Eh Kasi Bata

Date posted on January 19, 2006

Tandang-tanda ko pa nung maliit pa ako…

As per Che’s initiation, I am listing down some of the most memorable incidents in my childhood… Sabi ko nga ke Che, baka di ko mabigyan ng justice, kailangan kasi nito ng gestures at reenactments, as I’d like to think I’m better when speaking than writing. Siguro naman okay lang, paunang subok pa lang naman:

  1. Nung Kinder sa Holy Child Montessori School, para kang hari pag birthday mo. As in literally. Ginagawan pa kami ng crown kung saan nakasulat ang pangalan namin. We all looked forward to that day when we got to experience royalty.

    Pero syempre, as part of our values formation, may kaakibat na responsibilidad ang koronang yon. The celebrant had to serve all his classmates’ lunch, as in get it from the kitchen and serve it on their tables.

Sa sobrang excitement ko, unang plato ko pa lang na iseserve, nadapa na ko. Natural, tumilapon sa damit ko yung sopas at minatamis na saging. Basa na ko, basa pa korona ko.

 

  • Nung graduation ko sa Prep, we were given our medals/ribbons sa gitna ng stage.Our parents were supposed to go up and get it from us, then pin it on our clothes. Ako, pa-bida. Pag-kakuha ko ng medalya, I went back to my seat and pinned it on myself. Di umubra, kaya pinabalik ulit ako sa gitna where my dad was waiting for me. 
  • Isa sa paborito kong anecdotes from my childhood, according to my Tito’s and Tita’s, ay kung paano ko napasuko ang aking first and only tutor. Isang araw lang siya. Kasi daw, everytime na may tinuturo sa kin, I’d always say alam ko na yan. Feeling ko tuloy sobrang prodigy ako.
  • One of our favorite pastimes during summer was to collect aratiles (aka governor’s plum, thanks Miss Rodriguez) from the tree sa likod ng bahay namin. As in na-expert ko na ang pag-akyat. After collecting a small bucket of those little fruits, we keep it sa freezer overnight and feast on it the next day. 
  • Madalas mag-baha sa kahabaan ng kalye namin sa Chrysanthemum Village, sa Pacita Complex. Pag-tag-ulan tuloy, we didn’t have to go to Los Baños to swim. As in we swam sa mala-chokolateng tubig kanal na nasa tapat ng bahay namin. I cringe at the thought now, but I have to admit, those were the best rainy days of my life! 
  • Aside from the staple games of patintero, tumbang preso, Pepsi-7-Up, football, at piko, nawili kami sa pag-bisita sa bagong gawang play ground sa tapat ng simbahan. Ang paborito ko pa nga don e yung monkey bars, where we used to play “gagamba.” Two players from both ends will start swinging from bar to bar until they meet in the middle and battle it out using their legs. The last kid hanging is declared the winner. Needless to say, I was a hall of famer. 
  • Nang grade 1 ako, assignment namin ang i-drawing sa textbook ang iba’t ibang pambansang bagay (hayop, puno, prutas, ibon…). Dun sa hayop, syempre kalabaw. Dahil complicated, a cousin of mine introduced to me the ingenuity of the tracing paper. After looking for the best picture I can find, I applied my newfound skill and drew myself a near-perfect image of the carabao.Hit na hit naman ang aking drawing, highly commended pa by my teacher. Yun nga lang, may karma: Since most of my classmates weren’t able to draw a distinguishable version of the kalabaw, sa kin nagpadrawing. Buong period akong nag-te-trace ng kalabaw ko sa text book nila.
  • Nagka-rumor non sa Zobel na may nagmumulto raw sa Chapel namen. Sabi, if you read the inscription at the back of the crucifix, magiging invisible ka raw. Or something like that. As a result, instead of praying, there was a time when grade 3 students like me would go to the chapel waiting for the brave person who would read the inscription. 
  • The lot our house was built on was on the other side of the road at the base of a slope upon which the South Super Highway was. There were afternoons when we’d climb up that slope and walk along the grassy part behind the protective railing at the sides of the South Super Highway. Ang saya lang manood ng nagliliparang kotse at truck non. One of the best examples of how carefree being a child was. 
  • I was almost hit by lightning when I was a kid. It was a rainy afternoon, and I was at my lola’s dinner table, which rested in front of her barong-barong’s big window. Biglang may nag-flash at may nakita akong guhit na puti na pumasok ng bintana. Di na ko nakagalaw. Sinundan yon ng malakas na kulog, then suddenly it was gone. For the longest time, I thought that was a dream, pero totoo pala talaga. 
  • The first song I remember memorizing was “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” by George Benson. At di ko non alam ang ibig sabihin ng pinagkakakanta ko, lalo na sa part na “you otanobay-now how much I love you.” 
