Posts Tagged ‘Florante Manahan’

Jong’s Call

September 24, 2009

Texting has given me different roles to my friends and batchmates: to one I have become a complimentary subscriber to his forwarded messages and jokes, to some am the batchmate directory and event post master…. But to Millie, the wife of Jong (Jesus Ong), I am her prayer warrior. In fact, my friendship with Millie jelled on the fibers of piety. So, frequently I would receive texts messages asking for prayer for her lectures, presentations, her sons and personal concerns. Then once in a while, to celebrate the bonds of friendship, she would send a text invite over dinner either with her alone or with some other friends of hers and of Jong. Last September 8 however, along side with her usual petition for prayer is a question that had stirred my query minds to gyrate like a ping pong ball hit by a paddle in a swift slicing stroke. Although the question is not a matter of life and death rather it is something that insinuates an opportunity of a moment that close friends look forward to. In my animated SGH-E590 the letters came out flashing one by one “I texted you yesterday regarding dinner on Saturday 7PM. Do you have any suggestion?” To this I answered “Sorry I did not receive any message… A___ is a good fine dining restaurant.” Then she replied “Thanks.” Such a very brief exchange of text message left my CPU (Cognitive Processing Unit) to hang and thereby triggering my LED (Life’s Ethic Device) to blink… should I assume that am invited over dinner or am I simply asked for a restaurant venue? So I turned my  eyes to my FAQ (Frequently Asked Quezonbased-batchmate) Nixon Cabochanpongco for his opinion. Him being skeptical on the fact that such a short notice invitation would somewhat impels me to travel for 3 to five hours along 96 km highway, negate my incredulous assumption. His uncluttered mind that appreciates minimalist Japanese art succeeded to pacify the pendulum motion of the volitive fibers of my cerebrum to finally tie itself to the conclusion that I was simply asked for a restaurant venue thereby pacifying my LED. Yet the following day, the fickleness that goes along with the nature of my gender, charged up my LED and loosen the knots to free off a swing that went knocking down the lettered buttons of my cellphones. Nevertheless, LED lead me send an inquiry of concern regarding the asked prayer but enclosed within is the invisible inked text message (“am I invited to the dinner on Saturday?”) seen only by eyes of intuition. Soon enough vivid letters signifying gratitude over my queries of concern came flashing out followed by an outburst of combined letters showing “Cya on Saturday Dinner!” Immediately afterwards my LED logged off.

Letting Go

In an advance level of the college of virtues, a student will eventually find himself immersed in an environment of bountiful good. Yet amidst the world surrounded with goodness there still comes a time where one gets confronted with indecision. Such did not arise from a sneaking evil that penetrated through the thick fortress of faith, for evil in such university is never an item of choice but an obvious object of rejection. Rather it is the kind of irresolution brought by a choice between two seemingly equal good. One may think that since both ends of the scale are good, a preference to one would do no harm.  But the result of which has proven well that it normally ends up in suffering the pain of losing the other. The lesson of life is then learned that we indeed cannot have all the good things in life. But the virtue of wisdom does not settle for a simplistic favoring of one good from the other, and suffer the pain of loss; it further demands that the choice to be made must pick out the right good. In this stage, the second remedy is to be applied… ”Between two seemingly equal good where one cannot be with the other, the wise lets go of the good that will allow a greater good to happen.” This golden rule enables the eye to set its gaze on a greater good and consequently free the mind from such a crisis of indecision. Applying this principle, letting go of my appointment to a Satuday Open House Event in a beautiful rising elite city in Laguna, became such a painless and easy task. For even if it would be wonderful to have a brief taste of the life of the rich, but there is a long lasting wealth of joy that seeks to dwell in the hearts of those friends who will come to meet each other over dinner on Saturday.

The Dawning of a Get-together

In recording the Saturday dinner event in the calendar of my mobile phone have left the venue slot  unfilled for the SMS conversation with Millie failed to provide me with that information. Once again I pulled out from my resourcefulness to find words to ask the name of the place where the event is to take place. Millie answered that she will text me as soon as she figured it out together with Jong. That was the only time I realized it is a dinner date with a couple. Saturday afternoon came; I pulled my backpack’s wheel to roll along the cemented road of city proper of Tiaong, until I reached the waiting shed where buses stop. Ten minutes passed, the bus bounded to LRT Taft finally came in sight. I raised my arms to wave the bus to stop and it did.  So, I darted my way up and had myself seated comfortably. In no time did I start texting Millie to inquire once more for the name of the restaurant but my message tone remained silent. Nonetheless, I love surprises so I had my hand detached from the phone and pull out the bracelet from my wrist. I then filled the entire length of my travel tracing the beads with Ave Maria taking advantage of the whole stretch of the trip to pray for the concerns of Millie that has been spoiling her day. Hours later the bus parked itself to LRT.   From there, I took the jeep to get to my brother’s house for a stop over. I checked out my phone but still found nothing. So I texted Jong instead and in a short while he replied “Café bistro tomas morato 7pm CU. D ko pa na invite sina Karl.”  only then did it became clear that it is going to be section A-MT90 get-together.  S oon enough I received an announcement from Karl “ Hi Campañero, getogether tayo s café bistro 2nyt 7pm if u r free…Thanks = from doc hesus jong ong” Such made me to laugh a little because of a memory of a getogether organized by Jong last year.

