The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, May 18, 2006

BMX Riders of the Eighties [Repost]

Originally posted on March 15, 2005
Photo taken in mid-1987, at the CCP complex (Cultural Center of the Philippines) in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines: Cousin Mike, Tito Gerry, I, and Cousin Heinjie on rented BMX bicycles

I was wearing a black beret, a headgear associated with the New Wave music and fashion of the '80s.

Speaking of BMX bikes, this particular type of bicycles was a craze in the Philippines in the early '80s. In the summer of 1981, I had my first and only BMX bike which, unfortunately, got stolen about one month after the day my mother and I bought it at a bicycle shop in Cartimar, Pasay City, Metro Manila.

The Myth behind My BMX Bike
(A Confession of Sorts)

This will be the first time I will reveal the real story behind that BMX bicycle of mine.

Back then, I used to tell friends that the reason I was unable to finish fourth grade at St. Mary's Academy ("SMA"; Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines) and, in the ensuing school year, had to repeat the same grade at Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School, a public school near our former rented house in Barrio Pio del Pilar in Makati City, Metro Manila, was that I used my tuition fee to buy a BMX bike. This was partly a truth and partly a lie. I concocted this story because of embarrassment with my parents' marital problems which had been causing the family severe financial difficulty during that time.

When I was in fourth grade at SMA, 1980, I could barely take a periodical examination at the regular schedule because I was always delayed in settling my quarterly tuition fee. I think only a few times was I able to join a field trip because my mother couldn't afford such extracurricular expenses. Even when I was in Grace 5, some of my field trips would have been pfft if weren't for a kind classmate, named Jeffrey Murao, who offered to shoulder the fee.

I remember how my mother always found difficulty in pulling a couple of coins from her purse for my daily allowance. Many a school day when there was no more enough money to pull I had to feign sickness, reporting back to school the next day armed with only an excuse letter. And, as you might have anticipated, I failed to reach the school-year's fourth quarter...there was no more money to pay for the remaining tuition fee...I stopped going to school. I even remember a few classmates' visiting me at home, sending news that our adviser and a few of them were willing to assist me with whatever problems I'd might been having. Instead of feeling glad and optimistic, I began to withdrew because of--what else--shame. I remember asking one classmate, named Glenn, to cover for me by misinforming our teacher that I had an accident and suffered a leg fracture, thus my inability to continue schooling at least through the remaining weeks of the school year.

In short, I dropped out of school.

Come summertime, when virtually every young one in the neighborhood had a BMX bicycle, I was able to persuade my mother in buying me a bike. I was tired of borrowing once in a while the bikes of my friends and of renting almost every day from the many rent-a-bike shops that sprouted during that time. Mother and I figured that we could spare some four-hundred pesos for my own bike; anyway I'd be transferring to a public school near our house the coming school year, which meant she wouldn't be having any more problems concerning school allowances and, much so, tuition fees. We also decided not to settle the remaining tuition balance from my fourth grade at St. Mary's, thinking that, anyway, I would have surely flunked because I was unable to take the last-quarter examinations.

One Saturday morning, Mother and her twinkling-eyed son finally went to Cartimar, Pasay City, to buy a red Shimano-type BMX bike. We went back home with my preciousss aboard a taxicab. I barely finished my lunch that day just to be able to tour the neighborhood at once with my BMX-rider friends.

After only more than a month, I woke up one morning to find my bike, which I safely kept in our garage, missing. My friends and I spent the whole day looking for it in the neighborhood in case someone just decided to play a prank on me.

It was already nighttime when I acknowledged the fact that my precious BMX bicycle was really stolen.

In school-year 1981–82, I was in fourth grade for the second time, at Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School. And every time I saw my friends on their bikes, I could only frown and reminisce about my lovely summer days with my precious bicycle.

Returning to St. Mary's Academy the following year, with the financial assistance of Tita Mely in Canada, I began to tell my old school friends and new classmates that I had to repeat fourth grade at a public school as a punishment for having spent my tuition fee to buy a BMX bike—a reason, regardless if it was a lie, I felt much "cooler" than admitting the fact that my family had become too poor to support my education at a private institution.

This myth I still find to this day to be cool; but better and much relieving finally to have had the courage to confess publicly to such a harmless lie once concocted by a little boy too embarrassed to let his friends and classmates know a sad truth.

I am dedicating this article to my longtime friend Derrick Periodico, my first-ever best friend during my elementary days at St. Mary's Academy, who to this day still remembers my invented story about my BMX bike. As he commented on a particular blog entry of mine:

At 1:00 AM, derrick said…
i remember the year when you didn't enroll at st. mary's. we had a small group then… we all wondered why you didn't enroll. i didn't know that your family was having financial problems. all we knew back then was that you used your tuition money to buy a bike!


  • At Friday, March 18, 2005 12:37:00 AM, Blogger vayie said…

    a very interesting read. it's so nice strolling down the memory lane!

  • At Friday, March 18, 2005 12:45:00 AM, Blogger vayie said…

    ...and oh by the way, i have my share of experiences involving financial problems when i was in elementary. i guess it's really normal that you will not admit it but you know what? i really admire you telling it now.

  • At Saturday, March 19, 2005 9:33:00 PM, Blogger noreen said…

    it's nice to write/read stories of our childhood because in one way or another, we discover and realize new things about ourselves.

    wish i could also have the time to write about my childhood. actually i wrote an autobiography for my thesis. guess i'll just be needing lots of time to revise it.

    re your comment on my blog: sige, sige. ipapadala ko sa iyo wishlist ko. kaso, karamihan, old songs eh. mga 80s. saka mga kasentihan. LOL

  • At Sunday, March 20, 2005 12:10:00 AM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Yeah, you're right--every time we take a trip down memory lane, we stumble upon new fragments of our ownselves we didn't know in the past.

    I know, for writers like us, ideas seem to pour forth like rain; but if we do not have enough time to catch them with our cupped hands, we will never catch them.

    I'm taking advantage of this period of my life, for, in a few more months, I'd be starting to work and be having limited time to make love with my muses.

    Regarding the MP3s, you may check my "MP3 Archive." '80s' ballads? I have many of them---"Ocean Deep," "Reality," Menudo, "Through the Years," Air Supply, Angela Bofill, "Miles Away," Christopher Cross, Kenny Rogers, Milli Vanilli, etc...Ha-ha-ha. I told you, I'm a sucker for MP3s.

  • At Sunday, May 21, 2006 8:34:00 PM, Blogger Jennie said…

    Does this take me back to MY BMX days :)

    It is very brave of you to admit your financial problems back then and it is very understandable that it must have been really shameful for you as a kid to admit to it. Kudos to you for being in terms with it now :) In a way, you just look at it as one of those experiences that helped you become the person that you are now.


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