Just this weekend I had an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime chance to get down and dirty with archaeologists at an actual dig in Quezon province. The experience was great, and the people were both brilliant and easy-going. This is an attempt to recapture those days and the moments that made the experience worthwhile...
The evening of January 29 until the early morning of January 30, 2010
The trip was officially scheduled to start on the 30th, with the participants meeting at the JAC Bus Terminal at 5:30 AM. This arrangement posed a dilemma for me since I was unsure if I could avail myself of transportation in the early hours of the morning at UP Campus. It was a good thing that one of my classmates in World Archaeology, Fr. Ted, extended an invitation to us to spend the night at their parish church convent.
I immediately pounced on that chance to spend a night at the convent. I have had the opportunity to spend a night in a seminary -- it was during my teaching days when the faculty of UNO-R went on a trip to Cebu; we spent one night at the seminary in San Carlos. But this was my first time in the priestly quarters in a parish church.
I was joined in our overnight adventure by Sir Butch who was, quite coincidentally, a pastor. The other one who joined our crew was RJ (he was Mr. Call Center English in my previous post)
To say that the night was eventful would be an understatement. I got to know my fellow classmates a bit better. We finally got to see how Fr. Ted arranges his piles of reading materials -- in an attempt to segregate his academics from his religious duties. Fr. Ted had attended the convention of religious which had more than 5000 priests in attendance. We got to meet the parish priests and the other members of the community over dinner. I got a chance to watch the television again. The political ads were driving me insane. We also watched the latest adventures of Santino and I marveled at the magic of editing -- one moment the police were being informed of a riot at the seminary, then we cut to the next scene of them arriving to pacify the unruly crowd. Now that was fast!
Initially it was only me and the two religious guys who were in the convent. RJ was running a bit late because he had a few things to do but it was alright since he lived nearby and had a car. So after a few hours of watching the idiot box we made our way to the night spots for a bit of fun.
It was good, clean, fun mind you people. The bar was nice; I finally got to drink Red Horse again after so many years; and the band was good. They even played one of the songs I requested which was "I Don't Wanna Wait" by Paula Cole. I figured that since the band featured drums, keyboard and bass that Paula Cole was a good choice for them. They pulled it off, though I could hear the pretty vocalist struggling a bit with the vocals but nevertheless I appreciated their effort.
It got even more interesting when we met Fr. Ted's friends. One of them immediately took to the stage and sang a song. Her performance was quite good, though the song that she sang escapes my memory as of this moment. What happened next may be blamed on peer pressure and Red Horse.
I got up onstage and sang "Boys Don't Cry" by The Cure.
In fairness, I asked my table after my performance if I did well and they said that it was good. In fact, a random stranger complimented my performance while I was on my way to the CR. May handshake pa yan ha.
But the night was getting late and we had to make our way back. After saying our goodbyes, we went back to the convent. RJ had already caught up with us at the bar and I rode with him on the way back. During the ride I discovered that he was a fan of Irish music. And so we both engaged in a discussion of the merits of Celtic music and culture.
When we arrived at the convent, we made our way to our respective rooms. I was billeted with Sir Butch but RJ, who was supposed to be alone in the next room, decided to join us after a while. The reason: He and I got into a veeeeeery lengthy discussion regarding comic books. RJ was a Deadpool and X-men afficionado and he brought along a Wolverine comic book with him. The discussion found its way into our room and the talk turned to 80s and early 90s cartoons, online gaming and movies. It was like finding a lost member of one's tribe (the tribe of "Nerd") and you could actually converse in your own secret language. Si Sir Butch kung minsan nawawala sa mga pinag-uusapan namin ni RJ.
So instead of sleeping, the three of us spent the next few hours watching Zatoichi on RJ's laptop.
It was the most fun I've ever had in one night in Manila.