So I’m on Facebook and…

Oh joy. I finally got to access this. *sigh* New blog, but same old ISP woes. Remind me to call them tomorrow. Or maybe Saturday.

The other day, I was chatting on YM with my friend Armi. She mentioned that she’s been hanging out lately with people from our high school and it brought up a lot of memories for her. Armi and I are from different batches, me being ahead three years or so, but we used to ride the same service to and fro school, plus the fact that her last name is the same as my grandmother’s maiden name sort of brought us together.

One thing led to another until we were talking about people in Facebook and who we’re connected to. I went online and searched for the said people and voila! I added up two former service-mates, my 5th grade adviser (who also happened to be the wife of our service owner, but back then was his girlfriend), a few other classmates and friends.

Going on FB is a lot more fun than being on Friendster, I tell you.

So far, my FB friends is composed mainly of relatives, my highschool friends, my college friends and co-workers. Oh, and my mom 🙂 And it’s like one big bad-ass reunion of sorts. I don’t think I’ve been this privvy to my cousins’ and classmates’ lives in… well, ever.

Good way to unwind after a taxing day at work.

Hola!

So I did it.

I closed down (well, in the process of, anyway) my first blog and am moving on here. Still on Blogspot, still with the same title, but this time, no excess baggage.

Not that I’d call my old posts excess baggage (which connotes a negative meaning of sorts), but more of things that should be retired from the blogsphere (though probably, it can be found by a Google search or something).

Does this mean I’ll be blogging more often? I don’t really know, but I’ll definitely try.

UP Baguio Homecoming 2008 Part 2

Read UP Baguio Homecoming Part 1

Lunch
Alumni trooped to the Bulwagang Juan Luna for lunch. There was a program where TABAK did their trademark performance of a day in the life of Juana de la Cruz, bringing back memories of freshman year and various presentations over the years. It was also nice to see some of the alumni joining the presentation.

After lunch, the older alumni had an informal program of sorts where they introduced themselves and updated each other of what they were doing now. During the “roll call” of graduates, we were the youngest, having graduated in 2000’s, while there were graduated from the 80s and up.

We younger alumni listened and just had fun. I felt that we were too young to share anything yet, maybe in five years. Still, it was great to see them, learn about who they are and watch them reminisce about their days in UP Baguio. It was also a learning experience of sorts because you get to hear about how UP was before and what had changed. Everyone seemed to have something to share and that made it really interesting.

Someone was able to identify the picture of UPB faculty that was posted on sayoterepublic before. I only recognized two, and when we learned that one of them was Sir Delfin Tolentino, you could hear the people in our table gasp in surprised amusement.

Towards the end, one alumnus led a rousing rendition of UP Naming Mahal, but it was the English version (the one my grandfather knows). We also heard our manongs from Batch 60+ share a cheer they had way back then.

My batchmates and I were in fangirl (and guys, I guess hehe) spasms with Kidlat Tahimik sitting on the table next to ours. I was really thrilled because he had Sir Rolly and Sir Jawo there too. When they were finished eating, we snagged them for a photo. Priceless!

I finally met Kidlat Tahimik when he went around, asking people to sign the petition against the commercialization of the forest next to the Convention Center. He’s nice, and quite funny too. We saw him around the campus for the rest of the day, and chatted with him too. Got to chat with his wife too, and their youngest, Kabunyan, was also there.

Tambay
We spent the afternoon just hanging around the “park”, as we called it. Later on, Thet and I went around the campus. I haven’t been to the new College of Arts and Communications building, or the Social Sciences, so we went there.

It’s interesting to note that the CAC and CSS are now at the “bottom”. What was the FA and Court B is now the CAC building, and the HS/Math division is now the CSS. I was admiring the CSS building and even the comfort room, when I spied a tree that looked very familiar. Stepping out, I realized that it was one of the trees we used to hold on to when we’d go down to Court B. As amazed as I was with the new buildings, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness for the loss of some of the places we used to hang around in. You could even see the lines of the volleyball court.

