Saturday, August 25, 2012

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Old friends

IT WAS DR. SUSAN Punongbayan, a physician in Bukidnon, who gave me this important piece of advice last summer break: keep your non-medical friends close.

A month ago I met up with old friends from way back in first year college. Jaylord Tan celebrated his 25th birthday and invited us over to dinner. From experience I've learned not to commit to any social event, until I'm absolutely sure that I'm not on call at the hospital, so please forgive me if I don't reply to invitations immediately. I simply do not want to disappoint you.

I had first met most of them in Kalayaan Christian Fellowship. We had Bible studies every Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?). We bumped into each other at the Mess Hall where we shared meager servings of brown soup and unlimited supplies of rice—well, there was that. After I was done with homework, I would drop by their rooms at the Kalayaan Hall Basement, share to them how my day went, listen to them as they poured their hearts out, and ask them to solve academic problems I couldn't make sense of. They've been part of my closest circle of friends since then.

happy birthday, sir jaylord

Jeiel is a sports fanatic. I used to play table tennis with him. Those sessions both delighted and frustrated me. I found it impossible to receive his dizzying top spins. Jaylord was—and still is—the prototype serious, non-nonsense man—the exact kind of people I like badgering. He teaches at the UP College of Engineering, and his students love him.

jeiel and jaylord

That's my scalp—absolutely dandruff-free!—and is probably the handsomest portrait I have.

my scalp

I like this photo of us sharing a stomach ache-inducing laughter. I was explaining something I could no longer recall exactly (or maybe I was teasing Luther Caranguian with a pretty lady I hope he'd marry someday). Luther, who graduated summa cum laude in ECE, is wearing the t-shirt with lizards. Meanwhile Paul Balite has long since abandoned the idea of wearing simple shirts, resorting instead to lawyer-ly outfits, a habit he probably takes with him when he goes to bed.

luths, myself, paul

Here were the rest of us! I praise the Lord for giving me great friends. Indeed, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

old (and young) friends

Many thanks to Razel Tomacder, letter-writer par excellence and English instructor in UP, for taking these wonderful photos.

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