Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Alma Matters

Sesquicentennial: 150 years. That comes but once in a lifetime. And my high school batch is the host of this year’s grand alumni homecoming. So even though I only attended one grand alumni homecoming before, I knew I had to be in this one.

* * * * *

I decided to come in late because I wasn’t interested in hearing mass nor was I looking forward to most of the presentations. I was more interested in seeing my other batchmates. You see, on Thursday evening our class held a mini-reunion and I enjoyed myself immensely. Ours was always a contentious class with several factions pulling it in several directions, but 25 years is a lot of water under the bridge and now we’ve learned not only to shrug off our youthful stubbornness and righteousness, we’ve also appreciated the others’ value. In fact, one of the ironies in life is that classmates often switch roles after graduation: the grade-conscious achievers tend to relax more in life, while the lazy coasting-along class bums end up more driven out in the real world.

* * * * *

Seeing the high school at night was at once surprising and nostalgic; the former because there were so many changes to the place, the latter because despite those changes, many of the original structures remained. It was a welcome sight to see the improvements of the new side by side with the stability of the old.

(We never had those hanging lights when we were students.)

* * * * *

I only saw the tail end of “One Big Night” directed by Floy Quintos and featuring various performing arts groups from the grade school, high school and college, as well as alumni who are prominent in the performance arts or media. I was happy to note that I’ve already worked with several of them already.

(Hello, curtain call!)

* * * * *

The program promised an all-Atenean slate of performers. I wasn’t surprised that Ramon “RJ” Jacinto trotted out his band and belted out rock-and-roll hits from the 50s-60s; it’s as white-and-blue as the cheer “Halikinu”. But the man can still rock—when he played the opening bars of the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” and the Rolling Stones’ “(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, the oldies in the audience roared their approval.

Can’t say the same though for Jose Mari Chan. I mean, sure, the guy is a successful hit maker. But to sing “Beautiful Girl” in a homecoming? And in his trademark “through-the-nose” style of singing? Thank god he sang only two songs; his set was a pace-stopper.

* * * * *

There were young batches in the crowd, so for them (as well as for the leery older guys who have the money to be DOMs) they trotted out Karylle. She was in a sexy strapless outfit that had boys-who-will-always-be-boys ogling at her every time she raised her arm over her head in a sultry pose.

And then there was Rico Blanco. I swear, the last time I saw him was in Subic at the Marlboro party for the Ad Congress, and boy was he hot. He wasn’t the lanky thin rocker we knew when he was with Rivermaya; he had filled out thanks to hours at the gym. So when he took to the stage, I left our table to go near the stage and watch him perform up close. He and his band played a blistering three-song set that had the young ones stabbing their fists in the air, the not-so-young ones watching in fascination, and the oldies retreating to the back of the covered courts. The guy knew how to work the crowd though; at one point he went down into the audience area and shook hands with adoring fans. And in the middle of “Liwanag Sa Bitwin” he segued into “Down From The Hill” before swinging into a rocked-out “Hinahanap-Hanap Kita.”

Of course I only saw just one more from my batch watching him in earnest—he’s Patrick Reidenbach, former owner of Club Dredd where the Eraserheads and Rivermaya honed their chops.

* * * * *

Walking out of the high school on our way home (we didn’t finish the concert), my former classmates and I were just shooting the breeze on a cool December evening. From changes in the campus to “Where are they now?” to the kinds of vehicles we’re driving, we jumped from topic to topic without pause or hesitation, like old friends do. This, despite the fact that some of us have not seen each other for years and in fact were never close when we were students. We may still not become close friends after this homecoming, but we certainly have left the past behind.

There’s nothing like the healing test of Time.


Yj said...

reminds me... it's been ten years since i graduated from high school and we haven't had a reunion...

sorry i didn't know you we're in B last night.... nagkita kami nina Aris and Joaqui... :)

joelmcvie said...

@YJ: Aris actually told me you and your "tall, guwapo boyfriend" were on the second floor, but when I went up, you guys had already left. =)

sky said...

Nice seeing you again!

joelmcvie said...

@SKY: Yeah, you too! You're looking good, more relaxed. Parang healthier, less stressful na yata life mo ngayon. =)

john stanley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quentin X said...

I have not been to a proper reunion yet. I probably wold be like you and go with an open mind and let bygones be bygones. I know some people don't like going to reunions because they think people stay the way they were.

Anonymous said...

很好啊 ........................