FATHER-AND-SON BONDING: IS IT BECOMING A THING OF THE PAST?

bistek-race-bonding

[A touching FATHER-AND-SON bonding–as Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista tightly pressed Race’s left shoe’s toe box and outsole together, to insure that the foot-gear would not conk out once again. This unwanted snag happened  while Race and his Legit Status Dance Team were doing some practice backstage as they were awaiting their call on stage as they were excitedly intent to display their terpsichorean skills at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum  in November 2015. And this was following their bagging the FIRST Runner-Up WIN (Varsity Division) at the 2015 WORLD HIPHOP INTERNATIONAL CONTEST in San Diego, California in August 2015.]

 

It is good that in the ATENEO, a Jesuit-run educational institution in the Philippines, particularly in its Grade School and High School classes, a Father-and-Son bonding (which usually is a whole day affair) would invariably be held, once at Grade School and another in High School. Such practice indeed has tremendously helped the fathers in connecting with their sons.

During one Father-and-Son bonding affair which I attended with my son Anthony during his HIGH SCHOOL stint at the Ateneo in Loyola Heights, Quezon City; my friend Francis Lim, who eventually became Managing Partner of the top-caliber ACCRA Law Office and thereafter, President of the Philippine Stock Exchange; served as Lead Parent-Moderator.

 

[Photos of my son Anthony; with the top right photo together with me]

And one session during that whole day affair is for the sons to describe their fathers. I do not know whether it was really part of the program or an insertion maneuvered by Francis, to add humor and fun to the affair. And amidst the laughs of the sons and the guffaws of the fathers, certain fathers were described by their sons as uxorious husbands who are so fondly submissive to their wives, while seeming hecklers among the more rowdy fathers shouted in unison: “TAKOSA” (i.e. the term TAKOSA is a corruption of the Japanese term YAKUZA, which denotes an intrepid and plucky member of a mafia-like organization in Japan; while TAKOSA actually is an acronym for “TAKOT SA ASAWA”, roughly translated in English as: “AFRAID OF ONE’S WIFE”]

 

francis-lim-photo

[Here is a photo of the suave and debonair looking Atty. Francis Lim of the topnotch law firm ACCRA, who with his gracious wife Eddy (my former colleague at ALLIED BANK), dotingly love their children. ]

 

Back to this FATHER-AND-SON bonding thing. …Indeed, many father-son experiences are at times fraught with inelegant and uncomfortable silence or of antagonistic arguments and truculent bickering.

However, every father and son deserve quality time together, which is why certain striking episodes of FATHER-AND-SON bonding ought to be displayed and narrated for eventual emulation by others.

And here is my story…

Race Matias is one of the most skilful hiphop dancers of the Legit Status Dance Team. In fact, it was Race who I think skippered the SILVER MEDAL win of the Legit Status-Varsity Team when it competed in the 2015 World Hiphop International Competition (“WHHI”) held at the Harrah’s Resort in San Diego, California from August 1-9, 2015. I am much attached to the Legit Status Team as it is being coached by the innovative and skilful terpsichorean, Vimi Rivera, my eldest daughter’s (i.e. Shayna) beau. It was also the team which my THREE (3) daughters [i.e. Shayna, Cheska and Alee] joined particularly the Legit Status Megacrew Division Team  which competed in the 2015 WHHI, landing thereby as 4th Runner-Up in a field of over 57 participating nations.

 

legit-status-at-whhi-stage

[The LEGIT STATUS DANCE TEAM (Megacrew Division) at the San Diego 2015 WORLD HIPHOP INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION.]

 

Research shows that an average dad spends just 56 minutes a day with their son. And with work pressures and the race for financial independence “crescending”, half of modern dads believe that father and son bonding is becoming a thing of the past.

It was good that during the preparations for the 2015 WHHI, the parents of the Legit Status team organized themselves together and worked hard to raise funds to finance the trip of the 45-boy-girl team to the U.S.A. The methodical and masterly orchestration done by my hardworking friend Zaldy delos Reyes who was elected to become the Over-all Coordinator, proved truly opportune. Indeed, Zaldy marshaled the combined resources of all of the Legit Status’ parents into approximating the group’s defined goals. And one among  the most supportive parents were Mayor Herbert Bautista and Eloisa, Race’s Dad and Mom.

But what truly amazed me was that in one performance where Race together with the Legit Status team displayed to the Philippine audience (after their 2015 WHHI trip) their award winning hiphop dance routine, a heartwarming father-and-son bonding scene happened.

It turned out that Race’s foot gear, perhaps wearied and tired due to too much leaping, springing, hopping and jumping; literally conked out, as the toe box and the out-sole got disentangled from each other. And the shoe actually Race’s left shoe seemed like a hungry puppy with its mouth gaping as the toe box and the out-sole created an ugly rift which was slowly inching unto the mid-sole.

And Mayor Herbert Bautista, the amiable and ever-helpful alderman of the erstwhile capital city of the Philippines; and who is Race’s loving Dad, proved not only as a helpful mayor but even a more helpful father.

Thus, using a roll of masking tape, as time was then of the essence, the dance performance time inching near; the benevolent, supportive and ever-helpful Mayor Herbert Bautista sprinted unto the venue’s backstage and quickly maneuvered to fix Race’s left shoe.

Truly, indeed, we are all a busy type of people, but no matter how packed one’s schedule is, it is important to set aside time to be with one’s son.

We all know that raising children is the central experience of life, the greatest source of self-awareness, the true fountain of pride and joy, and the most eternal bond with a partner. We know that being a father is life’s fullest expression of masculinity and nurturing one’s son is a further profession of one’s own masculinity. And bonding time with one’s son must never ever become a thing of the past.

race-with-teammates

 [Race with his Legit Status team mates, composing the LEGIT STATUS VARSITY TEAM which won the SILVER MEDAL at the 2015 WHHI, dancing the night away at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.]

THE BASIC FLAWS OF THE FILIPINO

 

 

 

 

better-philippines

[The theme/motto “BUILDING A BETTER CONNECTED PHILIPPINES” was adopted by a telecommunication firm which has opted to market its products in our country. Let us all try to adopt this attitude of staying “connected” and let us always be connected with each other by promoting harmony, shunning discord and unifying our focus into becoming truly, ONE NATION.]

Though my BLOG SITE’s avowed mission is to dwell on stories about FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP and FUN, I have decided to digress a little bit and focus on this subject. I feel that perhaps if we could do away and cure through our joint and concerted efforts, these perceived flaws of the Filipino; we could make a better Philippines and make all families in our country benefit from such kind of reformation. I do hope so!

Since decades ago, the Philippines as a nation, has been endeavoring to reach the apogee of economic success or to at least be considered as a tiger economy here in the South East Asian region. This lofty goal is reflected in efforts on the part of the present government’s administration; truly remarkable efforts, that are lustily being flaunted, championed and advocated. But it seems that the goal has remained so elusive.

No matter what, the program waged by the present administration to tread the “straight path” eschewing all forms of corruption, as far as practicable, even championing this cause with picturesque sloganeering dubbed as the “TUWID NA DAAN[English translation: “THE STRAIGHT PATH”], has at least carved out a niche.

Be that as it may, despite perception that this sloganeering may have not swayed all levels of the bureaucracy to abhor and do away with corruption, the President has however at least cast a semblance of himself, not making illicit money out of government. Also, the imprisonment of THREE (3) senators and a host of other government functionaries for the “pork-barrel-style” misappropriation of government funds sent a signal to all and sundry that the government really meant business.

And that on the basis of what it is professing, the present administration has made out a mark that it is committed to sanction to the hilt those who would persist to stay corrupt.

When I asked my Japanese friend Yasuaki Mori (“Mori”), who has been a Japanese diplomat for over 30 years, whether the seeming endless path of corruption in government here in the Philippines would continue or end somewhere, someday; he gave a positive prognostication and said that evil things will come to an end and the good will have its way. He said that Japan was then also mired in the worst corruption scandals particularly in the 60s and 70s but eventually Japan has emerged as the 18th least corrupt country in the world as of today. Mori had in fact painted a very rosy and positive outlook for the Philippines as he in fact wants his children to eventually become Filipino citizens and serve as homegrown professionals dedicated to make life more meaningful for their children’s children

One time, I asked Fr. Bernardo T. Blanco, the Spanish Claretian priest, who have been residing here since 1977 and who is my friend and spiritual adviser; as to what he sees to be the basic flaw of the Filipino. Without batting an eyelash, he said that it seems that the Filipino has not actually internalized into the Filipino psyche the concept of nationhood. Yes indeed, at most times, Filipinos would be animated to fight for their self-centered cause even if it would not be in accord with the paramount welfare of that BIGGER SELF, among all of us, our very own NATION.

Indeed, some Filipinos who in the guise of fighting for their self-centered cause would even have the gall to flaunt their disregard for the basic rules. This kind of DISREGARD and DEFIANCE appears to be another basic flaw in the character of the Filipino. And as peace loving citizens of our country, we should try our best to re-orient ourselves for the betterment of the Philippines. It would seem perhaps that this basic flaw (i.e. disregard and defiance of authority) in the Filipino character has been deeply ingrained that it would take more time for us to cure it. There appears to be a pattern which has grown into a habit, of bashing, demonizing and incarcerating our past national leaders.

Perhaps, it would be best that this practice should now be put to a STOP and for us to tread unto the HEALING PATH. Despite all those allegations of fraud and felony among those who have served our country, but eventually bashed and demonized, it cannot be denied that those leaders invested their blood, sweat, and tears in the service of the nation.

One way or the other, this practice may have subconsciously deepened into the psyche of our people. Thus, it has created an animating rave to continuously disregard law and authority. Thus, you could see motorists driving through the red light and even mauling traffic officers with gay abandon in the streets of the metropolis.

Indeed, here in the metropolis, we see people flagrantly violating traffic rules, not observing TRAFFIC LIGHTS and even simple PARKING RULES (i.e. parking their vehicles in slots not allotted for parking and defying the national regulation which prohibits SMOKING within buildings. With the recent success in the tills of the movie HENERAL LUNA, we would have by now awakened to the reality that even during the days of our illustrious forebears, authority is disregarded and the people would even be swayed to kill, ironically… to kill even our own heroes. The utter defiance displayed by Gen. Tomas Mascardo to the Commanding General of the Philippine Army then, Gen. Antonio Luna, as shown in the movie, is indeed HORRIBLY striking.

Perhaps, in this regard of re-orienting our mindset to do away with the basic flaws in the Filipino psyche, the total involvement/participation of the whole nation must be summoned.

