Jong’s Call

Texting has given me different roles to my friends and batchmates: to one I have become a complimentary subscriber to his forwarded messages and jokes, to some am the batchmate directory and event post master…. But to Millie, the wife of Jong (Jesus Ong), I am her prayer warrior. In fact, my friendship with Millie jelled on the fibers of piety. So, frequently I would receive texts messages asking for prayer for her lectures, presentations, her sons and personal concerns. Then once in a while, to celebrate the bonds of friendship, she would send a text invite over dinner either with her alone or with some other friends of hers and of Jong. Last September 8 however, along side with her usual petition for prayer is a question that had stirred my query minds to gyrate like a ping pong ball hit by a paddle in a swift slicing stroke. Although the question is not a matter of life and death rather it is something that insinuates an opportunity of a moment that close friends look forward to. In my animated SGH-E590 the letters came out flashing one by one “I texted you yesterday regarding dinner on Saturday 7PM. Do you have any suggestion?” To this I answered “Sorry I did not receive any message… A___ is a good fine dining restaurant.” Then she replied “Thanks.” Such a very brief exchange of text message left my CPU (Cognitive Processing Unit) to hang and thereby triggering my LED (Life’s Ethic Device) to blink… should I assume that am invited over dinner or am I simply asked for a restaurant venue? So I turned my  eyes to my FAQ (Frequently Asked Quezonbased-batchmate) Nixon Cabochanpongco for his opinion. Him being skeptical on the fact that such a short notice invitation would somewhat impels me to travel for 3 to five hours along 96 km highway, negate my incredulous assumption. His uncluttered mind that appreciates minimalist Japanese art succeeded to pacify the pendulum motion of the volitive fibers of my cerebrum to finally tie itself to the conclusion that I was simply asked for a restaurant venue thereby pacifying my LED. Yet the following day, the fickleness that goes along with the nature of my gender, charged up my LED and loosen the knots to free off a swing that went knocking down the lettered buttons of my cellphones. Nevertheless, LED lead me send an inquiry of concern regarding the asked prayer but enclosed within is the invisible inked text message (“am I invited to the dinner on Saturday?”) seen only by eyes of intuition. Soon enough vivid letters signifying gratitude over my queries of concern came flashing out followed by an outburst of combined letters showing “Cya on Saturday Dinner!” Immediately afterwards my LED logged off.

Letting Go

In an advance level of the college of virtues, a student will eventually find himself immersed in an environment of bountiful good. Yet amidst the world surrounded with goodness there still comes a time where one gets confronted with indecision. Such did not arise from a sneaking evil that penetrated through the thick fortress of faith, for evil in such university is never an item of choice but an obvious object of rejection. Rather it is the kind of irresolution brought by a choice between two seemingly equal good. One may think that since both ends of the scale are good, a preference to one would do no harm.  But the result of which has proven well that it normally ends up in suffering the pain of losing the other. The lesson of life is then learned that we indeed cannot have all the good things in life. But the virtue of wisdom does not settle for a simplistic favoring of one good from the other, and suffer the pain of loss; it further demands that the choice to be made must pick out the right good. In this stage, the second remedy is to be applied… ”Between two seemingly equal good where one cannot be with the other, the wise lets go of the good that will allow a greater good to happen.” This golden rule enables the eye to set its gaze on a greater good and consequently free the mind from such a crisis of indecision. Applying this principle, letting go of my appointment to a Satuday Open House Event in a beautiful rising elite city in Laguna, became such a painless and easy task. For even if it would be wonderful to have a brief taste of the life of the rich, but there is a long lasting wealth of joy that seeks to dwell in the hearts of those friends who will come to meet each other over dinner on Saturday.

