Under the Mabolo Tree

Mabolo tree giving the inspiration in life

This Mabolo tree gave me the inspiration in life (Photo: Gil Camporazo)

Forty-six years ago, located along the highway in front of the city college, was a Mabolo tree. The students who studied at the college made this tree the meeting place for their spare periods. A single concrete bench served as a seat for them. The high school students spent their free time there too.

Under this tree, I found the way to a circuitous, challenging life. It was the first step in a relationship that would become central in my life. That Mabolo tree helped pave the way to eternity.

Remnants of study hall when we first met

The concrete benches where the remnants of the open study hall when Rebing and I met for the first time in high school in 1969 (Photo: Gil Camporazo)

Mysterious Student

I wasn’t used to a group or a company to be with. I was a loner. I was too selective in choosing my friends. I always stayed by myself. At the age of 17, I wanted to have some good friends. But because of such attitude, I didn’t have a permanent friend.

Our improvised music class in the open study hall was done and I was the only one left when the rain started to fall. A young girl with a long hair came to take shelter in the study hall. I caught the serious, mysterious smile on her face and the magazine in her right hand. I turned my back for a moment to muster some courage to approach her. When I got back to her, she was gone. I couldn’t find her, wherever she was headed.

God’s Will

It seemed I had forgotten that trivial moment I with a female co-student in the high school. But I was surprised, for I later found her again lining up with her classmates in their history class. I spotted the same magazine she had before in her hand. I bravely came to approach her and, what a blessing, Mila my neighbor was her classmate!

I greeted Mila, who asked me what I was doing there. I told here that I wanted to borrow a magazine, pointing to her classmate in front of her. The girl wouldn’t lend it to me. But Mila assured her that I would handle it and return as it is. So finally, the girl agreed to lend it to me. I took the magazine and went inside to my math class in the nearby building.

rebing and I in mabolo tree

Standing on the foot of Mabolo tree when we visited on our 60th birthday in 2011 (Photo: Gil Camporazo)

“Nakita Ko Na!”

While studying my notes at home that night, I stopped for awhile and started reading the magazine. I had read one or two featured articles when my curiosity led me to search for the name of a mysterious girl. I felt surely it should be written somewhere on the pages.

I started skimming the pages started to look for a name. I did it over and over again until I got tired, but I didn’t find it. I threw the magazine on the top of my studying table, which failed to catch it. I picked it up while the centerfold opened wide. “Nakita ko na!”

I had found it! Her name was written horizontally in small printed letters, close to the fold of the page.

No wonder that girl was too mysterious, for her name Rebecca means the enchantress. She enchanted my heart. She gave me many sleepless nights to prove the mysterious hold she had on me. Without much time, I wrote a letter to her and placed it inside the education magazine. I went to return it to her the following Monday. Sadly, she was absent. I gave it to her male classmate on my behalf.

Under the Mabolo Tree

Rebecca and I later became fast friends. We used to wait for each other after class hours in the afternoon at the Mabolo tree. Rebecca travelled 9 kilometers from her place in La Granja to the school each day. I used to accompany her to the bus terminal when she left for home at the end of the day.

One day I saw her sitting on the bench ahead of me. I had come late, for I was one of the cleaners in our homeroom. We had enough time to spend before her scheduled departure time. We conversed, evaluated our lessons for the day. And then a strong feeling prompted me to express myself to her. It was a timely instinct, for it was February – and we know what lovers are doing!

I was nervous. I hardly opened my mouth. But I overcame my fears and said, “I love you.” She remained silent for a moment, looking straight into my eyes. Then she said, “I love you, too”. With a big smile on my face and in my heart, I took her left hand and led her to the bus terminal without saying anything. I was tongued-tied but my happiness was overwhelming. It was my first love and last love, for we have been married now for 44 years.


  1. Kyla Matton Osborne

    What a wonderful love story, Gil! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I always feel I’m right there with you in the past, when I read about your young love with your wife 🙂

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      Many of my schoolmates, my classmates could testify how we developed and nurtured our high school love story. And thank you for inspiring me to write this here. I could now compile these serious of my personal love story into a little book. I may title it “The Way It Uses to Be”. 🙂

    2. Gil Camporazo Post author

      It is my long dream to a publish a book under my name. I am beginning to collect all those things I have written, organize them and come up with a series of books based on their category of interest. I will try to work on that. Thanks. 🙂

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      I am thankful for that. I would be featuring or writing more about my unforgettable experiences. Next would be uniqueness of both of you and the reason why we are meant for each other. Coming soon!

  2. Rex Trulove

    That is a wonderful story. It also taught me something, because I had to look up mabolo tree to see what it was. They don’t grow here in Montana. 🙂 I embrace every opportunity to learn something knew, praise God.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      I don’t know what’s its name in other countries if they do grow there. I think it bears fruit which has a tiny fur around it. You could find it on the Net. It stays strong and able to bear all the natural calamities that occurred in our place.

      Its scientific name is Diospyros blancoi. In English, it is known as velvet apple or velvet persimmon.

    2. Rex Trulove

      Yes, we don’t have it here, though some people might grow it in the southern US, where it is warmer and seldom gets bitter cold.

    3. Gil Camporazo Post author

      So as with your fruits grown in your place, we don’t have them here too. It is the location, the climate and the kind of soil where the fruits could be grown.

    4. Rex Trulove

      That is very true. We are in a temperate region and that is compounded by being in the mountains. You are in the tropics. Many of the plants you have there wouldn’t survive here because they’d freeze. Many of the plants we have here wouldn’t survive there because they require cold in order to become dormant so they can rest up for the next growing season. Most of the plants that grow both there and here are annuals. For instance, you can grow patola there and I have zucchinis in my garden…they are the same plant. (Well, if I’m not mistaken, ‘patola’ could be used to mean any kind of squash rather than a specific sort. I don’t know if I’m right about that, since I don’t speak tagalog and just know a few words.)

    5. Gil Camporazo Post author

      Patola is different from squash. Patola is luffa or sponge gourd. Squash is Kalabasa.

  3. Andria Perry

    Wow you brought me back to my own school days and the hang out was under the silver maples! No joke! Everyone met to hang out at the silver maple across from the school.

    I tweeted this awesome love story.

  4. Jo Pin

    That was a very inspiring story. This reminds me also someone from my past during my high school days who used to wait for me under the shades of a big “santol” tree on our way to school. I never even met the guy until recently when I saw him on Fb. Those were the days.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      I love that song, “Those Were the Days” which popularised by Mary Hopkin in 1969. It was the song that we used to sing during our high school days.

  5. Jo Pin

    Oh I was still a baby when that song came out but I grew up listening to those oldies but goodies song as my dad loved those music.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      It is a wonderful song. It brings me back to memory lane of my high school days.

  6. Fred

    You obviously love your wife very much with the way you wrote the genesis of your love story here. She is very lucky to have you by her side, as you are lucky to have her.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      I am very glad for that. Our love story would inspire the youths and the following generations if they do happen to read this.

  7. Gessa C

    Such a beautiful story, indeed! I really envy the kind of love decades ago compare to what this era has. But I still believe that everything just depends on the person. One can definitely find true love only if he or she decides to.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      Thanks, Bhushavali. My wife and I are very happy that you’ve been touched by our love story.

  8. nicol

    this is such a beautiful story and great how you’ve met and how much the tree means to you both

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      The Mabolo tree is a part and parcel of how we shared our everlasting love for each other.

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