Falling Forward

 “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

-Henry Ford

Although sections are no longer a ranking during our college days, Jong lived up to the image stereotyped to an “A” section. For a span of four years and beyond, Jong has consistently soared the height of flying colors. Hence despite the consideration that Jong is only human; his blunders generates a slight shock wave echoing back with as a tease among classmates that may build up into something quite annoying. Indeed, last year of the same month, the getogether which Jong had been brewing for several months ended up served by her wife in his absence for reasons incongruous to his IQ (for a recap of this event please read the write up in this link This eventually gave rise to a lot of taunting but only for a couple of days, coz Jong who was already tormented for such a preposterous occurrence begged to be relieved of further injury. With fraternal compassion did 4amt90 yahoo shift its attention to Christmas ’08 get together. One year after, Jong who is much of a sport and a man with a successful mind, would have definately  learned from his mistake … hence I laughingly concluded…“perhaps Jong wants to make sure that he has set his foot in Manila before calling out the get together in order to ascertain his presence in his organized dinner party.”   Lucky for me however that am a friend of his wife Millie who in the face of keeping the hidden agenda had booked me for a dinner that Saturday so the announcement came not much as a surprise but like a garnish to a dish…something that enhance the date  I put down the phone thinking Jong has a funny way of showing how to fall forward. 😉

Travel Considerations of Migratory Birds

When my cellphone flashed the single analog clock display at 6:17PM, another text message came from Jong giving the exact information as regards the venue of the organized get together. The message read “Chef bistro tomas morato cor sct gandia. C u.” The correct announcement of the name of the restaurant has finally deleted the slight confusion that rubbed in my culinary s quotient. Café is a concept incorporated in a bistro, hence the name “café bistro” is redundant in nature. Nevertheless, it is an issue that I did not give much of a fuss except that, had it not been corrected prior to the dinner time I will end up looking for a non existing restaurant. So I set out to the street opted for a two ride route: an FX and a taxi instead of taking the LRT , MRT and a taxi. Without getting lost, I arrived just in time that Millie and Jong alight their car. Under a drizzle, we exchanged “hellos” and “how are you.” Shortly afterwards, the waiters had us seated in bright mezzanine that is good for a guests of twenty. In no time did I started with my queries regarding their son and the business that Jong’s father is venturing into. I then felt so much of an advantage for being an early bird because I was able to take picture of the couple and I can converse freely with them in all confidence which would otherwise be deterred by presence of other guests. Taking note of this, we (Jong who came all the way from Palawan and me from Tiaong) ended up concluding that migratory birds usually comes early because they always give allowances for the unexpected and if there is no place for allowances, do it the other way around, like Jong did — announce a gathering at an unexpected time where you are sure you won’t fail your guests expectation. :p




Meeting the coouple prior to the get-together

Meeting the coouple prior to the get-together



Birds Begin to Flock

As time progresses, friends of Jong and Millie started to arrive one at a time (only MT90 batchmates will be mentioned here even if the get-together is not exclusive to the batch). I am extremely happy to see that Michael Lui finaly bring along his wife. It is my first time to see her. Her neon green blouse, exuded out a her refreshing beauty and yet spiced up her otherwise very serene presence.

wife of Michael Lui

wife of Michael Lui

Then came Willy Alba by himself who later explained that he cannot bring along her family because together with his kids, the playful child Willy would resurface and dominate the now adult Willy and would require a prodding to wake up the adult Willy.

Jong and Willy Alba... the glass wall reflected on the side of Jong

Jong and Willy Alba... the glass wall reflected on the side of Jong

Then the full of life Edwin Rodriguez of MT90 section E came in. Although I have not coincided with him in any Medtech activity nor internship back in college, he greeted me as if I am more than an acquaintance and engaged me in a conversation that would tire up my zygomatic muscles from smiling and laughing.

Edwin and Millie... notice Millie is somewhat controlling her laughter here... kasi naman nakakangalay na tumawa

Edwin and Millie... notice Millie is somewhat controlling her laughter here... kasi naman nakakangalay na tumawa

 Then Karl arrived joining the Chinese brothers who had flocked together… he blended well with them with his chinky eyes. Eves dropping, I heard him enumerate the trivial tips he has learned from them…from the cheap lunch deal at Lopez Canteen whose mountainous serving of rice has lethargic effect to the not advisable installation of aquarium in a room of study or else you will fall into a trance and will never get to study at all.

Karl Zafra and Willy Alba in Black Or White

Karl Zafra and Willy Alba in Black Or White

 Finally of the last MT90 batchmates who came is Florante Manahan who always bring along his wife or his son or his daughter. His presence always exudes an atmosphere of serenity unperturbed by the rests whose noise sounded like chirping birds.

sorry for the blurred picture... it takes to know the camera well to get a good picture...

sorry for the blurred picture... it takes to know the camera well to get a good picture...


Boys Talk... di ko na alam ang pinag-uusapan nila dito

Boys Talk... di ko na alam ang pinag-uusapan nila dito


As we grow in number, guests subdivided into two: to my left is the group of Jong composed section A MT90 and to my right is Millie’s friends composed of non-MT90 except for Edwin Rodriguez.   At first I belong to Jong’s group which is somewhat a boys talk, the few topics I caught consists of BIR, technology, one event of a naughty adventure during college days. Yet one topic that I find quite impressive is when Michael Lui relayed how his Thomasian trained conscience objected in embarking into contraceptive device business even though it is a guaranteed way of feathering his nest. He said it is indeed a lucrative product but somehow his conscience finds it repulsive due to what he had learned in ethics subject while in UST medicine.

