Carmaggedon at our Precious Destination


Carmaggeddon 2

The words “bumper to bumper traffic” and “road congestion” have developed an affinity to places in the Philippines from the infamous EDSA, to Escario Street and Mango Avenue in Cebu City and Pozzorubio in Pangasinan.

It has been extended now to include Kennon Road and Loakan, as was experienced recently during the Homecoming week in Fort del Pilar. Minimum travel time from Manila to our precious destination was at least six hours extending up to ten for some, eliciting curses and bringing out the worst in a great many among us that could not wait and “counterflowed” to get up there faster.

With the alumni Corps strength estimated to be around 7,000, not counting former cadets and associate members – all being able to afford vehicles and bring them to Baguio for this annual event, it is anticipated that this will be the dreaded nightmare tradition annually, causing concerned alumni to begin thinking of alternatives to how to reconfigure Homecoming Week.

Social media was rife with postings on what to do and how it could be done, however a great many miss the entire point – the frustration can be mitigated if considerations can be made for alumni over cars going inside and outside of Fort del Pilar.

As my good friend, Cavalier Buddy Resurreccion 78 accurately pointed out several years ago, it’s all about “moving people, not vehicles”.

It’s likened to a huge volume of water that has to be pumped out of a large reservoir, using a 1/4 inch hose and expecting the reservoir to be empty in less than an hour. It’s unrealistic.

If we followed this guideline, we would have less frustration on the roads and more of the good memories to share with fellow Cavaliers both on and off the Borromeo Field during that yearly event.

Brilliant suggestions ranging from a managed pool of buses packaged for Loakan bound passengers coming from Manila for several days emerged – thus eliminating a good number of vehicles carrying only two to three passengers, and freeing some more road space.

Scheduling a bus transfer system from pickup points in Baguio to Fort del Pilar and back, and prohibiting individual vehicles – except for the guest of honor and entourage as well as organic PMA personnel will further free more road and parking space in Academy grounds.

The great ideas were discussed freely and quite a few made very good points, specially another good friend – Cavalier Proscoro “Bruce” Mundo 98, formerly of the Navy and now a consultant urban planner with excellent academic credentials – suggesting sound methods and resulting in getting dragged into the PMAAAI planning board for the Homecoming week by Cavalier Resty Aguilar 78.

Unless we are willing to make it happen, this is what we’re going to have to face every year and we’re going to continue to gripe endlessly about it. It reminds me of what my mistah, recently retired Cavalier Augusto “Jun” Marquez, Jr 84 said – if, the Baron gave the command “Pasa Masid” and I, as squad leader of the first squad, first platoon, Alfa Coy, gave a command to my squad saying “walang kilos!”, hindi maka parada ang Corps!”

That’s exactly what’s going to happen.

So let the Corps march. And not ride for hours on end, wasting fuel, generating frustration levels to the point of being dangerous.

(Photos courtesy of Cavalier Bob Yap 82, whose patience was mitigated by taking these pictures while waiting on the roads.)

Carmaggeddon 1

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The Cadet Corps Online


Porma!

This week is Homecoming Week at Loakan.

Sir Dan Jimenez 77 sounded off an appeal to members of the Corps to change their profile photo to one of themselves as cadets.

The response was quick and viral. And very heartwarming. It was as if the Cadet Corps started appearing from all over and I was hearing the “attention call” faintly in the background. It was good to see my classmates, upperclassmen and underclassmen post images of themselves when their hair was shorter, their midsections trim and their uniforms immaculately pressed and shining where applicable.

All over social media, photos of the Corps in formation or otherwise started appearing, along with anecdotes of incidents that would not have been recalled had they not been recounted online.

Yet it was the old photos that rekindled the fires inside, bringing out a nostalgia that we had thought had been buried deep already.

Once again, I felt the need to brace up properly and conduct myself accordingly.

It had that effect on me as well as many of my other friends online who did so.

Where we are now is largely due to choices we made then, circumstances that influenced them and perhaps, destiny. While a great many lived out their careers in uniform, many others as well either left Loakan in civvies or hung up their uniforms much earlier.

Yet we are all the better for it.

This week in Fort Del Pilar, a great many of her sons and daughters will be riding vehicles across the plains of Luzon, hurdling the mountains of Baguio to reach their precious destination, the Philippine Military Academy. There,they will inhale the scent of fresh pine needles, walk through familiar pavement, visit old haunts, lament the destruction of the old barracks and look forward to the parades and seeing the other members of the Corps during their respective “times”.

And come back down to reality, refreshed, infused with another dose of what it felt like to be a cadet once more – when the environment was more ideal and it was possible to harbor idealistic goals.

Happy Homecoming to all the Cavaliers setting foot once again on Borromeo Field.

Academy, O hail to thee!

(Photo courtesy of Dado Enrique 83, the Class First Captain and Regimental Commander)

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Goodbye, Regis Hall.


Regis Hall

Several weeks ago, we were informed of the pending motion to demolish one of the cadet barracks buildings in Fort del Pilar, and though the news was jolting, I thought nothing much of it until there were photos posted on the ongoing demolition.

The images were quite shattering.

Regis Hall demolition guard room Erwin Luga

Regis Hall demolition 2

Regis Hall demolition 1

Regis Hall demolition 6

I never got to stay in this building during my abbreviated time spent in the Academy, but I was quite familiar with it, as I had to visit quite a number of upperclassmen before and after taps, for some unfinished business elsewhere.

Regis Hall was also where the Headquarters, Tactics Group held office, at the lower floors and if you found yourself there during office hours, the reasons were grave, for sure. Otherwise, they were neat places to hide in at night, when you didn’t want to get found.

To be sure, quite a number of adventures transpired in the rooms and hallways of this building. And many a former cadet from the classes of the 70’s onward have either frightening tales or hilarious ones of this place – from rooms to the rooftop.

And this is why the destruction of Regis Hall means a lot to it’s former inhabitants and visitors.

Regis Hall demolition 315 Erwin Luga

Regis Hall windows

While it may be true that nothing can erase the vividness of the memory of this edifice, future generations of cadets will have to content themselves with pictures and narratives of the adventures and misadventures that happened in the building that will now be replaced by another – sturdier, perhaps – with newer memories that have yet to be created.

