrs. Fabella. Geometry under Ms. Fabicon, serious as ever, continued to be the subject students didn't like most as they found it hard to understand why angle 1 equals angle 2. Students always admired Mrs. Fano's mastery of the subject she teaches – the life cycle, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and all. The former Ms. Fortu caught the students by surprise with her style of teaching Public Speaking.


The SBO

The Student Body Organization (SBO), as it is now, was the supreme organization of the students. It is an umbrella of the class organization. A set of officers is elected by all bona fide students for a term of one semester. Class representatives join them during meetings.

Whether it was established to promote the welfare of the students other than develop their leadership skills or just compliance with DECS directives or for any other purposes was not very clear. What stood out in the mind of the students was that it was an extension of the BHS administration as leaders seemed to have the primary objective of putting up funds to be able to finance concrete projects in the school and enforcing rules and regulations on school uniforms, conduct, speaking dialect and so on. On the part of the leaders, it was actually a question of  what we can do for the school or what remembrance can we leave the school.

Election was as real as election for public position except that there were no allegations of counting fraud such as the dagdag-bawas scheme. Room to room campaign complete with entertainment covers one period of classes capped by the Miting De Avance in the morning of the election day. Oftentimes, the campaign spilled over the campus premises and included the parents and real-life politicians. Candidates formed their parties. The pre-dominant issues were allegations of one-sidedness on the part of the faculty. There also existed voting blocks as the solid north vote.

From 1983, the following were elected SBO presidents, in succession, Jude Dario Fadri, Ronaldo Faa, Gerard Falsado, Ronald Ferrancullo, Ronie Fejer, Evidente Feudo, Lyndon Fadri and Elson Fadrilan. They were responsible for the extension of the concrete bench and the construction of the canteen and kiosk. Jude Dario Fadri introduced the ID system during his time but was not continued by the ensuing leadership.

Worth nothing was the first semester of 1986 which saw a change of leadership perspective. Apparently influence by the activism that lead to the EDSA revolution, the SBO governed by leaders from the United Reformist Party placed the welfare of the studentry on top of its agenda. They introduced the first constitution of the organization and liberalized enforcement of the school regulations especially those relating to school uniforms. The direction of the enforcement was shifted from policing in order to raise funds to prevention, to the extent of helping students abide by the rules and regulations. Forced contributions and labor of some sorts were eliminated. They asked for the publication of the school organ and purchase of sport facilities. As a result the Diorite circulated in December with Ronelo Fababeir as the editor. It also called for the discontinuance of the CAT demonstration during the fiesta on grounds that even college students under ROTC were not required purchasing complete fatigue uniforms during that time. It did not only fell into deaf ears but draw ill feelings from the faculty.

They sponsored the U.N. Day set of activities which featured general information quiz contest, song and oratorical numbers. The body also initiated to secure books for the library from the Asian Foundation. In spite of those activities, the officers did not forget to leave something to the beloved Alma Mater as it erected the kiosk that now stands elegantly in front of the library and administration building.


Students' Life

True to Sharon Cuneta's song High School Life, BHS students were filled with fun – lots of fun. There were the baylihans, bukado-an, ranguyan, bien comer and many others.

The SBO induction ball in late June or early July served as the opening salvo of the long lists of baylihans for the school year. A string of induction ball held by the youth of organization of each barangay and each purok in Poblacion, followed. The barn dance sponsored by the BHS Jolly Girls Club was always eagerly anticipated for its unique setup, juniors and seniors dressed themselves up as men and took the freshmen and sophomores to dance. The affair was also open to visitors for an entrance fee. As September neared, the dances held with every canvassing for the Town Fiesta Queen popularity contest followed, capped by the Coronation Night. October afforded a rest to the worn-out student until another SBO induction ball and JGC barn dance were held in November. Christmas presented a different kind of party as baylihans are simultaneously held by its class. On the other hand, the Costume Ball in New Year's eve provided a wholesome family fun. As the Lenten season approached, fun mellowed down, and the dances turned more sentimental with Junior-Senior Prom. The Cadets' Ball made it to the calendar of events from time to time.

