The last time I saw her was like three years ago.
We constantly plan through text of seeing each other again. I so much wanted to hear from her how it is like to study Development Communication in the University of the Philippines – Los Baňos (one of my greatest frustrations). I miss how we would trade our books and talk on endless things about our favourite authors. Like me, she also wanted to be a journalist; this is what we always want to talk about aside from the people we have met and we would like to meet. I know how she would itch to make comments on my write-ups or talk about Sam Concepcion, of love, of places, and of people she hates on the TV.
Sharmaine Alisa Basinang is my best friend (one of them) during high school. And though we stay too far from each other now, we still find time to know what’s going on each other’s lives. We share a lot of common things. We love to write, read, and speak of things other people would never listen to. We love to critique important personalities and talk of even nonsense things like the few anime series she would watch over and over again.
I do not really remember when I last saw her but I would never forget the first time I did.
She used to be the Miss nobody-would-dare-touch during our first year in high school. The class was indeed intimidated, with her beauty perhaps. She just stayed at the corner of the classroom, scribbling something most of the time, seems creating her own very world while the rest obliviously locks their own. I remember how I never wanted to talk to her; she was not approachable. Her words were limited. Before, I thought of the folly that maybe it was because her braces sometimes cause mispronounced words. But, she was just reserved and timid – the girl who just sit straight on her place while calculatedly tossing up the bangs that would cover her eyes.
Sharmaine learned to break her shell as we went along our high school years. She was still the self-confessed Maria Clara descendant but with a few loosened screws (she knows when to fix them, of course). We could already hear her laughing over others’ cracked jokes on a small group. She learned how to disclose herself with some of our classmates and she became the Sharmaine we never thought we’d know. Most importantly, she got away with her nanny who used to be with her while we were having our classes.
She completely devastated the walls and exceeded our expectations when she started joining beauty pageants. We never thought she would join on contests like that but we were happy as her when she bagged titles. She was hailed Miss Esperanza 2007 when we were on our junior year. Months after, she joined the search for Bae Naliyagan 2008 (Miss Agusan del Sur) where she was crowned the first runner-up. During our last year in high school, she represented the school to the Search for Miss STEP (Student Technologists and Entrepreneur of the Philippines) 2008 where she bagged the title for the division and regional level and was hailed the 2nd runner-up in the national competition. A year after, she became the Mutya hong Butuan at the age of 16; her greatest achievement as she considers.
Having participated in a number of beauty pageants, she realized that she have the potential to communicate well with other people. Thus, she pursued her degree majoring in Community Broadcasting.
“I would like to pursue a field in which I could utilize this potential, not just for personal development but as well as for the advancement of the institution that I may be involved with in the future,” she said.
She believes her course would help her hone her skills in writing and broadcasting. She was a campus writer since she was in grade three. Aside from being the Editor-in-Chief from 2004 to 2005, she had also delegated twice in the National Schools Press Conference for Editorial Writing and won as Butuan City’s best feature writer on 2005. She served “The Narra,” Agusan National High School’s Official English Publication for four years as one of the Managing Editors.
I have been a witness of how well she writes. I was teary-eyed when I read her note about her father’s death.
“I had mixed emotions. Of course devastated, but I was also thankful to God for my father’s life and for allowing him to share it with me for 17 years. I accepted the fact that he’s gone; though his loss was the worst pain I have ever felt,” she said.
Sharmaine was the only daughter so it was really hard witnessing her father struggling for his last breath.
“It was excruciating to loss someone you heavily depended on but no crying or no amount of blame would bring him back,” she added.
At present, she and her mom are recovering to the demise of their home’s pillar. She wants to reach her dreams for the father he lost and for the mom she ardently treasures. With how I know her, I know she’ll land to the fulfilment of her dreams someday. She’s never just beautiful; she’s talented, intelligent, a good friend and a loving daughter.
I am looking forward to seeing her broadcasting. The braces were gone, so she wouldn’t have to fear mispronunciations, of course. She had totally come out of her shell to effectively communicate with people and foster development. She had long deserted her own world; she’s working on extending it to others’. She had completely transformed into a stronger woman now but some things never changed. She’s still the intellectual seatmate I used to know; still my best friend who’s always willing to listen.
She still believes that destiny is not a matter of chance. It is not a thing that we hope for. It is a thing that we work for.
It’s been three years since I last saw her. But now as I write this, I see her differently and realized I have never really forgotten a thing about her. Until our roads would cross again. Until then, I would never stop knowing her.