And I can’t get over the fact that the Mass Comm kids had these brand spanking new equipment that my batchmates and I could only dream of back then. Several batches would have to compete over two V8 video cameras and be creative in taking shots because that was all we had. Nowadays, they had HD cameras with boom mikes, a control for those cameras to switch views etc. No need to rent from outside huh? Lupit!

Thet and I went into the library, still manned mainly by the same people. It didn’t really seem to have changed much, though some of the chairs were now monoblocks instead of the big, wooden chairs that were surprisingly comfortable.

I wanted to ask if I could see my thesis (a copy of which I don’t have), but no one was around the reserved area and I wasn’t sure if I had to go through the usual procedure of getting it (do you guys still remember how to?). So Thet and I went to the second floor and had our pictures taken among the bookshelves. Yay, pasaway.

I tried looking for any of the books that I used to borrow, hoping perhaps that the card there would still contain my name. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful.

I did see some new books, which was cool. Still, on the overall, it didn’t look like the library changed much. I would’ve loved to sit at the very back and sleep read like I used to.

More friends
Towards the later part of the afternoon, we were debating on whether we’d go join the Torch Parade or just hang around at the campus. Tiki relived his days as SC Chair (2000-2001) by calling for people to join the parade. For some reason, the student who was supposed to do it had an attack of shyness, so Tiki stepped in.

Thet and I went to take some pictures, after we decided to stay behind. On our way to the Oble, someone called my name. Turning, I saw my blockmate Honey, I immediately gave her a big hug, then included Thet in it. We almost got run over by a car too. Then, Honey turned to someone behind her and said, “Eto pa isa o.” I saw Kim (whom Onats christened Kabute way back then), another blockmate and good friend. I would’ve screeched again, had it not been for the baby she was holding. Instead, I carefully hugged her as so not to squash little Raquim (I don’t know the correct spelling though). Since we were not joining the parade, we decided to head back to the booth, took pictures and talked.

Kim had to leave a little later, but before she did, she introduced me to a girl who happened to be the younger sister of our blockmate Masikap. Masi was one of the few who went to Diliman during our second year, and we somehow lost touch over the years. I asked his sister about him and told her to give him my regards.

Our classmate Migs Canilao also dropped by with his brods. I dubbed our photo as a Korean telenovela cast shot of sorts.

Early Pasiklaban?
The sun had set by the time the parade started. I originally planned to just take pictures as they left the campus, but the lure of the festive atmosphere was too strong to pass up. So I said goodbye to Thet and joined the other alumni who were there.

The walk wasn’t bad because there were plenty of people. The air was chilly and invigorating, coupled with the good humor of the alumni made it a lot fun. There were a few marshals, who looked to be part of the student council. They were giving us instructions on where to go and we jokingly replied, “We know what to do!”

It was good fun.

Since we were at the head of the line, we had to wait a bit before the Oblation Run and the fireworks. I went back to the booth to rest. Turns out our location was ideal because the participants for the Oblation Run would pass behind us. I literally ran with them to the crowd waiting at the Oble grounds.

The spot I got was right behind Oble, next to a few people for whom this was their first time, based on their comments and their shrieks. I stayed put for the fireworks, and with my handy Ixus, took shots of Oble’s silhouette as the sky was lit up. Nice.

There were more people during the dinner, alumni and their families who had just arrived, along with currents students who joined in on the festivities. Kat said later that the number of attendees were way beyond the expected, much to the delight of Ma’am Costina. The audi was so packed; many had to eat their dinners outside. Registration was halted because there were just too many people. Still, that didn’t stop everyone from having a good time.

For the dinner program, it was the alumni who shared their talents to the crowd. Among the night’s entertainment were performances from faculty of the various colleges, a reading of “The Vagina Monologues” from various faculty and alumni (including Ma’am Costina and Angel Aquino), a hula dance number from TAYAW alumni and a very lively performance from Kidlat Tahimik.

