[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.]





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.




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.




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




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.




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