Alfie’s A Hundred Quotes (#002): On LOVE, The “Not-So-Forgotten Anniversary”

“No matter how hard life is and how cruel the surrounding world can be, an expression of love to someone who truly deserves it is considered as a priceless treasure that all of us can have.”

Alfie Tilan 

(10-November-2014)

_________________

There are a lot of reasons why couples “never run out of excuses” not to spend quality alone time together; Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, Wedding Anniversary, and some even celebrate wedding “monthsaries” (the day of each month when they got married).

I have a particular anniversary on mind that I will never forget… the day Julie accepted me (formally/officially) as her boyfriend… 23 years ago(!) on the 17th of November… 

Less than a month from now I will have “an excuses to invite her out on a date… a special date to commemorate our “not-so-forgotten” anniversary as boyfriend/girlfriend (that paved way to our wedding three years later (on the 20th of September)…

The numbers 17 and 20 will always be our official “couple-number” (yes, even in our CFC Sportsfest jerseys shown below).

As a prelude to our 23rd on the 17th, I am writing an open letter to my FOREVER.!

To My Dearest Wife Julie,

“Balutin mo ako sa lilim at hiwaga ng iyong pagmamahal”*

(Engulf me in the comfort and magic of your love…)

*from the partial lyrics of the song “Bituing Walang Ningning” sung by Sharon Cuneta.

We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last month, 20-September-2017…

Thank you because it all started our 3-year journey before we got married… a union in San Rosie Parish Church where we first met.

…and next month is our 23rd year that will surely be worth celebrating… our *official boyfriend/girlfriend relationship”…

We have no theme song because all the songs that seem relevant to our JOURNEY OF LOVE seem appropriate and can be used as “themes” describe us and how we express our TRUE FEELINGS FOR EACH OTHER.

Why am I saying this to you now? Because I want you to know, and I want the world to discern, that no matter how hard life is and how cruel the surrounding world can be, an expression of love to someone who truly deserves it is considered as a priceless treasure that all of us can have.

Please remember that, no matter how cheesy it is, I Love You, yesterday, today, and forever… and of course thank you for the love…for simply being you…and for (always patiently) keeping up with me all through these years and the decades to come.

I thank our GOD ALMIGHTY because I am again given the opportunity to do this in HIS time.. our borrowed time here on earth.

I Love You… FOREVER.

Your forever Labidabs,

Alfie

To all of you who are very much in love… do you still celebrate your “not-so-forgotten” anniversary?

Alfie Tilan 

(25-October-2017)

Alfie’s A Hundred Quotes (#001) The Past of the Future

Note: This is the first of my 100 quotes that I’ve written in the past… and they are to be shared here in no particular order. The only sure thing; they’re all about LOVE, FAMILY AND LIFE’S JOURNEY. 

“The dawn of social media has paved way for The Past of the Future to be easily secured.

Now, I am writing what I feel from the past to let those occurrence, that involve my feelings, find a niche in the future.”
Alfie Tilan 

(17-July-2017)
__________

I heard a comment from a friend regarding my heartfelt Facebook timeline post wherein one of the subjects was about what happened in the past and the emotions involved associated with those posts. 

The comment went like this, “Why would you post something like that? Aren’t you afraid that your children might see this post one day and create a negative impression about you”?

My children know what I post here, they have access to read all my posts and my quotes… and I even discuss some (if not all) to them whenever they want to.    
Some friends ask me also as to why is it that I write so much about the past, and why does it appear to them that I haven’t fully moved on from what happened in those previous years/decades…all in the basis that they can feel my quotes as if they were written with a lot of angst and passion…as if they were written in the present situation and not from the past.
That’s basically my point… today’s  generation can easily secure a definitive timeline of what’s happening in the present “without really trying”… 

Just post something in social media and then boom! It will easily be recorded as part of history that I aptly call… The Past of the Future.
This is not just about our country中国体彩官方app下载安卓’s (or the world’s) history…it’s primarily about an individual’s own history.
…and now, I am writing what I feel from the past to let those occurrence, that involve my feelings, find a niche in the future… 

In the past generation particularly the 80s, where I symbolically “lived up my youth”, we don’t have that so called “social-media benefits”… or should I say, social media was virtually non-existent on those times.

