Graduation Blues

It's that time of the year again! Thousands of students will graduate from school. Hence, (1) a huge number added to unemployed Filipinos, (2) a mad rush for dorms and accomodations in Quezon City and the U-belt, (3) parties, parties, and more parties, and (4) waves of nostalgia for the likes of me, who are done with all the three stages of graduation typical for Filipino students (grade school, high school, and college: I'm doing my masters but I think it'll be more of a relief rather than an emotional experience once I finish). Thus, the sudden spurts of Friendster and Facebook surveys of school experiences. And because I'm not immune to these surveys, I shall answer.

Grade school:
(1) Do you still remember all your sections since Grade 1?
Oh yes, with matching advisers:
Grade 1 - Hope, Mrs. Yusay
Grade 2 - Lime, Ms. Lacbanes (I transfered to a new school, and from that year I had sections to fill a palate colorful enough to amuse Picasso or Warhol)
Grade 3 - Aqua, Mrs. Alejado
Grade 4 - Ivory, Mrs. Llena (the former Ms. Ortiz)
Grade 5 - Cream, Mrs. Patalagsa
Grade 6 - Tangerine, Mr. Rosales

(2) Were you an honor student?
Oh yes, I had to be. NOT being an honor student was not in my parents' vocabulary. It was like not being on the honor's list was a precursor to the Apocalypse, or the plagues of Egypt. The expected me to have honors every quarter the way they expected the electricity bill to come every month.

(3) What was your favorite subject?
Sibika at Kultura. I was a sucker for memorization. I used to scan the Philippine map once and remember where each province was, their provincial capitals, which region they belong to, and to some point, their population. By the time I was in Grade 4, I was so bored with the Philippines I started memorizing the things my sister (who was already in high school and studying Asian Civ that time) was studying. So yes, Bhutan's capital was, and still is, I believe, Thimphu, and Sikkim is part of India, not a separate country, since 1975. I can still remember some of them, but I have been thoroughly left behind. I even thought that province with the Garden churva on its name was a joke the first time I heatrd it.

(4) What was your least favorite subject?
Spelling. Because I tried my darned effing best and I would still have mistakes. Grrr. I was ambivalent towards Math that time.

(5) Who was your favorite teacher?
Ms. Lacbanes, my 2nd Grade adviser and English teacher. She was like this mommy figure. Very inspiring, the best.

(6) Who was your least favorite teacher?
No comment. Hahahaha. Ummm... when I was old enough to hate any of them, I realized that these were just people doing their jobs and if I don't like them, there's a great chance they'll sense it and they'll hate me too. I refused to waste energy.

(7) Most memorable line from a teacher:
"Kulang na lang kay Mark masking tape. Natam-an ka baba-an!" - Mr. Rosales
I think the way my teachers hammered the "you don't have good manners if you talk in the classroom" stuck with me forever. I don't like talking. AT ALL. My anti-social awkwardness probably stemmed from these encounters. Oh, I just psychoanalyzed myself. Hehehehe.

(8) What was your lowest grade?
I put the C in GMRC. Refer to question 7 answer. I dunno. I guess more than my blabbermouth, I thought the teachers hated my guts. I thought I came accross as someone who tuned out if I wasn't interested. Which I did most of the time. I don't have a very high IQ, but I thought I actually did well in absorbing all the stuff I was "hearing" in the classroom because I never remembered studying at home. after class. My idea of "studying" was doing my homework and getting quizzed by my mom when there's a scheduled test or during exam week. Which means that I had, and still have, great retention skills, depite my refusal to pay that much attention and talking with my seatmates through classes. But with IQ, genius, and most of all diligence, I'm as normal as normal can be, close to mediocre, actually.

(9) What was the highlight of your school year?
Christmas vacation and choral singing contest. Intramurals for the last two years of grade school.

(10) Were you active in extra-curricular activities?
No. Tennis was alien to our school so sports was out of the question.

(11) Did you join any conest?
I didn't have stage fright, but I thought it was icky to perform in front of your school. I lost in a poetry declamation contest in 5th grade. I won the general information contest godeffinggiven school year (long live trivia!!!). I loved writing but I always lost every essay writing conest. I guess I just didn't (still don't have) the discipline.

(12) Any embarassing experiences?
No. I was terrified of my mom storming into school and whacking my butt in front of the student body, so I had to maintain a perfect facade.

(13) Were you ever sent to the principals' office?

