[This photo was taken sometime in 1977 or 1978 in front of the UP Law Center showing some of the members of the UP Law ’79 Evening Section with the males sporting bell-bottom pants. 1st row:From L to R-Joey Osana and Talek Pablo.2nd row: L to R-Babes Navarro and Vicky Bataclan. 3rd row: Tony Abellera , Jim Nagrampa and Procs Sarmen.4th row: Wally Young, Ding Dar Santos, Eric Rodriguez, Benjie Dela Paz, and Cel Gellada. 5th row: Romy Legaspi, Bobby Lopez and Marvin Gonong.]

I actually overstayed in my undergraduate course in UP. Though, I odiously hated math, my Daddy Max who seem to regard engineers with high esteem asked me to take a course in civil engineering. Being an obedient child, I complied with Daddy Max’s edict. I actually took Math 53 which is INTEGRAL CALCULUS for a record THREE  times as my previous attempts proved to be failures. In fact, though I made it a point to be always present in my 3rd Math 53 class under the tutorship of the stern-looking Prof. Inez Belleza, Prof. Belleza  told me one time in class, which was heard by all of my classmates,  these foreboding words: “Mr. Young, passing this subject is not merely done by way of not missing a single session of the class.” Thus, though my class attendance was 100 per cent, I failed the subject once again.

And because of this predicament, I came across and adopted the technique which I learned thereafter, and which was being successfully done by other students who are known to me. This technique which is captured in this kind of  proverbial guide which became popular that time was…if you think you will fail in your subjects, do an LOA… and the LOA became my easy way out from my oft-repeated and difficult scholastic cul de sac. And as I got so fascinated, preoccupied and thrilled by the exciting camaraderie in our fraternity, my stay in UP became all the more extended.

LOA stands for Leave of Absence, and during those years at the Palma Hall, getting an LOA approved by the dean then, seemed so almost easy.

When I entered U.P. Diliman in 1965, the 2-year preparatory course for any scholastic career was termed University College and almost all classes were held at the Palma Hall which houses the Arts and Sciences Building, except for some.

It was good that during that time, there was still no policy against OVERSTAYING students, and that to avoid being kicked out, the LOA route was so very handy.

I really wanted to pass my Math subjects to at least give joy and honor to my Daddy Max, thus I  tried all tricks to pass my Math subjects.

One time, I monitored and stayed in wait for the earlier class of my Math professor which class was then taking an examination at the 2nd floor of  Melchor Hall, the Engineering Building. I waited along the corridor and on the belief shared by many then  that the professor would give the same examination for all of the same Math classes being handled by the professor,  I told myself that I am going to befriend the very first student who gets out of the classroom. Surely, during examination time, it is believed that the first one to move out of the classroom is the best among them, having finished the exam earliest.

So, when the first person emerged out of the classroom, with all humility and graciousness, I begun to befriend her and most reverentially, I asked the lady if she could just give me a rundown of what  questions were asked in the exam. The comely lady mischievously smiled at me and I thought that it was a sign that she will eventually give in to my request. I followed her up to the Arts & Sciences Building (i.e. Palma Hall), like a suitor wooing a dame,  walking side by side, as though we have been long-time friends.  We walked side by side as though a lovey-dovey duo through the whole stretch from Melchor Hall up to Palma Hall. And I thought all along that her next class would be at the Palma Hall.

It was my guess then as we traversed the whole length of what is now known as the UP Oval (from its median’s end to end) passing through A. Roces Sr. Avenue towards the Palma Hall. But, I eventually got so surprised when she entered my Math classroom at the AS Building. And she turned out to be our Math professor’s assigned proctor, and my face turned red in shame. End of story…

Incidentally, by way of an aside, when I finally shifted course to AB Economics, my Math 100 (i.e. a lighter version of CALCULUS) professor who was a newly appointed lady professor, was all praises on me as she even gave me a final grade of 1.25. She never knew however that it was the 4th time that I took that CALCULUS subject.

Back to UP Law… The usual matching between male and female studes is usually being done at school complete with teasing, jesting, cajolery and prodding. I was being paired with the lovely Gina Calleja, though I did not take it on seriously as I was in a relationship then. However,  I would from time to time (just as to intrigue the match makers notable of whom was Vicky Bataclan), do the motions of wooing Gina. Also, at that time Gina’s eyes were so much focused unto a Sigma Rhoan, as in fact, Gina would openly admit in class that she is a Sigma Rho fanatic. On the other hand, the charming and sweet-scented Babes Navarro was interchangeably being matched with Romeo “Romy” Legaspi and Roberto “Bobby” Lopez. Actually, the late Bobby Lopez, who was oldest among us,  is a UP MBA graduate and is in fact occupying a topnotch managerial post in Makati then. Bobby Lopez eventually earned the moniker “Tatang”.

If Vicky Bataclan were not married then, being a real looker, Vicky would have certainly been paired/matched with all of those debonair-looking male students at Malcolm Hall. However, Vicky remained merely as some kind of matchmaker.

Earlier, during our freshman year, Peter Paul Pineda was continuously being matched with Annette Sandico.This match was good, as they eventually ended up as husband and wife; though both of them stopped their UP Law schooling.

Going back to Babes Navarro… it would seem that Babes did not want to be paired with someone older than she was, like Bobby, who was at that time, in his mid-30s already. Thus, the matchmakers stopped prodding the Babes-Bobby duo and instead focused on a Babes-Romy tandem.

One time, Romy came to school with lots of ripe santol fruits and Babes appeared to have gotten the lion’s share of those santol fruits. Eventually, Romy’s style of courting got labeled as the SANTOL STYLE. I heckled Romy once and told him: “ROMY…PAANO KA NAMANG SASAGUTIN NI BABES, EH YONG SANTOL NA BINIGAY MO, NAPAKA-ASIM!”. [English translation: Hey Romy, how could you expect a favorable reaction from  courting and wooing Babes; the santol fruits you gave her are too SOUR!”]

But the more amorous of UP Law students then would naturally come from the day sections, as they would have all the time to muse and strategize on their amorous forays. As I actually am officially registered as a member of UP Law Batch 1980 having skipped one semester from school (and graduated in 1980), and considering all the more that I entered UP Law in 1974; I became part of THREE (3) UP Law batches and that those who are from batches 78, 79 and 80 are relatively known to me. Batch 78 entered the UP Law in 1974 too; while I actually got embraced by Batch 1980 as their official batch mate.

Indeed, there are lots of lovey-dovey duos during my stint at UP Law but my unarguable choice for the most amorous lovey-dovey duos are from the day section…and that which stand out is none other than the lovey-dovey duo episode of my lover boy IDOL, Arno Sanidad of UP Law 1980! Until my next BLOG!

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