BADPAGE™ was the brainchild of my closest friends in college, in the dialect barkadas, and friends of my friends. After a two-year stint in the Pamantasang Malapit sa Airport*, I returned to my home province in April 1985 and re-enrolled in Bicol University to continue and finish my Electrical Engineering course. By June, most of my classmates we’re batch mates of my second sister, Dada, like Hanilyn Adique (also a cousin) except for those who belonged to my original engineering batch, e.g., Gabriel "Ayie" Espinas, who went on sabbatical, and we had a common friend, Lyvenne, my high school classmate and his close friend.
Among my new classmates were: Marck Imperial [a.k.a. Primavera, thus we called him "Prime", then], Joseph "Jojo" Bamba, Benjamin "Benji" B. Gentolia and Leonido "Nong" A. Arevalo. Prime was an acquaintance of Ayie. Jojo, who was lodging near my parents’ house, was previously my "nodding" acquaintance. Benji lives in my parents’ boarding house. Nong was also a boarder of my mother’s friend. Condrad Tuazon was added to the circle by Ayie. When Luis "Louie" Magistrado, my elementary classmate and also a cadex, re-enrolled in the same University, by consensus, the group decided to include him as practically he was hanging around with us.
During our fifth and last year, when I decided to run for the University Student Council [USC] as Vice Chairman, my close friends were all behind me. They created, printed and plastered banners, flyers, stickers, posters and all the election hoopla. They ran room-to-room campaigns, joined me and my college political party in visiting other University campuses. Weeks before USC election, Prime, a budding yet veteran politician in his province, and a few others I guess, came up with the idea of formalizing the group and picked up its name by rearranging the initial letters of all our family names, thus: Bamba, del Ayre, Primavera, Arevalo, Gentolia, Espinas, Tuazon and Magistrado into BADPAGE™. Subsequently, each banner, each flier, each sticker, or each poster, were then signed off as Printed and Donated by BADPAGE™ and plastered all over the six campuses of the University! Won the election by a landslide, close to 25 to 2! I shall forever be in their debt!
BADPAGE™ was not a typical drinking spree team, as Electrical Engineering students were wont to do then especially when there were no scheduled classes or the scheduled class was dismissed too early or simply the engineer-instructor was absent yet again. Each one tossed out loose changes until we could afford to buy a small bottle of Ginebra San Miguel, locally known as bilog and drank it from a single small shot glass rotating among those in attendance. Most of these sprees happened in my parents’ house makeshift nipa hut. When the first bottle is consumed, usually money flows out of the pockets of whoever had some. We even devised sort of a sign of our drunkenness in the theme of our stories: Stories we told each other were sometimes mundane (3/4-full); to something about being human, including sex or the art of making love (1/2-full) to something serious (1/4-full) then to something metaphysical: politics. spirituality, religion (1/8-full or the last bottle). We also sang our favorite tunes until the wee hours to the strum of an acoustic guitar, back when Karaoke or Videoke was still unheard of. All the eight of us wanted to finish school and become Electrical Engineers as soon as possible, that sometimes some of us forget that we had girlfriends or wives. The order of priority for us single ones, including me, then was: studies, barkada, and lastly, girls; at least for some time.
Eventually, it transformed into a study/support group. When we were given lengthy Problem Sets in Differential or Integral Calculus or Differential Equations, each of us pinched in solutions. When we did our individual Power Plant Design, or when our class were grouped for our Electrical System Design, each one of us were consulting one another. My parents even treated my few chosen friends as their own sons — always reminding them of their responsibilities and obligations to their own respective parents. Some of my classmates even called my eldest sister, Ate.
Yet, to this day, I really don’t know when BADPAGE™ as a team came to unravel. I suspect it started when we had the Electrical Engineering Tour to Manila and then Baguio City. When we returned to the University after the Tour, we hardly seen each other or as a group. Each one was busy with respective Power Plant Design, even after a severe tropical storm! Personal priorities also diverged: Student Council (me), girlfriends (Nong, Jojo), fraternity (Benji), sports (Louie), and local elections (Prime). Condrad and Ayie were already committed to their respective families.
All I know was: for almost three years, BADPAGE™ was something of an "IN" crowd in the College of Engineering, as other classmates wanted to join, but someone in our closed group would object. When March 1988 came, two of BADPAGE™, however, were ineligible to graduate. When October came, only four of BADPAGE™ reviewed, took and successfully passed the Board Examinations for Electrical Engineers given by the Professional Regulatory Commission. Of the other two who graduated later, only one took the Licensure examinations. By the following year, nobody heard from anybody. Cell phones, still a novelty then, had to reach every Philippine shore yet. Although, old senile men, do; young virile men dare not write each other through snail mail, either.
Until Facebook came. Reconnected with Ayie, who is also my kumpadre, godfather to my son. Marck Imperial poked me in FB a few times, I ignored his pokes never knowing who he was until one day he introduced himself as Prime. Benji who had a successful career in the Middle East, one day requested/accepted a friend request. Louie and I reconnected early on when the elementary school we both went to had a reunion FB page. Asking what happened to whom elicited no direct answer: Where is Leonido "Nong" Arevalo? Where is Condrad Tuazon? Where is Joseph "Jojo" Bamba? If anybody knows their whereabouts, kindly ask if they know BADPAGE™ once in their lifetime.
Pamantasang Malapit sa Airport is located in Loakan, Baguio City.
Disclaimer: These posts do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; refer to this blog’s self-imposed rules: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Comments are moderated to keep the discussion/s relevant and civil. Readers are responsible for their own statement/s.