Bubba Gump et al

Met up with Tyress and Kath for dinner in Bubba Gump Greenbelt 3 tonight. Finally not getting lost within BGC and actually getting to Makati in record time from home!

Tyress is hilarious as always. I swear, he never fails to make me laugh out loud with how he tells his story. I think he’s usually much funnier than the actual story.

Tyress

Anyway, really good food!! Loved the Baked Seafood and Rice that I ordered. MMMMMM….. It was one of those few times that I was the first in the group to finish my food because seriously, delish.

We spent some time reminiscing the past and how crazy we were. We went on multiply to look at some of the pictures that would make horrible blackmail material. After that, we had some gelato at Gelatone!

 

At the moment I feel bad that I’ve only recently started documenting my vacation. I’ve been here for more than a month and it’s only now that I decide to bring my camera with me. Documentation fail. Well, it’s alright. What matters is the memories made, right? 🙂

I take Tyress home to Greenhills and visit his place for the first time. Since I’m in the neighborhood I decided to drop by to say bye to Kinah and we ended up buying some coke floats and chilling by Temple Drive… like old times.

I'll miss you, Kinchi! I wish we got to hang out more often 😦

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Palawan 2011

My friends and I went on a trip to Puerto Princesa, Palawan last month and I must say it was an amazing amazing amazing experience! Great company, great activities, great food, and great place to stay in! The flight had been booked since March so we’d been excited about the trip for a while, and I’m glad the trip reached a greater peak than the anticipation ever did!

Day 1

We met up at the airport at around 2pm. Kath, Enzo, Nikko, Camille and I fell in line at the Cebu Pacific counter. Camille and I jumped up and down from the excitement! It was the first time we would go beyond Batangas together.

Enzo and Kath in line

Camille Nikko and me, with excited looks on our faces!

But wait! Who took these paparazzi pictures? There was a surprise in the works. As far as Kath, Nikko, and Enzo knew, there were only 5 of us going on the trip together. I wasn’t supposed to know, but Camille was worried I wouldn’t be comfortable with the surprise so she told me the very day it was planned.

While we were waiting for boarding time, Camille excused herself to go to the bathroom. As she returned, I noticed two people walking on the other side of the aisle. Ah the surprise! I had to pretend I was surprised since the ‘surprisers” did not know of my awareness of the surprise. Alas, epic fail. I just stared at them. But I guess they got their expected reactions from Kath, Enzo, and Nikko! So who were these picture taking paparazzi surprise planning additional members to our now seven person Puerto Princesa tour group? Mar and Kris!

Funny thing, Mar would, on occasion, chat me up on Facebook and tell me how bad he felt for not joining us and promised he’d join us next time, and I just sat there fighting the urge to tell him I knew of the secret surprise plan.

Anyway, after all the added excitement from the expansion of our group, we got on the plane ready for the adventure of Palawan!

We got to Palo Alto Bed and Breakfast, and WOW. It was such a beautiful place!

Palo Alto

Palo Alto at night

our room

at the viewing deck!

It was already 6PM when we were done settling in in the two-floor room we reserved for the group so we decided to go out, explore the city, and find a nice place to eat.

After walking around, entering restaurants only to leave them after seeing the menu and avoiding sketchy looking establishments, we decided to eat in Nokinoks, a small restaurant in the middle of the city that made some of the best halo-halo and mais con hiejo that I have ever tasted.

Nokinoks!

From Kris' Camera

We went home and had some drinks. While the others decided to sleep a bit early since our van would pick us up at 7am, Mar, Camille, and I decided to stay up to watch the Azkals game. We didn’t stay up for long though, Mar went up to the guys’ sleeping area and Camille and I decided to turn the TV off to let Kath sleep in peace.

Day 2

Since I’m not good at sleeping on beds that aren’t mine, despite being the last to go to sleep, I was the first to wake up. After waking the girls up (Kris was in charge of waking the boys up), having some really good breakfast c/o Palo Alto and getting in the van, we headed to the port for our Honda Bay Island Hopping tour!

at the port

boat to pandan island

Pandan Island!

Hut

Our first stop was Pandan Island, named for the prevalence of pandan trees on the island, which had a beautiful underwater view! It was my, as well as Camille’s and Kath’s, first time to go snorkeling so Enzo and Kris had to give us some tips.

a view underwater!

Kath!

Me!

