The search is over for our dear blockmate Kevin!! We finally found him after years of planning an ambush visit to the home address he registered for the college yearbook. Buti doon pa sya nakatira!
Our gang had always thought about Kevin. On grad ball night when he wasn't around, we had a balloon with his name scrawled on it on our table. Everytime we got together we'd wonder about him. We tried googling, searching on Friendster and YM, but in the world of online identities, he was off the map. Some casually inquired about him from MaSci friends to no avail. Marvin attempted to call his landline but was met with a suspiciously unsure reply ("ah, wala sya, nag-abroad na yata yun."). He never called again.
And so, a few years back, along with the perennial wish to go vacationing Baguio as a barkada, we pondered on the idea of a roadtrip with a mission: to find Kevin Anthony Solayao. Nobody knew the ins and outs of Valenzuela so we figured it would probably take an entire weekend to strategise and actually get on the road. Then, out of the blue, in the middle of eating dinner at Teriyaki Boy last Friday, Marvin asked when we would probably have time to find Kevin once and for all.
"I'm free the entire day tomorrow," I replied as I ate from my rice bowl (yes, I ate rice that night). And just a few hours after we left Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Gateway, Wilmer and Marvin were at my house a bit before 6am to finally commence our "manhunt".
We had no leads except the address on the yearbook and vague memories of directions to his house. Along Tandang Sora Avenue extension we went, with Wilmer driving my car and Marvin looking at the map and dictating the address. Wilmer wondered aloud,
"San kaya yung Gen. T?"
Suddenly, in big, bold letters was the name of the school in front of us :
GEN T DE LEON NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
Wow. Now all we had to look for was Demetillo Street. Lo and behold, a few meters from the school was a signboard that read:
EDUARDO DEMETILLO COMPOUND
We laughed at how the names on Kevin's address seemed to sprout from nowhere. At this point we asked for directions.
They said that Kevin's house was on the farther portion of Demetillo (apparently, there was more than one entry to this street).
We were laughing at the fact that Valenzuela wasn't as far away as we thought. Nagbaon pa kami ng sitsirya (nakakatawa ang spelling) na hindi rin naman namin nakain. At biglang naalalang wala kami man lang dala para kay Kevin! We figured maybe he'd like the mini mandarin oranges...or maybe he'll be happy just by seeing us again.
And then, there it was. Demetillo Street, with house numbers leading to 5222.
While walking, our excitement grew more and more.
Ito na talaga!
Pa'no namin siya babatiin?
Gising na kaya siya?
Baka wala siya dyan for the holidays?
Or worst of all, baka iniwasan nya talaga kami kaya siya nawala at hindi siya matuwang makita kami ulit?
Fishing na yung huli. Pero kabado kami.
At ayan na nga, we reached 5222...A and B! Hala! Alin dito? Sabi ni Marvin, "Yung may tindahan, naalala ko may tindahan ang bahay niya!"
Eh parehong may tindahan.
We decided to try 5222-A. The man who answered at the gate was unmistakably Kevin's dad even if he hadn't told us yet -- kamukha niya sobra! We introduced ourselves and asked if he was around. Kevin was at work on night shift, which meant that he was on his way home.
"Kung ipapasok ninyo ang kotse nyo, baka masalubong nyo pa sya sa daan, " he added. Kevin's mom met us outside of the house, too, and was giddy about the surprise visit. She texted him and told us that he was still on MacArthur Highway. Malapit na :)
When Kevin finally opened the screen door leading to the sala, we were ecstatic! He may have been a bit haggard from working since 10pm to 6am, but he said,
"I'm impressed. Pleasant surprise talaga. Akala ko nagkamali ang mommy ko sa text!"
Over a hearty breakfast composed of lasagna, banana bread, peach graham float and fruit salad, we exchanged stories. He works at the Treasury department in Pagcor (hebigat talaga si Kevin). He has a girlfriend. His day off is Monday. And he still knew where we all live!!!
Kami naman, update to death on the latest about N5. So ngayon mas marami na siyang alam kaysa kay Joa nyahahaha. Phone patch pa to Kathy and Iris courtesy of Marvin's mobile!
And then it was time to go. Galing pa nga naman pala si Kevin sa trabaho, wala pang tulog.
So, with the high-fives, a beso and a promise to see each other on a Monday (or to take a leave on a Sunday afternoon para kasama si Wilmer), we bade Kevin a see-you-later.
And in about 30 minutes, we were back at my house. Anubaz! Ang lapit lang pala. Mas malayo pa ang bahay naming lahat to each other compared to that.
Mission accomplished. :)