Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon
Kissing Rock – Lost and Found?
I asked my friend what she would do to me if I do not follow her.
Palo, she said.
She hates violence. And by her own admission, she can’t bear to watch a boxing match, not even Manny Pacquiao’s.
Before I could draft this week’s column, my good, my old, my reliable BB, I mean Blackberry, quit on me.
“THROW AWAY THAT BLACKBERRY,” was a text message I received on my Motorola cell phone from my classmate Ismael “Billy” Villareal. All in capital letters! And coming from a lieutenant-general, that was an order.
But I am sorry, sir. This Blackberry has served me very well: letting me do a lot on the road, including reading and writing and sending emails. All eight postings of this column I did on my Blackberry.
If this indeed is a terminal case – a hardware problem, probably due to excessive use by a columnist wannabe, that cannot be fixed – it deserves a better fate. Then, I have a very important decision to make. A final resting place for my Blackbury, I mean, Blackberry: the US where I bought it or the Philippines where it died.
But don’t blame the Blackbury, I mean Blackberry, for this column being ‘slightly’ late.
I could say the dog ate the final draft before I could post it. But I won’t.
I could say the delay was deliberate on my part, to find out if it would be missed. But I won’t. (For the record, 48 hours after this column was due, only one – a solitary soul from Virginia – asked why it hasn’t been posted).
I could say ‘Witful Thinking, Friday,’ because it rhymes with ‘Thank God, It’s Friday,’ has a better ring and greater appeal than ‘Witful Thinking, Wednesday.’ But I won’t.
I could say I am still hurt by the continued silence, rejection if you will, of my (favorite?) CC, I mean Cavalier Columnist, Ramon “Mon” Farolan ’56, I find it more difficult to write. But I won’t go there. (Thanks to a snappy Cavalier, I have his home address and one of these days, he may see me knocking on his door in Quezon City).
I was too occupied with so many emails on the center-“piece” of this column last week, “But Where is the Kissing Rock?” (WTW 09-02-25). Thus, the inevitable delay.
This is my story and I am sticking by it.
Headline: Mike Hits LP, backs Merci.
The quality of Merci, I mean mercy, is not strained.
Go Shakespeare, go Mike Arroyo!
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Yes, sir, this lady is a looker.
She’s always looking into those high-profile cases in the Sandiganbayan.
Item: Soap boosts interest in PMA.
The declining interest of Filipino youth in PMA has been a problem in recent years. Who would have thought that all that was needed to address and resolve this problem was this. Yes, soap.
But this is not your ordinary soap. It is an ABS-CBN tv series “Tayong Dalawa” about two PMA cadets who are brothers, a series that, according to a PMA spokesman, is the cause of calls from so many, including prospective cadets.
Item. Friday ‘green day’ for GMA.
Friday, the item says, is when the President takes out the garbage.
Hey! I can be President of the Philippines. I take out the garbage Tuesdays and Fridays.
Memo to Secretary Romulo, Ambassador Gaa or whoever was responsible for and/or would take responsibility for advising GMA on her ‘chance’ meeting with Obama that never was:
Maybe, you can check out what days Obama takes out the White House garbage and pass that information for Malacanang’s use in planning for the next chance meeting with the US President.
Item. Obama’s hair graying rapidly.
Hey! I can be President of the United States. My hair has been gray for a long time now.
We received numerous emails on last week’s center-“piece” – But Where is the Kissing Rock? – the most number that we have received from readers on any subject of WTW since its first posting eight weeks ago.
Joe Dasbach, of Silver Spring, Maryland, provided us a black and white photograph of a cadet and his date, “drag” in cadet lingo. The cadet – Cavalier Basil “Butch” Moreto ’54.
Cavalier Moreto gave us permission to upload this to our blog, hoping only that "the photo will not spark passionate speculation among cavalier viewers on what happened at the Kissing Rock and why I am wearing cadet athletic attire.”
Check out the photo in the WTW blog – http://blog.djlf.org/ – and keep your passionate speculation meter in check.
We would like to think that the memory of the Kissing Rock, to this lovely couple, remains fresh to this day – 10 children, 24 grandchildren and 1 great grandson later.
Only space limitations keep us from quoting in full what Cavalier Rizalino “Butch” Cabanban sent us – all you wanted to know but perhaps were afraid or hesitant to ask.
The Kissing Rock, like several other traditions, he claims, we copied from West Point. We should have copied Flirtation Walk as well. Every West Pointer knows that The Kissing Rock and Flirtation Walk go hand in hand. Flirtation is the foreplay and Kissing Rock is the corpus delecti.
We asked but did not get the grid coordinates for the PMA Kissing Rock. His description, however, leads us to believe that it was the same in his time, the late 70s and early 80’s as it was in earlier times, from Cavalier Moreto’s, the early 50s.
“The Kissing Rock as I knew it,” Cavalier Cabanban recalls, “was accessible through a trail somewhere to the side of Cunanan Hall…..Following the trail, well worn, you won't miss it. It led to only one place. The Kissing Rock.
“…nothing but large rocks embedded everywhere. A rock cave enclosure overlooking Kennon Road. No plants, no shrubbery, no soft spot. Just rocks. There was, I recall, an inclined smooth rock, the better to have a sweet young thing lean back on. To my mind, perfectly good for kissing…. but very frustrating for (omitted)….
“The Kissing Rock was sacred…sacrosanct…respected by everyone,
tactical officers included. It was the one place in the universe where
public display of affection (was) tolerated.”
Cavalier Alfonso “Ponswa” Alvarez ’83 has written a blog, Virtual Landmarks in my Mind. One of the two landmarks is – no surprise – the Kissing Rock. The other, the Fourthclass Club. The Kissing Rock, “a landmark tied to tradition,” he describes as “a fixture in Fort Del Pilar that had previously befuddled me because of conflicting directions to find it.”
In the end, Ponswa concludes that the Kissing Rock is this – “legend. And maybe the legend is that a cadet creates his own rock – where he can find a rock where he will uphold the tradition, maybe that is the kissing rock."
Cavalier Nilo Yap seems to agree, “where to place a blanket and a poncho, maybe that is the kissing rock.
“Ours was just over the ‘guava groove’, indeed it was a rock with a comfortable niche, overlooking the Kennon and a gold mine, and not just one rock but two. The other is near the entrance to that niche, so much smaller than the kissing rock , intended for a cap to be placed to warn others that the niche is occupied.”
But “for some unexplained reason, I had never seen the "Kissing Rock" or had been at the "Guava Grove" even during my cadet days,” Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81 writes. “I thought it was just a legend.”
I am back to square one.
From my visit to Fort del Pilar during the alumni homecoming last week, I lost the Kissing Rock.
From Cavaliers Moreto and Cabanban, I thought I found the Kissing Rock.
From Cavaliers Alvarez, Yap and Ochoco, I think I lost it again.
Erratum: In last week’s column we reported that Claro "Larry" Doria '74, a DJLF member, made it to the Saturday homecoming but had to leave for Manila before the awarding. There were two others that made it to the homecoming but not to the DJLF awarding: Mel Medrano ‘72 and Johnson “John” So ’84. WTW regrets the omission.