Beckoning School Morns

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Last Monday morning, students wended their way back to the welcoming arms of schools, these institutions like expectants mothers herding children to the comfort of embrace.

Back to school is to life for students, their parents and school teachers, like morning is to the day and rainy days are to the year.

For these thousands of students in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region 1, “‘tis the season to be jolly,” er, doggone it, Ah Kong, it ain’t Christmas yet, so, ‘tis the season for healthful occupation and serene enjoyment for the seriousness of learning in the four walls of a classroom.

As example, glance at Baguio City – major education hub in northern Philippines.

Probably, few cities offer a powerful inducement for young folks to choose this place to chase an education. In doing so, they come under the powerful influence to early rising.

For Madame Baguio City which refuses to marry and ever be the old spinster, possesses that general disposition to frown upon sluggards who prolong unnecessary period of sleep.

Although mindful of the difficulty waking up early while curled in bed, your warm blanket teasing, “maturog ka pay, nasipnget pay lang,” students can’t but shake off the drowsing sleep from their brows when the merry morning starts peeping out from Madame Baguio’s hills and mountains.

What’s happening to students in Baguio merely happens to every student in all CAR and Region 1 corners. School morning demands: “Wake up early, lazy bones, lest you be late!”

Add an expected amount of prodding from mothers urging them, “Hoy, agriing kan, agsapan. Kupinem ta ules mo ta mapan kan agdigos,” late-rising students ramble drowsily in early morning routine; many would eagerly jump back to bed if not for alert mothers who possess eyes at their backs while mindful in preparing breakfast.

For students who rent to go to school, the bottom line is clear: no mother haranguing to wake you up early; no one to prepare breakfast So rise as the sun rises, cook food. If they don’t, the reward is go to school with an empty and grumbling stomach. No choice.

Well, if a student is possessed of the means to buy his/her own breakfast, lunch and supper every day for every school semester, instead of cooking, well and good, as all’s well that ends well.

It reminds Ah of his childhood, who, not born with a silver spoon, had to help his parents cook daily and do other chores so his schooldays and health be complete.

One day, someone asked if Ah’s parents have mucho dinero. Ah answered in the negative, and said, “Marigrigat kami laeng, apo. Ngem saan nga pananglastog, addu bangko mi. Ta usaren mi nga pagtugawan mi nu mangan kami.”


Ah Kong, who experienced going to Grade 1 only and no more, still clearly remembers a song his Grade 1 teacher taught him and his classmates then. It goes this way: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Ah attributes his health to rising early. But whether he got wealthy and wise is a matter of dispute – until now.

Unlike one of Ah’s acquaintance who was endowed with silver spoon. One time this acquaintance parked his Mercedes Benz incorrectly besides a road and opened the car’s door to get out.

But another vehicle zipped by and tore off the door of the Mercedes Benz. This acquaintance looked at his foreigner friends inside the car then wailed, “My Mercedes Benz. . .my Mercedes Benz. . . my Mercedes!”

His foreigner friends looked him and said, “You Filipino, all you’re worried about are material things. You never even noticed that half of your arm has been torn off by the zipping car!”

This acquaintance looked at his half-torn arm then cried, “My Swiss Rolex watch . . .my Swiss Rolex watch. . .my Rolex. . .”

Ah’s Grade 1 teacher unselfishly taught him and his classmates before not to condemn the practice of early rising and instead, experiment its advantages where, for example, beneath the sheltered foliage of spreading Benguet pine trees, one can inhale the balmy Cordilleran winds while the birds warble in grateful “good morning to you” for hearing their songs.

Ah, now having grown into a cantankerous fellow who can’t even appreciate a smile from Missy Nature, lends a piece of what Missy Nature taught him early during his being a Grader 1 only: in rising early, rosy health enraptures to wander yet bestows her gifts.

But any pessimist who refuses to wake up early believing “it ain’t worth it,” will counter Ah, asking, “Pooh, pooh, does nature have charms?  What’s nature got to do with learning, anyway?”

Lookahere! Why don’t we stand on a mountain, say Mount Santo Tomas in Tuba municipality, and observe what big-hearted hand Mama Nature has lavished upon our landscape, and what delicate care her artist’s hand has drawn these adornments.

But, wait, wait! Wait till the fog slowly lifts her skirts to show the undulating thighs of the hills till the hill’s breasts and belly are naked, like undressed memento to our wondrous innocence in learning how life springs alive each morning.

East of where we stand at Santo Tomas, the sun invites too, as one ponders the beauty of the sun’s rays stabbing the land, yet never hurting it.

Standing there at Santo Tomas, view too, the bustling commerce of humans and your confidence will not be diminished by observing that these mortals also experienced going to school in their prime time and are now in pursuit of noble aspirations.

These mortals – daily laborers all – who live the Scriptures and are unimpressed by those who quote   Scriptures, break their backs and put calluses in their hands through honest-to goodness toil because at the back of their minds, they have children pursuing school, and passing school is often tarred by difficulty.

Like Ah. One day, long time ago, Ah applied for a job and the interviewer said:

Interviewer: “What’s your school qualification?”

Ah: “I am P.H.D.”

Interviewer: “What’s your P.H.D.?”

Ah: “Passed High school w/Difficulty!”

No time is so probably favorable as morning for application to business and every learner must adapt to be familiar with its peculiarity, which is, where freshness breathes, it’s darn good time to start your day, either for school or other business, indeed.

If greater variety be required and one can go to school by walking instead of taking a ride, then by all means, do it. And while walking, let your mind run rampantly curious, for curiosity is the appetite of the mind, and it must be satisfied or we wither on the vine.

Going to school by walking had been the norm of the past for many generations, one of heaven’s best gift that helps secure health while the human frame becomes enervated and the mental faculties sharpened to vigorously tackle the school hours ahead.

Intelligent readers, you know too well that bloom of health is having a good night rest, with regular morning exercise like   little warm-up and stretching and contorting the body – until your balakang snaps (aray ko po!) –  will give a glow to the skin which all the cosmetics you buy cannot impart.

At the end of the day, as the sun retires, the shadows fall, and nature assumes the appearances of soberness and silence, it’s an hour from which the thoughts fly that you have done a good day of learning in school.

And continue to do so every school morn ‘till your thirst of knowledge is satisfied.