Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Student Life (1945-1955)

From a personal account of the late Raul M. Gonzalez:
When peace time came, I spent my days wandering in the fields of my youth, finding pleasure in the sights and sounds of the countryside.  In fair weather, I would traipse along the river banks and sometimes dive into the waters in my clothes which caused me to lose several pairs of shoes.  Whenever I got hungry, I would go to the carinderia and charge it to my mother which always surprised her.  
In 1945, I took a refresher course and graduated from sixth grade and went on to high school.  I studied on my own without the help of tutors.  I was transferred to Panay College in the district of La Paz where Uncle Alfredo Gonzalez was the Academic Director.  He was a respected scholar and had written books of philosophical essays called the Bamboo Flower and Call of the Heights and a translation of Jose Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios.” I finished my secondary studies there.  I took my pre-law studies at one of the oldest academic institutions in the country, Iloilo City's Colegio San Agustin, which later became a University.  I was a Rector’s scholar and edited the Varsitarian.
In my youth, I preferred intellectual pursuits rather than sports.  But I also liked some socializing.  I loved to dance the current dances.  I learned how to move around in ballrooms and taught some of my Jalandoni cousins the intricacies of the waltz and the swing.
My father, Delfin, was a strong and compelling influence on my political orientation.  He was active in the city’s political intramurals since the 1950’s.  This was at the back of my mind when I decided to become a lawyer.  There was no urging from my parents and it was solely my choice.  I went to Manila and enrolled at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) where I finished my law studies in 1955.  I took the Bar the same year and attained a grade of 99% in Remedial Law, and 95% in International Law.
Completing four years training as an Honor Star Medalist, I was commissioned as 2nd  Lieutenant in the reserve forces of the Philippine Military in April 1953 and was given the serial number 0-86095 INF.  After taking the Bar exams, I topped the Judge Advocate General’s examination in the same year, but was disqualified because I was not yet a full-fledged lawyer.  I could have become a Judge Advocate if I persisted.  I was drawn to the military because it was the “in” thing in campus, and also because of the machismo, the pomp and pageantry attendant to its image.  The military had a strong appeal to young men who looked forward to the discipline and adventure it promised.

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