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Images of the DLSL School Fair of 2011

The light was bright and golden early this morning; and as I knew that the annual school fair had already opened, I thought I would walk the grounds and give my new digital camera a gentle workout. The fair is, as ever, something of a colorful pandemonium. There was a variety of stalls selling anything from ready-to-wear to sweets to junk food to bouquets of flowers. There were booths offering anything from air-soft to videoke to balloon-busting.

Although the school sits on a 10-hectare lot, at the fair ground itself, space was at a premium. Kids of all shapes and sizes – the younger ones accompanied by doting parents – walked here, there and everywhere in a seemingly endless merry-go-round. Some were inspecting the stalls; some were buying food and souvenirs; and some were just going around for the sheer heck of it and from sheer lack of anything to do.

And of course, I happily snapped away as I made my way through the controlled mayhem… I just happen to have this thing about colors; and the brighter they are, the more my eyes feast on them. In the morning sunlight, the colors all around the fair grounds seemed to be dancing in merriment.

Despite the morning still being young, it was already remarkably hot and humid. Strange that less than a week ago, I wrote this piece about the cold and the need to pee. In fact, just last Saturday, I overheard a woman complain to her companion how cold she was; her companion – older, probably wiser – confidently assured her, “Hayaeh na… Mawawalâ na ‘yan at magpipiyesta na ang Talisay.”

Because I did not even know – nor cared – when Talisay’s fiesta was, I promptly forgot about the incident… Until last Tuesday, late in the afternoon just before scrimmage when I was complaining about how hot it had suddenly become, one of the boys suddenly said almost the exact same thing. The boy is from Talisay, by the way; and it was from him that I learned that his town’s fiesta is on the tenth – today, as a matter of fact.

At any rate, to get back to the fair, I bumped into a few colleagues as I was walking around the fair ground. One noticed the beads of sweat on my forehead and the sweat stains at the back of my shirt that she had to ask, “Sir, bakit basang-basâ kayo ng pawis?” And not that the question really needed an answer, but I lamely replied, nonetheless, “Aba’y mabanas…”

Most of the time – and unless I bumped into people I personally knew – I tried to take pictures of particular scenarios rather than just of people alone. The way people behave when they realize that the lens of a camera is aimed their way is a study in contrast in itself. There are those who relish the moment and strike instant poses. Then, there are those who instantly turn their backs; hindî naman pangit

The truly brazen, even when I had no plans to take a picture of them, in fact call my attention by chanting in chorus, “Picture-picture!” Kids! Who was I to refuse? Those who called, I do not even know if they knew who I was! They saw a man with a camera and gleefully asked. I had the greatest fun taking their picture, as a matter of fact.

I just realized that, in my previous line of work, I could not do a proper walkabout of the fair because I was always being called for this and that. Thus, this morning, I was determined to do exactly that – walkabout the fair.

I even visited classrooms where some enterprising homerooms were showing movies for a fee. I also visited the academic exhibits, surprised that among those on display were robotics created by students themselves. I got as far as the old 200-wing; saw a long queue of youngsters outside the farthest classroom; went closer to see what the big to-do was all about; and stopped dead in my tracks the moment I heard the cries and wails emanating from inside the classroom. Ahhhh, I immediately realized; the Horror Booth…

The carousel was at one far corner of the field. I went there, too. The carousel is always a story in itself whenever there is a school fair. The morning queues are almost always predominantly made up of toddlers and their parents, who sometimes promptly return to the end of the line the moment they get off the carousel.

The teenage kids, trying to act blasé, always think the carousel too lame and leave the queuing to the youngsters; until someone game dares everyone else that they go on a spin – usually later in the day when the younger kids get tired or dizzy from the constant spinning – and then they all discover how much fun it is and promptly come back for more.

This afternoon, though, the main attraction of the fair was a basketball game between a group of artistas from ABS-CBN and our college team. I went out to take shots of the long line of ticketholders that snaked all the way out to the College Lobby. You would have thought Janet Jackson was in town for a concert.

I heard from somebody that the game was just about sold out. Everyone went: employees, students, their mothers and fathers and, in some cases, their lolos and lolas. There was even this one lad who carried a poor bewildered puppy between his palms; and what interest the puppy would have on the artistas, I did not bother contemplating.

My office is just across the venue; and when I retired to it after taking my pictures and also to escape the heat, naturally I was not spared from the constant eardrum-tearing shrieking once the game got underway. With the recent abrupt changes in weather and all, there are going to be a lot of sore throats tonight.

No, I did not watch the game. I did not begrudge anyone the noise, however. It is the fair, after all. No less than Br. Rafael Donato himself, who declared that he was the one who started the tradition in this school, stated that the reason he did so was to give students and employees alike a break from the day-to-day tedium of schoolwork. Oh by the way, in the old days, Br. Rafael himself gave the event the fabulous name LASALAFAIR.

There are times when we think of the way life treats us as something so unfair. Not on days like today, though; and the next two days as well. I can guarantee you, on days like these, life is nothing but fair.

[For those who wish to see the rest of the pictures, here is a public link to a gallery on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=255081&id=544052643&l=7161e239cf.]

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