June 7, 2023

AFTER FINISHING MY High School in ICS (Immaculate Concepcion School), Bokod Central – some years back or not so very long time ago, I came up to Baguio to enroll in my first college year – in Engineering.
[I JUST WENT straight to that area – now somewhere in the OTTO HAHN Bldg, without consulting any of my friends, classmates, or older folks; just my late mother who smiled and said: “yes, my son” (anak ko). Then, classes later:
[FIRST DAY, SECOND.. a week, et cetera. My initial, magneted attraction for the Course description: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE) like magnified – each time or each inch of the way. I went to class daily, promptly and met my classmates. Ah
AWESOME TO ME, they mostly were.. for trend-that-time, uso noon reasons; like: they were ‘from the City’; most of them were fetched by their [respective] family cars; some of them had parents who sometimes came to the school yards and spoke to their son and/or daughter.. in English!
[WHAT’S MORE – AND this seized me for quite sometime; my classmates knew, or spoke, or tried (with gusto!) to communicate in Latin!
[OH MY! I often reminded myself: these classmates must be using that “Classical Latin” – so much praised about in those times. But I remember what my 4th year HS Adviser – Mr. Tarcisio Dacing, God Rests his soul (GRhs) said that: what we were in fact learning from him – the Subject; Introduction to Spanish, was mostly akin to ‘Classical’ Latin because
[SPANISH IS LARGELY vulgar Latin – the Language of the empire Vulgus or ‘people’; while the ‘Classical’ Version was the language in Rome itself, and among the Senators (of the Roman Senate), among high officials, and civil or military; among the learned class, the clergy and: it was the one used as State language!].
WHOA! TO MY thoughts and concentrations.. again in those times: so, I was amidst classmates of truly schooled, highly-regarded, [even] exceptional: training and ‘upbringing’? How really fortunate I was! I often said to myself.
MY ONLY CREDENTIALS that brought me to SLU were my grades and the School (ICS) where I came from; and perhaps most importantly: because I graduated as Salutatorian, and thus I started as a “Half Academic Scholar”.
MY FIRST SEM done and then came the second. I was learning a lot of things as the months rolled by. To name a few, and et alii; that:
I WAS NOT the only one not-a-batchmate, of my Latin-trying classmates. There were two from Ifugao; one from Mt. Province, and one [a funny chapter, I didn’t – no, we didn’t rather – know we were 2nd cousins.. until, much, much later, he is] from Itogon, Benguet.
THERE WERE THREE – or four others, from the Lowlands, not ‘from the mountain ranges’ like we were, nor from the City (of Baguio).
[PEOPLE USED TO say these IDs before, I don’t know – if some still do; to wit: taga-baba (Lowland dweller), taga-kabanbantayan (‘from these Heights’), and Taga’d toy (from here). In those times, these terms were tickling or funny, or what. But others just dismissed the ‘applications’ as arte or arts.. (Lit. “teasings”, “decors”, others). Anyway
I’VE MET, I know –or I’ve heard some of those classmates of mine became Engineers – and/or related professionals. I didn’t.
I LEFT ENGINEERING, and took Liberal Arts. I wanted to enroll in Law but because of financial difficulties, I instead finished M.A. – in English-Linguistics. Then
I LANDED AS a College teacher for years – after some time of which I finished my Ph.D. I pursued my flare for Languages – both local and foreign e.g. Kapampangan, Kankana-ey, Latin, Gaelic, et cetera. I was a Visiting Professor – in one University in Benguet, and three in Baguio before the Pandemic. This time
I GOT INVITATIONS to teach or work outside Baguio and Benguet; but maybe while I’m not yet re-attuned, I desire to communicate or exchange notes with some of my former and unforgetting(?) Engineering ‘classmates’. How about it, mis condiscipulos?
YOU WERE ONCE part of my life, and I recall with vividness the fondness of those times. Let’s be friends and ‘classmates’ again – even during these crises, if you’re at [same] mind to, no maikarkari? Ayuhh!