*Insert shortened professional title here*

While it is said to breed contempt, familiarity more often breeds fondness.

So, it’s one thing to know older professionals met as acquaintances or relatives. And it’s another to see friends your age each add that exam-earned designation to their full names.

Only before you’ve seen them at their student best and worse. Your concerns just ranged from exams and deadlines to tambays and presentations. And you’ve witnessed each other mature in looks and in life.

Here, then, is my congratulations to college mates turned licensed practitioners with this year’s board exams:

(Obviously) not from their college, I knew Dustin, Aizza, and Edgar as fellow members and leaders in Every Nation Campus Ministries UP and at Victory Quezon City.

At a 2005 Victory youth service in Katipunan. (Clockwise from top left): Anjo Bagaoisan, Edgar Amatong, Ryan Ferrer, Daniel Bato, Jumar Yap, Lourdes Pobeda, Jerson Callejo, Aizza Morales, Patty Ramos, Warren Salbibia

Circa 2005: Aizza's at the center in red. Edgar the guy in white behind her. Dustin, not in shot.

When I met them in my first year, all three were serving at Victory’s Friday youth service, then at the Katipunan center. Then Kuya Dustin played guitars, Ate Aizza served with the ushers, and Kuya Edgar manned the PowerPoint booth.

At a 2005 Victory youth service: Edgar Amatong, Anjo Bagaoisan, Patty Ramos, Ruby Ruth Garobo

Kodak moment with my mentor, plus two friends.

I grew closest to Edgar, who became my spiritual mentor and go-to person. He sure had headaches following me up at Kalayaan dorm week after week, even at times when I didn’t feel meeting with him.

I admired his persistence in leading our small group even if those Wednesday sessions sometimes ended up with just us two, or just him and God.

By the time I joined the worship team, Dustin proved the best music ally. We swapped, tried out, and lobbied new songs, experimented new takes on old ones, and assessed how we sounded each week.

Victory Youth Music Team circa 2007 (c/o Joni Esteban): L-R Urane Maambong, Eugene Miguel, Jem Aboy, Lau Quines, Dustin Perez, Lanelle Quirona

This is the earliest available pic of Dustin in the Youth team (he's with the blue guitar). Earlier shots are welcome.

Aside from music, we also shared an interest in outer space–and heavy, intellectual conversation.

Edgar, Aizza and I later on found ourselves working together as committee heads at ENCM.

Every Nation Campus Ministries UP Diliman Executive Committee 2007-2008: Gn Ocampo, Aizza Morales, Joy Fernandez, Neil Pagsuguiron, Homer Ramos, Anjo Bagaoisan, Edgar Amatong

Our time in the ENCM ExeComm

There I saw Aizza’s commitment to the job, balancing it with her stringent academic load. She wisely delegated duties at the publicity committee but still did, among others, send those text brigades.

She graduated magna cum laude and placed 7th in the Chem Engg board–the second highest from UP.

Dustin had also risen to leadership in the Youth music team. And in those years the three still raised up other younger leaders and followers of Christ.

They modeled Leadership, Integrity, and Faith while showing Excellence in their studies.

True enough, Edgar and Aizza, with Hazel Turingan and Joni Esteban, each got ENCM-UP’s first LIFE Awards this year for those qualities.

Their batch also includes new electronics and communications engineers Luther Caranguian and Jason Enriquez, leaders at the Dormitories Christian Fellowship. They, too, were honored online by buddy Lance Catedral.*

Engr. Perez now works tri-weekly straight shifts at Shell’s natural gas plant in Palawan. Engr. Morales is taking a rest. And Engr. Amatong is back in UP taking masteral studies while sidelining as a tutor.

As much as I wonder at how much time has quickly flown, I also marvel that as these three have been faithful with what they’ve been given in college, so has God been faithful to them.

I can’t wait to see my O’Singko (’05) batch mates from high school and college gradually join the line of professionals.

———————

*To Lance too, I owe credit for the inspiration behind this post.

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