High School High

My Tune: The Bitch of Living (from the musical Spring Awakening)
audio link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=reqSQy_69m0


Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that I’m drastically becoming one of those people who are desperately holding on to their youth. I know that the flower-crowned optimists of this world say that age is just a number and that one can stay forever young if he pleases to, and all those other metaphors and euphemisms they use these days to cover up ugly truths, but I feel like a realist today. And today, what’s real tells me that I am an unemployed twenty-year old artist with a lackluster social life somewhere in the jungle-like Western civilization. And I just can’t help but think to myself, “Dang, boi! Where did all the years go?”

Here’s the thing about me: I am lethargic. I am lazy. Bed-ridden. I mean generally speaking, I barely even walk for more than a total of 90 seconds per day, and I don’t really consider sweating a prerequisite to my well-being. The most active thing I do is take a shower twice a day, but that’s about it. I might as well dub myself “The World’s Youngest Retiree Ever”. But here’s the catch: I wasn’t like this before. Not at all. I was one of the most energetic, most party-fueled, adventure-filled, life-loving people I know. Now I’m sitting here just wondering what happened to the livelier version of myself; the one who always found excitement in the littlest things, the one who would not allow a day to pass without trying something new. You know, the one back in high school.

High school. Here we go again. I’ve written several things about this already, but if I actually wrote each time I start to miss high school, even if it’s just always momentary, then at least half of this blogsite would be about nothing else other than high school. But here I am right now. And besides the fact that I haven’t set foot on the grounds of my high school for three years now, what brought me here?

An hour ago, I was re-watching an episode of 90210, and it’s the one where the West Beverly Hills High produces a performance of one of the most notable plays in history, “Spring Awakening”. It is the work of German dramatist Frank Wedekind written sometime between autumn 1890 and spring 1891. And it is one of my favorite plays of all time. It definitely is the real High School Musical.

One of the songs in Spring Awakening has always stood out to me, and that is the song “The Bitch of Living”. If you also love this song, or if you are not familiar with the play and are curious, then go click the audio link I so kindly provided for you at the very top of this write-up. There’s just something about this song that makes me vividly remember how it felt like to be in high school. All of those events and stage plays held in our university gymnasium, amphitheater and football field always top my memory list. I mean, jesus, I’m having goosebumps just thinking about the moments I had there, with my friends, with their hearts, and with all our innocence.

When I think of the past, I think of high school. This is a choice I make because high school, despite the bumps and grinds, was the best time of my life so far. Hold on, I know what you could be thinking right now. “My gosh, what a shallow little stuck-up human being you are, Kenn! High school was the best time of your life? Ugh, that’s just sad and pathetic. You were probably popular, had lots of friends, had a cinematic lovelife and didn’t have social anxiety that’s why you love high school! Fuck y–” But I’m stopping you right there. “The best” is something relative. And right now, I am at that point in my life where I appreciate the past because it’s the only thing I am sure about. And I am so sure about high school…


I am sure that none of those sleepless nights trying to figure out Algebra was a waste, because we weren’t really dealing with those x’s and y’s and binomials anyway. We were up, yes, but we were dreaming. I’m sure we were. We were dreaming of ways to eat our lunch the next day and the ways to get our crush’s number without looking like a retard. And I’m sure that sometimes we all did look like retards, but none of that entirely mattered. Because we had so much energy in us that humiliation and consequences were but fractions of motivation that only kept us going.


I am sure that those hallways weren’t just hallways; they were our very own world stage. Those hallways had seen so much of us – from the casual chit chats and last-minute note-scanning to the cutest holding-hands sessions and the overwhelming battles of forbidden love. Secrets were blurted out, love was confessed, friendship was made, friendship was broken, all in those hallways.


I am sure our dusty classrooms during our last year in high school weren’t just classrooms, either. Underneath the drama and some inevitable social discord, those rooms had been an echo chamber of a complex yet blissful familial dysfunction. Those rooms were our homes away from home. And I’m sure we all learned at least a thing or two about teenage hormones in there.

