day 1: veni

I CAME at exactly 9:05 a.m. at legazpi city airport on may 3, friday. 

for the very first time, i enjoyed my flight back home. sans the attack of my motion problem, i was able to look down from my window as we prepared for the touchdown and feast my eyes on the view below. it added to my excitement about setting foot on my birthplace again and reuniting with my relatives and friends. the last time i had a brief visit to legazpi city, it was  on february 11, 2012. 
walking toward the arrival area, someone caught my attention from the departure area. a man, carrying a child, was continuously waving his hand. of course, i did not immediately presume that the greeting was for me until i was nearer to his spot. the blurry image from afar was given a face. it was my batchmate/friend/kumpare, eric parlade and the child was my goddaughter, maimai. malu, his wife, appeared beside him. husband and wife were my batchmates in high school. they were bound for manila for a family reunion, thus making them absent in the annual event of our alma mater. we had no choice but to resort to sign language with  the glass that separated us. for very good friends, comprehension was easy. 
once outside, i texted and waited for my ever thoughtful kumare/best friend ging and her beau who met me at the airport.  then, she made sure i would have my first meal of the day in the eat-all-you-can resto there. i had to agree because i had a long day ahead of me. 
my hearty breakfast at the buffet
my hearty breakfast –  carbonara, scrambled egg, sinapot (maruya), and bicol brewed coffee –  at the buffet
you see, i went home to attend the 6th bu grand alumni homecoming (see related post at https://wanderingjouster.com/2013/04/30/goin-to-the-wild-wild-west/). this was my first. but this was not all. i would be meeting my batchmates who decided to join our presentation the next day. meaning to say, we had an important business at hand – to rehearse and try our luck in the “batch got talent portion” on may 4. it was originally set at 9:30 a.m. 
my delectable breakfast and  tête-à-tête with ging concluded at past 10 a.m. afterwards, they drove me to the venue of the practice, jane gee “den” mape-manalo’s business office. after dropping me off, the waiting began. 
surprisingly, boredom did not come to me. to be caressed once more by  bicol air gave me a different feeling. every now and then, i would respond to sms. it also gave me an opportunity to make a call to my eldest sister to update her of my arrival. being a working day, i expected that my contacts were prioritizing their job. i understood it well and had already prepared myself for it. 
when den and her family arrived, we faced the question at hand: WOULD WE STILL PUSH THROUGH WITH OUR BATCH’S PRODUCTION NUMBER KNOWING THAT WE MIGHT NOT MEET THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS? 
we came up with two or three answers which boiled down to our batch’s known character – persistence and determination. 🙂 
yes, our batch has been consistent with these. in accomplishing a school requirement, we would often cram and yet, would still produce a satisfactory (or even impressive) output. we loved to do things on-the-spot. the cliché tagline “we work best when under pressure” is very much true in our tribe.  this knowledge was what i depended on when i learned that only four of us was willing to dance. the problem of meeting the required number of participants was solved by den via her props. she brilliantly suggested that we could fill in the missing six people by having them as propsmen. bravo! 
with this rub addressed, the waiting for godot…er…the waiting for the others continued. 
thanks to den’s lovely children, jeko and michee, impatience and boredom were both blocked as they entertained me with their ipad, stories, antics, songs, and even bickerings. i felt welcomed and young again. 
the wandering jouster with jeko and michee
the wandering jouster with jeko and michee
faced with the fact that we wouldn’t be able to practice on the agreed upon time, i decided to leave for a while and informed den that i’d just return around 4 p.m with the hope that the others would already be there. 
now, better do a fast forward lest you will utter boriiiiiiiing… hahaha.
miraculously, around 5 p.m., the participants (elvie, malou, joel, lara, joed, and melds – in order of appearance) came in trickles which den documented well. 
pictorial for our facebook page publicity
pictorial for our facebook page publicity
the six-man buhs 86 team , still lacking
the six-man buhs 86 team , still lacking
welcoming another batchmate
welcoming another batchmate
the photo which is sure to receive a lot of comments
the photo which is sure to receive a lot of comments
so with the others present, did we proceed to the practice right away?
nah. we addressed our grumbling stomachs and proceeded to bigg’s as if we were already exhausted from the rehearsal. 🙂 
where's the sweat? hahahaha
where’s the sweat? hahahaha
western food for the cowboy and cowgirls
western food for the cowboy and cowgirls
cheers and good luck to buhs 86
cheers and good luck to buhs 86  (photo by jeko mape manalo) 

known to be fun-loving people, we made the most out of that late dinner exchanging pleasantries, updates, plans, punchlines, and laughter. 

with dinner over, we again had a detour to imelda dado-moratillo’s place to see her beautiful native products …
native christmas tree sashes (photo courtesy of  elvie a. alejo)
native christmas tree sashes met us (photo courtesy of elvie a. alejo)
edwin and i, feeling mr. and ms. AIM HANDICRAFTS...hahaha (photo courtesy of elvie a. alejo)
edwin and i, feeling mr. and ms. AIM HANDICRAFTS…hahaha (photo courtesy of elvie a. alejo)
before finally (hallelujah!) doing the first routine at 10:45 p.m.!
serious mode eh?
serious mode eh?
our self-appointed director-spinner, jose edwin rojas
our self-appointed director-spinner, jose edwin rojas
a shot with den's cool mom, tita zen
a shot with den’s cool and sexy mom, tita zen
ending the night with this happy shot
ending the night with this happy shot
do you need more proofs to say that we accomplished something before the clock struck at 12 a.m.?
being real troopers, our smiles are enough to tell you that our batch will never RETREAT from any challenge. 
you better not miss my stories on my DAY 2: VIDI and DAY 3: VICI. 🙂 

wj's coat of arms

photo credits:  den mape-manalo

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