My Close Friendships From Past to Present

Episode 33 – Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 (6910)

Friendships have been the part of every individual’s life since growing up from our neighbors, in school, in office, in church and strangers that we don’t know someday they will be our friends. But friendship in one person or many may not be lasted forever. Some friendships have lasted up to their old ages; some are broken; or some might be separated. The criteria of having someone to be my friend are that they must be understandable especially when I confess them about my problems, having a nice bonding and closeness on one another. Aside of having a “best friend” (read Episode 9), we have someone to be our friends, and I will discuss about my friendships from the past to present.

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My first group of friends in my life was my neighbors, of course. And I had two different neighbors during my childhood life – they were from Paco, Manila where my family lived there since my birth, and our present neighbors are from our village in Santa Rosa where I and my family have lived since 1992. These were my neighbor friends when I was a kid playing with them on the streets (at the present, they are already matured and might have kids, too). But these aren’t strangers for me because they truly are my neighbors (although I barely go out with them or to see them around because I’m too busy at work and at church, and I’m too isolated in the house), and we’re no longer to play outside and on the streets like we had before because we’re no longer kids. These were my first friendships; however, it’s not official on my list of friendships because they are still my neighbors for more than 20 years (but I wish to find my new neighborhood in the future when I’ll have my dream house).

Michael (1994-2004) and Tent & Company (1997-2004)

Now, my first “official” (and legitimate) friendship was from the school. In 1994, I started to study elementary at a deaf school in very “near” to my home… Pasay City (about 24 miles away from home and I used to commute going to school every day, but luckily the passenger fare was so cheap during that time). During my first year of studying at Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD), I met some strangers (who are deaf) that became my classmates for 10 long years. One of them became my close friend (or “best friend”) for 10 years. His name was Michael who was so thin, almost unhealthy, but smart like me. He was considered as my “assistant” because I was used to be a leader that led to create our organization which was become – TENT (later Tent & Co.), and it was established in 1997 with our other classmate named Joseph. As a leader and “founding chairman”, this was a friendship organization and not as a “fraternity” as some of the teachers thought. Since its establishment in 1997, my group grew when some of my classmates and schoolmates (or batch mates) joined as my close friends, and even some of the teachers (mostly my former teacher-advisers) joined the group to give me some advice especially about my love life and when I was in trouble. Tent & Co. lasted up to 7 years, from elementary to high school, and it was the most dominant group during that time. In 2003 when we’re in junior year high school, we faced some challenges such as school troubles and controversies, but despite of these we remained stable in our friendship. However, when I was in the United States for an exchange program in mid-2004, my group started to decline because of my absence, as a leader, while my close classmates back at home(as my members) had shifted or had been even “pirated” by my rivals. In 2005, it was changed its name into Independent Committee of the Neutral Party (ICNP) as few of my former close classmates were now studying in college (in a deaf-related course) when I came back home but studying high school in a non-deaf school. Most of my former members were gone because of their controversies and eventually became my “enemies”. But because of my disappearance as a leader to them due of long distance (and different “world”), I decided to disband our group in March 2006, after 9 years of having our close friendship.

008-My former Tent friends taken Jul. 30, 2004
My deaf classmates and friends of Tent & Co. on our final meeting, July 30th, 2004 (Photo courtesy from My Tent Archives)

Even though I have no longer to communicate with most of my former close classmates as my former members, Tent & Co. became a “legacy”, not only in my life, but also in their lives as well to have a nice and strong friendship (described as my first version (1.0) of friendship). My close friendship with Michael, Joseph, and other former friends, classmates, and members was the longest with the span of 7 years and 7 months (January 1997-July 2004), and it can’t be matched by my past and present friendships in “Post-Deaf World” (after June 2005 or after I came back home from the U.S.).

During the course of the exchange program of AFS Philippines (formerly called American Field Service), I had met some new friends from different parts of the Philippines who would be exchange students like me. These were non-deaf and socializing with different people (including two of my new friends who were persons with disabilities (PWDs)). We had been together during our orientation in July, and in August, we became the first batch to take an exchange program going to the United States to study high school for one year. In our only short time of companionship, we were able to have our bonding time like visiting some monuments of Washington, D.C. And after our one-year stay, we met again for the first time to take our post-stay orientation before we went back home in July 2005. My friendship with some of my close friends (exchange students) was too short (even after the program).

