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All pictures are thumbnails so click them to get the blown-up version especially the welcome  graphics above to see who Ed Mara was pulling along the San Francisco Bay..

       by Ebee Fernandez '71

I started to unplug the earphones off my ear, rather grudgingly. I didn't understand why passengers had to shut off all electronic devices before landing. Does anyone really believe that a CD player could affect cockpit's navigational instruments?  Besides, what was there left to navigate?  We had just entered the Houston aerodrome and was about to join the traffic pattern. For some reason, this FAA rule is really imposing. Pag nainis ako sa kanila, mag-dadabog ako! I may be in Houston now, but after finding my way to San Jose, I'm not here.                 
Southwest Airlines takes you to San Jose. We left Ontario International Saturday a.m. and it was on time. I sat confidently in a window seat, Ariel was with me, behind was ma fren Edmar and Stan. Still way behind was Bobby L and Benson, his son-in-law. After the flight attendants had gone through their usual, the jet engines roared like nobody's business pulling 100 or so paxes into a clear southern California sky. As it rolled halfway along the active I turned my head back and signaled one index finger to Edmar. He understood that perfectly. He pretended to be my co-pilot. One finger is for velocity 1 or V1. A few seconds later, I signaled two fingers for V2. He smiled, he knew it was take-off velocity and moments later we rotated and lifted off the ground. I knew when to raise the gears so at about 50 feet off the runway, I threw my thumbs up. This time Ed was smiling sincerely. Ah yes, little did they know, the last of the real trojans, the kings of C47's and C123's are here. 737 only.
I have never seen San Joaquin valley at 29 angels and the day was clear like it was made to order. Below was the sprawling agriculture which nurtured California and the rest of the world. The aqueduct shimmered with a dark teal color against a noon-ish sun, cutting across the valley like an aorta linking the heart of the Southland with the mountains of the north. I couldn't help but thank father god and the corps of engineers for scooping that water out of the Sacramento river and hurling it down at nature's pace  to L.A. and San Diego. Without that water, Southern California would be nothing less than the Mojave, desolate and barren, no intelligent life, no pizzazz, no ana-ana. The I-5 provided a trunk line of cars and trucks zooming at termite speed. From above, it sketched a north-south straight line over a green carpet of vegetation. I could see the I-90 divorcing the I-5 as it headed its northeasterly way to Fresno. "Somewhere out there is Porterville", Ariel nodded. He just came from Porterville for a fun day of grape-picking. 
The straight and level flight lasted for just a few minutes, but, it was enough for me to wonder with awe the gold in this golden state. I seldom fly north-south. My weekly route is east-west over the Colorado river, above Phoenix, wheeze over White Sands in New Mexico to El Paso, then to the Texas plains. I felt a slight deceleration as the engine noise abated from a roar to a whisper, either that or my ears were clogged. I did a slight valsalva as we entered a smooth decent. The beautiful lady attendants were busy collecting trash, yet my eyes were still glued outside. In front of me was the fabled Silicon valley. I knew prices of real estate had gone down due to layoffs and recession, so I started mapping out where to buy my next property (joke only). The valley had more greens compared to the brown brushes in So Cal. I was thinking of moving up north, but Geynz is already there. We have to spread out snappity in California.

I saw Geynz as soon as I rushed out of the gate. His eyes were rolling like the dickens as if he didn't recognize me. Tatakilin ko sana, you know my usual m.o., but I had a change of heart.  Archie and Rolly  McClean were there and I knew Geynz caught on as I greeted Archie first, then him, then Rolly. We were all so happy greeting each other that we started a little commotion. So what! I haven't seen Geynz for about 25 years, Archie for 5 or so and Rolly for 20 years. Sipin mo na lang the galak I felt when I saw them. They haven't changed a bit, very lax pa rin (lol). LOL means "laughing out loud", hindi "ulol" like some of you might think. I was impressed by Archie's familiarity of San Francisco, o liko tayo dyan, o kanan dyan, mamya andon na.                        
We billeted at the Woodfin, 2 adjoining suites picked by ariel. I had a couple of Heineken before we checked in. Archie was busy handing out beer while in the van. There were two cases of beer and one hard, plus cashew nuts, peanuts and cornicks (?). George, Geynz' brother was on the wheels. I heard he was supposed to join '74 but declined after knowing EdMar was there. You should have seen him when he was a yearling, ha? George was very nice and polite, he took care of the short cuts and the dog legs to the Embarcadero.

The day was spent strolling at the Fisherman's Wharf in a balmy weather. The coats and jackets came in handy. We had lunch at a very nice restaurant by the sea. The waitress was very friendly I thought she was from Texas. I forgot what I had, but the Zinfandel was smooth, just enough to stir around some heat molecules. It had been years since I was in SFO and before coming over, my plan was to take the bay cruise. I insisted on taking the cruise as opposed to a mile hike across the golden gate. Besides, my diabetes convinced me not to take it lest it be cured. We took the last scheduled cruise of the day.

The sun was about 20 degrees above the western horizon and it shone over the city like a soft spotlight over a lusty model. Her hills glimmer in the sun like platinum, they were never golden. Tony lied. The boat inched its way across the bay until it reached $9.00, roundtrip was $18.00. On the edge of our conquest was the golden gate bridge. It loomed like a giant moment graph (ME 411) about to give its summation of forces. We looped under its lengthy span and started our way back passing by Alcatraz. The joke is if one immigrates from Europe, one is processed in Ellis, but, from Asia, Alcatraz. The rock was closed to everyone except to a few park rangers maybe. The birdman's bird had flown and Sean Connery had no plans of returning.