Jong's group

Jong's group

Soon, another ethic topic caught my attention, but this time the story is coming from the group of Millie. Since am seated beside Edwin, his animated narration of ethics in Medicine had my ears shifted towards his direction and nailed there. There he express his belief on the moral stand of UST against artificial method of conception. In those two topics, I begin to see the mark of Thomasian encrypted in our hearts.

Tickled by a Feather

When the night has gone deeper, the conversation grew lighter. Too light it seems that like a nitrogen gas we burst into long laughter.   By that time, Edwin has successfully engaged even Jong’s group into listening to him. Edwin it seems, is very good in class management for he successfully maintain our attention to him for more than an hour. Who will not be glued to a very entertaining and funny adventure of catching medical student cheating during exams. Nope, Edwin is no terror as a professor but as a proctor in Pharmacology exam he is a relentless as a paparrazi. But outside the exam, Edwin goes back to his being lively, accommodating, enjoyable and special preference to handsome students. Well, that did not come from me, he claimed it himself. He in fact confessed that back in his time as medical students that they would push the good looking men right in front of a gay professor to influence a favorable mood, now he feels standing on the shoes of that professor. Then he started speaking about the dilemma of perhaps almost all of professors/teachers to which I and Karl can relate. Whenever he goes out malling, he has to deal with a lot of guessing game…guessing who is this person who greeting me. Apparently in the mall, there is greater chances of  crossing paths with students especially of a big university to which he is teaching for several years now. But it is less likely that a professor will remember all of them, more so when they are not in their uniforms. Hence, most of the time,  he feels embarrassed within when his memory search engine says “no match found.” Yet despite his embarrassment to himself  his wit can turn a case into one enjoyable encounter. Edwin can make you laugh as if tickled by a feather.

Edwin of Section E making us laugh

Edwin of Section E making us laugh

Everybody’s Birthday

Just in time when I started massaging my zygomatic muscle that started to hurt from a lengthy laughter, the cake brought by a friend were put out of the box. The white snowy frosting looked so enticing that the conversation died down in an instant. Yet, serving the cake was put on a hold because Jong was requested to blow a candle. Although the dinner was organized not for the purpose of celebrating his birthday but rather to sincerely have fun with  friends, Jong acceded to the request. The blowing of candle however was so fast that no photo was taken, so I requested for a repeat performance.  Jong complied kindly. To the re-enactment we sang the Happy Birthday and captured the moment beautifully.

jong blowing his birthday candle... yes isa

jong blowing his birthday candle... yes isa

jong slicing the cake

jong slicing the cake

In no time, the cake was sliced and it  revealed  what lies underneath.  Beneath is a layer of dark chocolate moist cake inter-layered with crunchy sugar caramel. Biting a spoonful is a taste experience of a creamy sweet frosting moistening a bitter sweet chocolate cake with a teasing tacky feeling of sugar caramel crumble. Such a variety of taste and texture compliments very well with the mixture of different personalities brought together by a couple that eventually led to an enjoyable bonding moments . It was like everybody’s birthday.

When we finally call it a night, Jong and Millie gracefully gave me a lift to the gate of my brother’s house.

I Slept Smiling

Despite the frequent get-togethers that section A had, every gathering continues to shed a light into the personality of each one (although this latter affair was not created exclusively for A, and in the presence of one from section E it such a bonus ) It is inspiring to hear that Mike Lui and Edwin Rodriguez despite the passing of years continues to uphold to the ethical foundations established by our alma mater. It is amusing to hear Willy Alba’s playful dealing with his kids and from time to time crack a joke composed of silly logics. It is heartwarming to see a seemingly cold Florante always prefer to enjoy the company of his batchmate together with his wife or kids. I am awed to hear Karl remembers the tips taught to him by fellow classmates even on some trivial matters. Mot specially am deeply moved when Millie and Jong’s gave me a lift from Quezon City to Malate to make sure that I reached home safely, a gesture of their special regard to this friendship. That night I slept smiling.

sayang that the glass reflected the flash... but this is the best group picture we had using my cp camera... nangangamo talaga ang camera... here we asked the waiter to take the photo

sayang that the glass reflected the flash... but this is the best group picture we had using my cp camera... nangangamo talaga ang camera... here we asked the waiter to take the photo


before Willy left

before Willy left

Re-bonding: AMTUST90 Christmas Get-together

January 3, 2009

REBONDING: AMTUST90 Christmas 2008 Get-together


Part 1:  Blessings Despite Global Recession


After Hacienda Escudero Get-together, life has become tough for all of us… there is on going global recession, economic slowdown affecting even the small businesses and stress… so much stress, because if you are lucky enough not to have been fired or is the one who fires, you end up with so much work to do because someone has to take over the work of those who were laid off.  Yes, that is how it has been and is still is… good thing  4AMT90UST has a guy who remains to be single until now and in a stable financial position, a couple who has no dependent, a wonderful food caterer and a Beauty Products Tycoon whose birthday falls within the month of the December.  With all of them around the Christmas Party get-together became feasible.  Donyalamat despite single was not spared from such unfortunate fate… by November the very much available spinster who can make it to an impromptu get-together, begged off for the first time, when Karl called one Thursday afternoon to be present for a meeting that evening.  With more oddity did things seems to turn out when Donyalamat responded to one of yahoo group messages saying that she does not want to give more suggestions because she ended up receiving assignments of whatever suggestions she gave.  Poor Saint K, who has just fairly recovered from Pit Bull Bite and a series of anti-rabies vaccines, was left to his own to decide on how to stir the wheels.  Yet, the spur-of-the-moment meeting turned out a success…Joyfully could spare a time to organize with Don Alvin the games of the party; Alvin whose birthday he is celebrating 2 days after the event, willingly sponsored the cost of everything; Jaquiline Mariano willingly accommodate the venue and catering services; and VP Karl remains to be the CEO of AMT get-together. The Christmas reunion started to take shape… and from time to time e-mails or SMS updates us of probable attendees, wanted CD’s of 80’s music hits, yet  the best of all the announcements made is the finding of Malou Nery. 


