It's the 99th SACS day and I have taken the liberty of breaking your heart with nostalgia. Here are 23 things I miss about SACS.

1. Ora et Labora

Who can forget this? This is basically forged into my subconscious. Whenever someone says SACS, this is what I think of, posted in printed letters on top of the blackboard. I'm one of those geeks who made this my personal motto in life. I keep this in mind whenever I encounter difficult things like a really hard exam, or wanting my crush to like me back. Whatever circumstance, work and prayer go hand in hand.

2. The Library

The SACS library is the measuring stick by which  I compare all other school libraries with. And tbh, all of them pale in comparison. The SACS library is my favorite place on earth, ghost sightings be damned. We even got Ms. Alcantara to include some of our favorite books in her list of new books to be ordered during our time. The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder? You're welcome.

3. The Big Grounds

Well the grounds aren't so big anymore (geez they're trying to fit an entire sim city there now) but when I first came to SACS, I thought it was sprawling. With so many shades and trees and sky. Perfect for hiding and stalking crushes and daydreaming.

4. Sinyang

Not for the faint of heart, the Alphonsian's flagship food is the spiciest lumpia in a fifty mile radius. Also, Nang Sinyang might post your face on her wall if you visit so that's a plus.

5. Chocoloco, Olah

These shakes were all the rage back in my day. With just 10 bucks you can literally shake all your stresses away. Best taken after a math test from Ma'am Amodia.

6. The Gong

 I find ma'am Ponce announcing my tardiness out loud on her mic quite endearing over the course of my stay in SACS. Which happened everyday.

7. Ancient Computers

Gosh, everything in SACS is ancient. We still used diskettes then. Funny how our needs went from 512kb to 2tb in a matter of years, eh?

8. Ancient Sewing Machines

As in the ones where it comes out of the table itself. Pretty 20th century cool, huh? Too bad  I didn't have enough skill to memorize the parts of the sewing machine. Also, is it just me or were you scared you'll puncture your finger with that mean looking needle, too?

9. Ancient Typewriters

I don't know any other school who had typewriting classes. Quite hardcore. We took our final test blind freaking folded.

10. Ancient Teachers 

SACS teachers are known for their longevity. Generations of Oponside kids can literally have the same  Christian Living Ed teacher. Rumor has it the faculty room is even haunted by a ghost wearing blue, who only appears to newbies. Damn, talk about initiation.

11. Ancient school bus

I loved that old school bus, all faded and hipster. I had quite a few memorable field trips using said bus.

12. Hot science teachers

Hi Sir Embalzado I hope you never get to read this.

13. My skaterboy rockstar crush

I may or may not have written a short story about us, crush. You were like, my great highschool romance. Too bad it was only me who knew about it. You had an orange bag full of scribbles and a skateboard. You're so cute because you didn't know shit about basketball but when I checked your math papers you had really nice scores so I fell in like with you even more. Oh my. Clearly I was a child with too much angst and imagination. Haha geez. Oh well. He had great hair tho.

14. Horror stories

You can't last 4 years in SACS without your daily dose of horror stories. We are like the official portal to the spirit world. Haven't you wondered why they wouldn't let students stay after 5 pm? If there was a contest, dear old alma mater would be a shoo-in for the most haunted place in the island. The old ghosts in Mary's Hall would probably vote for it.

15. Daily Diary

Some kids may have found it tiring but I loved making my diary. Maybe that's the reason I've become a blogger person. I loved writing about stuff and buying colored paper in Marnikko just to make it look pretty. I would spend hours gluing stuff on while watching Sakuragi tried to battle it out in the court with the rest of Shohoku. A bowl full of binignit was never far away. Ah, good times.

16. Writing for the school paper

Obviously. I still have my old copies of The Beacon. My articles, bless my teenage heart, were damn awful. But I still loved it. My favorite part was going all over the classrooms and distributing the paper. It was such a big accomplishment to me. Until some annoying kids made it into paper airplanes.

17. Amot para photocopy

SACS is obviously an abbreviation for Sigi Amot Cada Semana.

18. Borrowing books from other classes

Books, footmops, flute recorders...what have you. SACS is a place where you can always count on your friends.

19. Morning Praise

Being a highschool transferee, morning praise was one of those culture shock things for me. People prayed the Our Father every morning?And held hands while doing it? Who is this good looking guy beside me? Am I supposed to hold his hand as well? Haha, kidding aside, morning praise was one of my favorite parts of my high school life. Although I was almost always late, I really loved singing the hymns to St. Benedict and St. Alphonsus. I never had the same experience anywhere.

20. Clubbing Day

Who didn't want to be an Explorer that freshman year? It was the coolest thing then. We went to field trips and did lots of science things. One thing I can say is that SACS took clubbing very, very seriously. There were clubs for bands, peer facilitators, nerds, debaters, math people. Every Wednesday was a flurry of people going every which way. It was a nice way to get to know other people and make more friends.

21. Community Involvement Programs

My pride and joy. Contrary to popular belief, SACS kids are exposed to lots of community issues. We went through one CIP each quarter. We went to slums, planted mangroves, taught catechism classes, cleaned churches, made lugaw and fed kids. We collected plastic bottles and newspapers and sold them for funds. We spent Saturdays scrubbing wax off the candle-lighting areas in church. And the best part of it was I enjoyed it a lot. It was one of the most purposeful things I have ever done in my wee teenage life.

22. Prom

SACS proms are something. We spend it at school, out in the open ground with all the ghosts that are haunting the vicinity. On our senior year, we were forbidden to wear dresses, so we had to wear slacks. Twisted, huh? But no matter, because the company is always fun. My cousin Mike snuck an Urbandub CD to the DJ and we danced to First of Summer in the rain. I know. Pretty neat, huh?

23. True friends

Wherever you go in this life, your friends in high school are the ones you'll basically have for the rest of your life. You better believe in forever, because that's what SACS friends are. You go through all this stuff together--- crazy projects, funny song and dance numbers, shared lunch and crushes---that after four years, you'll find that you've found yourself friends to keep. I know, it's very corny, but it is also very true. My favorite character trait of most people I know in SACS is their humility. Whatever they achieve in life after high school, when you meet again, they're basically the same island people you grew up with, and that's something rare.

I may be 20 something and old, but a part of me will always be 17, wearing blue jumpers and ruffled blouses, trying to make it in time for the morning praise bell. SACS is not a famous school by most standards. Our alumni don't always make it to headlines or have billboards. We don't even have commemorative T-shirts or mugs or lanyards after we graduate. But SACS's brand is not really visible in our merchandise. It's in the people it has produced: honest, hardworking, talented people who may work in the background but gets stuff done.

Happy 99th birthday, Saint Alphonsus Catholic School!

Ora et Labora, loves.  :)