They Try To Tell Us We’re Toyang…

Date posted on March 15, 2006
Ang tagal akong nangating isulat to. Recent events kept me busy the whole first quarter of the year. Thankfully, my schedule’s starting to lighten up, giving me time to finally write this.At first, I had difficulty remembering noteworthy anecdotes from high school. Karamihan kasi sa naisip ko, funny incidents involving other classmates. I was reluctant listing them down cause they weren’t my stories to tell. So I tried hard to remember my own personal stories from high school.

Then it started coming. First, in trickles, then nagsunod-sunod na. Ngayon, di ko na mapigilan. Akala ko pa naman, naipon na lahat ng kahihiyan ko nung kabataan ko (na by the way e unti-unti pang nadadagdagan). Hanggang high school pala, dala ko pa! Some things never change, ika nga.

I guess I should find consolation in the fact that I found my childhood recollections wonderful therapy. Malamang ganon din sa high school. Ang nakakatakot lang, I can no longer use childhood innocence as instant excuse for my shame. At this point, batang matanda na. May wisyo at sense of kahihiyan. May isip na, kaya wala nang lusot. Ika nga ng Eraserheads sa dulo ng isa nilang kanta: “We’re not… too young… at all.”

Pero okay lang. Masaya naman… Makes me realize na kahit beset by adolescent angsts at insecurities, iba pa rin talaga ang high school!

 

  1. I was part of the Track and Field varsity team when I was a Freshman. Every other day, may training kami. We’d stay after school hours, run countless rounds on our soccer field, then cap off each training day with fifty push-ups and fifty sit-ups. Kahit umaambon o umuulan, tumatakbo kami. I did that for so many weeks. Naalala ko, pag uwi ko sa bahay, every inch of my body ached that I didn’t have the energy to study anymore. I’d flop on the sofa and wake up at 5AM the following day na.

By the time I quit the team, ni isang kompetisyon, wala akong sinalihan.

  • I was a newcomer sa honors section when we were Freshmen. Kaya naman when I first landed sa Top 10 ng class nung first quarter ng Second Year namin, sobrang kinagulat ng classmates ko. Parang, “Surprise!” Si John Rae pa, who was tasked to prepare the Top 10 list on a cartolina to be posted at the back wall of the class, made such a big fuss out of it. Ginawan ng controversy! When our most grade-conscious classmates fished for info on who made it to the list, tipong John Rae would go, “Basta, magugulat kayo!”Although proud ako, I slightly felt bad kasi feeling ko, they’ve thought of me as saling pusa. Especially since they’ve been classmates since Grade 7 and they shared so much history together. That incident validated that feeling of somehow being an outsider still. Buti na lang, the novelty wore out. By the time we graduated, I was able to find some of my most treasured friends from that bunch of people.
  • Like most boys of our generation, my classmates got hooked on Dungeons & Dragons (and Magic). I was one of three or four guys in the class who didn’t play. Not once!
  • Nagkaron kami ng field trip sa Subic para sa Araling Panlipunan class namin under Mr. Aspacio. May options kami noon. Pwedeng bumalik rin that same afternoon or mag-overnight sa Subic. Konti lang ang nag-overnight, kasama don ako at si Jayson.Dahil may overnight option, we were allowed to wear civilian clothes (normally kasi, uniform dapat). On the way there, katabi ko si Jayson sa bus, at napansin ko yung polo shirt niya. Ang tatak, di karaniwan. Parang pirma yung logo sa may sleeve ata ng shirt. Nang pagmasdan ko pa lalo, na decipher ko na rin. “Jaworski” pala yung naka sulat. Tawa ako ng tawa. Panay ang pag-alaska ko ke Jayson. He kept saying sa daddy niya daw yon, although natatawa rin naman siya.

    When we got to Subic, and got left behind to sleep in the barracks, na-realize ko na wala pala akong dalang blanket. OA pa naman yung aircon. Pag gising ko kinabukasan, I was surprised na di ako nagyelo. Bilis talaga ng karma.

  • We were in Freshmen when we first heard the Eraserheads. One of the boys in our class brought a tape of Ultraelectromagneticpop.Meron non component/karaoke na nasa likod ng classroom. Ginamit ata ng isang group para sa isang play. One time, wala yung isa naming teacher at wala ring pinadala na substitute, so libre yung period namin. A teacher just came over to warn us that she’ll be dropping in on us to make sure we didn’t make noise. Yung boys, nag-decide na patugtugin ng mahinang volume sa karaoke yung tape.

