Friday, May 06, 2005

A Slice of Eng'g

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[Eng'g (pronounced "eng") is of course UP Diliman's College of Engineering. This old piece, meant to be published in the college paper but cut due to space constraints (and some say, controversies), is some sort of tribute to my college of three years running. Is the main character in the story yours truly? Partly yes, partly no. Non-Tagalog readers be advised: the dialogue is in my native tongue.]

10:17 AM

“Oi una na ‘ko, may klase pa ako sa Eng’g,” you tell your friends. The group’s conversation breaks up as you start to descend the AS steps.

“Hey, wait lang! You naman o, basta na lang aalis,” Ciara says in between puffs of her cigarette.

“Late na ako e,” you say, scratching your head.

“Why, what’s that ba, majors?” she asks. You nod in response.

“My gosh, i-cut mo na ‘yan! It’s more fun here than in Eng’g, no! Bulok dun, and you don’t get to see girls like me there, di ba?” Ciara giggles, and your other high school buddies follow suit in enticing you to stay. You think it over for a while, but in the end you reach a decision.

“Sorry talaga...di ko ‘to pwedeng i-cut. Alam niyo namang second take ko na, at ayokong ma-dehado ulit. Bawi na lang ako sa inyo sa susunod,” you tell them with a sheepish grin on the face. Without waiting for their consent, you sprint down the stairs and bolt for the Beta Way.

Walking briskly towards Eng’g, your mind can’t stop chewing over Ciara’s words. She and the others have always had a biased view towards your college. How could they judge Eng’g without having experienced Eng’g life? You can’t understand their love for the crowded corridors of Palma Hall, where unknown, hostile faces blend into a single nebulous mass. The building they fondly call ‘A-S’ isn’t your home; there you’re a mere a tourist in a distant land, out to make new acquaintances, out to plumb the mysteries of philosophy, history, geography, name it -– subjects which are mere child’s play compared to what you’re wrestling with everyday in Eng’g.

But now, walking across the Academic Oval, far removed from Palma Hall, you can make out the imposing figure of the home of UP’s best minds -– your home. In paper it’s called Melchor Hall, but to you and many others it is simply...Eng’g.

12:24 PM

You storm out of the classroom, spewing out curse after curse. “Punyeta namang test ‘yan o,” you hiss.

A girl at your side sniggers. “Magmumura-mura ka ngayon, e sino bang may kasalanan kung bakit ka bumagsak?” She frees a piece of crumpled paper from your clenched hand and un-crumples it. A 27% encircled in bright, red ink stares out at you.

“Ayan, Eng’g Cup pa kasi inuuna,” she softly says. “Aral muna sa susunod, ha? Saka na yang basketball.”

You sigh as she hands back your creased test paper. “Opo, sige na po. Kung di lang kita bespren...”

“‘Yan naman gusto ko sa ‘yo eh...madali turuan. Uy, di pala kita masasamahang kumain ngayon. Pupunta pa ako ng tambayan. May ExteCom meeting e.” She presses your hand and flashes a smile. “Sorry...”

“Okay lang no,” you assure her. “Sige, kita na lang mamaya.”

With that your bestfriend leaves and disappears amongst the throng of people flocking towards the stairs. Hunger threatening to make you keel over and die, you hunt the hallways for a monay vendor. You find one, and for ten pesos your mutinous tummy is calmed down. You can imagine Ciara telling you, ‘Monay?! How cheap! Don’t dare go out with me again!’, but your wallet is a lean, worn-out thing and the sizzling tenderloin at the Eng’g Caf is something which you reserve for merry occasions, such as a 3.0 classcard in any ES subject. Besides, monay tastes fine. You don’t need beluga caviar to make your day.

It is in this time of munching your ‘cheap’ meal that you walk around Eng’g. Unlike in Palma Hall, the corridors here are decked with familiar faces, smiling, winking, and sticking out their tongues at you. Friends, coursemates, even people whom you’ve just been classmates with for one semester –- all of them, you consider to be family. They’re all around you, and their mere presence eases the pain of a flunked exam.

01:53 PM

You can see your classmate Marvin rushing towards you. He’s shouting: “Yahoo! Tara na tsong, basketball tayo!”

“Ano? Basketball?”

Marvin nods giddily while befuddlement sweeps over you. “Ha? May class pa tayo. Wag mong sabihing mag-ka-cut ka?” you say in a reproving voice.

“Timang ka talaga. Wala si Sir ngayon, naka-post sa dep’t na may sakit siya. O ano, sama ka na! Pang-practice na rin ‘to sa Eng’g Cup. Andun na sina DJ sa Molave.”

You shake your head and wonder why no week passes in Eng’g without any of your professors missing their classes. You’re about to take Marvin’s offer, seeing basketball as an ephemeral escape from acads, but suddenly the memory of your bestfriend’s gentle scolding jolts you back to reality.

“Naku tol, pasensya na. Punta akong library sa baba, medyo kailangang kong mag-aral...pramis ko kay Bea ‘yon e,” you grudgingly admit.

“Bea? Ikaw ha, di pa nga ‘kayo’, e ander de saya ka na,” Marvin jeers.

“Sira!” You punch him on the arm.

