Confessions of AttyArj

I – Ilang-Ilang

September 17, 2008


            While my classmates and the other graduating students were excited and busy preparing for our graduation program, I was likewise busy but for an entirely different objective.  I was busy scheming and thinking of various ways and means on how to convince my parents to let me enroll in Assumption Antipolo or, at least, let me stay in Siena.


            Given that my Ate already lost her case (at that time, she was already a sophomore in RTPI*, the public high school where my parents were threatening to enroll me), I figured that drastic measures had to be taken.  A drama scene (translated, crying bout) worthy of a FAMAS award (forgive me, I’m not yet familiar with the Oscar’s and the Emmy’s) was definitely in order.   


            Since my miserable grades failed to secure me a slot in the honor roll, I didn’t have any bargaining chip.  I have nothing.  I was a lost cause.  Not even my best rehearsed line — “pero pag sa Assumption or Siena po ako nag-High School sigurado, sa magandang school ako sa college” worked.  I’m doomed. 


            Eventually, summer came.  I had no choice but to take the RTPI’s entrance exam.  Although its my first time to take an entrance exam, I was pretty confident considering that I came from a private school.  sabi kasi nila advance daw ang lessons sa private schools.  Mas magagaling daw ang graduate sa private schools.  And so, with the intention of proving those theories correct, I went inside the examination room, took my seat and prepared to ace the exam.  How hard could it be right?  Wrong! 


            While the rest of the exam was a breeze, there was a portion that dealt with electric meters and electricity consumption.  DUH!  Who cares?  What do I know about the dials found in electric meters?  All I know is that we receive MERALCO bills every month.  Also, there was that Science thing about dry cells.  What the f_ _k are dry cells**?  And then there was a lot of abstract stuff.  (I hate hate hate hate haaate abstract.  Kaya ata ako pumasa ng Bar kasi walang abstract) Suffice it to state, I didn’t do well in the exam.   


            To make matters worse, my neighborhood contemporaries, all of whom studied in public elementary schools, seemed to have aced the exam.  When they walked out of the room, I noticed that, unlike me, they wore smiles on their faces and were talking animatedly.  Parang nadalian ata sila?  Paano nangyari yun?  Kala ko ba ‘advance’ kami? 


            When I came out of the room with a somber face, Mama asked me what’s wrong.  I told her that I had a hard time, the exam was difficult and that I had no idea what some of the questions were.  Mama told me not to feel bad and that she’s confident that I did better than the rest.   


            Two weeks before the start of classes, the results of the exam came out and were posted in the campus bulletin board.  And what a big board it was.  Imagine, there were no less than 23 freshmen sections with no less than 50 students each.  Finding one’s name was an adventure.  A nightmare.  A heart attack waiting to happen. 


            What if my name’s not on the list?  No way!  What if I didn’t pass?  Not possible.  On second thought, that’s good news right?  If ever, I’ll be able to study in the school of my choice.  Yipee!  But still….it’s so dyahe (embarrassing) to fail.          


            After pouring over the list for 20 minutes or so, somebody told Mama that she found my name and that I’m in the I – Ilang-Ilang section.  I – Ilang-Ilang?  Ang pangit naman.  Walang dating.  Why not the pretty flowers like Rosal? or Camia? or Carnation?


            True enough, my name was there.  I’m one of the 52 students relegated to section I – Ilang-Ilang. 


            Since the sections weren’t posted in order (as we have come to know, in RTPI students are ranked and there’s usually a pilot section), we asked around regarding Ilang-Ilang’s section number.  Although no one seemed to know, one smart ass told Mama that, the year before, Ilang-Ilang was section 22.  Section 22?  Whaaat???


            And then the Dam broke.  I couldn’t, in all honesty, contain my misery.  Section 22 out of 23? I bawled.  Bhu hu hu…..nakakahiya……bhu hu hu……galing pa naman akong private school…..sob sob sob…..section 1 ako sa Siena, tapos dito kulelat…..bhu hu hu…..bakit si Ate section 2?…..waaaaa….      


            When we got home, Papa, for my peace of mind (actually, probably more of his), went out to talk to someone who might know the real deal about my section dilemma.  After two hours, he returned with some news.  Good news – I’m not section 22.  I knew it!  Bad news – I didn’t get into the pilot class, Ilang-Ilang is (just) section 2.  Loser!