Fun in the baylihans, as always, did not end with one getting the chance to hold girls waist (or girls having the chance to hold a boy's arm or shoulders) or getting a chance to speak out their feelings to their crushes or the fun of dancing itself. There were lots more including the bloopers inside ( as boys raced to the girls once the tip of the radio phono touched the disc) and outside of the dance floor (Remember Paeng?). Of course, there were also the buyok and rambolan in certain instances.

Refreshments during that time were more consistent – a cup of juice, some pieces of bread and pansit.

During that period, the students began bringing the baylihan inside of the household-to celebrate birthdays or just a get-together of barkadas. The cassette players which slowly invaded the homes of Bantoanons made things a lot easier. Refreshments improved to spaghetti, salad, soft drinks, beer, and the like.

Before the baylihan dominated the affairs, bukado-an was also a hit especially for freshmen and sophomores who wouldn't want to be called binataey or rayagay or to an extent uyagon. Bukado-an was not complete without Truth or Consequence played either using the empty bottle or tingting lit passed to the next person uttering the words patay-buhay batona (dead or alive, take it).

Bien comer was another escapade of the boys. Classmates or barkadas feasted with grated papaya cooked in soy sauce to resemble the famous Pansit Malabon. At times, they got a hearty dinner with fried or roasted chicken served. Fun extended in the mornings as neighbors began looking for the lost pieces of firewood, papaya fruits and sometimes, chicken.

Ranguyans (excursion) was not that popular among students for financial reasons. Hiring a boat and preparing a food to sustain a day's affair were very expensive. Only in 1984 when the youth basketball tournaments began with one held during the town fiesta and one during the Yuletide season sponsored by the HLB that students began going to an excursion.The cash prizes made it possible.

Bivouac presented a different kind of fun for the seniors. Part of the CAT's activities, it offered unforgettable adventures, endless stories and military antiques taught by the CAT commandant.

As mentioned, it was during that period when the youth basketball tournaments were introduced in Banton which were warmly appreciated by the sports-loving students (or the sports-hungry student who did not even got to hold a ball during Physical Education session at the BHS). Not only did it draw big crowds and fun during the duration of the tournaments but also during regular pustaan games at night. (It was during that time that the municipal generator became operational.)

Student's lovelife was very colorful. Pangrayaga happened everywhere – in the house, in the school, during baylihans, bukado-ans, and all other possible situations. Too bad, in the end, some could only look back and say – FUN. FUN. FUN. WORRY WORRY WORRY. (This is read this way - fun, period, fun, period, fun, period, worry, no period, worry, no period...)


The Graduates

Credit it to the school or credit it to the Bantoanon character, the graduates during that period were pretty successful like the previous or the following batches. The pioneer leaders and members of the Organization of Bantoanons Students (ORBS) who had its heyday in 1989 through 1991 were mostly from the period's graduates. Those batches produced at least one magna cum laude and one cum laude graduates in college. It also produced for the Banton High School its first computer engineers.


Epilogue

The conversion of Banton High School to Banton Municipal High School was a timely development. Thanks to the efforts of the municipal government of Mayor Jory Fadeanga and company, the concern of the Board of Trustees headed by Mr. Dioscoro Fetalvero, and the efforts of then Cong. Natalio Beltran, Jr. and Bantoanons in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports especially to the late Dr. Salustiano Faigao for its nationalization. With that, teachers now receive commensurate compensation and students enjoy the benefits of the free education program of the national government.

Some other problems that existed during our period still persist, I suppose. Things have to be done or changed. We cannot rest on the laurels of the founders of the Banton High School , Gabriel Fabella, Sr., and Faustino Fabella, Sr. The school's administration, the teachers, the students, alumni and all Bantoanons have to give their share. There are no greater tributes to the BHS founders than our efforts to bring this school to excellence.