Friday, March 28, 2008

Daily Report: Endless Commencement

Today was Epril's younger sister's high school graduation out in Jassan.

I was up at 5:30 this morning so that I could get a fair amount of work in before going out to the village. That plan actually worked out pretty well, and by 10:00 I had put in a nice half day of work and we were on the road.

First, we took a jeepney to a shopping center called Ororama. I have to put in a recall on my earlier rant about a lack of decent home decor and supplies in Cagayan. Ororama actually had a surprisingly tasteful and stylish selection of odds and ends for around the house, and at prices that had me laughing out loud. (A gorgeous 2-foot-tall glass vase was $5, and a very nice and large wood-framed wall mirror was $15.) We bought Ednil her graduation present (a snow globe for $2) and had it gift wrapped.

We caught a taxi to Jassan. I apparently got ripped off the last time I did this last October, as the driver charged me a flat rate of 1,000 pesos, while this time the driver used the meter, and it only cost 290 pesos. (Being picked up by the taxi in front of the local discount shopping mall, instead of a resort hotel probably had something to do with the price difference.)

Along the way to Jassan, I actually thought about getting into the taxi business here in Cagayan. A late-model taxi is rented by the taxi owner to the driver for 600 pesos ($15) per day, and a new taxi rents for 800 pesos ($20) per day. A fleet of 10 taxis would make for a nice little business. I haven't found out yet about the licensing and regulations and other as-yet-unknown costs, but I think I'll look into it.

We got to Jassan and the karaoke from the neighbor's house was blasting again. I had planned for this though: Epril and I immediately invited the family out to lunch at the local resort hotel's restaurant: It was quiet, it was air conditioned, and it was comfortable. We spent a pleasant hour sitting around eating and enjoying ourselves.

Jassan is a small little village of about 6,000 souls, I would guess... about the same size as the town I grew up in. I expected... expected a high school graduation here would be roughly the same 90-minute, sit-in-the-grandstand to-do that my family and I went through a couple of decades ago. Heck: The Philippines is a much simpler place, perhaps the graduation ceremony would be even simpler.

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

Batch 2008. All 375 of them.
First of all, how can such a little town have a graduating class of 375? I don't know, but it did, and it was the first warning sign that I was in for a long afternoon.

At 2:00 was the graduates' church service. Then at 4:00 (when the church service finished), the graduates walked across the town square to "the shell" (the grandiose bandstand and covered pavilion), where commencement activities took place. No where to sit: Only graduates and school staff got seats. Everyone else stood.

Ednil gets her diploma from
Jassan National High School.
At 7:00, five hours after this all started, the high school choir was filing on to the stage to sing their "graduating song", which apparently comes before the principal's speech, Epril and I were heading for the highway. It was a 90-minute trip home by Jeepney, and I wanted to get in 2 hours of work before going to sleep.

Anyway, yes... we did make it home at about 9:00, and no... I didn't get any more work done today. Instead, I climbed into bed almost immediately after getting home.


TheMindFantastic said...

New place, new things to get used to, early nights and long commencements...

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