DECEMBER 12, 2015 NARANJITA STREET PARTY
When I was invited by organizer Rene Cambal aka Ite to attend the Naranjita street party, I was all out and excited to the fullest. Accordingly, the street will be closed for traffic during the period. And it did. The reunion started as soon as the stars came out from the dark heavens. There were no dark clouds to threaten the event. The humidity pervaded the atmosphere. Instantly, the time became the usual climate for which Project 2 is known—tropical, steamy and temperate.
Had it not for the Barangay mobile according to my classmate and neighbor, Lorna, the party would have continued past 1AM.
It was a fitting day for the succeeding generation to pay homage to their founders, the first and pioneering inhabitants of their place, their parents, guardians, elders. This time around, the kids who peppered the street with boisterous voices, hyper playfulness and delinquency are now the elderlies themselves. The flower power generation has taken over the reins and it was an apt way of celebrating the good old times before the flickering light of advancing age would take over.
On my way to the airport (Davao), my emotions were on the mode for excitement. Finally , I would be able to hug, shake hands, greet, exchange high fives, chest thump ala NBA the icons of my youth— Lando Gatela aka Orlines or Barok, Ador Jaballas aka Kadoy, Gely Boy, Ite, Lorna, Aida, Elen, Berses’ brothers.
The organizers were mostly from “dulo”, a reference direction which meant at the end of the street. They comprise the active segment of youth in the 60s. My barkadas were mostly residents near the street entrance almost adjacent to the main street, Anonas. But most of them have changed residence and have settled in USA already—the Morenos, the Velascos, the Ursuas, the Andayas, the Corpuzes, the Escobars, the Santoses.
Despite the distance and time, we are constantly in touch with one another through the net. And we get our regular updates on time.
Well, sometime past, the only time when I would be able to take a glimpse of the youth from dulo was when they would choose to play half-court street basketball with us (in front of Cariaso’s house). I oftentimes would bump on the Berses brothers but when Gely would appear, it was as if an NBA star had ascended in person. Gely was an awesome figure to reckon with on the court. But when his mother would pick him up, it was curtain time for all of us. The superstar had left the scene and we would savor his style and play on our own.
During the street party, I could imagine and probably would miss some of the characters who molded our personalities. There was Chess champion Ruben Rodriguez, his younger brother Lando aka Bondying to all his playmates (including me), there was Mongking, the epitome of a juvenile delinquent, Porong and Tarat, scion of a transferee from another district but chose to stay and grow with us on the street, Jun Dee, son of a Chinese trader with a corner store. Most of them today have departed, some to life hereafter, others to some other location. In my case, while our ancestral house still proudly stands on the same spot, I chose to reside in the Southern part of the country not necessarily for a change but mostly for the adventure and lesser stress compared with a highly urbanized locality like Project 2.
I terribly miss the occasion, the December 12 street party. I may not figure out prominently in the setting but definitely, watching and appreciating my peers, the icons of my youth up-close is one opportunity I could have experienced in a lifetime. (My flight to Manila was cancelled due to the storm “Nona” and per advice, if at all our flight will be rescheduled, we should expect delay because of air traffic. Its useless to proceed therefore since I will not be able to attend on time.)
While watching the video documentary and pictures posted on Facebook, my peers looked hale and healthy, so young like they cheated time. It looked like time froze. They never grew old at all! Eexcept for the tell-tale signs of seniority, the gray hair and beard, but the gait, the posture, the swagger is still there.
I don’t know whether time would still favor us for another round of a reunion in the succeeding year. Probably the kids, who danced, they who are all children or grandchildren of my peers, may take off from where we left if only to continue the tradition. I heartily hope so.
I could only write it down so that my kids or grandkids and friends would have some reference in the event they would find time to revisit the place where their old folks earned their spurs.
Thank you friends, neighbors for the memories!