Regis Hall will now continue to exist in the minds of those whose memories are beginning to fade, revitalized only during the small gatherings when stories are recounted and exchanged, lubricated by toxins of choice. Regis Hall will now be recalled along with the likes of other landmarks such as the Post Library, Lorenzo Hall, Central Barracks, the former quadrangle, which are forever etched into the memory banks of the Corps at that time when they were there.

Goodbye, Regis Hall. You were dreaded, longed for, a comfort, a bane and most of all, a home to a great many for at least a semester or trimester once upon a time.

You will live on in our hearts.

(Photo credits to Cavaliers Augusto “MarQ84” Marquez Jr. ’84 for the external views of the former Regis Hall, and two other Cavalier uppies and good friends for their images of what used to be a home for a great many cadets.)

Regis Hall 2

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Memories: The Boodle Bar


There are little nooks established throughout Fort Del Pilar, which most members of the Corps will cherish fondly in their memories. But one particular cranny stands out.

It’s that unofficial supply point located mostly in the laundry or trunk rooms of every cadet company, where enterprising cadets help raise resources for the company fund while enjoying a quick snack on the premises of the barracks area.

And this is the boodle bar.

Boodle bar

It is a given that all cadets, without exception, are hungry all the time. The plebes have reason to be hungry, given the mess hall pressures as well as having to exert more than the usual effort to get from one place to another.

Upperclassmen, because of the physical requirements of PE, intramurals, being members of the Corps Squads and many other reasons to exert themselves, end up being hungry as well.

So, a boodle bar per company seems like a logical addition where the hungry can avail of a quick snack immediately.

Mind you, this is the Cadet Honor code at work. No one mans the boodle bar. Prices are marked and for those short on cash, they write down what they take and the total accumulated debt for snacks are collected on payday. That’s how ideal free enterprise worked in Loakan – at least, during the time I was there.

Plebes had to have cash. Otherwise, if they were to be “listed”, there would be recriminations from other hungry and then, angry upperclassmen because of their “bravity”. (This is probably where the coined word “hangry” came from.)

The assortment of offerings varied according to the network of connections that the cadets had with the residents of Fort del Pilar. If one was friends with one of the enterprising daughters of the officers of the Acad Group, they would be fortunate enough to be supplied with cinnamon rolls or egg tarts. Others had the usual staple favorite, banana turon or banana cue. Others managed to outsource handmade sandwiches – which invited spoilage, but fortunately, more were hungry enough to devour them well before their expiry date.  For sure, there were more, but senior moments keep the memory bank fuzzy now.

Some enterprising cadets took it upon themselves to negotiate a deal with the company staff, ensuring them an income for the company fund and were able to generate accumulated modest profits in the process. The company staff saw no reason to challenge it – less work for them and the fund just kept growing.  And they had their boodles as well.

These gentlemen flourished with their business. And why not? Their marketing tactics included knocking on the doors of plebe rooms during tattoo and offering them their merchandise (authorized) and being firstclassmen, no one challenged their modus operandi.

Their efforts paid off handsomely during breaks and parades, when they had more than the usual sums to go on privilege in between practice or the official parades. But hey, that’s capitalism and free enterprise for you. Suffice it to say, these officers and gentlemen made a quick transition to retired officers and businessmen quickly.

There are many places which former members of the corps will always remember fondly. And the boodle bar ranks highly among them all.

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The Progressive Military Career (and how it usually ends these days)


(With all due respect to the true sportsman and sportswriter among us, sir Charly Holganza 78 – this is not an attempt to hijack his sportsmanlike theme in this online magazine.  This humble representation writes only to react at the observation that retirement ceremonies and testimonial parades are no longer complete without the testimonial golf game.

Hence this post.)

There used to be an inscription in the Jurado Hall, at the time when I was double timing around the area, where it said: “From these halls will come the future generals of the AFP”.

While it may be true for quite a lot of the grads, I always wondered why it was placed there instead of the foyer area of Melchor Hall, where it would have been most appropriate.

Perhaps a bit of modesty prevailed on the command to let it be displayed there, but knowing what I do now, I would have added: “And when they retire, they will become proficient golfers”.

Really.

The way it’s happened is that many a progressive military career has been capped with an obsession for the fairways, the greens and early morning flights – not the Air Force kind.

My own classmates continue to coordinate through Viber for golf gatherings in the various courses around Metro Manila on a daily basis, and many a “groufie” has to do with posing in front of the tee off areas or the putting greens in all sorts of colorful golf costume.

One would think that retirement would allow for late morning awakenings. Not so. Specially if tee of time is sometime before sunrise. The enthusiasm for the game gets them up even earlier to get there on time – by hook or by slice.

The Department of Physical Education should already begin considering the inclusion of the golf program into the sports curriculum of the cadets, knowing that they will be on the greens anyway, at a certain point in their careers. Not all, but a great many.

While plebes may be allowed to caddy or pick up stray golf balls, yearlings should be introduced to the game by learning how to drive and putt.  From what I hear, that is no easy skill set to acquire. (This humble representation only knows the game from hearsay.)

Cow year may be devoted to perfecting the drive, pitch and putt and first class year will be the introductory year to the fairways.  This is all, of course, in theory, but quite a number of bugos have already agreed that this program of instruction would be a good introduction to the game.  After all, in all likelihood, by the time that they will have enough funds to afford a set of clubs and green fees, they would be at least Captains or LtSgs already.  Unless of course, by some lucky streak, a generous benefactor would bequeathe a set of clubs to them because they don’t have room in their garages anymore for a newer set.

It will take a while before they become seriously addicted to the game and look forward to the tournaments that are held on a weekly basis in most courses.  Envelopes containing tournament tickets “considered sold” abound in offices.  And there is no shortage of takers.

Alumni week, after all, is highlighted by a tournament among the classes held in the nearby course beside Loakan. The Class of 1983 holds the greatest number of championships won for that game until trounced fairly – and rightly so! – by a class much younger.

The US based PMA groups now hold a week long sporting activity including a golf tournament among the groups – the Northeast Group, the Midwest Group, the SoCal Group, the NorCal Group and the East Coast Group. It’s a fun filled week full of laughter, a degree of competitiveness and lots of kayahizing, culminating with the awards night, where one final competition – the Karaoke competition – caps the event before dancing.

JC 2014 2JC 2014 1

But before that, the Group Champion is announced after scores are read out and the winner takes home the coveted Jurado Cup – yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as the Jurado Cup now.

