Cervantes, the Hidden Paradise

by Ms. Cleofe Perez
Image is a screenshot of the inaea.org website

XSARC (Xavier School Association of Retired Colleagues) sponsored an outreach activity last April, at Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, the hometown of Ms. Estrelle Pe Aguirre Nabua. Ms. Rosel Valenzuela and I joined this project.

We started our trip at around 8:00 am and by noon time, we were at Pangasinan. We visited Our Lady of Manaog church then proceeded to a lechon lunch at Ms. Nabua’s house in San Fabian. We continued our trip to Cervantes and at 4:00 pm, we were at Tagudin, Ilocos Sur. By sunset , we were at the foot of the mountain enjoying the blend of red and black against the silhouette of mountain ranges around us. But to our surprise, we were STILL at the zigzag road when the full moon appeared and lighted our way for the next two hours. Finally, at around 7pm, we were at Cervantes. Dr. Winston Pe Aguirre met us. He is the brother of Ms. Nabua, a medical doctor and the former mayor of the town.

Ms. Nabua scheduled two days with St. Agnes School headed by Sr. Margie, ICM. Twenty five grade school and high school teachers participated in the seminar-workshop. I shared Classroom Management, the Harry Wong model, by identifying practices and procedures in class, what to do on the first days of school and preparing a discipline plan. By mid afternoon, Ms. Valenzuela provided the teachers an overview of the K-12 Art Curriculum touching on fundamental concepts in Art needed for integration with other subject areas. She shared nature installation using indigenous materials from the school yard, to create art work as a group. Ms. Nabua gave the final session on Leadership-the contrast of a worker and a leader in the life of a teacher. This exercise gave them the opportunity to identify positive behavior of a leader-teacher. She spoke in the vernacular and made them at ease to declare their commitment to being a leader-teacher at the sharing session. She then gave a recap of both presentations through a game where the teachers participated with enthusiasm. All the works of the teachers were displayed at their library. There was a festive atmosphere there.

That was an experience of sharing to young teachers in the profession. There was a different feeling of happiness and the realization that there is no such thing as retirement when SERVICE led us to Cervantes.

Going home the next morning was a different story. We started at the zigzag road early. IT WAS AWESOME! We had cool refreshing pine-scented air, just like in Baguio a long time ago. Below us was a gathering of white clouds and above the horizon was the towering formation of mountain ranges dotted by trees to the very top against the blue sky. It felt like one was not in the Philippines- – yes, the hidden paradise before our very eyes. It was breathtaking, to recognize the work of God’s hands in created beauty. I could not take my eyes off it nor take photos then.

You can be at peace, serene and calm in God’s presence. It was an uplifting of the spirit that made us survive the next two hours of zigzag road. We thanked the Lord for being there. That was a grace filled experience.

CERVANTES, THE HIDDEN PARADISE will be featured in the September 2016 issue of LIFE TODAY – A Cultural Magazine with a Catholic Orientation

Visit http://www.inaea.org/ArtEducationWeek2016/index.html for the online exhibit.

You’ll find works submitted in the following folders:

1. 2016 International Arts Ed Week folder – art works of PAEA members (3 works)
2. Salt Art Folder –  PAEA (6 works) & XSARC (8 works)
3. Hudyat Uha folder- PAEA (4 works)
4. Gifts of the Moment folder- XSARC MS. V (33 digital photos)
5. Doodle Me an Abstract – XSARC  MS.V (3 works)
6. St . Agnes School teachers and their works = (10 photos)  (outreach of XSARC)

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