There were many students walking in different color-coded shirts as we enter the gates of the Ateneo. (Talagang kailangang may "the"?) I was wearing blue. I went down the car and into the commotion happening in the covered courts. Oh look, the girls from CSR whom we interacted with during second year high school - Raf still looks hot.
I can't find Rex, or Noel, or JC or any of my high schoolmates. I guess I have to find my way. So I lined up, got my kit - what an ugly bag - and sat where there's this huge gay facilitator (student pala siya) swaying a giant P5 placard up in the air. That's my block - P5. I found my name tag and sat there waiting as the seats get filled up.
Ino (Ateneo High) was on my right and Michi (ICA) on my left. So okay, this is the Ateneo so I kinda need to speak in Engleesh. So I tried and gave it my best shot to start a conversation.... That was the last time I talked with them.
The 3-day ceremony they call OrSem started with a mass. Then came the "Our Father" song. We had to touch hands. Ok. I'm not used to touching girls' hands but ok. The right hand was rough as sand paper and don't blame me if my hands were wet because we were all sweating like pigs.
Then came the program that prolonged our agony. We "danced" the Banana, Pacific Ring of Fire and Chuga - don't ask me what they are. (Skip memories)
I overheard someone: "Pare, blockmate ko si Rica Peralejo!" Aba naman! Then I started looking at my blockmates. In fairness, there were many Chinese, like there were 10 of them! One was wearing a light blue polo - the same outfit he wore during our guidance test. OMG! Outfit repeater! Unforgivable! (Little did I know that one cannot survive school without repeating an outfit)
We ran and ran and ran around campus and entered a classroom. That's where we introduced ourselves. Call me mean but I didn't know people from outside Metro Manila existed. I mean yeah I know people lived in Bicol or Nueva Ecija or Batangas but I never really thought that I can meet and talk to a real live Bicolano, Batangueno and Nueva Ejiano students! (turned out some of them will be my closest college friends)
Anyway, I had a convoluted understanding of the world and looking back, I was very close minded. I never really imagined that Julius - this saintly Rizal hairstyled kid can be so interested in ANTM and can survive a night of Bacardi and Tequila shots. I never thought that Dondie, who was very shy at that time would be very sociable and approachable. I never imagined that Jet can get any louder nor that Kevin can organize a very successful international party at Ponti.
I never thought that Amanda and Burn, the two hottest members of our block, will be my friends. At first I thought Anne was a normal harmless girl - big mistake! Haha! I thought all Ateneo High students were arrogant, yung iba lang pala (even up to now). And I thought my Chinese blockmates will keep to their "own kind" but it turns out I confided my secrets in some of them.
Sorry to cut it at that. If i mention everyone, this blog will be unreadable. Some of us got sexier, some got "meatier". Some became a couple, but most broke up in our last years/months. A lot of things have changed - unforeseen and unexpected. As for me, I see myself as a documenter of these changes.
It's a good imagination exercise to think of what will happen to my blockmates after 5, 10 or 30 years. The good thing about being in the Ateneo is that great people surround you everywhere. Who knew that Gloria or Noynoy would be presidents someday? Maybe one of my classmates will be a philanthropist, the next Henry Sy or an influential politician. Its good to know that before they achieved their greatness, they started out as students who got Fs in a theo/philo oral exam or accounting/finance long test, who got drunk during his first major party or who got denied (several times) by the girl he's crushing on since high school.
College life will end on March 25 (26 for some) at around 7pm, but the memories will last us a lifetime.