Scouting in the Sorsogon Pilot Elementary School
Public schools are relatively more active in scoutings than the private ones. I guess, this is because of the fact that the founders of Boy Scouts of the Philippines are also government official themselves – Jorge Vargas and Gen. Vicente Lim (the first Filipino West Point graduate), to name a couple. How did I arrive on this conclusion – because it was very rare for me to meet boy scouts from the private schools during provincial and district jamborettes.
Scouting in SPES
Scouting starts early for a pupil in SPES – pupils are called cub scouts from Grades 1 to 3, then as boy scouts from Grades 4 to 6 (actually, it extends up to high school). Normally, cub scouts are only allowed for a day of camping; for boy scouts, they are allowed to stay overnight, but not on their tents, rather on the classrooms in the main building (the oldest one, probably built during the American occupation).
For those in Grades 4 to 5, they are formed into several teams with a patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, and somebody for the logistics (I can’t remember the proper position), and the rest are members. Each patrol is tasked to build its own tent, cook its own meals, and create its own flag. The patrol leader is responsible for the whole team – actually, more often than not he ends up doing most of the chores. For those who have natural leadership acumen, they could actually lead their teams to several awards.
I cannot remember if the girl scouts would join us on the same dates of our camping. But they also had their own activities during October. But as far as I know, they never stayed overnight.
Tents, Flags and Awards
The tents and the flags are the bragging rights for those who win the best tent and best flag awards. MTents that are common nowadays, were virtually non-existent then. Some were creative enough to make tents out of ponchos or piece of cloth. Madre de Cacao was a common wood of choice to build tents because of its availability.
I was more active in building our patrol’s tent; I still have this vivid memories of making those small canals around the tent to prevent water from getting inside (though, it rarely rained during our overnight camps). On my first year as Boy Scout, I was really excited by totally ignorant how to build tents (from the previous school that I came from, scouting can only be found in the books). I attempted to help, but ended up digging the canals and the cooking area (it’s composed a 3-pole stand where one can hang the pot above the fire). In the next couple of years, I learned where to start and what materials to use.
Most of the flags were made of retaso san katya (piece of cloth from flour’s sack). And the graphic design, e.g. the head of the eagle (thus, the team is called eagle team), was created by talented members using Pentel pens (colored permanent pens then, were expensive). The tokens were made of cartolina cut-out in a shape of a star; then, the awards were written in Pentel pens. Though, this type of awards or token may sound baduy nowadays, but for us, it was priceless to receive such recognitions.
I can’t remember anyone from our class missing such activity. For us, it was a culture that every boy should attend. It’s actually a good experience for pupils to be more creative, more independent, and more sociable – at least, these are some of the lessons that the author learned from.
This is actually the climax of the scouting activities. This is when each patrols would prepare their own shows, trying to best the other patrols. This was done in front of the main building; then, the ground wasn’t concrete, and we had to sat down without any cover. I am not sure if this activity would start after dinner or before the fact. It extends for 2 hours, just enough for Mr. Dollentas’ story-telling activity.
To improvise props and costumes, we would make use of the blankets, charcoals, ropes/strings and wooden sticks. It was full of creativity, and fun!