Part 2:  Pain is Good


December 1, a holiday, an unexpected happened.  Donayalamat made an SMS broadcast to all MT90 doctors in Manila, announcing her need to see an Internal Medicine specialist, who despite the holiday will hold a clinic.  This is because she is suffering from severe gastric pain (the details of which is another story).  The result of the broadcast lead to Donyalamat being admitted to Chinese General Hospital… a threat that this may make her incapable of attending to the much awaited Christmas Party get-together…this would mean there will be no immediate photo essays… and consequently no written detailed accounts…As a result of much thinking…she kept silent about it hoping that in a day or two she be released.  But such a health crisis turned out to be some kind of a blessing after all because Don Alvin, the non-replying deadma to Joyfully’s text messages responded to Donyalamat’s panawagan. The conversation that transpired between the wireless unit implicitly gave an assurance that he will be attending and keep his word.  Mikel Lui on the other hand who also responded to Donyalamat’s panawagan gets to be reminded of the upcoming event which apparently has already slipped off his mind since he has been failing to check on his e-mails.  And finally, Willy the pogi who became my endoscopist in Chinese General Hospital, although gave no assurance of his coming expressed his desire to support in his own little way.  After having been discharge from the hospital, it all the more proved that such a misfortune is infact a fortune because she found a reason to be relieved of duty to report for work and have enough time to make the surprise certificate awards. 


To this case I remember the tenor voice off Ma’am Aligada reverberating in Physiology class… “Pain is good”… Yes folks, Dan Brown’s Opus Dei Albino is no original version of such a phrase…


Part 3:  SURVIVOR Challenge


Yet at times when the rain comes it pours…After the certificate awards were made Donyalamat’s printer got busted and so are the rest of the town’s internet café.  Seeking for a solution, Donyalamat tried to phone in Jaquie but the cell phone directory got mixed up as well and get into the line of Rick Pascual’s.  Midnoon came, Donyalamat decided to leave Tiaong to give her enough time to get to the internet café in Manila to have the certificates printed.  Hence, she put on the bed her red travel bag, packed her clothes, her ten inches lap tap and her magic sing.  Soon she finds herself pulling a huge red bag into the bus.  Two hours passed and the bus has only reached the middle of the South Luzon Expressway in the middle of a heavy traffic.  Donyalamat regretted the fact that she failed to heed St. K’s warning that on such a date most companies will also be celebrating their Christmas parties and so expect that the roads are packed.  But in such a time, the situation is already irredeemable left only with the hope that by prayers it won’t get worse.  At four o’clock I am in Mantrade, but the efficiency of MMDA made the bus driver to drop me off 20 meters away (actually I don’t really know how long meters is… nevertheless the walk was very long) from the MRT station.  Hence Donyalamat looked like a laid off OFW pulling a language along the busy street of EDSA crossing the entrance way of Dasmarinas and finally squeezing into a cramped elevator of MRT station.  In a minute the door opens and Donyalamat jumbles amidst the crowded line of the station, scuffle with the heavy red laguage to bring it on top of the guard’s table, scamper into one of the pouches, desperately looking for my value card buried among her other things and finally grapple with the rollers to make it through the space between the train and the ledge.  By the time the train reached Guadalupe, Donyalamat scooped out her SUN Cellular phone hoping to join the car pool but Karl did not pick the phone.  Upon alighting the train in Ortigas, ring came from Karl and was told that the meeting place is in Robinsons.  Having already gotten out of the station, Donyalamat dropped the carpool plan and once again scuffle with the heavy travel bag down the long stairway of Ortigas.  Reaching the street is another battle, because the bumpy sidewalk of Edsa Central is such a hurdle for the bag’s rollers.  Moreover, there is another meters long of a walk to get to the jeepney or FX terminal.  Upon reaching the placer, there is however a long cue of passengers waiting, this made it compelling for Donyalamat to go back to the main road and comply with a non-meter, contact fare taxi.  But such a deal turned out to be worth paying after all, for the driver took the non busy inner roads except for some few major intersections.  Had it not been for the confusion with which gate to take, we would have arrived very much in time.  At the gate in front of Jacq’s house, I saw Malou Nery, the early bird, passing through the gate.  After paying the driver, I pulled out my travel bag and get into the house.  Jacq, the gracious host gladly welcomed us and had us sit in the living room.  Donyalamat on the other hand pleaded Jacq to have the awards printed.  Despite the deficient colored ink, Donyalamat and Jacq make do with whatever is available.  Few minutes later Karl called to announce that Ms. Jacinta Cruz opted to be picked up in Ortigas station instead and might want to join them… stoically Donyalamat answered that she already reached Jacq’s house. 