Another flaw is the new version of crab-mentality and the grandiosity to which many are led to believe that they are better than those who have been elected to office. Yes, every Filipino seems to want to lead, to become the greatest, the STAR and to become the commander-in-chief in all arena of inter-relationships. In the vernacular this is aptly captured by the saying to the effect that: “LAHAT AY GUSTONG MAGING BIDA!” [English translation: Every one wants to become the leading actor,  nobody seems content to just play a MINOR  role.] 

Also, the typical Filipino has become so irresponsible in exercising their rights. It is said in brutally frank language that too much freedom is dangerous. Now, it is not uncommon to hear media personalities bashing and humiliating government officers as though an authoritarian leader castigating a subaltern or as though, a bullying teacher disciplining a pupil. What is worse is that these TV and radio personalities would even highlight the flaws and defects of the very government which is stewarding the nation, the very place where they were born, to where they have lived,  and which they have called as their home for eons. And the listening and viewing public would even be swayed with dramatic effect to seethe in consternation and deepest anger. Thus, people would disparage and be prone to insult their government, their leaders and their very own country, as though they are never part of it. What a stain; what a shame!

A lot of people would even sing praises to these kinds of bashers as they would idealize them as the best and feisty media personality, one of a kind, intrepid and plucky! And these media personalities are moreover emboldened to humiliate government officials over the radio and in national TV.  It only emboldens our citizens to similarly disrespect authority.

For example, with respect to the NO COUNTERFLOW RULE which has been imposed to insure that no untoward incident and/or inconvenience should happen in the roads within the metropolis, let us shame these violators. What perhaps could be done is by clapping our hands every time a violator would even have the guts and gall to show off his bravado in doing a COUNTERFLOW in the perennially traffic-ridden, narrow and already constricted streets of Metro-Manila.

 Clapping is never a form of violence, it is even a gesture of praise. Let us praise these violators with a lusty applause to remind them that it takes guts and gall to be CONTINUOUSLY DEFIANT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UP PI OMICRON FRATERNITY – THE LADIES; THE DAMES –PART 2

 

 

 

darkroom

[This is how a typical photographer’s darkroom looks like, except that the darkroom at Brod Nory Palarca’s workplace in UP-Diliman then did not feature apertures/windows at its side.]

 

 

jamel-brods

 

When Brod Jamil Lucman (Batch 66) was the fraternity’s Grand Omicron in 1968, the mansion of the Late Congressman Rashid Lucman, Brod Jamil’s uncle, which was located in New Manila, Quezon City served as the fraternity’s trysting place. Cong. Lucman’s mansion served also as Brod Jamil’s home as he was tasked by his uncle to act as its caretaker, and guardian  of Cong. Lucman’s eldest son, Aminullah, who was schooling then at the JASMS-High School. The foregoing transpired as Cong. Lucman would almost always be with his family and constituents in Marawi, Lanao del Sur. Aminullah eventually became a fraternity brother when he entered college at the Mindanao State University.

 

 

jamel-dickson

Thus, when classes in UP Diliman would be suspended due to the rallies and demonstrations which would routinely be organized then, as activism/radicalism was approaching its heights during those days, we would usually repair to the New Manila mansion: Brod Jamil with his sweetheart Jo, Brod Herminio “Germs” Valerio with his tootsie Bebs, a Delta Pi Omicron sis; Brod Claver “Butch” Soriano with  his Sigma Betan friend, Rebecca “Becky” Santos, and myself with Chin, also a Delta Pi Omicron sis and the biological younger sister of Sis Bebs.

 

DCIM/100MEDIA/DJI_0237.JPG

 

And the class suspensions became prevalent then as rallies and demonstrations sort of became the order of the day.

 

nori-palarca

 

However, when Brod Honorio “Nory” Palarca got appointed as the official University Photographer in the early 1970s, the room located at the second floor at Pavilion 1 of Palma Hall which served as Brod Nory’s workplace became the fraternity’s supplemental hang-out and trysting place. But Brod Nory emerged too as some kind of the fraternity’s MUFTI, a moral police. Eventually, that supplemental fraternity hang-out at the second floor of Pavilion 1 of Palma Hall, as the extreme western corner at the end of the Palma Hall adjoining the Faculty Center still served as the fraternity’s main hang-out, earned the moniker DARK ROOM. Indeed however, Brod Nory’s workplace has actually a dark room in one of its larger nooks.

 

The workplace of Brod Nory located at the second floor of Pavilion 1 of Palma Hall is about 32 square meters large; about 4 meters wide and 8 meters deep.  There is a one-meter wide alley which served as passage way from the entrance door leading to Brod Nory’s nook at the end portion of the workplace.  At the middle portion of the concrete wall which separates the alley from the enclosure which is actually the dark room, is a portal.

That portal is the entrance door to the dark room and the passage to the dark room is somewhat complicated. The one-meter wide passage from the portal extends two meters to the left, then turns one meter to the right and then turns again to the left about a meter, and VOILA, you are inside the DARK ROOM. I learned thereafter that the truncated though meandering route to the DARK ROOM, was to insure that no outside light would seep into it. I was further told that as the dark room is where the photographic films are being developed, which would result in images being formed on photographic paper, any unwanted or unsafe light could soil the “developing” process.

As Brod Nory welcomed the thought of brods visiting him at his seemingly lonely workplace, as he neither had an assistant nor a clerk, Brod Nory would just leave the entrance door unlocked. And brods would enjoy visiting him in bunches and would  keep him company all through his working hours. But there were instances, when brods with companions would visit him without Brod Nory even noticing it, as the couple would make a quick left-turn into the DARK ROOM. As the self-appointed MUFTI (i.e. moral police), Brod Nory begun locking the entrance door  and would only allow brods access to the DARK ROOM  with his permission,

But as Brod Nory was so very kind and so accommodating, when brods would come with their respective dames, asking Brod Nory’s permission to use the DARK ROOM for some kind of heart-to-heart talks, as they needed some kind of privacy, Brod Nory would invariably give in. However, just like a true-blue moral police Brod Nory would continuously counsel brods on morality and righteousness and to shun promiscuity at all costs. Brod Nory then was truly a righteous man, a paragon of morality.

It happened however that the need to engage in heart-to-heart talks between fraternity brods and their sweethearts, became as though an epidemic as it turned into a prevalent and flagrant practice. And this development took a toll upon Brod Nory’s studies as he would be forced to skip classes just as to monitor and keep watch over those love-struck brods. Brod Nory was sort of afraid that if any hanky-panky business should happen inside his workplace and would eventually reach the ears of the university authorities, his appointment as university photographer could be surely imperiled. But one enterprising brod was cleverly adroit, as he was able to quickly duplicate Brod Nory’s key to his workplace.

Based on Brod Nory’s tally, the regular habitues at the DARK ROOM and users of its  photographic facility strictly for developing some kind of an image is Brod Antonio “Tony” Cruz, Brod Oscar “Oca” Badillo, Brod Romeo “Omy” Matias and Brod Emmanuel “Nebs” Viado; in alphabetical order and not necessarily in the order of the frequency of use.

I was never a user of the DARK ROOM facility then as photography as a hobby, never attracted me and also, my GF at that time was schooling in far-flung Philippine Womens’ University along Taft Avenue in Manila; while the brods’ usual companions then were mostly Diliman campus coeds.

 

PWU.jpg

 

UP PI OMICRON FRATERNITY – THE LADIES; THE DAMES

danny-daguio

[This photo courtesy of Brod Danny Daguio (shown at center being sandwiched by girls seated at front row) was taken during his 16th birthday. They (together with Brod Bobby Brillantes, standing 6th from left, the one who is touching his chin; and the pretty and statuesque Vida Doria, the girl to Brod Bobby’s left) were members of the Project 6 Junior Cursillo Club.]

When I became an officer of the UP Pi Omicron Fraternity during the term of Brod Jamil Lucman (Batch 66) as Tyler Omicron, sort of a Sergeant-at-Arms, (that is what  that position is called in other organizations), I was tasked by Brod Jamil to scout for a muse as we were then planning to hold the annual induction rites of the new set of officers at Eugene’s Restaurant in Cubao, Quezon City. I was still then a new member and I felt as though I were still a neophyte and must quickly obey the demands and directives of the senior brods.

Thus, with all celerity, I quickly scouted for a muse thereafter.  And I was able to befriend a mestiza looking beauty by the name of Monique Duncombe Elizalde, who was then a freshman coed. She looks like Solenn Heussaff, but a little bit on the chubby side.

Monique readily agreed to be our muse and Brod Jamil was amused that I was able to speedily scout for one. I attended the Eugene’s rites sans any partner as I was tasked to wait on Monique and sort of served as her attendant, she was however brought to the venue by a kin which lightened my burden as Brod Jamil told me to insure Monique’s attendance then.

I know that Brod Noel Nable of Batch 65 courted Monique but after a year of college however, I was told that Monique with her kin migrated to the U.S.

Brod Jamil’s consort during the Eugene’s induction rites and who eventually became his girlfriend was a dusky beauty whose first name is Josefina (the surname I can no longer recall however) and Brod Jamil would endearingly call her “Jo”.

Jo is a member of the Delta Pi Omicron Sorority and in the ensuing wooing and courtship between Brod Jamil and Jo, I and our now famous sis, Lolit Solis, served as go-between. Sis Jo would convey what she feels unto Sis Lolit, while Sis Lolit conveys it to me or directly to Brod Jamil, except that Brod Jamil is sometimes hard to find. This was because on hindsight, it turned out that Brod Jamil will later emerge as Commander Jungle Fox of the Black Shirts.

Thence, I would convey it to Brod Jamil as Brod Jamil would at times emerge on campus late in the afternoon or in the evenings when Sis Lolit is not anymore around. Brod Jamil is one person who believes that exciting and magical things happen in the evenings and all through the night.

Indeed, though Brod Jamil looks like a real BARAKO too, plucky and intrepid, in the English language, he is a gentleman with respect to ladies, broads and dames. Brod Jamil seemed so sheepish, shy and bashful during the initial face-to-face trysts with Sis Jo. Eventually Sis Jo became at ease with my presence and I became the partners’ sole go-between.

I eventually had a girlfriend from among the Delta Pi Omicron, whose first name is Cynthia and whose nick name is Chin. I had a crush however upon a younger sis, who became the Asst. Dean of the UP College of Law, Dean Patricia Salvador Daway. Brod Gabriel “Bing” Martinez (Batch 65) also had a crush on her, Sis Pat, and because of seniority, I had to give way to Brod Bing. Though, I believe that they, Sis Pat and Brod Bing, were in a relationship during those days, Sis Pat eventually got married to a debonair looking lawyer then too, who is now Regional Trial Court Judge in Quezon City, the eminent and illustrious Judge Reynaldo B. Daway.

