Monday, May 30, 2005

merry mix

anu okasyun itu? looks like seminarians of various levels gathering for summer parish assignments. mabuhokun pa si kit gacias, maniwangon pa si totep perez n junie taclan, akiunon pa si odin arriola, the rest -- uy, still in the pink of their vocations! Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

the current rector of the penafrancia college seminary celebrating mass, with the bureau of fire protection's future chief (walang kokontra!) assisting. :) Posted by Hello

first-ever class reunion at bacon beach, with fr. roy eco. joven,joey, vicboy, glenn, cacky boy, totep, dennis, tato, dandy, ian, gerald, jay, ojee, henry, jong, gibbs, erwin... pagkaaga, wara ki breakfast, nagkaraon kamote sa balay nina fr. roy. :) Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Klasmeyts, basa!

I am posting this article composed by Cel Peña-Paras, wife of my brother-in-law, Nonoy (OLPS'92), a testimony of batch eighty seven's extremely strong ties as brothers..oopps!lain na maghangot.

A Few Good Men (To My Opinion)

Maricel S. Peña-Paras

(Originally published in Sorsogon Today, May 11, 2005)

In this lifetime, I had the privilege of meeting men, who in their own unique and simple ways, made them good. They proudly call themselves, the OLPS Batch 87.

OK, let me justify my title. I promise that at the end of this article, you will see my point. Or else you can request my publisher to ban me from writing ever again!

Years ago, I already had the chance to meet quite a number of these chosen few. Kuya Boboy, or Fr. Henry Diesta is the brother of my bestfriend, Rachel.

Chel and I have been classmates and bestfriends since 2nd grade. It was in our elementary years when we started writing to each other, and up to now, I still have with me her letters especially the one wherein she made me promise that we would be best friends for life. So we kept our promise; we were classmates in high school, we were block mates and roommates in college, and we shared an apartment still a few years after we graduated from college. If there is one person in my life whom I spent the most of my time with, it is not my parents, my siblings nor my husband; it would be my best friend Chel. Do the math and you will see we have been together more than half of our lives.

And naturally, because of that long friendship with Chel, (which despite the distance that separates us now is still very strong), her family became also my family, and her brother became my brother. When Chel and I were still in Baguio City, Kuya, (in a sense) paved the way for letting me experience these few good men.

Whenever he visited us in Baguio City, he would bring with him his friends from the seminary.

There, I met Vicboy Dollentas (now Fr. Vic, he dropped the “boy” and I will ask him later why). I could still fondly remember how we would show them around the beautiful town. Fr. Vic still remembers how I pulled him by the hand so that he could avoid a flying golf ball from hitting him right in his head. And, Fr. Vic! Who could ever forget that famous steak at the Sizzling Plate? I am contemplating on devoting a whole article for this rather amusing event in Fr. Vic’s life, unless he disapproves.

Kuya Boboy also introduced us to some of his friends in the seminary on different occasions. We met Ian Demate at the Food Garden atop Jollibee Session Road. Fr. Dandy was introduced to me after he made a charcoal sketch/ portrait of me. That portrait was given to me on my 20th birthday. Kuya Boboy, a few times also, told us that Totep (Perez) would be with him the next time he would visit, yet I really don’t know why that man never made it to Baguio City even until their last visit which was summer of 1993, our college graduation. I have to ask Chel, if she still remembers that incident when Kuya went to Baguio alone because his friends didn’t make it to their meeting place in Manila (prior to going up to Baguio City) as the bus from Sorsogon didn’t make it on time (narautan yata!). Totep never made it to Baguio City when we were there. But I came to know him through the many stories attached to his name. That I call is a once in a lifetime privilege of knowing someone even without seeing and meeting him face to face (Totep, you are in a sense a god! Did you ever realize the power within you that other people do not possess? You should be thankful).

It was Fr. Burt (Sare) who made it in time for our graduation together with the Diesta battalion. I think Fr Burt was the last person who was introduced to us by Kuya in Baguio City.

When Chel and I were in Tandang Sora (in Quezon City), few seminarians (who were Bikolanos) from St. Vincent Seminary like Joseph Cruel (a Batch 87 member, but did not finish his high school at OLPS) would pay us a visit.

Since our graduation up to now, there would be members of the batch I met or I chanced at meeting in separate circumstances:

There’s Kuya Tato whom I have the privilege of knowing, when I became an honorary member of the Paras clan. Kuya Tato is the husband of Manay Ning, my beautiful sister-in-law; Jay Hermida, whom I met in Castilla in my childhood because I am also from Castilla; and Kuya Gerald (Angeles) who frequented our restaurant before. I remember him with one of his friends from OLV (I think that was Kuya Lolen), one very late evening, paying directly at the counter because our cashier that time was very pretty (please don’t deny it, I have a clear memory!). Then there’s Joey (Lasala), because he is a brother of my classmate Gerone, and, we have (at present) a common friend; Ojee (Lucero), whom I met just a few years ago when we suddenly became health conscious and sports buff. We would play badminton at the gym after office hours, together with Minette (Ojee’s wife) and some of our friends.