I am sure that those first times were going to be worthwhile. That first drop of beer and vodka was merely the beginning of a journey. That night we decided we wanted to try smoking, that night we got drunk for the first time, that same night we saw ourselves not just as students but as people. All those mini fights, mini flirting, mini kisses, mini heartbreaks and mini nights-out made room for memories that were gonna be larger than life.


I am sure that puberty, sexuality, poverty, love, rape, abortion, religion, gender, suicide and child abuse were all subjects very fresh to us. Most of us were just getting to know life through a peephole, and we were stoked! We were nervous, yes, but we were ready for anything life was gonna throw at us. We knew at the back of our minds that that was the time to learn, bit by bit, and then all at once.


I am sure that everybody had a blast during that on-campus camping when we were in junior year. I’m sure that the air that night was rather intimate, but not necessarily in a sexual way. It was intimate in that it brought people who were already close even closer, and that it smelled something like a quarterback’s sweaty bedroom. I’m sure that that bonfire lit up something inside each of us, even though we weren’t conscious of it right when it happened. But it was there, happening. I’m sure that every single one of us who looked straight into that tall fleeting fire felt this underlying gratitude for being alive. We were just so full of life and hope. I’m sure that the tents we slept in, the grass we walked on and the friends we laughed with were gonna be there for the long run. We knew nothing was permanent, but we also knew that that night was gonna last for a long time. In fact, so long of a time it still lives in us today.

I am sure that one afternoon in the gymnasium was a fateful one. I was rehearsing with my co-emcee for the Sportsfest Opening, and you were standing by the gate carrying your sports gear. And you weren’t exactly looking at me the whole time, but I would stare at you every chance I got, and I saw the 4-PM sun light the left part of your body and the wind blow your perfectly straight hair just enough so that a small portion of your right eye was covered, and then revealed, and then covered again, and then revealed again, and I thought you were just beautiful – just you standing there from a close distance, looking like someone I was going to spend the rest of my life with. And of course, neither of us intensely believed that. We both knew it was all on the surface, but we didn’t care. It just felt nice. And that’s all that we could hope for that day; to feel something nice.


In a world where everything seems so ephemeral, it is a gift to be able to keep great memories close to your heart. We are almost at that point already, my dear high school batchmates. We’re in this for the long haul. We were gossiping about crushes back then, but soon enough life slaps us in the face with jobs we don’t enjoy, bosses we hate, financial crisis we can’t escape, menacing strangers and some pretty devastating bad hair days. I mean, it is the bitch of living. We will eventually lose that youthful energy we always used to own, and we will someday feel like sleeping for a decade. But I think that if we just hold on to those moments from yesterday – those minutes and hours when all we cared about was feeling something simple and nice, those nights when we were living just for the hell of it, times when we were counting clouds and not assets, months when we didn’t have to worry about rent, or how much we had in our bank, days when it didn’t matter how badly we sucked at something because we would always just laugh at it – then we can absolutely feel nice forever.

I was losing all of my energy. But I just suddenly remembered, “I was a fucking teenager with all those fucking bad-ass moves and trips”. And I still am. I will forever be.

Seven Hundred Thirty-two Point Five

My Symphony: Little Wonders by Rob Thomas

Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours… these small hours still remain. And in the end, we will only just remember how it feels.

Yesterday, I was so carried away with the knowledge that it was my beloved mom’s birthday (March 23). We talked on the phone for roughly 30 minutes, and then I went to bed at quarter past midnight. I woke up to a new day, took a shower, ate my little brunch and just after I drank the very last drop of my apple grape juice, that’s when I realized that high school is already exactly 732.5 days ago.