But what truly intrigued me was when I had a talk with Sis Lolit just recently. Sis Lolit confided to me that her crush actually was Brod Bing as she told me, she could feel the rush of blood in her inner being and would swoon and sway from the sight and nearness of Brod Bing, whenever they would chance upon each other at the frat’s hang out. But Sis Lolit told me that she kept it to herself particularly about her craving and crush on Brod Bing. According to Sis Lolit, she got so infatuated to Brod Bing because of his tantalizing and inviting eyes.

But the acknowledged PABLING (i.e. playboy) of the fraternity was no other but Brod Washington“Bobby” Brillantes (Batch 68). During those years, when Vida Doria who was crowned Miss Philippines was Brod Bobby’s GF, Brod Bobby was also dating TWO (2) other dames. Due to Brod Bobby’s philandering ways, the BF-GF relationship between them invariably went on an ON and OFF basis.

Indeed, Brod Bobby was the acknowledged PLAYBOY of the fraternity. I remember, I think it was Brod Ariel Corpuz (Batch 68) who once jestingly quipped, though idiomatically with ribald overtone however, that: “SA BOSES NA BOSES PA LANG NI BROD BOBBY; LAGLAG NA ANG PANTIE NG BABAE.” [English translation: “WITH BROD BOBBY’S VOICE ALONE, A LADY WOULD SURELY GIVE IN TO HIS AMOROUS WHIMS.”]

Truly, Brod Bobby has a baritone voice which is so modulated and is seemingly alluring, in fact seductively enticing.

Brod Danny Daguio (Batch 68) who is Brod Bobby’s neighbor in Project 6 told me however that Brod Bobby during their childhood days never had that marvelous voice.  Brod Danny narrated to me that he would customarily see Brod Bobby under a guava tree in their community memorizing some lines from famous declamation pieces and would utter and recite them with a baritone version of a voice. Eventually, Brod Bobby became a baritone-voiced lothario. Thus, this routine of Brod Bobby ineluctably calls to mind the story of Demosthenes, a Greek statesman and famous orator of Athens. Legend has it that Demosthenes would practice oratory on the seashore over the roar of the waves just as to strengthen his voice.

In the fraternity, we also have those faithful lovers, and those whom I consider as faithful and loyal were those who married their ONLY sweethearts during those exciting and fascinating years in the UP Diliman Campus, namely: Brod Alex Ramon “Alex” Cabanilla (Batch 71), who married the love of his life, Phoebe; Brod Honorio “Nory” Palarca (Batch 68) who married the apple of his eyes, Helen;  and also Brod Romeo “Omy” Matias (Batch 71), who married his dream girl, Sally; among others. Brod Omy cannot forget however the masterful stroke done by Brod Alex when he endeavored to impress his love of his life, by bringing their TWO (2) cars on campus. Thereafter, Brod Alex had to ask/plead Brod Nory for succor, as he cannot drive the TWO (2) cars alone in one sweep back home.

But the most likable and desirable dame of them all is one who was some kind of a VIP guest in one HAIR gala presentation with whom Brod Ronaldo “Ronnie” Manalastas (Batch 66) served as consort.

Also, there were those seeming inseparables too, who was always together as though they were Tarzan and Jane, but never got to be married to each other. And I will dwell on those in  my next BLOGs!

PI OMICRON FRATERNITY – ITS “NATIONALIZATION”

UP-PI-O-seal

 

Customarily, “nationalization” denotes a way for government to expand its economic resources and power.

What is meant however about the nationalization of the Pi Omicron Fraternity is the process by which it started to assume a national character, not only as a fraternity in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, but as a national fraternity within the whole Philippine archipelago. Indeed, such interpretation jibes still with the concept of expansion; expansion of influence and expansion in territory.

 

And this opportunity came into a reality in 1971.

 

After the term of Brod Ernesto “Popoy” Valencia (Batch 68), which resulted in the expulsion of Brod Felixberto “Jun” Olalia, Jr. (Batch 66) due to his failure to come up with an accounting of HAIR’s ticket proceeds, despite Brod Popoy’s insistence, I got elected as Grand Omicron.

 

About Brod Jun’s expulsionBrod Jun was actually espousing still his stand that as he was the one who bank-rolled the HAIR project, his obligation consisted merely of paying a gratuity to the fraternity and that he is not in any way required to render an accounting.

But that was not Brod Popoy’s perception then. Thus, the expulsion thing happened.

 

 

Though I have no cogent basis, I could sense then that there was some kind of politics which led to the eventual expulsion of Brod Jun and by way of a caveat, this is my own personal opinion. At that time, when activism was on its pinnacle in UP Diliman, there seem to have emerged some kind of friction between the Kabataan Makabayan (“KM”) which was founded by Jose Ma. Sison in 1964 with which group Brod Jun was allied and much more identified and the Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (“SDK”), on the other hand, which was some kind of a splinter group, as an offshoot to some degree of resistance to the leadership of Jose Ma. Sison. At that time Brod Popoy was so overly active with the affairs of SDK. But as I have said, that was my unbiased reading of the events that happened then.

 

jun-olalia-photo

(Brod Jun’s expulsion however has been already LIFTED.]

 

During the 1971 election for the new set of officers of the UP Pi Omicron Fraternity, it was I and Brod Honorio “Nory” Palarca (Batch 68) who were nominated as candidates for the GO post. By a slim margin, I won the election.

 

nori-palarca

 

I championed the calling of a national convention as the fraternity had by then various chapters already throughout Luzon and in Mindanao. The Mindanao chapters were courtesy of Brod Jamel Lucman and his kith and kin.

 

jamel-dickson

 

The chapter in Central Luzon State University was rapidly flourishing and almost all of the colleges and universities in the metropolis have Pi Omicron chapters too, such as: Mapua, UE, FEU, San Beda, San Sebastian, etc. Of course, the UP Los Baños chapter commenced immediately after the organization of the UP Pi Omicron Diliman.

 

clsu

 

As the HAIR musical play presented itself still as a revenue-generating project, we pursued it by re-staging the musical play once again. During Brod Popoy’s time, Brod Popoy allowed an arrangement whereby one enterprising brod, who had the means, Brod Edwin Lo (Batch 70), to bank-roll the show with the concomitant obligation to give the fraternity a gratuity or some kind of a royalty fee.

When I became the Grand Omicron in 1971, I opted to re-stage the HAIR musical play once again but with the fraternity bank-rolling it as the arrangement accorded  the opportunity to have its full returns. But it turned out that it was not then a sound decision.

Indeed, when the HAIR musical play was originally staged, the cast was actually given a token as the mere inclusion as cast member served as a premium, nay an honor for each of the members of the cast. But as the musical play was re-staged and re-staged, the cast was already being amply compensated and at the time when the fraternity decided to bankroll it, the talent fee for each cast member sort of reached its ceiling already due to the successes that it has then been reaping. My term’s re-staging of the musical play eventually proved to be a losing venture and it came to the point of the fraternity not making money and of not even fully paying the talent fees of the cast members.

As we need to finance the planned national convention of the PI OMICRON Fraternity, we thought up some kind of an unconventional way of raising funds. We came up with what we termed as a CAKE RAFFLE, but that the PRIZE is not actually a CAKE, it was neither a pie, nor a tart nor a pastry; but some kind of lassie, tootsie actually a DAME.

 

jun-olalia-group

 

The raffle tickets literally sold like HOT CAKES and the conference room at the Vinzons Hall went teeming with raffle ticket holders at the appointed raffle date. I was busy orchestrating the HAIR musical play and I designated Brod Gerardo “Gerry” Santos to take charge of the CAKE RAFFLE. Eventually,  a winner was announced who sat beside the PRIZE at that gala showing of the musical play HAIR. Those ticket holders who were able to reach to the semi-finals, about TEN (10) of them was given the opportunity to sit nearest to the PRIZE, for them to at least savor the scent of a the WOMAN.

 

corridor-palma-hall

 

When we convened the FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTION of the Pi Omicron Fraternity, it was a well-attended affair and I was elected as the FIRST NATIONAL President of the PI OMICRON FRATERNITY NATIONAL ORGANIZATION. That first national convention was actually held in one of the rooms at the ground floor of the UP Diliman-Palma Hall.

 

 

As it stands today, the PI OMICRON Fraternity has chapters in the following universities/colleges: UP Manila, UP Los Baños, University of the East, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, San Beda College, San Sebastian College, FEATI University, College of Perpetual Help, Araneta University, Manuel Luis Quezon University, Letran College, Mapua University,  UP Baguio, Central Luzon State University, Tarlac College of Agriculture, Pampanga Agriculture College, Tarlac State University, Angeles University Foundation, Bicol University, Laguna College of Business Administration, San Pablo College, Mindanao State University, Notre Dame University, University of Mindanao, San Jose Recoletos of Cebu, and others.

 

What is consoling is that in recent years, the Pi Omicron Fraternity despite its presence in numerous parts of the country has stayed away from instances of unsightly frat rumbles and unwholesome initiation rites. Instead, it has focused its march towards the pursuit of academic excellence. PUSH ONWARD PI OMICRON!!!

 

UP-PI-O-seal

UP PI OMICRON FRATERNITY – THE MISCHIEVOUS YEARS OF THE 60s-PART 2

 

 

 

vinzons-hall

[Photo above shows the VINZONS Hall which was the venue of the 1967 shooting incident where Brod Jamil Lucman figured as gunman. Also, the hall particularly its conference room at its second floor was the venue of the 1970 Pi Omicron election for the hotly-contested Grand Omicron post.]

During the late 60s, there were a lot of lookers on campus; the sexy, gorgeous and enticing ladies like Emma Ruth Yulo, Nelia Sancho, Maita Gomez, Ces Onrubia, Agnes Arellano, Vida Doria, etc. It was nice to hang out at the Palma Hall lobby, killing time thereat, as you would see a lot of those lookers walking like they were parading on a ramp. One windy February afternoon, I chanced upon the sight of Emma Ruth Yulo’s balloon-type of a skirt being blown up to the delight of the eyes of male passersby, including myself.

Danny Purple, a six-footer who looks like the Filipino movie actor Johnny Monteiro, was an ubiquitous presence too at the lobby of Palma Hall. It was bruited about that this Danny Purple was a former intelligent UP student who was sent to some kind of Latin American country for a scholarship program.

