The essays they first urged us to write in school was suppose to awaken our interest in writing. I remember writing about summer activities and in the Philippines it’s all about the town fiesta or the religious festivals. Sure, fifty year old teachers are suppose to know what interest nine year olds. So we learned to write the topic sentence and the introductory paragraph. They also wanted to see at least 100 words in your two page yellow sheets. Once in a while the school won the sports intramurals and this event boosts essay writing in the classes where most of the time we talked about subject- verb structures.
I believe in writing one’s personal experience. Nothing was more honest, or more compelling. But then I am a bookworm when I was a kid of nine in the 3rd grade. I got invited to audition in the school choir one afternoon. I said sure. Little did I know, the school choir would win the province wide contest for Rizal Province at the Kapitolyo. We placed third place but we sure were famous enough to sing all over town. We had two teachers advicer whose favorite materials came from Rogers and Hammerstein’s broadway productions.
I have a lunch habit of visiting the big school library. It has a four feet aquarium full of live creatures I see only in the encyclopedia. The librarian rewarded my interests by giving me the responsibility of cleaning it and feeding the fishes. The library had a giant mural of our national hero Jose Rizal on the west wall. My favorite corner was the reference books section which contains all the magazines I can lay my hands on. My friends’ favorite reading materials were displayed out of school in the sari-sari store. We follow our literary heroes in the komiks. These are illustrated fiction, we rented for less than a peso an hour but we pass it on to the next boy if Ate isn’t looking closely.
In the late afternoon, we play tag or volleyball at the back of the school. It’s the only space left for sports activities. It’s also where we hold our social activities and our graduation ceremony. There’s a concrete stage facing east by the west side. During my time there were single level school buildings on both sides of this square. I would imagine they have constructed a roof over it now.