Faded Photographs

Faded Photographs

By Apolinario Villalobos

(Photos from the family library of Ed Collado)

 

A picture can paint a thousand words, so goes the line of the son, “If”. And, faded photographs can bring memories that for the present are testimonies of how successful people struggled in the past. Faces exude aura of innocence…with their eyes that eagerly stared at the camera, unwary of what the future held for them.

 

Ed Collado’s mother was among the pioneer teachers of Tacurong Pilot Elementary School while his father was the District Supervisor who painstakingly visited schools in the barrios connected to the town of Tacurong by foot trails winding through rice, corn, and sugar cane fields. Other teachers I could recall during their time were, Mr. and Mrs. Jordan, Mr. and Mrs. Gatumbato, Mrs. Domider, Mrs. Paradero, Mrs. Sucaldito, Mrs. Ramos, Mrs. Lechonsito, Mrs. Del Campo, Mr. Barber, Ms. Davala, Ms. Paclibar, Ms. Ines, Ms. Paragas, Mrs. Lucentales, Mr. Palencia, while the Principal was Mr. Ben Nicolo. According to Ed, her mother took the pains in keeping photos taken during her time in Tacurong Pilot School.

 

Children of prominent families went to the school in slippers and shoes with socks, while the rest were barefooted. Free snacks consisted of gruel made from yellow corn grits. Those who failed to bring cups or bowls ate their share using pad paper folded origami style in the shape of a cap.  If there were extra bags brought by the Peace Corp Volunteers, the grits were distributed among the pupils to be brought home. Aside from yellow corn, those that were regularly donated to the school was bulgur wheat, oat meal, and powdered milk.

 

When I was in Grade Four, Ikea Seki comet appeared which became visible at dawn for almost a week. I could vividly recall the event as the appearance happened during our Boy Scout camping on the track and field of the school. During the time, we almost lost a good friend, Baltazar Subando when he fell from the “monkey bridge” built for the contest among the troops. Among the schoolmates I could recall were, Febe and Lilieth Ancheta, Betty Cu, Rodina Ballena, Ninfa Loot, Gloria Sangke, Catalino Ines, Nonito Bacus, Jaime Bides, Angel Collado, Apolonio de la Peἧa, Cornelio Alegre, Jaime Mariἧas, Elsie Dajay, Homero Palatolon, Hernanie Baclaan, Domingo Cargo, Eleanor Fajardo, the late Chrito Lacanaria, Rey Mijares, Julius Lechonsito, Jimmy Uy, Dani Pendatun, the late Reynaldo Mosqueda…(more names to be added as recalled).

 

In High School, we became Notre Damians who wore khaki pants with green stripe on the side.  On very special occasions, the Dominican Sisters of the Girls’ Department allowed joint activities with the Boys’ Department during which the musical talents of the students from both departments were exhibited. Ed Collado, Ted Lapuz, and Virgilio Guillermo provided music to the dancing girls, such as Rodina Ballena, Ninfa Loot, and others.

 

Debating Club was among the most popular organizations in the Boys’ campus aside from the Choreographers’ Club. The members of the Debating Club such Jovino Morte, Cirilo Baldonado, Andres Jordan Jr., Rommel Angel, Nonie Amar, Antonio Hojilla, Eduardo Palomado, Rodolfo Gallega, Virgilio Guillermo, Ed Collado, Felizardo Lazado, Leo Villalobos, Jose Lim III, a certain Cabico, were coached by Mr. Gabertan. The Choreographers’ Club on the other hand had Mrs. Ching Romero and former Ms. Leonor Palabricas as advisers, with the members such as, Dominador Barnachea, Homero Palatolon, Cirilo Baldonado, Ruel Lucentales, Domingo Cargo, Hernanie Baclaan, Eddie Travilla, a certain Nanales, and Ed Collado. The Choreographers’ Club had one successful fund-raising show, the “Rainbow of Rhythmn”.

 

Today, those caught in the historic frame of time are successful in their chosen fields. Some are entrepreneurs, overseas professionals, military officers, engineers, nurses, and educators.

 

 

 

On Eccentricity

ON ECCENTRICITY

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The dictionary defines eccentric as unusual or abnormal behavior or character which for me is wrong. Just because a person keeps to himself and rather read than attend parties is being eccentric, or sprinkling pasta with fish sauce is eccentric, etc. The problem with the scientists kuno, who study the mind and personality is that they rely on questionable “standards”. On the other hand, the dictionary publishers pick these information up, just like the way they pick up street words and expressions from all over the world to expand their publication for more money. That is why even the simple symbol of the heart has become a synonym of the word “love”. Although, supposedly intelligent guys are using groups as basis to qualify and justify their findings, I would like to think still, that they have gone beyond what should be a fair judgment, especially on aspects that involve human behavior. An example on this is the case of “special people “ who were viewed during the Medieval Period as lunatics, and epilepsy as a “devil’s disease”. Scientists kuno still go on with this malpractice of unfairly identifying people based on their discerned characters.

 

I am bringing this out because several times I have been dubbed as eccentric, because:

  • I dip green mango and singkamas (jicama) in vinegar
  • I dip table banana in soy sauce
  • I melt at least two pieces of “Snow Bear” menthol candy in my mug of coffee
  • I enhance my pasta sauce with bagoong (fish sauce)
  • I prefer to eat the burnt portion of steamed rice
  • I hate parties and formal dinners
  • I prefer sidewalk food stalls than restaurants

 

In this regard, I would like to call those who do not understand my ways as “ignorants”….they who do not even know or refuse to understand that unpolished rice is nutritious than the polished white rice; that the chemically-washed “refined” sugar in all its whiteness glory is one of the causes of cancer; having meat in diet 7 days a week without even a single sprig of green vegetable can result to colon cancer; uncontrolled partying could be a sign of insecurity masked with ear to ear grin; burnt rice can alleviate stomach acidity; vinegar reduces acidity in green mango, add flavor to the bland taste of jicama, and the soy sauce can enhance the potassium in banana; etc.

 

It is unfair for a person who deviates from the ways of others, to earn an eccentric reference. The word’s connotation as being “abnormal” is already unfair. The accusers on the other hand, are the abnormals, because they are not supposed to be judgmental. By being judgmental, they unknowingly try to reflect on others their (accusers) own kind of bad personality and that is not being kind…a normal person is supposed to be kind to his fellow man.

 

For me, the following are just some of the eccentrics:

  • Corrupt government officials
  • Aging Roman Catholic bishops who do not give a damn to the future of the youth of the land
  • Graduates of universities who use their learned expertise in exploiting others
  • Drug lords who do not know that what they do is “slow murder”
  • Drug addicts who rape innocent children, and even their own mother and sister

My question now is, have the few mentioned above ever been called eccentric by the supposedly bright journalists as such, for their obviously abnormal behavior?….my answer is a big NO!