JC 2014 4

So, for the sake of the future of the Cavalier community whose paths may take them there, it would already be a good thing to integrate both golf and singing into the training programs of the Cadet Corps while they are still there. It will prepare them for the future “progressive military career, which ends on the golf course and a Magic Sing competition”.

JC 2014 3

(All photos taken from the PMA Bugo Bugos Overseas Facebook Group, with thanks to the kodakers.)

N.B. I wish to acknowledge that this article was liberally laced with the use of vocabulary from Pardspeak, a language that was developed beyond the portals of Loakan.

The origin of Pardspeak is the CEO of Bernadette Gardens, in New Jersey, by way of Dumangas, IL (not Illinois), Pinamungajan, Ceb and Pinili, IN (Not Indiana). He is rumored to be the Supreme Field Marshal of the NEG as well as the company of gentlemen farmers in CONUS by way of Loakan.

HIs greatest contribution to humanity is a concoction that has developed a cult following, and surfaces from time to time during large gatherings of bugos in CONUS, such as the Jurado Cup. It is famously known as the WFPP – or Werld Famous Pards Papaitan. There are those that were fortunate enough to have had a serving that trashed reason in favor of another serving – “Damn the gout and full bowl again.”

WFPP

I wish to acknowlege his indirect contribution for the use of these words, which have become a source of enjoyment by quite a lot of those that bother to read these articles.

Pards 47

Thank you, sir Pards 47.

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Desiderata: in Other Tongues


Desiderata in Other Tongues
a joint translation post
by Dan, Mel and Jim 77 and Ponswa 83

Marubdob na Kahilingan
(Desiderata, Isang malayang salin)

Humayo ka ng mapayapa sa gitna ng gulo at ingay
at huwag kalimutan ang biyaya ng katahimikan.
Hangga’t maaari ng walang pagsuko
piliting maging kaayo-ayo sa bawat nilalang.
Ipahayag mo ang iyong katotohanan ng tahimik at malinaw
at makinig ka sa iba,
kahit na ang pulpol at mangmang,
sila rin ay may mga tanging kasaysayan.
Iwasan ang mga hambog at walang pakundangan
sila’y buwisit sa sangkatauhan.

Kung ihahambing mo ang iyong sarili sa iba,
maaaring ikaw ay yumabang o mainggit
dahil parating mayroong kulang o makahihigit sa iyo.
Namnamin mo ang iyong tagumpay gayon din ang iyong mga balak.
Tustusan mo ang iyong hanapbuhay, gaano man ito kaaba,
ito ay tunay na sa iyo sa pabago-bagong ihip ng kapalaran.

Mag-ingat ka sa iyong kalakal
sapagkat ang mundo’y puno ng mandaraya.
Ngunit huwag mong pabayaang ito ay bumulag sa ‘y o sa anumang kabutihang nagkalat,
maraming tao ay nagsisikap na maabot ang tugatog ng kadakilaan,
at lahat ng lupalop ay puno ng kabayanihan.
Magpakatotoo ka. At huwag na huwag mong itatwa ang pagmamahal.
Huwag ka ring mawalan ng tiwala sa pag-ibig,
dahil sa harap ng lubos na katigangan at kawalan ng paniniwala,
ito ay tulad ng kaparangang walang katapusan.

Makinig ng mahinahon sa aral ng mga taon,
samantalang malamyang isinusuko ang mga habi ng kabataan.
Diligin ang lakas ng dibdib upang makabangon sa biglang dagok ng kapalaran.
Ngunit huwag mong pahirapan ang sarili sa mga pangamba.
Maraming takot ay dahilan ng pagod at kalungkutan.

Bagamat kailangan ang pagpupunyagi at pagpipigil,
maging mabait sa sarili.
Ikaw ay anak ng kalangitan
katulad ng mga puno at mga bituin,
ikaw ay may karapatan sa mundo.
At kahit na ang lahat ay malinaw o malabo sa iyo,
ang kalangitan ay magliliwanag para sa iyo nang dapat lamang.

Tanggapin mo ang Panginoon,
kahit sino man Siya sa iyong palagay.
At kung ano man ang iyong ginagawa at inaaasam,
sa maingay na kaguluhan ng buhay,
panatiliin ang kapayapaan sa iyong kaluluwa.

Puno man ng kabuktutan, paghihirap at naglahong pangarap
ang mundo ay napakaganda pa rin.
Magpakasaya. Magsumikap na lumigaya.

dan,mel&jim
“The greatest failure is that never attempted.”
C-3609 ’77 Bravo

For those from the land of hard tongue, my Bisdak take on Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata (with my sincere apologies):

“Paglakaw ug malinawon sa taliwa sa kasaba ug pagdali ug hinumdumi ang kalinaw anaa sa kahilom.

Kutob sa mahimo na walay paghunong sa pagsukol paningkamota na maayo ang imong relasyon sa tanan mga tawo.

Pagsulti sa imong kamatu-oran sa hilom ug tin-aw, ug paminaw sa uban bisan mga bogo ug walay alamag; kay sila pud, naa’y ilang istorya.

Likayi ang mga agresibo ug mga saba-an nga tawo, sila ang makapalagot sa espiritu. Kung itandi nimo ang imong kaugalingon sa uban, mahimo ka ug hambogero o pait.

Kay sa kanunay, adunay tawo na mas maayo o mas ubos sa imong kaugalingon. Pagtagbaw sa imong mga kalampusan ingon man sa imong mga plano.

Padayong interesado sa imong panginabuhi,bisan mapainubsanon; kini mao ang usa ka tinuod nga mapanag-iya diha sa pag usab-usab sa kahimtangan sa panahon.

Pag amping sa mga kalihokan sa negosyo; kay daghang mangingilad sa kalibutan. Apan ayaw pag piyong sa mga hiyas nga aduna; daghan nga mga tawo nga naningkamot alang sa taas nga mga sumbanan; ug sa bisan asa. ang kinabuhi puno sa kabayanihon.

Ayaw usba ang imong kaugalingon. Ilabi na, dili magpakaaron-ingnon.

Ayaw magsipala tungod sa gugma, Tungod sa nawad-an sa kahamugaway ug pagkalibog, kini kanunay nga adunahan sama sa sagbot.

Gamita ang tambag sa katuigan, ug sa maanyag nga paagi, buhi-i ang mga butang sa pagkabatan-on. Pag-amuma sa kalig-on sa espiritu aron sa pagpanalipod kanimo sa kalit nga katalagman.