            *RTPI is the acronym for Rizal Technological and Polytechnic Institute.  It’s in the heart of the Municipality of Morong, Rizal.  Every year, elementary graduates (including the honor students) from neighboring Rizal towns converge to study in RTPI.  In the 80’s, RTPI, considering its student population, is probably the 2nd largest school in the Philippines (Rizal High in Pasig holds the top position and the Guinness World Record).  Over the years, RTPI went through a lot of changes.  I think it’s now part of the conglomeration of Rizal public schools known us the University of Rizal System.   

          **A few weeks into freshmen year, I found out that dry cells are batteries lang pala.  As in Eveready!  DUH!

Oil Panic

September 10, 2008
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Sa mga “red Tamaraw” boys, ang ka-bonding ko si Emerson.  Naging close kami probably because, in addition to being magka-service, we were classmates for a number of years.  Since alphabetical ang sectioning sa Siena, pareho kaming Section N (from SIENA).  If I remembered it correctly, that’s the section for those whose surnames begin with the letters GHIJKLM.


Pag-uwian na, usually magkatabi kami ni Emerson sa service kaya nang ma-uso ang Game & Watch, lagi akong una sa pag-hiram.


When it comes to Game & Watch(ing) Emerson ‘is the Man’ kasi he has a lot.  If my memory serves me right, I think meron siyang Popeye, Octopus, Parachute, Chef at Donkey Kong.  Halos kasing dami ng G&W nung mama na nag-paparenta sa tapat ng gate ng Siena.  Yung nakatali ang mga Game & Watch sa kariton para hindi manakaw.


Although meron din akong G&W, ung Mickey Mouse na sumasalo ng itlog, medyo bored na’ko dun kaya lagi akong humihiram kay Emerson.  At dahil favorite ka-service n’ya ako, ako ang priority, ako ang unang pipili.  In fact, ako lang ang pwedeng mag-uwi ng mga G&W nya, yung iba, hanggang service lang ang playing time.


Nang mauso ang G&W, nakalimutan ko na si Barbie at ang pangarap kong doll house.  Naging semi-obsessed ako sa handheld games.  Nagkataon, nag-balikbayan ulit sina Lola Luz at Lolo Emong tapos isinama nila si Mama sa HongKong.  Siempre, isa lang ang bilin ko — bagong Game & Watch.  When they got back from HK, super excited ako sa mga pasalubong, HK yun, kapitbahay ng States (that’s what I thought, bata pa ako noon at wala pang alam sa Geography), balita ko madaming nabibiling imported doon.  


Hindi naman ako nabigo, madaming pasalubong si Mama.  She gave me and ate a new radio/casette player, super handy yun, pwedeng dalahin sa school pag may practice ng presentation (kumbaga sa I-Pod, parang I-Pod mini, hehehe).  She also gave me a Casio watch.  Pero ang highlight at ang pinaka-special ay yung bago naming “Multi-screen” Game & Watch — it was called “Oil Panic”.  Here’s how it looks like.

Oil Panic
Oil Panic

In Oil Panic, the station helper on the upper screen catches drops of oil from a leaking pipe. Once caught, he needs to go out onto the verander [on lower screen] and empty the bucket into his bosses oil drum. Missing a drop from the pipe or missing the bosses oil drum loses a life. Game is unique in having 4 lives [2 misses on top and 2 misses on bottom screen] and has good playability, quite a classic.

How to Play. Two customers are waiting at a gas station to fuel up. Meanwhile, an oil leak from a pipe on the third floor is causing confusion. Move Station Helper left and right by pressing the control buttons to catch the leaks in his bucket. Oil falls in drops. Helper’s bucket holds three drops. Move Helper out to veranda to pour the oil in his bucket into the Boss’s oil drum on the second floor. Be Careful not to drop oil on the waiting customers.*

The next day, excited akong pumasok sa school kasi I’ll be able to show off my new G&W.  At that time, wala pang may double deck na G&W sa klase namin, ako pa lang.  Dahil bawal ang G&W sa klase, I had to contain myself and wait until the dismissal.  Kaya lang, when the bell rang, napa-isip ako, parang ayaw ko nang ilabas sa bag yung bago kong G&W.  Paano kung pag-kaguluhan, madumihan, mahulog, or worst, masira?  Naku, aawayin ako ni Ate.  Papagalitan ako ni Mama.  ‘Di bale na, tsaka na lang pag medyo luma na, medyo clumsy kasi yung iba kong classmates, sa service ko na lang ilalabas. 