    We were bowled over by the songs. Impressed that they used “tang ina” in “Pare Ko” (yung sanitized version, as we all know, replaced it with “’lang hiya”).

    Sobrang naalala ko pa yung eksena: We were all quiet. Some were resting, some had their heads bowed down reading books. But we were all listening to the songs playing from the karaoke. Then, when the controversial parts came, napangiti kami at nagtinginan sa isa’t isa, somehow disbelieving. Feeling namin, ang galing at tapang naman ng band na yon. Ang ganda pa ng melodies at lyrics, kahit kanto ang dating nung mga kanta.

    That’s how many of us became instant Eraserheads fans.

  • Alabang Town Center, formerly Alabang Twin Cinema, also known as ATC, and eventually nicknamed “Town,” was a big part of my high school life. After dismissal on Fridays, or after our Saturday class meetings, we’d always proceed to “Town” to watch a movie, eat lunch, or just hang out. Di ko lang alam kung andyan pa sila, pero eto yung mga madalas namin puntahang establishments: Blued. All Boxed Up. Tickles. Racks. Kenny Rogers. Coffee Experience. Pancake House. Saint Cinammon. Baskin Robbin’s.
  • Our Biology teacher in second year, Mr. Cajigal, is memorable not only because he used a mini-karaoke with matching microphone during his lectures, but also because he’s the designated choirmaster for the school’s first Friday mass. At least for that year. He loved our class so much that he rehearsed us to perform for those monthly masses (using his own period to do so), preferring us to his own advisory class.One time, medyo napahaba ang lecture niya kaya maikli lang ang na-designate niyang rehearsal time for the mass songs. Meron pa naman siyang mga bagong kanta na sinali sa repertoire namin. Ang chosen closing song niya, “I Will Sing Forever Of Your Love.”

    Nung ni-re-rehearse na namin, pagdating sa bandang end ng song na mataas pala, biglang humina ang boses ng karamihan at isa ako sa iilang nag-attempt abutin yung high note (yung second to the final line which goes “And I will sing forever of your love, O Lord!”). Most of us protested na wag na lang yung kantang yon, but Mr. Cajigal was adamant. Wala pa mandin si John Rae, yung resident singer ng klase. Someone said, si Raz na lang sa birit part na “O Loooorrd!” E by then, it was almost time for the mass and we didn’t have time to change the song. Wala kaming napag-agree-han na solusyon when we hurriedly left the class.

    Nung nasa mass na, at closing song na, tinitingnan na ko ng mga kaklase ko, whispering “ikaw na lang dun sa part na yon ha.” Syempre, ayoko solohin yung kahihiyan, pero napagkaisahan na ko. Yung isa kong classmate, after the communion, sa ibang lugar na pumuwesto, para ako ang mapalapit dun sa mic. Pakiramdam ko naman, pinagtitripan lang nila ko para ma-praning ako na ako nga lang mag-iisa sa part na yon.

    When that dreaded part came, we sang in chorus… “And I will sing forever of your love…”

    Tapos, nanahimik ang buong class. I realized they weren’t joking after all. After a microsecond delay, I sang by my lonesome… “O, Loooooooorrrd!”

    Ganon pala pakiramdam… as in mag-isang bumirit ang boses ko sa buong gym. I felt like I was God’s joke for the day.

    In fairness to my classmates, at palibhasa mababa na yung remaining part of the song, they joined in na ulit for the final part… which only made that two-word part I sang weirder.

