masigI just read my previous article entitled “LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND” and I suddenly remember our fraternity’s own creed that “BROTHERHOOD MERITS PRIMACY AT ALL TIMES” and so I thought of writing something about it.

It was almost 11 years ago since I joined the ALPHA SIGMA FRATERNITY at the UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES in Diliman, Quezon City. It was February 14, 1998 when 6 of us in the batch underwent the INITIATION RITES and officially became “BROTHERS-BY-CHOICE”.

The process was harder than I thought and we were the last batch to experience such since on that same weekend, another student named ALEX ICASIANO died during a similar initiation rites due to hazing. He was supposed to be a member of the ALPHA PHI BETA FRATERNITY, another known and influential fraternity in the university.

We were six in the batch. Five of us were dorm mates and buddies while the 6th member was a batch mate we knew only during our application period. Nonetheless, Jaime became a good friend and a brother later on. 

Karl and I were roommates and both of us speak the same Pampango dialect. He is from Bataan and he was taking Public Administration then and I am from Pampanga taking an Engineering course. Jason’s root is from Pampanga as well but he was raised in Naga City and we were under the same block taking up the same course in college. Byrone is from Mindoro taking up Chemical Engineering along with another friend, Spice who was with Geology that we later recruited to the fraternity. On the other hand, the 5th guy on the batch is Jerry who hails from Iligan City and was Spice’s classmate in Geology. Every one of us was linked together and we live on the same dormitory known as the Kalayaan Residence Hall.

Our story is something that is worth a book to write. We all had fun together and we were most envied then to have had a taste of every adventure one can have while in college. We were tagged as the “BAD BOYS” who made a spot in the dorm as an official smoking area. We would often take every FIRE EXITS as our escape holes every night so we can take a walk to the nearest 7eleven or Ministop for a GILBEY’S GIN and LIME JUICE. We would stay for hours at the GRANDSTAND drinking before we head home so we can prepare for school.

Girls were never a problem since Karl was really good at getting us near nice and pretty ladies. Often, we would end up drunk with them and the next day, we end up as boyfriends with the ladies. It was a nice experience though and I know that it would take me a lot of writing to incorporate all the adventures we had in this blog if I were to put everything. At any rate, I wish to put an emphasis on the fact that our bond as brothers was so strong that we would go wherever one would go. It was a “ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE” for all of us. No questions asked!

There was even one time when all of us decided to rent a house and there we had yet another chapter of our FRIENDSHIP and BROTHERHOOD. Thanks to the SAN VICENTE EXPERIENCE. Hehehe. Through thick and thin, we would all be together. Often, we would all end up penniless literally and take a long walk from the house to the school with a smile – rain or shine. There were even occasions where we all ended up out-numbered and about to be beaten but none of us ran as we all stayed together to give our opponents a good fight. Come what may, we will always remain as one. That’s our pledge!

Well, years went by and we all found ourselves heading towards separate directions due to career, personal engagements and individual advocacies. I married and left first. The others remained. Soon, each of them would leave and work as well. We all had to grow old and live a life of our own. Nonetheless, the brotherhood was there deep inside us. We communicated if there is an opportunity but only through social network and SMS.

Eleven years later, most of us would get to meet by serendipity. Most of us were fathers already while some are working abroad. We may have not seen each other for almost a decade yet the bonding is so strong that I can still say that I know them all by heart though they have aged a little. We may have taken different path during the time that we all had to take our own directions in life; nonetheless, we never have forgotten all about our friendship and brotherhood. We were all brothers-by-choice until the day we all get to leave this world.

As they say, ONCE A BROTHER, ALWAYS A BROTHER! That is exactly who we are then, now, tomorrow and for all the days and years to come. We will always be BROTHERS!