The second week of May 2012 started out as a normal summer week. I had no idea that what was about to happen could possibly change my life.
It was a Wednesday, May 12th to be precise, when at about 10 in the morning, we received a phone call from a “Mr. Joseph”. He told my mother that I passed the 2009 NCE (National Competitive Examination) and that I was on the waiting list of Philippine Science High School- CAR Campus. Of course, we said yes right away.
Super shocked as I was, I cried. As in, CRIED. Facebook was the nearest possible thing to go to, so I went online uh-mediately. I posted gazillion messages on my friends’ walls telling them what just happened. They were all so happy, and at the same time sad that I was going to leave Manila. I even remember my best friend saying, “Kung selfish lang ako hindi talaga pwede eh. Pero go, sige.. J” That just made me cry even more. At that moment I was in the super-mega-ultra-mixed-emotions-that-all-I-can-do-is-cry mode. And then things started to sink in a little deeper when my dad said that we were going to Baguio as soon as possible.
Then after a while, I started remembering recent events. First, I enrolled in a Spanish Class at Instituto de Cervantes, but it was cancelled since the minimum number of enrollees wasn’t reached. Second, my Photography Class with Jim Paredes was also postponed. Third, my ESP (Extrasensory Perception) Classes with Jaime Licauco were also cancelled due to the same reason as my Spanish Class’. And lastly, my extra training for Badminton also didn’t work out because my coach was busy with his extra classes in UP. And so I thought the world (or.. maybe just summer classes) hated me. But knowing that I’ll be moving to Baguio to study? I couldn’t think of a million summer classes that could be better than that.
Come May 18, the day of the enrollment, we left Manila at about 2AM and ate our breakfast in a restaurant somewhere near Burnham Park around 7:30.
We arrived at my new school just in time. It was rather…… cute. Small. Tiny. Cute. Real cute.
So we went through the same process as everybody else did. We were given a number, waited for like, a couple of minutes, went to the Registrar’s Office, then yada-yada-yada..
Enrollment didn’t take that long, so we just went looking for a place to eat lunch at.
Sitting in a room filled with strange things and people speaking this language that though I have heard of a lot of times, still was peculiar to me, just made me think, “Is this it? Why? Am I seriously like, enrolled in high school? And it’s not Dominican (my old school)!” ‘Cos the thing is, I was all planned out with my high school life at Dominican College. I was super looking forward to becoming a part of the school network, DOMNET, because you get to be sent to different places in and out of the country to meet other students. And then in September 2011, I’d be flying to Madrid to join the World Youth Day Pilgrimage that will be starting from Barcelona. And I actually told myself that I would just HAVE FUN in high school, no matter what it takes. I would just do what I want. See how awesome I planned out my high school to be?
But the thought that really kept bugging me was not about this school being too small and not having a permanent site yet, neither our big move to Baguio- but me entering a CO-ED school.
That was the exact same thing my schoolmates kept telling me. In our group, I was the only one that enjoyed exclusive schools, because then, I’d probably be the pickiest with regards to standards. And they were very much aware of that. Friends were excited to see my reaction, but super close friends were actually worried..
The last time I had a guy friend aside from my relatives was like, forever ago. So I thought…. Uh…..
After having lunch, we didn’t want to go back to QC yet. We went to Brent Road, Lexber Heights, Woods Gate, Woodsville, Petersville, Military Cut-off, and was that Green Water (excuse my spelling)? And I couldn’t remember the rest. They were too many to remember.
Then midnight on the same day, we got back to Manila. We were all so tired so we decided to just talk the next day.
After checking the pictures and the details of the houses we looked at, WE ALL agreed on the A-type house on Brent Road. It was so cool. But y’know the thing that didn’t approve to it? My parent’s wallets. If we rented that, we would have to pay Php 100,000 a month! Yes, one hundred fqing thousand pesos. It was hard for Kuya and I, but we had to move on.
So the next choice was the one in Lexber Heights. The owner was willing to give us a discount, since we planned on staying there for a year or two till we get our own place.
We then scheduled on Sunday that we were gonna go back and look for more options.
On the afternoon of May 23rd, we checked in at Hotel Veniz. It wasn’t the most ‘accommodating’ hotel, but then, who cares? All I needed at that moment was a bed and something to keep me warm. But instead, after taking a nap, I grabbed a tall glass of watermelon shake. I regretted it. And it wasn’t even that good! So yeah, I super regretted it.
We looked at some condos, but we found nothing that pleased us.
The next day, knowing my mom, a super food junkie, she went to the market early in the morning. Fortunately, I woke up so early ‘cos I couldn’t take the coldness, so I went with her. We were so surprised, like OMG. The prices of the goods were slashed 70-80% off compared to those in Manila! It was like an everyday-mega-sale in the market. UNBELIEVABLE.
I suppose we did have fun on that one-night stay, but we had to go back and do some cleaning-up before we actually move to Baguio.
