Titanic Fidelity—“A-E” MT90 Get-together

Below is unedited write up of the get-together that happened last Sept 14 at Subic=D>….  this is another leisure writing ( no rules, no structures, simply playing with your mediums., and in this case words) -B

Guys, I love what came out of this work so I hope you will read until the end even if it is very long….


Titanic Fidelity



After those sweet confection treats, we were left rejuvenated and energized. James family and I am now ready for a Titanic Adventure.  But before everything else, together with the entire Punzalan clan, we paid due respect to the Great Holy Provider.  Although my phone is in a silent mode in respect to the Holy Banquets my attention were interrupted with 8 consecutive attempted calls from one batch mate.  Alarmed by such odd calling behavior, I attempted to catch the 15th call, but nothing came out from the other end.  Puzzled as I was, I tried texting back with queries of concern and even attempted to call, but nothing was answered and I was left in oblivion.  Nonetheless the show must go on and so after the Holy Mass, we went back to the house for a good breakfast.  James, situated himself beside the kalan and made the batirol de tsokolate espresso (tama nga bay un?), it is a whip of thick chocolate drink.  After having taken the wonderful Filipino breakfast, I sip in the superb heavenly taste of a nutty hot cocoa beverage, concluding the journey of chocolate adventure.  Perked up with such a delightful liquid we were all the more invigorated for a trip ahead of us.  So when all got organized we hop in the car and James steered the wheel.  The trip was a pleasant travel through a verdant carpet of grass and hilly terrain.  Along the long stretch of a pass through, our journey was never a bore, for James spiced it up with a few a repartees, teasing his cute lovely bunso and from time to time his three dalaguitas, while Liza laughs along demurely.  I on my part took the pleasure of remaining as a spectator.  We arrived early, so we texted JC, however, she replied that their kids has just arrived from biking and still pending to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Hence, we hang around the Board Walk, and later took a road tour of the forest hoping to see little monkeys that Jaime’s youngest hoped to see.  Along the way, James took on a tourist guide role.  He told us that when he was still a medical representative to the place the skies would be darkened by flying bats that crosses the sky.  Now however, no bats can be found for they have been terrified by the sprouting raucous constructions.  Shortly afterwards half passed a branching road, James spotted the signage of the jungle forest where monkeys would likely be found, so he took the abrupt turn and traffic enforcers apprehended us.  With a few begging and appealing for understanding, the police then gave us a release.  So we headed off through the Jungle and Environmental Survival Training Camp (JEST CAMP) and what came in sight is a wooden veranda structure perched atop the overhang affront towering forest trees.  Assuming that it is a café, James parked the car and we all climbed up balcony.  Upon setting our feet up the balcony we were welcomed by staff fully geared up for rappelling.  In no time, we were shown the map and shown myriads of adrenaline rush adventure.  Apparently there were group of foreign men hanging and rappelling down the 60-foot tree, head down or what they call the Australian style.  Then a scream reverberates from the woods where we saw a woman soar from tree to tree suspended on dorsal position from a cable 450 feet long and 100 feet high.  This they call Ultimate Adventure or simply Superman.  Thrilled with the sight, James offered the girls to give it a try.  The two older ones chose the Ultimate Adventure.  The third in the order of birth would have wanted superman but she is still too small for the gear belts.  Good thing she could fit in the cable chair so she took the Cable Car Tree Top Adventure.  Short of cash yet silent about it I opted to stay at the café simply to relish such a great family bonding sight.  James youngest on the other hand was clamoring to also be given the opportunity of an adventure but she is too young and too small for it so James and Liza pacified her with picture taking activity and sweet caressing.  A little later James asked me to pose for a snap shot and the image came out with a man behind rappelling down the tree upside down, all smiles and waving.  