Friday, September 3, 2010

A Phenomenology of a "Growing Barkada"

Phenomenology (phe·nom·e·nol·o·gy) - n. the way in which one perceives and interprets events and one's relationship to them in contrast both to one's objective responses to stimuli and to any inferred unconscious motivation for one's behavior

(This was written way back Senior year High School as a final paper for Debate class. Just want to share this with you guys... High School wouldn't be as fun and memorable without my HS friends)


The peaceful corridor of the High School building suddenly turns into a jam-packed place. The time: 11:45—it’s lunch time again. Students rush down to hit the canteen and at the same time not miss the delicious food they would buy.

I began to find myself hurriedly fixing my things so I could join my friends for lunch. It has always been this way: from rm310, my friends and I would immediately rush to the canteen to meet our other friends.
Lunchtime - School Canteen
Inside the crowded canteen, there sat Jaymee and Julienne—who are waiting for us. By the time we reach the table, they are almost halfway done with their food. Jaymee stands up and leaves, and after a few minutes returning with a plate of French fries topped with sour cream and calamansi. As we eat, each of us would share stories of what has been happening in school and at home. Since two of them came from a different section, each would have different stories to share. Jaymee would eagerly tell us about her latest crush. Celina and I would also share similar experiences with them. Julienne would laugh along with us, no matter how silly and stupid we get. Paula and Marcy would softly render us with their singing. Lastly, Jila would sit and munch on her sandwich while talking. We use our lunch time to be together, since we don’t get to spend our free time with each other anymore because of the busy schedule we all have.

It has always been the same scene in lunch that has been happening since our schoolyear started. Of course, our barkada was not always so cheerful and united, especially when we experienced some problems within our group before.

There was a time when our barkada almost split up because Jaymee and Julienne got mad at us for a reason we could never understand. Suddenly, there was a gap in our group. Jaymee and Julienne were seldom around. When they would join us sometimes for lunch, they would only talk among themselves and not mind us at all.

Each of us was afraid that this group would really split up. We were afraid we would leave our school, after we graduate, with sad memories in our group. I was the one who worries the most because I was afraid of losing two of the closest and dearest friends I have.

The gap in our barkada was never discussed in lunch. We avoided talking about it, until Julienne and Jaymee told us they would leave our group. They began avoiding us, and joined another group. The gap between us grew wider.

Then, we began to ask ourselves, “Are we really a part of this group? Or, are we just called a barkada because it seems like an appropriate term to call this group?”

We asked ourselves if there were reasons behind their leaving us. Was it because we do not have some things in common? Was it because they came from a different class and realized it would be easier for them to stay barkadas among their classmates? Was it because they grew tired of being in our group?

Was the real essence of being a part of a barkada ever present in our group? Was there a barkada that even existed in our group?

With that, we now set aside the fact they come from a different class and that we don’t have a lot of things in common. We put away all our judgments and notions on why these things were happening in our group. We go back to the experience and ask among ourselves, “What is a barkada?”
Villa Escudero
A barkada is a group of friends who come together and be with each other through good and bad times. It is what made us go through our High School life unafraid and certain that we had a group to run to in times we ever need help. A barkada does not exist as a name alone. Once it contains a group of friends, who laugh together, cheer each other up, do things together, help one another in times of trouble and fill that group with love, warmth, understanding, care and friendship, then a barkada is formed. It is like a family, only they don’t have a father who disciplines and a mother who nurtures them, just sisters having a good time together.

If we came from the same class, would this problem ever happen? Would there be a gap in our group? Talking it over with my friends, we came to realize that these problems happen in every barkada. Nobody’s barkada was ever perfect. Every barkada needs to grow and learn to strengthen the friendship and love within. Every person, as a part of the group, need not feel that her group is the only one she could count on. Every person in the group should also grow, in order to make the friendship grow stronger and meaningful.

After a few weeks, they returned to our group. No sorry’s and no explanations ever happened. Things were back to normal.
At school grounds
Perhaps, these things happen in our group because each one of us is growing differently—an an individual, not as a group. As each of us is growing and beginning to realize the real essence of our being part of a barkada, our whole barkada grows as well. The little things we do together were often taken for granted before. But now, as we finally spend the few remaining weeks of school together, we realize that the little things we do make us grow and make our friendship stronger and meaningful.

The limited number of times we spend together and the number of things we have in common do not hold the test of being a real barkada. It is how we view and value our friendship that counts.

Looking beyond the experience, it made us realize that a real barkada does not consist of having to fo the same things together, but giving each other space to grow. Perhaps, the time when Julienne and Jaymee left us, they needed time and space to grow. Our view of friendship, as young individuals, is not how we viewed when we were kids—when we play with dolls and fill our lives with sugar and spice.
Balloon Baby project for 2nd year High School
We now come face to face with reality. Friendship is not filled with sugar and spice anymore, and it never was. But friendship, especially in the essence of a real barkada should be filled with love and understanding, and knowing how each person feels.

The reason why they got mad at us would remain unknown, at least for the moment. We never tried to talk about it… I guess it would be better left unsaid…

(My friends and I have gone our separate ways, but somehow, I've managed to keep in touch with some of them, thanks to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Friendster.)

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