After snorkeling, it started to rain but that didn’t stop me, Kath and Enzo from running around like crazy in the rain and playing in the water. Mar,  Nikko, Camille, and Kris decided to stay at the hut and wait for lunch to be served. During lunch, I experienced one of my firsts again! It was how to remove the shell from shrimp. (I’m used to them served to me in pastas and in other forms where the shell is already removed). Nikko and Enzo tried to teach me and I eventually got it after a couple of tries. Enzo was nice enough to offer to peel the rest of my shrimp, but I did not want to give up!

Our next stop was Snake Island, which, thankfully, was not named such due to the prevalence of snakes. It was an S-shaped island that we were unfortunately unable to explore due to the sudden downpour of HEAVY rain. We remained in our hut the whole time telling stories, which wasn’t really a bad way to spend time but we would have preferred there to be sun.

We got back to the hut, and the attendants were nice enough to open two more bathrooms for our use. See, we had to wake up really early that morning to be able to allow 7 people get showered before 7am and we only had one bathroom to do that. So we now had 3 bathrooms to use. After getting dressed, we attended Mass in the beautiful Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Enzo lighting a candle

We decided not to ask the driver to pick us up so we could explore the city more. We divided ourselves into two groups (Nikko, Camille, Mar, Me / Kris, Kath, Enzo) and we took a tricycle to the city center. From there, we followed the advice of the second group’s tricycle driver. He told us that there was a good Chicken Inato place not far from where he dropped them off. We started to walk and walk and walk until we realized that it was not as near as the tricycle driver made it seem to be. So we then took a tricycle again to the place which was definitely not a distance we could walk to and not watch me faint in the middle of the road from exhaustion.

tricycle ride

Still, we were glad we followed the tricycle driver’s suggestion to try the place out because they served delicious chicken. Best.chicken.ever. Not bad, Mr. Tricycle Driver, not bad. I did some research and apparently the restaurant is called “Haim Chicken Inato”. The girls all ordered the regular, unspicy chicken inato, while the boys all ordered the spicy inato. Perhaps to show their manly ability to withstand the spicyness of the chicken, more likely because they just actually like spicy chicken.

Boys!

girls!

Chicken Inato

Seaweed in Soy Sauce

Grilled Tuna

We got back home and they played some sungka. I was sure I would lose so I didn’t join in. After that, everyone else went to sleep. I couldn’t sleep yet so I went on facebook (the B&B had really fast WiFi! I guess it’s because we were the only guests left) and chatted with some people until I felt ready to fall asleep.

Kath vs. Enzo

Camille vs. Mar

Day 3

On our third day, we went on the tour that i didn’t tell my mom about until after I got back: The Dos Palmas Day Tour. I knew my mom would flip because if the history of the place, but it did happen more than a decade ago so I wasn’t as worried.

Thank God the weather was cooperative that day! We took pictures on the boat. We were brave to stand at the end because the waves didn’t look like they were about to topple us off the edge.

we on a boat

🙂

When we got to the resort, Mar and I went ahead to secure a hut while the rest of the group took pictures. Apparently, the drummers were to not stop drumming until everyone has crossed the bridge and it took them a good 10 minutes before they decided to cross. Oops.

Since we wanted to maximize the sun’s presence, Mar and I signed up for kayaking while the others were fixing up the hut. It was my first time to kayak so I had no idea what I was doing. Yep, definitely a vacation full of firsts! As it was my first time to ride a kayak, it was also my first time to fall off it. (My mom thinks it’s because Mar was unable to handle my weight. Thanks mom, my self-esteem is gone.) My foot started bleeding and my legs are now scratched (the marks are what I now refer to as my battle scars) since we fell on rocks. On second thought, I fell on rocks and Mar fell on water since he apparently did not get any scratch on his body.

Nonetheless, I had so much fun kayaking! I did lose my sunglasses and my scrunchie when the kayak overturned but I still had fun learning how to do it! When we left shore, Mar already warned me that I shouldn’t panic in case the kayak decided to overturn. Maybe he, like my mom, questioned his ability to handle my weight. Haha.

After that, I decided to let my foot rest so I stayed at the hut while the rest made their rounds around the resort. Kath stayed with me and we talked about how much we were enjoying the trip. We then watched Nikko attempt to teach Camille how to ride a bike and you can guess what happened. Enzo, who claimed he didn’t know how to ride a bike, took his “first ride” and went around the whole resort on bike like a pro.

