BEHIND THE SCENES
She was an original.
That is what people say about Luisa Medel Reyes-Howard, a former teacher at La Consolacion College-Bacolod, who began the Renaissance of Speech and Drama in that school. Those who witnessed what she did, remember her as a strong-willed, fearsomely blunt, and terrifyingly exacting woman, who molded her students into stage drama talents during the golden age of LCC’s prominence as the best school for speech and drama in Negros.
Her accomplishment, as a teacher, was to make every kind of history that matters. Her passion for justice made her an activist during the martial law years and she had to seek asylum in the United States where she continued her activism against martial law in her country. When she came back, she became the chair of the Negros Occidental Centennial Movement, which won an award as the most outstanding in the country.
After the Centennial Celebration, Luisa organized the Circulo de Bacolod, to promote our very own culture, art and history. After she died in the USA, her family decided to bring back her ashes to Bacolod where she wanted to be buried.
And so last March 18, the Circulo de Bacolod and the LCC Alumni Association held a memorial tribute entitled, “Huling Tertulia”, in her honor. It was also the dedication ceremony of LCC’s Luisa Medel Little Theatre. The modern, well-equipped theater was filled with former students, co-teachers and friends of Luisa, who were warmly greeted by her family.
Sr. Myrna Concepcion, LCC president, gave the welcome remarks. I must say Mayor Bing Leonardia’s message was the best I’ve ever heard. He recalled how his Ma’am Luisa gave him the role of a soldier in the play, “Sisa”, from Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere”, where he had three sentences to deliver. The audience roared with laughter when Bing delivered his three sentence-dialog (with feeling!), which he remembered all these years. He also recalled how Ma’am Luisa always corrected his diction, grammar and enunciation every time she heard him say anything. A special AVP presentation was shown by Alfie Gonzales and Johanna Bayoneta.
Then, we were treated to excerpts from classical literary plays by her former students Benilda Abrasia Tejada, Edwina Fuentes Javier, Gloria Angeles Melocoton and Anggie Paguia. The Chamber Theatre, “Ang Gugma ni Virgil Kag Cely”, directed by Marili Tacardon, brought the house down. It was THAT good! Luisa’s daughter Ricci Reyes Adan performed “Nowadays from Chicago” (ala Liza Minnelli). Her dazzling performance wowed the audience, who cheered and applauded. Another daughter Greer and nephew Chuck Medel thanked everyone for their support. A moving tribute was given by AJ Nocito, Greer’s son. LCC alumni president Butch Gerasmo gave the closing remarks.*
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