After a quarter of an hour, we saw the eldest already bounded to the cable and wheeze!!! she plummeted across!!! Then the second to the eldest followed.  The two girls took each other pictures while I scamper with my N90 hoping to catch a picture of this wild explore.  In vain did I make it?  Nonetheless, there is so much ahead and more to savor, that is too much for technology to capture.  Then, we hang around waiting for the third born to come back the home base.  After approximately 216,000 seconds have clicked away and no third born daughter has yet returned so everybody became squirmy bored of waiting.  Another thirty 360 degrees turn of the second hand and everybody started to look into the map board and only then did we get to realize that the Tree Top Adventure is a 220 meters long of slow cable ride trail. “No wonder it is taking that much time,”  became a common hum.  A few more minutes’ lapse and the third born child soon emerged.  Everybody sighed in relief, all smiles and the doting father starts taking more pictures of his most adventurous daughter.  Just in time, JC then texted that they are on their way to Vasco, the restaurant where we will dine.  All stepped into the car and rolled all the way to Vasco.  The soon we reached the place and alighted, we saw the Huang-Pascual Family at the entrance of the restaurant.  Seeing us, they all went back to welcome us and exchange handshakes.  It is clear from Ricky’s face that he is delighted to see his former classmate Liza. Then we all went in the restaurant and sat beside a long table.   I would have wanted to take pictures of all the wonderful articles of the restaurant but neither do I want to miss the conversations of the Huang-Pascual and Punzalan-Lugue Family, so I chose to stay and simply listen.  As the kids are already hungry and so are we, we called in the waiter to hand us the menu.  Someone insinuated a T-bone steak but shied away, yet the well mannered Ricky gave a positive response and commented that he would also like to have a T-bone stake.  So the hesitations faded in the sunlight that James and I ordered for such a grand steak.  The rest of the girls pick their choice.  While waiting for the food, the conversation started with the Tree Top Adventure of the girls.  James, while talking, his hands unconsciously toy around with the table bell— a customer device to call the waiter.  As expected, the food server came, and James blushingly apologized.  Then the conversation shifted to the Luxury Liner, to batch rumors, to get-togethers that had passed, to showing pictures of the James Birthday… etc, etc, etc… but my eyes carefully watch the tender paternal affectionate kisses that Ricky showered over his daughter.  I couldn’t grasped such a sight of a man whose image far back then was devoid of any fatherly inkling but rather quite known for being a ladies’ man.  Then came in the scanned yearbook topic, which became one of the most amusing one for James had JC’s son read the write up of his father.  Then we chuckled at the query of JC’s son asking her why is it that at the end they said of Ricky “so ladies beware”?  Ricky smiled with a reply; “I don’t know who wrote that.”  Well, the JC-Ricky combination is indeed a surprising one and so is the James-Liza as well as the RJ-Cielo.  Of these three couples the common denominator is the “chick boy” marrying the silent demure girls.  Of course that makes me an odd girl out.  In this kind of conversation, what is the place of a single unmarried girl— well, again is an spectator.  Who else have the time to record, document and publish these event but someone whose hands are not tied… so voluntarily I remain.  But unluckily the Hung-Pascual Romance never surfaced the tête-à-têtes rather the chat moved to the neuroblastoma common to the two MT90 Section E.  Liza Punzalan one time noticed unevenness of her jaw, when she had it checked she was diagnosed to have ameloblastoma— it is a benign tumor of the mandible, with unknown etiology.  Her seatmate Ricky Pascual on the other hand was diagnosed to have olfactory neuroblastoma.  What is common to this EMT90 seat mate, as I try to follow the conversation, is this type of tumor eats the bones away. Liza, her jaw while Ricky his upper nasal bones (tama ba yun?) So both necessitated medical surgery and bone implants.  JC, due to the rarity of Ricky’s case of only around 600 occurrences around the world and no clinical trials for it, had opted to take him to US for the cranial operation.  James on the other hand, he being in a prestigious pharmaceutical company during that time, chose to bring Liza to Makati, Medical. 


