Posts Tagged ‘school life’

I was born and grew up in the province till I reached my 11th year. It was then that Dad transferred me to Univ. Of Santo Tomas for high school.

Back in the province we didn’t have television set except for a small Sony transistor radio. We didn’t have those gadgets that kids nowadays enjoyed. But we played several games with others (mostly my cousins) on the street before the six o’clock evening prayer time. My maternal grandmother was strict about this. The rosary was prayed in the vernacular except for the Spanish ones which grandma taught that I have forgotten all these years.

We went to school in slippers and helped with cleaning our school room and watering the plants planted in the school ground. There were no snacks of sandwiches but we bought fresh fruits from vendors who placed themselves in the corridor during breaktime. Softdrinks were unheard of but we had young coconut juice called buko. I still miss those several kinds of rice cakes that they sold back then. We had school projects like making doormats out of coconut husk, embroidered handkies and pillow cases in our Home Economics class, learned cooking rice using dried wood and frying simple dishes like fish ‘daing’ and eggs. Every summer during school break, mom and I would help in the harvest of sweet potatoes, turnips and peanuts at her cousin’s farm. We would go home with bagfuls of sweet potatoes and peanuts. Mom would keep them in small boxes and we’ll have them for snacks during rainy days. Unlike today where one could not store such rootcrops for long because they wash them before selling in the market, back then it was direct from the soil so it lasted longer.

I had some sort of culture shock when my older brother and I transferred to Manila permanently during high school. Since I came from the province, I was late in the entrance exams for high school. Took it at the principal’s office. The latter was a colleague of dad. We had school uniforms, wore shoes and prayed every start of each class until I was in college. Such was the beauty of having a Catholic education in the oldest university in Asia. University of Santo Tomas is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus.

My siblings and I were so blessed to embrace Thomasian education so with my two kids, Nissa and Josef.

Reminiscing….those days!


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I dreamt again of the old house my maternal grandparents had in the province. I remember that in each window, Hoya orchids were always in bloom. One of my aunts (who is now 98 years old) took charge of growing plants while my oldest aunt had a small sari-sari store in our barrio then.

My brothers and I spent the first four years of our elementary school in our barrio except our youngest. When we three older kids were already in high school at the University of Santo Tomas, my youngest brother was transferred to the public school near our place in Quezon City.

I remember those years spending the first six years in a public school. I started in Grade one, no nursery, no kindergarten. It was just a two-room school house with two teachers. Grade one and Grade two were in one room while the upper grades were in the other. One of our teachers was mom’s first cousin.

Being in a public school here is very different from spending in a private school. In the former, we were taught to take care of the plants planted in the school yard. I spent my last two years of grade school in our town proper. My classmates and I were divided into groups because after school hours, we were obliged to clean the room. Since the flooring was wood, we waxed it every Friday and used coconut husk to clean it.

Us girls had this Home Economics subject where we were taught to keep house, cook, embroider, crochet and make a simple budget. I love that separate building where we spent our H.E. class. It was complete with a bedroom, a small comfort room, living and dining rooms where we had our classes and a tiny kitchen where we learned to make fruit preserves.

I got a shock of my life during my first year in high school. I was a probinsiyana and my classmates then came from different schools in Manila and chose University of Santo Tomas to finish high school. Back in our time, it was not even a co-ed institution. We were separate from the boys. They belonged to the afternoon session. We even had separate entrance and exit. I enjoyed my nine-year stay in UST. Took up BSC Economics and worked as a student librarian for three years. Hence the love of books.

Oh, oh, remembering the years, the life of a younger Arlene.

Happy weekend.

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It’s Nate’s first day as a grade schooler. Another milestone for our baby. He is really so tall for his age.

Compare the above photo when he started in nursery class when he was just around three and a half.

Three years of schooling before reaching grade school.  My gosh, and there are twelve years before one graduates in high school or Grade 12. Four or five years further on to college.



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