Since I arrived in Manila, I have this odd feeling that I will be meeting old friends from UP and do some cheesy stuff as reminiscing what we’ve gone through in the university and asking each other as to what happened to our other batch mates.
The Batch 2003 in the College of Arts and Sciences of UP Visayas took the toll of decreasing number of enrolees then when most students who were entering college that time opted to take nursing. The enrollment went down for almost 30 per cent. Our small number, however, proved to be advantageous because it created a strong bond among us. We may not know each other’s complete name but we know with a glance if a certain student is a member of our batch.
Two years after graduating from college, what is left are a handful of names I have occasional contacts with.
It occurred a week ago while I was waiting for the train to arrive at Ayala station when I bumped on a familiar face. It was Ferlan, a Political Science student who studied a year in Bali and speaks fluent Bahasa Indonesia. We were together in the ROTC program which I quit after a week; he continued and later became the Corps Commander of the UP Visayas ROTC. We shamelessly talked in Hiligaynon while inside the train going to Cubao. His fluency in Bahasa almost made me feel ashamed of my rudimentary Tieng Viet.
He was on his way to meet his date, Mae, a block mate of his who also used to be my classmate in one of the general education courses. I felt I was intruding on the rare moment that they’re together, but they insisted that I go with them. While looking for a place to eat, the three of us talked about our plans for the future and the uncertainties we face daily. We complained about the myriad options before us making the act of choosing a truly difficult thing to do. We complained about our impecunious state. I didn’t dare calling it poverty because being poor is too strong a phrase to modify the current state of the three of us.
It felt good meeting Mae and Ferlan and hearing from them that they are also experiencing the same struggles I am facing this time. At least I know I am not alone and that we share the same burdens, dreams, plans, fears, and drive to transcend the limitations because of our age, lack of experience, and insufficient understanding of life itself.
Mae, Ferlan, and I are just three of the many twenty-something who continually go against the current in this time where alienation, globalization, specialization, and some other big-sounding words ending in the suffix -ion prevail. We dare to create our little marks in the vast desert of humanity for our families, our friends, our self, and our dreams.