19 Things About ’99

They say two thousand zero zero party over

Oops out of time
We’re runnin’ outta time
So tonight we gonna, we gonna (Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999)

-Prince, “1999”

And so we continue to reminisce the good, now old-school moments of 1999. According to the opening montage of NBA Live ’99, this was the year of the “Cyber-Athlete”. 1999 was supposed to be our last year on Earth due to the much-hyped impending effects of the Y2K bug.

In our high school, this was the year we finally graduated (and to some degree, ‘released’) from our institution. Now, let’s look back at some of the things that we grew up with from grade school until we got our high school diplomas. 19 to be exact.

What makes the number 99 oh-so-special? Here’s an answer culled from an Internet source:

On One Hand: Symbolic Meaning

In symbolism and numerology, the number 99 is associated with perfection, regeneration, healing, resurrection, wholeness, love, enlightenment and pure spirit. In Islam, God has 99 names.

On the Other: Modern Usage

Modern usage of the number differs from traditional numerology. In modern slang, particularly Internet usage, 99 is a code phrase meaning that someone’s parents have stopped watching. In modern symbolism, a gift of 99 roses means, “I will love you for as long as I live.”

Bottom Line

The number 99, both in ancient and modern symbolism, evokes the concept of perfection. Though Internet slang usage seems to differ, in fact, it represents a child’s idea of the perfect state–I can do what I want because my parents aren’t watching.
There you go. Special isn’t it? But like I’ve mentioned awhile ago, let me share some cool stuff we grew up with up until March 1999.

1. Street Fighter

My comrades agree that this was the primary “influencer” of all things cool in video gaming during our heyday. Even though I suck in fighting games, this has to be the penultimate video game of the OBMC boys. Endless hours and tokens have been spent or wasted in this arcade game, not to mention piercing glances from the arcade owners who think that them boys won’t go home anymore.

Quotable quote: “Ang daya mo!” (then proceeds to hit Timmy’s nape) – Michael James

Usual suspects: Salus (Dhalsim), Timmy (Ryu), Michael James, Derrick (Chun-Li), Hubert

2. Basketball Cards

I think it was during 1995 when basketball cards hit it’s peak of popularity in the Philippines. I still remember the guys who enter the classroom and go “Cards? Cards? Trade? Trade?”. The richer kids collect Michael Jordan, Anfernee Hardaway, and Grant Hill, all in bulk and at times buy whole boxes of cards, while us normal citizens would be okay with an insert card in each pack. During this time, cards cost around Php30 – 150, depending on the brand. The cheaper ones were the NBA Hoops and Collector’s Choice cards, the mid-priced ones were the Skybox and Upper Deck ones, and the higher-end packs were the Flair and Emotion series. A lot of wad has been wasted on these items, but you can’t replace the thrill associated with finding a good collectible, say any Jordan card, and can’t replace the frustration connected to getting the bench players or “butaws” once you have opened a pack.

Quotable quote: “So, you like negritos, huh?” – Mrs. Soliven, chancing upon our basketball cards in the school canteen.

Usual suspects: Darcy (Penny), Rupert (Shaq), Jon Voltaire (GH33), Mark Bryan (Air Jordan), Jeffrey (old-school cards of Magic and Bird, Stackhouse)

3.  Tropical Hut

Who would have believed that after all these years, Tropical Hut’s still there in the same location in Greenhills! Anyway, I still remember that the usual fried chicken meal with extra gravy was Php 39 with regular Coke and now it’s Php 82! That’s a whopping 105% increase! Boo! But always ask for the breast. It’s worth it.

Usual suspects: Yours truly (fried chicken and spaghetti), Jon Voltaire (fried chicken and the “Voltaire” meal), Francis (fried chicken), Hubert (fried chicken and burger), Salus (fried chicken), Mike S. (fried chicken), JR M. (fried chicken)

4. Tapa King vs. Steak Joint

So who won? It’s Tapa King hands down, since they’re still there, but Steak Joint was a strong and worthy opponent.

5. King of Fighters

Once upon a time, after the boys were sick and tired of Street Fighter, there came the awesome video game called King of Fighters. In turn, it possessed the deepest fantasies of even the most uncompromising of arcade legends, starting with Timmy and Derrick, the latter even bringing the deadly Shiranui fan to school and hit us with it every time he gets the chance.  I always watched my comrades whack and fire away with their joysticks and buttons, seemingly impervious to the fact that we have school tomorrow.

Usual suspects: Salus (Joe Higashi), Timmy (Terry Bogard), Hubert (Iori Yagami), Derrick (Mai Shiranui)

6. Supermarket “Field Trips”

In my personal opinion, I think our school found a clever way to save in field trip fees by having us kids go on “Save the Earth” trysts inside popular groceries such as the one in SM Megamall and Rustan’s Supermarket. We were made to bring “bayong” to send home the message that using “bayongs” are more environmentally-conscious than the usual shopping plastic bags. And how many people actually followed it? Nein. But it was fun. It kind of prepared us to the lifelong commitment of doing your supermarket chores for the rest of our lives.

7. Regina’s

This is where the kids usually go to for their sheer-fun fix. Fun things like candies, Street Fighter stickers, Lisa Frank stuff, and other frilly things which fall into a parent’s list of things that’s not so important to buy.