Perhaps the most accurate epistle that can bear witness to what truly happened in someone’s past are the pages of a diary that he/she kept as a companion all those years…
Unfortunately, I never had a diary. However, I have some cut-outs, receipts, newspaper clippings, etc. that I kept as a reminder of how the past went by. More importantly, I have this vivid memory of what happened to me in the past.

The most accurate of them all are the ones (in the past) that involve my feelings…those that were heartfelt…those were the emotions that cannot be described in words but can be transcribed as a glorious spectacle (be good or bad) from a sentimental youth in me.    
You know what I feel now? I feel like I am running out of time, I am growing older…and, I am (being honest to myself) starting to struggle with the recollection of those words or meanings or events or subjects that involve pure memorization…those topics that involve purely the mind and don’t involve the heart.
You know what is one of my fears now? I fear for the time when God will take away my “emotional data” that I have in my heart… I fear that God will someday take away my ability to express how I love my wife Julie, not just in action but also in words…I fear that I will lose my memory on the first day we’ve met, our first date, our first eye to eye, our first “holding hands”, the first time we laughed and cried together…. our first kiss…

The photo below was taken in July this year (2017)… I’m sharing it because I will read back this blog again in the future and view this photo as a reminder of how much LOVE will forever linger between us and our 2 children Elisha and Edgel.

I fear that I will lose my memory on how did we get there, my previous heartaches, my previous inspirations, and the countless challenges that molded me to what I am today. 
I never believe in destiny but I do believe that the past is worth going back to in a form of expressing what I felt during that time, because that can be a source as to where I gain my strength…the lessons, the inspirations, the bliss of seeing my wife smile at me for the first time when I was still getting to know her…
To some what happened in the past are to be buried right away…there in the past… 

…but I have this indelible sense in me that the past is somewhat intertwined with the future, that if I don’t do something about it (telling my past story), then my future can easily be eradicated in what they describe as “being forgotten”.
So, to all of you who’ve reached this point of reading this quote up to the end…thank you for taking notice of my past…thank you for accepting me for who I am at this present time, and thank you for allowibg me to share my joys of the past and fulfilment in the future.         

  

Alfie Tilan
 

(20-October-2017)

What Happens in College…

This is the last of a few of my stories that focus mainly on My School Life’s Journey.

Topics from Primary School… to High School… and now to College (University) Days…

Allow me to first take a little step back to this unforgettable quote from one of my high school teachers who addressed our class a couple of months before our High School Graduation which sort of scared the hell out of me… 

This is what she said,

 “Class, you are about to embark on the real world. Months from now you will formally enter  College life. If you have fully enjoyed your 4 years in high school and basically had an easy way out of it, well, be prepared because life in College means full on pressure”. 

There was a complete silence in the room as my teacher went on,

“You will soon realize that high school playtime is enough, it’s time to face the real world. So to all of you who just keep it easy, it’s time to change your perspective and treat College Life seriously as your future will depend on how’d you fare in your College Studies.”

Just like in my previous recollections, on how the conversations that happened in the past were said, the quoted conversation mentioned here say more or less the exact meaning as how the original thoughts were imparted.

Okay, moving on… fast forward to College Life… I enrolled in probably one of the most underrated State Universities in the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), but (without being biased) based on my 5-year stay there as a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (BSME) student, the quality of educators and facilities in PUP can really compete amongst the best in the country中国体彩官方app下载安卓. 

As a matter of fact, unlike most of my high school classmates who took entrance exams in two or more colleges/universities in Metro Manila (the Philippines’ capital), I only focused on PUP and did not go to other schools to take an entrance exam. 

There are three main reasons for this:

1. My parents just couldn’t manage to give me extra money to pay the entrance exam fees of other schools. 

2. I was just being realistic because I know from deep inside my thoughts that even if I pass the entrance exams in other colleges/universities who also offer BSME, we still couldn’t afford the corresponding tuition fees if I enrol in those schools to pursue my Engineering course.

3. I am so confident in myself that I will pass the entrance exams in PUP and I didn’t have to worry of any alternative options if in case I fail in the exam.

On the first day of my university days, I couldn’t dismiss in my head, like chimes of reminder, what my high school teacher told us before… like, how difficult it would be to complete our university days if we won’t focus on our studies.

I couldn’t disagree on what she said, and that “warning” has somehow helped me to understand the difference of being in high school and studying in College/University…. but I later found out that focus is just one of the many ingredients to pass the university course that I was pursuing.

