A Day in the Life

Weekdays (High School in the late 70s)

  • 5:30am Wake up time. Handel’s classic the Messiah performed by The Oratorio Society of New York softly play on the centralized public address system. (Remember the classics like “For unto us a child is booorn”, and also the song, “And the glory of … glory of … the Lord …shall be revealed”, et al.) Then the electric buzzer sounds. The Beadle starts banging with arnis the edge of our steel beds.
  • 5:45am With towel around our neck, we start our zombie walk towards the lavabo on the ground floor outside the fathers’ refectory. The dorm lavatory faucets are not functioning except for one or two. Besides, the dorm lavatory is perennially flooded and unbearably smelly. Others prefer the faucet near the tennis court.
  • 6:00am Dressed in immaculate polo shirt, black pants and black leather shoes and with précis tucked inside the pocket, we sleepwalk towards the chapel for morning prayers. While the more religious lot peruse fervently over their précis in prayer, the others nod themselves to sleep.
  • 6:30am Holy Mass, as the mananggete starts climbing the coconut tree the top of which is eye level to us sitting at the Chapel. His movements are very slow and calculated. He steps on a frond; removes the sanggot or bamboo tube from his back and hangs it on another frond. He sits while working on this tree. (Ram must have seen him at work and thought of the fresh tuba inside the sanggot. He must have concocted the evil scheme right there and then that would get me involved. But that would a topic of another story in the future issue.)
  • 7:30am Breakfast of scrambled egg (that tasted like flour) and one piece of dried fish served on a plate. Eat all you can rice and drink all you can barako coffee.
  • 8:00am Classes start. Class monitor would begin roll call.
  • 10:00am Break. The starbread costing twenty-five cents is the all time favorite. Water (and plenty of stories) would suffice for those who cannot afford.
  • 10:15am Resume classes.
  • 11:45am Scripture reading and reflection; Spiritual talk; Time to reflect on the profound insights of seminarians like Manolo, who usually doesn’t listen to the reading.
  • 12:00nn Angelus, lunch
  • 12:30pm Siesta time. (A lot of mysterious things happen during this period. Some would execute a disappearing act, transporting themselves to the kalibunan in search of gagamba or botong or bugnay or mais or mongo. The more matured ones prefer listening to a radio drama,“Verboten”.)
  • 1:30pm Start of afternoon classes. Panahon na sa pag-de-debate ukol sa tamang paggamit ng “laruang kabayo” at “kabayong laruan”.
  • 4:30pm Gardening or P.E.
  • 5:30pm Wash up; Enough time to self-study James Taylor or Hotdog songs on guitar or piano.
  • 6:00pm Angelus, study period
  • 7:00pm Dinner of beef with string beans and tiny fried fish. Eat all you can rice, again. Usually pooled money with the 3 others to buy 1 small can of Holiday brand lechon paksiw. Those without money find contentment in sili drowned in tap water--i.e., lots of crushed sili mixed with water. (We can’t even buy vinegar for the sili, so tap water sufficed.) Still, everyone eats heartily.
  • 8:00pm Study period.
  • 9:00pm Evening prayers.
  • 9:20pm Prepare for bed. (Under cover of darkness, the huge rock near the tennis becomes a “comforting” retreat for Leodegario, Loel and others who love to use the faucet near the tennis court.)
  • 9:45pm Magnum silentium. Lights off.
  • 10:00pm The generator is switched off by Delfo. And if one were lucky enough, he can hear the scream of the white lady that according to legend killed herself during the War, right at the mouth of the cave.
  • 12:00 mn The creepy grating sound of the famous bagul terrorizes the insomniac. The sound would come from the ceiling near the entrance, then the middle of the dorm, then inside the lavatory. It has remained a mystery up to now.

Saturday/Sunday (College in the early 80’s)
  • 5:30am Wake up time. Nobody seems to move. At the last minute, Jones would trudge sleepily to the chapel; tucked in one pocket under his sotana is his toothbrush. We’re not sure if he used toothpaste. That has remained a mystery until now.
  • 6:00am Prayers and Holy Mass
  • 7:30am Breakfast in silence with the usual fare that we had been eating since High School--floured egg!
  • 8:00am Start of housework and then groundwork.
  • 10:00am Wash up then music practice at the auditorium
  • 12:00nn Angelus, prayer; lunch
  • 12:30pm Siesta/ Outing on a Sunday. Bring home the dirty clothes, stay at home with the family or drive to the seawall in front of Baclayon church, with cans of beer and boxes of curly tops. Free time for those who would remain inside the compound. A good opportunity to explore the kalibunan.
  • 5:30pm Wash up. Time in on a Sunday.
  • 6:00pm Angelus, study period. Story-telling of how the outing was spent.
  • 7:00pm Dinner; time to play pool or watch PBA on grainy TV.
  • 8:00pm Bible sharing
  • 9:00pm Study period. For some, continuation of the story telling.
  • 10:00pm Magnum silentium. Lights off. Lie down on the bed and watch the stars; listen to the distant occasional sound of vehicles. A good time to forge dreams and wonder what would loom up ahead in the future. Gent’s snore disturbs the reverie.