Many summers ago, I spent 10 years of my childhood in Davao City.
We were moved from Iloilo City, where I was born, to Davao as my Dad was made General Manager of a stevedoring company. As the transfer was midway through a school year, my Mom had no option but to homeschool me till the next school year came round. I was 5 years old then so the school (Stella Maris Academy) gave me the Nursery entrance exams. I passed with flying colors. Maybe it was fate but they decided to let me take the Grade One entrance test. I passed it too. At the age of 5, I was enrolled in the first grade — the youngest of the batch.
There is something about being the youngest in your batch forever and ever. You have this insecurity about not being old enough to “know” things that your classmates know, or not being in on secrets because you were still “too young”. When a school year came to an end, I’d secretly hope that when I enter the next school year, I’d find somebody younger than me. But every time I moved up one grade level, I’d find myself still being the youngest. The only thing that held up for me, who was then quite shy as a child, was my being nerdy and brainy. I found myself being elected to key officer positions in class and holding leadership positions even if I was, at times, reluctant to be the head when everyone else was older than me and, in height, towered over me.