I realized that the following attitude/factors helped me a lot in completing my BSME degree, in what I can say as, “smooth sailing”:

  • Be with the “right” friends: From day one in PUP up to our graduation 5 years later, I was surrounded with supportive friends. We even have a group name which is “The Pretenders” (making fun at ourselves, the name came from the word “pretender” as we have some classmates who are just “pretending” as studying very well in class but in reality, he’s just there to have fun…hahaha. Yes We are all PRETENDERS hahaha. Special mention to the members; Roy Tumang, Ronald Pablo, Charlie Baluca, Nilo Talan, Armando Valdez, Arman Salazar, Jermie Rivera, John Arboleda, Larry Suelto). We may have some differences and do not have the same characters, prerogatives, ideas, and “economic status” in life, but we all have respect for each other, and more importantly none of them are “bad influence” particularly to me. Here’s an Example: some of my friends drink and smoke, but I was able to reiterate to them, with full conviction, that I don’t smoke and I don’t drink alcohol at all. So just imagine this scene in a bar with eight young men happily enjoying themseves, seven of them have San Miguel Beer to drink and one of them is enjoying his (my) Coca-Cola to last for the whole night. 
  • Have a “school life balance”: If, at present time, for career people there’s this so-called “work-life” balance, I can say that my 5-year stay in PUP (Yes, it will take you 5 years to finish an Engineering Degree in the Philippines) had enough “school-life balance”. Sure I hang-out together with my friends during school days to go to Malls (Shopping Centres), attend Parties, and watch movies, but they were all done outside the normal (and special) classes that we had to attend. Example: There was a school party sponsored by one of the Engineering organizations in our campus. Since I was then the President of our organization in Mechanical Engineering, I felt like I was only obliged to go… but in reality, I was longing to be there and enjoy. There were roadblocks though, I needed money to pay for the ticket and I didn’t have new clothes or shoes to wear for the event. For me it was a not-to-be-missed party because I felt like it was an outlet to a busy exam week that was. The desire to attend was there, I just needed money and what to wear. Guess what, the stars aligned on that particular time because  my Mama gave me extra-money for the ticket plus budget for a new shirt. Then, one of my friends lent me his shoes for the event (which later turned into like the “brotherhood of travelling shoes” because my circle of college friends (particularly “The Pretenders”) also borrowed that shoes for special occasions… and yes even when we had to go visit our crushes…y’know, it was like a dress to impress thing… hahaha).  By the way it was on the same party where I met my first GF…but that’s another story…hahaha.
  • Learn to Prioritize and manage time well: Most of us encounter different conflicts (like in scheduling and project submissions) with some of your different subjects from different professors but I’m sure that you were given enough time to study for future exams and submit school projects. My basic advice is, don’t let for school project‘s deadlines to pass by right before your eyes… because, before you know it you’ll find yourself being trapped in the common cliche that most students experience; “cramming for exams and school projects. Here’s an Example, I had an exam in a major subject when I was informed by my Thesis Groupmates that we were scheduled to visit the plant site that was very relevant to our Thesis Topic and we cannot cancel it to another date due to the limited time of the Plant Manager. What I did was I explained everything to my Groupmates who understood my situation and they went to the plant visit without me as they went through it taking down additional notes that were originally assigned to me.
  • Be Inspired: Now this covers everything that were not mentioned as factors above. This is like being inspired because you are pursuing your dream/career. You are inspired because you are doing it for others (e.g. your parents). You are inspired being in school to study because you can be with your friends or special someone. Whatever source of inspiration you can take on board, for you to be able to finish your studies, CLAIM IT! Here’s an Example; Before I met my wife Julie (I met her in 1994, three years after my College Graduation) My source of inspiration is always been my Mama. I couldn’t remember a time when she would think twice in giving me money if my request has got something to do with school fees, projects, etc. She also didn’t want me to work even part-time jobs when I was studying. Most of my PUP friends then earned extra money working part time jobs in popular food chains like Jollibee, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc. I’m sure it was not pride, nor “not trusting my ability” to work and study at the same time without sacrificing the latter, as to why she didn’t encourage me to work part time. It was about her showing me how much she loves me, and so her love for me easily transformed into an inspiration on my part and let her know through my actions (and “achievements” in school) that her sacrifices will always be my inspiration to do well in school. I still have a lot to say about my Mama, and they will be shared in some of my future blogs… promise.

