The Flame

“I grieve in full silence for broken friendships, but exalt those that have remained genuine and strong. “

This was one of my meaning-laden tweets morning of January 2 after responding to the New Year’s message of one of my closest friends via sms. My text was an automatic reaction. Between true friends, expressions of good wishes even on ordinary days are spontaneous. I was in this dissection when I set my mode in reminiscing my reunion with my four best college buddies on December 20.  You see, after a long wait, we finally became complete. 

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Tonight, our story recommences…
Unanimously agreeing to have Tagaytay City instead of MOA (Mall of Asia) as our venue, we synchronized our time as we set out for our first meeting place at Jollibee Casimiro Las Pinas City branch. This is where I would fetch them since we would be using the traffic-less route which is Alvarez Avenue-Aguinaldo Highway-Tagaytay. Prioritizing all our safety, I decided to have Jerry Mayo take charge behind the wheel.  Yes, the lady knight chickened out from driving my friends and benefited from this change of mind. Not being under stress, I was able to engage in the usual zany, serious and intellectual round-robin talk with Francis, Soc and Luz. Beth, the fifth member of our group, would just follow us in our rendezvous since she and her husband, Eden, were still at the church. 
We arrived in Tagaytay on time for our lunch. Dencio’s was our choice as it provided us the ideal location for our photo-ops. Yup! The documentation was more important than our grumbling tummies. Hahaha. In fact, Francis and I informed the lady at the entrance that we’d have our picture-taking first before reserving our table. She thought we said it in jest, not knowing that we were really serious about it. 😊
Now, spotlight on us please:
Francis... always a contender for "Best Pose"                        Francis… always a contender for “Best Pose”
Luz... deceiving serious look for she can be the wackiest girl in town            Luz… deceiving serious look, but she can be the wackiest girl in town
Soc... the future lawyer, projecting the pose that is legally and morally right (hahaha!)          Soc… the future lawyer, projecting the pose that is legally and morally                                                      right (hahaha!)
Moi... projecting pensiveness and calmness, but watch out! (hehehe)                          Moi…  showing calmness, but watch out! (hehehe)

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First session over, we heeded our stomachs’ complaints.

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In reunions like this, eating is always secondary despite the palatable dishes that we would partake in. Clearly, the endless conversation matters more to us. Still, the native delicacies in that diner addressed our gastronomic needs pumping up our energy for the day’s agenda. 
We resumed our exclusive “pictorial” before opting to go to Taal Vista Hotel instead of Sky Ranch when we saw that it was already congested.
What awaited us in our second destination added to the hues of our being together. 

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Receiving an update from Beth, we trooped to the main entrance of the hotel but not until everything was captured by someone’s lens.

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We reached the lobby a few minutes after the couple had arrived. Hugging and kissing Beth again after ages was an affirmation that we indeed are more than classmates and friends. We are kindred sisters (see related story at https://wanderingjouster.com/2012/09/10/kindred-sister/). 

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As usual, our topics were a bricolage of diverse perspectives. But each of us never got lost and felt left out since we have been like this for years. We express our personal views, we listen, we comment, we agree, we disagree or we just stay neutral. Intellectual gymnastics has been one of our favorite exercises, but none of us has felt superior neither inferior to each other. Evidently, time and deep-seated experiences have refined  our values more. 

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Desultory.
Prized.
This is how I would describe our moment together that Sunday. In spite of the limited time, we knew we have reached another level of bolstering up our flame of friendship. The next day, Francis would be back to his overseas job as a flight steward at Northwest Airlines. Two weeks after, it’s Beth’s departure to resume work as an international educator in Qatar. And for Luz, Soc and me, we too continue to stay optimistic as we face our daily grind here in our country.

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Photo credits:

Francis V. Castillo Jr.
Luz Ramos-Valeriano
Soc Sabandal-Saballa
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