DOON PO SA AMIN… NOONG ARAW
In 1957 my generation, i.e. those born in 1943-1944, had our coming of age when we enrolled in the high school, a rite of passage into our pre-teenage years. At the same period rock n’ roll was in its ascendancy, ushering in a new era in music. Its influence became so inescapable it got us obsessively interested in music and dancing, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, and later on the Beatles, suddenly became very much a part of our teenage lives.
As far as I could remember, every Sunday we would be listening to Bobby Ng’s Sunday program on the radio to hear the top ten musical hits, and whether Neil Sedaka’s “Oh Carol” had finally dislodged Paul Anka’s “Diana” from the top. To the consternation of our teachers, instead of pouring on books and tackling assignments, we would spend our class breaks dancing to the new craze for 10 centavos a tune at Inang Ebeng’s newly installed juke box.
Coupled with interest in music and dancing, our age group embraced a new passion- the Barkada, the Low Waist Gang syndrome (remember Lou Salvador Jr.?) that became endemic among the youth of Cavinti, as was anywhere else in the nation then. Exposed to the new trend, we tried to emulate the older barkadas of the Burote, Forever Club, the Jokers & Debonair, Diana, the Red Beret, Everlasting, and the Chivalry; and before long I witnessed and I became part of the emerging generational batch of barkadas.
Leading the pack of younger barkadas were the Strollers & Young Jerful (which I co-founded in 1959), Valiant, The Strugglers, the Rovers-Demerlyn-Chrysler triad. Then younger groups followed such as the Jesters & Florellyn, Jensvile, Gladders, Golden Eagles, Jubilant, Chevrons, Jealders, and the youngest among them, the Warlords & Ribbonnetes.
Other than the obvious, those vague names were acronyms derived from members’ initials. Thus were a network of different friends with different idiosyncrasy, but joined by a common aspiration: to have fun and enjoy life their way. Bulaklakan in May, Labunan, Minukmokan, and Huronduyan became the barkadas’ most anticipated weekend soiree.
Given all of the above, I suppose I can say with conviction that the decades of 1950-1960 were certainly the most memorable time of my life and my generation’s, despite the occasional hardships. We had ups and downs, yet we enjoyed a simple but fun-filled lifestyle in our small hometown that was perhaps even more pleasing and “groovy” than the “cool” spoiled electronic gadget-filled age of today.