OF A HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNUS
The following was inspired by Raffy Bruan’s
article entitled “Memories”.
This is not an attempt to upstage Mr.
The article is written to the best knowledge
and recollection of the author.
Events depicted and names of persons and
places mentioned are true and factual and were never
intended nor meant in any way, shape or fashion, to
demean, belittle, embarrass, or begrudge anyone.
Author was not commissioned nor received any
remunerations whatsoever in writing this article.
It was all done in the spirit of camaraderie,
love and friendship to which the Alumni is founded
a biographical account of one’s high school
experience is a very easy thing to do if one has to
do it fresh out of school or even maybe two or three
years after graduation.
The names and faces of friends and
acquaintances are still new in one’s mind.
The memories are still freshly imbedded in
the brain that recollection is as quick and as fast
as booting up a Pentium 4-driven computer.
Now, here’s the big challenge.
Try penning one 26 years later.
The thought of it alone grips you with fear.
Not so much on the accuracy of one’s facts,
for the brain’s ability to retrieve data stored in
a lifetime is remarkable, but on the names of people
inaccuracies of personality may obscure the
genuineness of the facts.
For two weeks I agonizingly pondered whether I
could ably write my recollections of high school
life in our Alma Mater: The
Divine Word Academy (DWA) of Urdaneta.
This came about after “
- the great organizer and reuniter - finally tracked
me down here in
With the zest of a treasure hunter, he never
stopped until he found his precious “bounty”.
The efforts he took and the amount of time he
spent to locate an alumnus like me made me feel
considers me a treasure.
And so, even with the adversity that I was
bound to face writing my memoirs, the decision to go
ahead and proceed with the project would in the end
justify the hardships and difficulties this man put
forth in tracking me down.
So if you are all ready let me turn back the
hands of time.
My recollection of my freshman year is very
do remember that my parents sent me to DWA because
of two reasons:
it is the nearest Catholic school from my
hometown of Asingan and it is where my older brother
(Rocky), my older sister (Pamela), and my cousins
(Ronald, Edgar, and Alice Acosta) were enrolled in
(four years after I graduate it would also be my
sister Cherry’s (Class ’82) alma mater).
I remember our room was the second one from
the stairway on the first floor.
I had a big crush on a mestiza-looking
freshman by the name of Fanny Untalan whose room was
next to mine. There
is not an hour of the day that goes by that I do not
get a glimpse of her.
What’s my secret?
There were restrooms located on both ends of
the school building.
Every hour on the hour, I go to relieve
myself and always use the one closest to Mr.
Ridao’s office because I get to pass her
this “maddening crush” I had for her, I never
found the courage to go up and tell her about it.
I decided just to wait it out until our
Unfortunately, there was no next year to
speak of. She
ended up transferring to
My plan went to smoke and so did my
infatuation for her.
Checking out cute gals was not only the order
of the day for me.
Adventurism was also the call of the day.
I was gravitating with guys that were thrill
day right after lunch, Rodolfo Mencias and a couple
more eager-beaver kids whose names escape my memory,
and I, agreed to go to the wooded area at the back
of the school compound right across from the track
Alex Raposas who was not a regular member of the
group, decided to tag along.
Once in the jungle-like environment, we went
swinging from tree to tree ala-Tarzan.
The fun and joy was short-lived.
Alex slipped and came crashing down on the
We all converged on him and held him up.
He was grimacing in pain.
Our eyes had that terrified look in them.
Alex had an open fracture on his right elbow.
Our hearts sank.
He was rushed to the hospital and came back
to class with a cast.
He was to wear it for months.
Oh, were we guilty for bringing him along and
instigating the dangerous game!
He later invited us to his house on the
occasion of his birthday and introduced us to his
guess Alex did not give a full account of the
incident to his old folks for the rest of the gang
and I were greeted with smiles and served a
sumptuous “lechon” dinner.
year was a lot more exciting for me.
I had beautiful, voluptuous and seductive
began to admire girls with a bit of sophistication
much like a wine connoisseur is to a bottle of wine.
The age of puberty has dawned upon me.
