To be different is never easy, but to Antonio Dibdib Ching being different was another story. It was lighter and even colorful, thanks to his High School days at the University of San Carlos (USC) Boys High.
Ching, as many of his friends called him by his last name, was a transferee from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R).
“I was a volleyball varsity player at USJ-R (in 1st year and 2nd year). I was offered to play for USC Boys High in exchange for scholarship, which is why I spend my junior and senior years in USC Boys High,” said Ching.
From co-ed to exclusive for boys, adjusting to a new school and new environment wasn’t so hard for Ching.
The only rose among the thorns, he was very open about his identity. He admitted being teased by his classmates but said he was never judged.
Ching said there was one time when he was taking the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), a classmate outside the classroom kept on calling his name and saying “Ching bayot! Ching walay matres.” But he would brush off those teasing and hit them back.
Even if his classmates are making fun of him, it never came to a point that he was hurt or bullied.
“They never bullied me. Pinangga kaayo ko nila (they loved me). It was fun. They would tease me but I was so game with all the teasing. And maybe that’s why they liked me. I was very open with my identity,” shared Ching.
As a student, Ching makes sure his academics are right on track. He has more than passing grades. In some quarters and several times too, he landed at the Top 10.
He also broke records being the first gay to get the Jerry Roxas Leadership Award.
“I won’t forget that award. The barong I wore during the awarding was disastrous. It got burned while it was ironed. It was fixed just right on time and that was at the start of the program. Thrilling kaayo (very thrilling),” recounted Ching.
When asked what were his fondest memories about High School, the first that came into Ching’s mind was the Intramurals.
“There were many gays from the lower years (1st to 3rd year). I was the only one in our batch at that time but after graduation at least five I think came out in the open. I would love to slap their faces for hiding in the closet (he revealed in between laughs). We will be wearing our girly looks during Intrams. Then, we flaunt those girly attires around the campus,” Ching said.
Ching also mentioned about his exemption in the CAT (Citizenship Advancement Training) class.
“Good thing I was assigned in Medics. I really don’t want to stay under the heat of the sun. One more thing, the rifle is so heavy. They did not not force me to join the Tactical Inspection kay mag-ikidikid gyud ko (because I will really be swaying my hips),” Ching said, adding that it was during those times he really considered being gay as a privilege.
He continued recalling the funny scenarios during their CAT. “Tig masahe sa mga gwapo (I give our handsome batchmates a massage). If an ugly batchmate faints, I just ignore. Then if a handsome officer passes by, I salute and hug them.”
Ching could only have good words about his High School days. “The best gyud ang High School (High School is really the best). I really cried during our graduation. Ma-miss gyud ang mga kabuang (you will really miss the fun, the naughty things),” he said.
Catch up with Ching on your 40th Grand Reunion happening on January 16 to 22, 2018. Watch his video message.