So there! I did finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. It was not done “so easily” but it was achieved like I was in cruise control maybe because of the factors I mentioned above. 

Allow me to share my PUP Batch 1991 Year Book (PUP Memorabilia 1991)  photo below. 

Other than the fact that you might not be able to recognize me on that 1991 photo of mine (if you will compare it to my present physique… or 10 more Kilograms later), this photo speaks in a hidden a thousand or so words. 

They include how much I enjoyed my College life. Although I consider high school life (where I met my Bestfriend of 33 years and counting; Dr. Nazer Lacar) as my “happiest” when it comes to school time moments, College Life is in a different “rush” so to speak…and I’m sure most of you can relate if I say that I was introduced to what’s in the future during my Elementary School Days, got prepared for challenges ahead during my High School Days, and was completely Transformed (career-wise) during my College Days….and you can achieve joy and fulfilment in everything you do if you have a great support group around you, you know how to prioritize, and if you have your source of inspiration (Note: Inspiration does not always mean that you are inspired by another person, it can also be inspiration from your own self, events that transpired or will transpire, and of course through our Faith in God).

Haay! Thank You Lord for the LOVE, FAMILY, and your guidance to my LIFE’S JOURNEY

Alfie Tilan 

(18-October-2017)

The High School Graduation

The words written in this blog took three decades of my unadulterated (unmixed from any other’s) emotions; from my many sighs… to countless smiles.

I simply couldn’t sleep on the night before April 3, 1986 (The day of our high school graduation).

A lot of things kept circling in my mind. Part of these thoughts were the previous full four years I spent in my Secondary School years and, of course, the unforgettable  things associated with high school life that happened and just wouldn’t die down in my memory… “pressure” from teachers, the classmates, the schoolmates, the crushes, the competition, the drama, and so much more…

Haaahhh!!! Will I just let go of the inspirations I felt from yesteryears? How can I forget the “magical mystery ride” that did not produce a blissful relationship  (Oh yeah! I NEVER had a relationship/GF when I was in high school and never did I regret it!) and yet, when I look back at those journey now, I feel so proud, and excited, and relieved, and I can’t help but smile!

You bet it’s really magic! Maybe because those memories, good or badwere implanted in me..not only in my heart and mind but, also in the years that passed by where all events/happenings that made me recall what transpired in high school creep in to my sensitivity like vitamins people take to strengthen certain parts of their body.

On the course of the seasons that passed by, I realized that I can dig these high school memories deeper, so deep that most of my high school classmates, that I still keep in touch with up to these days, think I am gifted with great memory in my brain…. but in reality, I can only attribute a small percentage of my high school recollection (through having a sharp memory)  because, as I said before, they were gathered in all the past years that I felt I lived through way back in high school.

Those were the gifts of yesteryears. I said to myself, “I don’t have a choice, now is the time to say goodbye to High School… but why now? Not when I’m beginning to get hold of the true value of High School in MY life!” 

Like a cliche that goes, “why do people retire at the peak of their career?”

The pictures of the laughter, the tears, the hope, and the daydreams(!) have to take the backseat for awhile to open up
and arrange the coming chapter of one’s life…and that is what they call “College Life”.

Maybe my only consolation is the fact that not everyone can afford (or just have the desire) to go to college. “Now, here I am, just one more final ceremony and that will be it, I’d be set to go to College.. but hey!
my high school friends are going to college too. Maybe I can meet them there and we can continue doing some
of the things that were left undone during High 
School!”…. or, maybe not.

Another brighter side just popped out into the
picture, the excitement it brings to our loved ones. Imagine how excited my mother was? She bought me a new polo, a new pair of pants, and even gave me a bonus allowance. Wow! this Graduation is way better than the previous 16 birthdays I had!

The day finally came. 5:30PM, I was in front of the school entrance along Buendia Avenue in Makati. As I slowly set foot on the school grounds, glaring memories in every spot that I fixated my sight on simply flashed back.. like a time machine capturing those memorable moments that happened in the last four years I spent in high school…then it felt like playing all of them back bit by
pleasurable bit for me to get hold forever and use them in the coming life’s battle ahead.