  • Meanwhile, I first fancied myself a singer nang sa isang Christmas party ng barkada ng daddy ko (na tinaguriang “Los Compadres”), pinilit mag-share ang lahat ng mga bulilits ng kanilang talents. Kaysa magmukhang tanga sa pag-sayaw, at dahil wala akong memoryadong tula, I decided to sing “Changes In My Life” (‘I was not so happy, being lonely…’). Dahil maganda daw ang boses ko, binigyan ako ng gift na ang laman ay panyong may print na mga baraha. 
  • Bata pa lang, mahilig na ko magpuyat at hirap matulog ng maaga. As a result, I usually sleep during the ride to school, e ako pa naman ang unang sinusundo ng service. Pilitin ko mang labanan, hindi ko talaga mapigilan ang bigat ng eyelids ko, at diyan na nagsisimulang mag-bounce forward-down-and-up again ang ulo ko sa sobrang antok. Madalas bumabalik ako sa ulirat only to see lahat ng ka-service ko na nakatitig sa kin, pinapanood ako. 
  • For some reason, napakalaking kahihiyan sa Zobel ang abutan ng ‘call of nature’ sa school. Usually, we’d excuse ourselves to go to the clinic just to answer that call. In my case, di ko pa nga maamin sa School Nurse kung bakit ako nasa clinic. On one occasion, I pretended to have a headache than admit I needed to use the bathroom. When the nurse checked on me, she noticed my cold sweat, and asked me bluntly, “Baka naman nau-u-uu ka?” Like that will encourage me to admit it! So siyempre, the more I denied it.An hour after attempting to sleep off my indigestion, di ko na nakayanan. I decided to sneak into the bathroom and unload myself. Buti na lang, tulog ang ibang student-patients at on-break na yung nurse. Nakalabas ako ng clinic without being found out.
  • Dahil idol ko ang Bioman (I was Blue 3 – si Frankie!), madalas akong mag-bike imagining I was riding one of the Bioman’s motorcycles (kahit na si Red 1 at si Yellow 4 ang nag-momotor at hindi si Blue 3). Kaskasero ako non, kaya pag wala nang ibibilis pa, di ko na maiwasang sumigaw ng “Bio-speed!”Once, I decided to activate my “Bio-speed” while approaching the road hump in front of our neighbor’s house. Na-imagine ko na sa utak ko kung anong itsura ko with my bike launching off to the air like the Bioman that I am. True enough, I lauched off to the air. Di ko lang na-isip na pwede pa lang tumagilid yung bike. I landed on my leg, scraped my knee, at umuwing iika-ika. I still have the scar pa.
  • Yung bike incident na yon, takas lang. Di kasi ako pinapayagan ng katulong namin na mag-laro before 4PM. Mas mahirap pag dala ko yung bike, kaya pag minsan, tumatakas ako barefoot na lang, kahit para lang bumili ng Tarzan o plastic balloon sa tindahan ni Mrs. Mati. Dahil naka-lock ang gate, I sometimes have to climb over our steel fence, at may spikes yon sa dulo. In one instance, sa pagmamadali from my escapade, sumabit ang shorts ko sa spikes na yon while climbing over the fence. It ripped and left me hanging on the gate, butt first and limbs dangling, parang handkerchief sa agawang panyo. Tamang tama naman na katatapos lang maglaba ng maid namin. Ayon, basyo. 
  • Ang first club na sinalihan ko in Grade School was the Blue Army. Dahil Bioman wannabe nga ako, at Blue ang favorite color ko, I opted for the Blue Army over the Cub Scouts. Okay pa dahil unlike the Cub Scouts, the Blue Army didn’t charge a fee and was co-ed, which was perfect since my best friend Gerardine and I wanted to be in the same club.Lo and behold, ang Blue Army pala ay isang religious club. Ayon, apat na quarter kaming nagdasal ng rosary.
  • Madalas kong maiwan ang lunch box ko sa school non. There was even a time when I left it on a Wednesday. E dahil holiday ng Thursday at Friday, it was already five days after, the following Monday, when I tried to retrieve it.The guard brought me to the lost and found room and showed me my lunch box to identify it. He even opened it to reveal green furry objects, the shadow of my tocino’s former self. Inamag na sa sobrang tagal. Sa diri at kahihiyan, I denied my lunchbox, and learned the guilt Peter must have felt when he denied Christ.
  • Biggest frustration ko non ang mag-paikot ng turumpo. I was successful in flying a kite, pero hanggang ngayon (at bumili pa ko 600 pesos-worth na ‘top’ sa Landes) never ko pa napaikot ng nakatayo yung turumpo.
  • My first intellectual game was “Bingo Chess.” Yung tipong may dalawang kulay ng chips. Ihuhulog ng dalawang magkalaban yung respective chips nila sa isang grid of sorts to form three or more consecutive horizontal, vertical or diagonal chips of the same color. Panalo yung may pinakamarami at pinakamahabang formations. At 4 years old, natatalo ko yung tatay ko!