  • Most of my contemporaries from other schools were part of CMLI or were sent to press conferences in other parts of the country. Not me. That was one of my frustrations in high school. Although… ! I was sent to one out of school contest. My Filipino teacher, Mrs. Delfin, chose me to represent the school in a writing competition. I was excused for a whole day as she accompanied me to Assumption Antipolo for an ecology-themed essay-writing contest. I was flattered, naturally.When we got there, ako lang ang male contestant. For some reason, nahiya ako. And even though it was a writing contest (therefore, very personal as opposed to standing in front of a crowd in an elocution contest), I got the case of the jitters. Ended up writing this lame piece na di pinag-isipan. Pero siyempre di ko inamin kay Mrs. Delfin yon. When she asked how I did, sabi ko, “Great!” She was the first person who trusted in my writing skill.
  • Nung Health Week, each class had to make a poster that had the theme of maintaining the body’s cleanliness. Because it was under our PE class, most of my classmates didn’t think much of the activity. Ako lang ata ang nagpapanic tungkol don as the deadline for our obligatory entry fast approached. Tuloy, by virtue of the fact that no one else was worried, napilitan akong akuin yung responsibility sa paggawa nung poster, magka-entry lang yung class namin.When the winners were announced during the Gym Assembly, our class, myself included, was surprised when we bagged the First Prize. Yung ginawa ko kase, may pagka-cutesy, amateurish, compared to the other classes’ stylish entries which looked like pages torn off from Marvel comic books. The vice principal asked our class president to receive the certificate. Our gracious president naman asked me to receive it in the class’ behalf.
  • One time in high school, the school administration installed little blackboards beside the classrooms’ doors. It was where we were supposed to write important announcements about the class, like if we’re going to the Art Building, or if we’re out on a field trip, or other more relevant things like that. The class advisers were instructed to tell their class about the use of such blackboards. Unfortunately, the day they were supposed to do that, our adviser was absent.That morning, I, along with two other classmates, was tasked to finish the mural each class was supposed to make for a contest during the Nutrition Week. While enjoying the chance to be excused from homeroom, I started doodling chalk drawings on the newly installed blackboard. Tamang tama naman, dumaan yung isa sa teachers namen, si Mr. Elloso.

    He was obviously not in a good mood. When he saw me doodling, he backtracked and reprimanded me, asking if hindi ba daw kami sinabihan ng adviser namin kung para saan lang ang gamit ng blackboard na iyon. I answered truthfully. “Hindi po.” E sa absent nga yung adviser namin, di ba?

    I think he was slightly humiliated dahil nabara ko siya, so he went on a tirade regarding the small blackboard’s exclusive use. When he was done, he stalked off. I belatedly said, “Sorry, Sir!” I think, medyo sarcastic yata lumabas. Narinig ni Mr. Elloso. So bumalik ulit siya.

    “Anong sabi mo?”

    “Sabi ko, ‘Sorry, Sir.’”

    “AYUSIN MOHHHH!!!!”

    Imagine that last one resounding through the whole administration building, breaking the holy silence of homeroom period. Quite a number of heads popped out of their classrooms to see what it was about. Gusto kong maglaho sa sobrang kahihiyan. Lunch na, tinatanong pa rin ko ng lahat ng makasalubong ko kung anong nangyari.

    I was vindicated though. That same lunch break, pinatawag ako ni Mr. Elloso sa faculty room and he apologized to me. Ha!

  • Mr. Cajigal taught us about fermentation and how yeast helps in turning grape juice into wine. To make us appreciate this lesson better, pinagawa niya ang bawat isa sa amin ng sarili naming bote ng alak. We mashed grapes, extracted its juice, put it in a bottle with yeast, and left it to ferment for a few weeks. We were to package our wine and come up with advertising campaigns for it as well.Yung sa kin, submission time na, di pa rin nawawala yung yeast. Tuloy, nung sinubmit ko siya, may buo-buong accumulations sa bottom ng wine bottle ko. I named it “Dionysus,” in honor of the Greek God of wine, tapos, dinaan ko na lang lahat sa marketing. May mga colorful magazine advertisements pa ko. At kinarir ko yung pag-rerepackage ng Chivas Regal bottle na ginamit ko para magmukhang lehitimong produkto yung Dionysus wine. Nagpatulong pa ko sa classmate ko na si Mars para mag-isip ng most appropriate tune for my jingle, for which she suggested a Billy Joel classic.

    Imagine me singing to my Biology professor, to the tune of “Uptown Girl,” the following lyrics:

    Dionysus Wine
    It’s the most delicious wine you’ll try
    It’s amazingly crisp and dry
    You’ll never ever want another wine
    Dionysus Wine!

    And when you taste it
    You’ll love it
    So fi-eeyay-ine

    You’ll want no other
    Won’t bother
    With-another-wi-eeyay-ine!
    (Repeat till fade out)

    I remember mataas yung grade ko don kahit di nakumpleto ang fermentation ng aking wine.