I was on that thought when one of our CLASSMATES, his
small body frame was enveloped by his huge smile, approached me and gave me that friendly tight hug and said at the top of his voice, “ALFIE, WE MADE IT!!!”

As we said our goodlucks and goodbyes, the flashing pictures became clearer and clearer… and reminded me that High School Graduation is truly a gift, an “icing on the cake” to those pictures that we
sometimes misinterpret as struggles.

When my IV-A CLASSMATES slowly began gathering at that
one specific area, (located almost fronting the entrance of the Practical Arts – Wood Working Room) it was as if love, excitement, and happiness were the only root feelings everyone can have during that time.

At last, the ceremony has started. It was the first time that I became fully aware that politics will always be part of the common struggles we Filipinos must endure. Maybe the swift turn of events has got to do with what I felt that time. 

I recalled how the whole campus mourned the death of the acknowledged
FATHER OF MPCC (Makati Polytechnic Community College), Mayor Nemesio Yabut, only to see in a
couple of months’ time how majority of us from MPCC Batch 86 rejoiced when the government, whom Yabut embraced/served throughout his whole political career, was toppled by the now
popular/historical “1986 People Power Revolution” and made Cory Aquino the first ever woman President of the Republic of the Philippines.

The presence in the ceremony of then OIC, Atty. Jojo Binay has put the final nail that, indeed, we are the only generation of MPCC graduates who witnessed the transformation of MPCC from how it was since its inception in 1972, to what it will become in the near
future… but nobody really knew what the future will bring.

I guess all of us graduates have overcome the
ill-effects of politics because nobody can really take it away from us…the JOY High Graduation brings…the first and only time that we will get to experience the mystery behind High School Graduation and why everyone I knew who experienced it kept telling me that Sharon Cuneta was right, …”High school days I remember kay
saya…bakit kung GRADUATION na’y luluha kang 
talaga...”

Indeed high school days and high school life mean, happiness!! but why the tears on graduation day? 

Then it happened. When i went up the stage to receive my high school diploma, I heard applause from my ever supportive friends (not to mention the “deafening cheers” of my three close friends who were sitting in front because they were part of the “Top 5″ Graduates) when my name was called. I playfully waived at them and while doing so, I saw a bright picture of unquantifiable gladness reflecting through all the
graduates’ eyes. It’s as real as the dawning of a new day.. holding back the tears of joy represented by darkness, and a blissful hope represented by the rising sun

Our graduation song “Magkaisa“, originally sung by Virna Lisa and composed by then Comedian/TV host (now Senator) Tito
Sotto, and also one of the “People Power” theme songs,
was played after all the names of the Graduates were called on stage to get their diploma.

Holding hands together with my classmates, I closed my eyes, and we all sang along… very lively at first, as if we knew the song by heart…but hey! In the middle of the song, as I opened my eyes (with held back my emotions), I witnessed a real heartwarming experience. A group of friends locked in a tight embrace, never wanting to let go and not minding the overflowing tears running through their fully made up faces. It was never
designed for me to let go of my tears but who really cares?? it’s an expression of a true emotion and it was such a precious time to experience one unforgettable “Tears of Joy“.

(As I contemplate on that scene now, year 2017, I now feel so Blessed and thankful that none of the Batch 86 graduates owned a mobile phone and “selfie” was not even considered as an acceptable word… because we focused on letting go of what we truly felt inside instead of capturing what’s happening outside – through taking photos/selfies of ourselves).

All of us graduates had our own way of greeting one another congratulatory remarks and no one can really
hide the satisfaction and love from each other’s eyes…

There were picture takings of course. I even have a printed copy of one memorable
group picture in my possesion taken on the school stage (see photo below). 


From there, I was able to sub-picture a thousand and one more images that all pertain to happiness.

I’m so glad that I can describe some of my High School memories through words, but am more BLESSED to experience happy moments in my life that words could not simply describe…. and that will be a priceless treasure that need no complicated maps to locate, because they are hidden in one place where my life’s other treasures can be found… in my heart.


Alfie Tilan

(16-October-2017)

School is Cool!

“…this is not just about learning those subjects that the teachers teach us, it’s also about imparting the other side of what life has to offer to all of us, the FUN activities in school (and the sundry lessons we learn from them) that keep the much needed balance in our existence.”   

