UP Diliman University Graduation v2.0

Yesterday afternoon was foreboding. After the sunny day during the early morning college graduation, it rained really hard that it made me worried about the fate of today’s weather. There was even a report of tornado and hail stones and somebody also sent me a message that there was a Low Pressure Area forming in Luzon. As the University-wide graduation would happen in an open area, the prospect of a bad weather will literally dampen our spirits. Looking back at my first University Graduation, I remember that it was so hot that I had been sweating a lot both from the influence of the direct sunlight and the uncomfortable barong that I was wearing. But for today, leaving our house at exactly 2:00 PM, the sky was gray and I was eagerly  praying for another chance with the sun. LOL The sunflowers were not-so-perky that I had to hold a couple of them upright   Our first itinerary upon reaching UP was to take pictures with the sunflowers along the University Avenue. My family was particularly excited about this as they kept on seeing news feature this entire week about the graduation in UP Diliman, and how the sunflowers were finally in full bloom just in time for the event. But frankly, I was disappointed to see that the sunflowers were no longer that perky because of the bad weather yesterday. The petals were no longer as nice-looking as the ones I’ve seen last Friday. =/ Anyway, that did not prevent my family, along with Mon, Lot and Lay to take lots of photos with the sunflowers. But the photo-op was cut short — it sporadically rained and we had to run for cover.

Mandatory picture with Oble   So proud of the three UP Pep captains   I was carefully evaluating the weather and I thought that it would eventually stop, with an overcast sky  as the worst that could happen. I was right. Around fifteen minutes before the start of the program, the weather had sort of ‘stabilized’ and I was confident that it will no longer rain. When Erin and I went looking for the designated meeting place for our college, I chanced upon this small group of people: the UP Pep Squad captains for the school year. I was really happy to see them and who would have thought I would be finishing my graduate degree, the same time as these kids finished their undergrads. I suddenly felt old. I even remember my very last halftime (as an alumnus, because I was one of the ‘babysitters’) with Irish in 2007, when she was still a freshman.

Goofing around before the university graduation

I still have mad skills in taking a picture of a group with me as the 'photographer'

Finding our line, I was happy to know that we were situated at the back, giving us more freedom to move and just budge when we were to finally go inside the Amphitheater. We even managed to buy a cone of ice cream each!

Quezon Hall in varying degrees of daylight - UP Diliman, 2013 Commencement Exercises

Quezon Hall in varying degrees of daylight

Mon and I in the University Graduation

Our Sablay now officially transferred from right to left

To be honest, it was tedious hearing the speech of the Guest Speaker. Apart from the low volume, it did not help that the speech he was delivering was written exactly on the pamphlets distributed on top of our chairs prior to occupying our seats. Why listen when I can always read it later? Just kidding. There was also, I think, a slight error in the sequence of the program. By the time we have already transferred our Sablay from right to left, majority of the graduates were no longer paying attention to the valedictory address. Poor kid. I could not even remember a lot of the things he said, apart from comparisons with national heroes and jokes that took me a moment to digest.  But I’m happy to remember him saying about his advocacy to give back to the community by teaching along with a couple of students. I’m extremely happy to hear that. Gomz, though, asked me about my experience with my previous university graduation, and whether it was this unruly (he did not attend his university graduation in 2008).  From what I can recall, everybody was quiet and intently listening to the valedictory address of Mikaela Fudolig, the Wunderkind who finished summa cum laude at 16 years old (Yikes!). I still remember about the “take not the road less traveled” from her speech. The whole event was festive but not unruly as the one we just had last Sunday. Oh well.

I did not know that I brought along UP Pep fans with me!

Yihee!

Family picture after graduation

After the graduation — time to take photos! I have taken lots of photos with friends, classmates, family, etc. But I did not realize that I brought along UP Pep fans with me! Same as yesterday, some UP Pep drummers were present and I dropped by to take a picture of the drummers playing. I saw Kiko and Irish again, and the next thing I knew, Lot and Lay were begging me to ask the captains if it was okay to take a picture with them. LOL Same as the afternoon, I had little chance taking a photo with Oble. There was a very long queue of people waiting for their few seconds to have their picture taken, that I did not bother having one at all, except fpr a quick shot with Mon. I was too hungry for dinner.