My parents knew that I’d be missing Manila, so they gave me all the freedom to do whatever I want to do to maximize my time with my friends and relatives. I spent my remaining days out playing with my cousins, going to malls with my friends, and having sleepovers.
On June 1st, Dad and Kuya started moving our things. They went back to Manila two days later to fetch us. It was weird because I didn’t really feel anything, like sadness, excitement, or whatever. It just felt like an ordinary long drive.
We had no problems fitting in. Dad was an Ilocano, and Mom understands a bit of the language. In a span of just four days, I was already feeling at home in our new house. Until June 7 happened.
It was the first day of school. I got up so early and whew, boy the water’s ice-cold! But too much excitement made me forget about that.
I was informed that we wouldn’t be having uniforms yet. I have never been more ecstatic to go to school ever. Dominican was just so strict; this will probably be something good, y’know, a little freedom? I asked my dad to make me an excuse letter, for me to be allowed to bring a phone to school since we didn’t know what time our dismissal would be, since I thought I needed one just like in my old school- they never allowed gadgets there.
So there I was. Sitting inside the car for like, 30 minutes already. I couldn’t get out. I was too shy. But eventually I had to go approach the three sophomores and sign on this sheet of paper where my name was written before the assembly time, 7:30.
The program started. I sat on the second row, with this weird guy by my left, and a dude with eyes that look so angry behind me. Everything was just, whoa. One minute I was mall hopping with my girlfriends and then the next I was in the covered court of this elementary school listening to this Mr. Domogan guy speaking Ilocano so fast that I just wanted to ask my seatmate, “What on earth is he saying?” But then again I was too sheepish to talk.
So days passed, and all I could say is people were just so nice. I barely talked on the first day, but on June 10, I already knew everybody from class. Then on the second week, I became even closer to my classmates. And every time I would try to remember ‘me’ during the first week, I would burst out laughing. I mean, bringing a letter to show your adviser that you need to bring your phone to school? That’s just so grade school-ish.
I had a lot of adjusting to do, but they were actually kind of easy. I just needed to start addressing my teachers as Ma’am and Sir, instead of Miss and Brother. And now we have the Director as the head of the school, not a nun. And here, scrap paper was more popular than scratch paper. Even the bond paper, ‘cos here I was introduced to coupon bond.
Another new thing I discovered was the use of the terms “ngay”, “ngarud”, “ya”, “met”, and “kadi” which are used mostly by Northerners to probably give more emphasis to their statements, as how I have seen them use these.
Weeks and weeks passed, and being a student in a school with mixed boys and girls wasn’t my main problem anymore. (It’s just that everybody was really uber nice that it didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t in an exclusive school anymore.)
Because I had one more.
*dun dun dun dun*
SM was the only ‘bearable’ mall.
Now for me, this is a MAJOR problem. I can say that I’m really a compulsive shopper, and one mall cannot satisfy my thirst for all my shopping thingamajigs. And to mention again, the mall is SM. SM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Who goes to SM in Manila? Ugh. Not I, at least
Speaking of Manila, I was so surprised to find out that there were four more freshies that came from the lowlands aside from me. Eir Diaz was from La Salle Zobel, Karina Gesmundo from St. Scholastica’s College, Kryzz de Leon from Taytay United Methodist Christian School, and Sean Calingasan from Our Lord’s Angels School. We were all from sectarian institutions, so that was a plus.
It was really cool because when I tried talking to them, I found so much things that we have observed in common, and some differences too for that matter.
The weather of course was our main topic. We all found it better, and adjusting wasn’t that hard. Though Kryzz said that it was just like “naka-electric fan,” well at least for him, because I thought it was like staying inside a fridge. The five of us definitely have no problem with the people of Baguio. It’s no doubt that they’re very hospitable and welcoming, and Karina would be the perfect witness of that. She used to stay in the dorm, but just like the other interns staying there, they don’t feel so comfortable. So Karina moved in with a classmate, and she said, “…their place was heaven, compared to the dorm.” When Sean and I were talking, he also mentioned about Mayor Domogan, and we all just laughed because we found ourselves so out-of-placed when everybody just starts laughing when he tells a funny story in Ilocano. Then we started thinking of the Manileniyans and Cordillerans. Generally, we could say that those from Manila can be superficial most of the time, compared to those from Baguio who really don’t give much attention to whether you’re wearing Ecko or Zoo York.
Eir and I clicked so easily ‘cos we were both loud and crazy. But we feel so different when we talk about liberty. I have all the freedom here, but Eir feels kind of ‘suffocated’ because she says that when she’s with her parents, she could just get away with anything. But again, the dorm was way different.
Eir agrees with Karina when she said, “Manila is definitely hotter- in terms of weather and boys.” And I guess I could, too?
I’m trying to think of which to put my finger on- is it Manila for being too far from Baguio, or Baguio for being so far-flung? Sigh. NVM.
But I guess what makes the whole shebang better is despite the fact that Baguio is two hundred fifty kilometers away from Manila, Manila people never forget to visit us here once in a while, and they NEVER forget to harass me and make me go there.