This from Chancellor Cao via text brigade: “UPD start of classes moved to June 16 in view of extension of registration, and the DOH advisory on AH1N1. Adjustment in acad calendar to follow.”

I was in Miriam the other day to assist our American visiting professor in enrolling her daughter in Grade 7, where we were promptly asked by a smiling guard to read a huge tarp of information on A(H1N1). We soon found out that the request to read the tarp was the guard’s nice way of saying she couldn’t let the American professor and her daughter in the school (people from overseas had to go through a ten-day self-quarantine before being allowed into Miriam premises). And so I spent the next couple of hours shuttling from the admissions office (where a cheerful admissions officer patiently explained to me the convoluted process of enrolling a foreign student in Miriam Grade School) to the gate (where American prof and child were made to sit and wait) and back, in a comic pass-the-message routine that had me delivering questions and answers about report cards and baptismal certificates and special study permits back and forth. Apparently, this carrier pigeon method is a surefire way to prevent the spread of the virus. In any case, despite all good efforts and intentions, we still failed to complete the enrollment process due to a missing document a.k.a. recommendation from sixth grade adviser a.k.a. the key that would open the door to the Miriam entrance exam. American prof and I then joked that maybe her daughter should just settle for sitting in on our undergrad classes since it seemed next to impossible to get her into grade school.

Back in UP after the Miriam errand, I found that registration had come to a halt due to the brownout, a source of frustration for students and teachers alike. The only solution to our woes at that point was to go out for drinks, and a few friends and I made our way to our default watering hole on campus, where we proceeded to while away the afternoon drinking buckets and more buckets of beer. I got home happy and drunk, which probably explains why it was only the morning after that I found out part of our street had been hit by the tornado. I was up early to take out the trash and there I saw, down our street, a post-apocalyptic vision that snapped me out of my hangover–the sari-sari store at the corner reduced to parts, wood turned to shreds, electric cables spewed on the ground. It was eerie to see such carnage on a street that was otherwise left unharmed.