He would come to school wearing a pair of slippers. He would buy ice candy during recess.
Life then for public school pupil Boy Abunda was "gentle" and "unadulterated."
The hiccup: he experienced studying in a school with only two classrooms—Grades 1 to 3 would be mixed in one room, and Grades 4 to 6, in the other room.
The Kapamilya star related, "Ang parati kong naikukuwento, ako po ay nag-aral sa Borongan Pilot Elementary School, na ngayon ang pangalan ay Eugenio Daza Pilot Elementary School sa Borongan City.
"Pero, ako talaga'y nag-aral ng Grade 1 sa isang small baryo.
"Dun sa lugar na yun, dadalawa lamang yung classrooms...Pag binabagyo yung lugar, lahat kami, nasa labas nag-aaral."
And young as he was back then, he already knew that those were real problems staring him in the face.
The host-talent manager resumed, "Para sa akin, hindi po ito isang kuwento. Ito po'y isang karanasan. This is a real story to me.
"Pinagdaanan ko po yung walang bubong. Totoo 'yan, yung nasa ilalim ng kahoy, kasama ko yung 2 and 3 nung ako'y Grade 1."
Almost 50 years later, Boy has become one of the influential TV personalities.
Sadly, the fate of public schools remains the same: "Mula noon hanggang ngayon, I realized the problem is still there."
But there's hope...and it comes in a bottle.
HOPE IN A BOTTLE. On March 20, Boy shared his latest advocacy to the media people at the Kenny Rogers Roasters on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
A brainchild of former actress Nanette Medved-Po, Hope In A Bottle aims to sell "500 ml purified bottled water," with all of its proceeds going to the construction of classrooms in public schools.
Boy remarked, "I fell in love also with this project because it's hope. Alam mo yun, you cannot lose it.
"Right now you're talking about a bottle of water, but more than just being a bottle of water, it represents so much where we should be and what we should have."
When Nanette approached him to be part of the project, "Hindi ako nagdalawang-isip," he said.
"Nung ako'y naging bahagi ang adbokasiyang ito, siniguro ko na una, walang conflict...Pangalawa, we didn't sign contracts."
Boy readily pledged his support because he has so much faith in the project.
"First, it's competitive. In other words, no one's been shortchanged."
Water is a necessity, and drinking Hope is like killing two birds with one stone: you quench your thirst and you get to help.
And he also underlined, "Pangalawa, we're also not trying to exclude people who didn't go to public school."
HOW TO GIVE HOPE? The first step to making this project a huge success is to drink Hope.
According to Boy, "All you have to do is pick this bottle whenever you see this and by drinking water of this bottle, you're actually helping a child or children who are going to school at the same time."
Next, encourage the people to be part of the "movement."
"Kayo po mga nanay, mga tatay, lahat po dito sa Pilipinas, ah...sa pagkakataon na kayo'y bumili ng isang bote, bahagi po kayo ng movement na ito.
"So, every time you buy a bottle, you're part of the hope, you're part of that solution, you're part of that dream of building more classrooms."
"Collective heroism," he said, will make Hope In A Bottle achieve its targets at a faster rate.
Boy affirmed, "Yung puwede lahat makatulong para maibsan yung problema ng kakulangan ng classroom.
"Isa sa mga importanteng points din kung bakit tayo nagkakaintindihan dito.
"I think we are all in agreement na sa dami ng ating problema, sa dami ng challenges na hinahawakan ng ating bansa, bagay na bagay itong solusyon na edukasyon ang pinanggagalingan.
"Kaming lahat naniniwala dun."
Indeed, the manager of Kris Aquino, Gretchen Barretto, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Rufa Mae Quinto, Gelli de Belen, and Ariel Rivera, to name a few, has a soft spot in his heart for education.
"It's my way of honoring my mother and it is my way of honoring children who are from the public school. I'm very emotional about this... we need to help them."
And for a man who is an alumnus of a public elementary school, "Ito yung pagkakataon, it's time to give back. It's time to be active..."