"Ngunit maging sa magkakaibigan, mayroong umaalis, mayroong naiiwan.
Sa paglisan mo inihahandog ko sa'yo, mga bakas na ito, tanda ng ating pagtataya ng sarili, sa kapwa't sa mundo..."
Excerpt from the "Gabay Song"
Last Tuesday, if I'm not mistaken, I passed by the Gabay Room. The room was in a bit of in disarray given that we were due to leave in a couple of days. The day could've been nothing more than ordinary when we noticed a stack of pictures lying around the desk. Mostly they were pictures of the sophomore batch's freshmen day which I enjoyed looking through. There was no point in trying to identify who's who since there wasn't much change and it was easy to pinpoint the people in the pictures. However, there was a seemingly misplaced picture in the album.
The picture was obviously old, given that a strong tint of brown was present in the picture. It was a picture dated 1981 (6 years before I was born!) of some college students in their mid to late teens. The times were heavily indicated in the picture by the clothes and the hairstyles of the people in the picture, and not to mention, the buggy hanging around by the background, which was popular during that time. However, despite the differences in time, there were striking similarities with that time and ours. There, behind them, was Colayco standing proudly in the background. There were signs of the "Food for thought" behind them.
Finding this single piece of picture was like unearthing a piece of artifact from a time that has passed. The picture struck poignant thoughts of different gabayanos throughout the time who, in their own ways, have chosen to give treasure, talent, and time to Gabay. It reminded me of my uncle, who was, to me, a successful businessman and a family man who was also once a Gabayano. It showed me a picture of him being young and being part of the Gabay Family, which has nurtured us in our stay in Ateneo and continues to provide company and guidance. It reminds us of a company which have shared their lives in the Gabay room, whose stories of life and being young are starting to be lost because of the passing of time.
It was a testimony of the legacy of Gabay and all the lives it has touched. Now, we are experiencing this legacy and it is our lives which it is changing in more ways than one.
Seeing the Colayco and other landmarks in the background has also struck bittersweet thoughts. In a few weeks, Colayco would be demolished to give way to building a better one. However, as the building goes down, it gives us a reminder that all the memorable events that have occurred there would never repeat. As I imagine Colayco being reduced to debris, I reminded myself bitterly of Gabay Room.
But in a way, it was a sign to move on with life. Old memories may be lost in our minds, but the heart never forgets. Events of past may never repeat, but it may be a sign to make new ones, in the company of different people. Friends may part but the bonds that have formed between them will never break.
I looked at the picture for the final time and smiled at all the memories I have shared and will continue to share in a company of friends. I thought of time long past and people whose lives were also touched by Gabay and how, when we grow old, we will also have those years of our youth. Today, however, I continue to make memories with them.