  • Pero nang turuan ako ng tatay ko ng Chess, iisang beses lang ako nanalo sa kanya. It was the day I first felt na magaling ako. 
  • In Grade 5, we had a class exercise where we were asked to list down the 10 things we’d save if our house were on fire. The teacher started going around asking each person to name an item that hasn’t been mentioned by the others. If may katulad sa list mo yung binanggit, you raise your hands. Nandoon yung usual stuff: clothes, money, toy, bible, rosary (sipsip yung iba e, palibhasa Christian Living yung subject). Pag dating sa kin, may iilang items na di pa nababanggit, so I mentioned the most important item left in my list. “Coloring books!” Walang nagtaas ng kamay. 
  • Napagalitan ako ng adviser ko nung Grade 5 (si Miss Potenciano), nang mahuli niya kong nagdraw-drawing during her class. Teacher’s day pa naman non, kaya feeling niya extra pambabastos. Pinandigan ko talagang wag ibigay yung papel na pinag-da-drawingan ko. Mangiyak siyang nagpatuloy sa lesson.After the class, sa dismissal, I went to her table sa faculty room, apologized, gave her a flower and the paper with my drawing. Portrait niya kase yon at dapat surprise. (Awwww…!) Pinatawad naman niya ako’t isa na ko sa naging favorite students niya.
  • My school bus used to be a Fiera, yung tipong ang bintana e parang sa bus, minature version lang. You had to press these two mechanisms sa bottom corners para maitaas mo half-way yung bintana. Therefore, pag bukas siya, kalahati lang, yung top-half fixed na sarado.Since nagbebenta ng chicherya sa “service” (yep, service at hindi bus ang tawag namin), nakaugalian ko na ang ang bumili ng Bazooka pag uwian, thanks to my pagtitipid skills. Paborito ko yung pink gum na yon dahil sa “fortune” na fine print sa kalakip ng comic strips na libre dito. My most frequent fortune was: “Today, you turn over a new leaf.” At high school na ko nang malaman ko kung ano ang ibig sabihin non.

    Pero eto yung totoong kwento: One afternoon, sa sobrang pagkabagot sa traffic, I wanted to try a unique, clever way of spitting the gum out of the window. Naubos na kasi ang lasa ng Bazooka sa bibig ko. Imbis na iluluwa ko lang, gusto ko patingala ko siyang ibubuga palabas ng bintana! So I lifted the brown, acrylic window, and when it was halfway opened, I spat the gum out.

    E kinapos ako. Tuloy, imbis na tumilapon palabas ng bintana, tumama sa top-half ng bintana na sarado, at pumatak sa ulo ko. Susubukan ko pa sana ulit, kaso di na siya matanggal sa buhok ko.