(14) What was your most vivid memory of grade school?
Owing to my very good memory, I have tons of memories:
  • Getting my C grade and being told that my talkativeness could get me a low gtrade.
  • Everyone ganging up on me because I co-wrote (read: CO-WROTE) this super-mean song about a girl me and my two friends didn't like. Suddenly, my two co-composers deserted me and I was supposed to be the evil Mozart of Grade 4. And I had to stand up for an hour for my ugly behavior. Yes, I was soooooo sorry for it, but there were others involved. My co-writers eventually became the high school valedictorian and the other didn't finish her college degree and from what I heard, is now a single mom. (WOW!!! THE WHO???)      
  • Winning a province-wide quiz show sponsored by the Rotary Club. I thought, that was cool, answering a bunch of questions correctly and getting a trophy. And 3,000 bucks, I think. I remember getting exempted for a good number of exams because my teachers, who have cursed my blabber mouth, suddenly became superproud of me and eating a lot of McDonald's caramel sundaes, the height of luxury in Bacolod City that time.
  • Going to confession with Msrg. Liu and celebrating mass once a month.
  • Experiencing inflation with siao kai, from 25 - 50 centavos in one year!!!
  • Eating in Celine's. 
  • Going to Nita's in case there was something out of the ordinary needed (protractor, art paper, bond paper).
(13) What was your graduation like?
Grade school graduation was uneventful.

(14) What was your grade school sountrack?
Soundtrack? If I remember correctly, The Bodyguard soundtrack was so popular when I was in Grade 6. NKOTB! Jeremy Jordan! Debbie effing Gibson! Tiffany! Michael Jackson! Gloria Estefan! JOSE MARI CHAN AND EFFING BEAUTIFUL GIRL AND CHRISTMAS IN OUR EFFING HEARTS!

(15) What were the most famous TV shows when you were in grade school?
Cable TV was still not that popular, so people were so into Maalaala Mo Kaya, Palibhasa Lalake, Maricel Drama Special, That's Entertainment, Doogie Howser MD, Blossom, Punky Brewster, Seaquest (I remember Darlene Sy with a mad crush on Johnathan Brandis), Karate Kats, Duck Tales, A-Team, Airwolf, McGAYVER!!! And of course, last but not the least, Beverly Hills 90210!!! You're so lost on Monday mornin if you didn't watch 90210 (it was shown on Friday night).

(16) Any grade school trends?  
OMG. Yes.
  • Pencil case with the "piano"
  • Pencil case with the buttons that you push to let out the ruler, magnifying glass, etc. (WHOTHEFECK NEEDED THE EFFING MAGNIFYING GLASS!!!)
  • Pencil case with the "air freshener" aka pong-it/kulangot (those small smelly things)
  • "Lata" pencil case
  • Laffy taffy, Bubble Tape, and that chewing gum with the container that looks like a locker (that teachers asked for to convert as their chalk holders) 
  • Ball pens with smelly ink (Happy friends was the brand, I think, I had one and threw it, it gave me a headache)
  • Bensia ballpens and may bala na pencil
  • Automatic pencils with lead
  • Smelly fruit erasers (I had a grape one which Martin Velez took a bite of. He was absent the next day.) 
  • Foot long ball pens (that you cannot put in your ultra-cool pencil case)
  • BACKYARD! TAPUNGULAY! (Hwa Ming exclusive)
  • Cleaners (I was always Thursday, alphabetical order, which is a good thing, Friday always gets to apply floor wax)
  • Padako-dako contribution sa Mission (the Grade 5 triumvirate of class advisers: Mrs. Bosime, Mrs. Patalagsa, and Ms.Baroa were super keen on winning every damed year)
  • Pop Swatch
  • TRAPPER KEEPER (my mom put her foot down and did not let me have this, the 1 and only 1 trapper keeper fresh from my USA aunt was used by my sister)
  • Merit pad paper and notebooks
  • Those big Tiger lunchboxes + Coleman water jug
  • Chinese jackstone, chinese garter, jumping rope (teddy bear, teddy bear...)
  • Lagsanay (and its variation lagsanay-pungkuanay), tubiganay,tingayuhanay, and the classic UNDERS KINGDOM (the cause of lost buttons and torn sleeves among Hwa Ming grade school students, much to the woe of grade school teachers)
  • AUTOGRAPH BOOKS!!! (Who was your first love: GOD, Who was your first kiss: PARENTS, What is love? Like a rosary, full of mystery.)
  • AUTOGRAPH DEDICATIONS!!! (TCCIC, Thank you for giving me space to write in your beautiful autograph, Stay cool, and PICTURE TO FOLLOW!!!)
  • GAME AND WATCH (I had the Popeye running around saving jumping fishes with a fishbowl G&W.)
  • Speech plays for Grade 5 ((Hwa Ming exclusive: Cops and Robbers, Police Academy)
  • Everyone bringing his or her own volleyball and basketball in the classroom
  • Memorizing Shylock's Revenge, Mother and Child, and The Bumblebee (for Grade 4 Speech class, Hwa Ming exclusive)
  • Archie comics

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