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It happened several years ago when I was still a freshman in college. It was the first day of classes and as a typical social animal, I chatted with my seatmate. On the very first day, we had a pop quiz. The professor later announced the results—and then I heard him say, “Mr. Baluga, 86 percent!” I laughed hard and told my seatmate, “Ang pangit ng pangalan ’no? Baluga! Ha ha ha!” He didn’t say a word and I felt stupid for laughing on something that he didn’t find funny. The next day, the professor checked the attendance by roll call. He called the name Baluga, and guess who raised his hand? My seatmate! I was so ashamed that I asked another classmate to change seats with me. I promised never to laugh at anyone’s name again.

ILLUSTRATION: JASON CONFESSOR
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