Part 4:  Let’s Get Lost (Nat-Geo Adventure)


After all the certificate awards had been printed, Donyalamat found St. K and Leah Illada-Vasquez already in the function area.  With Leah, Donyalamat engaged a conversation regarding complimentary concerts tickets in Araneta.  A few minutes later the car pool of Joy Ramos-Igarta, Hector, Dennis and Ms. Jacinta Cruz arrives.  The coming of Ms. Jacinta Cruz, Ma’am JC as we fondly call her ignites the engine of the event.  Her spontaneity and gaiety could not resist to utter a showbiz remark as regards Donyalamat’s curly hair.  Such became an impetus for a conversation of updating, intrigues and name guessing.  Shortly afterwards, Donyalamat faces another struggle… the battle of making it on line.  After several trial and errors, James Lugue finally made it through the YM.  The camera however always gives the warning sign that the server is not available hence a web cast get-together was not achieved.  Soon St. K’s phone became busy for a live voice GPS (global positioning system) or shall we say PPS (Pasig Positioning System).  The girls, on the otherhand, crowd around Ma’am JC to show her the year book and some of Jacq’s well kept class cards and ID memorabilia.  It was there that we came to see the proof of the existence of the much argued existence of a glass and metal of recognition awarded to the class officers.  Then from Ma’am JC are updates of how the classroom looks now… the PowerPoint system of teaching, the online exams, the online report cards…etc…etc…etc.  Shortly afterward Rick-JC Huang Pascual Family arrived, followed by (if my memory serves right) Nante and daughter, then Rowena Lim-Sylato and then the already very much lost FF-Rachel Evangelista Pantaleon family with Pinky. 


FF’s arrival is the point that the party turned to full gear…hilariously announcing his frustration of driving passed  several gas stations yet finding no CALTEX landmark that Karl kept mentioning on the phone… while continuously terrified by his gas meter descending to the big E mark as he go back and forth looking for that such elusive CALTEX station.  As FF started to make the whole house reverberate with laughter, Donyalamat from time to time receives text messages from Judith Mendoza Torda saying where they have reached.  After an hour of updating their position, Donyalamat finally received a call from her and another live voice PPS is made.  Soon Judith arrived riding with Emily Carbonel-Dy family.  This is followed by Don Alvin.   With the growing number of people, the passing of hours and the stress of finding their way, everyone started to get hungry and so Karl was called to give the dinner a go but he in turn motioned to Donyalamat to lead the prayer.  Donyalamat, who although had come up with several write up compositions, had  ceased to be original and opted to be very doctrinal/liturgical as regards prayers and so she recited the usual grace before meal taught in the Catholic Schools. 


Part 5:  JC POWER


Dinner time becomes more cozy and relaxing.  The entire group divided into smaller units for a more personal updating.  Donyalamat finds herself seated in front of Miss Jacinta Cruz which consequently gave Donyalamat an overview of her condition:


Ma’am JC is a breast cancer survivor.  The discovery of such came about when one day noticed her upper arm becoming abnormally larger.  When she had herself checked, they found out that her lymph node has become exceedingly large perhaps overwork for something.  Hence further laboratory work up was made… and what came out is the appearance of a crablike mass located in each side of her breast.   This necessitated her to undergo mastectomy and chemo-therapy— the effects of which we have seen in the photo shots captured by Mayette Andia.  But now she has fully recovered… radiating the usual JC POWER we all are familiar with— her newscaster voice, her crisp laughter and her being so GAME is once again captivating.



Part 6:  The Sight of Ma’am JC


As we progress with our meals, Dr. Vic Balcita in his car arrived. Ever since the 4amtust90 yahoogroup was born he became very active in the first few days posting pictures of his family as well as a few memorabilia of Medical Technology year. But for whatever reason unknown to us, he abruptly became very silent.   Hence, his arrival brought out cheers from all of us.  FF, a stand up comedian of the get-togethers threw a celebrity look alike joke on Vic which bring out more smiles from all of us as we welcome Vic.  Vic exchange handshakes and the sight of Ma’am JC made him sit across her, beside Donyalamat.  Immediately, Vic inquired about Miss Sandra Sy who according to him, he owes gratitude for helping his cousin get admitted to University of Santo Thomas.  For Vic the Christmas get-together became an opportunity to finally find a way to thank Miss Sandra Sy. 


In a little while, Michael Louie arrived.  He was shown where Ma’am JC is seated, and to everyone’s surprise he uttered “Uy pare!” and hence, everyone laugh.  Michael apparently missed the sight of Ma’am JC and saw Don Alvin who is seated beside her… perhaps, failing to recognize or is not expecting Ma’am JC to be present.


Part 7:  Beauty Secrets


Moments later Rachel Evangelista-Pantaleon, Rowena Lim-SyLato and Rosalee Eng-Doctor came to the table.  Vic stood up to give the three gorgeous ladies a comfortable place to dine, while he take his turn towards the buffet table.  Donyalamat ended up seating beside Dr. Rosalee Eng-Doctor.  Immediately, Donyalamat commented on how slim Rosalee has achieved.  Pinky (that is how she is fondly called) then replied that such is the result of taking care of kids.  To Donyalalmat such is an unexpected answer…when most of the women’s angst on motherhood is getting fat out of pregnancy or for normally ending up with having to eat their kids left over food, Pinky’s motherhood is at the contrary… hers are two kids who loves eating— a good slimming tool.  Then, Ma’am JC gave a complement on how Rachel kept her Miss Thomasian Pharmacy shape and look over the years despite giving birth to three boys.  Rach in modesty replied that she actually gain a pound every year.  FF on the other hand still standing continues to bring the whole house rolling in laughter… making Donyalamat think “you will definitely stay young with someone who keeps your entire body oxygenated through laughter”— no need to have an Oxygen treatment.  Then on the table Donyalamat spotted a big bun of yummy ensaymada.  To this Rowena Lim-Sylato,  Weng (as we call her) commented she made it herself and got the recipe from the internet…then she added that after the board exam she started attending culinary short courses for which Donyalamat remembers they even coincided in one of Sylvia Reynoso classes.  With the death of her husband she is left to fend for herself and her two sons, hence along side with her employment based income with a computer company, she revived her pastry business.


