My first year as an Atenean (Prep-Malinis, 1996)

So I don’t know why I am blogging this but I just feel like sharing it for some unknown reason. Haha.

Anyway, so seventeen years ago, I can still remember my first day in Ateneo. Well actually, the first day of school wasn’t so hard to remember. Although we are all boys, there was a lot of crying and pulling pants. Haha. Until now, I can still remember the batchmates who cried during that first day. I still laugh at that moment, not because of the crying but because of how I remembered ourselves that time; Our first moment in Ateneo. Some classmates would be dragged from the car to the classrooms. The classroom would be filled with parents and they were all outside looking at us. Haha. I even saw Loren Legarda looking at one point. She was back then a parent of my classmate Lanz Leviste and she was still a newscaster.

So I had this lovable teacher, Mrs. Rose Garcia. At first, I kind of didn’t like her. She was old and had a soft voice. I was kind of scolded in the first day right away. You see, I have this kind of issue about being bored. Whenever I am bored, I do like a lot of stuff; I move a lot, talk to everyone, do a lot of annoying things. Yes, I am “makulit”. Haha. Even up to now, when I get bored, I do those things. Promise. So anyway, I got scolded in my first day. I didn’t cry. I still continued doing what I was doing. But the teacher asked me to stand at the back. I was kinda ignoring her and thinking about Power Rangers. But then, as time went on, I appreciated her more. Turns out, the first few weeks, she was having a sore throat, hence the soft-spoken voice.

I wasn’t a perfect student. In my first few years in the Philippines especially during my Prep days, I was having a hard time adjusting to the Filipino language. I grew up in the States and in my first two year in Miriam College, Child Study Center, my Nursery and Kindergarten didn’t have a Filipino subject. So in my first few weeks in Ateneo, I was having a hard time in the FIlipino subject. I remember back then, I failed my Filipino in the first quarter. I had a grade of 73, which was a failing grade. So come 2nd quarter, my mom was like at the school everyday talking to my mom and checking on my progress. Luckily, Mrs. Garcia was really there to check on my like everyday. I remember back then, since like a couple of us were having a hard time in Filipino, she would generally hold like a remedial class after dismissal. It will be just a short one like 20-30 minutes. I kinda hated it because instead of going home right away, finishing homework and doing my Playstation, I would like extend a couple of minutes. That was kind of the time I was able to got close to her. She made the remedial subject fun and we were like joking a lot after class. She’d even give us treats at times like custard cake, candies and other things. She turned out to be a fun teacher. I must say that she is the reason of maybe I survived my first year in Ateneo. During our last day in Prep, all of us were like so sad and hugging her and she was like so teary-eyed. She said that our class became so close to her. We bonded like a lot (of course with the help of parents). But she was just that teacher who would really check on us even during recess time and after class. She was so “maasikaso” and accomodating. Man, in our Grade 1 (well cause I had the same group of classmates until Grade 2), it was so hard to adjust especially since our class adviser was a lot strict and kind of cold. Well, more of her and Grade 1 days in another blog.

The first terror teacher I had was Ms. Eva Fetalino or Mrs. Perez. Man, she was hot back then but very strict. When she first stepped into our class, we were all terrified. We were like so quiet. She had this well-modulated and loud voice that it would be hard to butt in what she is saying. Haha. So whenever it is Reading or Language time, I’m behaved. But she became nicer when during our performance time (I forgot what was that called) of “One Step at a Time”, she was technically our coach. Basically it is a song and we had to like make some moves and other things. So it was at those times when she was not really strict. She’d like laugh and stuff and eventually, she also became nicer in our classes.

I was kind of a hyper kid back in my Prep days. I was greeting like everyone. Like I always say hello to teachers, parents, classmates and even people from different sections. I remember myself getting gifts from parents of other classmates for being so friendly to them and their sons. Haha. At that time, I did not know why I was getting gifts but what the hell. The playground is my territory and during breaks, you would always see my there. There were times I would not eat my baon just to play. Haha. It was for this reason that I was able to gain a lot of friends. I was invited to a lot of 7th birthdays and I was really amazed at how rich my classmates were. They had like super big houses and a lot of cars. I kind of had an inferiority complex when it was my turn to host a 7th birthday. I thought of not inviting everyone, just like the close ones because of the fear of rejection and also of course, since I am not that rich as compared to my other classmates. Haha. But then, eventually, when my mom asked me to give the invitations, I woke up early and came to class like around 5 am (7:15 am was the call time). That time, the classrooms were still closed. Haha. But when it got opened by the janitor, I immediately put the invitations in the drawers of my classmates. Haha. I was surprised at the response and everyone kept on asking me details. But the not-so-rich kid that I am, I told them to lower their expectations. Haha. But then, I remember my pal Junjun Dinorog said that it doesn’t really matter as long as there will be a clown, games and prizes. So I was kind of happy with that. Haha. Even more during my 7th when most of my classmates and my two teachers Mrs. Garcia and Ms. Fetalino came to my party. I had one of the most awesome birthday parties ever.

It was also during these times that there would be like a lot of sleep-over and parent-child activities. I’d normally go to a lot of sleep-overs. There were no fears back then since we were all boys (if we had girls, it’s a different thing) but it was so hard to be quiet at the houses of my classmates. Like we would play a lot and run around. Basta like what children do these days. Haha.

I must say, I had a fun and awesome time in my first year at The Ateneo. Haha. I met a lot of friends who are still my friends today. One close friend I still have until today is Darren Tantoco. He was one of the closest friends I had in my Prep days. Even during our high school days, we’d normally spend time talking and doing crazy stuff. Our parents are kind of close as well. Until now, we talk like a lot. But aside from making friends, the year saw me doing a lot of adjustments and going through some hardships (academically) but it was really fun. It was the beginning of a new life, or the beginning of my 12 year stay in Ateneo. Oh, memories.


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