Dramatic, but still amusing, James narrated the line of big time and expensive consultants that attended to Liza.  He recounted how the medical staff wondered at the long digits that James would have kept in the bank account to be able to afford such a big time line up.  But none has charged him for any professional fee; because apparently they are the doctors that James had covered as a medical representative.  Not even the anesthesiologist who is only an acquaintance, for the non-charging line up is indeed intimidating.  Then there is this ETNA that tries to escape from its obligation, good thing there is a doctor friend who with a letter make the company comply.  The travail of such an operation was never a miss in the very sales trained speaking prowess of James.  The story came out quite vivid that I almost come to tears.  Liza has been implanted with titanium to replace the bone that had eroded and that made it difficult to eat.  James, making sure that Liza gets the necessary nourishment tried to spoon feed her.  But Liza with the painful mandible had not wanted to take any.  This has became such an emotional feat for James and the daughters. 


Then the conversation shifted to Ricky.  For whatever reason, that time, Ricky had already left the table, so JC related the trials that went their ways.  She described quite vividly how she had no other way but to really seek moral support from few people she knew in such a foreign land.  Fortunately indeed, Filipino nurses are everywhere in the world that she gets a warm acceptance in the hospital and with such, she got to stay beside Ricky. After the operation, she was immediately told by the doctor that the operation went less bloody that what happened in Manila, yet when she relayed it to Ricky, he commented that he saw four units of blood (if I remember it right) having transfused into him. Ricky had a titanium implant to protect separate the brain from the nasal cavity and bone mimix implant (or bone graft bay yun JC?) to replace the eroded cheekbones.


Then the kids start becoming jumpy that we decided to continue the get-together in Huang-Pascual residence.  But before getting into the car, we pleaded one of the standers by to take a photo of the entire group.  The image came out with cheers except the mischievous faced of little Pascual boy.  The sky started to drizzle but unalarmed we move on our journey.  We reached the house after passing through a long serpentine road along the hills.  The house is a duplex structure used to be a domicile of an American military officer.  We went in that simple architectural structure and we are immediately got dazed with the wide screen television, in front of which a neighbor playmate of JC is’s son playing the Wii.  Ricky immediately offered the Lugue’s girls to give the Wii a try and one who is very much a third born without vacillation gave it a hand.  The Pascual kids were so kind enough to patiently teach the neophyte how the virtual game goes.  As the air is cooling we were offered coffee.  I took a sip and my senses perked up with the charming taste of vanilla coffee.  Then leche flan is served, its cream saccharine taste mirrors the sweet warm welcome given to us by the Huang-Pascual family.  Soon the kids has grown tired and the sky started to dim.  Once again we take a few more snap shots, and then we bid each other adieu.  Outside the house is a downpour, so one buy one we scamper under an umbrella and jumped into the car.  With age however, comes along is the failing memory.  The intricacy of the road to the Huang-Pascual Residence fail to give an impact into our brain cells that no one could remember the way out.  Ricky and JC all willingly lead the us out.  Amidst the downpour we cut through a zero visibility pathway.  Soon enough we reached a gasoline station that James is already acquainted with, the point where we can take off independently.  JC rolled down the window and said goodbye with a requested me for an SMS mobile number of Liza.  After we separate ways, I immediately heed to JC’s request while Liza asked me to dictate JC’s number.  Off we go back to Pampangga.  Hardly had we gotten out of the gate of Subic, James little girl dozed off like a log.  The adults on the other hand carried on a conversation.  I could not utter anything but marvel into the thought of the fact that both couples are an A-E pair.  Liza immediately quipped that RJ-Cleo is likewise an A-E duo.  Then my mind immediately flashed a query of FF-Rachel combo and Liza replied with 90% possibility.  Moments later my mind wonder into the curiosity provoking, juicy rumored pair which I naughtily asked Liza who in turn responded with a giggle giving 100% affirmation to the “A-E ness” of such an odd yet proliferating kind of partnership.  Shortly afterwards the car reached Dau.  To the terminal, I stepped out of the car and boarded a bus back to Manila.  The way trip back home is another moment of pondering.


Cell, we were taught in Biology is the basic building block of human body.  Yet some has mutated and multiplied, becoming one of the most internally destructive tissue, corroding the very skeletal system of a human body, medically known as blastoma and simply known as cancer.  This internal monster has find its way inside some of us, threatening the life of its bearer and an earthquake to the ones that surrounds them.  Thanks to Titanium, an unassuming metal that was never a celebrity in Periodic Table nor did it exist in our Balancing Equation exams, is unknowing to us then of its high strength, low weight, outstanding corrosion resistance and that twenty years later later, it will bring remedy to what blastoma will destroy and give back life to the hope that was fading.


Blastoma, proliferating in an  era of a fast corroding family bonds, could had bullied the the Huang-Pascual and Punzalan-Lugue family, but  the stronger and mightier Titanic fidelity to the promise of “in sickness and in health”  has successfully outwitted it.    





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