Feliz: A corner of heaven
By Erwin dela Rosa
Almost under the right lane of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), on the way to North Luzon, in Caramutan, Villasis, Pangasinan is a corner of heaven where happiness is.
“Feliz” is the Spanish word for felicity – happiness – and I had a happy moment at Feliz Academy – the academy of happiness.
Happy was I with the invitation from Sir Vladimir M. Meriales to cut the ribbon for the opening of The Corrie Roeleveld Children’s Art Gallery, the first school-based children’s art museum in Pangasinan Division II.
Happy was I when I found the school a little over 8:30 in the morning on August 26, 2015, the National Career Assessment Examination Day, amid taking calls while driving because of exam administration challenges both from private and public schools.
Happy was I to arrive just in time for the program.
Happy was I to see Professor Leah Solmerin-Corpuz of the University of the Cordilleras, where my former colleague from Urdaneta City University, Ilam Alonzo, an educator from the Benitez Complex in Diliman, is currently teaching and inviting me to go up in the highlands with him the night Sir Red (Aquino) and I were asking directions on the fastest route to Tanza, Cavite for the Department of Education National Education Testing and Research Center orientation on the NCAE.
Happy was I to be led in prayer by a preschooler using different languages – just as prayer is the language of the soul when it communes with the Soul and language is the expression of the human soul being August the language month in the Philippines.
Happy was I to see Sir Federico V. Santiago, Feliz Academy school chairman, in cool polo and short and deck side shoes. He is plagued with fever but overcame it during his heartfelt speech that caused him to perspire and be relieved as if the passion of an educator burning within him gently overflowed out of his heart to the pupils and parents.
Happy was I with the masters of the ceremony – C & C – Teachers Casely Manantan and Cherry May Vidal – both beautiful, both articulate.
Happy was I to learn through listening to Teacher Araciely Esma, administrative officer of Feliz Academy, that Corrie Roeleveld is a traveling educator who flies around the globe to scatter seeds of knowledge that in time grows to wisdom that frees the mind from the tyranny of ignorance.
Profoundly moved was I with the sabayang pagbigkas of the Grades 7 and 8 that I felt their soulful performance piercing my heart and soul making me bow my head to conceal the tears forming in my eyes.
Happy was I with the resource speaker-like multilingual message of Dr. Corpuz.
Happy was I to have in the Pangasinan II a school director such as Sir Vlad.
Partly lonely was I with the ribbon cutting ceremony because my heart and soul is longing for the one who completes my days in office, who cuts my heart deeply, whose heart she has given to somebody whom my soul feels has found its mate. I was wishing she was at the front seat with the audience when I gave an impromptu speech for I thought I was just gonna cut the ribbon. It was a wishful thinking that we would cut together many ribbons for schools and school buildings and book launchings , or watching plays together like the way I enjoy watching original plays by theater majors and dulaang UPCB then and by Tabak Baguio or at the film center in Diliman.
Happy was I with the tour around the campus to witness, document and note the orderly canteen and demeanor of the parents, the gracefulness of the children, the orderliness of the registrar’s office, the conducive classrooms with split type air conditioning units, the up to date fire extinguisher, the visually stimulating and mentally filling walls painted with numbers, verses and planets, the new building complete with tools, the kind and thinking outside the box science-oriented school chairman teamed with the art and humanities oriented school director; the young, beautiful, and handsome pupils, students and teachers and the advanced upgraded internationally designed home economics room, and the security of the campus through its brazen steel gates and happy security personnel.
I said I’ll come back here to teach if not to manage if not to be a consultant.
But Sir Federico said Dr. Corpuz and I will be somehow fixtures in the school on occasions.
I know I’ll be coming back for sure to be inspired by the works of art of children that show their innocence and state of being – an ideal the corrupt world needs – a sensitivity, we, the young adults need to develop to make this world a big caring and nurturing community.
Happiness – a philosopher said is a burst of rapturous ecstatic emotion and not necessarily a prolonged suspended period of bliss.
If heaven is happiness and happiness is heaven, Feliz Academy is its haven.
I will come back. By faith, hope and love, with love being the greatest where there is no law against it holding hands with the real angel of mine who I would describe as happiness.
Thank you Feliz. May the Lord’s hand be light on you as you bring happiness to Villasis and beyond.
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