Ayaw kabalaka ang imong kaugalingon sa mga hunahuna. Daghang mga kahadlok ang natawo sa kakapoy ug kamingaw. Lapas sa maayo nga disciplina, magmalumo ka sa imong kaugalingon.

Anak ka sa uniberso, dili mas ubos sa mga kahoy ug mga bitu-on. Aduna ka’y katungod nga ma anhi diri. Ug bisan klaro o dili kanimo, walay duhaduha, ga abli ang uniberso sa paagi nga kinahanglan.

Busa, magmalinawon ta uban sa Diyos, bisan unsa ang imong hunahuna mahitungod kaniya. Ug bisan unsa ang imong paghago ug nga pangandoy, sa pagkasaba ug pagkagubot sa kinabuhi, bantayi ang kalinaw sa imong kalag.

Uban sa tanan nga kaulaw, kabudlay ug mga nangaguba na damgo, nindot ra gihapon ug matahum ang kalibutan.

Pagmaya.

Paningkamot nga magmalipayon.”

Ponswa 83
C-4460
Hawk Coy

Desiderata

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The Social life of the Corps


In the life of a young adult, socials are an activity to look forward to, and cadets are no different in that respect.

And this is why a “hop” is a major highlight in a cadet’s three year tenure (Plebes are not allowed this privilege until they take a step upward as upperclassmen).

You would think that a cadet hop was nothing more than a party. Think again. Cadet hops are more formal, and though it would appear to be more stiff, by comparison, it could be quite fun and memorable – specially for those couples whose journeys began with these events.

Cadet Hop 1939

(From the album of Cavalier Liberato Picar ’40, RIP)

The cadet hops are usually held in the mess hall, appropriately rearranged to accommodate a more lively three to four hour engagement, allowing cadets to mingle with visitors of the opposite sex. (* note that my limited exposure only allowed for the experiences of male cadets at that time. With the Corps being co-ed already, the culture is vastly different.)

Should the affair be held elsewhere, the same rules apply. Invitations are issued in advance, and should the hop be in Baguio, cadets were normally allowed to escort their “drags” or dates from their houses or wherever they were staying to the hop venue, and afterwards, they could escort them back. Whatever happened along the way is none of our business, but theirs.

These affairs were comparatively stiff, by regular standards. A “hands off policy” applied and cadets were always at their straight, braced up form – which impressed the ladies no end.

This of course, was not applicable when the music turned their feet to dancing. And a lot of them danced. As the night waned, the music took on a slower pace and there was a major increase of occupants on the dance floor – including tactical officers, with their watchful eyes monitoring the distance between dancers.

What a lot of people do not know is that there was a unit assignment of gentlemen that were tasked to be equal opportunity “entertainers” to visitors without drags. These cadets approached every lady, regardless of height, orientation, persuasion, or form. They were there to make sure that their time at the hop would not be one that they would regret going to.

And many a friendship began with this intended gesture or manuever. Some even took it a bit further. At any rate, these gentlemen are to be saluted for doing the Academy proud and leaving a good memory in the minds of these female visitors, who would have otherwise ended up being wall flowers.

I have no idea what happens now, with the female cadets.

During the recent visit of the Class of 2019 to Cebu, a hop was put together to allow cadets to mingle with the young adults of their age and allow the locals to see what cadets are like, up close and personal. Needless to say, it was a successful affair and we laud the officers of Central Command, which spearheaded this initiative and the Cebu Squad families for supporting them.

Cadet Hop

I am grateful for the use of the photo of Cav Dice Dignadice 00 of this hop – he was a foster father to several cadets and they all had a memorable time with him and his family.

One last thing – the hop usually ends with “Kaydet Girl” as the last song to be played and tradition mandates that the cadet dancing with the drag has the right to demand one kiss for the privilege of dancing. How this applies to the female cadets and “dragons”, I have absolutely no idea.

Times have changed things, indeed. But not the need to meet and mingle. May there be more of these engagements, and not necessarily entangled ones.

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Hotdarn, spirits and spirituality


Baguio has gained prominence as a destination for spiritual activities. It is home to various religious institutions for study, retreat and education.

While our precious destination in Loakan may not qualify as a religious institution in the conventional sense, there exists a profound “religiosity” among the members, most specially when dealing with contraband items such as “hot darn”.

Rhum

“Hot darn”, as all who passed through the portals of Loakan know, is the informal term that is used to refer to anything intoxicating enough to warrant a class 1 slug, if caught. Many a cadet, caught with the said liquids in his possession, were turned back or dismissed because of them. Yet, the practice of “spiriting” these liquids into the barracks for occasional (though very quick) consumption continues.

A Witful uppie of the 60’s generation recalls that liquor was authorized for consumption during formal occasions with officers present. Presumably, this was so, because the cadets had to learn how to handle themselves with these spirits. Unfortunately, the practice was discontinued – and the cadets (ex cadets and alumni included) still don’t know how to handle themselves.

Fortunately, this is so – with or without inebriation.

The debate continues to go on beyond the gates of Fort del Pilar – considering the merits and demerits caused by prohibition of the use and misuse of these liquids. Whether or not they will be advantageous to the snappity of the Corps will have to be a matter to be discussed over a drink or two.

Spiritual activity, though has not been limited to liquid form. There was once, when the class of 1979 caused a stir for their own kind of “spiritual activity” – and this one involved a glass, but no liquids.

The question and answer portion that spread faster than “balitang sink” reached the intelligence groups and this eventually forced the transfer of their graduation rites to the now destroyed (by an earthquake) Baguio Convention Center. True or not, the Class of 79 will always remember having graduated from there instead of the traditional rite held at the Borromeo Field.

On the other hand, there is the very elating narrative of the PMA Christian Fellowship, which is currently being shepherded by no less than an alumnus, a good friend and kabayan, Cavalier Erwin Luga 82.

The congregation has flourished since they started as a small bible study and prayer group with a few officers and cadets. These days, they meet in a larger venue and are open to everyone in the area wanting to worship along with them during Sundays.

The PMACF also conducts their own activity during Alumni week, welcoming former attendees – former cadets and alumni and friends, and for a small contribution, are welcome to enjoy pizza along with their catch up conversations with those present.