Pag dating ko sa service, excited na ang mga ka-service ko.  Nabalitaan na pala nila kay Ate yung bago kong Oil Panic.  Siempre, pinahiram ko agad sila, alam ko iingatan at hindi nila yun sisirain.  Pinahiram ko rin si Emerson para at least makabawi naman ako sa mga bateryang inubos ko sa mga G&W nya.


Hindi ko na maalala kung anong record ko sa Oil Panic, ang natatandaan ko lang hindi ako ang top scorer, ang dami kasing nang-hiram, mas magaling pa sa akin.  Kainis.





(1) The Red Tamaraw

September 4, 2008
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When I was 10 or 11, I discovered the Filipino family class system. It was then that I realized that we are middle class and not as well off as most of my classmates in Siena (dating St. Catherine).


The not so obvious signs*:


(1) The red Tamaraw school service.


Back then, although Papa has a (secondhand) 1980 Toyota Corolla DX car, a school service had to bring me and my Ate If (short for Ifchelle) to and from school which is a good 30 to 45 minutes away from our place. However, unlike my classmates who have real school buses, our school service, owned by a family friend, was a red Tamaraw jeep with a dilapidated tarapal (the plastic window rain cover usually seen in jeepneys).


Although there are a few school services similar to our red Tamaraw, yung sa amin ang pinaka-luma at pinaka-mukhang kawawa. Siguro dahil ang layo ng biyahe namin araw araw. Feeling ko nga kaya hindi ako napansin ni Jay eh dahil amoy usok na ako pag-dating ng school.


Dahil ganon nga ang aming school service situation, I remember being so envious of some classmates because of their rides. Merong naka-Hi-Ace (FYI, sosyal yun dati), merong naka-Benz at merong naka RV, no kidding, may kitchen ang service nila at sa parang sofa sila naka-upo. And, of course, there was Margarita. Who would forget Margarita? I was envious of Margarita not because she has her own car and driver, madami naman kasi sila na hatid-sundo ng kotse. Na-inggit ako kay Margarita dahil artista siya (meron siyang soap opera sa TV), may yellow sports car at madalas dumi-diretso siya sa shooting after class. Bongga!


Kahit medyo bulok ang service namin, laging masaya ang biyahe namin pauwi. May nag-ge-Game & Watch (gamit ang Game & Watch ni Emerson), nag-su-super Trump (si Buking at si Jun), kumakain (si Catherine of course), at nag-co-cold war (si Ate at ang kanyang not so secret admirer na si Edsel). Problema nga lang dapat lagi kaming prepared to hide under the seats, “kolorum” (meaning, hindi registered sa LTO as service or utility vehicle) kasi yung red Tamaraw. Para kaming mga boy scouts, lagi kaming handa, handang magtago sa mga taga_LTO na nanghuhuli ng kolorum.


Minsan, excited kaming naglabasan, maaga kasi natapos ang exams namin, problema, nasira ang red Tamaraw, ayaw mag start. Kahit anung pukpok at kalikot ni Apo ayaw umandar, mukhang namama-alam na. Buti na lang kasama ko si Brenda (yaya ko), nag-jeep na lang kami. Napagalitan ni Mama si Brenda, dapat daw hinintay namin yung sasakyang ipinadala ni Ka Lilian, yung may-ari ng red Tamaraw.


The year after that, iba na service namin. Pero, sa totoo lang, favorite namin yung red Tamaraw. Edsel, Jun, Emerson, Buking, Nicki, LetLet, Mylene, Gee Marie, Maureen, Catherine, me and the others (I forgot their names, sorry) had a lot of fond memories in that re Tamaraw. In fact, kahit napalitan yun nang Owner-type Jeep, nang Pampasaherong Jeep at nang iba pang sasakyan, yun ang favorite namin. Lalo na si (now Kuya) Edsel dahil doon nabuo ang love team nila ng ate ko. Now that’s another story.



* this is going to be a series so please watch out for the others. I will number them consecutively so readers wouldn’t get lost.



    April 2020
    S M T W T F S