The earliest graduation ceremony of my life

I was on half-day leave the day before because today’s recognition rites (a.k.a. college graduation) took place very early in the morning. The assembly time was at 7:00 AM, even if the ceremony itself would not take place until 8:00 AM. I had a hard time sleeping because at 12:00 AM, I am normally on my way home, so sleep was difficult to come by. Perhaps I was a bit excited as well? =)

The earliest graduation ceremony I have ever attended - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

I was very happy to graduate with these guys - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

 

Fresh-faced graduates - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

 

We arrived five minutes after 7:00 AM and there were already a lot of people outside the University Theater. The weather was good but I think the ladies were not particularly keen with the sun shining brightly over their freshly made up faces. However, there was a collective sense of anticipation in the air, and everyone was busy taking photos with their families and friends, and congratulating each other over finally making it. Around 8:00 AM, the first group (i.e. that was ‘us’) made our way inside the theater amidst the cheering crowd of graduates who were so delighted with the processional.

CSSP@30 displayed prominently on the stage

 

I needed to have a solo picture LOL - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

We were seated two rows behind former UP President Nemenzo and my Anthro prof two years ago, Dean Nestor Castro - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

We were given a copy of the program, and I was delighted to see the name of former UP President Nemenzo as the guest speaker. He was the UP President when I entered UP Diliman in 2003, when he was eventually replaced by the President Roman in 2005. I was quite shocked, however, how elderly President Nemenzo was. I remember him being extremely energetic in an event in the Faculty Center before, but then that was almost a decade ago. Of course a lot of things has changed by 2013. I particularly loved his more than twenty minute-speech, because it has a lot of facts on realities of life in the Philippines (and also being Filipino in the impending economic integration of ASEAN in 2013), which would, honestly, not make sense years ago if I did not take International Studies. =D

From what I recall from his speech, he gave three pieces of advice to the graduates. First, he pointed out the importance of remaining a student forever, and how graduation is not the end of one’s education and it is a new beginning. His second advice was over the importance of the liberal arts and how it was wrong to question its relevance, given that it humanizes the impacts of technology because the latter has social implications. Lastly, he gave a very candor caveat “hope for the best and prepare for the worst”, warning on both the benefits and consequences of the neoliberal order, and the possibility of exploitation, especially on the Philippines if it will be furthermore integrated into the capitalist model of development. Marx, Engels and Wallerstein suddenly began speaking to me again. What struck me the most in his speech was the importance of having a critical mind, which gives the burden and challenge for the knowing to do something for others:

“With a critical mind, you can distinguish good from evil, right from wrong, wisdom from non-sense. It allows us into fits of outrage at corruption and the abuse of power; but it also obliges us to support, what is just, reasonable and progressive.” – former UP President Francisco Nemenzo Jr.

With Mon during my recognition rites - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

Mama and me, with the token (medal) gievn to the graduates of master's degree - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

There was almost a mishap with Mama. When it was time for the graduates to go on stage and receive the diploma and medals (for some), we were just informed right there and then that our parents should be going on stage with us. I had to make a quick phone call to Mon, so that he can let Mama know and she can sprint all the way to the stage. She just made it in time when my name was called and in the process, she has almost slipped and has already lost her Php 100 corsage. It was a surreal moment for me, and I could not imagine how more surreal it was for her. She has never done this in any of my graduation and I could not believe it was finally happening. We walked hand in hand and she was almost teary-eyed while putting the medal on me. After more than two decades, I have a parent on stage with me. =D

We were the first bunch to have our pictures taken here - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

Mama, Mon and I -  CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

It was a long ceremony and good thing Mon went outside to buy some snack from vendors selling street food. The two pieces of toasted bread I have eaten for breakfast seemed ages ago. At around 12 noon, the whole event was already over and that our group were so delighted that we did not bother finishing the recessional and headed straight to the stage to have our pictures taken with the big “CSSP@30″ on stage! After taking my photos with my classmates, I went looking for Mon and Mama, but turned out, they were already outside the theater. LOL I had to call them back inside because I needed my photos with them on stage. Yep, I am really that traditional with this sort of photos.