The buffet lunch was part of the tour so we happily went to the clubhouse to get  an early start on the food. Once everyone got there, we attacked the buffet table. I have never felt so full in my life. I felt so full I didn’t even want to move. I just wanted to throw up. So while the others went around to take pictures, I decided to go to the hut and rest for a while. A few minutes later, I see Mar walk back to the hut. Apparently he fell asleep on one of the hammocks and when he woke up they left him (Oh Mar!). He sat beside me, we talked a bit, then he proceeded to go back to sleep.

Dos Palmas Buffet!

While he was sleeping, the lady from the neighboring hut approached me and we talked for a bit. I walked around the area of the hut to try to help melt the food in my stomach and I guess it worked because by the time the others got back I was feeling a bit better but I was unsure if I could manage to snorkel again given that I still wanted to throw up.

Eventually, I decided to join them snorkeling. It was amazing tho because there were some fish that were amazing to look at that weren’t around in the first time we snorkeled, but then I got a bit dizzy. As we were going back to the floating hut, I started feeling dizzier and dizzier and water started to creep into my mask. I also didn’t realize that I had blood coming out of my foot and leg. I apparently had scratched myself somewhere while swimming.

We washed up and rushed to the boat that was ready to leave. It was a bit difficult for me since I now had three different scratches on my left foot which made it hard to walk with sand trying to get in the wounds. With all that had happened that day I fell asleep so soundly on the boat that Camille and Kris were worried I wasn’t breathing. Haha I love you guys.

On the way back to the boat

When we got back to the room, Dr. Nikko and Nurse Camille fought a battle with me while they were trying to put betadine on my wounds. I kept fidgeting around because I worried of how much it would sting me. It was such a sight with Camille holding my foot down, Nikko trying to drop some betadine on the wound and me screaming and flailing my arms and the others laughing at how I was reacting.

After fixing up, we went to Ka Lui, one of the hardest restaurants to get a table in due to the demand. Mar and I had read about it beforehand so we made reservations the minute we got to Palo Alto. They had delicious food. We all ordered the same thing, which was the daily special. I regret now not writing down the names of the dishes but what i do remember is that there was Steamed Fish in Mango Sauce, Fish Steak, and Crunchy Eggplant.

Ka Lui!

what to eat??

They also gave us complementary dessert which was fruit salad in half a buko! It was so good. After eating, we spent an hour taking pictures inside the restaurant. They had this beautifully lit area which was probably built for the purpose of having pictures taken in it.

outside Ka Lui

We got home and everyone was tired. Kath, Kris, Mar and I were the last ones standing and we played cards (and I kept losing)  while drinking some of the leftover drinks. It was our last night so we had to consume everything we bought from the previous days. Nikko, Camille, and Enzo were sleeping soundly but Nikko woke up after a while and had a drink as well. Then we all went to sleep.

Day 4

It was our last day in Palawan. How sad. We woke up early to pack our stuff because we would have to rush to the airport right after our Underground River tour. We rode the van which we shared with four other tourists and set off to Sabang where the Underground River is located. The Underground River is in the running to be declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and rightfully so! It is a definite must see for anyone who plans to go to Puerto Princesa. It goes to show how brilliant nature truly is and how it is able to create something magnificent.

ready for the underground river!

The rock formations in the Underground River were truly amazing! All you need is some imagination and a story can just be brought into life while you’re in the cave. Even if you don’t try hard, you can still visualize what the tour guide is saying. Amazing. I was just staring and listening and staying quiet the whole time so I can take in the whole experience.

Even the outside of the Underground River was really pretty.

"wacky" shot

After that we had a buffet lunch by the beach. The food wasn’t as great as the food in Dos Palmas. It kindov reminds me of those family picnics that we used to have when I was younger. There was one dish that was made of nothing but fat. Was it the liempo? I can’t remember. But every time I would go and get some it would be all 98% fat 2% meat. I complained about the omnipresence of fat on my plate and Mar tells me to eat it anyway since the fat tastes good and a good five minutes later he makes the same remark that I did that he countered himself. Very good.

On the way home, I was a bit freaked out by the way the van was just speeding through the turns on the road. I think Enzo noticed it because we started talking a bit while everyone else was fast asleep in the van.