He was reportedly mauled however by Latin American studes in that destination and due to that incident which resulted in some concussion on his head, he suffered some kind of mental trauma and eventually became some kind of a weirdo. Another story however has it that Danny Purple got so heartbroken for an unrequited love and that he subsequently suffered mental stress and trauma. For which reason, the story goes, Danny Purple, stopped schooling and contented himself endlessly writing poems day in and day out for his love interest.

Gerry Barican was the UP Student Council Chairman then and among the more popular university councilors was Ericson Baculinao. Brod Jun Olalia (Batch 66) whose father is the eminent labor leader Ka Bert Olalia, was the Grand Omicron then and would from time to time, being a friend of Gerry Barican, attend the UP Student Council meetings.

One of the projects which the council intended to launch was the showing of a movie entitled THE EAST IS RED at the University Theater, a movie about recent happenings inside Red China. Actually, the movie was neither star-studded nor was it an acknowledged blockbuster. However, it was opined that surely it would be something that the Filipino-Chinese community would want to see. Reportedly, it would give the viewers a peek as to what was actually going on inside Red China, after almost two (2) decades of seeming obscurity from the outside world. Mao Tse Tung who rose to power in Red China, and who ruled Red China then like an Emperor, was the darling and the popular idol of the activists in UP having transformed Red China from a feudal backwater into one of the powerful countries of the world, as it stands today.

It was why Brod Jun Olalia (Batch 66) summoned me one day.

Indeed, when Brod Jun summoned me, he asked me: “Walter, di ba meron kang kamag-anak na may imprenta?” [English translation: “Walter, is it not that you earlier told me that you have a relative who operates a printing shop?”

When I answered Brod Jun, affirmatively, he replied to me in this manner: “OKEY, WE WILL HAVE AN IMPORTANT PROJECT.”

As was narrated to me by Brod Jun, Gerry Barican in confidence, conveyed to him a sneaking suspicion that the tickets to THE EAST IS RED movie will be faked and will be sold during the show’s TWO (2) day run, as reportedly hordes of Filipino-Chinese and others of Chinese blood were all raring to see the movie. The suspects then reportedly were certain personalities who were privy to the council’s activities too.

The movie THE EAST IS RED tells the tales of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) history and background, from its formation in 1921 due to the oppression of Chinese laborers by their capitalist overlords, and the War of Resistance against Japan, finally to the formation of the “New China”.

The scenes of song-and-dance are punctuated by silent-film-era displays of exaggerated acting, often involving whippings of laborers by either Western capitalists with three-piece suits and dyed blonde hair with aide from their Chinese collaborators.

Between each scene, a narrator explains the pressing issue facing the Chinese people during the time period the scene is intended to capture – aiding the understanding of the film for those that are less well-versed in Chinese history.

One of the most touching scenes in the movie is when an elderly woman holds the blood-stained shirt of her son, who died at the hands of a group of landlords, dramatically in front of a crowd of gathered revolutionaries.

The Late  Brod Gerry Santos (Batch 66), who is a son of a ranking Manila police officer, actually a colonel then; and with two (2) of his elder brothers being police officers too, was sort of what could be termed as the BARAKO type in the vernacular. [Note: BARAKO roughly translated is some kind of a person who is plucky and intrepid] And Brod Gerry was similarly Brod Jun’s confidant. Actually, Brod Gerry was Brod Jun’s predecessor as Grand Omicron of the fraternity.

During the talks, Brod Gerry jestingly suggested: “MAMEKE NA RIN TAYO, KUNG GANYAN BA NAMAN ANG TAKBO EH.” [English translation: Well, let’s make out fake tickets too, if that is the case.] And the jest became a reality.

And that was the first try to fake tickets. However, at the appointed showing date, though indeed hordes of Chinese looking personages were lining up into the UP Theater’s entrance, the theater’s premises was also teeming with multitudes of police officers. Thus, Brod Jun ordered that  the selling deal be aborted.

When HAIR was staged by the fraternity, during Brod Jun’s incumbency as Grand Omicron, it was actually Brod Jun who put up the capital which was spent for the production of the musical play. Though it was not  openly announced that the fraternity will only be given a gratuity which was never specifically quantified, only the so-called inner circle within the fraternity knew about the arrangement. Others however thought that Brod Jun was just sort of advancing the expenses and that after deducting what has been spent, the whole proceeds would inure to the Pi Omicron fraternity’s coffers.

I was then eyeing the Grand Omicron (“GO”) post, having served as Tyler Omicron, then Chronicler Omicron and as far as I can remember, I was already the Vice GO during Brod Jun’s time.

Brod Gerry hatched a plan to fake the HAIR tickets and it was Brod Oscar “Oca” Badillo (Batch 67) who conveyed the matter to me. Brod Oca said that we needed to raise some funds to eventually “wine and dine” our brods for the forthcoming election, so that, according to Brod Oca, I could be a sure cinch for the GO post. The suggestion enticed and allured me to the hilt, as Brod Oca even pictured a scenario where we will roast one whole calf, ala-Bonanza style [Bonanza, was a restaurant along EDSA then which was serving roasted calf], and would booze up all through the night. There were others who were eyeing the GO post then and the one who was so hot was Brod Victorino “Vic” Quiray, (Batch 66) who was the cousin of our fraternity brod and UP philosophy professor, Brod Arturo “Art” Maggay (Batch 63-charter member). The other was Brod Ernesto “Popoy” Valencia (Batch 67), who eventually became Editor of the Philippine Collegian.

What finally led me to agree was their (i.e. Brods Gerry and Oca) spiel that the HAIR presentation was actually not a fraternity show but was actually Brod Jun’s show, with the help and aid merely of the fraternity and the brods. I sort of defended Brod Jun by telling them that it was Brod Jun’s brainchild and I was convinced that Brod Jun must be the one who should profit from the enterprise. Eventually however, I acquiesced to the plan and there I went to my kin once more to make out tickets for HAIR.

Eventually, our FAKING enterprise was uncovered and after an investigation, and hearing, Brod Jun Olalia merely sanctioned us (i.e. myself and Brods Gerry and Oca) with a stern reprimand while some of our fraternity brods were asking for the extreme sanction of expulsion. In our fraternity, the word of the Grand Omicron is law for all of its members. When the sanction of a stern reprimand was imposed by Brod Jun, Brod Jun drew the ire of those who were adverse to us, the so-called triumvirate of Brods Gerry, Oca and myself.

When the PI OMICRON election came, and the issue about the faking of the HAIR tickets was brought into the open, during the presentation of the programs of action by each of the candidates which was held in one of the conference rooms at the Vinzons Hall, I defended myself anew to the charge of FAKE HAIR tickets.

Nervous and intimidated by dagger looks not anymore coming from Betan Sigmans but from some of my brods themselves, who were adverse to my candidacy for the GO post, I uttered out my spiel. I was sort of embarrassed and disconcerted too that after having been earlier sanctioned, I sort of said to myself: “Here I am, coveting the highest position in our fraternity, what a stain and irony.” But my supporters were insistent.

Actually, during the earlier investigation which was held as directed by Brod Jun Olalia, which warranted the imposition of a stern reprimand, not one of the witnesses said that they saw me actually selling FAKE HAIR tickets. Thus, as I was trying to make out a convincing defense, and thinking that the letter “D” would be more convincing than the letter “L”, I voiced out this utterance: “I DID NOT SOLD FAKE HAIR TICKETS”.  And,  I uttered this spiel in my speech not only once but THRICE.

When the votes were tallied for the fraternity’s Grand Omicron post, Brod Popoy Valencia won over me with just a single vote.

I think it was Brod Ariel Corpuz (Batch 69) who teased me after that election-meeting at Vinzons Hall, as he said: “Brod, hindi ka naman natalo sa election dahil sa ginawa nyong pamemeke nung HAIR tickets eh, natalo ka kasi, dahil sa wrong grammar!” [English translation: Brod, you did not lose the election because you faked the HAIR tickets, you lost because of wrong grammar.]

UP PI OMICRON FRATERNITY – THE MISCHIEVOUS YEARS OF THE 60s

 

aristocrat-resto

[The Aristocrat Restaurant along Dewey Boulevard in the 60s featured what was then called as DRIVE-IN DINING.]

In college, one cannot really avoid doing those mischievous things. Sometimes, you do it due to peer pressure; and sometimes too, just for the thrill of it. Those mischievous capers, those peccadilloes are not akin however to the grand mischief committed by a duo of college students then in the 1920s in Chicago, USA. This grand mischief (in fact, a grand felony) was even dubbed as the “crime of the century” from what I learned when I read a book about Clarence Darrow, the best American criminal lawyer. The book among others, narrated about Darrow’s masterful skill in getting his clients, those two (2) rich teenagers who seemed to have become so ignorant about the sense of remorse; out of death row.

That pinnacle episode in Darrow’s lawyering career which pertains to the saga of teen-aged Nathan Leopold and his lover, Richard Loeb, served as Darrow’s crowning glory as the most clever legal eagle in the US then. Leopold and Loeb conspired to kill just for the thrill of it (in fact the duo said it was some kind of experimentation),  a similarly wealthy 14 year old lad by the name of Bobby Franks.    But that’s another story, back to UP Diliman

I was still then a sophomore in UP Diliman when I got recruited by my classmate in San Beda High School, Brod Ernesto “Ernie” Tolentino (Batch 66) into the Pi Omicron Fraternity.

As a neophyte, I would hear from my older brods particularly those who stay in the dormitories, about their nocturnal adventures which would include stealing the undies of those pretty coeds who are residents of Kamia, Ilang-ilang and Sampaguita ladies’ dormitories.  But I never was in any way, part of this. What I know was that those pretty coeds would customarily hang their  hand-washed undies  near the windows of their rooms to expedite drying.

Brod Carlos “Bong” Panlilio, Batch 66, one morning was crest-fallen, he was even so tensed and so strained. Brod Bong narrated that an employee from the Aristocrat Restaurant located along Dewey Boulevard came to their house in Loyola Heights that morning, bringing with him the unpaid chit for a drive-in meal taken by TEN (10) other brods including him. The employee-waiter of Aristocrat even demanded the return of the plates and the spoons and the forks. It was good that it was he who answered the door bell, Brod Bong recounted, for as he continued narrating, if it were his Dad, or one of the maids who would report the matter to his parents, he will surely be severely castigated and the fraternity will not be able to hold further activities in their commodious lawn.

Brod Bong actually filched, on that very moment, from their kitchen’s drawers a dozen of dinnerware and a lot of cutlery just as to assuage the employee-waiter that the chit will be paid and that he is replacing the plates, spoons and forks with a better brand of dinnerware as the plates were with his other companions to that drive-in dining affair. Brod Bong asked for time and told the employee-waiter to  return the following day.

