Sunday, April 15, 2007


I entered CLSU at the same time Abet left Almaguer and Kimat T. Amianan went to Hogwarts. CLSU to me is like Almaguer for Abet and Hogwarts for Kimat T. Amianan. It's magic…

But since graduating from CLSU, I never attended any of its alumni homecomings. I thought these are only for pinnalastugan and for those who have retired. So my wife was surprised when I asked her to take a leave of absence from work and take the kids to the annual alumni homecoming. “It’s CLSU’s centennial anniversary. We won't have another chance like this,” I told her.

And so we came but decided to skip the program because the kids are more interested in our CLSU. We first paid our respects to the university's Church of Christ the Worker where significant milestones in our lives were enshrined. It was there where I broke my agnostic relationship with religion by serving as a mass commentator for the first and only time in my life. Well, can't say no to the opportunity of a tirade against George Bush the elder's war in Iraq.

Years later when we were about to get married, me and my wife found we've been missing one of the required seven sacraments. So we urgently look for ninong/ninang and have the late Fr. Lope Castillo officiate our kumpil. It was my first and only kumpisal (I had a hard time coming up with a transgression that I can comfortably admit to) and my first communion. During our wedding, Fr. Apollo de Guzman who was one of our ninongs suddenly took over from Fr. Lope. The bloopers that happened that day are still recalled with gleeful fondness. Fr. Lope also officiated the binyag of our sons Bulan (the parish secretary did not allow an organization listed to be one of his godparents) and Balong (he's got a Palanca awardee for a ninong).

The church was closed that day. So we just went around in a row, affectionately feeling the walls and iron grills with our hands. It is the only church where I feel comfortable letting go of my spirituality, and where we attend mass as a family.


A monument designed by Architect Renato Bajit of PHILRICE now stands in front of the administration building to commemorate CLSU’s centennial that, according to Manong Lito Bibal, was based on the hand sign for NUMERO UNO. It came with a matching NHI marker. Angelito Saliganan from the Collegian days also sent me his centennial poster which I believe should have been a better official centennial poster many times over.

DORMS AND EPAY. I am a certified Batang Dormitoryo. My home as a freshman is Room 4 of Men’s Dormitory No. 4 that I shared with Jun of Aurora, Viterbs and Gayyem Marlex of Isabela, Willy of Bulacan, Tanda and Sexy of Nueva Ecija, and Bagis Elmer from Pangasinan. No dorms would take me in during my sophomore year so I moved in with the kabagises in Bagong Sikat until I had enough courage to dare stay in the Tondo of CLSU --- Men’s Dormitory No. 10 (and 11) --- where only the strong survive. I was later asked to move back to Men's Dormitory No. 4 (and 5-6) to serve as a pangontra against the annual fraternity dukots and the sigas who prey on the freshies. Nearby is Ladies’ Dormitory No. 6 where, once in a drunken dark night, dear Bagis Pajero and company performed a midnight serenade and we all got picked up by the security force.

PHOTO EXPLAINED: The exact place where Bagis Pajero and company serenaded Ladies Dorm 6.

Just across is the Graduate Students Dormitory where I spent some years after college. The tree with the perfect Y-shaped branch has grown. I used to hang my head there so I won't blow (sayang ang alak at pulutan) while cursing away the demons of Gilbey’s Gin. I’m proud that my room mates there now include a college dean and a vice-president in a state university. And just like in college, we took our meals at Epay's Canteen who I sincerely believe is worthy of a historical marker.

PHOTO EXPLAINED (clockwise from upper left): The house at Bagong Sikat (partially hidden), Men’s Dorm 10, Men’s Dorm 4 Room 4, IGS dormitory (center) with the Y-shaped tree in the background.

PHOTO EXPLAINED: A classic CLSU icon --- the famous karinderia ni Epay.

BROTHERS, SISTERS, COMRADES. Every kabagis was welcomed to the United Ilocandia Fraternity and Sorority holding on the UI tree for dear life. I did and carved my name in its trunk as was the tradition. I always remind the kabagises that the tree is a sacred relic of our story. They should protect it and treat it with respect. I also castigated them for failing to commemorate the life and times of Bagis Manny Lazo who was martyred in 1987.

Unfortunately for my wife, her Ultra Sigma Phi Fraternity and Sorority had folded up. Only traces of their tambayan in front of the Reimers Hall and beside the library ruins remained. We walked to the nearby Auditorium where I intend to place a historical marker someday. It was along its concrete steps that 15 starry eyed activists brought to life the Movement for the Advancement of Student Power on a balmy August of 1990. Revolution really begins in silent places.

PHOTO EXPLAINED (clockwise from upper left): The UI Tree inscribed with the names of saints, the abandoned tambayan of Ultra Sigma Phi, MASP tambayan in front of the PPDO, and the exact meeting place at the Auditorium of the first 15 MASP cadres.

A PLACE CALLED EDUC. In our time, the CLSU Collegian was lorded over by the College of Education. When I came in, the EIC was Jo Galingan (BSEd, English) with Joey Gamboa (BSEd, English) as news editor, Delfin Ilao (BSed, English) as literary editor, and Mam Ayet (BSEd, English) as adviser. Most of the staff writers (Mary Ann Quiazon, Rolly Dollete, and Bagises Rogel Monje and Joey Villanueva) are also BSEd, English. So, I decided to be BSEd, English too although I was already listed at the College of Business Administration. No regrets, I love literature.

My wife is also BSEd but Filipino which is my minor area of specialization. So we became classmates several times (in my major subjects that were her minor, and her major subjects that were my minor). We were just casual acquaintances, hingihan ng papel pag may quiz. Never did we imagine what we would turn out someday.

PHOTO EXPLAINED): The old CLSU Collegian Office (top photo) and the entrance to the College of education (next photo).

BLISS. I read a poem to my wife one evening in the Graduate Students’ Dormitory common room. We talked on until morning when she accepted my courtship. We had our first date at the island in Lingap Kalikasan Park (aka Little Baguio). We got married 6 months later. To date, we are still living happily ever after. We intend to do so forever.

PHOTO EXPLAINED: Where it all started 10 years ago at the common room of the Graduate Students’ Dorm (top). The island where we had our first date (bottom).

Our last stop was the bleachers.

Ano meron dito?,” she asked.

Sa ‘yo wala pero sa akin madami,” I said…

1 comment:

sonofpriam said...

ayup! big time na talaga si epay!

the last time i went to clsu was i think about 6 years ago when i had to ask a transcript of records from our registrar.

and the last time i saw epay's ay wala pang glass doors.

big time!! may bar b q pa kaya?