I was looking through a box of letters when I came upon these old pictures tucked inside a yellowing envelope. I hadn’t known these were in there, and seeing them brought me back to that not-so-far-away time of my adolescence. I was suddenly awash in memories.
It has been 25 years since my husband and I graduated from the Philippine Science High School. We were from Batch 1985, perhaps the rowdiest, wackiest, and craziest batch to ever have come from that hallowed institution. We were nerds, true, but so many of us were also jocks, artists, musicians, singers, and writers. We came from all over the country and from all walks of life. Some were scions of old rich families, brought to school in spanking new German-made cars; many more were children of common folk, sons and daughters of farmers, fishermen, teachers, and businessmen. Some were the singular pride of their provinces and regions but we were all called “the cream of the cream of the crop.”
We had geniuses who battled with each other for the higher thousandths of their almost perfect grades. We had coño Front Lobby Kids and down-to-earth Back Lobby Kids. We had Pink Ladies in uniform exclusive pink jackets and fashion icons who always dressed up to the nines on Wednesdays, our school’s official wash day. We had Datkilab boys who spoke in a mystifying and tongue-twisting fashion, the Datkilaban, that you’d think this was their first language. We had fledgling fraternity boys who met in their outlawed haunts doing clandestine stuff (not-so-secretly though, haha). We had our share of sweet-as-sugar young lovers, as we also had bitter rivals. We had cliques and groups and barkadas and gangs. And yet, in the end, what we all were, were dreamers.
It’s funny how I associate those four years with so many good memories, even when the whole country was going through a tumultuous phase in its history. Inside the Philippine Science High School, while we learned to invent, do complex math, research, criticize and analyze, reason and debate, we also learned about love and heartbreak, happiness and grief. Inside its walls, we began to see each other more than just comrades in the journey of our youth. We met our first loves and lost them, got second loves and lost them too, and for some lucky ones like me, we met our last love there too.
We were the batch that inspired the Student’s Handbook and Code of Conduct. We were our school’s pride and joy, but we were also its biggest headaches. Even as we won academic recognition right and left, our batch also holds a considerable record on citations for PDAs. We were stringent in responding to the rules of the SCOs, but we also rose up, quite naturally, against authorities. We went on strike on our senior year, sitting out of our classes for two days before we finally got the concessions we demanded. (Guess who the ringleader was.) We truly loved our teachers that many years after, we still remember the sound of their voices, yet we went against their advice, too, many times. And true to our rebellious hides, even in the end, while other batches had formal sounding names for their yearbooks, we went with our insubordinate guts and used a slang — PSci for Pisay, our moniker for the school we loved like our second home.
September 4, Saturday, was our homecoming reunion and though my husband and I sat it out, preferring to celebrate in private (between him and me, it’s always a reunion all day everyday), we were with our classmates and batch mates – the good ones, at least – in spirit. It has been a long 25 years since 1985. Each day has been an adventure that led us farther and farther from our second home. And yet, however far we may go, however old we may become, we will always find our hearts in Agham Road.