Followers of the local alternative music scene in the late '90s know she was the vocalist of the all-girl rock band Fatal Posporos. Back in '02 she made some waves when it was announced she was going to be Ely Buendia's replacement in the Eraserheads. She's no Ely, and a lot of E'heads diehards didn't like the idea of a female vocalist, but the girl had talent. The new E'heads didn't fly, and each member of the iconic rock group went to start other bands that haven't yet become half as popular as the original E'heads but are at least doing better than the new one. Kris Gorra-Dancel's most recent stint is as the lead vocals of the rock act Cambio.
Around a decade and a half ago, I knew her as Kristina Gorra. She didn't know me, but I recognized her. We went to the same exclusive Catholic private high school for girls; she was two batches ahead. She wasn't really a campus celebrity, but she wasn't exactly a nobody either. I believe she was one of those brainy types who wrote articles for the school paper; I don't know if she was in the honors class or not. If I remember correctly, she was sometimes chosen for speech competitions.
Girls from our school didn't normally form rock bands, but Kris and her friend Donna had one. They performed at a program just after our last mass for that year, right before we were dismissed to attend our Christmas parties. They played a lackluster rendition of John Lennon's Imagine, sadly in need of a metronome, but good enough entertainment to soothe us from two and a half quarters of school-related stress (The show was stolen by a batchmate of mine who sang Christmas All Over the World and mispronounced Christmas as Kreesmass every time she got to the high-pitched chorus).
Naturally I didn't see Kristina around school after she graduated, but I did see her again. The next time I encountered her was at the end of Summer of '95, when I went to enroll in University. The University - everybody's dream school, where brilliant, radical thinkers supposedly went. As an incoming freshman, I scouted around my campus-to-be and observed some of the upperclassmen hanging around.
In the lobby of the Palma Hall Annex, I saw a familiar face, someone from my high school. I recognized her as Kristina Gorra. I thought about introducing myself for Alma Mater's sake and probably making an instant upperclassman friend. I decided that was too uncool. Besides, I wasn't even sure if she did go to that school; she could have just been hanging around with her buddies.
I noticed something different about Kristina. Our high school teachers used to tell us that going to college would change us, and I saw what they meant when I saw her. Aside from the fact that she was not wearing the ugly, unflattering uniform I was used to seeing her in, she did not seem at all like a girl who came from an exclusive Catholic all-girls private school. She walked with a then-fashionable "heroin-chic" attitude, looking laid back and cool in ratty jeans and a grungy shirt. She wore slippers, and her hair was all rumpled. She squatted on the floor (something that was outlawed in our old high school) while she chatted with her pal - and I couldn't help noticing that she lost her kolehiyala accent. Though she still had the exact same face, she was an entirely different person.
I told my friend (also from the same high school) about the chance encounter and we both swore never to lose our kolehiyala accent.
I saw Kristina again a few years later, fronting for Fatal Posporos (with her was her friend Donna, also from our high school). Now that was when I didn't recognize her. Even when I saw her name in the newspaper articles announcing she was going to be the new Ely, it didn't register that a girl from our very Catholic high school would front a rock band. I though that her name was familiar to me simply because she was in a band. It took me another few years to realize that it was the same Kristina Gorra.