The gypsy in us brought us to Cebu in Lahug. Dad was then working for Eternit Corporation, a French-based company that sold asbestos roofing before it was discovered that asbestos caused all kinds of diseases including cancer. His office was in Magellan Hotel. Dad was also an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Cebu.
Alvin went to St. Francis of Assisi, near the Redemptorist Church as a Nursery student and I went to the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion in Cebu. We lived in a huge seven-bedroom house in Escario Extension that had some other “creatures” living in it too! My first hand experience into the paranormal, indeed!
I was Grade 2 under Madame Dotillos. She was a petite but stern pregnant woman who despite her size managed to keep us all in our best behaviors. I had friends named Erika, Marie Blanche Regual, Lara Briones, Frances Dawn Reynes, Judy Halili and Carmenchu Seno. There was also this little girl, a classmate of ours who had a red mole on her nose like what you’d imagine Rudolf would have. I remember her name was Ethel and she had really curly hair. She sat to my right in our class picture. I think the girl’s name who sat on my left was Carmela. I can no longer recall her surname. Among the boys I would only recall Jeffrey Manalaysay and Jonathan Alino. See our class picture below.
I remember I used to go home with Blanche in their arts and crafts souvenir store where I’d eat lunch with her and her younger siblings. Her mom runs the shop and they stayed there with her. I brought lunch with me, packed in a plastic container with a table napkin and cutleries. Sometimes, I would go to Erika’s house. I don’t know if classes extended until the afternoons or perhaps on some days we had classes till the afternoon and other days no, because one time I sneaked out of Tia Meding’s eye. Tia Meding is actually my grandmother’s cousin who was a soltera (unmarried till old age) and lived with us. She was quite a good cook and also helped in marketing and picking us kids from school. I liked testing how independent I’ve become so one time, when she was already waiting for me to collect me from school; I escaped and took the jeepney home on my own. The fare then was 35 centavos from my school to our home and it’s the same price for an 8oz bottle of Coca Cola. My ‘baon’ (cash for Recess) was 1 peso and I had packed sandwiches, fruit juices and water as well as an occasional lunch packet with me. Poor Tia Meding arrived home in breathless panic only to find me already in my home clothes and getting ready for my afternoon nap!
Grade 3 was in the same school, mostly with the same classmates and our class adviser then was Miss Fe Susaya who I will not forget because she said she used to be so insecured about her large owl-like eyes when her father told her that she is lucky to have such beautiful eyes, so she must not feel bad instead be proud of what she has. More or less I still kept the same friends with a new best friend: Maria Milagros Llarranaga who had two small brothers, Paco and Emmanuel. They lived in Cebu but holidayed in Spain where they originally came from and I remembered Mimi as this new student in a new school and befriended her. We easily got along and were inseparable in the third grade. We also had a much older classmate whose name escapes me now. She played with us but she was sort of the one who knows much about love. She’s had a boyfriend! Also she’s already had menstruation and we were all asking her all sorts of questions about that! I had my first admirer in the third grade and his family owned a guitar factory in Cebu. Our class even went there for a field trip but sadly, I had forgotten his name. Pictures of Grade III section White – in our school uniforms and our Christmas party, below:
Next blog, remember I said I had first-hand experience in the paranormal? Well details will be posted next time :-) Also more of CIC memories....