March 24, 2010 (High School Class 2010 Graduation).  Two years ago, I never really thought that I would write about this one day. When I was in high school, all I ever wished for was to get out of high school. I couldn’t wait to put those four years, which I considered a heavenly hell-like ghetto paradise, behind me. But now that I am in a new country where no one really knows me at all, I begin to find out how much I love my high school days. It’s almost like the only certain thing that had happened in the past. High school is still fresh to my memory. All still appears clear to me: the hallways, the classrooms, the textbooks I used to carry with me to school, the names and faces of teachers, the canteen, the university football field (which happens to be my favorite place in the world), the subjects I really really hated (which I’m sure I’ll never get to encounter ever again in my life), the high school park (even if I never really spent a significant amount of my time there), the lobby, the tall, shady trees which made breathing through those four years a lot easier, the gymnasium, the amphitheatre, the lockers, the armchairs and the energy of each student in the department. But apart from that, what resounds to me the most is the fact that everytime I think about high school, I instantly get this weird, giddy notion that all of it feels like just yesterday. And it does. It does feel like 24 hours ago.

I can never really completely explain how much I feel right now. I’ve never really felt anything like this before. It’s that feeling that you’ve lived so much in the span of two years, but then you look back to the years before that and you notice that you’ve never lived like you’ve lived high school. Yes, high school was full of drama and superficiality. And I often doubted its purpose. I even reached the extent of cursing it. But I take all that back now. I was a kid, and I may have said and done things which didn’t really make sense then, but actually ended up defining who I am now. So yes, high school was a lot of work, but it was also definitely an array of subtle yet vigorous  life-defining moments that taught us lessons which are everlasting. And I don’t know if the rest of my batch mates feel this way, but I do. I do feel that those cliques, those social codes, those rainy days of cramming, those stern classes, cheesy puppy and first loves (which we all thought would last “forever”), those cute little notes we made, those little fights (which then seemed like World War 3), those academic and social competitions, those dry and dire hours of bearing with Drafting, Math, Physics and CAT, those flag ceremonies (which I usually skipped), those numerous mass services in the oratory (which I also skipped), those moments of staying in the campus past hours, the tiny bits of “suffering” and the overall tragicomedy were ALL worth it.

High school graduation is already two years ago. A year from now, I will remember this day as I type in “March 24, 2013…”

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCIk8nwH8VY

Pangarap (Dreams and Aspirations)

Below is a poem I composed in Filipino class back when I was in third year High School— proof that I also know how to write in my beloved National Language. 🙂

I’m sure some people do not know it, but I love and miss Filipino class. All the nose-bleeding terminologies and weird apprehensions of novels’ plots and underlying link to the everyday Filipino life will surely be something that I will keep looking for.  (Lahat ng mga malalalim at madamdaming pagbibigay-kahulugan sa iba’t-ibang yugto ng mga nobela kasabay ng mga salitang laman ng mga ito pati na rin ang kaugnayan nila sa pang araw-araw na buhay ng isang Pilipino ay tunay na magiging isang bagay na pauilit-ulit kong hahanap-hanapin). 

I’m pretty sure Gng. Grande and Bb. Marba will be so proud of me when they see this (which I bet they won’t). ^^

Nevertheless, I bring you… PANGARAP.


by: Kenn Edward B. Tenorio

Ako’y batang may malalaking pangarap

Ako’y isang taong ambisyosong ganap

Ako’y desperado’t puno ng pag-agap

Panaginip ang siyang palaging kayakap;

Nais ko sana’y sa bukas, makalawa,

Ako’y makapagtapos ng kolehiya;

Dalubhasa ng sining at retorika,

Nang sa gayo’y umasenso kapagdaka.

Pangarap ko ring lahat ng kayamanan

Sa aking kamay ang siyang kababagsakan;

Nang sa gayo’y matikman ko and d’yamante,

pilak at gintong halaga ay inepable.

Nais kong malasin ang Pransiya’t Gresya,

Nais kong lakbayin ang daang Italya;

Gusto kong languyin ang mga baybayin,

akyatin ang bundok, haplusin ang hangin.

Nais kong matikman ang tamis ng labi,

Madama ang dampi ng yakap na tangi,

Malasap ang ngiting kapantay ay langit

Ni Minervang talagang napakarikit.

