To revive and rebuild friendship and connectivity as a batch, the SWU Medicine Class of 1968 slayed its Grand Golden Jubilee celebration through a one day tour in the province of Bohol last February 9, 2018 from 6:00 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening.
A home to amazing sights, activities and ecological wonders and one of the most popular places where foreigners and Filipinos love to travel to, a total of thirty-five tourists composed with Class ’68 medical doctors with some of their family members joined the whole day memorable tour in the province of Bohol.
Well-accommodated with a taste of Boholano hospitality led by an exemplary countryside tour guide, the group arrived at the port of Tagbilaran City, known as the “City of Friendship” and went directly to the Bohol Blood Compact Site at Bool District, Tagbilaran City.
The site, as its first stop, is a landmark of the first international treaty of friendship of Spaniards and Filipinos through a blood compact between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol, locally known as ‘Sandugo’ which means one blood. Made up of bronze, the monument was a masterpiece of the Boholano sculptor and National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva.
Shortly after dropping at the Blood Compact Site, the delighted tourist-doctors went to the Philippine Tarsier Foundation natural habitat in Corella town where the smallest known primates, no larger than an adult men’s hand known as tarsiers, are found. As most of them were first timers to see the territorial animal around the base of tree trunks with enormous eyes in comparison to its body, they were amazed at how small and peculiar the tarsiers are.
In an interview with Dr. Juvenal Jabel at the habitat, he cheerfully shared that the 50th year reunion of Class ’68 was one of his most-awaited events of the year aside from his annual home visit to the Philippines. A native from Dumaguete City, Dr. Jabel resides in Kansas City, Missouri for more than forty years now together with his family. His wife is a retired Director of Nursing Services in the US.
“I am very glad to come here with my former classmates and to see them in wellness and in good health with successful careers is so heartwarming. On the other hand I feel sad to our batchmates who have departed in this life already as they weren’t able to join us this day. It’s a mix feelings for being here today and it is my delight to be present in our reunion. This tour allow us to see the beauty of Bohol and its history and as far as I observed its tourism has been well-developed and preserved unlike other local areas”, Dr. Jabel said.
Having been blessed in life with lovely children and grandchildren who are also in the States, this alumnus also shared that one of his granchildren is soon to graduate in Medicine, following the same path he had chosen.
Having been delighted with Bohol’s blend of nature and culture tourist destination, the Class of 1968 medical doctors together with the rest of the group headed to Loboc- the music town of Bohol. The Loboc River Cruise which is the hallmark of Loboc’s most-visited tourist spot completed the buffet lunch floating restaurant experience so worthy to remember.
Meanwhile the Ati Tribe also entertained with a warm welcome serenade to the group at a short stop along the cruise and performed the tinikling and kuradang dances where some of the doctors participated for a try.
Just like any other group of tourists in the island the Class of 1968 completed the tour as they gazed the natural coned-shaped hills in the town of Carmen, the world’s famous Chocolate Hills.
Known as Bohol’s most hyped and premier tourist attraction through the year, the group enjoyed the scenic view of the mound-like hills at the original viewing station.
Having been experienced the spectacular sight, exceptional beauty and universal value of the Chocolate Hills under a beautiful sunny day, the group headed to the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Bohol- the La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church commonly known as Baclayon Church in the municipality of Baclayon. Built in 1717 and was completed in 1727, the Baclayon Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and is preserved by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts particularly the small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century as the early years of the Spanish colonization in the island.
In a separate interview with one of the Philippine organizing committee, Dr. Lourdes Pacaldo-Magpayo, she expressed her gratitude to God for having been able to accomplished all her commitment and tasks being assigned to her for the Golden Jubilee. Heavens must have heard her prayers as she unceasingly implored for a good weather during the Bohol tour.
“I am very, very happy for the fulfillment of the amazing plans from the moment we started it in our mini reunion held in the States and I was appointed as one of the organizing committee in the Philippines. We keep communicating with other doctors through facebook with the help of Dr. Marlou Fuentes. Actually it was very hectic and stressful but I did all my best to make it perfect. I brought everything into prayer for a good weather especially for the Bohol tour”, said Dr. Magpayo.
Beaming with pride and gratefulness, this 74-year old medical doctor is a native Boholana and is the owner of the Magpayo Medical Clinic and Services in Cogon District, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. She could have been living in the US together with her children but in the name of service her heart belongs to Bohol and its populace so she decided to stay in the country.
Hospitality at its finest aside, Dr. Magpayo also put her heart as a host by serving sumptuous and festive dinner held at the Magpayo residence in the heart of the city. To complete the package, she gave souvenir items to her classmates to take home to remember the reunion with Bohol homemade products and delights.
The fun-filled Bohol tour was one of the most memorable moments among the Class ’68 medical doctors who truly experience the genuine Boholano hospitality as one of the inhabitants’ virtues with a freely given and freely taken friendship from every Boholano home.
Filled with joyful togetherness and homeward bound pleasure, the group departed bound to Cebu City in the evening with remarkable memories and reechoed saying that there is no better mirror than the company of old friends. The whole day tour marks another important milestone of their lives who were once dreamers of becoming full-pledged physicians. Today, and ever, they will always be grateful to the ‘Giver of Gifts’ by sharing and helping others as dedicated doctors with a heart. (Ana Liza Abao)