This is one development that I wished I had when I was a cadet – the chance to nurture my own spiritual transformation and development, and help those that needed nurturing alongside the rigorous and punishing training that is only available in the Academy.

Yes, the halls in Loakan are hallowed ground as well. But may they always be – for the right reasons.

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The much misconstrued Boodlefight


Even the Inquirer attempted a definition.

“The Urban Dictionary defines “boodle fight” as “a military style of eating,” in which food, piled on top of banana leaves laid out on long tables, is to be taken with bare hands washed with water from jugs prepared on the side, which “eating combat” begins when the signal is given.

The dictionary adds, rather jocularly, that this is “Philippine fine dining,” in which everyone has to eat fast and can have his fill.

Source here: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/210027/the-boodle-fight#ixzz4ekaOXY1s

This was contributed by a friend, the good Judge Simeon Dumdum from Cebu.

There are quite a few restaurants that have begun to offer their food in such a fashion, and it amuses many a bugo no end when they see people partake of the food awkwardly because they know only too well what kind of activity this really does entail.

When my classmate, the good general Noli Orense, was lamenting the matter of proprietarial considerations, I was inspired enough to look into the etymology of this tradition of the Corps, it’s origins and how it evolved since.

As with most terms that were incorporated into the Corps language, “boodle” has it’s origins in the depression era language of the West Point cadet corps of the time. From what I hear, the term is no longer in use in Hudson High, but lives on in Loakan and beyond her portals.

“Boodle” was a term used by gangs in New York at that time, and it meant money, stash, contraband, stolen goods and at times, prohibition outlawed alcohol and drugs.

The West Point cadets appropriated the term for themselves, and when some of their graduates were assigned to train the cadets of what used to be the Philippine Constabulary Academy, the term was absorbed into the culture.

From then on, it evolved and became associated with food consumed outside the mess hall by the perpetually hungry cadets until one brilliant soul decided to put together a small feast of paper bags of what used to be steaming rice, a can of sardines, all dumped on a sheet of newspaper – to be consumed by available hungry cadets lucky enough to be in the area at the prompting of one, shouting “Booodlefight!!”.

Class 81 boodlefight demo

(Class 81 boodlefight demo during class, courtesy of LtGen Alan R. Luga (ret.))

Then, the fracas begins.

Everyone, regardless of class distinctions jumps in for a fistful of food – some accompanied by bits of newspaper – and mouthed as soon as possible, to make room for another fistful, if one was fortunate enough to get another.

To be sure, elbows and sometimes fists missed the boodle mountain and landed elsewhere.

Intentional or not, this was considered to be part of the fun. Woe betide you if the target for the “hit” was an upperclassman and if he saw who aimed it at him. Inadvertently or not.

To make things even more exciting, these non culinary events were held in company trunk rooms and lights were purposely turned off before the boodlefight call was shouted. This made for more “hits” and you can be sure they weren’t misses.

The key element to the success of these small “celebrations” was an appetite honed sharper by continuous physical activity such as road runs, PE classes and athletics. This is why cadets were always hungry. Plebes, even more so.

And there was never a shortage for a cause for celebration: birthdays, company victories, or any other reason – all one had to do was to order a few plebes to ferret out paper bags of steamed rice out of the mess hall and have a can or two of sardines handy.

After study period, a quick prep of the mess to be was engineered – and those in the know began to hang around the trunk room area, eager for the sweet call of “boodlefight” to be shouted out. And quicker than a jump from a C-130, everyone fell into the mess, willingly.

This is why, when “boodlefights” are held to commemorate a victory or an achievement by a unit, knowing former cadets smile wryly. Because they know how different the nature of their boodlefight is from what they know to be the real thing.

Matikas boodlefight at CentCom

(A more “civilized” boodlefight, held at Central Command, by Matikas Class 83 classmates and families to commemorate someone’s visit. The food was delicious and the fun was hilarious.)

It used to be that when Cavaliers, former cadets and retired alumni gathered together, they initially attempted to capture the spirit of the boodlefight during the mealtime of the affair. But alas, they could not. After the first few handfuls, everyone began to fill up rather quickly and the food would still be plentiful.

These days, plates and a buffet style of serving has become more de rigeur. And the boodlefight consigned to a memory.

But, there are still some times when some of these friends from the Corps decide to eat together and get a can or two of sardines and, well, you know the drill.

Just for the taste of it. Once again.

Bon appetit, ladies and gentlemen of the Corps.

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Seasons, Cycles and Summer


Summer is finally here. Preparations are under way for the annual Southern Cruise – which by the way, will now be using two PAF C 130’s instead of Navy ships. How’s that for modernization?

The Cebu Squad is now coordinating with CentCom to prepare for assisting the Class of 2019 for their brief visit to Cebu City.

The new graduates/officers are enjoying their brief lull before reporting for basic training in their respective branches of service training centers.

The Academy is inundated with tourists and visitors once again, and you hear the ever familiar “Cadet, cadet…pa picture sana kami, kasama ka”.

In this age of selfies and smart phones, it’s more time consuming then ever. It’s not just one pose, but a series of poses – because one group usually has at least two smart phones.

You get the picture.

This can actually extend to unscheduled “escorting” around the Academy grounds until the cadet is threatened with a report for “escorting in improper uniform” and has to return to barracks to change into privilege uniform (dress gray pants) or stay there – because he is not authorized to do any escorting due to deficiencies.

But now, before that happens, there’s a quick exchange of mobile phone numbers.

The new connectivity.

And yes, last April 1, the Class of 2021 was formally received for Summer Camp training at the Borromeo Field.

A whole new season and cycle has just begun. Again.

Class 2021 Summer Camp

(Photo courtesy of 2Lt Rinze Marrion Eviota of Class 2017, AOC, HTG, PMA)

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Pacquiao Proud


A splinter in one’s toe, shoots pain all the way to the brain. Not only is it bothersome, it hurts. Much like the damning criticisms hurled against Paquiao because he praised Duterte right after his victory. The hate openly expressed in social media and the subtle “left hooks” by the traditional press make a true Filipino question: are we as a people really damned to be divided?

In the world stage of sports, no Filipino has raised the country higher that Pacquiao. With 11 titles in 8 weight divisions, no boxer will ever come close. No body. More than that, no Filipino prizefighter has helped more of his “kababayans” with money from his own pocket. He has built houses, schools and a hospital for those what the opposition romantically calls “laylayan” of society. Those who are only of use during elections but are quickly forgotten by the victors who promised heaven on earth. The marginalized are not only Pacquaio’s constituents, they are his genuine concern.

