Or as I fondly call them, some of the crappy places I’ve lived in. Being on my own for the first time had its quirks, but it sure was a lot of fun.
Inside the Campus
Obviously all the slots would be filled in all the dorms two days before classes start, so I had to look for other alternatives. My father accompanied me as we searched for boarding houses. One was in Philcoa (too warm), one near the Fine Arts building (too crowded), one in Area 2 (too expensive), and the last one in Kristong Hari, where I finally set in. I would spend many sleepless nights working on architectural plates and pouring over books in the tiny room I had. Oh, and let’s not forget the beauty disasters that occurred as I experimented in the privacy of my new home.
In the all-guys boarding house in Kristong Hari, there was one guy who walked around in his undies all the time (not bad-looking, mind you). He was a law student, and he shared the room with his equally hot Moreno kuya. The son of the landlord would always invite me to their Friday night booze fest. I remember one time when I went to the kitchen for water in the fridge, he drunkenly invited me with slurred words, and surprise of surprises, he reached over and pinched my nipple.
Krus na Ligas
I was already working on my thesis when I transferred to KNL. By this time I had pretty much lived in almost all areas inside the campus, so I chose KNL since it was already outside the campus and there was 24 hour transportation.
I can only remember a particular incident while I lived here- it was 11:30 and I just left an internet café. On my way home, I noticed this emaciated man holding something in his hand walking towards me. I just kept on walking (he was muttering to himself); it was only after about 5 meters walking past him did I realize he was carrying a long bolo. I practically flew the rest of the distance to my boarding house. My landlady later told me there was this crazy person roaming the streets at night. Gee, thanks for the warning.
When I started working, the commute from Diliman to Makati was punishing so I decided to move closer to where I worked. Our schedule was so merciless that I would just black out on the bus ride home, and suddenly wake up to find out that I’m already in Fairview!
I found a decent place in Boni (very close to EDSA), and quite enjoyed my new found freedom. I had started dating and doing all sorts of “kababalaghan” at this point.
An officemate invited me and my bestfriend to share her apartment in Makati. We both were excited to finally live in a real house, and didn’t really mind sleeping on a mattress on the floor so we said yes.
Months later, Brenda (a nickname we call our former friend, meaning “brain damaged”) asked Tatat and I to leave. Yes, you heard me right. Pinalayas kami nung Holy Week, Holy Thursday I think. Apparently Tatat dressed like a hooker at home (short shorts, tank top) so Paranoid Brenda was worried her boyfriend (a med student) was being seduced.
So my twin sis and I moved from one friend’s house to another like wandering Jews, till we finally searched for our respective boarding houses. But mind you we still had perfect attendance at work when this thing happened.
Why would I live close to UST? Ah I remember now, my drinking buddies lived in the area. They said I could live there till I found a place. All that remained in my memory was how the place flooded when it rained.
One fateful day in July, I got promoted and so I packed my bags, thanked my buddies, and searched for my new home.
When I got my first 50K paycheck for two weeks worth of work and prorated salary increase, the first thing I did was search for a nice place near work. In Tejeros, Makati I found the place: one bedroom, furnished, with security.
Before my father and brothers left for the US, they stayed at my place. Probably one of my fondest memories since I rarely got to spend time with my brothers since I studied in Diliman.
I moved to another building a year later. One of the joys was designing my place (the second apartment was unfurnished). I busied myself buying furniture, appliances, curtains, and carpets.
I was mostly in the evening shift, and before I prepared for work, I’d always take a moment to look out the big window in the sala, and just admire the view of the skyline.