It wasn't a pleasant Monday evening in the beginning. Metro
traffic jam was at its worst. Besides, one finds it difficult
to cope with
Monday sickness. No one would ever dare set a date on this day
of the week.
Edmund Liao kept on telling me that it's his car ban day. And
Evelyn Alcaraz-Muallil. But Dr. Ching Cabildo-Albornoz and I
time is so short. It's not everyday that one gets to see the
Lansangan-Gonzalez, one of the female babes of THS Batch '78
. . . the
darling of Cancer . . . the teachers' favorite . . . and Moises Sta.
cry baby. She was staying for only one week. Never mind
if it was a
Monday. It's got to happen we thought.
Moises Sta. Ana fetched Olive Griarte Seña from her Antipolo
and decided to hitch a ride with me. Imagine how surprised the
saw them were as they continually quarelled where my church was.
was thinking of Espiritu Santo, also in Tayuman but in Sta. Cruz district.
Olive was sure, oh so sure, that they were bound for Tondo side as
almost a regular church-goer here. But Moises would not surrender.
as we were leaving my church premises, they were still nagging each
I was amused. We were headed for a riot.
As we were buying lechon from La Loma and while the quarrel was
progress, Ching called me to check where we were. She was undescribably
excited. We arrived at 92 Scout Rallos St., Quezon City around fifteen
minutes ahead of time. Ching's little angels were the "welcome committee."
Soon after, Leah Espino Ponio arrived with her baby at 5:55 p.m.
for others to arrive was like eternity. Moises was playing the
Leah arrived. She greeted me, Olive and Ching and looked puzzlingly
Moises. She kept pestering me as to who that man was. And
into laughter upon recalling that it was Moises the Menace!
Leah and Moises did several duets on the piano, including Bluemoon which
was our favorite piece when unwinding at the Espino Residence in Balut
Edmund Liao who took an MRT train from Makati and hitched a ride with
Evelyn Alcaraz Muallil whose house is just around the corner.
Santos and wife Tess together with their son came. Eleanor Directo
Perlie Gonzales and Leonor River Piguing were in one car pool also
Makati. It was almost past seven. Diana was still missing
in action, lost
in the maddening trafic jam in Mandaluyong . Ferdie Lomibao sneaked
from his work at nearby GMA Channel 7. He was an instant
took fancy on Ellen. She must be his old crush. Ealier,
he kept on
asking me, "Darating ba 'yung kaibigan ni Ofelia Celestino na malaking
babae?" (referring to Ellen). He was kinda excited about the
I was already sending endless text messages to Diana. Ferdie had
for work and promised to return.
Slowly, the buffet table was being completed: Lechon, kare-kare,
laing, lengua, adobo, embotidong isda, sapin-sapin . . . and a lot
Ching's chinese wine was a good starter. Evelyn's home made chocolates
were a hit. It was noisy. Everyone was poking fun at Moises .
recalling that he was every girl's nightmare. Of course, the
the Iglesia ni Kristo has mellowed a lot.
A little past eight, Diana made the grand entrance. She
tried to recall
everybody and unconsciously did not notice Moises. Then, a second
third. And she broke into a boisterous laughter upon realizing
was confronting her tormentor. They embraced. Moises uttered,
nayakap na din ako ni Diana!" Yes, after twenty something years.
Diana how many times Moises made her cry. She has lost count.
In the nick of time, tire supply empress Mercedes Conejos came . . .
first, shy and uneasy until she was buried deep into endless kumustahan
chickahan. She was forced to come when I thretened not to give
communion if she snobs the affair. Endless phone calls from me,
Ching made her reluctantly decide to say hello to yesterday.
Ferdie did a come-back. Then came the much-awaited entrance of
Adriano Gilera, also a victim of the Moises regime since grade school.
Edna! She's always unforgettable. Then came Nelson and
Beng Ceña and
joined the last group who partook of the gastronomic delights at the
Soon after, it was Ross Misa's turn to pull Diana a surprise.
nabuo na ang barkada!
Food and drinks were flowing. Diana was ecstatic. Never
mind if her
children were a little sick. Dr. Ching offered an instant check
up and a
bedroom upstairs for them to rest. It was nice to see Ching's
volunteering to take care of the Gonzalez' toddlers.
Diana gave each lady a pair of earrings. A toast was proposed
by Leah. It
was nice of Leah to stay. Her son and the little baby girl wanted
home to far Parañaque. She decided to send her children home
driver. She was suppose to leave earlier but could not disappoint
Edmon offered to bring her home. Malou left for her husband's birthday
dinner but sent me a text message that she was coming back. After
seemed like a quick dinner, she was indeed back! But not after
to assure her that I would arrange a ride home for her. Ellen
In the midst of what was like People Power, Rey Bisda was on the phone
talking with Cancer friends alternately. He must have been painted
envy. And like Malou and Ferdie, Rey did a come back on
the phone later
during the night! He was monitoring the event. It was an intercontinental
An informal meeting was held regarding the Homecoming. A second
meeting was set . . . this time, hosted by Mercedes in their family
in Majayjay, Laguna. That will be in April. And we'll be
laughing and be
little children once more for two days!
More prospects were discussed: an Ai Ai de las Alas show at Music
for a fund raiser; bingo social; etc.
But the plans for the homecoming seemed unimportant then.
We had to make
the most out of that evening. There was so much space for laughters
giggles. Ferdie's endless jokes and funny recollections brought
down. As the evening drew deep, Moises decided to take it more personally,
he went around doing tete-a-tete to his friends. He whispered
"Enrique, puro doña na pala mga kaeskwela natin . . ."
"Ang gaganda ng mga babae pero puro kaboses ni Inday Badiday."
Of course we had the customary group picture taking. Perlie was
the camera retouching her lipstick to everyone's delight. We
had more food
to eat and stories to tell. But we've been there for several hours
One needed to have the courage to say, "Uwian na!" Because
to like to say goodbye. But it was almost midnight and Diana's
were past asleep upstairs.
But before the final goodbyes, more flashes of the camera flickered.
was free for all as to which ulam one wanted to take home.
I decided to
take Olive's laing . . . if only for this, one could fall in love with
But Ferdie was present!
Ching, the perfect hostess was consistently composed and in control
the end. How I admire this woman. And her love for dear
Diana . . .
As we were headed home, I took a look at Merlie's daughter. She was
at how these forty year old folks could party! Unknown to her,
we kept in
our hearts that unexplainable joy of being together . . . and the true
meaning of friendship and camaraderie.
I was sure, the following day, each one had a story to tell . . .
- From Fr. Erick Santos -