He was an unschooled runaway driven by poverty to boxing. He started fighting professionally even before it was legal for him to do so because he must eat and survive. He burst into the world stage like a whirlwind. Fast. Furious. Unfazed. Without fear. He was cheered by foreigners, even by his vanquished opponents. For Filipinos the world over, it was an honor to be identified as Pacquiao’s compatriot. It felt good.

Politics has a way of demonizing even the most well-intentioned. Philippine politics has fine tuned it to a science, no one is immune. Even a national treasure like Pacquaio.

It was a weekend of champions. France won the World Cup, Djokovic won Wimbledon, Pacquiao won the WBA Welterweight Championship belt. Only Pacquiao was pilloried for his political pronouncement. Only Pacquiao was belittled for what he believes. Just be a boxer, one critic said. A comment that summarized the elitist attitude against one who will never belong no matter how rich or exalted Pacquiao becomes. He will always be the unschooled runaway driven by poverty to boxing. Just a boxer.

As the weekend fades and the grind turns to survival and living, the applause fades and the accolades get muted. Athletes put away their championships and prepare for the next tournament, the next fight. True Filipinos will look forward to when their champion will fight again while those with heartfelt concerns will wish he retires now. No dragons are left to slay for one who has done more than his share. Still, the voices of those who hate Pacquiao’s politics will not be subdued nor be tempered. As a Duterte supporter, he, too, must be destroyed. Being a national treasure notwithstanding.

There are more appreciation expressed by those who see Pacquiao as a personification of excellence, as the embodiment of triumph against all odds, as an inspiration bar none. He has accomplished what is not possible, done what can not be done. To the downtrodden, those who were born without hope nor the wherewithal to better themselves, he will remain the dream that can come true. That yes, nothing is impossible.

He will one day, fade away and generations after may never see another one like him. Still, those who knew him will always remember and appreciate what he did for the Filipino, for the ordinary human being.

Pacquiao proud!

For always!

dan,mel&jim

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In the never ending blue


In the field of green that stretches beyond the eyes’ realm
Life is summer with hopes soaring
and youth lives without cares nor second guessing
Love is all heat and kisses and dreams
and yesterday’s rains are dried up tears on a pretty girl’s cheeks wiped away by balloons and flowers and ice-creams.
I hear of songs by birds soaring
sounding like baby’s first coos in his mother’s arms
while the mind searches for lyrics to mark in memory
that must never be forgotten.
Love.

In the white cotton balls of clouds eternal
heaven beckons in sweet whispers
calling to mind the promises spoken from mountain tops
of holy men whose hearts were pure
whose hands were clean
whose lips were sinless.
There is gentleness allotted but to blessed eyes
of faith and forgiveness even in the reality of muck and decay.
Stay on with the gentle breeze
let no tempest end a child’s ardent prayer
of smiles and laughter and sunshine
regardless of season’s changing and man’s evil.
Never must one give up.
Life.

In the never ending blue of tranquility and peace
silence watches in unchanging hue
while invincible kites fly with ghosts of heroes and martyrs
watching the earth they gave their life for.
Hear their words immortal with hearts without hatred
with minds devoid of memory
with fists unclenched
with cheeks unbloodied.
If only men can emulate nature
and treasure the only planet they have
perhaps the future will bloom with a million flowers
and songs and poems will celebrate
what each live for and desire.
Peace.

In the never ending blue.

 

Image may contain: people standing, sky, tree, plant, grass, cloud, outdoor and nature
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Help!!! I Just Caught the World Cup Fever!!!


– from Color My World (cbholganzablog.wordpress.com)

For a much clearer view, just click on the pics.

Have you seen some zombie-like figures in the office lately? Have you recently noticed a mysterious malady striking your co-workers, causing a spike in tardiness and calling-in-sick? Noticed those bulging eyebags or reddened eyes? Have you been jolted awake by sudden shrieks and shouts from your neighbors in the middle of the night?

Don’t fret. It’s not the end of the world yet. (Though for some devotees across the globe, it would certainly seem so.) Those zombies you see with bloodshot eyes are football fanatics who have been staying awake watching the ongoing World Cup in Russia on their TV sets. And the screaming and shouting in the middle of the night are not robbery victims, but obsessed and crazy football addicts celebrating a beautifully-crafted goal that will remain ingrained in their minds till the next one comes.

football13DailyExpress

Careful with these guys, their condition has been found to be highly contagious. (Daily Express)

The FIFA World Cup is once again upon us. It is a quadrennial international competition showcasing the best football players in the world. It is a sports extravaganza that is almost like a life-and-death struggle for some, but is at the same time celebrated with so much fun, revelry and brotherly love.

In some countries, it is said that life stops when the games begin. Streets are deserted; everyone is glued to the TV sets; beer is overflowing; even sex, violence and politics are forgotten. (Hmmm, something must be terribly wrong with these people!) Sports – and soccer football in particular – has truly proven to be the great miracle worker unifying a fractious world.

Russia is said to have spent close to a whopping $15B to make this the most expensive, yet most impressive World Cup ever. A total of 12 stadiums in 11 key Russian cities were built or renovated for this football festival. A total of 32 base camps were organized to host the 32 national teams which came to compete for the most prestigious crown of the most prestigious sport in the world today. And each of these teams brought in tens of thousands of fans to cheer them on, filling the stadiums to their maximum capacities, ranging from 30 plus to 81 thousand. Indeed, Russia has rolled out the gleaming red carpet to show the world its unique kind of hospitality.

In the first round of this month-long World Cup, the 32 teams have been divided into 8 Groups of four. The four-team groups are presently playing a round-robin mini-tournament, with the top two teams moving up to the second round. The 16 surviving teams teams then enter the knockout stages of the match, where it is win or go home. From the Round of 16, it goes to the quarterfinals, the semis, and finally, the World Cup Finals.

football4Funnyjunk

The first round has 8 groups of four, with the top 2 teams moving on to the next round. (Funny Junk)

The 2018 World Cup Finals is set on July 15 at the newly-renovated Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. With a seating capacity of 81,000, it is the largest football stadium in Russia and one of the largest in Europe. It has had a record attendance of close to 103,000 in a football match pitting Russia with Italy.