  • I was rarely asked to play a part in class plays which were in competition with other class’. In fact, isang beses lang ata ako na-cast. I was always made part of the props crew, yung backstage people na taga-gawa at taga buhat ng mga back-drop, handprops and the like. We’ve become an expert in the craft. We always dished out the most realistic and most creative stuff. Meanwhile, the only play wherein I was made to act was Noli Me Tangere, junior year. Pinag-hati-hati yung buong Noli into seven parts (seven sections kasi kami sa batch). Boring yung napunta sa men, yung part na nag-ku-kwento ng backstory niya si Simon. At ang aking stellar role? Elias’s Father. Ni-reenact ko yung part kung kailan natagpuan ng tatay ni Elias yung lolo niya nag-bigti. Tumataginting na 30 seconds lang ang exposure ko, pero kinarir ko. Tumodo ako sa internalization. When my part came, may pag-tulo pa ko ng luha!
  • I remember getting a perfect score in one of our Chemistry long exams under Brother Martin’s class. He was our uber brilliant, uber nice Chem teacher who used the coolest lecture props. Valedictorian pa ata namin yung natatanging isa pa na naka-perfect den. Talagang di ko to makalimutan. Moment of pride kase yon. E sa dinami-dami ng kahihiyan ko sa Zobel, talagang conscious ako pag may ka-proud-proud akong ginawa.
  • Dahil honors section, madalas nata-tap yung class namin para mag-perform for the whole school. One of our best performances was this Linggo Ng Wika play entitled “Sino Sa Piso?” The story was about Rizal, Bonifacio and Aguinaldo’s fight on who among them deserved to be on the face of the Piso coin. In the end, yung kalabaw ang inilagay.It was well received. May pagka-musical pa nga yon e. Ang finale kasi namin, isang original composition (“Sino, sino sa kanila? Ang dapat ilagay sa piso? Sino, sino ba talaga? Rizal ba, Bonifacio o Aguinaldo? Sino ba!?) May sayaw yon, shempre. Choreographed by our Economics teacher, Mrs. Iya.

    During rehearsals, sa sobrang kainisan niya dahil di naman lahat sa amin ay dancers, ipinatigil niya ang music at pinagalitan kaming lahat. Di daw namin sini-seryoso. Yung iba daw sa amin, mas inaatupag pa ang magsuklay habang sumasayaw.

    Ako non, nakikipag-usap sa isang classmate ko, checking if I had my choreography and counting correct. Suddenly, that classmate of mine asked me to shut up. Pag tingin ko kay Mrs. Iya, nakatitig siya sa akin. Ako pala yung tinutukoy niya na nagsusuklay habang sumasayaw. As usual, napahiya na naman ako.

     

  • My first out of town trip with friends was with Ronald and Jayson in 1995, when we went to Cebu, na may sidetrip sa Bohol. We stayed at Plantation Bay Hotel, which back then was fairly new. It was very memorable cause I remember feeling so independent, palibhasa, it was my first time to ride a plane and stay in a far away city with no relative looking over me.
  • You remember how we all used to cram before a long exam? Yung tipong, pagkatapos ng class before, we hurriedly took out our books and notes and crammed what we needed to remember for the exam?I was no different. Isang beses, long exam namin para sa Araling Panlipunan / History. Nung pumasok na yung teacher namin, marami sa amin, nag-la-last minute review pa rin, pati ako. I was so immersed in cramming. Isip ko pa, “buti hindi pa nag-sisimula sa exam, nakaka-review pa ko.” Nanahimik pa nga yung class e.

    Ang butihin kong seatmate, bigla akong ni-nudge. Di ko pinapansin dahil nagpapanic pa ko sa last minute review ko. Hanggang finally, may narinig akong nagtaas ng boses. “Manhid talaga. Ang MANHID!!!”

    Pag angat ng ulo ko, sa harap ng row namin, nakatayo at nakatitig sa akin si Mr. Elloso, yung history teacher (yup, siya ulit). Hindi lang siya. Yung buong class nakatitig sa kin. Ako na lang pala ang hinihintay.

