One more time

Yesterday was the first day of my beginners Japanese class in UP. This is the second time I enrolled in such a class, but I have a feeling I’d get more out of this than I did in that Languages Internationale class I took six years ago.

Nothing much to report. Our class is small with only fourteen students. Surprisingly, we only have two undergrads. Everyone else is in their twenties and above and already working. Our teacher is Ria Rafael, who is also a senior lecturer at the Linguistics department.

I always feel at home inside a classroom, even though I quite dislike the first day tradition of introducing yourself to the rest of the class. At least I wasn’t the first one to do it.

First day went well. We studied the basic greetings, introducing oneself and started on learning Katakana. It’s funny how much you can pick up when you watch a lot of anime and J-dramas, so it was easy to remember the lesson. What I liked was the explanation of what the words mean, their root meaning and the pattern of how to create sentences. But much like when I was learning Spanish, having a wide vocabulary will help.

I can’t wait for next Saturday.

UP Naming Mahal talaga

UP Diliman Oblation

UP exam results bring joy, anguish to applicants

Ah, it’s that time of the year again.

I remember when I was applying for UP. I had used up several copies of the application form because I wanted mine to be clean. I also spent a lot of time talking with my mother about what course to pick. She told me to choose accounting, especially since then, I had planned to take up law afterwards. My choices ended up as thus: UP Diliman as the first campus of choice, with Accounting and Journalism as the courses, then UP Baguio with Com Sci and Journalism as my courses.

When the results were released, it was my best friend’s older sister, then a freshman in UPD, who looked for our names. Sadly, she told us that we weren’t on the list. I felt grim at the prospect of going to school in Miriam (no offense meant. It’s just that my mindset has been on UP for so long), as that and DLSU were the two other schools whose entrance exams I passed (I didn’t make it in Ateneo), and goodness knows we couldn’t afford DLSU.

One day, near the end of senior year, I arrived home from school and my tita said, “May sulat ka galing UP.” (You have a letter from UP). Nervous, I took my time opening it. It was a thin, legal sized, dirty white envelope. I was expecting a rejection letter, because what else could it contain? My acceptance letters from Miriam and DLSU were really thick ones, containing information as to what I should do upon enrolment, so I wasn’t really excited to open this one.

Inside the envelope were several folded sheets of paper, mostly mimeographed ones. The single sheet of white paper had those perforated edges with holes in them, and that was the one I opened first.

I still laugh every time I remember those words, as it is probably the most unusual words one could ever read in an college acceptance letter. “Congratulations” would be the most typical. I, however, got this:

“Due to the planned expansion of UP College Baguio, you have been admitted…”

Long story short, I went to UP Baguio. I picked Journalism because… it was bound to have little or no math subjects. Ironically, the jobs I entered in after graduating were in the tech industry.

Regardless of the campus, studying in UP is an experience I will never ever trade for anything. And despite the differences of each campus, you know you’re still in UP when you visit one. I know that’s how I felt when I went to the Diliman, Manila, Los Baños and Visayas campuses.

Congratulations to the new batch of Isko and Iska. Study hard, but have fun as well.

P.S. Urban legend has it that when you have your photograph taken with the Oblation while you are still studying, you will not graduate. Not sure if this means “not graduating on time” or “not graduating at all.” Hehe.

It’s been educational

Late yesterday afternoon, I met up with Drew at Makati to attend a lecture on teaching Katakana his friend Richard invited him to go to. Despite the fact that I can’t speak Japanese and the only sentence I can speak decently is the basic greeting, there were a few things I learned. I even managed to understand what one teacher was talking about. I’m not sure how but I think it was due to his hand gestures and facial expressions.

Food trip
Finally got to eat at Sizzling Pepper Steak. It wasn’t as good as I expected, but it was good enough, and one order fills you up well.

Today, Gerone and I seemed to do nothing but eat. We had lunch at Jumbo Japs, nibbled on Reese’s Pieces while waiting for 1 pm, then bought 3 pieces of day old and two pieces of penoy. Did I mention there’s sans rival in the fridge?

Check-up
We finally were able to bring Dion to the doctor. He has asthma, and the family was worried that since he was studying in the middle of the city, he might be prone to getting attacks and wanted to see a specialist.

We went to Medical City in Ortigas to Dr. Michelle de Vera. She said that what we’re doing now for Dion was good, considering that he doesn’t get attacks very often (but when he does, it’s really tough). She recommended that he carry an inhaler around all the time, use it as often as needed and call her if he uses it more often than normal.

Going around
There’s an exhibit of sorts at the LRT Cubao station, and I got some pictures of it. Really interesting stuff.

Later on, Dion and I went around Recto to look for the books he needs for school. I was able to go inside FEU as well. It’s my first time to do so and I was pleasantly surprised. From the outside, you’d think that it would be crowded with a cluster of buildings. Definitely not like UP Diliman or Ateneo.