We docked and the sun was still up. We took the van and headed for Sausalito. I forgot to buy dungeness crab, SFO's delight. My excitement overrode my sense of care, Ching loves dungeness. Along the way, we stopped to take some pictures, George came in handy. The bridge had its usual dump of traffic heading for the city so we took the outer freeway until we hit Emeryville. And Shacs was there with Menchu visiting their daughter in college.

Early night was spent bolahizing and gulping Heineken until we all felt hungry. We rushed to a classy place and ended in Chinatown. I always love Chinatown, any Chinatown. We have a good Chinatown here in Houston. L.A.'s Chinatown is excellent as well. The secret is ordering the right chinese food, so, we had boiled shrimps, steamed fish, pan fried noodles Hongkong style with seafood, hot and sour soup, steamed rice. We stayed away from meat, kasi nga, old farts na e. After dinner, we hurried back to the hotel and the bolahizing continued. The Heineken consumed, the doughnut masticated and Shacs came back from dinner with his daughter and the bolahizing continued until everyone died.

After reveille and police call, we headed downstairs to check out. I was ready for a Continental breakfast, but, it turned out to be a full one. Orange juice, coffee, fruit tray, rolls, scrambled, bacon, links. What more can you ask, steamed rice? They had that too. Shacs and Menchu came down and joined us. After breakfast was a photo shoot. Menchu was the kodaker and we were the kodakees.

We passed by Freemont on the way to San Jose. Our flight was Ontario-San Jose-Ontario. Jack Tan refused to wake up. He must have had extra-curricular activities the night before. Finally, he came out staggering, hilo pa yata. He recognized me right away, although it was 15 years. Man, the guy has a sharp memory, pero, Cebuano pa rin. And there was another photo ops. Menchu was the kodaker and we were the kodakees, you must have memorized that by now.

Rolling home, rolling home. By the light of the silvery mo-oo-on. Happy is the day when the soldier gets his pay. As we go rolling rolling home.
It was a smooth landing. MD-80's are always landing spot smooth, parang ako, di ba ma fren?  Continental flight 422 landed in Houston amidst a flooded 26-R at 12:15 pm, Monday. It had just rained. The day was dark and humid, a far cry from the SFO WX 2 days ago. Matter of fact, it was only a couple of days ago when we landed in SJC. Imagine, we actually found the way to San Jose.  

not from san jose
no way jose
not 25, 52
plus 1
hinai-hinai lang bai!
un yeah que eddie


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Matatag 71 Invades San Francisco:

Last August 25-26,  eight (8) matatags all foreign based, plus 2 Philippine based,  held the biggest gathering yet of PMA '71 in a foreign land. According to Archie, it was also the biggest gathering of Alfans and First Battalion bugo bugos. Four from Los Angeles led by Ebee Fernandez, Ariel Domingo, Stan David, and Ed Maranon and one from Florida (Bobby Laciste) flew from Los Angeles via Southwest Airline arriving at 11:10 am. San Francisco group (Archie Almario, Ruben Gange, and Rolly Malinis) met them at San Jose International Airport. From there on, the group proceeded to Woodfin Suite Hotel at Emeryville, CA. The LA group occupied a spacious 2-room suite joined by the SFO squatters. We loaded a van owned and driven by Genz brother George. Then the fun started on. We went strolling to the Fisherman's Wharf  till 2:30 and took our lunch at Francisca Restaurant. It took us up to 5:20 to finish lunch with all the jokes and reminisces of our cadet days. By 5:30 Ebee insisted on riding a cruise around San Francisco Bay especially at Alcatraz. From there, we went to Golden Gate Vista view and Sausalito. Every stop, we never run out of things to bolahize and reminisce from summer camp to graduation and after. 

After a long drive, we went back to the hotel and there started the beer busting and of course another round and another of bolahazing. Finally, Ariel looked for food and we went out to look for open restaurant at Jack Landon Square. We never found an open one so we drove to Chinatown and luckily one Chinese restaurant was still open. That was a very sumptuous meal. Back at the hotel, we continued the endless talk. Almost everybody was a little bit tired and thought it would be the end of the day. At this time though, Bobby Sacramento came in. Bobby and Menchu were also billeted at the same hotel. With a fresh conversationalist, the talk lasted till 4:00 am. We woke up at 7:00 am though and took our breakfast. The group then, in two vans decided to surprise Jack Tan at Fremont, who was on vacation at the Bay area. Another round of Kodakan with the group complete was hurriedly done. The LA group realized they would be late so they hurriedly left. In a hurry, Bobby, Menchu, and me were left with no good guide in going to San Francisco International Airport for Bobby/Menchu's flight. After being lost for a little time though, we reached the Airport.

This report would not be complete though without acknowledging the super-generosity of Gov Ebee Fernandez. The gathering would not have been possible without him. Next time, Stan and myself thought of pushing for "Ernie for President". Ariel and other LA group and Bobby L were a big plus. Genz brother George and Ruben were a big help and hence acknowledged here too. Archie took extra time out to buy the beer/pulutan provision. (Rolly M)

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