Brod Bong said that he, including the other brods, have to raise the money for the unpaid chit as the employee-waiter conveyed a threat from Aristocrat’s management that a criminal complaint will soon be filed.

Actually, Brod Bong drives a nice Kombi Volkswagen van which would accommodate about TEN (10) riders and after frat meetings, the brods would do a joy ride along Dewey Boulevard as traffic was not a problem then. Actually, from UP, cruising through Quezon Avenue then, it would only take about 15 minutes to get to Dewey Boulevard. And as the brods would get famished, the usual stop then and even until now is the Aristocrat which then featured the drive-in type of dining. Actually, you can eat inside your car while the waiters would wait on you, shuttling back and forth from Aristocrat’s kitchen to the parking lot. The waiters actually even provide some kind of tray which can even be attached with ease by way of a bracket, unto the car’s opened windows. And for the heck of it, the brods thought that a caper such as this, eating and running thereafter would be some kind of thrill. But when the brods did that caper once again, the brod tasked to cover the car’s plate, perhaps too excited and much satiated thereafter with the luscious chicken honey barbecue dish, forgot about it while Brod Bong’s Kombi van whirred out of Aristocrat’s parking lot. Fortunately, the unpaid chit was paid. And I was not part of this caper either.

The caper crafted by Brod Jamil Lucman (Batch 66) was even more sophisticated. It pertained to a well-patronized restaurant located inside the domestic airport in Pasay City then (I forgot the name already). The actors-brods however have to incur some expense, actually an old travelling bag would do or a cheap valise, but must be filled to its brim to make it really look bulging, with old newspapers.  The brods with seemingly hefty and bulging traveling bags would arrive inside the restaurant, one by one, and would order food. All the bags will be heaped into one place at one corner of the restaurant. And one by one too, the brods will sneak out from the restaurant with valid excuses (i.e. to pee at the CR, to check on the flight, to buy a magazine, etc.) until one straggler is left behind. And the straggler needs to be the best actor of them all. But usually, the restaurant manager even if the straggler leaves with just a sly excuse, would feel assured as the bulging traveling bags are aplenty.  Well, I never said that Brod Jamil was part of this, for I know that he only crafted this modus but never took part in it. I myself never became an actor of this caper.

What I am ready to owe up to, is the FAKING of the HAIR tickets. And this is how it begun.

When Brod Jun Olalia (Batch 66) was Grand Omicron, he summoned me one day and asked me: “Walter, di ba meron kang kamag-anak na may imprenta?” [English translation: “Walter, is it not that you earlier told me that you have a relative who operates a printing shop?”]

When I answered Brod Jun, affirmatively, he replied to me in this manner: “OKEY, WE WILL HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT PROJECT.”

And I will narrate about this somewhat long story in my next BLOG.

LOVE LOCKS AT THE BACLARAN SHRINE

NationalShrineofOurMotherofPerpetualHelp

love locks at baclaran
[The  photo at left shows the facade of the Baclaran Shrine in Parañaque, Metro-Manila; while the photo at right shows the love locks attached/affixed to the fence surrounding the Sta. Teresita Circle and Pond inside the premises of the Baclaran Shrine.]

According to WIKIPEDIA, it has been reported that the history of love padlocks (now known as love locks) dates back about 100 years ago. The story derives from a doleful Serbian tale of World War I, with reference to a bridge which is named Most Ljubavi in the town of Vrnjačka Banja. The story goes that a local schoolmistress named Nada, who was from Vrnjačka Banja, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they vowed everlasting love to each other, Relja went to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. Consequently, Relja and Nada broke off their engagement. Nada never recovered from that devastating blow, and after some time she died due to heartbreak. As nubile women from Vrnjačka Banja wanted to protect their own loves, they started writing down their names in union with the names of their loved ones, on padlocks and they would then affix them unto the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet, the Most Ljubavi bridge in Serbia.

In the rest of Europe, love locks started appearing in the early 2000s. The reasons why love locks started to appear vary between locations and in many instances are unclear. However, in Rome, the ritual of affixing love locks to the bridge Ponte Milvio can be attributed to the 2006 book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia, who made a film adaptation in 2007.

In the Philippines, love locks have also become a fad, nay a craze too, and the customary place where these love locks are attached or affixed is at the Sta. Teresita (i.e. St. Therese of Lisieux) Circle and Pond located within the premises of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Filipino: Pambansáng Dambana ng Ina ng Laging Saklolo) also known as Redemptorist Church and more popularly known as the Baclaran Church or Baclaran Shrine. The Baclaran Shrine is located along Pres. Roxas Boulevard in Baclaran, Parañaque City, Metro Manila.

The Baclaran Shrine is one of the largest Marian churches in the Philippines and features the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is popular among Filipino Catholics, and has given rise to the throngs of devotees who flood the church every Wednesday to attend the novena and the Holy Mass. In Manila, Wednesdays are popularly called “Baclaran Day” due to the congestion in the streets  brought about by the multitude of devotees who regularly visit the Baclaran Shrine, RAIN or SHINE.

The original icon enshrined above the main altar of the Baclaran Shrine came from Germany, and passed through Ireland and Australia before priests of the Redemptorist Order brought it to what was then the United States territory of the Philippine Islands in 1906. It bears the Papal arms in the back paneling.

Since the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1958, the shrine has been authorized by the Holy See to remain open TWENTY FOUR (24) hours a day throughout the entire year. The shrine itself was blessed by Pope John Paul II during his first Apostolic Visit to the Philippines in 1981. The shrine complex serves as the headquarters of the Manila Vice Province of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, while the Cebu Province of the Redemptorists is headquartered in Cebu. The shrine’s current rector is the Reverend Father Joseph Echano, C.Ss.R. The shrine celebrates its annual feast day on June 27, the liturgical feast day of the icon.

According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the Shrine and its attached convent were initially dedicated to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; a grotto statue of the saint on the Shrine grounds memorializes her patronage.

The first Redemptorists came to the Philippines in 1906 and set up a community at Opon, Cebu (now known as Lapu-lapu City). Irish and Australian Redemptorists came to Manila in the 1900s. The Redemptorists community went first to a Malate parish in 1913 where they built a small, popular shrine to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

In 1932, the community transferred to Baclaran. Father Denis Grogan, the builder, was a devotee to St. Thérèse of Lisieux and made her the patroness of the church and the parish house. However, the Ynchausti family, a long-time supporter of the Catholic Church together with a multitude of friends who are benefactors too of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, donated a high altar on condition that it should enshrine the icon of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help. When the church opened, the Shrine became very popular. This ensued as most devotees who would receive blessing from answered prayers based on petitions that they submit and place into petition boxes inside the Church, ascribe these as miracles. The foregoing ascription is especially so, when petitions would refer to healing of family members who are terminally ill.

The Redemptorist priests replaced the Mother of Perpetual Help icon with a larger version to accommodate the growing number of devotees.

Contrary to popular belief, the Perpetual Help Novena did not originate in Baclaran but at the Redemptorist Church of St. Clement in La Paz, Iloilo City in May 1946. After witnessing the devotion of the Ilonggos to the icon, the Irish Redemptorist Rev Gerard O’Donnell introduced the novena to Baclaran. Linguist Rev Leo J. English C.Ss.R. conducted the first Baclaran Novena with 70 participants on Wednesday, June 23, 1948, giving rise to Wednesday’s local moniker of “Baclaran Day”.

The present Modern Romanesque church is the third to be built on the same site. It was designed by architect César Concio. It took six years to build because most of the money came from small donations—the suggestion from the pulpit was 10 Philippine centavos per week—that often ran out requiring construction to stop. The foundation stone was laid on January 11, 1953 and on December 1, 1958 the new church was consecrated. The church opened with a mass on December 5, 1958 and has been open 24 hours ever since, never ever closing.

Early in the 1970s Karol Wojtyła, Cardinal-Archbishop of Kraków, Poland, said Mass in the Shrine during a brief, unofficial stopover in Manila, as will hereunder be discussed.

When I took the Bar examinations in 1980, I never had the chance to attend a review class  as I did not go on leave not wanting to lose my monthly pay as I was then a Project Officer of the National Housing Authority particularly at its Tondo Foreshore Dagat-Dagatan Development Project (the “Project”) .

More than that, as the Project was World Bank-financed, a team of World Bank officers would regularly monitor the Project for which reason, we then have to be always ready to present progress reports on small livelihood projects that we have implemented in conjunction with enterprising Tondo Foreshore residents which we have identified as project beneficiaries.

For which reason, I started my Wednesday devotion to the Blessed Mother at the Baclaran Shrine and vowed to continue with the devotion till kingdom come.

Thus, since 1980 I have been attending the novena scheduled at 5:30 am at the Baclaran Shrine. I would usually head for the Baclaran Shrine by 4:00 AM to insure that a seat would be available as ordinarily, on Wednesdays, most especially when it is the first Wednesday of the month, the Baclaran Shrine is filled to its rafters.

As has been told, when Pope John Paul II was still then  Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, he had the chance to pass by Manila for a long stop-over. As Cardinal Wojtyla wanted to say mass, he made arrangements that he be allowed to leave the airport premises and to say mass at the nearest church. And the Baclaran Shrine was chosen as venue for the mass. It happened that it was a Wednesday and when Cardinal Wojtyla arrived at the Baclaran Shrine, he was so amazed to see throngs of people inside the church.  Indeed, it was a sight to behold, Cardinal Wojtyla was truly inspired to see throngs of Filipinos queuing up to receive the Holy Communion and of singing in unison the liturgical hymns for the novena-mass.

In cases, where I could not make it to the BACLARAN Shrine, I would usually attend the novena in honor of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help (“OLPH”) either at the OLPH church along 13th Avenue in Cubao, Quezon City, Metro-Manila or at the Twin Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church at the West Triangle Homes Subdivision similarly located in Quezon City, Metro-Manila.

Recently, I have been noticing the growing number of padlocks locked into the iron grill fence which circumscribes some kind of a fountain with a small pond behind the image of Sta. Teresita standing at the northwestern portion of the Baclaran Shrine, which I learned thereafter, is called the Sta. Teresita Circle and Pond.

As of this writing, a laminated notice signed by Fr. Joey Echano, CSsR, the Rector of the Baclaran Shrine has been affixed on the site in THREE (3) locations which announced, actually in the vernacular, that in view of the burgeoning weight of the love locks that could possible bring the fence down, the attaching of love locks have to be stopped as the location for love locks will soon be transferred to another place within the Baclaran Shrine.