The program lasted well into the night, capped by a singing of UP Naming Mahal. We cleaned up our booth and headed home, though I have a feeling that many of the others didn’t go to sleep until the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2
I went with my sister Otki to school. I introduced her to my friends, then had brunch at the Upper Canteen. Afterwards, I took her around the campus and visited the Human Kinetics Program building. As amazed as I am with the building, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad that the archery range is gone. There was a small area inside for shooting, but it wasn’t quite the same.

I couldn’t help wonder if they found our lost arrows when they dug up the ground next to the range. If you find any arrows with a pink fletch, that’s mine.
We didn’t do much, and we didn’t really spend it at campus either. We visited Manang Mane and bought our favorite mangga’t bagoon. No price increase! We also visited the student council office, with Tiki and Jang reminiscing about how it was like and how things have changed.

I got to talk to Sir Francis Macansantos, who was my professor in Comm 10. He may not fully remember my name, but he remembered me as the student who loved anime. Well, that counts for something, hehe. He recently won a Palanca, and he told me to go ahead and submit something. Nothing to lose, he said, and you’ll never know.

One last trip around the campus with my sister, while telling stories of what I used to do here and there, then we broke for lunch.

I didn’t get to go back to the campus after that, but spent the rest of the day walking around Session and experiencing the Baguio nightlife (which I never really got to do in college).

Kat said it in her blog entry. We all fell in love with Baguio all over again. In a time when it’s getting overly crowded, these few days of fun in UP made me remember why I love it, and why I didn’t move to Diliman in the first place. It was great to spend time with my friends, and see people who were in UPB way before I was even old enough to realize there was a UP in Baguio.

2011 is UP Baguio’s 50th anniversary. Plans of another homecoming is in the works. Hopefully, my batchmates will be able to go (hint, hint).

Whew, that was long! For the rest of the pictures, you can check them out here, or at my Multiply.

UP Baguio Homecoming 2008

I probably am one of the few people who passed the UPCAT never got the typical “congratulations” acceptance letter. Instead, mine read “Due to the planned expansion of UP College Baguio…” and was told I can enroll in any course, except Com Sci.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who has the same type of letter that I did.

I went back to UP Baguio a few weeks ago, to get a copies of my diploma and transcript authenticated. I had seen some familiar people, met with a few of my former mentors and gone around the campus just to see how things have changed.

As interesting an experience that was, it was far more exhilarating to actually be in UP Baguio with your friends and classmates and be surrounded by familiar people, bringing in memories of the great times you had when you were still in school. In that weekend, I was called ading by many of the admin and staff, and I felt like a freshman once again, mostly due to the fact the buildings were all so new… and the fact that I saw a lot of my upperclassmen (the seniors and up when I was a freshman).

In the words of Ma’am Macansantos when she gave her speech during the lunch program, “Welcome home.”

Welcome home indeed.

Day 1: Friday
I arrived around 7 AM in Baguio of December 5. I took a day’s leave from work and got the 1 AM trip from Manila. Initially, I didn’t want to go because I felt that I was the only one who will be there. Somehow, at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to go, even if my batch’s attendance would be small.

I dropped my things off at my sister’s dorm (who was also studying in Baguio) and slept for approximately an hour. I met her later for breakfast (almost getting lost because I didn’t know there was a Jollibee in Assumption Road) then headed to UP. Baguio has changed a lot, but in some way, it hasn’t changed at all.

The atmosphere was festive. Students were milling about the campus, probably preparing for the activities later in the afternoon, or perhaps doing their projects and other requirements before Christmas vacation rolls in.

I headed towards the lobby, hoping to spot anyone that I know. I was about an hour early in meeting my friends, and I wasn’t fond of the idea of going around on my own.

