Ahh, Those Were The Days

January 21st, 2010

Lately, my inner censor prevents me from blogging. I do keep a small notebook where my scribbles and outlines are contained but I wonder why I can’t compose a sensible entry. Psychologists, according to Erica Jong, has a more appropriate term for this. Flow state (characterized by the suspension of the sense of time, the obliteration of self-consciousness, and the feeling that we are doing something for its own sake and not for its own outcome). That flow isn’t really working for me over the past few days. Most people rely on liquor, drugs, etc. to create something, a poem, music, story…Unfortunately for me, I don’t do such things just so I can tune in with my self or with the world.


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(Click to listen to the background music.)

However, last night while checking my high school yearbook – I saw an old picture inserted within the pages. Flashbacks came rushing like heavy torrents of water. Perhaps my flow state has some connection with the visual.

The year was late ’90s and I was actively involved in community theater. Being a development communication student in Ateneo de Naga at that time, I saw it both as an opportunity for praxis and personal growth to be part of such an endeavor. I helped mobilize a group of talented children and youth into a theater group that will serve as advocates for child rights protection. That’s also when I appreciated more the beauty of development work, the passion that drives NGO/GO/PO workers to plunge into marginalized areas, reach out to the disadvantaged and be an agent of change. Devcom is not a basic science but an applied one, making it an integrative discipline and lending itself to dynamism and people-centeredness. I knew right then that I took the right course in college.


Life was quite simple then. I devoted much of my time attending rehearsals and presentations. We are a group of 25-30 people: casts/characters, props men, technicians (the ones in-charged with lighting and sound effects), the bus driver and the NGO staff (the brainchild of such advocacy tool). We literally jumped from one barangay to another, spoke with village leaders, mingled with other youth and children. In our own little way, we were able to break the culture of silence among typical families in the countryside as far as child rights is concerned.

On a more personal level, it is indeed such a pleasurable experience recalling how each member’s relationship with one another had improved dramatically. We became closer and were comfortable telling our own joys and pains, even our own secrets. The theater group made us into one big family of friends. After my class, I’d go straight to BCAT’s Training Dorm with a big smile plastered on my face. We get reprimanded from time to time. As young people, you see, we can be stubborn and hardheaded. But anyway, all of us often looked forward to a couple of days of get-together and practice. I remember the times I couldn’t get my lines straight and when I did “hahaha” a hundred times so I could sound as sinister as my character required. Our routine meant continuous rehearsing to have a more realistic presentation.

Every time a play is on the way, we gather at either BCAT or Penafrancia Resort. A hired bus (the one driven by Tiyo Roslin who passed away last year, God bless his soul) would take us to the training center then to our destination. Sir M would often tell us, “what an experience huh! you traveled all the way from the mountains just to visit another mountain!”. That is because we mostly go to places with no access to electricity. Good thing we had a ready generator. The areas often required walking because of steep slopes. If its rainy, we need to walk barefoot. We spend the nights on some elementary school buildings as well.


A stage play means setting the backdrop (sometimes using only an open space or a basketball court/no stage at all), preparing all the music and lighting effects, doing the customary throw-lines, putting on the customes, applying make-up, characterization, etc. At one time, we ran out of hairspray — my friend JJ used an egg white as a substitute and smothered it on my hair. Yaikks. But when you’re ready for the role, you dont care even if you smell like a rotten cheese.

The day succeeding each play was also memorable as we often go swimming or doing picnic. The picture I posted was in fact taken at Malabsay Falls in Panicuason.

Noel Cabangon’s “Kanlungan” (the background music) was our anthem… reminiscent of our Shibashi mornings, an exercise we did for years while the group was still intact and functioning. I remember “separating the clouds”, the “rotating wheel”, and “balancing chi”.

Ahhh, those were the days! Half of all my happiest memories combined were in it, which is why I treasure those moments so dearly.



6 Responses to “Ahh, Those Were The Days”

  1. witcha Says:

    Nicey! Reminiscent of the old days. Maybe you could ask Sir M for copies of the old photos (and video/s), if possible.

  2. joybeth Says:

    nice ang kanlungan no? sa pics you na lang try mag-ask. 😀 malay natin may nabuhay pa. but i doubt it.

  3. Jun Lisondra Says:

    Uyyyyyy nagre-reminisce siya, uyyyyyyyyy! GUsto mo request ko siya sa kanyang FB account, re, photos and videos? (binura mo kasi siya diba nga?) Uyyyyyyy!

  4. Pinoy Says:

    that’s nice. you don’t need drugs/alcohol to be creative. Creativity is a talent that comes from within.

  5. joybeth Says:

    I believe so. BTW, thanks for dropping by. 😀

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