What I Remember Most

by Edgar Santiago

The 4 years I spent @ Tarlac High are my most remembered teen years. It is here where I discovered the life I was about to trek. It is @ THS where I first experienced my 5 L’s: Learning, Listening, Loving, Laughing and Living. It is @ THS that enhanced the Edgardo Santiago in me. The boy who is shy, bashful, and quiet yet imposing when called upon for challenges.

I remember most my good friends during first year @ THS; Noli Rodriguez, Eduardo Quinones, Gertrudes Manalac and Digna Dela Cruz. We were a bunch of wandering teens ready to discover the empty grandstand during our afternoon physical education classes. The walks from the grandstand to main building to attend the flag ceremony are simply physical exercises. After class, the long walk from the school to jeep ride park.

I remember most my neighbors who attended secondary education @ THS; Mariano Bergania, Carina Jaico, Orlando Mejia, Juanito Pascua. It is a long walk from the school to San Sebastian Village. So the trikes are handy.

I remember most my elementary classmates who were schooled @ THS; Lourdes Balibat, Tibortito Tan, Irene Domingo, Virgilio Lajara, Virgilio Manite, Adela Maglanoc, Dolores Taguiam, Edgardo Canlas, William De la Pena, Brenda Bocobo, Marilyn Samson, Conrado Mendiola, Teddy Serrano, Rolando Gonzales, Wilfredo Catanjal, Ricarte Alamo, Danilo Lacsamana, Cesar Espinosa (RIP), Renato Lampa, Rene Cunanan Leonora Asis, Pablito Lapira, Leonida Macapagal, Lerma Sampang.

I remember most my teachers who inspired me in the subjects I was passionately interested in; Ms. Quirina Gabriel (PILIPINO), Ms. Nancy Dizon (Literature), Ms Corazon Flaminiano (History), Ms. Agripina Cala (Composition), Ms Ledda Valete (English Grammar), Mr. Andres Capitulo (Philippine Military Training) and Mr. Jose Figueroa (Physical Education).

I remember most my buddies in and out of school who made time to have and go “lakwatsa” whenever money and time permits; Mario Samson, Danilo Cadelinia, Ric Manlutac, Willie Tomas, Pol Carpio, Francisco “Bulig-Bong” Ramos ( RIP) and Ruben “Tong” Gomez (RIP). And the girls who hang around with us: Myrna Sarmiento, Lolita Cordero, Rebecca Gonzales and the mom to us then, Mars Capulong (and yes, she is the Barangay Captain!)

I remember most the “western girls” who come by the house and visit with my family. The girl friends that I have entrusted to help me out in my campaign to win a seat in the Student Council as a senator; Lorna Dion, Myrna Villapania, Angelina Baun, Nida De Ausen and the girl I have initialed as AVD. They did make me win. I sat as the last senator along with Ricardo Tiglao, Eduardo Serame, Armando Basa, Geronimo Buan, Serma Martin with Ira Aganon as president and Maximo Bajas as veep.

I remember most the officers of the different sections who attended the election of the Senior Class Organization; Maximo Bajas, Geronimo Buan, Arturo Basa, Severino Libid, Armando Gonzales, Pol Carpio, Maxima Suarez, Rebecca Velasco (RIP), Rufino Tungkol, Charito Manaloto, Armando Domingo, Leonila Carreon, Lourdes Torres, Exequiel Villanueva, Teresita Ofrecio, Benjamin Salvatierra, Cesar Sigua, Nora Simon and a bunch others. I lucked in to be elected as president of Senior Class Organization. Oh well, Ms. Flaminiano was the adviser then and she was so cool about the whole election proceedings. I remember Mr. Arnold Manipon barging in and hollering for “snack out” from the newly elected SCO officers. I did not have enough cash then, but I do have now. May you rest in peace Mr. Manipon?

I remember most my cotillion year in 197e. I was paired with Salvacion Cabalu. The dance team included Enrico Aguinaldo, Victor Bautista, Mar Bergania, Eduardo Serame, Edna Gozum, Angelina Baun, Delia Manalang, Milagros Dayan It was “Blue Danube” once again showcasing our terpsichorean skills and to this day, each one still manages to do a hip hop and reggae in hips swaying rumba Right, Eric and Salve? And yes, there were fashion plates during that time. Bessie Ocampo, Brenda Bocobo, Janet Salvador, Victoria Pineda, Alicia Capulong, Alicia Tamina, Christina Aquino, Cynthia Zamora, to name a few.

I remember most my senior year, @ the JS Prom galore, the seniors in their “Hawaiian themed-shirts” and white slacks and the ladies in their “muumuus”. I passed on the torch of responsibility to incoming president of the juniors, Belinda De Leon. I remember the glaring sound when we were welcomed on the runway by Mr. Manipon’s voice: the escorts of the night’s muses: Rene Magno with Remedies Bulaon (what a pair, a lovely pair as Miss Maria Clara), Elmer Dizon with Edna Gozum (Miss alma Mater. Elmer was notably visible at the recent Christmas reunion, but where’s Edna?), Victor Bautista with Maxima Suarez (Miss Pilipinas. Bong was the usual dashing escort and May? She’s based in Los Angeles now with a doting hubby and lovely dotta) and the Lakambini girl Rosalind Halili (may she rest in peace), as I escorted her and to whom I had a junior chat as she has exuded the charm and stance of a future beauty queen.

Did I remember most or see Nestor Arcansalin, Manuel Cuaresma, Waldeferry Go, Rodolfo Lagonila, Myrna Sarmiento, Elizabeth Rivera, Cynthia Zamora, Amelia Castaneda, Ernesto Mendoza, Noel Navarro, Art Tabaquero, Regidor Dela Cruz, Angelito Lapuz, Blesilda Ibarra, Arturo Chua, Ramon Bondoc, Nenita Cabanes, Yolanda Alfonso, Evelyn Carlos, Isidro Garcia, Wesley Grivas and Felicitas Mina traipse the dance floor and hog the limelight and got everyone’s attention with their charming moves? Your guess is as good as mine. But they were there. I thought I saw ‘em all!

And mostly, I remember three girls who were inspirational enough to get this forthcoming grand reunion come to a fruition; the three girls who were always doing things to happen in their own way, setting themselves as best THS student can be. Aurora Bartolo, who was the daughter of my uncle’s (a namesake – Eduardo Santiago) best friend, Lorna Mapalo, who was head of the girls’ core @ THS, and Arceli Dominguez, who was an inspiration throughout my 4th year @ THS. But not to forget, and I will remember and recognize, the herculean efforts of Eric Aguinaldo, Elmer Dizon, Salve Cabalu, Quirino Tabelina, Carina Jaico, Art Tabaquero, Mars Capulong and a host of others who made the 2010 Christmas reunion of THS batch 72. Kudos!

Edgar with “What I Remember @ THS…cast”. Au, Bessie, May, Onnie, Tibo.
Timeline: 2010 August. 38 years after.