My First Blog, Actually

(I was browsing my multiply.com site and saw this one hidden. Then I remember, this is my first shot at doing a blog. Since I’ve also posted this in our company’s internal site, I deleted its name here. (hint: Only the paranoid survive)Some of the practices in this blog though may not be true anymore. Rest assured, I still respect the Pedestrian lanes.)

I like walking around our company’s campus a lot. Why? Because it is here where most, if not all drivers would abide by the speed limits placed on designated lanes. It is also where drivers and commuters wear seat belts too; motorists would patiently wait for the pedestrians to safely cross the street before they proceed driving. In today’s world, this is almost too ideal.

Day in, day out this commendable practice goes on inside this pedestrian-friendly campus. Lately though, I’ve observed that the entrance gates seems to look like pit lane entrances and the exit gates like pit lane exits. The former is where speeding employees would brake to follow minimum speed & the latter, is where outgoing employees would rev their engines & hit the gas and dash to their destinations just like F1 racers do. I always wonder if these gates are warp zones where every driver is zapped into a different world from where they’re currently are.

Frankly, I was guilty of this act too. I’ve been driving back and forth for almost one and a half-year already. I admit I drove like hell outside the campus during the first year. It was a very good thing (company name) had this on-line Defensive Driving course & it got me enlightened somehow. Still, I would still drive aggressively but would be cautious, up to the extent of counting thousand 1, thousand 2, thousand 3…to estimate my distance from the car in front of mine. At least.

Then this time came for my wife to learn how to drive. Eventually, I came to be her “boot-camp” coach whenever she would drive to and from work. I was wondering every time though that despite my conscious effort to lecture her on the proper and safe way to drive, we would end the driving sessions in frustration and disappointment.

What went wrong then? Well, I’m a firm believer that “a good teacher, makes a good student”…in this case, teacher – me, student – wife…bad teacher, bad student. It was this driving encounter that made me realize that I could be a big factor indeed. How can I expect her to follow what I’m teaching if she doesn’t see me doing it. And so the saying goes “Practice what you preach”.

It’s almost two weeks already since I’ve been driving defensively & coolly. Now, there’s lesser mad honking, lesser unnecessary overtaking, more consideration, and more courtesy. And for those who don’t know, it feels good all the time.

And guess what, just this weekend my wife was on the wheel from our home to our favorite hang-out, almost 20kilometers away & she did perfectly well, almost perfect until it was time to park…but then again, nobody’s perfect. She’s currently grounded. Just kidding.

So please if you value safe driving inside _____ (company deleted), I encourage you as well to do it on your way to and from home. Someone’s waiting for the pedestrians to come home. And so does yours – your family.

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Reunions in Bacolod

“In vino veritas” – anonymous

Last time, I wrote about the degrading condition of Bacolod city with regards to some taxi drivers’ misdemeanor, street cleanliness, traffic congestion and concrete roads that seems to get back to the ages where ruts are a norm due to the number of carriages that passes through it. Well, all still seems to be true in every place I’ve been lately. And this is just within the confines of the city where I live in.

I’ve come realize though that these are not the reasons why I still like to come here as often as time and money would permit – normally both happens every December. Well, I kept on coming back for the people I’ve known for years. I’ve kept coming back for my parents and family, for my classmates and friends – whoever is still here and haven’t left Bacolod to work (some left to permanently stay abroad for good).

From the time we arrived from Manila and within just one week, the calls for reunion – or more likely called, an invitation to drink – poured in through SMS.

The first one was with my IP brods. These are classmates and friends in college. I was one of the founding members of this informal group. IP stands for Iota Pi or International Playboy. I was clueless though where we got this name. Or just like any rock bands today, it was taken on the spur of the moment from one of our drunken misadventures with the aide of Red Horse or San Miguel beers, Toska Vodkas, Ginebra Gin or a mixture of all of the above.

Unlike our college years, this time we just now drank in moderation (ahem). We are just happy enough to spend some time reminiscing and checking what everyone’s been doing lately. Surprisingly, we ended the session early. If this was done more than 10 years ago, it would have been over by the wee hours of the morning and we would be going home reeking of alcohol and some other smell that we might have got in the process.

The second reunion was with my high school peers (batch ’90 SJHS). I’ve never expected that this year I’ll be attending a General Homecoming instead of the usual annual batch reunion. With Melvin and his wife, we arrived at St. Joseph’s High School – La Salle – it used to be just SJHS. No La-Salle – by 2pm despite the heavy downpour (it’s been raining for days since we’ve arrived). From the moment we entered the gate, the familiar faces bring back memories and stirred some confusion. I know some names but forgot the face (due to change in appearance) and some is the other way around – knew the face but forgot the name.

Registration was a breeze. So right after it, we wasted no time and went to tour the school’s ground. Most of the buildings are still there. Some of our 2nd and 4th year classrooms have been changed to a school chapel. The pavilion and former canteen is now nowhere to be found as it has been merged into a bigger activity center (Oscar Hilado Civic Center). Part of the football field has been consumed by this new building too.

At the rear part of the campus, our Library, Practical Arts Room (San Lorenzo Ruiz Building), and Home Economics building still stands. Some new structures already annexed the area beside the periphery fence.

Just like a trained bloodhound, I was so delighted to see the familiar beer bottle. Right behind the civic center is the new canteen where just for this event beers are sold. Some guys from the batches ahead of us were already drinking. At last, after 20 years, this is my first time to drink booze legally inside the SJHS campus – we used to smuggle alcohol before to satisfy our curiosity. Ti abi. Were we alcoholics in the making then?

Our batch’s attendance reached to almost 20 by the time dinner was served. Our allocated table was filled with smiling faces, exchanging news and pleasantries most of the time. The free dinner (supposedly for a fee during registration) was fairly good. It is also worth noting that most of our teachers are still there (some just paid a visit).

There’s Mr. Leon Sales whom I won’t forget for it is through him that I learned to touch-type fast enough (to the surprise of most people). There’s Mr. Baldomero who was our 1st year moderator and who introduced us the native yoyo called “El Diablo” (I don’t know if this is the real name) where an hour glass-type carved wood is balanced between a string held by both hands. Ms. Logrunio, Ms. Lupo, Mr. Lariza and our “psychic” Filipino teacher, Mr. Mahigne were also there. Then there’s Mr. Dante Amaguin who arrived late but nonetheless still got our attention with his magic tricks. He was our 4th year class adviser.

The enjoyable night was interrupted due to a problem of one of batchmate’s car. But that’s another story. I might write about it once I got time to kill.

I’m just now glad to be part of this series of reunions. It is always nice to see friends still in good condition, good health, successful in their respective careers or just plainly contented to just be still here in our hometown and yet survive (I actually find them lucky. I even envy them).

Time always flies. So before I know it, I will be here again back for another Reunion in Bacolod.