Seeded to reach the higher rounds before the tourney started were the teams from Brazil, Germany, France, Spain, Argentina and Belgium. However, at this stage of the round-robin matches, the defending champions from Germany have suffered a serious upset to Mexico 1-0, and is in danger of being shamefully booted out early. The 2014 runner-up Argentina is in grave danger of exiting early, having been ingloriously struck down by Croatia 3-0!

As of this writing, Russia is already assured of reaching the next round, with convincing wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt in Group A. Uruguay joined Russia in the early 2nd round entries with 2 hard fought wins in Group A as well. In Group B, it looks like Spain and Portugal will advance to the next round. In Group C, France has advanced to the round of 16. In Group D, Croatia’s upset of Argentina has assured it of a place in the next round. In the other groups, each team has only played a game each so far, making it difficult to make early predictions.

Portugal’s superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo is leading the goal scorers with 4 goals in 2 matches, followed closely by Spain’s Diego Costa and Russia’s surprising Denis Cheryshev with 3 apiece. The Golden Boot Award is given to the player who scores the most number of goals in the tournament. A sideshow event here is the debate on who is the best footballer in the world today: Ronaldo or Argentina’s Lionel Messi. It will be recalled that in the 2014 World Cup, Messi scored 4 goals, leading Argentina to the Finals; while Ronaldo could only display a single goal for the tournament. This time, Ronaldo has the upper hand.

The champion of this competition will win a prize of $38M, while the runner-up gets $28M. But much, much more than that, the winner takes home the pride and glory as the world champions in this beautiful game considered as the most popular and most-watched sport in the world today.

World Cup Russia 2018  - Fans Of The 32 Nations

Fans from across the globe, 32 teams in a month-long drama. (Washington Post)

So if you see some living dead pretending to work in the office these days, or if you hear sudden screams and shouts in your neighborhood in the early hours of the morning, just let them be. It is the World Cup fever that is afflicting them, and there has been no cure discovered for their unfortunate malady.

Previews - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

(Matthew Ashton – AMA)

But then, perhaps, you may want to join us? Who do you think will reach the quarters and the semis? Who do you want to win? My head says it’s Brazil and Spain, but my heart goes to Iceland. For a small country of 337 thousand people, and having qualified for the World Cup for only the first time ever, Iceland is giving the heavyweights a run for their hard-earned money. And I’m betting my mother-in-law on them!!! Let’s go, Iceland!

football6TheEconomicTimes

Who you got? I’m betting my mother-in-law on this… (The Economic Times)

For more sports stuff, visit my blog at Color My World

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Corned Beef


I was about two. My father asked what I wanted for dinner. Corned beef, I said.

We were living then with my maternal grandparents. My father a lowly bulldozer operator.

He went to the corner store and saw one can standing. With no money and just the promise to pay later, he must charm the owner. So for over an hour, he shot the breeze with the old man without taking his eyes off the corned beef. When he finally had the gumption to ask, the old man could not say no.

I had a good dinner that night and a story to tell for the rest of my life. My father passed several years ago on Mother’s Day. My mom followed in November of 2016. I miss them. Like a boy who must live with his grandparents and leave home.

Poverty tattoos the heart with tears that never dry.

Corned beef will always be a gustatory and emotional dish. It satisfies the stomach and feeds the heart. A memory never to be forgotten.

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Remembering Boogie


Boogie1rappler

Boogie Mendoza, one of the country’s top spies, dead at 64. (Rappler)

Rodolfo ‘Boogie’ Mendoza, a proud member of PMA Class 78, retired Police General, legendary anti-communist intelligence officer, and consummate psywar practitioner, died of a heart attack last March 28. He was 64.

As a cadet in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Boogie was easy to get along with. He was originally a member of PMA Batch 77, but notwithstanding the fact that he was a ‘turnback’ cadet, he never flaunted his connections on us, his classmates, during our plebe year. Always helpful, he strove to help our ‘mistahs’ (cadet lingo for classmate) who were slow to adjust to plebe life in the Academy.

Throughout our cadet days, he always took a low profile, choosing to stay on the sidelines, content on coasting along and taking the easy way. We were part of Bud-daho Company, which later reverted back to Delta Company, and we were gaining a distinct notoriety as the company which loved their wine much, much more than they did their women. And Boogie was right at home with that band of boisterous brothers.

We parted ways after graduation in 1978, as he joined the Philippine Constabulary with some of our other mistahs, while the rest of us would join the Army, the Navy or the Air Force. For a while, I lost track of him. But the next time our paths crossed, it was a totally different Boogie I encountered.

We would see each other once again when I was reassigned to Davao in the early 80s. Gone was the ‘drink-and-be-merry’ attitude. In its place was a passion for the work at hand, a consuming drive to uncover the Kommid (or the Mindanao Commission), which was the Communist Party’s top leadership in Mindanao.

He would burn the midnight oil pouring over sacks and sacks of captured documents, intent on filling up his wall of names, organizations and linkages. He endeavored to learn as much about the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed group, the New People’s Army (NPA). From the very top of the organization down to the smallest units known as the SLTs and SYPs. He became practically a walking encyclopedia of the Kommid, knowing even the dark little secrets within the organization.

His knowledge of the NPA organization in Southern Mindanao became legendary. At one time, there was a ‘salvaging’ incident in Agdao in Davao City where a Cafgu member was felled by NPA assassins. Our soldiers picked up a very suspicious looking character and brought him to Camp Catitipan for questioning, but we didn’t have anything on him. Boogie walked in, took one look at the guy, and spelled out his name and position in the insurgent organization. He even spiced it up by adding some private details about him. The guy immediately broke down and confessed. No lengthy interrogation, no third-degree, not even a single question. Boogie had him the moment he set eyes on him.

His reputation in the counter-insurgency campaign would grow. Even as a young lieutenant, he was already in the Kommid’s list of most wanted individuals, while the rest on the list were all generals. Among his noted early successes were the capture of Benjamin De Vera, then the highest ranking personality in the Kommid; plus many other top-ranking personalities. He was now making a name for himself in the police and military world as a topnotch intel operator.