Alfie Tilan

(15-October-2017)
_____

In an episode I watched in “It’s Showtime” (a noontime variety show in the Philippines) in TFC (The Filipino Channel) a few months back, there was one segment there wherein in the middle of the show the subject about past school experiences came about. Vice Ganda, one of the Pioneer hosts of the show, asked Nadine Lustre, a relatively new addition to this noontime favourite, “ikaw kumusta ang high school life mo? (How about you, how’s your high school life?)”… Nadine blankly responded, “ahh! 中国体彩官方app下载安卓 school ako eh..(I did 中国体彩官方app下载安卓 school)”, then Vice Ganda echoed.. “ ahh so hindi mo naranasan umattend sa parties tulad ng JS Prom? Naku ang saya…school is cool (so you didn’t experience attending parties like Junior-Senior Prom…it’s so much fun!…school is so cool)” (Note: I may be paraphrasing, and these may be not the exact words that were said during the conversation but I guess you more or less get what I mean).
My point is, maybe I keep on repeating myself but, we are so fortunate to have experienced what we had experienced in high school (and even in Primary School). Some events may have been forgotten by a few of us but others still recall them like they just happened yesterday….kasi nasa puso yung mga memories na yun eh (because these memories are instilled in our hearts)… and there’s nothing wrong with that if they bring smile in our faces and lessons to our life’s experiences… I am active in sharing these memories… kasi natatakot ako na baka ma-erase na sya in the future…pag tanda ko..pag ulyanin na ako… pag nag stop na ang puso ko… (because I am afraid that all of these memories will be erased in the future.. when I grow old.. when I become forgetful.. when my heart permanently stops beating…)

Having said that, I am so lucky because, in our generation (the 80s) where having lots of photos is considered “rare”, those memories that give us reasons to smile are worthy to be told over and over again, because for me to picture those events in full colour (from my mind) give me this great sense of fulfilment to tell myself that the past did make me happy by recalling them in the present time.

I have scanned copies of my Grade 6 (Primary School) and Fourth Year (High School) classes… and again, I just have to share them with this blog to rekindle great memories associated with these photos. 

To all young ones… those who are still studying, and young once… those who have friends/relatives who are still studying (tell them to); embrace the experience of studying in school… school is indeed cool. This is not just about learning those subjects that the teachers teach us, it’s also about imparting the other side of what life has to offer to all of us, the FUN activities in school (and the sundry lessons we learn from them) that keep the much needed balance in our existence.   

Alfie Tilan

(15-October-2017)

My Forever Favorite Teacher

This is the post excerpt.

My first Blog here; About Love, Family, and Life’s Journey

They say, in most aspects of life, that “the first is always the most difficult”, but for me, not in this one.

I can still clearly remember one specific instance from the past, in my very young life, where what happened that time overwhelmed the main facet of this blog site; about Love, Family, and Life’s Journey.

Year 1980, I was in Grade 5 of my Primary Education in Makati Elementary School (MES), a public school located in Barangay Poblacion (the Capital Barangay of Makati) funded by the Government of Makati that was built to provide basic education for “the People of Makati” specifically the parents who cannot afford to send their children to private schools…yes (again, just like a broken record…) in Makati.

For all of you reading this Blog, I had to reiterate “Makati” because this is the place where I grew up, this is the place where a lot of “misconceptions” about the place is derived, this is the place where “almost the rest of my life” is focused on, and this is the place where I got the taste of the combination of Love, Family, and one of the factors that ushered my life’s journey towards who I am today.

I spent my first four years in Makati Elementary School, as a pretty normal phase in my life…hmmm a bit difficult at first, but nonetheless I can still say that it’s a perfectly normal chapter of my Primary School Days in MES. Ooops! Wait, I think I have to explain first the “difficult at first” part of this “introduction”. It was difficult at first because, the first time I set foot in MES I was enrolled (and got accepted) as Grade 1 right away. Just like my older sister who is two years older than me, I didn’t go to the “normal steps” of being in Nursery School, Kindergarten School, and Preparatory School because my family just couldn’t afford it. You see, I belong to one of the many “poor families” whose parents cannot afford to send their children to school (yes, even in public schools), because they know that having to take advantage of a “free education” for their children still does not guarantee that there’ll be no more additional expenses to be spent that are associated with the so called “free education” for their children. These expenses include daily allowance, miscellaneous expenditures such as books, school supplies, and uniform.