When we got back, we quickly collected our things and then left. We had little time the previous day to buy some presents for our friends so we had little shopping left for the airport. While waiting for the plane, we got key chains as our reminder for the trip. Kath, Nikko, Camille and I got the Starfish, Kris and Mar got the turtle, and Enzo got the Crocodile.

With the Palo Alto staff!

We got back to Manila safely and we knew everything would go back to normal. They would all go back to work and I will carry on with the rest of my vacation in Manila. I would have to say it is the most fun I’ve ever had in a while. Looking at the pictures make me sad that we’re no longer there but at the same time I’m glad that we got to experience an amazing almost hassle free vacation together! I’m hoping we have one for next year as well! Thanks guys, for the amazing Palawan experience!

Goodbye, Palawan! 😦

** Photos (except underwater shots) courtesy of Kris and Kath. You guys have such beautiful cameras.

Caveman & Yeti

After our girl bonding lunch at Greenbelt, Kath, Camille and I set off to a place where it was quiet and empty on a Saturday night: Pearl Drive. We were supposed to hang out in Starbucks when we spotted the not so newly opened branch of Caveman & Yeti. We decided to try the place out since it sounded interesting.

Really good stuff, actually! I had a half vanilla, half coffee one with chocnut and condensed milk. YUM! Look at how pleased we are with our orders!

Happy faces! Camille, Kath, Me, Jude, Jonathan!

Philippines Day 1

After more than a year abroad, I’m finally back in the Philippines. It feels like I never left. EDSA never felt so familiar.

I met up with some of the Dormers. My lack of sleep really didn’t bother me since I just really wanted to meet up with my friends who I have not seen for more than a year.

Cheston, Jonathan, Jude, and Justin meet me in Teriyaki Boy and there are of course hugs that go around. Camille catches up and we wait for her to finish eating while waiting for Raisa to pick us up for my very first Mercato experience!

Jude, Justin, me, Raisa, Cheston, Camille, and Jonathan at Mercato!

After Mercato, we hung out at Cheston’s where we played taboo till 4AM! Amazing way to start my vacation! 🙂

Manic Monday

Today was such a long day. I kinda got into a falling out with a really good friend but I really hope it’s okay now.

Anyway, I’ve been working on something that I will finally reveal on September 1. I’m quiet excited on the feedback. It took a month to have it done, and I hope we reach our goal. After that, I can finally go back to my quiet, facebook-less life. It was quite nice the few weeks I didn’t have facebook. Sadly to get my mission done, I had to return to facebook. It’s for a good cause anyway so fine.

I have so many things lined up for me. I guess I could do great use to my time as a bum until I finally complete my ultimate plan 🙂 So whatever that is, I shall pray for it. Please pray for me too 🙂

Harry Potter

Jude, Henry, and I are on a mission. This is to complete reading the Harry Potter series before the 7th movie comes out (which is on November na Yay!) As of today I’m on the fourth book. I forget how much longer it is compared to the first three books. But this is my 2nd favorite book. (5-4-3-7-1-6-2). There being the final movie of harry potter is affecting me very much. It’s like the end of my childhood. Harry Potter has been a good part of my childhood to teenage years. I even spent a good number of years in a harry potter forum discussing theories for the final book.

In my heart and mind the Harry Potter universe will always be so much more awesome than that of Twilight. I’m not judging anyone who is in love with Twilight. I just can’t get over the fact that Edward = Cedric. Plus he’s a sparkling vampire.

Harry Potter will always be a big part of my life. And even if the series is done, the magic won’t end.

Basyang

I haven’t had decent sleep today because I was really worried about my friends in the Philippines who were facing the Tropical Storm, Basyang. I was such a mommy sending them text messages asking how they were and telling them to stay home because it was dangerous to go out.

Sometimes I feel my friends get strangled by my “love” for them. I was once told by a good friend of mine that I easily get hurt, because I always gave my all to those who I feel are important to me. I just realized that the reason I do this is that I tend to let go of my friends. Whenever I move on to another stage of my life, I usually leave behind those people who were with me then.

Case in point: my high school barkada. It took us five years to finally have a reunion. I hardly replied to their messages on facebook, yahoo messenger, or through text. It took me 2 years to finally add them on facebook. That’s how much I distanced myself from them. I do not mean to do it. It’s just that every time I pass a milestone in my life, I feel I have changed too much to relate to certain people.

This is mainly because of the lack of communication. I mean we don’t really have anything in common anymore nor do we know much about each other to have anything to talk about. It’s fun to dig up old memories but it’s tiring to keep going to the past, without anything to talk about on the present.