Famished in A VenetoA Veneto dinner in Trinoma - chicken, pizza and pasta galore

Already well-fed --- family picture after dinner

I was really worried about getting a decent place to eat in. We did not have any reservation placed and when we reached Trinoma after rushing away from Diliman, we still did not know where to eat. We first thought of A Veneto but there were groups waiting outside, so we transferred to the seafood resto next to it (I forgot the name, was it Seafood Island?). But ‘lo and behold, we had to wait longer as we were the third in line, so we went back to A Veneto. By the time we finally made up our mind, we were seated within five minutes! =D Chicken, pizza and pasta galore, all of us were hungry that it took us less than thirty minutes as soon as all the dishes arrived to get our fill. Monday awaits all of us, and Mon, Lay, Lot, Kuya and Ate Ja had to leave to go home to Cavite and Makati. I can’t be thankful enough that they shared that special day with me.

My official graduation 'self-portrait' LOL - UP Diliman Sablay and CSSP master's degree token/medal

Ebay headache: Overseas buyer claiming “Item Not Received”

The summer heat is no joke and I’m most happy with the cotton shirts I have in my closet. I could have acquired more before and I’m left circulating the same shirt and polo shirt over and over again. That’s why I was extremely happy when I got this white shirt from Mon’s grandma and Laylay on my birthday last week. I still have to use the clothing allowance we have in the office and when I get extra money, I’ll spend all of them on cotton T-shirts and polo shirts — one in every color. =D

Oxygen shirt, brick pants, Yves Saint Laurent white patent sneakers and Prada nylon and saffiano messenger

Anyway, at the back of my mind, I had a feeling that something seriously bad will happen with one of the items I have sent overseas earlier this month via Registered Mail of PhilPost. One buyer (of a bag) has filed an “Item Not Received” case against me on Ebay 12 days after I have sent her item in April 3. That was not even two weeks since I have sent it and she was pretty much informed of the transit time, as indicated in the auction, as well as my (one-way) correspondences with her uopn sending the item. It mentions that shipping might take “more or less two weeks”, so I was baffled on how quick she was to jump the gun in opening a dispute.

An Ebay 'Item Not Received' case

The tracking in PhilPost’s website was faulty and delayed, and I was excpecting that tracking information will get updated once the item reaches U.S. soil and it may take some time. I have also informed the buyer about this and I’m quite exasperated of her impatience. =/ I know the item will eventually arrive in her homestate and I did not know what will happen to my bag and money once she gets her refund. And of course, Ebay ruled in her favor and it was no surprise that the funds were taken out of my PayPal account. The reason: I allegedly did not provide a valid tracking information and there was no movement in tracking. I was gobsmacked.

There you are, the tracking number from PhilPost finally working  in USPS' website

I have half-heartedly accepted the outcome as selling internationally on Ebay.com is always a great risk. I also not made adequate research on every possible scenario that might happen, nor asked around about insuring the item in case it gets lost. Very expensive lesson, especially I had to take the shipping fee out of my own pocket because my funds are normally held for 21 days because of inadequate selling history. I have lamented this issue over a forum and was then happy to receive words of encouragement from some of the members. At their urging/curiosity, I followed up in the tracking and was happy to see that there was already movement in the tracking. It took me some time to process what was happening and thought of the best way to respond to this development. I contacted Ebay, explained the situation and hoped they would reverse the decision and give my funds back. Ugh.

Ready for the longest bus ride of my life!

 

I haven’t posted anything in days even if I wanted to. I was so preoccupied with fixing photos and prepping the items I’d be selling on Ebay. I decided to finally start selling internationally and hoping against all odds not to have an unpleasant experience in doing so. But of course, Ebay has been teeming with lots of scammers (yes, some buyers are scammers too!), I’ve been extra cautious.