The Dawning of a Get-together

In recording the Saturday dinner event in the calendar of my mobile phone have left the venue slot  unfilled for the SMS conversation with Millie failed to provide me with that information. Once again I pulled out from my resourcefulness to find words to ask the name of the place where the event is to take place. Millie answered that she will text me as soon as she figured it out together with Jong. That was the only time I realized it is a dinner date with a couple. Saturday afternoon came; I pulled my backpack’s wheel to roll along the cemented road of city proper of Tiaong, until I reached the waiting shed where buses stop. Ten minutes passed, the bus bounded to LRT Taft finally came in sight. I raised my arms to wave the bus to stop and it did.  So, I darted my way up and had myself seated comfortably. In no time did I start texting Millie to inquire once more for the name of the restaurant but my message tone remained silent. Nonetheless, I love surprises so I had my hand detached from the phone and pull out the bracelet from my wrist. I then filled the entire length of my travel tracing the beads with Ave Maria taking advantage of the whole stretch of the trip to pray for the concerns of Millie that has been spoiling her day. Hours later the bus parked itself to LRT.   From there, I took the jeep to get to my brother’s house for a stop over. I checked out my phone but still found nothing. So I texted Jong instead and in a short while he replied “Café bistro tomas morato 7pm CU. D ko pa na invite sina Karl.”  only then did it became clear that it is going to be section A-MT90 get-together.  S oon enough I received an announcement from Karl “ Hi Campañero, getogether tayo s café bistro 2nyt 7pm if u r free…Thanks = from doc hesus jong ong” Such made me to laugh a little because of a memory of a getogether organized by Jong last year.

Falling Forward

 “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

-Henry Ford

Although sections are no longer a ranking during our college days, Jong lived up to the image stereotyped to an “A” section. For a span of four years and beyond, Jong has consistently soared the height of flying colors. Hence despite the consideration that Jong is only human; his blunders generates a slight shock wave echoing back with as a tease among classmates that may build up into something quite annoying. Indeed, last year of the same month, the getogether which Jong had been brewing for several months ended up served by her wife in his absence for reasons incongruous to his IQ (for a recap of this event please read the write up in this link http://spiralcurls.blog.friendster.com/2008/05/korean-restaurant-amt90-get-together-enjoyable-as-halo-halo/). This eventually gave rise to a lot of taunting but only for a couple of days, coz Jong who was already tormented for such a preposterous occurrence begged to be relieved of further injury. With fraternal compassion did 4amt90 yahoo shift its attention to Christmas ’08 get together. One year after, Jong who is much of a sport and a man with a successful mind, would have definately  learned from his mistake … hence I laughingly concluded…“perhaps Jong wants to make sure that he has set his foot in Manila before calling out the get together in order to ascertain his presence in his organized dinner party.”   Lucky for me however that am a friend of his wife Millie who in the face of keeping the hidden agenda had booked me for a dinner that Saturday so the announcement came not much as a surprise but like a garnish to a dish…something that enhance the date  I put down the phone thinking Jong has a funny way of showing how to fall forward. 😉

Travel Considerations of Migratory Birds

When my cellphone flashed the single analog clock display at 6:17PM, another text message came from Jong giving the exact information as regards the venue of the organized get together. The message read “Chef bistro tomas morato cor sct gandia. C u.” The correct announcement of the name of the restaurant has finally deleted the slight confusion that rubbed in my culinary s quotient. Café is a concept incorporated in a bistro, hence the name “café bistro” is redundant in nature. Nevertheless, it is an issue that I did not give much of a fuss except that, had it not been corrected prior to the dinner time I will end up looking for a non existing restaurant. So I set out to the street opted for a two ride route: an FX and a taxi instead of taking the LRT , MRT and a taxi. Without getting lost, I arrived just in time that Millie and Jong alight their car. Under a drizzle, we exchanged “hellos” and “how are you.” Shortly afterwards, the waiters had us seated in bright mezzanine that is good for a guests of twenty. In no time did I started with my queries regarding their son and the business that Jong’s father is venturing into. I then felt so much of an advantage for being an early bird because I was able to take picture of the couple and I can converse freely with them in all confidence which would otherwise be deterred by presence of other guests. Taking note of this, we (Jong who came all the way from Palawan and me from Tiaong) ended up concluding that migratory birds usually comes early because they always give allowances for the unexpected and if there is no place for allowances, do it the other way around, like Jong did — announce a gathering at an unexpected time where you are sure you won’t fail your guests expectation. :p

