My Third UP Graduation

Back in January 2017, I wrote of my back-to-school post. I began taking up further graduate courses in ASEAN studies, as I began recognizing the crucial position that Southeast Asia has in the region and in the world.

It was also, by coincidence, that my next employment is Asia-centric. This background in ASEAN studies will serve helpful.

UPOU's Oblation silhouetted against the setting sun, with Mt. Makiling in the background

UPOU’s Oblation silhouetted against the setting sun, with Mt. Makiling in the background

Time flew by and I finished the course I enrolled in. I never thought I’d attend the commencement exercises, but I decided to opt in at the last minute. Both of my parents have never attended a single graduation ceremony together, having worked overseas since 1988. Mama was able to attend, however, my graduate school graduation in 2012.

We made it in time for my graduation

We made it in time for my graduation

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Throwing the phone

It is by no means doing a Naomi Campbell. It is more than that. Remember when Andy had to throw her cellphone at the Fontaine des Fleuves in Place de la Concorde and walked away? That was how it felt a couple of weeks ago when I handed in my resignation. Yes, I’m finally free from the organization! (And yes, I’m back writing and I am now free to write!)

Throwing the phone at the Fontaine des Fleuves at Place de la Concorde - The Devil Wears Prada

Throwing the phone at the Fontaine des Fleuves at Place de la Concorde (Screengrab from The Devil Wears Prada)

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A day before graduation

It’s my third consecutive day of waking up around 8:00 AM because of important tasks that needed to be done. We went back to UPLB the other day for Lot’s enrollment, and I had my 10:00 AM appointment with the NGO yesterday because I finally signed the contract for the new position I will assume starting June 3. For today, I had to pick up the tickets for both the college and university graduation happening this weekend, and that meant dropping by AS before lunchtime.

Tickets for both the college and university graduation

When I first called AS 101 for information about the recognition rites, I had a hard time understanding the person who was in charge of information to answer those who are inquiring. Let’s just say that I finally met him in person, and he was not as pleasant as he sounded on the phone. In my first encounter with him in that telephone call, we had a small misunderstanding over the nomenclature of AS and Palma Hall. I kept on saying AS and he kept on correcting me with Palma Hall, so imagine the irony when you see a giant “AS 101” plastered by the College Secretary’s entrance — his office. Anyway, I have never been inside AS 101 during my whole stay in graduate school because I dealt with my academic matters in the Office of the Graduate Program. So when I asked about the tickets for both ceremonies, I knew right away that I was dealing with the same person because he was honestly snarky and it did not help that he was incomprehensible (i.e. he eats his words). I normally got no problem with that, but it’s just plain wrong to put people who are not eloquent in answering questions, without a hint of condescension, in the front desk or whatever. Somebody needs a crash course in communicating effectively.

The Academic Oval - UP Diliman

Anyway, I got my tickets in no time from the extremely busy BUT gracious person who was in charge of giving out the tickets. I was so happy to leave the same room with that staff with the bad attitude. Mind you, he changed his tune when he found out in that telephone call that I was a graduate student and not an undegrad. Maybe I should feel good that he was cranky with me because I looked like an undergrad. So after AS, I realized that I still have a lot of time to go to the University Registrar and FINALLY claim my clearance. It was due for collection since January, but I did not know why it took me so long to claim it. It was a clear and sunny day, and even if the sun was way up high, I finally decided on walking to Quezon Hall and take a couple of pictures of the Sablay-clad Oble and the sunflowers in full bloom along University Avenue.

I have NEVER read the inscription by the foot of the Oblation ... wow, a decade after, really

Cheery sunflowers along University Avenue - UP Diliman, Graduation 2013

Interestingly, since entering UP Diliman exactly a decade ago, I have never once taken a picture of me with the sunflowers, or even stood near them within 10 feet! What have I been doing all those nine summers, I do not know, and I even did not bother going approaching them in my university graduation in 2007. Well, the sun was no joke and I was debating whether I should really take pictures given I was all by myself. I eventually crossed the road going to the sidewalk of University Avenue, walked the length going to the checkpoint, while sneakily looked for the perfect spot where the exiting vehicles would not see me. LOL It was strategically placed between two large bushes and the flowers in the area were not bad either.

FAIL - the camera was on zoom

I had tried two batches of “self-portrait”. The first one was hilarious that I won’t bother posting the best shot because there was none, while the other yielded accepted results, only that I forgot to zoom it out after the macro shots before it. Hello sweat and pores! I was a tourist in my own university, and it gave me a good laugh as I internally ridiculed how pathetic I was. I then waited for the jeepney going to MRT in the checkpoint, and the students who were inside were quizzically looking at me because I was drenched with sweat. They saw me walking the length of the sidewalk and I’ll bet my graduate degree that they might have suspected that I had a field day with the sunflowers. LOL

Arriving an hour after in Glorietta, I had to wait for Mon to arrive so that he can accompany me in looking for a barong tagalog to use for two days. The last barong I bought was from 2007 and I remember buying it around Php 1000 and it was not the best one out there. So I swore to myself that the next barong for my graduation will be far from the other one. A six-year interval, then, might be a long time because my jaw dropped upon seeing the prices of the barong tagalog for sale in Landmark Makati. The cheapest was at Php 3,000, while I almost fainted when I saw the Php 18,000 one. But anyway, the fabrics used in the production of these are produced locally, and the embroidery was so painstakingly done, that you won’t even notice the difference the difference in beauty between the low-end to high-end.

Good thing I did not choose the one to the left

Of course, I chose one of the cheaper ones! =D It was made from jusi as piña-made ones commanded a higher price. I had my eyes on one with the elaborately-detailed collar, but unfortunately, the smallest size available for that style (i.e. medium) did not fit me properly. I’m happy to hear, though, that I need a small-sized barong tagalog. =D However, it meant that my choices were few and good luck tomorrow as I expect a minimum of two to three people wearing the same barong tagalog as mine! I’m just praying that they should be seated at least a row away from me!

Trying on a couple of barong tagalog for the graduation

Tomorrow, our college graduation will be at 8:00 AM but we should be there by 7:00 AM for the assembly. It was really early but I would not be surprised if another college/institute booked the University Theater ahead of us, thus ending up with the earliest schedule. My female classmates were really worried because salons and beauty parlors do not normally open that early in the morning. I laughed at first, then realized that I also needed a haircut. What goes around, comes around, and the strict schedule of the last three days prevented me from having one. Well, at least I’m finally graduating! =D