Among the gals that stood out in class were
Josephine Sison (very talkative and had that look
that would melt a guy), Elizabeth Mones (her
gold-toothed sweet smile), Charito San Juan
(pimple-faced, demure, leg-shaking pride of
Nancayasan), and Rebecca Fernandez (snub,
eye-rolling, pouting gal).
They may have different personal traits but
they possess the same distinct, likeable physical
asset most kids growing up like me look for:
an upper body that would have merited a guest
appearance in “Kislap” magazine.
They were not only delectable but intelligent
as well. These
girls were very famous with Mr. Encarnacion, one of
our teachers. He
would call their names out loud, nod his head, gaze
at them amorously, and then bite his lower lip.
Pretty as they were, I never entertained the
thought of trying my luck on them.
For one, they were too tall for me and for
another; the phrase “never take a dump in your own
backyard” was foremost in my mind.
This made me look for prospects beyond my
famous phrase was popularized by one of our male
could not exactly pinpoint who it was now.
This period of adolescence marked the
beginning of my fancy for female teachers.
One such teacher is Ms Andrion.
She wears mini-skirt uniforms; her shiny long
hair brushed all the way down to her lower thigh,
her face made-up like a beauty queen, and lips like
strawberry wine (gosh, it sounded like one of the
She was a very religious lady, I suppose,
because she always goes to the chapel upstairs and
pray after lunch.
I cannot fully recall now but I ended up
escorting her every time she goes to the chapel for
her daily prayer dose.
Junior & Senior students would stare her
down contemptuously that she felt she would be more
secure with somebody escorting her.
I invited her to our town fiesta and I was
surprised she showed up. I entertained her like
royalty that I even offered her my parents’
bedroom so she could take a siesta.
The scene was almost a reprise of the movie
“Mrs. Robinson” except for the fact that there
were no seductress and seduced roles to be played.
My infatuation for Ms Andrion died a natural
death when I later found out she was head over heels
on a good-looking senior student.
Among our classmates, I developed a strong
bond with Candido Bautista and Dionemar Ulep.
Dionemar was a recent transfer from seminary
school in Binmaley.
He and fellow transferee, Geoffrey Altura,
cannot hack it out with the rest of the “plebes”
so they decided to go to a school that integrates
seminarians and non-seminarians alike:
three of us clicked right away.
We spend lunch almost everyday atop the “
at the back of the building.
After lunch, activity for me was solely
devoted to playing basketball. This would later on
have a bearing on my career as a varsity player of
the school. I
also remember during this time that many varsity
players from other schools in the province were
coming on campus to play with our own varsity team.
One such team who had the “misfortune” of
playing with our school team is Malasiqui.
The game was close and started to be
were thrown on both sides of the court.
Then the unexpected happened.
A free-for-all ensued and players and fans
alike joined the fray.
What I witnessed next was a treat!
Alex Asper (who was a senior), all of 4 feet
10 inches of him, flew in the air and delivered a
resounding flying kick to one of the male fans of
the opposing team.
The poor fellow must have misjudged the full
measure of a small man.
He rolled on the grass twice upon receipt of
the wicked blow, stood up and scampered to safety.
Cooler heads prevailed and the dying minutes
of the suspended game was played afterwards.
The team did not only lose the game but went
home with battered nerves and egos.
True to their name, “Malas-iqui”, it
really jinxed them.
Another unforgettable recollection I have is
the seminarians of the school.
I did come to know a few of them like
Virgilio Manipon, Primo Sipin, Wilfredo Penullar,
Arnulfo Doctor, and Danny “Manok” Lauder.
I didn’t quite catch them red-handed doing
I had it from a reliable source that many of these
“seminaristas” were slipping and sliding
away in the middle of the night making their way to
, a popular
honky-tonk place in town owned by the
This was later on confirmed by one of the
Accordingly, Manok was the instigator
of the misbehaving group.
They would tie together ends of bed sheets;
anchor it on the steel framed windows of their
barracks and one by one slid down to temporary
Father Herbers, he is always deep in slumber not
knowing a “flock” of his is painting the town
wonder none from that group ever became a priest.
Junior year was not to be spent in DWAU.
I transferred to another private school in my
youngest daughter of the school’s owner got me
ended up as teen sweethearts.
