[Photo was taken at the Oxley Park home in Sydney, NSW of Mr. & Mrs. Steve and Arlene “Beth” Lever who served as hosts in the celebration of my 67th birthday on September 12, 2016 with my Pi Omicron Fraternity brods based in Australia. From L to R: Johnny Capuyan, Norman Jave Javier, Florentino “Boy” Mayor, myself, Danny Daguio, our host Steve Lever and Prospero “Porong” Ceguerra.]
College life in UP Diliman (i.e. University of the Philippines) particularly my undergraduate stint thereat, following my secondary education in San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila; was, I feel the most memorable.
In February 1967, I passed the final initiation rites of the PI OMICRON FRATERNITY (“PI O”) at the La Vista, Loyola Heights home of the late Brod Pete de los Santos; where I suffered severe beatings from my master-brods then, most especially from Brod Jamel “Jimmy” Lucman.
I was not much of a gregarious kid during my high-school days as I had to quickly board a JD bus for our Murphy, Cubao home at dismissal time. This was in keeping with the disciplinarian ways that Daddy Max has adopted, decreeing then that we ( I and my siblings) must all be at home by 6:00 PM.
As a fratman in UP Diliman, I enjoyed all the excitement of hanging out at our “tambayan” (i.e. our favorite spot of convergence), the after-class drinking sprees in those joints along Timog or Katipunan Avenue and those on-and-off shenanigans.
And that was almost 50 years ago, a befitting and felicitous time to reminisce those memories indeed. And that reminiscing came when I celebrated my 67th birthday on September 12 at the Oxley Park home of my cousin Arlene aka Beth, who is happily married to the suave and sociable Aussie Steve Lever. A mini-reunion ensued as my PI O brods came as my surprise birthday bash guests: Danny Daguio, Florentino “Boy” Mayor, Prospero “Porong” Ceguerra, Johnny Capuyan and Norman Jave Javier. Danny earlier forewarned me that he does not drive long distances anymore, for which reason I was doubtful if he can really make it. Boy Mayor was even farther as he is based in Brisbane.
In early 1970’s, when I was feeling overly ashamed about not being able to present to my late Mommy Norma and Daddy Max, my UP diploma [I made out a ploy that I lost a Philippine flag which I borrowed from the UP General Services and thus, cannot get my clearance (due actually to my having overstayed and lumping up a lot of subject-deficiencies, as it became a habit for me to do a leave-of-absence, every time I felt I will fail a subject) and that the UP wanted the same flag and no other replacement flag…he,he,he…]; Brod Danny Daguio (who was then an Accountant) gave me a job as stock clerk at the SPICERS International, Inc., a British company engaged in paper importation and wholesale of paper products. Thus, I begun to work while I took up my subject-deficiencies at the UP Manila where it offered evening class sessions. Indeed, I am so deeply indebted to Brod Danny as the doubt haunting my kin’s minds, of myself not having graduated from UP got erased from Mommy Norma’s mind. After a stint at the SPICERS, I also worked briefly at the Ateneo’s Institute of Philippine Culture as a Research Assistant. And when I finally got my UP diploma, I got employed at the National Housing Authority, which became the successor of the Tondo Foreshore Development Authority, which administered the World Bank-financed Tondo Foreshore Urban Renewal Project. Danny is now a retiree, and so very busy pandering much love for his grandkids especially Cameron who looks like a toddler-version of Harry Potter. Danny’s last professional engagement in OZ is as an officer at BLUM (pronounced as BLOOM) a company engaged in churning out kitchen cabinets and other kitchen-related appointments.
Boy Mayor is truly a character. Though Boy is actually from the PI O San Beda chapter, Boy became an ubiquitous presence at the PI O UP Diliman hang-out, as he became good friends with my contemporaneous cluster of casual and carefree chums in the UP Diliman PI O, namely: the late Gerry Santos, Oca Badillo, Ronnie Manalastas, Monching Tojos, the late Marcy San Vicente, Rene Taruc, Butch Soriano, Jimmy Lucman, etc.
As I narrated during our reminiscences at the Levers’ Oxley Park home, Boy actually churned out the first driver-less car in the Philippines. Up to now, I am so much amazed how Boy was able to drive home so safely every night after getting besotted with beer and quaffing whiskey on the side. He would board his VW crimson red bug (i.e. Volkswagen beetle) and would drive it virtually snoring. Next morning, after we would pester him with questions on how he drove home safely, he would jocularly say that he would just turn on a toggle switch at the bug’s dashboard and off , it would go as though a remote-controlled car. Boy is still at it, tinkering cars… as he is presently AUDI’s Service Warranty Manager at its Audi Center Brisbane dealership.
Porong is actually a brod from the UP Los Banos (“UP LB”) chapter, but just like Boy Mayor, he was also an ubiquitous presence in UP Diliman especially when the PI O is engaged in a fraternity rumble. Porong’s usual pep-talk when we, armed with a lead pipe or a kamagong pole (i.e. kamagong is a kind of a Philippine hardwood), are about to launch a blitzkrieg assault (it was our usual stratagem as we were not then so many…HIT and RUN) was to hurl, lunge and propel oneself into the enemy as, according to him, when adrenalin is high; you actually will not feel the pain of a blow, a rapier’s thrust not even a searing whizz of a bullet….DARING WORDS FROM A BRAVE WARRIOR INDEED! Porong is now retired but is always busy in the mornings tinkering his personal computer and other electronic gadgets as a hobby. It was a revelation to hear too that in 2002, Porong (already then an Aussie national) won the Australian National championship in ARCHERY.
Johnny Capuyan is also from UPLB and that he really looks too young for his age; even overwhelmingly divesting me with my FOREVER YOUNG sobriquet. Johnny is engaged in an Aussie company involved in HYDROPHONIC technology. Actually, when Steve learned about his involvement in HYDROPHONY, Steve jokingly asked whether it is similar to MODERN MARIJUANA technology; actually throwing some kind of potshot unto an Aussie who reportedly got caught years ago, raising MARIJUANA using inside his palatial mansion the modern HYDROPHONIC technology. Wow, not only in the Philippines pala…he,he,he…
Norman, who belongs to the younger brods of mine from UP Diliman, on the other hand, narrated that he has been engaged in various small-scale businesses. And these businesses include a home catering business venture where he said that he would cater and feed partying groups to the extent of almost 500 mouths. Eventually, he felt that he was not made out as an entrepreneur and decided to merge once more into the Aussie gas and gear industry, making home happily with his gracious wife who is engaged in the teaching profession in Sydney. Norman is sales representative of BOC Ltd. (a member of the LINDE Group of companies) in its Gear & Gas business venture.
PUSH ONWARD BRODS…YOU MADE MY BIRTHDAY A MEMORABLE ONE TO REMINISCE SOME OTHER DAY! OTHER PHOTOS OF MY SYDNEY BIRTHDAY BASH WITH MY PI O BRODS ARE SHOWN BELOW.