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

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!

90s party music was pure fun!

A few days ago, I decided to go grunge for the party. However, Mon dissuaded me that the thing I was going for might be too much and I decided to narrow it down to a denim vest. I took out this denim jacket from the bowels of our storage room and was already resolute to remove the sleeves. I remember buying it from Robinsons Metro East department store more than 10 years ago and I had worn it just once — I regretted buying it afterwards. LOL

Denim jacket, ready to be ravaged - Manila, Philippines

After about an hour or so, I was able to transform the jacket to a vest, sparingly embellished with my favorite studs to give it a little character. Maybe it was a good thing that I had little time to do it because if I had more time, the vest could have gone over-embellished and would have crossed the gaudy side. I originally thought of wearing a white shirt with a bejeweled skull design on it but finally talked myself out of it. Then of course, nothing says 90s more than a good ‘ol Prada nylon backpack!

DIY Studded denim vest - collar

DIY studded denim vest, dark blue V-neck shirt, Jag jeans, Prada nylon and saffiano backpack, TechnoMarine watch, studded cuff and beaded bracelets - Manila, Philippines

We arrived late in the party at around half past nine, but we still were the first people to arrive in our group. Then one by one until 11:00 PM, everyone has already arrived and we started having a great time. And I think the best part of it was to see my teammates dress up as the Spice Girls (albeit toned down)! Clang as Posh was definitely the bomb, with the the LBD, black heels and the bob wig.

Mon and I with my teammates

Birthday boy as Sporty with the Spice Girls - Spice Girls costume

Girl power!

With my pretty girlsIt was the perfect event to party with these guys, because honestly, I have NEVER met another bunch of people like them who are, admittedly, the best party people. It has been a long time, in fact, years, since I last indulged myself with booze and good music.

With LR =D

Mon and I

Happiness!

Speaking of good music, last night reminded me of how much I love 90s music. From Mariah’s Breakdown, Diana King’s Shy Guy, Robyn’s Do You Really Want Me, TLC’s No Scrubs, Ghost Town DJ’s My Boo to name a few. It was the perfect playlist, sauf when the DJ played The Corr’s Breathless. O_O It was the most non-dancey music out there and I have no idea why it was played. Anyway, I went home looking for copies of the music played and the entire Sunday afternoon was full of 90s nostalgia.

Reciting Mariah's 'Breakdown' word for word!There was also a surprise guest. =D Ali was very ecstatic since last week because one fierce queen  had agreed to come to the event. I was eagerly anticipating this because it has been years since I last saw a drag performance in person.

Perfect impersonation of Mariah Carey's Can't Take That Away - look at the live video played at the back LOLI can’t stress enough how delighted I was to have attended Ali’s birthday, especially partying with my teammates after a long time. And also, a big thanks to Mon for allowing me to drink even just for one night, =D Again, Happy birthday Ali and thanks to the wonderful one-night time machine!

Birthday boy with his cake - Citizen Pub and Burger bar
*All watermarked photos courtesy of Shot and Shoot Productions

Undergrad nostalgia photos

I received an email earlier from the department that the graduate office was asking for a copy of my 2nd semester/AY 2009-2010 Form 5. I had no idea where I had placed it and since it was last used three years ago, I was ready to bet that I have already lost it.

I was very eager to immediately go home after work because I wanted to search for it in all of my boxes of trinkets. As expected, I did not find it. However, I was happy to see several things associated with my undergraduate life in a shoe box I have stashed inside my drawer.

Nostalgia photos - ticket, notes, classcards and Form 5 - UP Diliman

In one of the binders with Cattleya fillers, I have several tickets and receipts in the cover. It has Mariah, Alicia Keys concert tickets, as well as the ticket for the first time that I’ve watched the UAAP Cheerdance Competition in 2003. I remember that it was sold to me by my PE instructor right that Saturday morning, and I dragged myself to Araneta to watch it in that jampacked Upper B section. After that event, I was more than determined to try my luck to be part of the team.

I also found several notes for my language classes. I even found a yellow pad paper with a French translation exercise given by a visiting professor — translate Nina’s ‘Love Moves in Mysterious Ways’ into French. It was a peculiar exercise and we couldn’t believe that we were made to translate that song. Turned out that he liked the song so much that he asked all of his assigned classes to translate it. But the paper that I found really funny was the one with my notes for our Latin class. I barely remember anything from that class except for “Mulus gemit” (The mule groans) and “Sumus agricolae” (We are farmers). It was my lowest numerical grade ever (at 3.00, I barely passed the class) but I was most happy to get that grade. Latin was excruciating.

And then, when UP used to issue tangible classcards (they now release them online through CRS), we had to sift through a pile of classcards and look for our names. What was embarrassing about it was that other students/classmates would be able to see your poor grades while looking for their own. News about who got a failing grade would readily spread out. Looking upon my classcards in my box at home, I saw my two INC classcards, one for English 11 (literature something, where I had to endure the extremely soporific” The Iceman Cometh“) and the other was Kas 1 (Philippine history). I was wondering why I did not tear nor throw them out.

Lastly, my first ever Form 5 in Diliman from 2003, containing my basic French classes and the badly spaced schedule of classes. I had classed from Monday to Saturday (except Wednesdays) and the breaks were quite long that I even had time to go to SM North and loiter before going back to school. Also, it was my most costly semester ever, at Php 6,266.50 when it used to Php 300/unit in school. Of course it was a different story nowadays when the tuition for undergrad drastically increased. I remember peeking at the Form 5s of the students I was with in the queue for payment and it was not strange to see theirs marked with Php 25,000 and up. Eeeek! That can already about 5 semesters during my time.

I counted the wrinkled and yellowed Form 5s from my undergrad and they were all present. Imagine I have kept each and every single one, including the summer classes but I managed to lose one of my graduate school Form 5. Some things do really change over time and one of them was diligence. LOL