  • My fourth year “club” (our mandatory extra-curricular activity which meets every Wednesday afternoon) was the Media Circle. I don’t remember doing anything significance in that club, except going to Delta and watching “‘Sang Linggo Na Po Sila” in person. Nainis pa sa ‘min yung floor director kase ang sosyal kong club-mates ayaw pumalakpak as instructed. Meaning ABS-CBN-style, yung tipong clapping over your heads.
  • I didn’t have to take the CAT when I was in senior year. I was exempted, along with a few other classmates, cause we were hand-picked by our adviser-cum-Physics teacher for this Physics Olympiad to be held sometime during the school year. Lucky us! Lucky talaga cause either the contest fell through or Mrs. Telen didn’t think we were good enough, but the school year ended and we didn’t have no contest to join. Naging excuse lang namin siya for CAT. Yun nga lang, pag dating ko sa UP, wala tuloy akong kaalam-alam nang mag-ROTC ako.
  • Our junior year prom was held in EDSA Shangri-La. Those without dates in our barkada decided to go stag – parang group date tuloy lumabas. Ronald, Rissa and I went over to Jacky’s house so we could go to Shang together. Hinatid kami ng family ni Jacky. The evening went along fine.By the end of the evening, at around midnight (corny nga e), we were all waiting for my driver, Ka Tams. Our arrangement kasi was si Jacky papunta, ako bahala pa uwi. 3AM na, wala pa si Ka Tams. We were waiting sa lobby ng Shangri-La EDSA. Unti-unti nang nawala ang batchmates namin until we were the only ones left there. I was worried by then, not to mention embarrassed. Di pa naman kasi uso ang cell phones noon, at ako lang ang may pager, Ka Tams had none.

    Finally, my driver arrived. It turned out Ka Tams had been waiting for us since 10PM… in Shangri-La Makati!

  • My senior year prom memory is more pleasant. I guess everyone in our class was in a nostalgic mood since it marked our last year in Zobel. The lines that separated the cliques were blurred, and when the evening ended, everyone wanted more. We all decided to follow-up the prom with a nightcap at Galo’s along South Super Highway, near the Sucat exit. Feeling the excitement of being a grown up (you get that when you’re in fourth year high school), I told my driver (si Ka Tams ulit!) to leave the car with me na lang. I gave him cab money and decided to drive the car to Galo’s myself. It was the first time I drove without an adult in the car. T’was just me and my friends in my old Prussian blue Toyota corolla. Parang it set off the odometer of my life on the road.
  • I think we were on our fourth year when our music teacher, Mrs. Datu, taught us classical music. Her idea of teaching us culture involved making us listen to various classical standards, teaching us its name and composer, making us record it on our tape recorders, and asking us to memorize them.Syempre, sa dinami-dami non, at sa kaikli-ikli ng quarter at period namin, excerpts lang ng mga classical pieces ang nakikilala namin. At may oral exam kame! Not all of us could play instruments of course, so that meant we had to ‘sing’ those classical pieces to our teacher. You’d hear us reviewing before the exam somewhat to this effect…

    “Taaa-naaa-naan. Tana-nanan-nanananan. Taran-taran-tan-tararantan. Taarararan-tararan- tararan- Pararara-rararara-rarararam – Parararararararam!

    That was Little Fugue in G Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.” Sosyal!

  • High school kami nung ma-inaugurate ang Enchanted Kingdom. It was instantly the holy grail of all gimmicks. May kung ilan beses ata akong pumunta don kasama ang kung ilang group permutations ng classmates ko.In one instance, sobra kong na-freak out dun sa mga nag-iikutang clowns (I used to find them really scary).

    Buti na lang, there was the wonderful fireworks to make it all up. Tapos, kasabay pa niyang mag-fe-fade up yung theme music ng EK (Everyday, everyday, everyday, the magic is here…). Nakakapangilabot! Parang pelikula. Sobrang novel pa kasi ng fireworks ng EK noon. Ang nakasanayan ko kasing fireworks prior to seeing those colorful formations in the sky, baby-rocket at labintador.

  • We had swimming classes nung third or fourth year ata. I don’t remember learning much dahil marunong na naman talaga ako mag-langoy. What I remember though is that it was our last class on Thursdays, that the boys’ lessons were done on a separate day as the girls, and that after each lap, we had to do ‘bubbles-up-and-down’ which meant you inhale above the water and exhale underwater. At saka I suffered cramps a lot.Nung isang beses, dahil ayaw kong ipa-alam sa classmates ko na may cramps ako, nagpaiwan ako sa may locker room. I abstained from our customary after-class tambay sa canteen dahil hindi ako makalakad. Finally, after everyone had gone, inunti-unti ko. E yung pool pa naman, nasa kasuluk-sulukan, kalayu-layuang bahagi ng Zobel. Every step was agony! As in, ang bagal ko nang maglakad, masakit pa rin. I couldn’t bend my legs, and I couldn’t sit and rest either. Mangiyak-ngiyak talaga ko. At pag may nakakasalubong akong kakilala, I force a smile pa to hide my suffering. How tragic.

