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To: Maryfaye Louise Agapay by Jon Oliver R. Balili

Once in a while, I pull out from my shelves the mementos of my high school life (yes, I still have those photos and goodbye notes). It shows that after five years, I still have that attachment towards the Jesuit school I spent most of my life in and the memories I shared with my classmates.


Some time before graduating from high school, a number of us received handwritten letters from an old friend. They were from Maryfaye Louise Agapay who left the country for Australia after grade school. She was thoughtful enough to write to us even if she’s now an ocean away. Below is her letter to me:



Written on: Monday, 26th January 2009


Dear Jon/Oliver (or Mr. Balili),


Salutations! By the way, do you prefer being called Jon or Oliver? I forgot what I used to call you back then when I still studied at your school (SHS-J). I hope you don’t mind my calling you ‘mister’ in the card and a bit on this letter. It’s just that it sounds kind of respectable and noble (though we are of the same age). But this is not the reason why I’m writing all this…


You’re probably wondering what this is all about… right? Well, I’m actually writing to all our classmates in Grade 5 Hurtado (who are still studying in SHS-J). It’s also because you’re all graduating… except for me… I still have three more years to go until I finish high school. You see, the education system here, in the country I am living in now, is different.


Anyway, I hope you’ll continue to reach for your goals and hope you’re successful at it! Happy Graduation Day and God Bless! Continue to be the gentleman you always have been! It’s very rare to find such people – gentlemen and ladies, I mean.


Your old/former classmate


P.S. Try guessing who I am… I guess you know who I am already. Clue: We have been classmates since Grade 3 to Grade 6 (except for Grade 4).



Sadly, I wasn’t able to write her back. The teacher who handed me the letter couldn’t give me a return address and internet searches of her name led nowhere. So instead, I’ll just leave my reply hanging here in cyberspace, hoping she would find it.



March 8, 2014


Dear Athlete’s Foot,


Yes, I remember calling you that back in Grade 6, when you actually had athlete’s foot. And I remember joking you could run fast because of it.


I’d like to thank you for the letter you wrote back in 2009. It was nice to hear from you again after quite a while. I know this reply is long overdue (5 years, in fact!) but at the time I thought it was pointless to write back knowing you wouldn’t get my letter. I never got your return address, you see. Sorry about that but hey, better late than never, right?


I couldn’t find you on Facebook or anywhere on the internet. So I’ll leave this letter here in my friend’s blog (to which I contribute articles once in a while). Maybe this letter will end up as an email chain or have its own hashtag or get reported by international news agencies before reaching you. I just hope you get to read this.


By now, you would have graduated from high school. Congratulations! I bet you’re now trying to make a name for yourself and put a dent in the universe. We all are, I suppose. Many of us have gone to college and some, myself included, have already earned a bachelor’s degree.


Sadly, I lost contact with most of our classmates so I can’t say much about them. What I can tell you is that Luis Canora is now in Canada pursuing studies in Biology. Kevin Teves is still eccentric and hilarious as ever. Faye Sanchez will finish her Nursing studies very soon and Sarah del Prado just passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers. Sir Kurt Pala is… let’s just say he’s exploring the world now.


As for me, I earned my degree in Economics last year. I worked for a non-profit, development research organization until my employment contract ended last December 2013. I’ve been brushing up on my photography while looking for a new job. I do hope to run my own professional photography outfit someday.


It’s been 9 years since we last saw each other. I hope I can speak for the others when I say that we miss you. The school is a second home, after all, and that makes all part of a second family. That said, it would be really nice if we got together again, whether with you coming to Cebu or us finding you in Australia or wherever you are now. We have a lot of catching up to do.


That’s it for now. I do hope you’ll write back. And I hope you succeed in your endeavors in life, whatever they may be. God bless!



Jon Oliver Balili




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This entry was posted on April 2, 2014 by in A Day in a Life, Feature Writer and tagged , , , , , , .

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