“High school is the most memorable time of one’s life!”
Whether that saying rings true or not, it’s quite difficult to argue against the notion that memories in high school fill up the very core of our young adult lives.
This is no different for the many thousands of Chinese-Filipinos who have, over the course of many decades, called either Xavier School (an all-boys school) or the Immaculate Conception Academy (Xavier’s neighboring all-girls school), both in San Juan City, their high school homes.
Priceless memories have been made by their students, and even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought about many challenges, more will still be made for sure! For the meantime, though, let us celebrate what has been; below are seven signs that prove you’re undeniably an ICAn or Xaverian:
1) Nagtambay ka sa Pao Pao, Ersao, Cops and Robbers, McDonald’s, atbp. pagkatapos ng klase
Some are old and a lot more are new (sorry older alumni!), but what all the restaurants around Xavier and ICA have had in common is that they serve as after-school places to unwind. We’ve all seen students holding a bag of delicious, freshly-cooked chicken from Pao Pao on their way to tutor or while waiting for their school buses to leave in Xavier’s Gate 4—if we ourselves weren’t one of them! Speaking of tambayan…
2) You know the greatness of that place that was called Ash Creek (Sigh..)
Starbucks, Mercury Drugstore, Hungry Pac, Pancake House.. It really did have everything! Even the more recent high school graduates remember the place, and many of us were surprised and sad that it ultimately closed down forever. However, while it was unwelcomed news for many of us, we celebrate it here and recall the spontaneous Potato Corner trips we made after class!
3) You know the significance of a usually ordinary Spanish bread
If you’re really a Xaverian or ICAn, you’ll instantly get this and associate it to that once-in-a-lifetime event. (Or, if you’re younger, you’ll eventually know!) Nothing more will be said on this except the fact that this has been a life-changing experience where many have experienced the love of those who love them—as well as the love of complete strangers—and, most importantly, the love of the Divine!
4) You’ve attended a soirée with a class from the opposite school (and likely found a new crush after it)
Ah, those afternoon and early evening 9th grade soirées! These wholesome, non-school-sanctioned gatherings have been opportunities for Xaverians and ICAns to meet one another. Various games are played such as (the very awkward) speed dating, wherein participants interact with someone they don’t know for around a minute. And yes, soirées are the origins of many new crushes—something exhibited by people who quickly add the new crush on Facebook! (Ayieeee!)
5) HOLD ON, don’t forget that one BATCH WIDE “soirée”!
If you think soirées are origins of new crushes, you’ve very clearly underestimated the Xavier-ICA interaction! A school-sanctioned activity, what happens is that one ENTIRE Xaverian and ICAn batch come together to celebrate community. The participants are divided into groups consisting of (ideally) the same number of Xaverians and ICAns and fun activities are conducted. The event ends with a group picture; that’s easily around 400 Xaverians and ICAns in one picture!
6) You know about that one infamous slip someone from Xavier gets if he misbehaves
Yes, the one that’s color green! Though in ICA they’re called “infraction slips”, even they know what green slips are! Even if you’ve never gotten either a green or infraction slip (wow naman), it’s likely that, at least once, you feared for your life that you would. And even if you’ve never gotten one, you clearly know what comes after it (clue: cleaning classrooms, for the Xaverians at least!)
7) Men for others and women of faith and service… Always
But of course, the only reason why green slips and infraction slips are given is to help mold us into men for others and women of faith and service. No matter what and no matter where, we are all called to be men and women for others, exhibiting that through our faith in God and service to the least, the lost, and the last.
THOSE ought to be defining traits not just of Xaverians and ICAns but everyone as well; countless have been so. THOSE ought to be what we strive for always, that no matter what we are going through, we commit to serving in our own special ways. THOSE are the keys to a healthy and happy society.
Lastly, may we always, as we say it in Xavier, let our lights shine!
The author of this article:
An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.joseph.s.medina/