Years ago, this phenomenon of lovers putting up their so-called love locks on the iron grill fence surrounding the Sta. Teresita Circle and Pond at the Baclaran Shrine was featured in a television show entitled RATED “K”. The show is hosted by Korina Sanchez (“Korina”), the pretty wife of the presidential candidate and Liberal Party standard bearer, former Senator Mar Roxas (“Sen. Mar”), who now appears to be a sure cinch to the Presidential palace in Malacanang. It has been bruited about that the largest love lock attached to the fence is that love lock of  Sen. Mar and Korina.

Will their LARGE love lock which plausibly could bring luck to the relationship of the TWO (2) lovers, would it similarly portend a win for Sen. Mar in the coming 2016 Presidential elections?

PI OMICRON – ITS RUMBLING YEARS – PART 3

gloria-diaz-miss-universe-news

[This was the front page headline of the July 21, 1969 issue of the Manila Times, which stories (i.e. Miss Universe contest and the landing on the moon) were continuously carried in the news throughout that week. Efforts on my part to get an image of the July 22, 1969 issue proved futile.]

About that clash between me and the Betans which happened almost in front of the Men’s Room along the corridor at the ground floor of the Palma Hall, in early July 1969, the Late Brod Gerardo “Gerry” Santos (Batch 66) would almost always recount to the junior brods of the fraternity, an intriguing story.

Brod Gerry would usually start off with the statement that he was so amazed as to how I was able to scuttle, dart and dash out of Palma Hall with my head covered by the wooden waste receptacle. Brod Gerry would always jestingly picture me as having x-ray eyes to see through the wooden waste receptacle and out into our escape from the pursuing Betans.

Thus, during reunions, a lot of the younger brods would ask me if indeed it were true that the wooden waste receptacle landed smack unto my head, thereby capturing the whole of it. And they would make a follow up question as to how I was able to run without tripping and eventually wangle that stuck receptacle from out of my head.

Indeed, after that clash, the whole of the fraternity was haunted with the question as to whether we will all continuously be on a long private holiday. Skipping our classes and making our presence rare at the UP Diliman campus became the order of the day.

Truly, not one among us, was able to attend our classes at UP  for fear that the Betans were hunting us all down. And, we surely will be outnumbered and outfought.

There was a mixture of doves and hawks in our war room. The doves wanted immediate peace as they say that we cannot go on continuously gallivanting on a self-appointed private holiday. They wanted to start up a peace talk with the Betans outright so that they can attend their classes without fear.

The hawks however which included me, opined that if we will not deliver a telling blow unto the Betans, we will perennially be looked upon as cowards and that we will always be just ignoring the dagger looks of those combative Betans. Also, the hawks in our midst said that if no big thing would happen, the UP authorities will not immediately intervene to patch up things just what Gen. Romulo did during the 1968 Vinzons Hall incident. At that time, the UP President was Pres. Salvador P. Lopez.

Eventually, a decision was reached to “invade” the hang-out of the Betans. Our assembly area was at the house of Brod Carlos “Bong” Panlilio (Batch 66) along Xavierville Avenue in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

It was a Monday morning, July 21, 1969, as we assembled at the large garage of Brod Bong’s parent’s house along Xavierville Avenue, and every one of us was required to bring a lead pipe.

Brod Felixberto “Jun” Olalia, Jr. (Batch 66) who was the incumbent Grand Omicron then, spoke first and I was thereafter tasked to pep up and deliver a talk to incite my brods into their fiercest anger. I started out by asking them if they were contented to be looked down upon, to be trampled upon and to be humiliated by the Betans. I even told them that if they think that fighting for our dignity was not worth it, they can freely leave the premises of Brod Bong’s parents’ house and no questions will be asked.

I then started to cry like a child with the aim of making them feel how I felt when I fought off the Betan Moraleda  and risking a stab from his balisong just as to stand up for the name and honor of the Pi Omicron Fraternity. I wanted them to become incensed and enraged as  though as fierce as a tiger ready to pounce upon its prey when we land upon the Beta Sigma hang out.

Earlier, I was pessimistic that I could fire them up as I know that most, if not all of them, are peace-loving, never pugnacious not having been involved in a brawl or this kind of combat that we will be pursuing against a known horde of KARATE practitioners. However, I and Brod Gerry identified one particular brod whom we think was an extreme pacifist, the soft-spoken and humble Tom Badique who was then in his junior years at the College of Engineering. And we spotted Brod Tom, being the most peace-loving of them all, as our measure and guide, our crucible.

While I was crying, I saw the other brods shedding tears too and when I saw that Brod Tom was already gritting his teeth in anger, I said to myself that we have all been prepped up and are now prepared to face the test. And we, about 40 of us in groups of 10, will face off with the enemy, the Beta Sigmans; all of us armed with lead pipes, from the east, from the west, from the north and from the south.

Brod Jun Olalia as leader of the SOUTH GROUP wanted me to come with his group and we will be approaching the Beta Sigma hang-out from the south, coming in from the pavilion located at the extreme eastern portion of Palma Hall. With our group was Brod Oscar “Oca” Badillo (Batch 68) too.

The   WEST GROUP was headed by the Brod Gerry Santos who will approach the target through the corridor coming in from the west end entrance to the Palma Hall. The NORTH GROUP was being commanded by Brod Godofredo “Fred” Tunac (Batch 68) coming in, using the main entrance of the Palma Hall, ascending unto the second floor and descending unto the ground floor at the extreme eastern end of Palma Hall through the stairs adjoining the Beta Sigma hang-out. The EAST GROUP skippered by Brod Dante Ferrer (Batch 68), was to come in, into  Beta Sigma’s hang out from the then BA Building. All of us were on board hired taxicabs coming in into the Diliman campus, and that as our crude escape plan, every one will be on his own, getting and escaping out from the fracas.

We set the attack upon the sound of the school bell ending the 12 noon class sessions. The MARCHING ORDER given to each of the brods was to HIT, HIT, HIT and HIT with the use of the lead pipes; and thereafter, RUN.

The Betans were caught unaware as they never thought that we will invade them at their own TURF. They felt resigned that we have called the whole semester as a holiday and that we will never ever set foot at UP Diliman campus again.

But with respect to our group, the SOUTH GROUP, something went wrong on our way to the target. Brod Oca was as fierce as a famished wolf and he mistook a member of the Alpha Phi Omega (“APO”) as a Betan, while we were passing the Greenhouse (actually the Greenhouse is a cafeteria located between the 4th and 3rd Palma Hall pavilions), the acknowledged hang out of the APO. Thus, Brod Oca whacked the head of an APO member, whom he mistook as a Betan, with his lead pipe. And all hell broke loose when the APO members ganged up upon Brod Oca and accosted and mauled him. But Brod Jun Olalia intervened and when the mauling continued, Brod Jun did the most wonderful thing that I ever saw, like a parent to a child. Brod Jun enveloped and embraced Brod Oca and eventually  they rolled together on the grassy portion of that patch near the Greenhouse as Brod Oca fell from the violent blows, strikes and kicks delivered by the APO members.  Thus, instead of Brod Oca receiving all the blows, Brod Jun received the blows instead. I kept watch and pleaded to the APO members some of whom were my friends and known to me and after a while, the melee near the Greenhouse stopped. The other members of our SOUTH GROUP particularly Brod Alberto “Al” Bernabe of Batch 68, whom I assigned to head the splinter, however moved on and delivered their own whacks at the heart of the target. I stayed behind as Brod Jun continued to embrace Brod Oca, as I tried to appease the APO for I was thinking that if this spat with APO would not be settled, we will end up with TWO (2) enemies in Diliman, the Beta Sigma and APO fraternities.

Thereafter, we scuttled, darted and dashed out after the appointed time for the “RUN”, has lapsed. However, police officers were all around the campus then, as they were in fact suspecting that some violence  could erupt.

On my way to our escape route, I was apprehended by the police officers of the UP detachment. I tried to run but the police officers surrounded me and I gave up. I was apprehended in front of the Faculty Center at the corner of A. Roces Sr. and Roxas Avenues. We, about SIX (6) of us, were all brought to the police station which was located near the College of Law then. We were hauled into a mobile car [at that time for sheer lack of funds perhaps, a police mobile car was actually a Willys-type jeep (with no sidings but bare iron braces in “X” form)] for eventual delivery unto the police station. All of us were cramped unto the small back seat. What was funny was that Brod Ronaldo “Ronnie” Manalastas, Batch 66, before the Willys-type jeep (“Jeep“) started to roll unto the station, managed to escape by jumping out of the Jeep. Thus, the police-driver and his companions alighted  (who actually just hanged unto the Jeep’s side) alighted drew their pistols, raised them up and hollered: “WALANG TATAKAS PA HA!” [English translation: “DON’T EVER FOLLOW AND ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE!’]. And as Brod Ronnie raced northward through A. Roces Sr. Avenue like an Olympian trying to break the 100 meter dash record, towards the Engineering Building along Osmeña Avenue, a motorcyled cop materialized at the corner of A. Roces Sr. and Osmeña Avenues.  The motorcycled cop actually just waited for him at what seemed to be Brod Ronnie’s supposed 100 meter dash finish line. And Brod Ronnie had to raise his hands up in surrender.

When I was arrested, the arresting police officer frisked me and found a balisong (i.e. fan knife) inside my pocket.    I was looking forward to a sure expulsion as I know then that such an act is punishable by the extreme sanction of EXPULSION.

At that time, the fashion trend was the AMBOY look…it was an outfit of a white undershirt with round collar and a loose  short-sleeved polo shirt with denim pants over it and the outfit is capped with sneakers on one’s feet. I was wearing a navy blue polo shirt and upon reaching the police station, I asked permission to urinate at the comfort room inside the police station. Upon entering the comfort room, I quickly removed my navy blue polo shirt, dumped it down unto the waste basket after lifting and replacing its cover. As I exited the comfort room which is situated nearest to the entrance, as there were many students already milling at the entrance to the police station (having heard about the rumble at Palma Hall and that culprits were already detained at the station), I managed to mix into the crowd and eventually  walked out to freedom. WHEW…that was truly close!!!

On hind sight, whenever I and Brod Jun Olalia, who was our Grand Omicron then, and  who eventually became a magistrate (i.e. Regional Trial Court Judge in Manila) after graduating from UP Law in 1979; would reminisce about those days, Brod Jun would jestingly announce: “IF NOT FOR THE FUROR ABOUT THE MISS UNIVERSE CONTEST IN 1969 WHERE OUR GLORIA DIAZ WON AND THE LANDING ON THE MOON, WHICH WAS THE TALK OF THE TOWN DURING THE WHOLE WEEK THEN, THE MANILA TIMES BANNER HEADLINE ON JULY 22, 1969 COULD HAVE READ THIS WAY: “OLALIA TERRORIZES U.P. DILIMAN CAMPUS””

Actually, the Manila Times (i.e. the Manila Times was the leading daily then) issue for the following day, July 22, 1969 actually reported about the fraternity rumble in UP but that it landed at the lower portion of the papers’ FRONT PAGE.

