My memories of Jolo are crystal clear as the waters surrounding its coastline. It is where I had my growing up years. I remember long stretches of white sand, the sounds of sea waves lapping and the cool breezes that brought with it the smells of my childhood, the salted fish left to dry in rows and that peculiar smell of the king of fruits, the durian. Jolo was a coastal haven where the masjids and the churches co-existed and thrived beautifully.
The tricycle was the major mode of transport. It seated you comfortably as well as graced you with stories from its driver. I remember the squeals and laughter when we rode the tricycle that brought us to Sincere Trading where we were treated with M&Ms and comics at Joe’s Bookstore.
I remember how young and vibrant my parents were, how green the surroundings were and how lazy the afternoons were as people went on their siestas. My siblings and I were schooled in what was considered the best schools in town, the Notre Dame of Jolo Elementary School then the Notre Dame High School. Here, we were taught the basic tenets of loyalty and truthfulness, industry, patience and love of community.
Memories of classmates, teachers and the nuns and priests are forever etched in our memories. In the aftermath of the 1974 conflict, most of us have found abodes in other places. Our lives have changed, we’ve lost communications but thankfully reconnected with the leadership and the enthusiastic support of the ‘boys and girls’ of NDJHS CLASS of 1974. May we live long enough to savor the friendships and belongingness grown from a common bond, our love of our hometown, Jolo and our school, Notre Dame of Jolo.