I woke up early last January 4 to prepare for my jogging routine. Before hitting the road, I checked on my celfone. There was a forwarded message in my inbox sent late the night before by Alvin Urbi, from Dante Salud.

The message relayed both good and bad news. The bad news was that the mother of one of Cavite National High School's Class 65 graduates passed away. The good news was that one of our classmates, Tony Vitan, whom we have not seen and heard from for the last 35 years, was in town for his beloved mother's funeral.

The text message specifically stated that if we wanted to see Tony, he will be at the funeral parlor at 10:30 AM of January 4. I was both sad and excited to receive the news. Sad for Tony, for his mother's loss, and excited that at last, I will get to see him again and finally reestablish contact.

Tony, Alvin, and I, were the three alumni of Cavite National High School Class 65 who together, took and passed the entrance exams to the Philippine Military Academy. It was only Alvin who finally made it to the Academy. [read more on this in: The Pain of a Shattered Dream]

Since I could not make it that day, I frantically asked Alvin and Dante for Tony's celfone number so I could extend my condolence to him and to inform him that I could not make it that day. My text message to Tony went unanswered so I asked Dante if there was no mistake in the number he gave me, and to ask Tony if he received my text message since he was on the way to meet with him.

Before long, my celfone rang, and at the other end was Tony. Boy, was I glad to hear his voice again. He thanked me for my condolence message and told me that the interment was already set at 2 PM the next day, January 5.

January 5, Wednesday, was my billiard day with Roger Jordan and Diany Arcedera. I had to cancel our game so I could make it to Cavite that morning to see Tony, because after the interment, he and his family were already going home to Bulacan were he set up residence after he got married.

Finally got to talk with Tony for more than two hours that morning exchanging notes on family, work, health, and faith. Found out that he has been an OFW shuttling to Saudi Arabia and home for the last 35 years, which explains his absence from circulation here. He'll just finish his contract, which will expire in 2012, and stay home for good. This means we will start seeing him grace our class reunions and gatherings from thereon. Too bad we were not able to shoot photos during this short meeting. 

Another information I got from Tony is that his cousin, Reggie Toledo, who is also a CNHS Class 65 member, has been staying at the former Palace theater building all these years. Like Tony, we were wondering about his whereabouts since he has not attended any of our class activities.

BTW, the only Class 65 reunion Tony was able to attend was the first, in 1975, held at the Montano Stadium. [see: Tony's photo during 1975 reunion]