On the other hand, the  Philippine Collegian reported with photos about NINE (9) members of the Beta Sigma Fraternity who were all admitted at the UP Infirmary with ugly wounds on their head. Ironically, lying in bed beside the Beta Sigmans also at the UP Infirmary was our brod, Brod Narciso “Tito” Mendoza (Batch 69), who tripped during the escape, was ganged up and mauled by the Betans except that the police officers timely called in to his rescue.

As I have earlier said, memorializing these events about fraternity rumbles is not for the younger brods to emulate, but to serve as a helpful guide by deriving moral lessons therefrom towards charting the future for a better PI OMICRON FRATERNITY and a better PHILIPPINES.

PI OMICRON FRATERNITY-ITS RUMBLING YEARS-PART II

[This was how the corridor at Palma Hall looked then, left photo, the place where I and the Betans clashed; and it was good that I was able to get a wood inside the Palma Hall’s CR, shown at right, to parry the thrust of the balisong knife from  Betan Moraleda.]

The truce mediated by the 11th UP President, the venerable Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, between the warring fraternities, the Beta Sigma and Pi Omicron, in mid-1968 did not last long.

Sometime in the first week of July in 1969, the Betans were at it again. They will pass by our hang-out casting dagger looks at us. And as has been usual, we just ignored them.

At that time, Brod Jamil Lucman was on leave from school. Little did we know that Brod Jamil would eventually surface as among the Muslim leaders who would catalyze the revolt in Mindanao which erupted in 1970. He eventually surfaced thereafter in the news as Commander Jungle Fox of the Blackshirts, an elite commando-type trained group, of what would be then called as the Moro National Liberation Front.

The dagger-looks-casting-Betans did not anymore include the Betan whom we earlier “kidnapped” (i.e. JUDGE) in mid-1968. It was another group of Betans and the usual lead member is a certain Betan whose surname is Moraleda.

Moraleda has dreamy eyes and we have always perceived that he could be inebriated every time he would pass us by, as he would act so languorously.

That languorous posture and stance, as though he was dragging his feet — we eventually surmised as a way to perhaps, tarry a bit while casting dagger looks at us; was in fact an indication that he was waiting for someone from our side who would take the seeming challenge to a fight.

We have decided to always keep the peace and decided that the best way to address this seeming challenge, is to totally ignore it.

We actually did a background check on Moraleda and we learned that he is a Batangueño (i.e. native of a province south of Manila where a long knife, actually a fan knife, known as “balisong” is so famous), that he is combative and has a “balisong” always handy in his person. All the more being a Betan, we presumed too that he was a KARATEKA. Thus, with more reason, we have to avoid him at all costs.

One time, Moraleda with THREE (3) other Betans passed by our hang-out located at the western end of the Palma Hall. There he was again, casting the sharpest dagger looks at us. We were about FOUR (4) who were hanging around in what we have dubbed as our PI O corner, the aforesaid western extreme end of Palma Hall at the UP Diliman campus. Aside from me, present then at our hang-out were my other fraternity brods: Gerardo “Gerry” Santos of Batch 66, Brod Ramoncito “Monching” Tojos of Batch 66 too, and Brod Oscar “Oca” Badillo of Batch 68.

When, Moraleda made an overt challenging remark, while casting the fiercest dagger look at us, which went as follows: “Meron bang aasta dyan sa inyo?” [English translation: “Is there someone from you, who will accept my challenge?”]; I told myself that it was already too much.

My brods did not know that I had prepared for this eventuality, as earlier during the opening of the semester, I placed a  2 x 2 smoothened hard wood (i.e. dos por dos in the vernacular) atop the dividing wall at the Men’s comfort room adjoining our Pi O corner. It was not visible as I neatly placed it in the middle of the tiled divider between the cubicles inside the Men’s room, and I would usually check it from time to time.

I then went to the Men’s room and when I exited the Men’s room with the dos por dos, I slammed Moraleda with FOUR (4) successive hits, one sideswiped his face, as he backed off, another landed on his head and the two (2) others were parried by a high block parry using his forearm, which is a customary parry for KARATEKAS.

Moraleda backed off further and at that juncture pulled out his balisong (i.e. long knife) and brandished and thrusted the long knife unto my direction which I parried using the dos por dos. The knife fell on the floor. But as I got off balance too, I also fell on the pavement along the corridor in front of the Men’s room at the 1st floor of Palma Hall at its western extreme end.

Moraleda picked up his balisong; and while I was on a fall, still lying supine on the ground, the other Betan picked up a medium-sized wooden canister which served as some kind of a waste receptacle. And looking like the biblical Moses, about to throw the 2 tablets from the descending slope of Mount Sinai, the Betan raised the wooden waste receptacle with both his hands and arms,  as though accumulating all his strength, slammed the thing unto my face. It was good that I was able to deflect it.

At that point in time, the events happened so fast. In fact, Brods Gerry, Monching and Oca, did not even know that I will take offense from that sneer made by Moraleda, as they knew all along that the policy was complete evasion and to just ignore.

My brods thought that I was just going to take a pee at the Men’s room. And the ensuing clash between me and Moraleda which transpired in front of the door to the Men’s room, happened about 10 meters distant from the point where my brods were standing.

Brod Gerry thereafter told me that when the wooden waste receptacle was about to be thrown unto the direction of my head by the Betan who thought he was some kind of a Moses, he was praying that it would not land  capturing my head inside it. Brod Gerry recounted that from what he saw, he felt sure from the way the Betan was aiming at me,  with the wide open front of the trapezoidal receptacle targeted unto my head (while I was trying to get up),  my head will get trapped. Indeed, the Betan was certainly surmising that if the wooden waste receptacle were accurately thrown (with the wide mouth towards my head and the decreasing dimension into its base), it would get stuck on my head, and I would surely be immobilized.

It was good that I was able to deflect the waste receptacle using the dos por dos.

Unbeknownst to me and my brods, the other Betan was already able to reach out to his other brods, by scurrying unto the other end of the Palma Hall, where about at least 15 Betans would be hanging out every hour of every school day at the UP Diliman campus.

And upon hearing the thunderous thuds of feet as though a mob of scampering studes, coming from the other end of Palma Hall, I and my THREE (3) other brods scuttled, darted and dashed out of  Palma Hall.

Next PI O blog (Part 3 hereof) will feature how, we the Pi Omicron members then, circa 1969, managed to “invade” the Beta Sigmans in their very own hang-out!

PI OMICRON FRATERNITY – ITS RUMBLING YEARS-PART 1

 

UP-Admin-bldg

[The UP Administration Building where UP Pres. Carlos P. Romulo in a meeting held in mid-1968, patched up the TWO (2) warring fraternities: Beta Sigma and Pi Omicron fraternities, following a shooting incident at the Vinzons Hall]

When the UP PI OMICRON Fraternity was organized in 1963, it never was the intention of the founding members to come up with a war-freak bunch of pugnacious and raucous fellows. From the first batch of graduates among the fraternity members who eventually merged into the community of professionals, medical doctors proved to be the more predominant. Thus, it can be said from this account that the first breed of Pi Omicronians were those who intended to heal, to cure, to fix and never to destroy nor hurt nor kill.

But as it became some kind of DE RIGEUR among fraternities in UP then, circa 1960s to 1970s (and even until today), you can never be entitled to the label FRATMAN, if one way or the other, you have not been involved in a FRATERNITY RUMBLE.

In February 1967, I was initiated at the commodious lawn of the La Vista Home along Ifugao Street of the then outgoing Grand Omicron, the Late Pete De Los Santos. The houses, actually mansions, at the La Vista Subdivision in Loyola Heights, Quezon City which adjoins the Miriam College grounds were not that many. In fact, even the neighboring lots adjacent to the De Los Santos residence were still vacant.

Thus, the initiation rites was done in the open as the nearest neighbor to the De Los Santos home then was about a block away.

The master initiator was Brod Jamil Lucman, Batch 66, who is a Maranaw muslim, and who was intending to become a medical doctor too as he was then enrolled in a BS Pre-Medicine course.  Together with Brod Herminio “Germs” Valero, Batch 65, I was  repeatedly accorded, among others,  the “German kick”. A “German kick” is done with two (2) brods sandwiching the neophyte who is what is asked to go into what is then called as the “assume” position [i.e. crouching position with both hands cupped over your genitals, one on top of the other, as a protective shield, and with the knees slightly bent together] with a pointed strike aimed at the mid-upper thigh. And the number of strikes, is equivalent to the number of letters of the full name of the master initiator. And according to Brod Jamil Lucman then, his full name is: FATHATHON JAMELATHON PANGADAPUN LUCMAN. The paddle-whacking I received was given to me too, in sets and in numbers equivalent to the number of letters of Brod Jamil’s full name.

I was then sort of physically conditioned as I was taking karate lessons courtesy of my maternal first-cousin, the Late Crisanto “Boy” Pabale, Jr., who at that time was a karate black-belter.

During my initiation rites, a tall brod, Brod Bong Panlilio, Batch 66, who was almost 6 feet and 2 inches high, even challenged me to a karate match, I was only 5 foot 6 inches. And the marching order given to me by Brod Bong, was to do the ducking, parrying, evading but never do any striking or counter-punching.

The largest UP fraternity then was the venerable Beta Sigma Fraternity, which was organized in July 14, 1946. It was bruited about that then, which has not been confirmed however, that Beta Sigma came about as some kind of splinter group from the illustrious Upsilon Sigma Phi, which is the oldest fraternity not only in the Philippines but also in the whole of Asia. Upsilon Sigma Phi was founded in 1918.

The UP Beta Sigma Fraternity during that time was reportedly 100 plus strong while we only have about 30 members then, when I enlisted with the Pi Omicron Fraternity. It increased to around 50 resident members thereafter. Moreover, it was widely perceived then that the UP Beta Sigma Fraternity members are all KARATEKAS, as they have among their roll of members, a topnotch KARATE practitioner, Mr. Johnny Chiuten, who has been reported too, as teaching his fellow Beta Sigmans the famous martial art at that time, known as KARATE.

With the plausible cause unknown to us all, the Beta Sigmans seem to be so intent at bullying and intimidating us, as Beta Sigmans would pass by our hang-out casting dagger-looks at all of us. Not wanting to create any trouble, we continuously ignored this, until there was this teeny-weeny but stout and chubby Beta Sigman whose nickname was JUDGE who would even stop a while, at our very own hang-out  while casting dagger-looks at all of us. Still, we ignored it.