Part 8:  Photo Sessions


After everyone had taken a wonderful meal catered by Jacqueline Mariano-Raymundo, before some bid their goodbyes, a class picture was called for.  Hence, all section A MT90 pose and gathered round Ma’am JC for a group picture.  After a few clicks from mobile phone cameras, digital cam and handy cam, the two section E MT90 hubbies: Ric and FF were called to join.  Once again few clicks and bursts of flash lights filled the air.  Then the boys left and leaving the girls dominate the photoshoot.  After the beauties the hunks took over the show.  FF continued with his funny stints ending up with wacky shots of the men—- boys will be boys.


Part 9:  Practical Exam


  1. Uric Acid Level Test


Soon the start of the games was announced.  All were called to participate except for Donyalamat, Leah and Rachel.  They were exempted from the game because they were in a dress.  This made them a passive spectator.  But Donyalamat wouldn’t settle for being simply passive, hence she asked for a camera to capture some images of the game.  When all are set to move, the game was revealed—Pass a pillow.  The procedure is to clamp the pillow in between knees and pass it on to the neighbor’s pair of knees.  It was such a knee wobbling challenge… a Uric Acid Level Test.  In this, if Donyalamat remembers right Dennis and FF won.


B.  Stool Practical Exam


After receiving their prizes, the boys are called and handed out a mound of fecal model covered with a yellow orange gelatinous matter.  The procedure is for the boys to lick the gelatinous matter out of the fecal model until it come out clean—Donyalamat prefer to call it a Practical Stool Exam.  In few minutes, Ric Pascual signaled done and he turned out a winner.  FF who is non stop with being a stand-up comedian, teased Ric in having the edge over the rest due to the fact of absence of the sense of taste and smell.  The very sportive Ric in turn, responded with asking FF “how does it taste?” 


C.  Spirometry Practical Exam:


After the prize has been awarded by Don Alvin, it is now the girls turn.  Each were handed out an elongated rubber tube, closed in one end and with a white liquid inside… it is one of the contraceptive device.  Each is to blow the rubber and whoever made a biggest balloon wins the game.  Within a minute the two JC’s: JC Huang-Pascual and Ma’am JC proved to have blown the biggest balloon.  Here both the JC defy our expectations. JC Huang-Pascual who we knew as a very reserved lady actually has a great pulmonary force; while Ma’am JC who has just overcome breast cancer has proved to have a powerful lungs.  After which, once again Don Alvin handed out the prizes to both JC.


D.  Pinoy Idol (Belting Out Game)


The next game is for the kids, for which Joy’s nephew, Rachel’s, Leah’s, JC’s and Jacq’s kids participated.  The kids are to say Happy Birthday Tito Alviiiiiiiiiiiiiin!!!! Whoever says the longest wins a prize.  When the time records were compared, the nephew of Joy Ramos-Igarta showed to have sustained the longest greeting.  Don Alvin, the birthday celebrant, took delight in such a game that aside from the gift prize, he handed out  a five hundred pesos bill… what a SANTA CLAUSE!!!


E.  The Iron Chef (Tortang Talong Game)


Then St. K and Joyfully drew out some lots in pairs for the adults to play another game.  After they have come up with a number of pairs, the guys are handed out a long eggplant while the girls are given an egg in plastics.  Each will tie a string around their waste unto which hangs either the egg plant or the egg.  The pair is to swing the object against each other.  Whichever egg did not break becomes a winner.  In this game Donyalamat fail to record the winners.  Nonetheless, once again Don Alvin handed out the gift prize.


By this time two of medical doctor businessmen had already lef claiming that they are to pick up their wives and bring them home.  These are:  Dr. Michael Lui who is in Medical Supplies Business and Dr. Vic Balcita who is in the Real Estate Business.


F.  Alphabet Practical Exam and Got It! Group Game.


After the paired and individual games, St. K and Joyfully divided the group into two.  This time Donyalamat is part of the game.  For this, we were told to complete an alphabetically arranged things.  In this game we scoured through our things and head to complete the alphabet.  After Joyfully audits the line of things, the group of Donyalamat won and finally received a gift-prize from A.R.M Skin Essentials Corp. to bring home.  Then again, we were re-grouped and engaged into another game called GOT IT!  It is a modified bring me game where the group are asked for some thing or asked to show some thing.  But the modification is that they have to give it to their runner and then the runner will give it to the barker who will shout GOT IT!!!  This time Donyalamat’s group lost.


