Term Break Narratives I: Party Like It’s Not Your Birthday

Where are the intoxicating perfumes of dead-and-gone flowers?

Never you mind these sad words. I just got them off of the book I read for this term break. Yes, term break. It’s almost over. For a trimestral system, the university takes only about a week in between its terms for the students to rest, and then we come back to school, unlike most other universities who have about two months worth of vacation.

Nonetheless, my term break was fantastic.

27th August 2011.

First day of the term break. I had just recovered from a fit of crying due to academics from the day before–on my birthday, no less (perhaps I’d write about that later). To pay for all the mishaps on my birthday, my eighteenth, my legality, my coming-of-age, it was finally time to celebrate.

If I had gone off to follow social expectation, I would’ve thrown a huge party with band performances and the best DJ’s up in the wilder district of Makati City where the drinks overflow and the scene never sleeps. Or perhaps, one of those “I present my daughter to the public” cotillon types, where all my father’s political and business connections would attend and applaud as I come down the grand staircase, as the older ladies, wives of said businessmen, would whisper in the background, “so she’s the heiress!”.

But we all know my parents are the simplistic and humble types who like to celebrate things only with the closest people.

And thus, we decided on watching nationally acclaimed musical artist, Ryan Cayabyab’s take on the classic novel Noli Me Tangere, in a musical at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Guest list included, of course, my family (mother, father, two siblings, one niece) and my three best friends (Xela, Jovanni and Addy.)

But before that, we ate at Icebergs. I was expecting it was just going to be a light snack before the show. Chili Cheese Fries and whatnot. Then suddenly, people started ordering pasta. Jovanni ordered for a Lasagna. Shaina ordered rice. My brother had two tacos. And Xela had soup, a sandwich and fish and chips. I don’t exactly understand what was going on in their minds, so I just went with it. I ordered a plate of Palabok myself–a sort of Filipino rice noodles–and a huge platter of ice cream.

KingKong's Revenge

Noli Me Tangere was wonderful, might I say. Even the kids really enjoyed. I couldn’t take any pictures of the musical, of course. But I got to meet Ryan Cayabyab after, and shake hands with Tito Bodjie. I’d describe the musical further, but there’s just no better way of experiencing it other than actually seeing it. Xela was almost in tears with the beauty of the voices of the cast members. Jovanni just couldn’t get over how well the love story between Crisostomo and Maria Clara was portrayed. Every detail, from choreography and even down to the lighting direction was perfect. And of course, the music, a mix of classical, traditional Filipino sounds, and some bits of rock and roll.

Ryan Cayabyab, you’ve done it again.

After the play, we had a difficult time of deciding where to have dinner. Finally, we settled on eating at Aristocrat. Crispy Pata, Spicy Gambas, Kare-Kare, Pancit Canton, Silken Tofu–what else did we eat? I honestly couldn’t remember. There was so much food. Finished it all off with flan. “Mmina, it’s only with your family that I have experienced the true meaning of ‘bloated’.” So says Jovanni. If there’s anything my family knows, it’s how to eat.

We dropped off Addy at their place. Then we all headed off to the South, our rest house at Las Piñas. There is a wall, that if you push the wooden design a bit, it would open out into a new room–this hidden door lead us to calling that said room as ‘the room of requirement’. Well, it was just a hidden sound proof lounge, but it’ll do. We stayed in there for the entire night, watching movies like Love Actually, Zombieland and Pathology. Jovanni kept on complaining about Hollywood’s excessive use of “sexytime and monotonous bullshit”. (HAHA!)

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