>I grew up listening to the songs of The Eraserheads, or shall I say, to the noise of the Eraserheads from our neighbor’s (actually my cousin’s) explosive stereo. The Eraserheads – and any form of “musical noise” up to the third degree of audibility – is a big no in our house. You see, my mother hates rock music back in the day. I just satisfy myself hanging out in my friends’ and neighbors’ house where Eraserheads is not censored, jamming and head-banging in the tune of our favorite Eraserhead songs.
Perhaps, this is my biggest regret as an Eraserhead fan – having not known them and their songs thoroughly plus the fact that I am still too young when their career was in full swing.
Come on, who doesn’t know the Eraserheads? For most Filipino youth of the musically rich era of the nineties, the Eraserheads was the band that defined their generation. From the underground scene, the band led the alternative music’s invasion of the mainstream and ushered a new era of Pinoy Music. They were even dubbed as the local fab four – The Beatles of the Land of Juan de la Cruz. A marker in the OPM history. Seminal. Legendary.
Unfortunately, my inclination to their music went into a hiatus when they disbanded early in 2002. They say that the mainstream-turned alternative music scene died upon the disbanding of the Eraserheads. There was a sudden death of the OPM rock industry, and with that, a death of a pop icon whom we consider a messiah, a trend setter that gave a definition to a generation. The legend was replaced by the craps of Lito Camo and his numerous novelty songs who ruled the airwaves. (See the degradation? It is like a double murder for the industry).
Why am I talking about these things? You see, it has been almost thirteen years since I first heard of the songs of the Eraserheads (I was a pre-schooler then). I still do memorize their songs and sing them whenever they are played on the radio or whenever I feel nostalgic about the band.
I feel like dancing whenever I hear Ang Huling El Bimbo. Remembering my childhood sweetheart whenever I hear Harana and With a Smile puts me in a trance. Tindahan ni Aling Nena. Toyang, Kaliwete, and Magasin reminds me of my head-banging jamming sessions with my cousings using containers of biscuit (Skyflakes, ang Pambansang Biscuit, is preferable) and gasoline as our improvised drum set. The songs of the Eraserheads remind me of my good old experiences of my childhood. But how come I remember those things of the distant past but not some of my lessons in Latin which I studied in the Institution for almost six years? All I can remember is the two tres that I received when I was a sophomore.
I have learned in our discussion in the Philosophy of Man the difference between the Memory of Data and the Memory of Senses. Memory of senses are those who are retained in our mind because it signifies an importance, a significant event, and treasured memories which we continue to reminisce and recall even after a long period of time.
Most of the lessons taught within the confines of the school are mostly memory of data. We can easily forget it after memorizing. What is retained is the memory of senses. We may remember after a long time something funny that happened during the class but not the lesson itself.
Perhaps, that is the reason why I almost failed my Latin subject. Aside from not being good in memorizing, the lessons I learned from Monsignor Rolando Catillo’s Ka Dilaw (the infamous yellow latin book from UST used as a textbook in the institution) are just a memory of data.
With this memory of senses, the struggle of reminiscence in man comes about. You can neither undo nor erase these memories. The act of reminiscing is the function of one of the internal senses of man – the memorative sense. In the act of reminiscing, there is an element of emotion contained in this process of recalling which could be either positive or negative.
Listening to the songs of the Eraserheads brings back good memories, life’s lessons, old friendship and values which I learned outside the classroom. Memories that cannot be forgotten. Memories from the experiences that helped shape my personality. Moreover, I do believe that after my stint in the diploma mill as a student, after all the injections of the memory of the data in the academe, there are still a lot to learn. Lessons that will not be easily forgotten for it involves the memory of the senses. Lessons that will not be erased from my head just like the songs of the Eraserheads.
My rector, on the night after our investiture, summoned me in his room and told me that I am not being fair to myself. Flabbergasted, I asked him why. He told me that he believes in my capacity and expect me to do more effort in my studies. Don’t get me wrong. I was not on the edge of being kicked from the institution because of numerous failing grades. I have high grades and a few not-so-high grades. He told me that I could do more had I been more serious and studied my lessons well.
I agree with him. I hate the objectives. I am not that good in the traditional way of examination in the academe wherein a student is tested on how much he has memorized and not on how much he has learned. I think that is not the right way of testing the students.
After giving me bits of advice with occasional exchange of laughter, I left his room, pondering about his challenge.
If only the Eraserheads – Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala, and Marcus Adoro – and the influence they have made were my professors. If only learning inside the classroom is like listening to the songs of the Eraserheads.
I was inspired on writing this piece when I bought the book “Tikman ang Langit: An Anthology on the Eraserheads.”
This article was written on September 25, 2007, 9:35 PM, as a requirement for the subject Philosophy of Man when I was still in the College Seminary.
I have decided to post and share this article, together with my other Philosophy papers in order for you to have a glimpse of the “practicality” of Philosophy and to share my insights when I was still inside the institution.
I believe that philosophy, despite of being called impractical and a “boring subject”, is the key on answering the timeless inquiry of man about life and a great tool for having a meaningful and reflected life.