The long awaited reunion of Orion Elementary School Class ‘65 and Jose Rizal Institute ‘69 finally occurred during the week of May 11-17, 2007 at San Diego, California USA.   With the arrival of the major players on May 11, Ruben and Evelyn Constantino hosted a welcome dinner at their residence.  Everyone was pleasantly surprised to know that Evelyn’s mother (Miss Santos/Mrs. Rodriguez) was a former teacher at OES. 


She was delighted to meet some former students in the group.  Dinner was followed by karaoke practice spearheaded by Dave Joco, Mel De Jesus, who was later renamed Mel Monroe.

May 12th was just as busy since this marked the arrival of the most attendees coming from the Philippines, Australia, Canada, Virginia, Illinois, and California.   A total of twelve rooms were assigned to attendees who chose to stay at the Navy Lodge (Naval Station, San Diego) as arranged by the Reunion Coordinator Alex Navarro.   The first meeting was held during the lunch at the Naval Station’s Bowling Alley followed by another meeting and rehearsals at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD San Diego).  Everybody was thrilled and excited since this was the first gathering by many of them in 42 years since   elementary days,  and 38 years,  since high school.  May 13th was even filled with more excitement when the attendees headed out to Adm. Bakersfield Park for the celebration of the Orion town fiesta.  This was in response to an invitation by San Diego Orion Community Association of California (OCAC).  Kababayans were everywhere and lots of native food such as arroz caldo, pansit, lechon, other meat dishes and deserts were served.  A Holy Mass was celebrated followed by performances by various groups including the reunion group.  Mr. Tony Pizarro made a presentation on the Santos-Pizarro Foundation under Gawad Kalinga Project.   On May 14, everybody went on the San Diego Harbor Cruise in the morning,  followed by a bus trip to Barona Casino Resort.  This bus trip was fun- filled since all kinds of jokes, anecdotes, and stories were told by some of our comedians (Alex Fajardo, Alex Navarro, Art Santiago, Abbe Magpayo, Dave Joco).  Another meeting at the MCRD for the next day’s final event ended the day.

May 15th was spent with relatives and friends at San Diego and later during the day; preparation for the big night followed.  Picture-taking activities were held at Coronado shores which was a few miles from the Island Club, Naval Air Station, North Island where the reunion dinner dance was held.  Reunion Coordinator Alex Navarro invited Mr. Tony Pizarro to be the Guest Speaker.  The May 15th event, consisting of dinner, dancing, special dances and song performances, picture-taking, (and more picture taking) highlighted the double reunion.  It was a pleasure to see everybody’s excitement in seeing old classmates and friends after so many years.  Alex Navarro, Reunion Coordinator, spoke on time and effort it took to plan and prepare for the event (18 months), which many considered as too short, compared to the waiting time spent by the group to have the first reunion in 38 years for JRI Class ‘69 and 42 years for OES Class ‘65.  Some attendees began leaving on May 16 while some classmates, Ellen Navarro Bunagan, Paulette H. Somo began preparing to leave for their Nurses Reunion at Las Vegas.  Ellen and Paulette, along with the rest of the attendees left San Diego on May 17 with hopes up for the next reunion.  Good-byes with tears are proof of how much fun and excitement filled this memorable event at San Diego.  If there is anything that surprised all of the attendees, it is the number of closet-paparazzi that emerged from the group.  The following is a complete list of 24 classmates that attended with guests:   Francisco G. Raymundo, Alexander C. Navarro, David G. Joco, Ruben S. Constantino, Eleanor Navarro Bunagan, Adoracion Luzame Estipona, Abraham R. Magpayo, Delia Salonga Descalzo, Alexander C. Fajardo, Arturo Santiago, Elenita Rodriguez Raymundo, Nora Quicho Zara, Paulita H. Somo, Alfredo Lintag, Fernando Lopez, Carmencita Garcia Aquino, Mel P. De Jesus, Efren Lugue, Benjamin Bantog, Antonio Sabino, Teresita Fernando Quicho, Danilo M. Antonio, Felizardo C. Siasat, Rudolfo Trajano.

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