 

 

 

Meeting the coouple prior to the get-together

Meeting the coouple prior to the get-together

 

 

Birds Begin to Flock

As time progresses, friends of Jong and Millie started to arrive one at a time (only MT90 batchmates will be mentioned here even if the get-together is not exclusive to the batch). I am extremely happy to see that Michael Lui finaly bring along his wife. It is my first time to see her. Her neon green blouse, exuded out a her refreshing beauty and yet spiced up her otherwise very serene presence.

wife of Michael Lui

wife of Michael Lui

Then came Willy Alba by himself who later explained that he cannot bring along her family because together with his kids, the playful child Willy would resurface and dominate the now adult Willy and would require a prodding to wake up the adult Willy.

Jong and Willy Alba... the glass wall reflected on the side of Jong

Jong and Willy Alba... the glass wall reflected on the side of Jong

Then the full of life Edwin Rodriguez of MT90 section E came in. Although I have not coincided with him in any Medtech activity nor internship back in college, he greeted me as if I am more than an acquaintance and engaged me in a conversation that would tire up my zygomatic muscles from smiling and laughing.

Edwin and Millie... notice Millie is somewhat controlling her laughter here... kasi naman nakakangalay na tumawa

Edwin and Millie... notice Millie is somewhat controlling her laughter here... kasi naman nakakangalay na tumawa

 Then Karl arrived joining the Chinese brothers who had flocked together… he blended well with them with his chinky eyes. Eves dropping, I heard him enumerate the trivial tips he has learned from them…from the cheap lunch deal at Lopez Canteen whose mountainous serving of rice has lethargic effect to the not advisable installation of aquarium in a room of study or else you will fall into a trance and will never get to study at all.

Karl Zafra and Willy Alba in Black Or White

Karl Zafra and Willy Alba in Black Or White

 Finally of the last MT90 batchmates who came is Florante Manahan who always bring along his wife or his son or his daughter. His presence always exudes an atmosphere of serenity unperturbed by the rests whose noise sounded like chirping birds.

sorry for the blurred picture... it takes to know the camera well to get a good picture...

sorry for the blurred picture... it takes to know the camera well to get a good picture...

 

Boys Talk... di ko na alam ang pinag-uusapan nila dito

Boys Talk... di ko na alam ang pinag-uusapan nila dito

Thomasian

As we grow in number, guests subdivided into two: to my left is the group of Jong composed section A MT90 and to my right is Millie’s friends composed of non-MT90 except for Edwin Rodriguez.   At first I belong to Jong’s group which is somewhat a boys talk, the few topics I caught consists of BIR, technology, one event of a naughty adventure during college days. Yet one topic that I find quite impressive is when Michael Lui relayed how his Thomasian trained conscience objected in embarking into contraceptive device business even though it is a guaranteed way of feathering his nest. He said it is indeed a lucrative product but somehow his conscience finds it repulsive due to what he had learned in ethics subject while in UST medicine.

Jong's group

Jong's group

Soon, another ethic topic caught my attention, but this time the story is coming from the group of Millie. Since am seated beside Edwin, his animated narration of ethics in Medicine had my ears shifted towards his direction and nailed there. There he express his belief on the moral stand of UST against artificial method of conception. In those two topics, I begin to see the mark of Thomasian encrypted in our hearts.