I don’t want that to happen with my group of friends now, and I think that’s something some of them don’t understand. I have a record of eventually leaving behind people. I don’t mean to. It just happens especially if I’ve drifted too far. That is why I’m trying to keep as close as I can when it comes to my college friends. I don’t want it to happen with them, they’ve become too big a part of my life for me to just forget them. But sometimes I can’t help but not care anymore since it’s hard to be the one doing most of the reaching out.

Anyway, enough of that. Now everyone knows I’m a ditcher. Kbye.

Anyway, updates to the letters blog:

Day 11 – Someone deceased you wish you could talk to

Day 12 – The person you hate the most/caused you much pain

Day 13 – someone you wish could forgive you

Day 14 – someone you drifted away from

The headings are getting longer and longer by the day 😐

About my birthday

July 7, 2010 was my 21st birthday. It is time to accept that I am no longer a teenager. When I was 20, (which was just about five days ago) I easily argued that I was twenteen. But it is futile denial when I say I’m twenteen one. In my heart I will always be that teenager who knows how to have fun (I hope).

I love my best friends. They truly made me feel special in that day. Rhowenna made me an entire photo album full of pictures of our memories together which made me cry. It was nice looking at five years of great friendship with my first friend in UA&P. This was followed by a facebook message from my other best friend, Henry, which really made me feel loved. I really miss my best friends now 😦

But to top it all up was my great friend, Mar. He forgot to greet me, which got me really annoyed because if there’s something that I’m very particular about, it’s birthdays. I purposely did not place my birthday announcement on facebook to know who would actually greet me. (Yes, I’m that kind of person, on a side note, Jonathan was the first dormer to greet me. I actually thought the all forgot. Haha).

Anyway, I threw a big fit when he finally greeted me (36 minutes late). It was kind of touching that he greeted me on text, twitter, and facebook, but I did not take notice of his greeting (I felt I had the right, I considered him to be one of my greatest friends… just a level below “best friend”). But I did converse with someone else in twitter, to let him see that “look i’m online but not responding to your messages!!!” Haha I’m evil, I know.

In my attempt to ignore him, I stayed invisible on YM. But he still buzzed me anyway. He apologized, but what got me the most was when he told me that he “hopes [I] wouldn’t make this a basis of our friendship”. I stopped being a bitch, but I still a little upset, because. It was my birthday :|. We chatted a bit and I kinda made him feel a bit guilty. After an hour or so of talking, he sent me the cutest e-card which carried both a birthday greeting and an apology. It was really then when I really felt his friendship.

You see, aside from my birthday, I put a big weight on friendship, especially for those who I hold as important to me. I went through a rough patch a few months ago, which led me to believe that I should not give my all to people. But with what just happened, I felt that I was actually doing it right. And for that, Mar perhaps gave me then best birthday gift I could ask for – and that’s bringing back to me the belief that true friends actually exist, and true friendships last. I know it’s so cheesy. Since I’ve turned 21 I have been excessively cheesy. Anyway, I sent him a lengthy text expressing how deeply sorry I was for being a class A bitch to him when he was pretty contrite about his actions. Alls well that ends well ey?

My birthday this year was simple. Just a dinner out with my family. Nothing exciting, it was just like a normal day… and you know what? I loved it. I like the quiet. I think I like the quiet after all the hectic years in college.

Just as a flash back, here are pictures from my birthdays from the past five years:

2005

My 16th birthday. L-R Top: Camille, Justin, Benise, Nardz, Bien, Mia, Me, Migo. Bottom: Aya, Haeja, Henry

This was taken in the school cafeteria before blue and gold took over the space. These are my blockmates. Most of them I’m still super close with 🙂

2006

My 17th birthday. Top picture: taken on the steps of Tektite, Ortigas before we headed off to Eastwood. L-R Top: Me Henry Camille, Bottom: Justin Ian Jonathan

Bottom picture taken after we left Eastwood (yes we don’t have a decent picture in eastwood meh.Clockwise: Jonathan, Camille, Henry, Me, Monica, Ian, Mar. This was in McDonalds when we just played cards till the sun rose 🙂