I saw Ma’am Vicky Costina talking with a few of the staff about the registration tables. I saw several people in similar shirts, taking pictures, and talking. I figured they were alumni from years before I went to UP. Then, I heard a loud voice talking and when I turned to look, I saw Ma’am Claur. I couldn’t help but smile at her, remembering how intimidated I was during PE 1 (which we call fondly called Bio 1). She was talking to another alumnus, and rude as it may seem, I just stood there watching them. In my mind’s eye, she looked thinner than she did before, but on the whole, she looked the same.

Finally, my friends arrived. I think it was ok to greet them with shrieks and hugs, after all, it had been years since we last saw each other… well, years for my blockmate Thet and myself, though I saw Kat, Jang and Tiki sometime before.

We were among the first to register for the homecoming (I was #13 haha), so we were still able to choose our shirt sizes. We milled around the lobby for a bit, and saw the arrival of more familiar faces: Ma’am Helen from the clinic (retired now, and with whom I chatted with briefly about the many changes around the campus), Ma’am Brawner (my archery mentor and the team’s kakulitan during practice), and a few upperclassmen.

Afterwards we helped Tiki set-up a table for the memorabilia he was selling. We got a table from Ma’am Costina at the OPA office and found a good spot in front of the audi. There were a lot of people milling around waiting for the opening of the “Pagpupugay kay Sir Darnay” art exhibit.

My friends and I took that time to take pictures. I was sad that there were only four of us from our batch’s division (uy, college na siya ngayon!), but decided to make the most of it. Later, we found a few more batchmates from the Social Scienes and Nat Sci division, er, colleges.

We really didn’t do anything much except hang around, do some catching up and take pictures. Manang Mane came by and we just had to pose with her. Then I heard someone say “Sir Rolly” and saw him coming from the lobby. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. I literally jumped out of my chair, raised my arms and screeched “Sir Rolly!” I immediately corralled him for a picture with Thet, Kat and myself. I think I was hyperventilating. Oh well, that was heaps better than the last time I saw him, where I was so tongue-tied I could only grin at him idiotically.

Of course, we also tried to sell the memorabilia and chatted with a few of the alumni. It was cool to see the turnout from the earlier batches, and I was even more amazed when I spied a man who came from Class 1967! He was by his lonesome, which I thought was sad, but later on, he was with a few other people who were his friends back then. Cool.

Read on “UP Baguio Homecoming 2008: Part 2”

Happy tourist, will travel

I love to travel. I love to go to new places, see new sights and bring home stories and pictures of my adventures back to my friends and family.

Growing up, my parents would often take me and Nunik to various places around Luzon. It was mostly due to my grandfather’s job as a district superintendent that let us go places. Baguio, Lucena, Mindoro, Lucban were among a few of those. Others, like Tagaytay, where destinations of most family outings. Places like Bicol and La Union were considered extensions of home as we had family there.

But always, the best place to be was Candelaria. When I was a kid, I often thought that my Candelaria was the original one, even though many people knew the Quezon town more than the Zambales town. I was the very few among my elementary and high school classmates who spent two months of summer vacation somewhere other than Manila. I’d come home, sunburned and peeling, thanks to endless days of beach fun. My classmates would tell me of their trips to Singapore and Hong Kong, but nothing for me beats the beach.

And what a beach it is. Long before people heard of Boracay, hanging out on the beach was the norm for me, my siblings and my cousins. We’d be hitting the surf as early as 6 AM (which is the best time for me, as the water would be very calm and clear, and the sun not too hot), rising only when we get called for lunch and be back again until the sun starts to set.

Sunburns, jellyfish stings, swallowed salt water, gritty sand… we all took in stride. It was part of summer, and it was part of a tradition, a heritage passed on to us by our grandparents and parents. One that we would pass on to our future families when the time comes. One that we could share with our friends, many of whom fell in love with the beauty our town and its beaches has.

Before the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the only thing Zambales brings to mind is the Subic Naval Base and Olongapo City. Not exactly your typical tourist getaway. Often, those who go to Zambales were either invited by residents or heard about it through word of mouth.

