October 20, 2011



It's a new word I picked up from my friend, Eartha (her touching post here inspired me to write this), last night while we were texting overseas about the recent passing of our dear friend, Maj. We can't help but laugh and cry at the same time because not only do we realize that Maj has left us, but we also remember what she left us.

Generosity. Laughter. Love. Lots of it.


Though we weren't in the same barkada at the start, I remember her giving me a gift on my birthday. It was the second day of our freshman orientation, I had only known her a day (plus or minus a few hours). We were at the William Taft Little Theatre, and Eartha was sitting between us. It was a small, green paper box. I was so touched that she thought of giving me a gift, and when she handed it to me, I opened it with much excitement and suspense.

But there was nothing inside, it was just a paper box that she had made herself.


I have fond memories of how stingy we were back in the day. She and I would bring packed lunches (to college!) so we could save our allowance and splurge on neo-prints. We were so disappointed about this particular one because we didn't like how we looked and we vowed never to show it to anyone. Funny thing is, it's the only one I have.

(Hope you don't mind, Maj.)

It seems so timely that last weekend I took home a box of old stuff from my mom's house, and in it was a college scrapbook. I had dedicated one page each for my closest college friends, her included.

On the right was her artistic rendition of our Economics class. On the lower left was a note we passed talking about a guy who was sitting beside me in class who got a higher score in his exam than I, even if he copied his answers from my paper! She was as upset as I. I barely passed that class, but she, maj-ically, got no less than a 3.0 even if, from how I remember it, we spent the whole time gossiping!

To Maj, everything was no sweat. One of the funniest things she taught me was that if I had a big zit, I should wear deep red lipstick to draw people's eyes away from the pimple. 

After graduation, keeping in touch was difficult, she missed my wedding because of work, but we touched base again a few years ago when Eartha regularly visited the Philippines. In those dinners we had together, we often talked about, what else, college, and how someone thought she was my lesbian lover! 

So we used to spoon food into each other's mouths, it didn't mean she was my girlfriend! 

We laughed so hard at the thought that we were compelled to pay homage to it with a photo.

We look a bit awkward here because we couldn't seem to go full lesbian.


She also missed my baby shower, but easily repaid her absence with the tenderness she always showed my daughter. I like to think that she had so much love to give that it spilled over to A.

Little did I know, A's birthday in April would be the last time I would see her. She arrived fashionably late, but I was glad she came. She gifted A with a pink and purple musical potty.

But, of course!

That was Maj. She may have not always showed up on time or at all, but she always made up for it--in trademark Maj-style. 

Looking back, though she was one of my dearest friends, Maj always had an air of mystery about her. Many things did not add up. Even her sudden death leaves me puzzled. But I like to think that in life, Maj measured things with a different yardstick. With her, a small, handmade box meant 23 years of friendship, cheap packed lunches and crappy neoprints were in exchange for clear, unerasable memories, and a potty was a wonderful sign of love.

In the beginning she may have given me a small gift, but in the end, I received from her
 the best things in life.



  1. "sus yun lang pala" were the famous words I uttered upon seeing the empty box. Ayan tuloy, I made a bad first impression on you... ;) laughcry
    The flowers look beautiful, George... <3 thank you... She would have loved them..

  2. hay, still laughcrying. I remember that like it was yesterday!

  3. me too. i remember you examining the box, trying to see if anything would fall out of it... :')

  4. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. Sorry for your loss.