February 26, 2011
Pescadores, Malabon City
High School Life will always be the most memorable days in every teenage life. First year high school from 1-A Garnet, we were all new to the school and I only stand 4’11 and seated in the first row. Our class starts every 7am and ends before 12noon, and goes back in the afternoon twice a week for PE and Practical Arts. My first year was a continuation of friendship we have built back from elementary days having them still as my classmates, They are Cynthia, Shirley, Liza, Apollo, Neil, Everly, Connie and Marvin. The academic competition back then was really intense, having these elementary valedictorians, salutatorians, and honors list which were all competing for the Top 10 academic students. I was 11yo then so imagine the pressure of performing the best I can. Luckily, I was always included in the quarterly top 20% of the class. A competing fair little boy in the class of 1A – Garnet. Thanks to the guidance of Mrs Carmencita Santos.
Then come 2-1A Sampaguita, under Miss Magno’s guidance who also teaches Algebra. My favorite subjects – Biology, Florante and Laura, and Earth & Science. I scored as high as 93’s and 94’s in these subject competing still on the top 10 of the class, but puppy love came in at the age of twelve, probably the verses of Florante and Laura sinks deep in my brain and it did break my heart when summer time came in for I need to bid goodbye to this girl who taught me how to write love letters in fragrant papers And I am glad we became good friends unto this date. My height? I grew up by 2 inches I guess and still at the front row and being bullied by tall guys, a so called weakling, too shy, and cannot even pick a fight. I then join the COCC (Cadet Officer Candidate Course) just to prove that I am not an academic nerd and able to undergo military training and CAT hazing at a very young age. I did waived my summer vacation just to make sure I will finish the 2 months training and be a CAT officer by 3rd Year High School. As a short thin boy, my colleagues became my defender and protector to any heavy tasks. They will voluntary catch any face slaps and upper cuts intended for me to make sure I will never get hurt. Thanks to Rizaldy, Rey, Andrean, Dick Tolentino, Royce Fajardo, and the late Marco Aquino who became my protector to any physical military training harassment and threats. At 13yo I became the youngest Cadet Officer of CAT, the little boy is now wearing an army suit, a beret, holding a sword, and ready to lead a private platoon. Being a CAT Officer, I was able to explore my other strengths, with the same pressure to excel in academics and expand my network of friends outside my 1A circle of academic scholars.
I am now officially a Platoon Leader for a Private Army Alpha, and still belongs to the Academic Scholars – 3-IA STAR! under Mrs Bugay’s Noli Me Tangere. And yes folks, I am a self proclaimed teenager for this school year. The pressure now is a mix of academics and extra curricular activities in the school. My popularity is extremely overwhelming having these new COCC batch saluting you in the hallways and doing military commands to Senior students. By the way, I grew up by another 2 inches by height, so the teenager boy boost his charm with his new eyeglasses, walk smart in school hallways and has enough confidence now to compete with my academic circle of scholars to belong still on Top 10.
In school, my life is to be a competitive student academically and finished my military leadership training, but unfortunately i have a home that is starting to crash due to my father’s infidelity, violence at home, and financial crisis. And with a new sibling too in the family, I have to help my mother in her business, study harder still, and maintain my officership. And with the chaos happening at home, I stop inviting friends to come to my house, I would rather use my time doing school assignments at the Armory Room, spend time with a friends house and go home just to sleep. I cant go too far with my allowance enough just to buy a waffle dog and a bottle of coke. At 14, I was able to realize how I need to help myself survive and aim to give pride to my mother in return for her sacrifices, emotional battles, and hardship to send us to school. It was a tough life I need to accept and live with everyday. How I was able to survive? My faith to God, and the spirit within me that there’s a light in the end of the tunnel. Communication channel to call a friend, text messaging, do your facebook shoutouts, to express your emotion is not an option during those days, but just carry it all by myself and focus that I need to survive this life. Perhaps, I am still blessed that I dont sleep yet at the street and can still continue my schooling. The smart charmer I called myself then is focus to further excel in school, but yes I am experiencing an emotional breakdown for the violence we are experiencing at home. How I wish, they can prioritize me and see my potential that I could be an academic scholar too and can take home more medals and honors to my family. It was just a wishful thinking. I have to understand the situation and live with it. I am happy to see my mother smiling and keep on mentioning to her friends that I am his smart charmer, good looking, and intelligent son. And helping her with our clothes business became my hands on training to be an entrepreneur since the age of 10. Imagine my 4 years of job experience in retail market! and how I got that label “smart dresser”. The origin of wearing always nice clothes, a reward from my mother for every good deal and sales we made from our public market shop.
