“Hindi ko talaga alam kung mayroon pa akong kaklaseng buhay,” admits 96-year-old Lasallian alumnus Pio Uy Dehesa, his voice quiet and contemplative. For him, age is not just a number, but a hint of how different the world he was born into is from our world right now. What must it be like not knowing if the people you grew up with are still alive or not? Even with this question lingering in his mind, Dehesa carries on.
DLSU then and now
There has been much change in the Lasallian curriculum over the years. In our current curriculum, not everyone is required to learn Spanish, but it wasn’t quite so for the students of Dehesa’s time. For Dehesa, he confesses that he had a particularly hard time with Spanish during his time at school.
“Kahit na marami kaming kaklase na mestizo, hindi namin ganoon kabisado ang Spanish, colloquial lang alam namin.” It goes to show that no matter what time period or age, students will always have an affinity for humor that maybe other generations might not fully understand. For our generation, it might be our liking of certain memes, but for his, it was learning swear words in Spanish.
Walking down memory lane
Shifting our lenses back into the past through the eyes of a 96-year-old Lasallian pioneer, we sift through the memories of Pio Uy Dehesa, a true blooded Lasallian. Although it has been decades since he last roamed the halls of DLSU, he was still able to dust off the cobwebs fogging his youthful memory and find back some of his favorite ones.
One such memory was when he and his classmates had a little fun at the expense of their professor. “Naalala ko, linoko namin professor namin sa accounting. Sinalubong namin ang professor namin habang pababa siya sa kotse,” he shares, his eyes glowing with a tinge of enthusiasm. It seemed his class decided to block their professor’s way down from his car by barricading it with their bodies. Although they were out sweating under the heat of the sun, he says it was still worth it because their class was cancelled that day. He laughs, “Wala kami class noon kasi hindi makababa ang professor namin sa kotse niya.”
Other than poking fun at his teachers, Dehesa was also part of numerous clubs in school. He says he was part of the track and field intramurals and was very active with sports when he was younger. Although he wasn’t clear which group it was for, he did mention an initiation right that he had to go through.
“I remember the initiation. We were asked to get a big bowtie and we had to wear it the whole day.”
La Salle boy then, La Salle boy till the end
DLSU is known in instilling in its students the Christian values that it, as an institution, puts heavy emphasis on. “I am very thankful for my Lasallian upbringing. La Salle boy ako hanggang ngayon,” says Dehesa. Yet despite the great deal of respect that comes along with being marked as a Lasallian, there is still that inescapable stigma and unfair judgment due to the actions of some students. “Pero kahit dati, mayroon din mga Lasallian na mayaman at medyo masama yung ugali. Hindi naman maiiwasan yun eh. Hindi siya kasalanan ng school kundi yung bata mismo.”
Despite the stigmas associated with the DLSU name, Dehesa is thankful for the opportunities that were available to him due in part of him coming from what was known as a prestigious school at the time.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kasi parang grasya na nakapasok ako doon eh. Not everybody can go there. Mga iba rin na kabayan hindi rin tumatagal eh. May mga kaklase ako na hindi tumagal.” Pio even mentions with pride that he was the only one in his immediate family who entered DLSU. For this, he is eternally grateful.
Words from the wise
From the nostalgic feel of a Lasallian boy’s memories to the significant impact it has made on his life, we see Dehesa sitting calm and collected after he reminisces his prime years. And now as he is indeed proud enough to say that he has surfed his way through the different waves of his life, he passes on his life-learned lessons to the Lasallian students of today.
“To the present students, my advice would be to study well, because it’s a gift that your parents sent you to La Salle. I firmly believe that La Salle is one of the best schools in the world,” advises Dehesa. “You should continue doing the best that you can do and never forget to bring back all the glory to God.”
Yet through it all, Dehesa says one should never forget to just simply enjoy the ride and treasure each moment spent in school because before we know it, the days have already flown and the only thing we can do is reminisce about the good times.
Dehesa ends his reminiscence with a smile. “Once today passes, it’ll never come back.”