This February makes me shiver. And not just in Beygyow. I never thought I’d see the day that sweaters would be a necessity in the Visayas at this time of the year, but they are.
Foundation day weekend finds itself teeming with bugos everywhere in Beygyow in winter wear. And rightfully so. Frost has actually damaged quite a lot of crops already, with temperatures going down as low as 7 degrees and dipping.
Already, quite a number have signified for their intent to visit old haunts which used to be “off limits” such as the legendary Guava Grove and Kissing Rock. With them paying close to 20k per room night at the Baguio Country Club, you still wonder why.
Perhaps, the excitement of what used to be “illicit” is still regarded as “romantic” and many a cadet I know that engaged in these stealthy activities once upon a time have so many stories to tell. Both publicly or at the risk of being excommunicated from the mosquito netting for some time.
Yes, the Cadet Corps is without exemption here.
They are lovers, and they love with abandon.
Over time, you discover that there are indeed various stereotypes that somehow repeat the same patterns over and over again. For the purposes of this article, we will just mention two: the lotharios and their usual fates, and the “very slow” but end up very happy.
The former is prevalent. There is something that strikes a spark inside a female visitor’s heart when they come to Loakan and come across a gentleman dressed in Dress White. Previously, it started with photos to be taken with the cadet in question, and the subsequent follow through after the film was developed and a picture had to be delivered.
This initiative led to a familiarity with the procedures in the former Lorenzo Hall, where Messengers of the Guard were tasked to inform cadets that they had visitors.
The MOGs quickly learned the art of discretion when there were simultaneous appearances of these sorts. The fast thinkers among the cadets learned the usefulness of punishment tours to avoid “misencounters”.
Regardless, these incidents often led to other encounters that were “fast and furious” at times, which became legendary much later on.
There are various end scenarios for these types of gentlemen – not necessarily unhappy. Some manage to reform their ways and discover the benefits of trust and fidelity – though there are awkward moments which ensue, specially during very public events such as Homecoming week, when alumni congregate – and some of that past creeps up and revisits them, unexpectedly.
Some, who were regarded as “very slow” ended up with a binding vow to immediately marry moments after graduation – due to an unexpected commitment – and happily, many of these remain happily committed to each other to this day.
There is a plus to not being “very fast” after all.
However, the times have indeed changed.
The romance of slow paced correspondence has been displaced by instantaneous electronic message delivery, and with that – the desire for instant gratification of a message reply.
And by that, we do not hope, will mean a “k”. Only.
What used to be a rigorous but rewarding process of staying in touch through handwritten letters has now been replaced with long SMS messages, longer messages via Instant Messenger (Facebook Messenger, Viber, etc.) and these are sent when the use of Wifi is authorized.
The romance of receiving multiple letter deliveries from the Post Office is gone (even if the multiple letters received were actually vehement replies from receivers who did not intend to continue the correspondence and said so.). The tradition of tackling the letter recipients has long disappeared, if I am not mistaken. What other traditions will be lost as well?
And what of our lovely Cadettes who still need a song to dance to with their “dragons” at the end of a hop, vis a vis the Kaydet girls for the male cadets? They also lose their right to end the song with their “dragons” with the way of the consequence of a drag unintentionally wearing a dress cap – knowingly or not.
These are a few of the dilemmas that need to be addressed if tradition is to be adhered to.
All in all, love bugs still teem in Loakan and many in the Corps are not immune to their bites. And this is not confined to the month of February.
Enjoy the Foundation week, everyone!