Tickled by a Feather

When the night has gone deeper, the conversation grew lighter. Too light it seems that like a nitrogen gas we burst into long laughter.   By that time, Edwin has successfully engaged even Jong’s group into listening to him. Edwin it seems, is very good in class management for he successfully maintain our attention to him for more than an hour. Who will not be glued to a very entertaining and funny adventure of catching medical student cheating during exams. Nope, Edwin is no terror as a professor but as a proctor in Pharmacology exam he is a relentless as a paparrazi. But outside the exam, Edwin goes back to his being lively, accommodating, enjoyable and special preference to handsome students. Well, that did not come from me, he claimed it himself. He in fact confessed that back in his time as medical students that they would push the good looking men right in front of a gay professor to influence a favorable mood, now he feels standing on the shoes of that professor. Then he started speaking about the dilemma of perhaps almost all of professors/teachers to which I and Karl can relate. Whenever he goes out malling, he has to deal with a lot of guessing game…guessing who is this person who greeting me. Apparently in the mall, there is greater chances of  crossing paths with students especially of a big university to which he is teaching for several years now. But it is less likely that a professor will remember all of them, more so when they are not in their uniforms. Hence, most of the time,  he feels embarrassed within when his memory search engine says “no match found.” Yet despite his embarrassment to himself  his wit can turn a case into one enjoyable encounter. Edwin can make you laugh as if tickled by a feather.

Edwin of Section E making us laugh

Edwin of Section E making us laugh

Everybody’s Birthday

Just in time when I started massaging my zygomatic muscle that started to hurt from a lengthy laughter, the cake brought by a friend were put out of the box. The white snowy frosting looked so enticing that the conversation died down in an instant. Yet, serving the cake was put on a hold because Jong was requested to blow a candle. Although the dinner was organized not for the purpose of celebrating his birthday but rather to sincerely have fun with  friends, Jong acceded to the request. The blowing of candle however was so fast that no photo was taken, so I requested for a repeat performance.  Jong complied kindly. To the re-enactment we sang the Happy Birthday and captured the moment beautifully.

jong blowing his birthday candle... yes isa lang....lol

jong blowing his birthday candle... yes isa lang....lol

jong slicing the cake

jong slicing the cake

In no time, the cake was sliced and it  revealed  what lies underneath.  Beneath is a layer of dark chocolate moist cake inter-layered with crunchy sugar caramel. Biting a spoonful is a taste experience of a creamy sweet frosting moistening a bitter sweet chocolate cake with a teasing tacky feeling of sugar caramel crumble. Such a variety of taste and texture compliments very well with the mixture of different personalities brought together by a couple that eventually led to an enjoyable bonding moments . It was like everybody’s birthday.

When we finally call it a night, Jong and Millie gracefully gave me a lift to the gate of my brother’s house.

I Slept Smiling

Despite the frequent get-togethers that section A had, every gathering continues to shed a light into the personality of each one (although this latter affair was not created exclusively for A, and in the presence of one from section E it such a bonus ) It is inspiring to hear that Mike Lui and Edwin Rodriguez despite the passing of years continues to uphold to the ethical foundations established by our alma mater. It is amusing to hear Willy Alba’s playful dealing with his kids and from time to time crack a joke composed of silly logics. It is heartwarming to see a seemingly cold Florante always prefer to enjoy the company of his batchmate together with his wife or kids. I am awed to hear Karl remembers the tips taught to him by fellow classmates even on some trivial matters. Mot specially am deeply moved when Millie and Jong’s gave me a lift from Quezon City to Malate to make sure that I reached home safely, a gesture of their special regard to this friendship. That night I slept smiling.

sayang that the glass reflected the flash... but this is the best group picture we had using my cp camera... nangangamo talaga ang camera... here we asked the waiter to take the photo

sayang that the glass reflected the flash... but this is the best group picture we had using my cp camera... nangangamo talaga ang camera... here we asked the waiter to take the photo

 

before Willy left

before Willy left

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2 Responses to “Jong’s Call”

  1. Jong Says:

    Wow! Great narration. Wonderfully crafted with beautiful words. The description has captured or perhaps enhanced the get together’s mood. Loved ur work. Love your talent. More power! God bless!

    Like

  2. karl Says:

    parang dvd-dvd ang narration. great food. great company. a splendid evening. tnx everyone. happy birthday jong.

    Like

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