Until I reached college, I never really had a barkada I could call my own. I was strictly raised as an eskwela-bahay son, with the daily reminder that finishing one's studies is more important than going out and play with the neighbors.
That all changed when I entered 3rd year college, particularly the laboratory subjects. The lab professor required all students to put themselves in groups of 5. This will become your permanent lab team for the rest of the semester. The opportunist in me sought immediately the nerds in class to hopefully get a slot with their group. This will mean smooth sailing until the final exam. Sadly, the nerd group was got filled up immediately. I think there were 2 nerd groups that time. Yup, a lotta nerds.
It was BN and me who went looking for a group. BN, who'd just transfered from PUP, was a tall quiet fellow who was a classmate since elementary and high school. We were about to end our search when RC, another DB Makati batchmate, signaled us to join his group of 3, together with RS and OH, both graduates of DB Manda high school.
We stuck together until the end of the semester. Surprisingly, the group jelled together wonderfully. We all passed. Succeedingly, we formed the same group until 5th year until we graduated. The other groups gave a neat label to us, Voltes V, since we'd always automatically "volt-in" when grouping time comes.
In between the lab projects and other group presentations/reports, that group had exposed me to more social events that I could imagine: soirees, meet-ups, being hosts to all-girl forums, dates, inuman, etc.
Needless to say, we became the best of friends.
That friendship went beyond college. Even when we all started working, we always took the time to meet up whenever we can. Miggys, Dencios, bike rides from Sucat to Bicutan, double dates, our own darts tournament, billiard tournaments, etc.
Even when 4 of us got married and had children, we all still keep in touch thru texts, emails, and chat.
That friendship is now 16yrs old.
BN is now based in the US with his family. RS is planning to migrate his family to New Zealand. OH is waiting for his petition results to the US. While RC and me may have decided to spend the rest of our lives here in Manila.
Last weekend, we all met at a resto in Bicutan to listen to some band called "Hebigats" whom RS seems to be fascinated with lately. In between the songs, we all tried to catch up and tell old stories but it wasn't enough. So, after the band's second set, we all hopped onto our cars and drove off to Figaro Sucat. But then, it was closed.
This didn't stop Voltes V from venturing on. With RC and me hopping onto RS family van, we managed to have coffee at Starbucks Alabang next to ATC. For about 1-2hrs, we all shared old stories and at the same time each one's hopes for his family (except for RC who's still single btw ---but dating. GO RC!).
I looked at my watch. 2AM. The missus could be worried by now. BN and his family will be flying back to the US the following Monday, RS could be going to NZ by December, and OH could be in the US by next year.
I asked the guys to wrap up, and, as we were all walking back to the car, I uttered to RS, "Malamang matagal-tagal bago tayo magkakasama uli ng kumpleto ano?"
RS and RC gave a nod. That's life I suppose.