As a planner, Boogie was a very unorthodox individual. Almost always, he would surprise everyone with a unique and audacious way to address a problem. He never took the conventional approach to a project. He was an expert in conversational gambit. He could get you to divulge important information without you realizing it. And he was a master strategist, always looking 3 to 5 moves ahead. Discussing the possible capture of a certain personality in the communist movement, he dismissed the thought. To him, capturing the guy would be easy, but dealing with that next guy in the hierarchy would become even more difficult.

His exploits would grow beyond the insurgency field. Among others, in 1995, Boogie would uncover a terrorist plot to kill Pope Paul II during his visit to the country. The ‘Bojinka Plot’ would highlight the use of planes to blow up urban centers and key landmarks. Years later, after the horrifying 9-11 terrorist attack that destroyed the Twin Towers in New York, Boogie’s revelations would haunt American intelligence officers who failed to heed his warning.

Then came Edsa 2. This is where I remember him at his best. Martin Luther King once said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

At the start of Edsa 2, there were very few people operating on the AFP and the PNP. Boogie took it upon himself to work on getting the support of the PNP. Despite facing a formidable foe in then PNP Chief and now Senator Ping Lacson, he never backed down. Nothing personal against the Senator, but Boogie was always ready to take on the world for a righteous cause. And taking down then President Erap was the right thing to do for him at that time.

On 2 occasions, Fr Archie Intengan of the Jesuit Order would call us, offering to help in case things got too hot for comfort. But hell, no, Boogie so loved the pressure and waded on. Others shied away, avoiding him lest they themselves be tainted. But Boogie charged right ahead, challenging Erap’s machinery to bring it on. The rest is history.

After Edsa 2, Boogie went back to his counter-terror work, as the world’s attention was now gripped by a global threat that posed a much bigger problem. But he never forgot to work on his counter-insurgency holdings from where he made his indelible mark.

He was sought for as a resource speaker on terrorism and the insurgency movement. He was revered by his peers, his juniors, and quite grudgingly, by many of his former protagonists. He toiled to become a mentor to many junior police officers, fearful that the police in the later years would have very little interest in pursuing what had been a passion for him.

Talking about current developments recently, he lamented what he felt was a lack of in-depth know-how on the CPP-NPA among the present crop of intel officers and units. He noted that intel operatives today were more intent on targetting personalities, and not on addressing the strategic environment. And he was fearful of the seeming lack of long-term planning among the present crop of officers doing intel work.

And so, he toiled on, despite his family’s plea for him to stand down after he retired in 2010. He was a strategic thinker, and he had a growing realization that he needed to pass on his know-how to the next generation of intel operatives.

But underneath the facade of serious business he displayed, there was the occasional outburst of mischief that Boogie was capable of. He could dish out the most ribald of jokes among close friends. He could be as naughty as the ordinary boy-next-door. He could get you mad with his silly pranks.

And yes, despite the countless overtimes, the lengthy periods away from home, he was fiercely loyal to his family. Having been listed in the NPA’s hit list, he learned early on to be overly zealous of his family’s security. Even among our social circles, he was cautious in bringing along his wife, Evelyn, and his 4 kids.

Boogie. The consummate intel officer. A fiercely loyal friend; and yet an equally calculating, methodical adversary. A silent, lonely operator; and yet, an eager mentor. A serious, deliberate worker, with a knack for raunchy jokes. An enigma, a controversial figure, with a smile. The father of Philippine counter-terror intelligence work. The Philippine James Bond with a paunch.

He will be remembered. With fondness. With love. With respect. And with the same passion he brought to a craft he so loved. Our snappy salute.

(For more stories, visit: cbholganzablog.wordpress.com)

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In winter’s warmth


In nature’s paradox and defiance,
man’s imposed Gregorian calendar
seemed worthless
As date and timetables are rendered useless
And man looks in awe and surrenders.

There is always beauty in the falling snow
Tickling the heart and making time
For wonders a day of isolation brings
And the cold ironically demanding warmth.

The flowers’ buds shrink like a guest too early
To a party long ago was announced
But is now suspended in crystal animation
And still the snow falls.

Hurry not to spring’s mating call
The birds and the bees can wait in patient slumber
While the roses bloom in heavenly white
Echoing the dreams of those yet to be born.

It is time for retrospection as the coffee brews
And songs echo the long ago of youth and promise
No words need to be said in silence fully understood
Desire will unveil what lies ahead.

So I retire in beauty only the eyes can appreciate
And I cuddle up to the warmth I am blessed
Disturb me not about tomorrow’s worries
Today in my world, time stops.

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These I Remember


Bae and I were planting seeds. She was digging the hole, I was dropping two seeds per hole. Once I dropped three seeds and tried to recover the extra one. Then came the hoe almost severing my middle finger. I never seen her cry so hard. I miss her.

It was one of the longest afternoons. I left Camambugan to study in the city. I would be staying with my paternal grandparents until my family got settled. The train ride took my father, my brother and I from the province’s sunlight to the city’s darkness. I was too young to leave home but old enough to pursue who I wanted to be. The wages of life.

It was my graduation from elementary school. I was an honor student. I should wear a tie, a long sleeved shirt with cuff links. My cuff links were not a pair. My father said, no one will notice. The emcee called my name, I went up the stage and my father pinned me my medal. All I could think of was that my cuff links did not match.

High school was a test. No, correct that. High school was an agony. Four years could not have gone quick enough. Zits covered my face prompting classmates to call me “buwan”. I had four friends. When everyone was steady dating, I was at the market helping out so I could continue to go to school. Graduation relegated me to the last honorable mention even if my grades proved otherwise. Leading a student walk out one afternoon did that. The only satisfaction was my being awarded the best writer in English and Pilipino. My shining achievement. The one I really cared about.

I just won the 2nd Prize in the Tula category of the Rector’s Literary Contest. One of my Engineering Course professors called me to her office and congratulated me. She also questioned if I am in the right course. I did not know. Never received the award, whatever it was. I reported to the Philippine Military Academy April 1st, 1973. Some awards, I was bound not to receive, deserving or not.

She was the most beautiful girl I ever saw. A refreshing sight in a sweltering afternoon. “Midnight Rainbows for Marilou” started the courtship I still enjoy up to now. A courtship, I will pursue to the very end.Thank you for looking my way.

That December day was for tears. She left with all the uncertainties of the future with a promise I cast to the wind. Only God knew. It was only God I could entrust my fate to. To suffer but not to forget. To long but never to give up. In the darkest of nights, there would be the lonely star to keep the hope. Until one day, she came back. I was alive again.

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