Ahhhh!….the school uniform… “the main culprit” of this first Blog. I can still remember how I had to endure wearing the same white shirt (as school uniform) for the rest of the school year, hmmm! well there were a couple of times (Grade 1 and Grade 3) where I had more than two school uniforms because my Papa (who was then working as a family driver) got a bonus from his boss and that extra money was spent on bonus school supplies and uniforms for me and my sister.

Grade 5 came it was an exciting middle of the school year; 1980… the first year of a new decade. I was so excited because I was part of our school choir who was set to perform in an inter school choir competition held in February of the same year. So we were asked to give one of our own plain white shirts to our Grade 5 teacher for her to print our school logo for the coming choir competition. Luckily I still have that “extra shirt” from last school year that I gave to my Grade 5 teacher.

It was the month of January (1980), during one of the “recess” times, my Grade 5 teacher approached the group of boys (where I was part of) as she saw me with tears in my eyes. She asked one of my classmates what happened and that boy said, “Ma’am kasi po si Tilan ay tinutukso po ni Leon (not his real name), na hindi daw po nagpapalit ng damit dahil yun din daw po ang suot nya araw-araw”…or in plain English “Madam, it’s because Leon kept on teasing Tilan and apparently he (Tilan-this is me.. my classmates call me Tilan because it has less syllables compared to my real name Alfredo) is not changing his shirt (uniform) that he wears every day to school”.

My teacher told Leon that it was a bad judgement on his part, she even told him that “there’s nothing wrong with wearing the same uniform daily because I am sure that that uniform is washed and dried every day for Alfredo to wear the same uniform again the next school day”.

My teacher was right, I wash that shirt every single day after school…and as I was handwashing that shirt the moment I arrived 中国体彩官方app下载安卓 from school that day, I was really crying hard… it was the first time that I was humiliated in front of all my classmates in my Primary School Days. I didn’t know how to react… I thought that Life is fair…I thought that if you go to the same school and live in the same area (Barangay), all of you are the same… I thought that even though my classmates will notice that I wear the same shirt every day at school they will still give me the benefit of the doubt that I wash it every day and it will never be “an issue” to them because they will understand that I belong to a “poor family” and we just couldn’t afford an extra shirt or school uniform.

The next day I was so quiet as my teacher started returning/giving out the newly printed shirts (that we gave to her a week ago) to the choir members who will participate in the choir competition.

I was surprised when she gave me two shirts; one is the unprinted shirt that I gave her a week ago, and the other is a printed brand new shirt with our school logo on it and appeared to be the uniform that we had to wear in the choir competition the next month. I told her that the brand new shirt is not mine. She just smiled to me, it was the sweetest smile that I saw from her as if only my own Mother could give to me. She said, “It’s for you Alfredo, it’s my gift to you, and you deserve to have a brand new shirt for your choir competition next month”

I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say. She bought that brand new shirt for me, printed it days before the incident with Leon happened the previous day), and gave it to me the day after one of the saddest days in my young Primary School years. Holding back my tears (of Joy), she just held my hand and whispered to me, “you’re a good pupil (student) Alfredo, don’t let what happened to you yesterday dampen your spirit, cheer up!”

For the first time in my young life, I felt a real love from someone outside my family

For the first time I felt in my in my young heart and mind, the beauty of what life has to offer to me during that day and towards the coming future. God indeed, Knows how to balance our life through Angels hidden in ordinary people living amongst us.

Those two consecutive days that happened more than 37 years ago today always serve as a reminder to me that there will always be Love, there will always be a Family that we will encounter in our own Life’s Journey.

Up to this day, I still get good shivers down my spine whenever I remember those two memorable days in my life…and I always use them as my shield whenever I get discouraged by any negativities that happen around me.

Thank you my Grade 5 teacher Mrs. Teresita T. Caraan. Whoever is reading this that knows her, please message me so that I can get the chance to get in touch with her again.

Ma’am (Mrs. Caraan) I just hope that I can get the chance to say thank you from the bottom of my heart…and see you in person and allow me to give back the love you gave to me when I was still in Grade 5.

Thank you. I love you.

Alfie Tilan

(12-October 2017)

in Melbourne, Australia

20171012_191825
…year 1980, just outside Makati Elementary School with my best MES buddies (Casey, Joel, Maya, Anton, Joseph, and Nick). Thank you Joel for the photo.