    Dismissal namin was 4.10 PM. Nakarating ata ako sa Gate 3, 5 thirty na ata ng hapon.

  • The first college entrance exam I took was the UPCAT. Sa takot kong ma-traffic, ma-late at mapunta sa pinakadulo ng pila, I left my house Muntinlupa for QC at 3AM.Well, naiwasan ko nga ang traffic, at di ako na-late. Alas-kwatro pa lang, nasa Business Ad building na ko… I was the very first aspiring Isko there…
  • Sabi ko kay Ka Tams (my driver), gisingin na lang ako. Tutulog muna ako.Nang gisingin ako ni Ka Tams, it was already 6.30AM. Pag-bangon ko sa reclined passenger’s seat, parang may isang milyong tao na na nakapila at nagkakagulo sa may Business Ad. In other words, yung exaj kong punctuality, na bale-wala.

    During the exam itself, nagka-aberya pa. May booklet silang hinand-out which served as the questionnaire. May code yon sa harap na dapat e kokopyahin sa answer sheet. E in the middle of the exam, I found out that one of the pages of my questionnaire was blank. Kinailangan kong papalitan. The proctor gave me a new questionnaire, and reminded me to also change the code I copied onto my answer sheet.

    Because I was already wasting precious minutes, I forgot to change the code in my answer sheet. Nang ma-realize ko yon, nakalabas na ko ng exam room!

  • Isang beses, bumisita sa class namin yung vice principal (VP). He excused me and Paul so he can talk to us. Natakot ako. Kasi, the VP is almost synonymous to VR – violation reports. Akala ko may ginawa akong masama. Pero kasama ko yung valedictorian, so medyo nakampante ako.Yun pala, he was nominating both of us to the search for Muntinlupa’s Ten Outstanding Students (MOST). I was surprised kung bakit ako. I thought, ba’t hindi si Paul at yung candidate for Salutatorian. Kailangan pala kasi, resident ng Muntinlupa City. E yung ibang in the running para sa top 10 ng batch, lahat nakatira sa Las Piñas o Parañaque. So no choice pala yung VP. Kala ko pa naman… Oh well.

    Anyway, we had to fill out a form asking us about school achievements, extra-curricular activites and community involvements. (Syempre, kulelat ako don). Then, we took an IQ test (feeling ko naman, bumawi ako dito). Then, one weekend, we were asked to go to the Muntinlupa City Hall for a panel interview which was followed by a the showcasing of our talents. It was the closest thing to a coed beauty pageant.

    Sobrang competitive. Kasi naman, every school in Muntinlupa had to send two candidates, at sampu lang ang mapipili. The year before pa daw, both of Zobel’s candidates made it to the Top 10. Talk about pressure.

    Okay yung panel interview ko (ang alam ko, yun ang pinaka okay). Pero nung dumating ang talent part, di pa ko solve sa gagawin ko. I already decided na kakanta na lang ako. Kung anong kanta, di pa ako sure. Pang contest kasi lahat ng minus one na nahanap ko – pang birit performances! I decided to go with “Sometimes When We Touch” by Dan Hill, pero yung male version lang, hindi duet.

    Kanta kanta ako. Okay naman. Patok sa ibang judges (kahit sigurado akong ilang kandidato na ang nakakanta by then). Nang malapit na yung mataas na part, natakot ako. Huminga ako ng sobrang lalim para bumuwelo for the bridge part, pero dahil sa kaba, imbis na birit ng “At times I’d like to break you, and drive you to your knees…,” ang lumabas sa bibig ko ay, “Thank you.” Para kong tanga.

    By the end of that day, they announced the top 10 den. Reverse order, from 10 up. Kinabahan ako. Umabot na kasi ng 5, wala pa ko. Yun pala, 4 naman ako. Si Paul, top 3. Buti na lang… Kahit papano, naibsan ang kahihiyan ko sa pagbirit ng “thank you.”

