[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!