8. Marathon SNES and Playstation sessions

When there are too many kids in Symarq, Rino’s or in Game Stuff, this is what we play – endlessly! Back in the day, the cool games were WWE Warzone, NBA Live 97-99, and Final Fantasy, which Hubert actually completed. I forgot this one joint where the play-all-you-can was for only Php 50!

9. Doc Martens

Almost every teen had a pair of this back in the day. I wore mine for P.E. classes. It’s tough, durable, and versatile.

10. Palladium

Speaking of kicks, Palladium was also the “in” footwear way back 1995-96. Canvas? Awesome!

11. Push-ups and Pumps

Long hair? Check. No ID? Check. Late for school? Check. “Noisy”? Check. Lacking CAT paraphernalia? Check. This destroyed your arms, your dignity, and your soul. Yeah, well, not really.

12. Hiraman ng apron

Where's your apron?

Being in high school trained you to be resourceful, so when it’s time for the Food Tech class, you have to resort to borrowing an apron from your neighbor, especially if you lost yours or just too plain lazy to bring it to school.

13. CAT

I don’t have a photo of Manuel T. Velasquez, our beloved CAT commandant, so I’ll just rip off the logo of a certain pop culture icon.

14. That jukebox no one really cared about

In Cafe Sta. Ana, there used to be an old piece of the past called the Wurtilizer, a jukebox which charges 1 peso per song. Well, no one cared. It’s just there like an aging walrus sitting inside the living room that nobody mentions.

15. Slush Puppie

The super-fix for that school-grown thirst. Well, it’s quality sucked gradually. At first, it was considered a good rival to 7-Eleven’s Slurpee, but as time went by, it eventually just turned into syrup+water+ice cubes, and then just juice and ice cubes. How uncool was that? Its tenure eventually died down in the school, but have you noticed that the “ate” who sold the beverages looks oddly like Maria Montessori herself?

16. Moro-moro or Agawan-Base

I’ve posted about this game here. No words left to say.

17. The guitar

The guitar played a huge part in our lives before entering another school day. It made us laugh and cry and dance and beat our heads with ugly sticks (well, not the last one). The songs that were usually sang along with the guitar were:

  • Plush – Stone Temple Pilots
  • Power of Two – Indigo Girls
  • Closing Time – Semisonic
  • Harana – Parokya ni Edgar
  • any song by the Eraserheads
  • and an endless medley of boy band chants by Jeng Min Choi

18. National Pusoy Association

This favorite pastime of gamblers-in-training was an absolute success due to the fact that many contestants joined the tournament. We even had “banners” posted on the ceiling, signifying the grand champion for that day. The tournament cup was handed to the champion, along with the pot money and the part of the proceeds went to the Jose Rizal Fund (which was actually Jon Voltaire’s fund that he shared with the rest of us).

Past champions:

Salus, Luis, Francis, Timmy

The NPA folded when the powers-that-be, led by Mrs. Villena, raided the “coliseum” of the prestigious and benevolent sports and leisure institution. That ended the NPA, but the spirit lives on.

The raid leads us to the last item of our list.

19. PEG!

The “PEG” – every OBMC student’s gravest fear. A single lapse in judgment could cost you your entire quarter, and in the process earn the undying mortification of your parents once they see your grades.

No matter how smart you are, your grades aren’t exactly going to be going anywhere when your PD ( a whopping 25% of your grade) is pegged at 70% . Mrs. Duran and Mr. Sangco often utilized this weapon to scare the living crap out of anyone who was “disobeying the rules”. The pen is mightier than the sword, indeed.

Making out, smoking, using deadly weapons, gambling were all made nothing due to this almighty deterrent – PEG!

One thought on “19 Things About ’99

  1. THANK YOU PARENG MIKE for once again rekindling our OBMC spirits! I am amazed that our good ‘ol after-school hang-out Tropical Hut is still around! Too bad for today’s generation of OBMC, their “value meals” aren’t that valuable compared to ours back in the day (larger quantities at smaller prices)! From Php 39 (request breast!) to Php 82???!!! You gotta be sh*tting me?! Inflation (among others) really sucks big time! Si Manang Rose ang dakilang operator ng Slush Puppie sa OBMC…grade 1a ako nung una akong bumili sa kanya (root beer) after kong makapulot ng Php20 that I even shared with Marie Grace Suzuki! 😀 The last time we went to OBMC (Sept. 2005), she was still there! Sana nandun pa sya pagbalik natin. Hmmm, oonga no…para syang pinabatang Maria Montessori! 🙂

    For those of you reading this, it was actually Pareng Mike who introduced me to NBA cards back in 1st year high school (1995-96) and suggested that I collect GRANT HILL because of his great game and personality on-and-off the court + his card’s appreciating value. Thank goodness, some of the cards he traded to me (1994-95 Fleer Ultra and 1995-96 Upper Deck’s “Jordan Analysis” subset) are still intact…locked away somewhere in my Cainta residence. What’s even more amazing is that my main man GH is still playing in the NBA (now on his 17th season)!

    Sarap balikan ang nakaraan…nasaan na kaya si MTV??? Hmmm…

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