The previous article has shown us the scouting activities during the mid-80’s. On the 2nd part of the article is about some of my detailed memories of scouting experience and also my fond memories of one of the most dedicated scout masters of Sorsogon Pilot Elementary School during his time.
In Sorsogon Pilot Elementary School (SPES), I had a memorable experience with one famous scout master – Mr. Dollentas – joined by Mr. Advincula, Mr. Maximo, Mr. Sepo (he’s not actually a scout master, but we considered him as one of them) and the rest. Mr. Dollentas was a scout master during October, but for the rest of the school year, he was a teacher in Agriculture for grade 5 students.
He lead the knot-tying activities and contest. I learned how to tie the eight knot, the fisherman’s knot, bow line, and other knots that eventually I made use of in high school when we would go for hiking in the nearby hills, especially in tying down the tent to its pegs.
Aside from his regular tasks of taking care of us, here are a couple of stories that one would listen to every year:
- History of Scouting – Mr. Dollentas would take around 30 minutes to tell the story.
- A Valeriano Abello of World War II – <look for him in internet> Mr. Dollentas emphasized the hero’s semaphore skills in communicating with the American battleships. If it wasn’t for his skills and timeliness, his hometown would’ve been turned into smithereens paving the way for the American landing.
I can still remember his deep, loud voice echoing in the hall (the main building is composed of 2 rooms that can be expanded into one). Though, I can’t remember if he used mic during the story telling activity. He also had a way to make the story interesting, like pausing at the middle of the story to put some suspense; scouts would stare at him, as if they were really watching a movie. Then at 10pm, we call it a night; this is the first time I heard and used the word, taps. All the scouts lie down side by side, only a thin piece of cloth that acts as a cover.
The funny thing about him is he loved using the word, bulatihun, to describe a lame performance. He’s also a disciplinarian. He rarely mince his words warning those naughty scouts. And I’ve seen him ran after a scout who tried making fun of him. Though nowadays, some would claim that his behavior and way of disciplining scouts is way overboard. But for us who grew up with a different mental model from a different time, it was simply the norm and later on turned into fun memories. (I could just imagine how the scout masters manage their scouts with today’s influence of the media).
To top it all, my dad and myself shared the same stories about scouting. He, too, graduated from the same school and reported to the same scout master.
The Off-limits Area Under the Main Building
Not just Mr. Dollentas, but also the rest of the scout masters, really took care of us. They ensured that nobody would dare go under the main building (old school structures have storage areas under the floor, but can also be popular areas for snakes); and they would check this section of the building for scouts who would try; every year, some scouts tried, and, every time, they were also caught.
Each year, it’s the time for the scouts to show off their new jungle knives. This was the time of the movie, Rambo II (just to emphasize that I was too young for the Rambo I); thus, the knife with serrated edges opposite of the blade was quite popular. There’s this scene on the same movie wherein the main character successfully cut the barbed wires with his knife; so those with look-alike knives (most probably came from Tabaco, a popular source of different types of blades) tried it on real barbed wires – obviously, it didn’t work and some knives actually broke its tip (the serrated ones have this tip that the scouts would use to break the wires unsuccessfully). There was this one pupil whose knife was bought by his dad (who worked overseas) – it had the serrated edges, a wire cutter (but not on the knife, rather, placed on the tip its hard plastic scabbard), and a small box full of survival tools. Heck, it was the first time I saw a strike-anywhere matches (though the owner was very careful not to use it since one couldn’t by it locally).
Boy Scout with Potentials
I still remember this pupil, who eventually became one of the Top 10 Boy Scouts of the Philippines and a CIO/CTO of a popular IT university. He hanged a bulb on his team’s tent – powered by batteries. He was Grade 6 then, and I was in Grade 4. For somebody who just joined his first camping, it was simply impressive.
Eventually, I graduated from elementary and went to Sorsogon National High School. I was lucky that outdoor interests were shared amongst the majority of my classmates. I joined the scouting movement when I was in 2nd year, and was in a couple of regional jamborettes. The climax of my scouting activity was when our group joined this camping in Pili, Camarines Sur, without any scout masters from our school (my mom found out about it right after we left the station, too late for her to stop me). We returned successfully without a scratch.
After I graduated, Sorsogon National High School produced its next batch of Citizen Scouts lead by Mr. “Pidoy” Dizcaya (he’s more popular as a football coach during our time in high school).
This article is dedicated to all scout masters, whose precious time are spent developing people into future leaders and responsible citizens, whose meager resources are spent on training in Mt. Makiling to earn that coveted scout master’s badge, and whose dedication are simply priceless. Kudos to you all!