In the end, I had a falling out with her
parents as they found out that I was visiting her in
her place whenever they are not home.
No hanky-panky, none of that stuff.
Like the gentleman that I was, am, and will
be, I kept my hands to my pockets, literally.
Like a lost puppy looking for mama dog, I
left and went back to my true alma mater to finish
my senior year.
Along the way I recruited Benny Robeniol to
come with me and experience the Divine Word life.
Getting re-acquainted with old friends and
former classmates was my first priority upon my
return as senior.
I quickly realized I had the same seductive
and voluptuous classmates as were during my
This time around, however, there were more
curves on the waistline and I guess two sizes up on
their shirts (if you catch my drift).
One gal that caught my fancy though was
She was not only diminutive but also
was it’s not just me eyeing her but a couple more
fellows in class too.
Rhodetto Magat, Dionemar Ulep, Rodolfo
Rosales, and God know whom else.
Never wanting to compete with others, my
focus was drawn back to our female teachers.
I rekindled an old crush on Ms Gilda Doot.
I did start to like her during my sophomore
year but I brushed it aside.
Once more I was taken by her charm.
Unlike the first time I was not letting the
opportunity pass by this time.
And so every day after we get done with her
class, I always gave her pomelos.
Our backyard has two pomelo trees
brimming with fruits.
Each morning before I leave for school I
snatch two and stash it in my bag right at the very
noses of my mother and older sister.
As this was happening, an instructor at the
college class in school developed a fancy towards
name was Ms Moreno.
She was the diminutive version of Ms Andrion.
She touches my head and gives me that sexy
stare every time she saw me.
This special attention I got from older women
more than made up for frustrations I was
experiencing with the younger generation.
The fad by then was twosome-coo some.
All the glamorous girls in school were
already taken, if not being taken away by equally
Local boys were always quick to the draw
whenever the school gets beautiful enrollees or
the few lovey-dovey couples that gave the famed
Tirso Cruz-Nora Aunor and Edgar Mortiz-Vilma Santos
love tandems stiff competition were:
Rhodetto Magat-Jean Ruiz, Candido
Bautista-Mercy Nirza, Norman Orallo-Grace Geronimo,
Geoffrey Altura-Consuelo Sipin, etc.
In the meantime, Benny Robeniol picked up my
habit of fooling around with teachers.
One of the highpoints of my senior year, if
not the highpoint, is my selection to the varsity
rigors of training and the skirmishes that went with
it were such a challenge that finishing each session
was itself a triumph of the mind over the body.
Wearing two hats, Mr. Ridao was both
principal and coach.
He made us run seven to eight rounds around
the oval track and then made us run up and down the
court afterwards doing ball movements, passing
techniques, and set-plays.
You do not dare forget a set-play he designed
or you run the risk of being dressed-down.
If General McArthur has his famous “I shall
return” phrase immortalized, Coach Ridao has his
(in) famous “murtogo” in his arsenal of words.
After weeks of training, he easily picked
eleven kids to the team, a well-balanced combination
of height, power, speed and shooting accuracy.
Now, he has one more slot to fill and two
kids to chose from.
He had a dilemma in his hands.
Must he pick this one kid who possesses
height and shooting power?
Or would he opt for this diminutive but
speedy, ball handler and ball stealer kid?
He settled for the short, speedster from
Asingan and the rest is history.
Of the numerous games that we won, the one
that is most special to me was the one we played at
the Urdaneta Open Basketball Tournament.
The best barangay players from all
around town participated in it.
We beat the team from Bayaoas, the strongest
and odds-on favorites to win the event.
It was comprised of fine players who once
played for Mr. Ridao.
Coach knew their game plan like the back of
his hand and he laid it out for us and we thwarted
cannot recall if we won the championship or not.
I did know, however, that we won many a
tournament and school intramurals.
I can never forget being pulled aside by
Father Herbers asking me why everybody calls me “kiti-kiti”
(one who cannot keep still).
I remember telling him it is because of my
ball-stealing prowess and great speed up and down
the court that I was called as such.
He walked away nodding and shaking his head
either in understanding or in disagreement of what I
told him. The
basketball season ended and the senior players on
the team went on to graduate.