Nais kong magmahal at ako’y mahalin,

Nais kong makita’y magandang tanawin;

Nais ko’y ganiyan, nais ko’y ganito,

Tila walang wakas ang paghingi kong ‘to.

Ako’y isang batang maraming pangarap;

Pangarap na tila’y hindi magaganap;

Ngunit ako’y umaasa, umaasa,

Bukas ako ay may iba nang eksena!

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Strawberry Juice

My Symphonies: Afterglow by INXS
Eve, the Apple of My Eye by Bell X1
Wonderwall by Oasis
Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol

It is indeed true that in life, there will always be a point where people start turning into thorny creatures as they begin pulling you down and every aspect of your humanity. One day, you’ll find that the people whom you’ve trusted turned out to be those antagonists that will tear you up into pieces. And when everything’s said and done, you are left with two choices: entertain the nonsense and get drowned by the paparazzi’s trash talks, or laugh it off and be happy.

It is truly hard to fight an uphill battle. But one thing’s for sure. When you’re there, battling, it’s like you can feel that you’re in that combat for something bigger…better…brighter.

And right now, I think I can see that sunlight; that shining star; that enormous salvation.

So I have been gone for two months already. I was out there, trying to relive certain moments and redefine myself. Lots have changed in a span of six weeks. The sun was just like rising yesterday and now it’s off for a hibernation. But today is another day. Five hours from now the sun will once again rise in the east, the birds will chirp and the morning dew will be beautiful as always. But before all this happens, I have to speak herein… ABOUT EVERYTHING.


The ever misunderstood. Ever controversial. Ever hated [and destroyed].

Freshman year. I was convinced that from the very moment I stood on the unfamiliar grounds of high school, life would never be the same. I was aware that there would be clashes, insurgencies, valor, hatred and devastation. I entered high school with everyone getting the impression that I am a snob, hypocrite, “plastic” and unconventional. Majority of the people that time was satisfied with the thought of me being the complete opposite of a “Mr. Congeniality” recipient.

So there. I had been the perfect image of the most cynical and mysterious earthling ever to walk on earth. I was also fairly odd-looking and socially awkward.

But it didn’t stop there. You know, sometimes, the more people get, the more they want. It’s never enough for any human being. I don’t even think “enough” exists in this typical existence. And so out of the bluest blue, I just found myself in the middle of every tussle and controversy in our batch. As far as I can recall, there was no single WORLD WAR (4A, i know you know what this means) wherein I was not involved. I always get into combats no matter how hard I try to take the different street. I have been Hatred’s favorite slave and Scuttlebutt’s favorite victim.

22378_101233536573660_7195644_nDuring my sophomore year, I was, I believe, the most fragile version of me. I admit I was as weak and as defenseless as a three-year old who’s still learning his ABC’s and 123’s. One offense against me and I was dead. Two years ago, I was this emotionally and socially unstable kid who didn’t even know what he was doing – someone who contented himself with being in the middle of things, not trying to get out of his comfort zone. That year, with many struggles and hard times, I learned how tough life can be sometimes. It is in my sophomore year that I learned that I have to get my knees harder and my backbone more stable if I want to survive life. I think that 75% of my classmates that time wasn’t really let’s say, the “FRIENDLY TYPE”. I was implicitly and psychologically bullied. 

22378_101234199906927_805573_nOne moment I was laughing hard with these people and by the next minute, I was the MAIN TOPIC of their wild and weird suspicions. Generally, I was still learning how to deal with haters. I was still discovering the secret life of The Hated and The Discussed. I was still leaving baby marks that time. Tama na ‘yung nagpapa twee-tums parati. I tended to be very delicate and sensitive with everything and everyone. But little did I know that I would somehow appreciate the things my haters did against me. Because of them, I learned to become stronger. Not really someone who’s as strong and as invincible as Superman, but stronger.