However, the campus has this huge space in the middle, and the surrounding areas are nicely landscaped with big trees providing cool shade. Not something you’d expect smack dab in the middle of the city.

Everyone who comes in gets their temperature checked and if found negative, stamped on with a “pass”. I wasn’t exempted haha.

Hopeful

Three day weekend, I decided to speed of to Zambales for a much needed R&R. My siblings were all there, and they said that my grandpa was asking when I’ll be home. I had planned to wait until Holy Week to go home, but I figured I could use the few days extra.

So after the TDT, I tried to catch a trip to Iba. I knew I wouldn’t make it to the Caloocan station, so I decided to take one from Cubao. Unfortunately, there were a lot of travelers so I had to compete with all those people. I couldn’t find the line for Iba, so I decided to get one to Olongapo and take a bus there to Sta. Cruz.

Luckily, I was able to talk to the conductor of the bus to Iba, and I got to grab the last free seat. Even though it was at the very back, I took it. To my left was a couple who sounded like they work in a call center; to my right, was a pair of middle-aged ladies who talked non-stop from Manila to Olongapo.

My parents picked me up from Iba, which was lucky since I missed the last trip to Sta. Cruz. Now I’m home… and tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Manila.

Waiting… hoping I’m worthy
So I took the Talent Determination Test for the College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman. Since I’m a UP graduate, I didn’t have to pay the fees and take the mental test thing. I did the interview two weeks ago, and took the test yesterday morning.

The interview wasn’t what I expected. I thought I was going to be asked some questions like “Why did you choose to take a second degree here in UP Fine Arts?” or “What do you expect to learn?”. I was quite surprised that it was very informal, and that we didn’t really get to talk much about my art. I was told though that they encourage students not to do much cartoon style work unless they can develop their own style. I can understand that, and believe me, I want nothing more than to do just that.

The test itself was alright. It rained during the first half of the test so the air was cool and I felt relaxed. I didn’t have trouble with the first part of the test (can I reveal it? Nah, I’ll play it safe and won’t), but the second part had me stumped for a few minutes and I was literally grasping at straws for ideas. It’s what somehow makes me worried about the test, especially when I saw the works of the other people. Talk about intimidation. Though I’m no longer as confident as before, I’m still hopeful and praying that I get a good birthday gift when the results come out on the 17th.

Snippets
Congratulations to my brother Gerone who graduate high school yesterday. He’ll be heading to Manila for enrollment after the Holy Week.

Congratulations as well to my best friend Carmenez for passing the bar! I now have several lawyers to defend me if the need arises.

We got a new puppy and named him Samer. Had a chat with my friends via Skype. Went to the beach today with my siblings too. Didn’t swim, just hung out.

Manila bound tomorrow.

A past revisited

It has been eleven years since I graduated from high school. That alone should be an indication of how old I am in terms of numbers, but somehow, I don’t feel old. Maybe it’s because I haven’t really found where I want to be in this world, hence I still feel like I did ten years ago.

Maybe it’s just my nature.

High school reunions, in most cases, do tend to make you feel old. For many, the prospect of seeing their old classmates is not a fun thing, as it may bring about memories they’d rather suppress. From this point of my life, I can safely say that high school was good to me. It wasn’t the best, perhaps, nor do I get those “Damn, I miss it all and want to revisit it” feelings like I do when I remember college, but there’s this feeling of sentimentality still.

I would wonder more if I didn’t have those, especially since more than half of the people in my high school batch were my classmates and friends since pre-school. I’ve got pictures to prove it too, if you don’t want to rely on my memories.

Thursday night was probably an odd time of choice for a dinner reunion, being the middle of the work week and the Friday work day looming. I had already taken the day off to work on the application for school, so begging off the next day wasn’t an option. Still, my best friend of nearly twenty years and I went, and for a change, I was the late one, not her.

I didn’t know what to expect, really. Awkwardness? A bit of hesitancy considering that most of us haven’t seen each other in eleven years, except for the odd moments in between? Perhaps the fear that they would all realize that I was truly weird and I’d be cast out?

No. None of those. In fact, it didn’t feel any different. We were all older, true. Some looking a little more, er, healthier than the rest, but it was as if we all picked up where we left off. Perhaps not as smoothly as one could expect, but still well enough that there were no awkward moments.

It was a night where laughter dominated. Stories were exchanged in extra loud tones. Old relationships and gossips somewhat unearthed (but thankfully, not so much), memories of the good and not so good relived and can now be laughed at.

I got to see people I haven’t really thought of in so long but realize mean a lot to me. I got to reconnect with the friends I made back then, those who knew me at my worst (I haven’t reached my best yet, but I think I’m better), when I was still a kid (though I still am, in many ways). I’ve gotten to hug my best friend after a long time (our story is really funny) and basically just had a really great time reliving my childhood til teen-hood.

Reunions aren’t such a bad thing after all.

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”