Although I never had the chance of meeting the gifted Gibbs Cadiz (now a writer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle section), I know him from stories since his late brother Oliver was my classmate. Oliver or Bong would call me “prime or prima” because it was mentioned to me by my Papa and also by Oliver’s mom that we are related (I still have to trace our roots, to be sure). Ooops, I am not trying to ride in Gibb’s popularity. I admire his beautiful mind, and his talent inspires me, cousins or not cousins.

Some of batch I also got the chance of knowing during the traditional annual gathering at Chel’s place every 31st of December (Chel’s brother Angelo’s death anniversary). Although I could not recall their names, I still could remember having brief moments of fun with them because our group and their group were frequent guests of the Diestas.

Well you see, in my teen-age years, I was never conscious that these people are in a sense connected by a certain bond of friendship and camaraderie. I met them, forgot them, and met them again. But I never saw any speciality in the relationship. Not until when I would witness Kuya Tato brag about this batch endlessly. Kuya Tato has placed this group in a pedestal, that even now when he would have other priorities, I could attest to the fact that “his batch 87” occupies a significant place in his heart and mind.

I also never saw any speciality in the friendship, until I had the chance to dine with a few of them at Balkon or at Mango Grill, still letting them freely brag about their group. Not until when I witnessed them discuss petty misunderstandings and later saw them patch things up, forgetting the conflict summarily, and laughing again as if nothing really happened (it was like witnessing children fight- it is never hard to forgive and forget). Not until when we had the chance to bond with their wives during the concert which they sponsored. Not until the funny experience we had during our first “threading” experience (that’s a new art of removing the eye brows). Not until when we went to Polot, Bulan to give my very good friend, Fr. Vic, a surprise visit.

I know we still have a long opportunity for gimmicks in the offing, and just thinking and imagining being with these people, makes me smile, makes me excited and hopeful. It makes me proud to know them, to briefly encounter them, to laugh with them.

I am one person who just recently gave up my mundane, solitary life to enjoy the gift of meeting people. That is why I am so grateful that I was given the rare privilege of knowing them and calling them my friends.

Hey don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t paid to write good stuff about them. No one is running for public office in 2007 (I reckon). As a matter of fact, I remember telling Kuya Tato that his batch mates are not really people whom you can call NICE GUYS! Some of them are kind and generous, some are gorgeous and handsome, some are smart, some are respectful and understanding of other people’s views, but THEY ARE NEVER NICE! (I use “nice” to describe pretentious people such as those trying to start a political career). What you see is what you get. They could be brutally frank, they could be insensitive, they could be childish and fearless of their views and stand, they are flawed! But they are just the way they are, and that makes them good people (separately and collectively).

Looking at them would be looking at different fruits in one basket. Some are uniquely different (as in quite having a world of their own at certain times; in short, autistic), but they can be that way while still getting the respect and acceptance that they all deserve.

There was a time, when I asked surprisingly why this person behaved the way that he does. I simply got a shrug of the shoulder, and my friend answered “Well, that’s just who he is; ever since in the seminary, he’s been like that.”

I still have a lot of things to discover, and I am not trying to brag as if I know them pretty well now. But what I know now is enough reason for me to say that these few good men are treasures so rare in this difficult world of ours, and I thank God for them.

(After writing this, I read Kuya Tato’s previous article entitled “Batch 87: Like Blood Brothers” and I am just so happy to give a sort of affirmation from an outsider’s point of view. Outsider, meaning no direct relationship at all with a Batch 87, because obviously I am not married to one; my husband is from Batch 1992. Keep on shining Batch 87! I will always pray that the success of the OLPS’ 60th Alumni Homecoming which I’m sure you’ll again spearhead, will be a clear manifestation of the ideals of friendship you’ve been trying to uphold all these years.)

59th olps alumni homecoming

rey, gaboy, daddylloyd, ian, jay, ojee, gerald with fr. pax. batch '87 organized and hosted the 59th olps alumni homecoming last october 2004. siyempre, parada mun-a sa downtown. :) Posted by Hello

bottoms up sa gabos na mga sano! Posted by Hello

registration time Posted by Hello

batch '86 members during the fellowship night: dante arcos, junel relativo, junnie taclan, henri deri, rene balaoro, weewee demate. Posted by Hello

batch '86 members rene balaoro, erwin lasam and weewee demate sa parada. '82 an nasa cartolina ta year of entry an naging basis for classifying the batches. :) Posted by Hello

tato presenting a report to the board of the alumni association. matindi na talaga si otats! Posted by Hello

at the parade... si rey nicolas tabi 'yan na mukhang chabelita sa likod ni gerald, hehe. :) Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

remember them?

