Monthly Archives: October 2015
It’s not a usual fare for anyone to have the privilege of meeting elementary classmates after 50 years but there I was in front of them, well, some of them actually, exchanging pleasantries. While half a century ago, this group would have ignored me, this time around I felt a certain degree of importance. And why not? When I joined them in a mini reunion to discuss the plan for a bigger batch get-together, I felt the rush of their adrenaline when they saw me walk towards their conference. I was flabbergasted to say the least. Finally, these bright kids who were grown ups already had accepted me as theirs.
We tried to reminisce those days during a pristine period of our youth and tried to connect dots and determine where we were at present and sought updates on those we were closely associated with before. There were joyful revelations, exciting disclosures and sad commentaries. Some were amusing, others quite distressing.
We have as yet to agree on how many we were in the batch. Belen Maglalang says we were around more than 300 graduates then. Elmo however doubted. We could probably be only around 120 thereabouts. Anyway, we still could check the whereabouts of the correct figure. Once in a while Facebook would give us a run down on a number of them.
Most of our peers are abroad and found greener pasture. Those in the country have already settled considerably well. The top kid of the batch, Elmo Abad, is a practicing lawyer and still active in his profession although he has slowed down and picky as far as taking cases are concerned. He is however active as consultant in several firms including local government offices. Accordingly, Elmo never left his ancestral house (48 Marang St.) and stayed the course, sustaining a circuit of selected clients mostly peers. And he never take any intervention medicine. He was still that hale and healthy at 63. I didn’t realize that he was older than me by two years. The other top kid, our First Honor, Belen Maglalang, is in US and has settled down with her family and a brood of grandchildren. She is still connected with a private firm involved in computer business.
Lorna Diaz assumed as presiding officer and secretary during our meeting. She has just retired as a corporate officer in a multinational pharmaceutical company and has spent adventurous days travelling locally and abroad. She looked as if time froze. Her complexion is still flawless, her smile very youthful and her mind is agile and perceptive. For someone who remained single, the stress of domestic life has exempted her appearance from any damage.
And there was Maria Lourdes Santos. She could recall the minutest incident during elementary days. She even confirmed that instance in our elementary days when Elmo who was called by our Science teacher, Mrs. Aguilar to discuss flower pollination, was scolded in front of class for discussing the plant process of reproduction in a manner as if it was a pornographic procedure!
We were all there in the class but I have forgotten, well, all of us have forgotten it except Maria Lourdes. Unlike most of the girls who went to UP and Quirino High School, she enrolled in a nearby private school, Roosevelt Memorial High School. I was her classmate there before I was expelled and moved to FEU Boys High. She never remarried after her husband met an untimely demise several years ago. She was widowed early in her married life and chose to concentrate on nurturing the kids who are all established professionals already.
There was Bella Sabares, a classmate whom we defer mainly because she was daughter of our class adviser, Mrs. Encarnacion Sabares. She has retained the youthful smile, soft hands and girly giggles. Natz Antonio, although not from our Section but a part of Batch 1966 class was there in attendance too. She is still in the academe and very active in school activities. She volunteered to check the entertainment and program side of the planned reunion on January, 2016. Later in that afternoon, we were joined by Carmen De Leon from the same batch.
For those in their senior years, I found my batch mates still keen, sharp and witty. We never had any moment of lapses. We still could remember who our favorite and hated teachers are. However, we have a different individual fixation on who the worst teacher that ever graced our classroom.
Comes the revealing “off the record” rumors about some of our classmates. Although no one ascertained and confirmed the news, it gave us quite amusing and petrifying goose flesh having noted some instances. Elmo and I were shocked to hear that Elmer Gloria has changed his name to “Emerald” already! We swore that it was impossible. Elmo would recall accompanying Elmer during our elementary days when he was courting one of the most beautiful girls in school. To think that Elmer was doing that during a time when I never even knew what gender means!
I tried to locate Elmer and went to his former address. According to those in the place, Elmer has transferred already. Elmo swore to look for Elmer in the days to come.
It does not pay to be absent when friends converge. One cannot contest the rumor one is charged of and those matters alleged with.
We were saddened with the departure of Gilbert Miranda. He never reached 60. Elmo however confided that he would not be surprised if Gilbert would pass on later as transgender because as a kid, Gilbert was behaving like an effeminate. Although, Elmo would discard such notion learning from his relatives who were neighbors of Gilbert that he was actually some kind of a playboy.
Lorna volunteered the information that Boy Tabayoyong is still employed in the Federal agency of US and has settled grandly with his family there. Facebook is one medium we could check and indeed, Boy was having a grand time interacting with classmates who are also US residents.
I learned that Edmundo Rebagay is based abroad too. The same is true with Azelvita, Cora, Susan, Manuel Palafox, Me-Ann, Elmer Moreno, Minerva, Rod Espanol, Sonny Salvador, Edwin Caluya, Antonio Villardo. There are more but I failed to take note.
Those in town and quite active in cyberspace are Art Galindez, Oscar Careon, Henry, Angie, Rowena, Benjamin Velasquez, Edgar Javier and more.
Natz Aquino likewise confirmed that Efren Barba is a resident of Cavite already. I knew Efren as scion of the Barba clan, a prominent family associated with strongman President Marcos of solid north. Efren was a child prodigy then winning one competition after another in Soap Box Derby, a renowned car racing circuit during our time.
Judith Andres and Nickie Parayno were not around although they were very active whenever there were calls for their attendance. Judith has retired from an Auditing firm, still unattached and recuperating but Nickie is still in the academe.
In my case, I just retired from government service and savoring the new found freedom.
On the whole, the mini reunion was an exciting date for most of us. It was a time for memories. It was also a realization that we are fond of rumors. It was indeed an occasion to be young again.