But as it has always been DE RIGEUR among fraternity members during those days to be customarily engaged in drinking sprees for a round or two of beer, it came to pass that in one drinking session, JUDGE became the topic of the discussion. And a plan was hatched…to kidnap this short but stout JUDGE, and the risky job of kidnapping JUDGE was placed upon my shoulder.

Since this incident happened almost 50 years ago, I guess it would be safe to disclose it not as some kind of  model to be emulated but as some practice that should be avoided.

Kidnapping”, as a term used then, was not as it is being done today. When one is KIDNAPPED then, the victim is apprehended and is brought against his will to a place where all of the fraternity brods of the KIDNAPPER is having a joyous drinking spree. Actually, when I “kidnapped” JUDGE I had to booze up earlier at the drinking spree and kept myself inebriated for added bravado and courage. Thus, having known beforehand as to what is JUDGE’s last class at the Palma Hall, I together with two (2) brods stationed ourselves along the corridor and upon the ringing of the bell signaling the end of the class session at 6:00 PM, I entered all by myself inside the classroom, after the professor has exited the room. But as JUDGE was somewhat resisting the “arrest”, the assist of my two (2) other brods became necessary and thereafter, JUDGE’s resistance was overpowered.

There was no instruction to hurt JUDGE, except in the attendant jostling and “arresting”, JUDGE was pressed, gripped and manhandled one way or the other. After JUDGE felt that his further resistance was futile, he eventually decided to come freely.

At the drinking spree, JUDGE even joined us in the drinking and was even voraciously wolfing down the finger food. After telling him that we wanted peace and does not want war, JUDGE seemed to have realized that we really want to be friends and not foes. Thereafter, JUDGE was even brought home.

It turned out however that JUDGE reported this matter to his brods, who got so iked, and one by one, THREE (3) of our Pi Omicron brods were accosted and mauled.

Brod Jamil who was the incumbent Grand Omicron then, came and arrived at around noontime on campus and I together with the Late Brod Gerry Santos, Batch 66 and Grand Omicron after Brod Jamil’s term; and Brod Oca Badillo , Batch 68, was asked by Brod Jamil to come with him to the Vinzons Hall. The Vinzons Hall was known as the hang-out of the Beta Sigmans at noon. I was myself fearful to join the trek to Vinzons Hall as I am sure we will not only be outnumbered but will also be outfought. However, the sight of Brod Jamil with his eyes as fiery as a fireball, accorded me some cockiness and macho-posturing. Also, though Brod Jamil was not too tall but his frame was large and imposing, I descried some kind of a revolver tucked on his waist.

While ascending  unto the uphill road towards Vinzons Hall, a throng of Betan Sigmans, about 30 of them, descended from the topmost point of the road and our group and the Beta Sigmans met at the center of the road.

It was about to turn into some kind of a peace powwow as the spokesperson of the Beta Sigmans with some degree of equanimity complained about the “kidnapping” while Brod Jamil whined about the mauling of our brods. But, a Beta Sigman who came from behind, not knowing perhaps that the talks were at the brink of turning into a peace powwow, landed a flying kick which hit Brod Jamil at his back. Due to this, Brod Jamil pulled out his powerful caliber 357 gun and with just a single shot, THREE (3) Beta Sigmans fell on the pavement: the first with a gunshot wound on his left arm, the second with a gunshot wound on his hip and the third, with a lodged bullet in his left foot. Thereafter, with the ringing shot, all the Beta Sigmans vanished as though they were swept under the rug. And Brod Jamil together with all of us fled on foot too. We were all wary then because at that point in time, we feared that someone from the Beta Sigma side might have been fatally wounded. It was only from the newspapers that got released the following day that we learned about the gunshot wounds sustained by the THREE (3) Beta Sigmans.

It was Gen. Carlos P. Romulo who was the incumbent UP President then, and what he did was to call the officers and members of the TWO (2) warring fraternities to a meeting at the UP Administration building.

On the appointed meeting date, the UP Administration building was teeming with people, courtesy of then Congressman Haroun Al Rashid Lucman of the lone district of Lanao del Sur, uncle of Brod Jamil, who required all Muslim students studying in Manila then as well as vacationing male Muslims at the Quiapo Muslim center, to attend the meeting. This was after Cong. Lucman was told that the UP Beta Sigma Fraternity is  more than 100 member strong. Actually, THREE (3) bus loads of able-bodied male Muslim students were transported to UP Diliman that day.

When Pres. Romulo asked Cong. Lucman: “Rashid, why did you have to bring all these Muslim students here?”.

The Late Cong. Lucman answered with a snicker on his face: “To manifest their solidarity to my nephew, Jamil Lucman.”. And the war between Beta Sigma and Pi Omicron was then momentarily patched up.

PI OMICRON FRATERNITY-ITS GOLDEN YEARS

 

HAIR-LOGOUP-PI-O-sealHair cast 2009 Broadway

 

 

 

 

[At extreme left is the HAIR Logo for the play; while at extreme right is the original American cast of HAIR while at center is the PI O seal]

What could be considered as the GOLDEN YEARS of the UP PI OMICRON FRATERNITY commenced when it started staging plays in the Nicanor Abelardo Theater in the late 1960s and into the early years of the 1970s. One of the contributors to this pioneering feat embarked upon by the fraternity, among the ranks of the fraternity’s roll of members then was Leo Mariomindo De la Torre Gozar of Batch 68 who is from Mindoro. Leo was then taking a course in Speech and Drama. Leo brought the fraternity close to his classmates and other students at the Speech and Drama Department, who included Tessie Tomas, Ellen Esguerra, among others. The moving spirit then, as I perceive, at the Speech and Drama Department was an Upsilonian, and one of its more competent professors, Prof. Behn Cervantes.

It was opportune indeed during that time, as the hang-out of fraternity brods at that time, was at the western end of the Palma Hall which adjoins the Speech and Drama Department.

And the fraternity was soon immersed in staging plays such as a presentation consisting of a trilogy dubbed as BANYUHAY which is an acronym for Bagong Anyo ng Buhay. It was the duo of Leo and a non-brod but who was acknowledged as a topnotch stage director then, Anton Juan, who made things happen and which made the UP Pi Omicron to be identified as some kind of a fraternity inclined towards the arts and are therefore a fraternity composed of “cultured” members. I actually was tapped as a member of the cast in one of the plays, actually a minor part, which is entitled PAUL DUMOL’S ANG PAGLILITIS NI MANG SERAPIO.

Indeed, most parents are animated to send their children to UP to make them both INTELLIGENT and CULTURED.

This is perhaps why during one’s initial education at UP, a stude is introduced into the realm of the HUMANITIES, with the likes of Professor Ricaredo Demetillo, as mentor, who is himself a poet and an art critic. It is said that through exploration of the humanities which covers literature and the arts, one is trained to think more creatively and critically.

Indeed, as in the words of the late UP President Salvador P. Lopez, the UP community is a community of intelligent people and undeniably, one of the attributes of intelligence is CULTURE. Also, in the University of the Philippines, its aim is to provide a well-rounded and general education to its students.

The peak of this run into the production of plays happened with the production by the UP Pi Omicron Fraternity of the love-rock musical play entitled HAIR. The show was a monumental success in the US as it sort of combined a mélange of the hippie culture then and the growing activism in the US which was geared towards opposing the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Indeed, it was a protest musical play!

When it was staged here in the Philippines particularly at the Abelardo Theater, the lyrics of the music were revised and crafted to adapt to the Philippine political scenario then. One stanza of a song which sort of highlights and addresses the growing militarization of the Philippines then, as revised, had the following lyrics but still retaining the original melody:

        “F.E.M. took the A.F.P., down unto Mendiola Bridge, Philippines;

        [F.E.M. is Pres. Marcos’ initials, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, while A.F.P. is the acronym which stands for the Armed Forces of the Philippines]

        When he got there, what did he see…the youth of the Philippines in a rally!”

 It was a similar monumental success here in the Philippines, when the UP Pi Omicron Fraternity staged the musical play at the Abelardo Theater. In fact, newspaper commentators even wrote about the musical play in their columns. One topnotch newspaper columnist then, Mr. Joe Guevarra, of the Manila Times, commented about the perceived inhibition manifested by members of the whole HAIR cast which included APO Hiking Society’s Danny Javier, the beauteous Jane Laurico, Joey “Pepe” Smith, and other debonair looking male and pretty female members, in that part of the show where all of them are to shed their clothes off and would be shown dancing  with their birthday suits on ONLY. If my memory serves me right, the witty Mr. Joe Guevarra thus quipped that the Philippine version of the musical play should instead be titled “WIG” instead of “HAIR”. As was the prior practice, when this part is reached, the lights are dimmed and spotlights would just go criss-crossing the stage. However, when the news column of Mr. Joe Guevarra appeared, the members of the HAIR cast started from that showing date and until the whole period of the continuing run of the show, lustily danced naked while the lights were all on.  Joey “Pepe” Smith even made a jesting gesture at that NAKED DANCE portion of the musical play, which was supposed to symbolize an action of PROTEST, when he stood at  center-stage in his birthday suit at the stage’s very proscenium, holding on and caressing his pubic hair as he delivered the following spiel: “Sabi ni Mr. Joe Guevarra ng Manila Times sa column niya , ay wig daw ito!” [English translation: “Well, Mr. Joe Guevarra of the Manila Times wrote in his column that this pubic hair of mine is all wig.”]

The succeeding shows of the musical HAIR were always filled to the rafters and the tickets were even sold by scalpers at premium prices over and above the indicated ticket price. The showing of the musical play HAIR accorded a clear acknowledgement unto the UP Pi Omicron Fraternity, not only as an organization of “cultured” people who is inclined towards the arts but also as one group advocating activism and symbolic protest action.

The musical play was directed by a non-brod, Oskar Atendido, who is also one of Leo’s colleague in the UP Speech and Drama Department.   The showing of the musical play HAIR was the brain-child of Brod Felixberto “Jun” Olalia, Jr. of Batch 66 , and the Grand Omicron of the Fraternity in 1969.

After the success of HAIR, the UP Pi Omicron Fraternity experienced increased recruitment of new members and the increased recruitment was sustained and even leaped when Brod Ernesto “Popoy” Valencia of Batch 68 was appointed as UP Philippine Collegian editor in 1970 after he topped the Collegian Editorial Examinations of that year. I was eventually designated by Brod Popoy during his term, as CONTRIBUTING EDITOR of the UP Philippine Collegian.