I started my junior year with a hope for a new beginning. I worked hard to redefine myself and my entourage. Firmer then than I was before, I started to create links with other people. These links led me to genuine friendships which have stood the test of time. Like what I have said in my previous blog about my junior year, it was in this year when I took everyday life experiences in very large doses. I was addicted to socialization. I took every little step which I felt would lead me to the better. I gained the trust of several people. And in the same manner, I was also able to put my trust in them. I explored the unknown and the untouched. I can say that in this year, I was able to put the previous ugly year behind me and move on. I learned that people come and go; I learned that everything happens for a reason; I learned that in order to live, I must keep on learning. Junior year taught me how to become wiser. I can pretty much say that this year had been my training ground.

I spent the rest of the year thinking how things might so severely change by the succeeding 365 days. And let’s just take a look at how drastically things [and people] can transform.

“The grass is greener where it rains”— Bell X1

So three months after that year ended, I started to sense how right and accurate my instincts were. CHANGE IS THE ONLY PERMANENT THING IN THE WORLD. And I couldn’t agree any more on this general truth. My senior year is undeniably full of twists and turns. There had been a change in looks, company, camaraderie, bonds, priorities, views in life and even in beliefs. I can say that what I had learned in my previous years in high school is successfully and effectively serving its purpose right now. I always knew that after my happy-go-lucky junior year, I will be faced with a whole new package of fiasco. And now here I am, once again rather “despised” by people – people who so desperately try to break me down and destroy my every feature. 15166_103013263055732_5988482_nLife’s still the same for me after all those head-turning experiences. IT’S STILL THE SAME. There’s still the controversy being instigated by lame people, there’s still my circle of friends, who trust me and believe in my deeds and capacities, there’s still those firecrackers that ring in my ear every free time and most importantly, there’s still that one shining piece of happiness that stays with me no matter what. I have to say that I was beginning to find life rather boring. It’s just like a senseless cycle. People hate me–> I laugh, People hate me–> I laugh and People hate me–> I laugh. But now I realize that all of this is not a nonsense. This cycle is in fact the very thing which will mold me to become perfectly invulnerable.


What I am trying to emphasize here is that if we take a look at the vast dimension of life, we can see how beautiful it is to be able to live. We can see that though everytime you rise up, there will always be people who’ll bring you down, life is still amazing. We can see how much it means to have good friends who’ll be by your side even if your flaws start to become very obvious. Because friendship isn’t about trying to be perfect for each other, but being there when the world is turned against the other.

Above all this, I learned that the only people I need in my life are those who prove they need me in theirs. I am so not born to live up to everyone’s expectations. I have my own individual differences, and so does everyone else. And it is so right that each of us is beautiful in his own ways.

Controversies have made a mark on my life already, but I never took them the wrong way. I embrace destructive circumstances constructively. Let us all learn to make strawberry juice out of lemons.

When life gives you something sour and bitter, look for ways to make something sweet out of it. You’ll never know how sweet the outcome can be.

To all my haters, I once again salute you for molding me into a better person.

I may never have been this strong if it wasn’t for you.

Now all I can say is…………………………. KEEP TALKIN’, SHAWTY!!! XD

381705_335564229800633_1385037897_nI STAY HAPPY. 🙂

Tribu B, Thanks for everything. It was fun and it’s nice to have you guys back then. I learned a lot from this group.
Invictus Guild, I know we are not that stable, but I believe that we shared something special, and that’s more than enough for me…
PNP, palangga ta gid kamo TANAN, indi lang isa, kundi TANAN. 🙂 thanks for sharing your life experiences with me, people. Thanks for being there when I need to laugh, or when I simply need people to talk to. You are one bunch of great, loud, happy people. And I am so lucky to have you guys co-exist with me here on earth. :]
Ybarzabal CouncilI know 80% of you can’t read this post, but guys, you are like my perfect getaway. Balo naman kamo na guro ah. Nga kung kita kita ga inupdanay, dula ang problema. :] Kag, MANY TO MENTION ang hamablon ko sinyo…