2007

My 18th birthday. It was a beautiful debut with all the important people in my life at that time. I love these people. The theme was pink (boys) and white (girls) Clockwise: Ian, Mar, Tyress, Monica, Cheston, Jude, Enzo, Henry, Jonathan, Camille, Me, Benise. ❤ This was in the Venue (Yes, that’s the name)

2008

My 19th birthday. This was in Kimono Ken, the Podium. Clockwise: Maan, Tyress, Enzo, Benise, Camille, Jonathan, Jude, Kath, Rio, Cheston, Me, Henry, Mar, Ian (not in pic: Justin, but he was there 🙂 )

2009

My 20th birthday. My departure from the teenage years. I was glad to do it with the greatest friends anyone can ever meet. Clockwise: Kath, Enzo, Mar, Jonathan, Camille, Henry, Justin, Jude, Cheston, Me)

2010

And here are the pictures from my 21st birthday 🙂 Yes I gained weight. Thanks for pointing it out.

And this is my practicing my wacky face for when I get back to the Philippines and have pictures taken with the dormers 🙂

1995

And the final flashback. This was me on my 6th birthday. 15 years ago.

I know. I was so cute. What happened?

You seriously want me to teach religion to kids?

Our community offers free religion classes for kids, and it’s like normal school, each student is divided per grade level. I was subjected to the education when I was younger. Today, they were asking for volunteers to be teachers to these kids. My mom looked at me and told me to sign up for it since I’m not doing anything anyway. I just looked at her and said “You seriously want me to teach religion? To children?”

Honestly, I’m not the best example to follow. Among my friends, I think I am the least religious. Actually, I have certain issues with organized religion. But I won’t talk about that here, or maybe I will… a little. I know it’s surprising, given that I graduated from a university which, when people find out I study there, would usually get the response “Diba Opus Dei yun?” (But there’s nothing wrong with that. What irks me is when they ask me, “Yun ba yung sa Magallanes?”, no, we can’t use our SM advantage card to receive discounts on our tuition fee. But how I wish.)

There were days I didn’t attend Sunday Mass out of laziness, I haven’t gone to confession for months now, I don’t oppose homosexuality, pre-marital sex, and the reproductive health bill (Although I am strongly against abortion), it annoys me how the Church can be so intervening in State affairs (Render onto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s), and I don’t like it when members of the Church condemn people who don’t practice, when many of the non-practicing Catholics I know have much purer hearts and intentions than some people who bow down to every command of the religious leaders (You should see these people outside the walls of the church! It’s such a shame.). And admitting all these would probably shock my very religious friends (You know who you are. Please still be my friend.:])

I have no issues on Catholicism, in fact I believe in what it has to say. What bothers me is how some Church officials can be such turn-offs to the many believers. Like this person.

But anyway, I like the priest in our area. He told me he’d never forget my name. So I have to be in my best behavior while around him. But as for teaching children the ways of the Catholic Church? I think I’ll pass. There are people who can do that job far better than I can.

UA&P 2010 Salutation

Like I mentioned in the last post, I received the honor of knowing who the Valedictorian and Salutatorian were before everyone else. This was because Kath Alday, the Salutatorian, who is also a very good friend of mine, asked me to help with her speech, given that she was only told 5 days before the graduation and she was busy with work.

Pretty much everyone expected Kath to receive one of the two titles, as she has almost consistently been number one in our university’s dean’s list, and eventually president’s list. This was probably why I was hesitant at first to be friends with her, because I didn’t think we would get along. Surprisingly, we did. And she’s now one of my closest friends.

It was a pleasure working with you, Kath. You (and Enzo) have so many good insights. It was fun. Even if we had to stay in UA&P until 12mn. Haha. It was a good way to spend my last day as a UA&P student. I miss you!

Without further ado, the Salutation, by Ms. Karen Kathleen D. Alday

Dr. Jaime Laya, our guest speaker; Dr. Placido Mapa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UA&P Foundation Incorporated; Dr Josemaria Mariano, President of UA&P; Members of the Board of Trustees, Management Committee, and the various operations committees of the university, faculty members and members of the administration, parents, friends, and fellow graduates, good afternoon. On behalf of the graduating batch of 2010, it is with great honor that I welcome you all to the Fifteenth University Graduation Rites.

Today marks an important milestone in each of our lives—the time to harvest the fruits of our labor and culminate all the hard work and dedication that has been endured. For many of us, today marks the conclusion of more or less seventeen years of academic journey. But the adventure is not yet over.