  • Isa sa anticipated events in our high school ay ang mga Recollections at Retreats. And during those activities, isa sa pinakaabangan pa ulit ay ang mga exchange of Palanca Letters at Open Forum, kung saan nagtutuos ang mga magkaka-away at naglalabasan ng mga matagal nang kinkimkim na sama ng loob sa isa’t isa.Pinaka-special siyempre yung fourth year retreat. Kase huling taon na sa high school. Tuloy, kahit wala sa program, pinilit ng powers that be in our class na magkaroon ng open forum noon. E humigit 40 ata kami sa class. Madaling araw na, hindi pa tapos, at antok antok na ang lahat. But they were all determined to give everyone their turn in the hot seat.

    Ako, di ko na talaga natiis. Bumalik na ko sa room ko at natulog even before my turn came. Ako lang ang hindi na-hot seat, refreshed pa ako nung umaga.

  • Music class ulit, fourth year. Graduating na kami. In an effort to make it more personal for us, Mrs. Datu wanted us to compose our graduating song instead of just adopting a pop song. She divided each class in our batch into smaller groups, and each group had to come up with its original composition. I remember being teamed up with this eclectic classmate of mine, si Laida. She was generally known for being wild, hehehe… Artist type kasi, may banda pa siya with the other rocker types of our batch. Also in my group was John Rae, the class’s designated male balladeer. Kaya naman the class was expecting our group to do really well in that activity. But no, morning na of the day we’re to perform our song, wala pa kaming nagagawa.We ended up singing Laida’s lyrics, music supplied by our charitable classmate Rochelle na kahit part ng ibang group e naawa na at tinulungan kame. It was a nice, catchy song… with wonderful metaphors which can be best summed up this way:

    Wherever we end up being planted in college, we’re bound to bloom…

    We’re all destined for greatness, whether we be “green or gold flowers… maroon or blue flowers…”

    Ang aming eager na classmates, tinawanan lang ang much-anticipated performance namin.

  • When graduation time came, siyempre umuwi mommy ko. She was really proud of me. She attended the graduation with some of the relatives. They took our old car going to Zobel, while she allowed me to drive myself there. It was, I guess, her way of saying na, “Oo, malaki ka na.”Hindi pa time noon para abutan ng rolled up white paper ang lahat ng graduates, pumunta na ko at ang ilan sa classmates ko sa side ng stage. My mom didn’t know what was happening. Up until the moment I was called to receive a medal for graduating with honors, hindi niya alam na I was graduating top 7 in the batch. I didn’t intend it to be so, but it served as my surprise to her. At talaga namang na-sorpresa sya.

    Pag uwi namin for lunch, may surprise din pala sya sa kin. She bought me my first car – Herb, my green Rav 4.

  • Bukod sa UPCAT being the first entrance exam we took, UP rin ang pinaka-unang naglabas ng results.One of my classmates had a brother who studied in UP. Syempre, lahat kami, excited at takot malaman ang results. Out of the goodness of that classmate’s heart, she asked her brother to look up all our names to see if we made it in UP. Not everyone intended to study in the country’s premiere state university, but everyone wanted to pass. It would’ve meant that they’re at least secured of a university already, in case they failed the other entrance exams.

    My classmate relayed the good news to our classmates who made it to UP. At sabi niya, wala daw yung pangalan ko.

    Until that time, I was actually more inclined to go to La Salle Taft because most of my closest friends were planning to go there. But when I was told that I didn’t make it to UP, saka ko na-realize that it was actually where I wanted to go.

    Needless to say, I was depressed. Memories of the questionnaire incident haunted me. Baka yun ang dahilan. Hindi naman siguro dahil I wasn’t good enough for UP. And yet, kung yun nga ang dahilan, nakakainis naman na I was rejected because of a stupid reason like that. Kung ano-anong inisip ko to make myself feel better.

    I forget kung kailan eventually dumating ang letter ko from UP. But it was thick. When I opened it… pasado naman pala ako.

    I ended up taking Broadcast Communication in UP Diliman. And I’m mighty glad I did.

If asked to choose which I enjoyed more between high school and college, I’d probably choose the latter. But after all that, ang saya rin nga naman pala ng high school. And that’s not even the end of it.