I don’t know what happened to most of my elementary classmates among the boys but there we were, out of eleven, on a designated day we called our 50th grand reunion (last January 22, 2016), we were only six standing on the ground.
I was wearing a black shirt (because my white uniform was stained as a consequence of biking) while the rest were meticulously in their whitened best. To my left is Elmo Abad, still a practicing lawyer. He never left Project 2, our community of orientation. He took up law in San Beda and passed the Bar on the year he graduated. From then on, he virtually took the law into his own hand and practices it like a Firm. Next is Sonny Salvador, a US resident but oftentimes would travel back to the country to visit his ancestral house in Project 2 and his farm in Bataan. While he lamented leaving their ancestral house in Project 2, his stint in US however gave him enough resources to build his agro empire in Bataan.
Alfredo “Boy” Tabayoyong follows. He is also a US resident and a retired federal worker in the US Postal service. As soon as he retired, he took all the time in the world to travel and explore exotic places. In US, he would literally drive himself and his kids to explore the outback and the countryside. Over in the Philippines, Boy would likewise explore those lands in his province in Pangasinan and check their lands and resources as part of his heirloom. Next to him is Oscar Carreon, a doting grandfather and an ideal husband. Oca’s success was not attributed on his fondness for firearms or to his competence in the marketing field. It was more on his being an adoring parent to his children who eventually became his trophies. All his children are professionals and are making a name abroad. To his left is Rod Espanol, a civil engineer and a resident of Singapore. I have no other notes about him except that he is making good at the city-state as a consultant of government and private firms.
Those not in attendance and understandable are the following: Gilbert Miranda, because he passed away two years ago and Edmundo Rebagay because he is in US and still active in the federal workforce.
Those who are still missing and could not be contacted are: Efren Barba, Elmer Gloria, Renato Nuval, Edgar Javier, Ben Velaszuez. There are those who have sighted Efren. Accordingly, he was working in Bacoor, Cavite. It was rumored that Efren belonged to a family related to the Marcoses of the North but during our elementary days, there were no signs of belligerence or highhandedness from him. He was very meek and quiet all the time. There was only one moment when I saw him boast but this was when he won the Soap Box Derby, a craze during our time.
I remember Elmer Gloria as cousin of my supervisor in AFP. That’s right. Once I was an enlisted Ranger and was trained under the baton of Elmer’s elder cousin. Elmo’s reminiscence of Elmer’s youthful womanizing instinct was very vivid. As a matter of fact, according to Elmo, every girl he would fancy on, Elmer was there courting behind. Elmer was always there at the door step of those adjudged as the fairest girl in the school campus. It is in effect the very antithesis of the rumor circulating that Elmer Gloria goes around the town as Gloria Elmer today!
I have no recollection about Renato Nuval. Before, I oftentimes would mistake him with another schoolmate who happens to be in another section. Anyway, Renato was one of those quiet kids and would prefer to sit at the back of the class.
Edgar Javier and Ben Velasquez, two soft spoken kids but they were literally big boys then. From a distance, they look very physical, tough and intimidating. Even school bullies would not like to mingle or engage them in any trouble. However, in the course of meeting and inviting them for the reunion, Edgar and Ben are not in circulation and are not within my radar.
In five decades, (that means 50 years or 600 months) my classmates and I have changed and had engaged on different paths, got into varied directions and acquired experiences on diverse exposures then spread out from where we took off. In five decades too, society has markedly changed from a slow, sleepy manual-based civilization to a culture that defines everything according to speed. And in all those times, we were at the vortex of technical alterations and technological modifications. We have been to Hell and back.
We are at times guilty of acting like we are still in a tribal community when in fact we are already within the digital embrace of galactic wisdom.
We have been through partisan difficulties, although we have skipped Wars, but we belonged to a counter culture, the so called baby boomers, who believed in Love and Peace during our formative and juvenile years but on our way to our senior years, we are about to be conscripted, if not compromised, in a confused state of good and evil from the perspective of science, morals and humanism.
On the whole however, our generation has achieved so much and has been immersed in a wholesome universe. As it were, we have personally known the past as we reminisce the good old days and we also have seen the future through instant knowledge in cyberspace.
Now, we belong to the so- called “been there, done that” age group.
As the Western cavaliers say “Whoa! watchin ‘em ride cowboys!”