03:24 PM

Somehow you feel good that, for the first time this semester, you’ve managed to study in the Eng’g Lib for at least an hour. You proudly walk up the stairs and pass by your bestfriend’s tambayan, merely wanting to boast that you had kept your promise. But Bea has other things in mind, and she drags you into a three-hour ride with her org. At first you have misgivings, but trepidation soon gives way to delight as you find out how fun it is to be in an org. Laughter, jammings, gossips and new persons to include in your Eng’g ‘family’ –- you’re surprised at what you’ve been missing. You’re already in third year and have steered clear of organizations, all because you’re too lazy to undergo those hellish application processes. But now it seems your outlook is changing.

During a short lull in the tambayan, you whisper to Bea, “Huy, pwede pa bang mag-apply?” to which she gives you a quizzical look.

“Malamang oo! Teka, ano bang nakain mo’t gusto mo na ngayong magka-org?” she asks.

“Wala. Monay lang naman.”

06:30 PM

You stand beneath the waiting shed near Eng’g. Every UP-Philcoa jeepney you flag down is brimming with passengers. Bea and her orgmates are still in the tambayan; her dad’s going to pick her up late. Ciara of your HS-buddies had texted you a message: “dearie, go hir nman s haws ko, d2 n lhat ng l8r”, and so you forced yourself to leave Melchor Hall.

But now, your eyes can’t stop darting from Eng’g to the approaching jeepneys. Something just doesn’t feel right.

Your thumb hovers over your cellphone’s keypad. “Erase message?” the display asks. You press “OK”. Ciara and her club-hopping escapade vanish into electronic nihility.

You walk back towards Eng’g. You walk back towards home.


Blogger transience said...

i miss UP!

11:33 AM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

tarnsience, i've got one more year to go. then i'll be saying those same words. :D

2:32 PM  
Blogger ia said...

maybe you should've have skipped the first sentence of the last paragraph:

You walk back towards Eng’g. You walk back towards home.

i admit. i miss the eng'g logscript. (admit it!) sniff. too bad we had to put dear comp sci first.

ooh. i want a slice of dcs too. penge a. yearbook. documentation na ito. sniff.

maybe it'll be too painful for me to leave up for anything short of temporary. i've breathed it ever since forever.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to ia: i admit, too. i miss the college paper. and you know damn well that there was the slimmest of chances of Corsarius being its next EIC :p well, so much for my early college dream. after all, i'd be killing myself trying to be the EIC of three school papers.

A Slice of ComSci? why not? let's see if i can find some time for it. ^___^

12:26 AM  
Anonymous kai said...

kung totoong story to... sino si ciara? hehehe :P

yuck, eng'g! (feeler, eh halos kalahati ng oras na nasa UP ako nasa eng'g caf e)

11:48 PM  
Blogger tinatuts said...

i've graduated just 2 weeks ago and im already homesick!

nangangati na akong mag-FOPC, umattend ng mga genmit at committee meetings at EASL...

mangulit sa dept *ahem, mam joyce & wiza & others... ahem*



i miss UP!

i miss ENGG!


12:15 AM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to kai: clara? di ko po gets! :( well, i was thinking all this time that you were around the math bldg more often than eng'g..

to tina: hala. that's both bad and good. bad, because chances are you can't really re-enact those days, esp. because you already have a job. good, simply because it just shows that you truly love eng'g! :D

[hm. ngayon ako naman ang kinakabahan. pano na pagka-graduate ko? sniff.]

12:58 AM  
Blogger haydee said...

wow that's a nice post. makes me miss the eng'g building..and the lunch carts..but definitely not the courses. :-)

2:58 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to haydee: thanks :) yep, i agree with you. though one close friend recently had a really gross experience with those lunchcarts, hehe :p

6:35 PM  
Blogger tweety said...

It's kind of weird how I'm part of the college paper but I've never read this piece. I find no high-falutin' words, just for the record. Hehe...

It's a good piece, by the way.

I only find it weird kasi, well, aren't there more people in orgs than those unaffiliated? I'm trying not to promote anything, pero personally, I felt most an Eng'g student when I got into the whirl of Eng'g Week. Iba yung competition. I don't think others enjoy their college weeks as much.


Onga, a slice of DCS naman. Feeling ko mas swak to...

5:34 PM  
Blogger ia said...

i agree with tweety. on all points. ^_^ and yea, you'll feel it the most when you're busy with org work. especially during engg week.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

tweets, thanks :D you've vindicated me, haha.

well, being an unaffiliated Engg student (in terms of Engg Week orgs), in do share your opinion. kita ko rin ang excitement sa inyong mga kaibigan ko noong nakaraang Engg week. kakaiba. kahit ako parang na-sa-suck in :P

ia, yep, i've seen u in Engg Week mode, too :)

1:17 AM  
Blogger buchicoy said...

Bakit parang bitin yung story? Magkakatuluyan ba yung bida saka si Bea? Ehehehe.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

haha! oo nga no. hm...di ko pa talaga naiisip yan...for now:

abangan ang susunod na kabanata! :D

10:21 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

argh. i've got a great typo here, on the 2nd comment:

"tarnsience, i've got one more year to go. then i'll be saying those same words. :D"

it should be transience!! :( i'm really sorry, dear trans. i would never intentionally ruin the beauty of your name.

10:23 PM  
Blogger infobuilder said...

damn... ngayon ko lang nabasa at na-mimiss ko na ulit... sabing wag nang basahin at baka kung ano nanaman papasok sa isip eh...

hay, life...

i miss engg...

grabe.. sobra!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to infobuilder: oks lang yan, mike. gaya ng sabi ko kay tina, it just shows how much you love the College :) mabuhay ang Eng'g!

11:20 PM  

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