    Ayon, I spent the rest of the ride home with my hand on my head, desperately trying to save myself from humiliation. Ang masama pa non, na-buking rin naman ako ng mga ka-service ko. Pag-uwi sa bahay, buong gabing nilangisan at sinabon ng katulong namin ang buhok ko, na nauwi rin naman sa gunting.

  • When I was in grade 6 naman, first time kong naka-tapak sa entablado bilang kalahok sa paligsahan. Yun una, napili akong representative ng class para sa “Madamdaming Pagbasa.” Medyo low profile yung contest, kumpara mo naman sa mga Quiz Bee. Lahat ng contestants, magbabasa ng iisang piyesa (tula ata yon o essay) na makikita lang nila five minutes before their turn. Yung order ng pagbabasa, determined by the contestants picking their number na nakataob sa podium. Yung unang dukot ko, #1! Buti walang nakatingin, kaya ibinalik ko. I ended up being #5 or #6 ata. 

    When it was my turn, okay naman yung performance ko. Smooth sailing. May tingin at ‘connect’ with the audience pa. Yun nga lang, nang nasa kalagitnaan na ko ng binabasa ko, after my perfunctory glance at my audience, pag tingin ko sa papel, biglang nawala ako. May isang minuto yatang left-and-right ang mata ko, di ko pa rin mahanap kung asan na ko dun sa papel. Buti na lang, halos memoryado na ng audience yung piyesa na binabasa namin by that time. Narinig ko nang binubulong nila yung next line. Naka-recover naman ako.

 

Awa ng diyos, third place naman ako.

 

  • That same day, nanood tatay ko nung contest. Di ko nga alam na darating siya e. I didn’t see him enter the auditorium, nakita ko na lang siya nang nakaupo na ko waiting for the announcement of winners.As it turns out, my dad arrived just in time for my performance. And during our lunch in the school canteen, sabi niya, dapat nga daw ako ang panalo kung di lang ako nawala. Na-touch naman ako. Very MMK yung eksena.
  • My other contest experience nung Grade 6 ay bilang “The Turtle” sa “The Rabbit & The Turtle.” Dahil idol ko rin si Leonardo of the Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles, na-enjoy ko ang role ko. In fact, nanalo yung class namin ng first place! Sayang walang acting awards. 
  • I used to secretly hope the Care Bears would arrive on their cloud cars and park at the back of our house… 
  • …Nagka-trauma kasi ako sa ipis nang isang beses ay sundan ko ng “Raid” spray yung isang ipis na papasok sa lungga niya. Nang umabot yung Raid spray ko sa lungga, naglabasan ang may daang-daang ipis (no kidding), scrambling all over the place and running all over my feet.E yung isa kong pinsan (na mas bata sa kin ng isang taon), sabi niya sa kin, siya raw ang hari ng mga ipis. Kaya niya raw i-command yung mga ipis to follow his bidding. Naniwala naman ako at talagang natakot na baka gumanti sa kin yung pinsan ko. Feeling ko, that more than qualified me as a potential recipient of the Care Bears’ help.
  • When I was in Grade 6, I dared my best friend Gerry (Gerardine) to enter the boy’s bathroom. For her own adventure, mind you. Saka sabi ko sasamahan ko naman siya. So sabay nga kami pumasok. Nang palabas na, I went out first. Nakita ko na may paparating na teacher na lalake. I immediately went back into the bathroom and told her to hide.Mantakin mo ba naman na pumasok yung teacher sa boy’s bathroom where we were. To be less obvious, I went out na. Nagtaka ko cause mag-fi-five minutes na, di pa lumalabas si Gerry at yung teacher.

    The teacher caught Gerry inside one of the cubicles pala. She and she went home with a violation report. Ako, scat-free. When I called her house that evening, I was declared persona non grata in their household.

 

 

Grabe, I reached 30 and I don’t even think I’m done yet. I’ll let it rest there for now.

This is good Che. Great idea! I’ve always thought I had a poor memory. Now I realize I was trying to remember all the wrong things!