UP Pep Squad drummers outside the University Theater - CSSP@30 Recognition Rites

 

And of course, the sound of the bass and snare drums followed. It is usually customary that UP Pep Squad drummers and/or dancers go to the recognition rites of whatever college/institute/school inside the campus, as long as it has a graduating member. In 2007, I even had a short stunt with some of my teammates when my name was called. LOL That was quite a scene. This time, though, I was just a mere expectator and I was delighted over the support of the drummers to their CSSP graduates. I heard familair beats and it sent shivers down my spine. I can still ‘mentally’ do the routine on some of the things they have played, but alas, the mind was willing but the body was not yielding! =P

Six years apart - one from CAL and the other from CSSP

Nothing special when we went home after, because I was saving the dinner outside with my family and friends after the University Graduation tomorrow. I then thought of digging out the token I got from my college graduation and even if I was decimal-murdered, the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters that time, National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, was gracious enough to provide everybody with a medal. No one went home empty-handed, fair enough. Looking at these two, it was really amazing to think over how far I have come along. Few minutes after taking the photo above, I posted in on Facebook and  made an official announcement about the leap from working in the corporate enviroment to an NGO/the humanitarian sector. Well, I will still be technically working in my old company but I am really excited to start working for the NGO. Meanwhile, I have to wash the barong tagalog and the camisa de chino, which I will be both using again tomorrow for the University Graduation!

Off to UPLB!

It was a fine Monday and we can’t be thankful enough of the overcast weather because we had to go to UP Los Baños and submit the requirements for Lot’s dormitory application. After leaving our things and the office and the collared shirt I would be wearing for work, Mon and I went straight to the Taft area to ride a bus going to Los Baños. To our surprise, the JAM Liner terminal there did not have any bus departing for Sta. Cruz, the route passing by College, to UPLB. One of the drivers there told us to go to Green Star’s terminal few meters away, and we had barely missed the bus because it was already in the highway, about to leave.

Welcome to UPLB!

An hour and a half, we already arrived at our destination. I was really excited to go there again because I haven’t been to UPLB for a very long time. I have extremely fond memories of the place and seeing the familiar environment brought the feeling back. When we were about to disembark, I remember checking the people online on Facebook to see if some of my friends from Elbi were online. Good thing, Russel was available and I messaged her immediately so we can meet up with her. But we first had to go to the University Housing Services to submit the application requirements.

University Housing Services in UPLB

The University Housing Services is located just behind the College of Development Communication, near the Carabao Park just after the university’s entrance. We thought there was a long line of students waiting to be entertained but they were actually queueing for something else. We just entered that door above and was entertained by the lady in charge after finishing a phone call (and from what I’ve heard, I inferred that it was an inquiry in sending the application via mail). If only we were not hoping to secure a good room slot for Lot, we could have just sent her application via mail as well. However, it was a first-come, first-served application and every moment counts. In less than five minutes, then, we were done with our ‘mission’ and we had to do something else.

I called Russel and she was in a library near BioSci, just behind the University Registrar. So we had to walk from the Housing Services and passed by the Humanities building. We also saw a group of people in the Registrar, looking at two sheets of paper containing information about the wait listing process in UPLB.

Oblation in UPLB, in front of the Humanities building

Flow chart of application for wait list and wait list criteria for UPLB for First Semester 2013-2014

 

Then just as we reached the parking area in front of BioSci, I immediately saw Russel waving from a distance and I was so happy to see her. =) She was busy finishing her graduate thesis and was hoping she’d finish it in time, thus graduate this semester as well. Good thing the library was quite lax and did not require us to present our ID. After a few minutes of catching up, we eventually left to walk around the campus because of the impending downpour.

With Russell

 

The nearest attraction was the Pegaraw in front of the Main Library and I wanted Mon to have a closer look at the peculiar sculpture.

On our way to the UPLB Main Library to see the Pegaraw

 

Pegaraw in UP Los Baños

 

 

There were a lot of students walking past and it was difficult to get a good shot with it. We also had to stand behind the sculpture because the sun was shining behind it and we did not want to showcase our silhouette with the Pegaraw. This explains why Mon’s picture below had the bum shown in full detail. LOL

Mon with the Pegaraw - UP Los Baños

 

We then scrapped our walking-for-leisure pace because we still had to travel back to Makati. We wasted no time going to the Freedom Park to have a look around; and we also had a great time having our pictures taken, albeit quickly. Just an hour earlier, we were so worried that it might rain but the moment we set foot in the Freedom Park, we realized that we stressed ourselves out for nothing. In true UPLB fashion, the weather was unpredictable.