The smart dresser too attended his first Junior Senior Prom, wearing a nice tailored shirt and pants, from the public market and not from Ever, SM or Landmark or QUAD. I still remember how I am so excited to attend the Prom Night being chosen as the batch Junior cotillion stage performers. I am short and wearing an eyeglass, a nerdy looking charmer? I am laughing out loud now. Worse story was, at the line going to the stage, someone tap my back and said.. Hey Bro look at your partner in the other line, She is wearing your Polo! It was a Holy Shit, Totally Embarrassing moments to see my polo fabric same as her’s in a DRESS! I want an eclipse, a total brownout and just shrink on where I am standing. So I learned my lessons not to buy any fabrics from public markets, be choosy on the clothes I am wearing, and be safe with colors on any gatherings. So now you know my JS funny story huh. I was totally saved by my first kiss that night from a Senior Girl, and bet yah she’s in my facebook friends now hehe.
Life continues at 1V-1A Libra under Mrs Aldana, our English Speech Teacher. The era of Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, and Duran Duran. The birth of Mariah Carrey’s old time hit favorites Hero, Laura Branigans Gloria, and Love Songs of the 80’s. I joined more activities in the school and begin to explore my singing skills. I am now also a full pledged Deputy Commander of my batch, lost the opportunity by height to be the Corp Commander and holds two corp post as Corporate Ex-O and S3, overwhelming isn’t it, so our corp commander decided to get Karen Flores as the Corp S3, who made a CAT history for having a girl in the school CAT Corp Staff. I never knew that Zaldy has something for her by that time (chismis).
She became our batch beauty titlist too with my humble endorsement and nomination. Well deserved with her beauty, talent and confidence too.
The 1A friends became my humble home and supporters in my CAT Deputy Commander role. I am their class bet for any external affairs, I earned their trust through the leadership duties for our CAT Saturday classes. I have never nominated for a Class President to my entire elementary and high school life, I would say I knew I can, but my jack of all trades characteristics and lack of strong family support doesn’t seems to qualify me to achieve further academic achievements and qualify for that post. The home violence and financial crisis further buried my family in limbo and I only need to choose for a few college and university which my mother can afford. Ateneo and DeLassalle was just a dream, I am not even aware of Post Graduate Degree and Doctorate courses until I was already in 2nd year College. Where does my daily 10 Pesos allowance will lead me? Cant even treat my girlfriend then for a jeepney fare and a bottle of coke for two. She usually settles for a Donut Heart Shape then as my treat. The common barkada food trip and party celebration now was totally out of my leagues then, where does my 50 pesos / week will bring me anyway? I have to learned it the hard way and would like to Thank my High School friends and colleagues who is in spite of my domestic problems and issues, they never did abandoned me and still continues their friendship and respect after 25 Years.
To Cynthia, our strong bondage started way back our Kindergarten days, where my mother was good friends and shares the same sentiments and challenges with our fathers. We became neighbors and you have witnessed how our family survives from renting a small house and get flooded every now and then. We heard each other loud cries when our parents scolded us. We have seen our siblings unity in the streets of Samson playing and enjoy a problem free environment. I remember that my mother needs to close the window so your family wouldn’t see and heard whats our dinner – plenty of rice and pork chicharon. We have to keep our silence and pretend we are not having any violence at home. My mother always remembers you as the sweetest girl and she treats you like her daughter. The moment we have cherished for a long generations of friendship and still carry to this date makes me realize how you became the most loyal friend and a sister to me being there in my saddest hour of my life bidding goodbye in my mothers grave. We did seal our friendship by our mothers martyrdom to our family and their undying love to us their children to believe in good values and respect to individuals. You are the most strongest woman I truly admire on how you bravely fought for your children rights and your love for them is so inspiring. I can’t Thank you enough for always listening in my life issues and just being there to be a sister supporting me always. I love you my friend, my soul sister, we are a family forever.
To Marvin, we are walkmates since elementary days, our mothers were friends too. You are the most humble person I have ever knew. Your general intelligence and math wizardy brain became my inspiration to strive and get high scores in my quizzes. We never discuss my domestic issues and upon reading this, you maybe somehow ask me why I never opened it up even during those years we walked together going home. I just thought that I cannot, maybe you became my shield to continue my quest to achieve the honorable mention and even I failed to get those I am proud that I am a close friend of the batch most intelligent guy and class president. Thank you for those time you have accompanied me going home. And those quiz tips and coaching to help me understand and achieve a good grades too. You are one of those cherished friend I will never forget, our recent meet was short but I am so glad that I finally saw you again. I am such a fan of yours in your academic achievements. I feel awkward to give you a brother hug to profess how I truly miss the days we are just talking and walking. I am looking forward to see you again my friend and we can talk about our life experiences. You are still my academic Idol.