During my stay in the U.S., my group (Tent & Co.) was in thousand miles away, and I had no permanent friendships when I was studying in Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) although I had few American deaf friends but not so close because I was too shy to interact with them during my first few weeks at the U.S. But in later days, my friendship with them in ASD had been increased and eventually they became my close friends especially when our graduation was near (I was senior during that time), so that we might miss one another. Sadly, because I was only a foreign exchange student, I stayed at Alabama to take my high school study for only one year (325 days to be exact), so that my friendship to my deaf friends was short-lived (although some of them still remain my friends thru long distance only on Facebook). Not only that, I had been closed to some ASD teachers who became my good buddies, and I frequently went to them for their advices when I was in trouble.

011-My friends, ASD vocational staff (05-25-05)
Together with my beloved ASD vocational teachers and staff during my final school day, May 25, 2005 (Photo courtesy from My Tent Archives)

My Friendships in “Post-Deaf World” Era (2005-2010)

When I came back home from my wonderful and memorable experiences in the U.S., I thought I was going back at PSD to continue my studies as senior (fourth) year high school (not college because my high school graduation in the U.S. was not accredited here at home), and my new classmates (as well as new friendship) would be my rival (who had “pirated” most of my former classmates and members of Tent & Co. when I was in the U.S.). But thanked God… it didn’t happen. Instead going back to my old deaf school, I was transferred to a private and non-deaf school in Sta. Rosa, and I needed to adjust my life into a new environment after 11 long years of having belonged to the deaf community.

During my first few weeks in my new school life at non-deaf school, I was too hesitate to meet my new classmates (this time, they were not really deaf classmates as what I had been belonged for years) to be my new friends. But one of my new classmates met me as his seatmate and would later become my new “best friend”. His name was Angelo and he would also become my close friend when I had troubles in school because some of our classmates bullied me sometimes. And in 2006, I went to his house in Tower 5 village to visit him and to meet most of his neighbors and “tropa” (troops) who also later became my “tropa”.

My “tropa” in Tower 5 (or simply known as 2F because they lived in Phase 2-F) became my third friendship after Tent & Co. and from ASD (coined as “version 3.0” of my friendship) and first time to become my close friends who were non-deaf. They loved to play basketball, computer games, and funny jokes. And their place at Tower 5 became my temporary stay (tambayan I mean) every time when I got bored at home during most of my college times. Although I was not a leader of my “tropa” (unlike my old Tent & Co. back in PSD), I frequently joined with them and Angelo in most occasions like basketball tournaments where I watched them playing for my support with the team they played. However, my friendship with the “tropa” didn’t last long. In November 2009, one of my “tropa” had been connected to the teenage girl named “Peach”, the pretty younger sister of my former college classmate and crush who had been involved for my controversy occurred months earlier. I felt so betrayed because he warned me to stay away from her and her family, and he had informed her about me that I had watched some explicit videos at one of my friends’ internet café long time ago (which was true but this shouldn’t make a big issue to make me into controversy (bad image) or in other word: paninira). This betrayal led me into the worst incident happened in my whole life after the family of “Peach” (and my former college classmate and crush) accused me as “stalker”. Because of this, after the worst incident, I have no longer to go at Tower 5, and the “tropa” that I had been belonged for almost 4 years were no longer considered as my friends (most of them as well as “Peach” and her family have been excommunicated from my friendship).

After studying high school, none of my former high school classmates joined with me to study college at Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Santa Rosa Campus (also a non-deaf school), but I would meet new friends who later became my college classmates in the Information Technology course. During my first few weeks in college, I was too silent to meet new ones around the class, but in later weeks I began to be closer with my classmates who are mostly males like Hector Leo Miscala, Benjamin Rivo, Jr., Aldrin Alulod and some others (in 2010, they called their own group, Subersibo, from our Rizal subject). They became my buddies when we made our assignments together and had our fun with laughter. In our third year in college, some of them were my group mates in one I.T. project together with some of our female classmates who eventually my close friends (including the one who was eventually my “secret” crush) up to second semester.

My classmates of BSIT 4-2 (PUP-Sta. Rosa) during our Rizal trip in December 2009 (Photo courtesy from one of my classmates/friends in Facebook)

However, in the second semester of the junior (third) year college, they were no longer my group mates because of some conflicts that I didn’t like to cooperate with (a classmate named “Chubby”). So, my friendship went to my other classmates who were not so closed but eventually became my group mates in a major I.T. subject, and I was with them in one group for almost a year. My group mates later became my “close” friends actually, but there were most of the times that we had conflicts on one another. I became unhappy to be with them for almost a year as a group because they were so boring when they discussed non-sense things that I didn’t relate and about the relationships of my former crushes. But despite of these, I needed to keep patience to be with them because we must make a very important project for our group thesis. And in October 2009, as we’re passed the major defense on an I.T. subject, I was finally free from boredom that my group mates had (although my happiness was too short because of the non-sense controversy that would come in the following month).