the driveway and entrance to the seminary! Posted by Hello

the our lady of lourdes grotto at the back... Posted by Hello

the ride to the cathedral for special masses... Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

graduation pics!

o ha, naka-graduate man baga, mwehehe! official graduation photo with the formators and faculty. Posted by Hello

salutatorian erwin escandor looking so serious. si gaboy, seryus din! yaHOO! si chito, still so alive... si jong--hoy jong, haen na bulod ka na naman ngunyan? :) Posted by Hello

pic from another angle. even from this early photo, bagay na si dandy magpadi. hehe, if they only knew! Posted by Hello

naks, si joey, feeling gradweyt! hay si jay, lonely boboy pa man giraray an itsura! pero an buhok, robby rosa of menudo! yay! :) Posted by Hello

taken right after the graduation ceremonies. si fr. eco na naman, with totep's bro junjun also joining. rey, maniwangon ka pa didi! Posted by Hello

get well soon, cho!

monday morning, Rino texted me with news that Cho was in the hospital that day, scheduled to go under the knife at 3 p.m. for abnormal vein growth in his hip area going all the way down to... basta didto na. (o, o, saka na mun-a mga side comments!, hehe). i dropped by in the evening, but cho was still in the recovery room (na-delay daw ang operation to 4:30 p.m. ata, and cho had to wear off muna the anesthesia that left him temporarily unable to move from the waist down). the following day, since totep was in manila to be interviewed for his ford foundation scholarship application (go, kirob!), he and i went to medical city to check on cho. this time he was in his room and already sitting up. cho is still frail, pumayat siya considerably, and he's still recovering from the operation. it's his first time to undergo a major medical procedure, kaya ninerbiyos ng husto. but let's hope and pray he recuperates fully and resumes his active, workaholic (description ni mommy niya) life. we also met his wife (they got married only last november), lynette, an account officer with allied bank--a smart, fun, friendly woman who laughed heartily at totep's corny jokes and would no doubt be a welcome addition to the 'council' of batch87 wives. lynette, see you again in october! cho, pagaling ka agad, maski lain na nagpaparangadyi an mga ka-batch mo, mapangadyi ulit kami that you'd be hale and hearty again very soon. :) tato, gerald, ojee, wara na ngaya hala-hala mun-a, hahaha!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

kagayun na picture! ospreys team posing sa may pilot school after the parade. hanapa daw si bulonia, nyehehe! :) Posted by Hello

mass at the ping-pong court to open the intramurals, first year high school kita. si erwin lasam ata yan na naka-ospreys shirt, lain ko makilala kun sisay an na naka-harriers naman. buhay pa si mamo salvador, here officiating the mass with fr. pax and fr. gerry. Posted by Hello

third year retreat ta sa diocesan pastoral formation center, fatima. :) Posted by Hello

si dandy, erwin, dennis, fr. rene mabute, henry and vicboy, nagkakararigos sa san benon, irosin, birthday ni mamo palces! Posted by Hello

yan, after kan misa, pighagadan ki donasyon si fr. pax. nagtao man baga, kaput-kaput ni joey. sin-o iyan na bata na nasa likod ni dandy? Posted by Hello

second reunion ata ini, right? after kan first reunion ta sa bacon beach na kaiba si fr. roy eco. i think sa coke seminary ini, with fr. paquito monje celebrating mass before the 'organized joy,' mwehehe. tama ba, totep? (uy, si eric fuentes anion pa!) Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

sammy gerona and joseph cruel in boracay!

mga padi, kati-text lang ni joseph cruel (who is working as a medical representative based in aklan) to let me know na magkasama sila ni sammy gerona, i think in boracay where sammy manages a family-owned resort (tama ba info ko, gerald?). he promised to post a message and/or some pics here, kaya antay lang natin. kukulitin ko si joseph about it...

also, mapa-extra man tabi ako ha. :) am collecting all my available published articles into a blog site similar to this one, at you're all welcome to visit and leave comments/feedback. dai pa siya fully updated (hanggang 2002 pa lang, up to my first review of 'lord of the rings') pero i'll be working double-time to archive everything, so bisi-bisita lang kamo if you have the time. 'sensiya na medyo mahahaba ang mga articles ha, originally published sa newspaper kasi, so when transferred to the smaller computer screen they look longer. salamat sa tiyaga, hehe. :)


Thursday, May 05, 2005

that's the future fr. vicboy dollentas at the upper right hand portion of the photo, atop a tree branch, with his 'palaban,' pumped-up classmates (notice the L signs and clenched fists?) and fr roy eco. taken right after an energetic gripe session against the rector. those were the days, hahaha! Posted by Hello