Anyway, we will be finally going to Ilocos Norte today and I was just waiting for Mon to arrive at our house before we leave. It took me several hours to make up my mind what to bring in what would possibly be the longest bus ride of my life! If I’m not mistaken, the trip will take almost 10 hours! When we went to Zambales last September, the trip one way was about 8 hours and I had a constant case of “Are we there yet?” for each latter half of the trip.

Hot mess known as packing

 

I’m so excited to go to Pagudpud and also to swim in a river! I Just realized that I only have a pair of board shorts since I don’t really go to the beach a lot, so my gray and white pair will have a repeat performance again. =D I had to prevent myself from constantly packing unnecessary  things I won’t be using (i.e. clothes) but I think I had it easier now than our last trip (to Seoul, where I brought lots of junk).

 

Ready for the longest bus ride of my life --- Givenchy duffle luggage, black Prada nylon messenger, Prada saffiano trick and a camera tripod

 

It was hard to leave the tripod behind, even if it could no longer fit into the luggage bag. I wanted to take good pictures of our trip, and I don’t have the most stable camera hands to yield non-out-of-focus shots. I would just have to carry it freely because I also wanted to try photographing the night sky, free from light pollution!

We will arrive tomorrow at around 6:00 AM in Laoag and we will be staying there until Tuesday night. Most of Mon’s family are already there, and I can’t wait to see the place where he grew up. Manila, see you on Wednesday! =D

Remembering my grandmother

The 8th of March marks my late maternal grandmother’s birthday. If she were still alive today, she would have turned 77 years old. I wasn’t able to visit her grave last All Saints Day and the last time I went to the cemetery was during her interment. Because of that, I had already decided since January that I would visit on her birthday and good thing it fell on a Friday, when I could comfortable wear jeans and sneakers. New façade of San Juan City CemeteryAfter I had passed by St. Claire in Katipunan, Mon and I met in Farmers Market to buy some flowers. I forgot to bring some candles with me, but as it was raining lightly, they would just be easily extinguished. Cemeteries always give out a somber atmosphere, and the gray skies did not help to alleviate the gloom. Looking for the exact place of my grandmother’s grave, we got lost on the first turn because of the weeds growing around it. She’s sharing the same place as her mother and uncle, as seen in the tombstone (though her mother’s was written separately).

Flowers for my grandmother's 77th birthday

We then heard footsteps approaching us and they were made by a middle-aged lady, who probably followed us from the entrance. It was very annoying to hear her jabber about the state of the grave, and offered monthly cleaning services. I was honestly at the point of telling her off because I was really in the middle of deep reflection. It was difficult to think and concentrate when someone was just talking away and pulling weeds and shrubs. What I couldn’t understand was why she chose to do her cleaning while we were there, having a quiet moment in front of the grave. And when we left 15 minutes after, she was already trailing behind us. >_< So, why destroy my quiet time? The realist, suspicious side of me thought that the lady MIGHT take the flowers away, after we left the cemetery.

Home Made Carrot Cake in San Juan City

My sister will be jealous!

Before leaving the area, I told Mon of this place, which my sister and me has chosen as a de facto landmark since we were little. As far as I can recall, we’ve been watching out for this giant carrot because it meant that we were already near the cemetery. We never had the chance to have a look inside, though, so I took the opportunity earlier to finally visit this homemade carrot cake place.

Price list - Home Made Carrot Cake in San Juan CityEven if their prices were ‘reasonable’, we had no reason to buy a whole cake from them. So we just bought two slices, for the sole purpose of tasting them. Looking at the menu for the first time, I though that a whole ‘carrot cake walnut’ was just Php 185 but obviously I have misread it if I were to pay Php 65 a slice. And speaking of the slice, it was smaller than what I’ve expected, but we still bought some because it was embarrassing to setp out empty-handed. So the verdict: I might not return there for a long time but it was nice to have finally satisfied my curiosity after almost two decades. =D