My Friendships after College Graduation (2010-2013)

Even after college graduation, most of my former classmates were remained my friends although we’re not so closed as before because of our own busy jobs. Some of them were eventually my work colleagues in Alabang for the short time and became my close friends too. But on my first job stint in Alabang, someone came in my life to become my new close friends.

My work colleagues from SuperMedia (Spec) during our Christmas party, Dec. 23, 2010 (Photo courtesy from one of my friends in Facebook)

During the night-shift training for graphic artist, I met my fellow trainees and future workmates like Jin Botin, Marlon Dimson, Marie Kristine Garcera, Gizelle de Ocampo and Jun Sasa, and we had a strong bonding together during our training days. When we’re passed to become graphic artists, we remained as one group but lasted only for few months before we’re separated (some of them were gone after only few months of having their jobs) due of dissolving a project. Only Jin, Marlon and I remained to stay in SuperMedia, but in exchange, we met new friends to become our new workmates. Some of them were old-timers (had stayed for few years); some were also former trainees to become graphic artists before us, and some were my former college friends and classmates. We were so solid to bond together especially during our break time (I remember when most of them played the games like Tekken on their own PSP). But again, our strong friendship in one project didn’t last long. Due of dissolving one project in SuperMedia, some of us were forced to transfer another project, and few months later we’re transferred again to another one until most of them were forced to resign after the dissolution. Luckily, only three from SuperMedia, including me, were transferred to work in one project called Dex One. But out of three, I was the only one from SuperMedia to remain as graphic artist to work at Dex One (together with some of proofreaders from SuperMedia who were also transferred). Thus, I met another group of work colleagues that they would become my close friends.

During my first few months in Dex One, I was not so closed with my fellow team members (also graphic artists) because I was not familiar with them (I had missed my former colleagues in SuperMedia better, and I had to eat my lunch alone most of the times) although I was closed with some proofreaders in that project (every time when I fixed the revisions that they checked). But in later months, I intended to join with my fellow team members led by Romeo Enriquez, and this was the start of having my close friendship with them together with other proofreaders (some of them became my “secret” crushes). We bonded together as a team/group like taking our drinking session, going to a store van called “Jollivan” (derived from a popular Filipino fast food chain, Jollibee) during our breaks, and walking together going home after hours of our work. However, there were some instances that we didn’t like such as long hours of overtime, transferring me back to SuperMedia temporarily for one whole week (read Episode 26, one of the worst happenings in my life in “Post-Deaf World”), forcibly working in a new project for a month, and leaving Dex One to work for web which was my last project before I decided to resign from the company because I was so tired to be transferred from one project to another. A week before my departure, I and other work colleagues of our team had our night swimming in Pansol, Laguna to have our nice bonding. Even after I left from Alabang, they were remained my friends in Facebook but not too much close like before.

In my second job stint in Mandaluyong (and my love life was started to flourish, you know), I started to meet some new officemates who were also graphic artists/designers. The first one that I met was during our training, and her name was Jenny. However, our companionship didn’t last when we’re separated in working schedule. Thus, I met a new group composed by some of my work colleagues who were heavy drinkers, more like liberated, and funny. I had joined with this group for several months before I began to meet some newly-hired graphic designers (including the two that I had known from Alabang where I had worked for my first job) who eventually became my close friends (the one named Jonathan became my “best friend”). They were more like to be behaved, generous, and open-minded that were almost opposite from my first one. However, again, my friendship and companionship with them as work colleagues didn’t last long. Quality implementation issues, conflicts with other “group” (where the one of my workmates bullied me verbally), some internal problems, slow computer and internet system, and unfixed work schedules made me so uncomfortable and inconvenience aside from commuting in a traffic-prone EDSA from my home in Santa Rosa. And for only one year of my job stint at Mandaluyong, I decide to resign from being an employee of a company that I thought it would make me better (but became a “nightmare” for me). Unfortunately, most of them were no longer my friends (because my first Facebook account has been deactivated due of security reasons), and I have no more communication with them right after I left from Mandaluyong.