I did not have the opportunity to thank all
the players of the team.
Their unselfish dedication and commitment
helped bring about the numerous successes that we
importantly, they contributed greatly to the
camaraderie, friendship and happiness that pervaded
the team. Thanks
to Mr. Ben Bello, Candido Bautista, Jessie Mamalio,
Mr. Raganit, Peter Guillermo, and to those whose
names I cannot remember but whose faces are still
etched in my cranium (you all have to forgive me but
this are the ones that I can remember off the top of
It would be pure hypocrisy, to say the least,
if I would fail to essay my low points as an
is, there were lots of them.
But one that I consider worth mentioning was
the incident that happened at the old
For it’s adventurous nature, sheer boldness
typical of growing teens and it’s subsequent
comical ending, this one would have made it to the
comedy books. Benny
Robeniol, Rhodetto Magat, Peter Guillermo, Jesse
Mamalio, Geoffrey Altura and I went drinking inside
Over bottles of beer, we hatched the idea of
forming our own fraternity group.
We argued that fraternity groups had their
own way of distinguishing themselves from others:
handshakes or signs and a mark on their body.
The decision was swift and unanimous.
We decided to have ours on the right wrist.
And so we lit cigarette after cigarette and
took turns holding the cigarette to the site we so
agreed upon. Unbeknownst
to all of us Linda, the owner of the place, has
tipped-off the police.
When it was time for us to leave we were
accosted by a pot-bellied plainclothes policeman.
He asked us what was going on and why we did
what we did inside.
We told him we were starting a fraternity and
we meant no trouble.
He then started to ask who we are.
It was never our intent to name-drop our
respective father but for no apparent reason the
first person started the name-dropping and it caught
group was gathered in a horseshoe formation and the
name recital started from the left going right.
“Geoffrey Altura, son of Mr. Altura; Jessie
Mamalio, son of Traffic Control Officer Mamalio;
Yogi Diaz, son of Attorney Diaz; Peter Guillermo,
son of Fiscal Guillermo; and Rhodetto Magat, son of
Dude, the policeman was stunned!
I swear, he paused for almost a minute, an
eternity to us!
He then took a deep breath and told us we are
free to go!
All this time, we did not know that Benny
slipped away on the way out.
He showed up later laughing scornly.
Had we been arrested and incarcerated, Benny
would have played it innocent and would have gone
scotch free. We
would later recruit juniors into joining the group
we christened “MS” for “Malayang Samahan”.
The ones that I can recall were Rey Padua’s
brother and Randy (more diminutive than me but I
can’t remember his last name).
For all the fun, excitement, infatuation,
trials and tribulations that I experienced in high
school, I will never trade it for anything else.
If I have to do it all over again, I would.
What would I have to change or do differently
if given that chance?
I’d say I would discard my shyness in
telling my true feelings toward girls.
I would muster the courage to say that I have
a big crush on a cute classmate or anybody cute in
school for that matter.
Liking female teachers would be a thing in
the past. I
would graft pomelo trees so I could harvest
time around I would give it to all the cute gals and
not to teachers.
I would audition to become a cadet officer so
I could drop Johnny and Rafael Soriano.
And yes, I would grow a bit taller and jump
higher so I could dunk the ball and impress the
coach and be a shoo-in for the varsity team.
Writing this piece has made me young again.
I would have finished it in a day or two but
I procrastinated because it made me feel good.
I was reliving my high school years and I
felt like I was 15 years old all over again.
It was exacting on the mind remembering the
names of classmates and friends, some I recalled,
and numerous others I couldn’t.
I would like to believe that this website of
ours was put together with the purpose of bringing
alums together, young and old.
That old acquaintances be renewed,
friendships restored, and for those unmarried or
divorced ones, old flames rekindled.
We only live once in this earthly life.
It is my wish that before I breathe my last
breath, I would continue to enjoy corresponding with
those that were part and parcel of my high school
life abounds with ignorance, learning, experimenting
and character building.
This website is the bridge which was intended
to bring us closer together, just like yesterday.
I hope we all share the common bond of
striving hard to build this bridge even stronger.
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