I love how I have the beach all to myself on most days. Well, me and the rest of the clan, that is. I love how the entire stretch of it is empty of people except for residents and fishermen. Sometimes, especially when we’re there during the early morning, we’d help the fishermen pull the nets from the sea and watch as the fish flop around the nets. Among the usual catch we’d something see other creatures and be amused at them.

There’s just so much to do and to see there. Perhaps then, it is selfish of me to keep this all to myself. But I am afraid that having more people come in will spoil it for me, for the residents. I am afraid that commercialism will take away the peace and tranquility that I enjoyed in the years past.

I suppose I’m being pessimistic, but life has shown that often, when a spot becomes popular, the environment takes a back seat. Which is ironic as it’s the very thing that made the place popular in the first place. I don’t want a crowded resort where you have to deal with the noise of other people who play their music up to loud or be up until the wee hours of the morning. Yeah yeah, it’s supposed to be vacation but there are people living there you know.

Geez, I’m beginning to sound like my great uncle.

That’s how I feel about Baguio. I love visiting it as a kid and really appreciated it when I lived there for four years to study. I was greatly saddened when SM was built on the “park” a lot of my schoolmates and I frequent. Yes, it’s progress, but is saddens me that nature has to pay the price.

Seriously, I hope that when the tourism starts to boom for Zambales (and I’m seeing that happen in the next two to five years), it won’t leave the residents out. It’ll be bad if we let the big players hold the reins in the tourism area, making money for them and not for the locals.

Perhaps there should be some guidelines for those who want to put up a business to cater to the influx of tourists. Resorts shouldn’t mushroom here and there, and should be done with great consideration to the environment. Also, a good sanitation plan should be done, as well as some sort of clean-up brigade separate from that of the private ones employed by the resorts. Maybe even a financial plan so that prices of amenities would remain affordable yet competitive.

I remember how in Sagada tourists are required to register at the town hall and pay P10 per person. I believe this is for the maintenance of the area, in addition to whatever budget the local municipality has for tourism. I think it’s a good idea. Registering will act as a sort of guestbook for the visitors and there would be a fund for the people who help keep the tourism in order for the town.

It works two ways, methinks. The town is responsible for helping to keep tourist spots beautiful and as close to what Nature made it to be, and tourists should respect that. I feel sad when I see a natural or cultural heritage left to die because of neglect or disinterest, not just from tourists but also because of the residents who are supposed to be the guardians of those places. I hate seeing graffiti, or trash carelessly thrown by people.

The two foreigners I met in Sagada had a lot of good things to say about the Philippines. One of them said we have so many beautiful places we should see, but most of all, take care of. Regardless of whether we live there or just visiting, we should all do our part in helping maintain it.

Lastly, remember this adage that many travelers take to heart wherever they go: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”

On that environment protection adage, here’s two interesting stuff you might want to read:

Take nothing but pictures
John Kay – Nothing But

Happy traveling!

Crossposted: Multiply
Pictures by me
Reposted from my old blog

About me

I did not pick my username because of the anime “Fate Stay/Night” as many presume. Actually, it was a name I picked for a character I drew for an AXN contest back in 2003. Saber was because of her weapon, and Kite because of her chosen vehicle. If any, my major influence would be “Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs”. Years later, I realized that saber_kite was my initials backward.

I am unapologetically brash at times, am rather opinionated but sometimes, I rarely get to say it. I don’t like confrontations, but if I feel very strongly about it, I’ll fight for it.

I believe in equality, in loyalty, honesty and fidelity. I am a staunch believer of my rights and value common sense. I believe in being thankful for each day that is given, for each is a blessing.

I don’t like butchering any language, and anyone who replies to my posts in text speak either gets ignored or my wrath. Love your words. Spell them out. Respect proper grammar, punctuation and usage. Love and peace.

I write. I draw. I take photos. I dream. I live.