The Feast (2013-Present)

With my friends from The Feast during one of our Connect Group (CG) sessions (Photo courtesy from one of my friends in Facebook)

While I was jobless in mid-2013, there was a group of religious friends who eventually became my close friends. Just like software having an updated version, my friendship with them was just like an “8.0 version”. When I first discovered the Feast during Kerygma Lenten Recollection in early 2013, I met a batch of friends like Nikki Bumatay, Marian Carpo, Ralph Christian Deniega, and many others that they eventually became my close friends (in fact, they were the first to become my friends who were unknown for me neither from my old school nor my former work). And when they formed a business group called HOT Team, I joined them with a lot of abundance from God. In March 2014, I and my former college classmate left from HOT Team to join in a financial school in Makati, and we met our good mentors and fellow team members to become our close friends. We had our late night meetings, bonding, group discussions and companionships (especially during our attending the conventions in Manila and Hong Kong last year). However, because of having some personal problems to my former college classmate and “business partner”, I decided to leave the financial school (as inactive member) and lived in a simple life (I supposed to go back HOT Team, but I just stayed away from them for good). Although I already left from both teams where some of my friends from the Feast were there, they are still remained my friends (but I have talked or met with some of them barely).

Going back, since I have attended the Feast, I met some of my new friends in Media Ministry like Gee Ebalde, Lanie Garcia, and Earl Pascua to be my new close friends. They were also from the HOT Team that they left for some reasons, and except for Earl, they are currently the members of the Media, like me, operating visuals such as PowerPoint presentations, worship song lyrics, and videos during the Feast session. Aside of them, when I became loveless for the last 5 months, I met some other members of Media Ministry like Sis Tess and Che Bughao to be my close friends (eating lunch together after serving for the Feast). At the present, they are considered as a new group of my friendship (pertaining as the 8th “version” of my friendships).

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Just like computer software, my friendship has “versions” that updates from the old one. Here are the lists: (Note: my current friendship is in bold, and my unofficial friendships are in italic.)

1.0 – Tent & Co. (Michael (“best friend”, 1994-2004), Joseph, John Joseph, Peter, Anna-Lyn, and some of PSD teachers, 1997-2004 – the longest friendship that I ever had)

1.1 – My friends (non-deaf) who became exchange students or AFS Phil. batch mates (2004-2005)

2.0 – ASD friends (2004-2005)

2.1 – My deaf classmates and schoolmates

2.2 – My beloved teachers and staffs of ASD

3.0 – Tower 5 “Tropa” (Angelo (“best friend”, 2005-2009) and his “tropa”, 2006-Nov. 2009)

4.0 – PUP-Sta. Rosa (2006-2010)

4.1 – Benj, Hector, Aldrin, Adrian and other funny male classmates (known as “Subersibo”)

4.2 – Anna (considered as my closest ally, 2006-2010)

4.3 – Some of my female classmates who became my group mates with Hector and Adrian during third year college)

4.4 – My group mates in a major I.T. subject (for almost one year, Nov. 2008-Oct. 2009)

5.0 – AsecAsia-SuperMedia (Oct. 2010-Sept. 2011)

5.1 – Jin, Marlon, M.E., Gizelle and Jun

5.2 – Other SuperMedia colleagues (graphic artists, proofreaders and team leaders)

6.0 – AsecAsia-Dex One (Sept. 2011-May 2012)

6.1 – Romeo Enriquez’ team (Jonathan, Jermine, Ronald, Jim, Rex)

6.2 – From Customer Service (Karleen, Mae Suarez)

7.0 – RR Donnelley (Jun. 2012-Jun. 2013)

7.1 – Ben, Anna, Janice

7.2 – Jonathan, Banjo, Emjey

8.0 – The Feast (March 2013 – Present)

8.1 – Nikki, Yani, Ralph

8.2 – HOT Team (for travel and business)

8.3 – Media Ministry (Gee, Lanie, Earl)

8.3.1 – LCD Operators (Sis Tess, Che Bughao, Oct. 2005-Present)

9.0 – My friends from a financial school in Makati called The Abundance Team (A-Team) (Mar.-Nov. 2014)

Figure 1 – The timeline of my friendships from past to present.

The friendships that I’ve belonged were from one to another, from the past to present. Even there’s no permanent friendship for me (I’m just an independent friend without having any group of friends), they have been still part of my life either they are in my present life or from the past and even some of them already became my old friends into enemies or having some misunderstandings led into excommunication. But at least, I have still a lot of friends at the present.

(Note: I have my friends from my current job in San Pedro, but there are only 6 of them, including the 3 who are permanent workers. However, I don’t have my closeness with them, and I have never had any private confessions with them because they are not so understanding and close-minded although there are some times that I confess them, and they give me some advices.)


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