G.  Rated R18


When everyone is already tired and would like to sit back and relax.  Don Alvin begged for another game for which there is no more drawing of lots but is in accordance to his predilection.  He carefully picked the singles and demure females.  Then from the door came out an ashtray decorated with a sculpture that is rated R18, bathe in condensed milk with two white marshmallows floating.  Leah, a value conscious mother immediately announces to the kids to go up the balcony and play there.  The kids reluctantly yet obligingly followed.  After all the kids had gone up, St. K and Joyfully explained the rules of the game….the participants were to lick the condensed milk and eat the marshmallow without touching its container.  Whoever finishes first, wins the game.  Everyone laughs at such a sight except for Donyalamat who frowns from beginning to end… not out of anger but having to undergo something she refuses to fathom.  Nonetheless, her sportive spirit dominated and so she went on with something she finds hideous.  Later, Judith signaled a bottoms up, followed by Malou and believe it or not the frowning Donyalamat… the rest couldn’t finish for they are already bloated with gas out of laughter— hence the name Laughing Gas Practical Exam.  Malou, the second to finish, on the other hand lost her voice due to the sticky condensed milk.  Yet, for Don Alvin there are lots of prizes to make up for a fainting voice of Malou; to put back the smile to a frowning face of Donyalamat; and most especially to award the most determined winner, Judith… and for the rest who accumulated gas in their tummy, there are enormous beauty products waiting for a someone to carry them home.


Part 10:  Purification, Petition, Requiem and Thanksgiving


After the Rated R18 game, St.K distributed a small white thin candles.  The candles are tied with red and green ribbon and a tag in which is written:




December 6, 2008


Thank you for making it.

God Bless you & your family











When all have received a piece, a lighter lit one and from this one the fire candles are lit one to the other.  All fell silent until St. K recited the following:


Whenever two or three are gathered in your name we know you are with us.

Heavenly and Merciful Father,

We love you and we thank you.

Thank you for having made this day.

Thank you for making this affair possible.

Thank you for having reconnected and re-uniting us.

We pray that we may someday be complete and many to share the happiness and warmth.

Thank you for the precious gift of time.

Thank you for our safe journey.

Thank you for the countless blessings you have showered upon us—our careers, our businesses, our family, our home, our abundant nutrition and health, our education, our loving parents and siblings, our friends, and numerous mentors and many many more to be thankful for.


We would also like to pray for all our other classmate who weren’t able to join us in this special affair.  We pray that they are safe and doing well, particularly those abroad and affected by the financial crisis.  Please guide and protect them.


We also pray for our departed classmate and friend Michellle Miguel, our batchmates, and teachers who have gone ahead.  May they be blessed with your abundant mercy and compassion.  May their souls rest in peace and let your light shine upon them.


Special Blessings to Alvin and other December celebrants: Rach, Weng, YY, Joy F., Tech and Vicky.  May they be blessed with good health and continued success.  We pray for safe delivery of Alvin’s wife, Joy and for the mom of Ellani who was just admitted in ICU.

We also would like to offer a special prayer of complete healing of Ma’am JC.  We pray that you  continue to use her as an instrument of our infinite wisdom.  In molding youth to shine for your greater glory.  Please give her the gift of courage and strength that she may do your most Holy Will.


For they year to come, we thank You for the gift of Life and Time.

Thank you for the gift of love and sharing.

To God be the glory. Amen.





After that solemn moment the birthday cake is brought to the middle.  Don Alvin, the main celebrant and sponsor of the Christmas get-together were called to stand in the middle followed by other celebrants Rach and Weng.  To them we all sang the happy birthday song.  As to blowing of the candles, all were hesitant to give a beautifully Christmassy colored cake, a shower of amylase rich fluid… so as far as Donyalamat remembers, the candles were pulled out of the cake and blown.  Since, everyone were already filled with so much food on the buffet, only a slice was taken out for a taste and the rest were brought home.  To this point, Ma’am JC made her adieu and if Donyalamat’s memory serves her right along with Emily Carbonell-Dy family, Judith Mendoza-Torda, Nante Manahan with daughter and Malou Nery.


Part 12:  Salamat Doc


What comes after the cake celebration?… Don Alvin took out his box of beauty products and started his public service beauty consultation.  From such unassuming corrugated brown box are kits of skin whitening toiletries; anti-wrinkle toiletries; lotions; skin toners; and beauty soaps.  As Don Alvin carefully fish out those wonderful products to distribute, thoroughly did he answer Sheryl Cosim-like queries of Rach—explaining how things are applied along with the miracle that it does to the skin.  While the free beauty medical mission was on going, Ric Pascual and Leah Illada-Vasquez’s husband were seated on a monoblock at a distance cradling their already empty bat kid   who dropped to slumber on their chests.  At about two o’clock in the morning the Hung-Pascual, Illada-Vasquez and Evangelista-Pantaleon family along with Rosalee Eng-Doctor call it a night.  Don Alvin, St.K, Weng, Dennis, Joyfully and Donyalamat stayed behind with the owner of the house Jacq Mariano-Raymundo.


Part 13:  The Buzz


As the night gets deeper and the morning approaches, the wind becomes cooler and cooler but the gathering gets a lot more cozy and warm where the conversation lead by our celebrity-doctor-businessman classmate Don Alvin.  The conversation rolled from the inside story of Don Alvin’s showbiz life, went back to his Medical Intership experience and jump forward to his life as a Cosmetic Manufacturing Tycoon.  So we had a scoop of the roller coaster relationship of a noontime show host with a popular host of a morning medical public service—the drama of jealousy, of disloyalty, of violent fights, of gun chase, of moving on with a wrong man, of lending money…; then the infamous PG journalist, who in a press conference ordered her PA to have all the food items in the showcase packed, charge to the host; a sexy star exploited by her manager mother; and of the law suit filed against five star resort hotel for not complying with the contract and serving an embarrassing styrophore cake.  Then the conversation shifted to Alvin’s medical internship funny moments: his Flor de Luna y Balderama moments; the terrifying moment with a very exacting and toxic Senior in UST and the Rustom-like revalation of one of the drunken co-interns.  Later the conversation traveled through his “Big Boss” ordeal: the great conspiracy theft case; the chop-chop steward; and the death threat… Until the clock strikes five o’clock and Don Alvin’s mobile phone signal a ring.  Apparently his wife calls to remind a Holy Mass they will be attending before they travel to Tagaytay.  With that, he bid his farewell and we are all left wishing him safety for his long drive with the family to Tagaytay.