To Rizaldy, your inspiring life changing story always amazes me. Your faith to God and humble living is a testimony for everyone who is looking for new beginnings. I am hearing your prayers, and statements on how would you like me to see and realize how blessed I am still. I do listen brother. You have protected me in any physical violence and threats during our CAT days. I consider you as my big brother and a true friend. I sometimes reacted through a joke, but I know you can hear me in between that my respect will always be yours. You are true leader and your selfless heart will always my motivation to do the same for others. I salute you Sir! My Corp Commander.
To Dante, we called each other Cousin- we never really knew how our Middle Name is related but that’s how we became cousin and a friend. But you bet cousin- I am a proud Nepomuceno now in my world of photography. Dante is my marketing guru, inspiring dad to her kids, and my sound board for any business plans and decisions. I joked him as Mr Lover Boy having multiple girlfriends in our batch. Sorry to them right? Peace! Our business mind links and we spent hours of discussion over a coffee or beers. Thank you for adapting me as a family of your own, teaching me to talk straight and be a man during high school days. You did protected me too in so many ways being a boy weakling and with your body frame, who would dare to pick a fight on me? A big Thanks to you cousin, let our business mind links further!
To Ruby and Raquel, I truly admire your strong friendship to each other. You will always be the class gem to bring smile on our face and music to our ears. We love you both.
To Don, Blu, Ricky, Rommel, Josel, Arnel, Bhong, Ponce – Mga Pare ko! Thanks for bringing good smile and memories back how we spent our class breaks and talking about your crushes and school sweethearts. Our celebrity talks and the old time kwentong wala lang- The classics “ang Lolo at Lola ko ganito” the new shoes and 80’s music genre. Don is now our bank executive whom I never saw get angry but always wears his big smile. Rommel, the soft spoken voice dad who’s always serious when he talks about stuff and his interest. A very kind man and good father. Bhong and Ricky – nothing change to this cool guys way back from high school, from their deceiving cocky looks, they will crack jokes which everybody will laugh about – it is always about Raquel and Ruby anyway, and the never ending funny moments continues as if it was we are still teenagers with the presence of Arnel and Ponce, Watch out how this guys will make “hirit”. It is all for fun. Blu is still serious with his giggling smile. A proud dad and very humble guy too, I wonder if he gets angry too. His kindest exudes naturally.
To Neil, the hunky brother! keep on being physically fit and looking good. Thanks for all your kind words and support throughout the years. I remember that during our Grade 1, I injected a pencil on your biceps and you cried so loud in the class and our teacher have asked me to stand in front and slap my butt as a penalty. My mother of course is furiously angry hearing my story and went to the school to talk to our teacher. Well, kids play! dare me to inject another pencil now, it will surely cracks having now your iron stleel biceps. Naks!
To Eric, the person who gets angry when we call him Aristotle, I cant remember why but he threatens me physically and even goes to my place to show how mad he was. He taught me how to be ready on any school bullies and we always compete in academic rankings. To you my friend, I can see your passion to succeed in life, just hold on to it. We will soon get there.
To Karen, she was really a good friend in high school. I know her crushes, her kilig moments, and life aspirations. I even pushed her to join the Miss Jose Rizal Competition which she won the title, we are the partners in practicing her talent portion. Karen has a lot of talents and skills. I am a friend that will always boost that confidence in her. Count me in for any votes for Karen!
Nanding! I cant believe we will see you again, the Boy Bawang of our high school days! that’s a joke ha. I am truly surprised by your kind words to our dear classmates, I believe your life experiences is inspiring to speak humbly and spread toys as a token of your happiness. I am hoping to see you more often in our gatherings.
Everyly, Doc Aecee, Leilani, Carolyn, Zaida, Neddy , and others….Thank you for gracing the gathering by your presence. I am sorry my senior years is blocking my nerves to remember each your name. The attendance is overwhelming and it’s full of joy and laughter. You will always be part of my high school days and now part of each others 1A’s life to recall that one day, we met and smile and Thanks each other for the long journey we had, could be tough or smooth but we embraced still for unity and we all cheers for happiness.
It was a long journey and we are all still sailing to the next waves of our life. There might be storms and life threatening disasters but this moment will always served as a pinch of joy that somehow we are blessed to have each other after 25 Years. Thank you everyone for sharing your presence and leaving a good feel of how I had been, and how I become. Everyone became a part of each other life. Good Health and Joys to your Heart! 86- 1As!
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