After the failed attempt to enter the Philippine Military Academy......
and the shattered dream, I was back to college the following semester.
I transferred to the school campus in Manila at that time so I could
just commute from Cavite, which only took roughly 45 minutes to an
hour of travel then.
A year later, I was back at the
main campus, staying at Narra Residence Hall. Those were the days of
Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, and the Beatles. The bell-bottom pants and
the long and wide sideburns were the fad, influenced by the big names
of the entertainment world. The TV show "This is Tom Jones" was very
popular among the dorm residents. My dorm mate, Former Solicitor
General Frank Chavez, would always take time out from his studies to
watch the TV program. He was the one who baptized me as the Tom Jones
of the dorm, as I had curly hair and long sideburns like the singer. That moniker would rub on to the other residents of the dormitory.
were also already the tumultuous days of student unrest against the
Marcos administration. Street protests and mass demonstrations were
being held at close intervals in front of the old Congress Building in
Manila and in the Mendiola area near Malacanang. Most of these mass
actions would end up with violent dispersals, with students battling
anti-riot units from the police and the Armed Forces.
this one big rally that ended violently, in which my dorm mates and I
participated. Student activists from different universities in Metro
Manila converged in front of the old Congress building early that
afternoon and later marched on to Malacanang. The protesters were met
by military and police personnel in anti-riot gears in Mendiola, to
prevent them from getting close to the Malacanang complex. Later that
evening, the violent dispersal of the demonstrators ended up with the
students seizing, and setting on fire, one of the firetrucks spraying
water on the activists.
One evening at the dorm, my roommate
motioned me over to him to show me a magazine. It was the week's
Asian edition of the Newsweek Magazine, and the front cover showed a
close up photo of student demonstrators in front of Congress. At the
center of the photo were my roommate and I, with my sunglasses on. I
should congratulate the photographer for having a keen eye for
spotting model materials that will sell. Ha ha ha! We should have sued
that fellow for unauthorized publication of our photos! Lol! Joking
aside, there was a sea of demonstrators that hot afternoon and we
didn't even notice somebody was taking pictures. I been trying to locate a
copy of that issue, which maybe between the years 1968 to 1970, but
has been unsuccessful so far. My search in the internet had yielded
This was already the prevailing atmosphere in Metro Manila when I went back to college.
During my last years in school, students from different campuses
would take to the streets to carry the fight against an administration
which started out popularly, but whose popularity was slowly eroded by
abuses, excesses, and corruption.
[Retirement From Navy]