Mariang Banga - UP Los Baños

 

Mon  and I in the Freedom Park - UP Los Baños

 

Freedom Park and the Fertility Tree - UP Los Baños

 

In the Freedom Park, with the Fertility Tree and the  Carillon Tower in the background - UP Los Baños

 

Mon also wanted to get a good picture of the Men’s Dorm, which we will be showing to his sister. Hopefully, her application to that dorm gets approved, so we can all cross out the accommodation problem out of the list. If that happens, she will be getting an email from the Housing Services and will have a week to confirm her reservation — and we will accompany her back to UPLB. ^_^

Men's Dorm - UP Los Baños

 

 

We left UPLB at around 4:30 PM but it took us almost 20 minutes to reach Olivarez again, as the traffic was horrendous. Contrary to what I’ve expected, there were also few buses bound for Manila passing by and we had to wait for 15 minutes just to catch one. We rode an HM Transport bus with ‘Cubao’ signboard and we asked the driver if we could get off in Ayala. But to our dismay, they won’t be stopping there so we just opted for the Magallanes stop. We also paid about Php 95 each, more than what we paid from Taft to Los Baños using Green Star liner (i.e. about Php 73 each). But I guess we were still lucky because the bus driver told us an hour and a half after (yes, the flow of traffic from Los Baños to the entrance of SLEX was ridiculous), just as we reached Magallanes, that they would be dropping us off to Ayala instead. Yay! No more MRT!

Kim n' Chi goodness

 

We then had a good dinner at our favorite place in Glorietta’s Food Court, Kim n’ Chi! We were so hungry because all that we had eaten during the whole trip was two pieces of butternut doughnuts, a can of iced coffee, a pack of Piattos and a liter of bottled water. I initially wanted to suggest eating dinner in Los Baños but we would have definitely arrived much later given the slow travel back. Anyway, I’m still looking forward to going back to UPLB next week in the happy event that the dorm application turns out well!

My lucky nephew

Earlier, our company had a Family Day and I tagged along my nephew. Mon, on the other hand, brought his mom and youngest sister with him, Anne. It would normally be a Halloween Party but they decided to shake things up a little and make it a different event. The last time JB and Anne saw each other was two years ago, also on our company’s Halloween event where my nephew dressed up as Wilderness Explorer Russell from Disney’s ‘UP’, while Anne went Hawaiian for ‘Lilo & Stitch’.

Halloween Party two years ago - Anne and JB doing their best Disney

I have to admit, I missed making a costume for my nephew, especially on how I have painstakingly made and researched every little detail on that Russell outfit:

DIY-Russell from Disney's UP badges sash - Halloween costume

Russell 'UP' Halloween Costume - detailed with badges

But one good thing that this lack of costume brought to me was the less opportunity to stress over what he would wear. It was just come-as-you-are and leave-your-kids-with us, so Mon and I were able to just go around the area, while the kids do their stuff.

The kids are all grown up now - JB and Anne two years after

What can you do with an orange dot (or maybe circle)?

They had several activities: tour of all the work areas, safety demonstration, singing and arts. They were able to get lots of candies and freebies, but compared to the previous years, a Halloween party would still be better.

Obligatory picture with "The Wall" - Gray Play by Comme des Garçons shirt, Bench jeans, white Yves Saint Laurent  'Y' patent sneakers and Louis Vuitton Montsouris GM backpack , and my nephew using my Comme des Garçons  Homme Plus Canvas Tote as his goodie bag

Mon with his Mon and little sister

They were to raffle off prizes and I was hoping that my nephew’s name gets picked for the tickets to the Mind Museum. But ‘lo and behold! He was called as second to the last person for the prize! I was really happy because I’ve been wanting to go to the Mind Museum in Taguig City because it is supposedly a kick-ass science museum! We now have to pay just for two people but it wasn’t bad at all. =D

My lucky nephew claiming his prize

The Mind Museum at Taguig tickets errrr.... technically gift cards

I was never lucky with raffles or games of luck since I was a kid. There was even an instance during a Christmas paryt of a church where they gave out prizes to everyone as long as there were gifts on the table. Unlucky me had to be the last name in the fish bowl and there were no more prizes left. That cemented my reputation of being unfortunate to games of luck. Since then, I’ve never been a believer of luck but hard work. LOL Good thing he did not inherit my raffle luck but my older brother’s. When we were kids and up until now, he’d get picked in raffles to win a complete set of G.I. Joe toys, house appliances and even an iPad. Ugh.

I don't know why my nephew kept on doing this pose - Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill

Now we have to schedule a date to visit the museum. Their website states that kids below two feet have free admission. I was under the impression that my niece, Brie, was still under two feet. But alas! She’s almost three feet! The kids are really growing up so fast and I feel old. We will most probably visit the museum by the first or second week of November. =D