My entry into the elite batch of section one during my elementary days is still shrouded in mystery. While it is true that all my classmates were the brilliant, superior kind, it is therefore understandable for them to be there. It is not tradition but grades mattered. Not only were my classmates the studious type, they are also clean, prim and proper. They looked better, handsomer, prettier, what more can be asked for. They had the looks and the intelligence. There was no way for them to fall. Their projections meant success already. They can even challenge the gods of luck and they would still succeed. There was one thing which Section One had one thing in common for its members, they had the charms and they were leading a charmed life. As for me, I personally do not have charms, except when I got it belatedly during my…
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(Author sculpted a man deeply engrossed on reading)
I maintain a regular blog, as a matter of fact, it is a daily regimen to perk up my day. It has been almost a habit to share something for netizens, mostly my FB friends, to munch over. When the “like” has been clicked, it was as if I have received already a commendation. If my blog would merit a comment, the feeling is like having won the STL, okay jueteng or sakla, whatever. That is how shallow I could be. I have a soft spot for those who patronise my thoughts.
But there are days when my pen is silent. This is when I bury myself inside my study to read. I enjoy reading more than writing to be honest. There are a lot of books, scholarly written and their style virtually could make a struggling writer like me feel inferior already. But feelings aside, the information one gets, the ideas one derives, the experience one indulges from reading is indeed very precious. One seldom gets anything of that sort through bantering only.
One of the blessings of retiring early is having a period to read a lot and appreciating every written word at that. Something which I missed while I was employed. And if I would chance upon a book, a novel for instance, with available film version, it would be a real pleasure.
It’s a pity that I realized the joy of reading only after I left school. While the academe compelled me to read, it was more of a threat rather than a treat. That is why, I set aside reading in favor of street loafing. For me then, there were a lot to learn in the streets rather than the classrooms. After all, there is wisdom in appreciating reality in street corners than in immersing oneself in concepts offered by the prying eyes of teachers and in a structured environment of the school.
It is a truism that if one can do it, then it is better; if not, then one can just teach. I would rather learn lessons from tough guys than my paid mentors.
Anyway, realizing later that the printed word is more superior to any force made me consider reading. After all, even the Bible (John 1:1) says, “In the beginning there was the word.”
And so, there I was, with eyeglasses, table lamp, the whole shebang fixed on a stack of book, splayed on a cushy chair, having a grand time of my life.
I am choosy however in reading, hence, my collection is a hodge podge of subjects ranging from the esoteric to mundane. But I am biased more on the works of Mitch Albom, Paulo Coehlo, Thomas Friedman, Alvin Toffler, and a number of serious writers like Lee Iacocca, Robert Greene, Reza Aslan, Malcolm Gladwell, Nick Joaquin, Ambet Antonio and Conrad de Quiros. How I wish to add the classical writers, the Homer, the Shakespeare, the Miguel de Cervantez, the Dante Alligheri, etc, but that is already bragging. The contemporary ones are the writers whose style I wish to mimic. But it is their ideas that make their writing exceptional. For me, their thoughts seem to convince me that there is eternity.
That is right, it is in reading that one realizes that knowledge transforms life from a boring struggle to a wonderful experience.
Oblivion is one place which is never desired to be reached by anyone. But sooner or later, a person departing the scene is most likely to fade away from the memory of his loved ones, more so on the succeeding layer of relationships and the generation that follows.
Everyone wishes to be a hero because everyone wanted to be remembered. To be forgotten is a curse to be avoided.
Man has been haunted by the vastness of eternity, says Homer. Man, since civilization has opened his consciousness, would continually ask if his actions would echo across the centuries. He oftentimes wonders if strangers would still recall his name and wonder how creatively he lived, how bravely he fought and how fiercely he loved. Ironically, only names from literature remain alive and those who really walked on earth are deemed forgotten.
Those who die young are virtually etched in memorials better than those who lived a full life. Alexander the Great died at the age of 26 and he is still a marvel to recall. I doubt if Alexander the Great would still be remembered today had he died at an advanced age of 90.
Had Philippine’s first President, Emilio Aguinaldo died fighting for the independence of his country, he would have been easily declared as the country’s National Hero. But he died at the age of 94 after accumulating one political blunder after another. He was even suspected of ordering the death penalty of Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna and countless heroes. His gallant status was unfortunately extinguished and his heroism transformed into villainy.
Names of great men who died during their prime are still reminisced up to this day (with a few exceptions like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). The phrase “your glory walks hand in hand with your doom” sounds horrifyingly true. There was Jesus of Nazareth, Jose Rizal, Joan of Arc, Christopher Marlowe, Pocahontas, John Keats, etc. Their demise not only left a memorial of youthful looks but has preserved commemorative and glorious memoirs and celebrations.
Time had no way to remove their names from the pantheon of reminisces.
There are consoling and restless moments for ordinary run of men like us. When we are gone, our children will remember us. But when our children are dead and their children after them, our names will be lost. Such is fate.
There is nothing a person can do. Not even clout, power and authority can sustain eternal prominence.
And quite ironically, no one knows the Kings, Emperors or famous people during their time can claim prominence after a hundred years. It is quite perplexing but there are those who succeeded unwittingly and they are only ordinary persons with exceedingly extraordinary patience for their crafts. Nobody knows who was the King during the time when a vagabond was entreating spiritually all by himself inside the cave in 1100s? And that vagrant in a cavern was spoiled during his wasted youth and was even imprisoned for a year. After his release, he devoted himself in prayers and we still know him today as Saint Francis of Asisi, the patron saint for ecologists.
No one can ascertain who among those who spent a day in this world would tread the road to obscurity or will be remembered warmly.