WHEN nine-year-old Jacob insisted to enter the University of Santo Tomas out of curiosity, the first thing Anton did was recognize the UST Carpark.
“Alam mo anak, noong panahon ko, wala pa ‘to eh,” Anton said. “Grumadweyt ako nung 2004, tinatayo pa lang ‘yung building na ‘to.”
Jacob had been thoroughly following his father’s nostalgic narratives the moment they set foot on the ground floor. Though old he was, Anton had never neglected a single trace of his Thomasian pride.
“Huling punta ko rito, ‘yun na mismo ‘yung pagtatapos ng batch namin,” he muttered, sipping from his cup of kapeng barako.
Anton gazed towards the UST Hospital across the road, coursing his eyes on the students who walked. It was the same road, Dr. León María Guerrero Drive, where he and his long-forgotten colleagues marched and gossiped. It was a habit they did at every start and end of a class as it had always led to Gate 14.
Anton turned his view to the exit where vehicles carefully departed, then toward the row of food stalls lined up by male and female Artlets who wore polo barong and white blouses.
After some time, he ended his observations by staring at his son whose mouth was brimmed with Rice in a Box’s nuggets meal.
“Tay, ” Jacob started, “marami kang naging kaibigan dito?”
Anton paused, wishing Jacob to encounter the experiences he had always treasured, before responding, “Marami, nak.” F