There is pride in each one of us as this day has finally arrived. Parents, I can attest to all the hardship and challenges that your son or daughter has experienced that have provided him or her, a seat in this auditorium. Though we all have claim on our own individual crosses as we walked the path to sweet victory, it is not to say that any of us got it easier than the other. Fellow Graduates, we have earned this rite of passage.

But a word of caution. I was once told that it’s a jungle out there We will be faced by the creatures that have, until today, lurked only within the textbooks and class lectures. The so-called “real world” is scary but with endless possibilities. But worry not because we have been equipped with the skills, knowledge and values that will allow us to brave through and into the depths of the jungle.

To our teachers, who have provided us with the light that will guide us through the jungle, we thank you for the lessons, the words of wisdom, and the guidance. For the projects that have taught us patience and the value of teamwork, for the papers that have taught us perseverance and determination in spite of all revisions, and for the exams that have taught us how to use our time wisely, thank you for contributing not only to our academic growth, but to our personal development as well.

To our friends, who seemed to understand us the most. These are bonds forged during late night cramming sessions, eleventh hour study sessions, or just simple hang-out sessions at the ledge.  Friends who have saved our sanity more than once during the hell week stress.  Thank you to the Dormers, for being that group of friends that has been there for me, for accepting me as I am.

Lest we forget our parents, who for more than twenty years have built for us the moral foundation that allows us to be strong despite challenges and temptations around us. This is for you—for the unconditional love and support that pushed us to do our very best to prove that we are worthy of the gift of education that you have given us. May we always be reminded that if we ever get too deep into the forest, that we may always run to you for guidance. To my parents, thank you for letting me go and letting me grow up. Salamat sa pagmamahal at pag-unawa.

And of course, let us not forget our batch. We may be a small school, but together, we are a powerful force that can make a difference. Unitas. The ever-infamous Ondoy was no match for the spirit of unity that brought us together to help not just the members of the UA&P community, as our efforts were also witnessed within Red Cross and beyond. Yes, we may be a small school, but we were able to impact greatly the unsuspecting lives of those who were affected by the storm. The way Study Hall A was so quickly transformed into a donations drop-off and volunteer center was simply remarkable. Who says we have no school spirit?

Within the walls of the university, we have all done great things. We have followed Dante’s journey, visited the Greek civilization, tasted a bit of Renaissance art, and debated with Machiavelli. And who can forget terms like common good, psyche and transcendence that have become part of our daily conversations already.

Aside from academics, we have kept the campus alive with our extracurricular activities such as ROC and VIARE plays, Chorale concerts, I Came I Sang I-Mic, Haranya, and Fu’s Dragon Dance among others. We have all evolved from the carefree first-year students to the now socially-aware individuals.

Outside, we have given pride to our University through the victories of our varsities: Futsal, Volleyball, Basketball, and Cheer Dance. All these are the manifestations of the holistic development that we have learned to appreciate in our stay in the university. It is a balancing act of sorts, keeping in synch with our academic life while managing to involve ourselves in the non-academic aspects of the university life.

And after today, we will be facing the real world—and this time, no more readings to provide answers, only experiences that will teach us the hard way. No more teachers to correct our mistakes, only life itself watching our successes and failures. The jungle can be very cruel—that’s why we have to keep our values intact. We have to remain focused and optimistic. In daylight, the forest is beautiful, but let not its beauty set you off your trail. And in the dark, the forest is frightening, but do not let this make you lose faith.

Gretel said to Hansel “Losing our way on a journey is unfortunate, but losing your reason for the journey is a fate more cruel.” As we enter into the forest of our lives, we should try not to lose ourselves in the beauty that the forest presents. Remember all the things that we, as a batch, have achieved through the years, and remind yourself: you were meant for great things. Our adventure through the forest will be a tiring but worthwhile experience.

Today, I challenge you. Go. Face your jungle. Show the world the greatness that was meant for you. Don’t just go with the flow—create impact and live!

Once we set foot outside this auditorium, there’s no turning back.

So fellow graduates, a job well done! Today is finally here, my friends! We’ll see each other in the jungle.

The Final Groupwork 🙂 (Photo credits to Jonathan’s sister.)

L-R: Henry, Kath, Jonathan, Sarah. Salu Vale speech team 😀

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On other things, today’s my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday, Ma. She claims she’s 37, but then I’m turning 21. So yeah, no. Although she does quite look like she’s in her early 30’s