January of 1997 and 1998

January reminds me of Sinulog Sto. Niño Festival. When I was a band (drum & lyre) member in elementary, we would join the parade and the band contest which were held during this time of the year. The first time I attended was during the 5th grade. At that time I was already playing the bass drum (though the bass drum looks bigger than me).  It was fun and really tiring, but it was really fun. Aside from the Sinulog song, we also played other songs in the contest like the theme song of the telenovela Maria Mercedes.

Though we only manage to win 1st runner-up twice in a row (1997 and 1998), it was still something we are proud to have achieved, especially for a band that only has a few members. But what’s important is that we had fun. Good times. =)

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Class President

I’ve been an active in taking leadership roles back in elementary and high school. I was the class president from grades 5-6 and 1st year to 3rd year high school. I was the vice-president during my senior year because I was already the battalion commander of our CAT class.

How was my performance as a leader? Definitely, I’m not good at it. I have the passion and eagerness to execute actions but I was never really good at being the class president. I know it’s my weakness back then that’s why I tried my best to improve. I think I’m better at being the second fiddle. One who can assist a leader. For by being the second fiddle, I can assure to myself that I really know what I’m doing.

New Year’s Resolution; Christmas Vacation

This post is not about my new year’s resolution nor my Christmas vacation for 2010. With the new year 2011, I just happened to remember elementary and high school where every 1st day of the year in school would always be about writing the new year’s resolution and the Christmas vacation that the students had.

It’s not that I’m complaining about writing but I just thought the our English/Filipino teachers would have made it more exciting, or more refreshing than these classic topics. Like, “How 2010 Christmas Vacation is Different” or “Things I’d Stop Doing in 2011.” Something to that effect so that the students would be encouraged to think deeper.

Well, that’s all about that. Happy new year to everyone! I’m looking forward to posting more memories that I can recall. I’m hoping to reach a target of 50 posts this year. That would sure be quite a challenge.

Valedictory Speech

I’m proud to have been chosen as the Valedictorian of our class in elementary and high school, but the feeling of receiving the award is not greater than the feeling and excitement when delivering the valedictory speech. It’s not because I want to show off my public speaking skills or to prove that I am worthy of being the valedictorian, but because of the message I want to say to my fellow graduates and to everyone in attendance. I want to make all of them happy by letting them realize about several things why such a momentous day is more than just celebrating the accomplishment of finishing 6 years or 4 years of studies.

My first valedictory speech was made by Uncle John, the husband of Tita Gina who is my mother’s sister. Uncle John is a British who worked as a microbiologist before. I delivered the speech beside the podium because I was too small then. Our graduation was held in a gym, which was jam-packed with parents and relatives of the graduates. I memorized and delivered the speech without a copy.

For my second valedictory speech, I made it on my own. It was longer than the first one but I still memorized and delivered it without looking at a copy, though I printed one and put it in a folder just in case I get a mental block. Our high school graduation was held in our town’s cathedral. To this date, that speech stands to be the best that I have delivered in my life.

My First Day in School in Digos City

We arrived in Digos City on June 12, 1994. There’s no way I can forget the exact date because at the time the vehicles especially the tricycles had small Philippine flags decorated to them commemorating Philippine Independence Day.

Two days later, I continued my 3rd grade education in Don Mariano Marcos Elementary School, which is just situated in front of the house where we lived. I was brought to school in the afternoon so I skipped the morning session of the day.

I was in section SPED-A under Mrs. Ando (her twin sister is adviser of SPED-B). Later I learned that these twin sisters had a crush on my biological father (RIP). Anyway, Mrs. Ando asked Ken Bryan, who later became my best friend, to find me a seat in the classroom. The classroom has four long tables  arranged in a peculiar way. The first two tables are side by side perpendicular to the blackboard. The two other tables are perpendicularly placed after the first two tables.

I was seated at the 3rd table, so almost at the back part of the room. The first friend that I met was Joel who was my seatmate. He told me the names about everyone in the room including a little background of their personalities. After that, we had our first subject that afternoon. And for our first subject, we had a quiz first. It’s the least of all things that I expected. I think I got a grade of 95% for that one, not bad for my first time.

What made that day difficult for me to adjust with is the language barrier. I was a straight Tagalog speaker at that time and my classmates are primarily Cebuano/Visayan speakers. Overall, it was a really good day.

Almost-Bitten-by-Dog Experiences

I always have an attachment to dogs, well, not only dogs but pets or animals in general. I always feel pity to those animals that get hurt or abused by people.

Now going back to dogs. There have been several times that I had almost get bitten by a dog.

During grade 6, me and my two classmates, Leojim and Ralph, were on our way to our house to have lunch. We would always pass by a house where there are three dogs, who would bark at us and we sometimes tease. Once, the gate of the house was open and immediately after we passed by, hoping to not get noticed, the dogs ran toward us. We ran but Me and Leojim fell down while Ralph was able to get away for a few meters. One dog was staring down at us while the other is facing Ralph. Good thing is that the dogs’ owner was there to calm them down and call them back to the house. After that incident, we never teased those dogs again.

There was also an incident during my early days in Digos City. In grade 3,  I started getting fond of going to a video game house near our home. On the way there I would pass by a house, which is situated five houses from us and had these many dogs. There are maybe more than five of them. They’re the only reason why I can’t go play video games on Saturdays. There’s one unlucky time when I was on my way home from the video game house. I noticed that the dogs were sitting outside the gate and so to get unnoticed I turned right on a street to have more distance away from them before crossing. That didn’t prove useful because one of the dogs ran towards me. Fortunately, the owner was there and he called the dog.  It really scared the hell out me.

But, that’s not the scariest experience though.

It happened in high school. I was on my way home from a drama practice in my classmate’s house. I was riding my bicycle and I was cruising a street where there are a lot of dogs. For that reason, I increased my speed and I was delighted to see that there were no dogs in sight at all, well, me and my big mouth. I sensed something from behind that sounds briskly running. To my surprise and terror, a big dog was running after or more precisely, it’s running with me. I pushed the pedals so fast then raised my left foot to avoid from getting bitten. I maintained my top speed until he stopped following me. I can’t believe that dog chased me at an approximate distance between 200-300 meters.

Even to this day I have not been bitten by a dog and I wish and pray to keep it that way.

Blistered Hand

During my elementary years in Don Mariano Marcos Elementary School, I was part of our school’s drum and bugle (lyre) band from half of grade 4 to grade 6. I first played the snare drum in grade 4. I quit the band during the second half of the school year. When I returned to the band in grade 5, I started playing the bass drum even though my height doesn’t pass the qualifications for a bass drummer: tall, big and strong. In fact, the bass drum is bigger than me, but since I’m good with rhythm and beats I was given an exception by our coach (and I think there’s none other than me and two others who is brave enough to carry the bass drum). I think our coach liked me because of my dedication to the band and I’m not one of those drummers who gets into his nerves.

I remember a time during a Sinulog contest where we played for like 8 hours or so with only as much as 15 minutes of break. My right hand’s fingers are covered with blisters already. That’s the toughest part with being a bass drummer because we have no subs and we can’t lower our beat of the drum because the band might lose the rhythm. Though there are three of us, the two others, one of them being my best friend, are already having a hard time so I decided to keep up the volume of my beat. In the end, the blister hurt so much that I can’t even hold  a spoon during dinner that night.

Lesson learned that day: wear gloves when playing for long hours.