Part 14:  Super Six


When Alvin has left, six remained seated on the round table: St. K, Dens Bas, Joyfully, Weng, Jacq and Donyalamat.  It was only then that occurred to St. K’s mind the awards that we missed.  Yet, the party is not over, so the certificates can still be awarded and the rest be posted in Yahoo Groups.  For those present the following awards were given:


Bi-furcation Award — Joy Ramos-Igarta for giving the Y-junction road a medical term “bi-furcation”

12 GB Award – Rowena Lim-Sylato which is supposedly 16 GB for promoting Acer’s 16GB flash memory stick.

Silent Mode Award-— Denis Bascon for breaking a record of 27 missed call last February get-together.

Heart of Gold Award-— Jacq Mariano for hosting and catering the February and December get-together

PBB Award –— Karl Zafra for being the kuya of 4AMTUST90 and it also stands for a Pit Bull’s Bite award. 

Natatanging Dakilang Manunulat Award –— Nova Alcantara for coming up with a very detailed write up of the get-togethers.


For the rest the following awards are posted in 4AMTUST90 yahoogroup:


Lost and Found Award— Malou Nery for the last one to be found so far

MaAGA ang Pasko Award-–Willy Alba for having achieved an Aga Mulach popularity in Chinese General Hospital

Guess Who and Concert Queen Award-–Leah Illada-Vasquez for the difficulty in recognizing Dennis Bascon during January get-together and for being a short notice broadcaster of a  complimentary concert ticket available in Araneta Colliseum.

Decadang Love Team Award-— Rachel and FF for need not explain why

GSM  Award (Geographically Single Male)— Jesus Ong for the reason he himself claims

18th Birthday Award— Don Alvin Matulac for footing the bill of the December get-together as his birthday celebration.


Dual Sim Card Award— Michael Lui for his amazing demonstration of the Dual Sim Adapter which he did during the get-together in Korean Restaurant

Kuya Kim Matang Lawin Award –— Lindsay Lucban for Jungle Joe Subic promotion

Digital Video Craze Award-— Nante Manahan for posting a neck breaking video of the China Town Best Foods get-together

Allergic Toxic Award-— Estraelita “Rama” de Leon for declaring that she will no longer make it to the other get-togethers because she will be tied up with Endocrinology Training in St. Luke.

Saturday Clinic Award-— Rosalee Eng-Doctor for her Saturday Clinic a factor that prevents her from attending previous the get-togethers

Saturday Class Award-— Ellani Alfonso-Roldan for her Saturday Class which made her incapable of attending the previous get-together

Subic Rose Award-— JC Huang-Pascual for reason you will find in Titanic Fidelity write up.

Kering-keri Award — Judith Mendoza-Torda for her transformation from 4 inch spray-net emulsified hair to very flat straight hair.

Yaya’s Day Off Award-— Malou Torres-David for her Nanny’s day off sched coinciding with the Pampangga get-together

StaFr Complex Award-— Emily Carbonell-Dy for her claim that she never overcame her stage fright

So NYSF Award (So Near yet so far)-— Vic Balcita the reason for not making it to any get-together.

DIY Award-— Grace da’Lag for her surname changing from da’Lag to Yousef.

Avid Reader Award-— Joy Fernandez-Ramirez for she is an avid reader of get-together write ups

GPS Award (Global Positioning System)-— Cecille Lagmay for having achieved the greatest number of finding our classmates.

Pirates of the Carribean Award-— James Lugue for his Luxury Cruise Work Adventure

GG Award (Gawad Guru)-— Mayette Andia for her teaching prowess

HIBUK Award (Honey, I Blew Up the Kid)-— Nonee Gatchalian-Carter for giving birth to a huge kid.

FWD Award (Frozen Web Delight)-–Yette Santos for having achieved a frozen webcam broadcast during the February get-together

ICAW-ICAU Award (I care about my work, I care about U)— Cherry Flora—due to her profession

LSD-PAT Award (Lucy in the Sky of Diamond-Philippine Anti-Piracy Team) for having acquired the Druggy alias and for spearheading the anti-piracy discussion in yahoo group.

My Son YM Award (My son in Yahoo Messenger)-— Jennifer Segismundo for her icon frequently flashes that she is on line but it is actually his son who is using the internet.

MFAC Milk Award (Melamine Free, Rich in Vitamin A and Calcium)-–YY for always inserting the melamine joke in YG discussions.


The rest, they are yet to be found and known.


After the awards has been given out… a few conversations of plans for future get-together, of how others behaved and mis-behaved in class… then Donyalamat quipped “aren’t we the same group that stayed until sunrise during the February get-together?”  With this everyone gave a brief laughter and decided to take a few snaps for documentation.  After a few convincing of where the lights should be… the shots still came out dark.  Nevertheless, the super six came out recognizable and is good enough for reasons of posterity.  When the light of the day begins to defuse through the sky, super six shook hands and parted ways… to which Dens Bas uttered “it was such a great moment of re-bonding!!!” 


Upon reaching home, Donyalamat dropped dead sleeping…her mind stopped in a slumber of no pondering.





%d bloggers like this: