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Top Baguio journos from UC in a reunion of sorts during BC-BCF-UC alumni homecoming media briefing

REUNION OF SORTS for these Mass Communication graduates posing with University of the Cordilleras for academics and administration Rhodora Ngolob, councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, professor Duressa Basil and former UC assistant vice president and now city tourism officer Aloysius Mapalo and Philppiine Information Agency – Cordillera director Helen Tibaldo (back 4th left to 2nd 4ight). The graduates include Regional News Group Luzon Founding President Dhobie de Guzman, former SunStar Baguio editor in chief Roderick Osis, Bombo Radyo chief of reporters Jordan Tablac (back left to 3rd left), as well as Jessa Mardy Samidan of the Public Information Office, Baguio Midland Courier’s Ofelia Empian, Neil Clark Ongchangco of the PIO and Dexter See also of the same office and co-founder and editor of Herald Express (left to 4th left front). Pigeon Lobien

Dhobie de Guzman, Eddie Carta and Harley Palangchao and many local journalists do share something in common – they are products of the University of the Cordilleras, then the Baguio Colleges Foundation.

The Regional News Group – President  De Guzman went to the former BCF and earned a degree in Mass Communication for free thanks to being a student assistant – an office worker. And to save money, had banana cue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is why the school is sometimes fondly referred to as the Banana Cue Foundation.

Bombo Radyo chief of reporter Jordan Tablac also finished Mass Comm working as food handler at the said school that most of the time he smells of garlic. But his training as a food worker was a way for him to later earn money as a cook at local restaurants, way before he joined the local media first as a cameraman for the defunct NorthComm, like de Guzman, and later as a Bombo Radyo reporter.

DZWT/DZWR’s Dionisio Dennis was thankful that he “smelled better” than Tablac when he cleaned the floor, wash dishes and later moved on to become a cook, first to fry fishes, later to prepare simple menu.

One Monday morning, they found each other at the UC Theater where the current top management and top alumni were present for the press conference on the school’s renewed alumni homecoming set on May 13.

It was there they met former SunStar Baguio editor Roderick Osis, Tablac’s UC classmate all the way from high school at the neighboring Baguio City National High School. Baguio City Public Information Office staff members Dexter See, with wife Rosalia, Jessa Mardy Samidan and Neil Clark Ongchangco were also present.

And there was Baguio Midland Courier’s Ofelia Empian. Many of them shared some of their experience with the school and later get to ask questions from the panelists led by vice president for administration and academics Rhodora Ngolob, former assistant vice president and now city tourism officer Aloysius Mapalo and professor Duressa Basil, who was teacher to many of the media present.

Also present was alumni president councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, who taught for seven years after finishing her undergraduate school at only 20. She was also sometimes the proofreader, “not an editor” to the books written by UC founder Benjamin Salvosa.

“For me there were only two schools in Baguio, BCF and the other schools,” said de Guzman jokingly as he went on to praise the school for making him what he is now.

Tablac and Dennis also thanked the school for helping them get education for free which were the weapon they needed to be competitive in their chosen field – community journalism.

BMC staffer Hanna Lacsamana through private message sent her regards to the UC management and asked if online classes remain. Bail said yes, though it is blended – a mix of face to face and online.

Redjie Melvic Cawis, whose boss Public Information Agency – Cordillera director Helen Tibaldo was one of the facilitators, also expressed his gratitude to the school as he went on to claim that many of Baguio’s top journalists are BCF-UC bred.

See said that he should have finished his Mass Comm degree four years after his entry in 1991 but failed to complete the remaining 18 units required for him to graduate. Instead he availed of the Expanded Tertiary Education, Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) program of the school more than a decade later to earn his degree.

Several other mediamen took advantage of the program like DZWT’s Nic Calinao and former Baguio Correspondent and Broadcasters Club president Jonathan Llanes.

UC was also home to the former Gold Ore, a former student newspaper whose editors included the late mediamen Geronimo Evangelista and Jose Florendo.

“There were great journalists who were with Gold Ore and later City Digest,” recalled Tabanda, who once wrote columns, naming among them the late Jose Nicolas Ilagan, lawyer Joel Dizon and Michael Leonen. Ilagan was responsible in converting the newspaper into a community publication.

The school is also home to bar topnothcers Honorato Aquino, who became a Baguio assemblyman and congressman, number one passers Janet Abuel, now a Department of Budget and Management undersecretary and Noel Malimban, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas – Cordillera director, said Ngolob.

It is also home to the Team Lakay and wushu champions Mark Sangiao, Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Joshua Pacio, Gina Iniong as well as wushu and now kickboxing champion Jean Claude Saclag and wushu greats Divine Wally and Daniel Parantac, she added.

While calling it as a reunion of sorts for the journalism graduates, she prodded them to join the May 13 festivity and where they will name their outstanding alumni where one per college or school will be named.

One of the schools that was founded after the World War II, the Baguio Colleges had rooms at the Lopez Building along Session Road and later transferred to the Antipolo Building at the foot of the Baguio Cathedral. It later called the wide land beside the Commission on Election as its home, while also establishing its high school at the Campo Filipino, which, however, is almost demolished for the construction of a 10-storey building worth PhP500 million, announced Ngolob.

“Come May, we will also open the gym,” said Ngolob as construction was done during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Founder Benjamin Salvosa also dreamed of having a law school which is now one of the best schools in the country with many of its graduates placing among the top bar takers. Pigeon Lobien

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