BUHS ’86 Tarlac Escapade: Joy Overload (1/3)

I asked for my husband’s consent to be in this escapade.

He did not give me a direct permission. Instead he handed a “scolding” to a wife, whose stubbornness would prevail just to be with her high school batchmates on June 23-24 in Tarlac.
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A first in our tribu or tribe (the word which we would use in reference to our batch) as one of the preliminary activities for our 2019 event, I had to be a part of this milestone come hell or high water. 
So, direct or indirect blessing from Larry, I arrived early in our meeting place at McDonald’s Araneta Center on June 23, Saturday, for our 7:30-8:00 am  assembly. Playing the role of the captain, I had to utilize all the available communication tools at hand to know the whereabouts of the confirmed escapees (six of them coming all the way from Bicol) so as not to delay our departure. And as each of them arrived, I knew our brief stay in this province located in the Central Region of the Philippines promises us experiences which we wouldn’t tire reminiscing for the rest of our lives. 
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An ultimate memorable itinerary plotted out. This is what our host, Rafael “Paeng” Morada, Jr., prepared for us. From our action-packed road trip from Cubao to Lourdes, Tarlac, we sustained our vivacity. It was brought to a notch higher when we explored his abode which drew oh’s and ah’s from us. Paeng’s domain set the perfect mode for us 16 thrill seekers. 
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Seated (L-R): Ghie Mirabel-Rosero, Lara Quintana-Mirasol, Lea Ojano, Jing Martinez-Bruno, Imelda Dado-Moratillo, Elvie Alejo, Dhines Daz-Gile, Don Conda Jr., Aldin Nasayao; Standing (L-R): Malu Apolinar-Parlade, Edwin Manjares, Thelma Ebdani, Joel Carrascal, Paeng Morada Jr. (our host), me, Ma. Gloria Sta. Maria-Castro, Mila Lumadilla-Monzon

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Paeng, one of our known ever magnanimous and down-to-earth tribumates, warmly opened his home for the first time not to show off what he has established for himself but to make us feel how important we are in his life. 

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After around half an hour of photo ops, funny anecdotes and laughter, we were directed to the venue of our scrumptious lunch — the ancestral house of his beloved better half, Pogs De Ocera. 

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Looking like a giant doll house with the very feminine interior design which made me love it with all the pink and pastel hues, our lunch site had me feeling like a Barbie Doll about to be drowned in this seafood fest! 🤤😯😊Big delicious crabs, shrimps, stuffed squid, tahong (mussels), sweet and sour lapu-lapu (grouper) and mixed veggies “confused” my hungry tummy. 
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I had to warn myself though about overeating any of these fave seafoods because of my hypertension. And I was not the only one who did a personal flagging down in our group! Hahahahaha…
Lunch finished, we tarried in this homely sanctuary surrounded by a wide rice field, fruit-bearing trees and vegetables. The place was a sweet reminder of our own province. Relishingly we allowed to be romanced by the rural ambiance and be carefree children again. 

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But surprise, surprise! This big pool amidst this rustic life gave us a glimpse of opulence among  the vieux riche in Tarlac.

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Grabbing the availability of an ideal location for more pictorials, we indulged ourselves in it.

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Reenactments, role-playing, and tons of clowning moments readied us for our next two destinations, where we walked through Philippine history, specifically reliving the People Power which was a significant part of our high school life. 
A tour of the Aquino Center Museum

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and the Aquino Ancestral House… 

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disclosed our belonging to a  diverse political spectrum. But no one verbalized this difference. Our oneness as a tribe was more valuable than a misplaced debate on political issues that are hounding our country today. 

Unanimously pleased with how we spent our afternoon, we were now led by Paeng and his posse from Concepcion to Bamban, Tarlac where we would be billeted for the rest of the day until our next set of adventure. 
And it is here where Series No. 1 of my narrative ends, my dear readers.  

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Photo credits:

Pogs De Ocera
Rafael Morada, Jr. 
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