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!


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!

Something bright and cheery for a wedding

Last Friday, I was resolute not to wear white because of the prospect of wearing something similar to the waiting staff in the wedding was big. So I opted for a bold color, which was really out of my comfort zone as I’m the Switzerland-type of person a.k.a. always neutral.

PS by Paul Smith Orange Linen Shirt - Manila, Philippines

While planning on what to wear, I suddenly remembered what Luna Lovegood mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about wearing sun colors to a wedding, for luck. Well, the shirt was not yellow but orange was also a sun color, right? A bus stop from Halloween might also be appropriate but I did not mind anyway. =D

PS by Paul Smith Orange Linen Shirt with flower detail - Manila, Philippines

The shirt was pure linen and with flower details from the chest up to the hem, and given that the wedding was to take place in an overcast Saturday afternoon, the breathable fabric made the garment very comfortable.

DIY red leather bracelet and Louis Vuitton Trousse - Manila, Philippines

I also saw this leather string from a little box and had a quick DIY project of making my own red leather bracelet! I also noticed that as much as I like carrying a bag, I thought that it was too much to carry one in a wedding given that most of the things I have are big. So I just opted for my trousse toilette, which was normally a toiletry kit. This reminds me that I needed a good leather portfolio for future events like this.

Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City

Stained glass panels inside Mt. Carmel Shrine

The wedding took place at around 3:30 PM in Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City. It was the last wedding for the day, and we were almost late and that was a bad thing because Jannet was one of the bridesmaids. I’ve been seeing  Mt. Carmel from LRT-2, but it was my first to be actually inside the church. It was very beautiful, especially the ten (I think) stained glass panels.

The bride walking down the aisle with her parents - Wedding at Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish

The wedding in the altar of Mt. Carmel Shrine

And there was a photo bomber behind us!

It was a very beautiful ceremony but none of us cried. It was very humid inside, though, and I did not regret wearing linen. I just can’t imagine how ‘hot’ the men in the entourage were feeling because they were in full shirt-suit regalia. I personally thought that it was a bad call to wear them in lieu of the traditional barong tagalog, unless the wedding was in an air-conditioned place.

Mon and I after the wedding, waiting to go to the reception

(My shirt was originally untucked but upon reflection,  I should have just tucked it in the first place. Oh well!)

Mon with my high school classmates Jannet, Jayel, Marcial and Alex

The reception took place in the Oasis Pavilion Garden in Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City, just a few blocks from Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish. There were about 200 guests and we were seated with other guests by the 15th table. There was also a live band to provide entertainment to the people while waiting for the food (which took forever to arrive).

Waiting for the food! - Oasis Pavilion Garden

Hungry was an understatement, more of famish

On another note, my digital camera’s battery was exhausted after the first few pictures inside the reception. I then resorted to my cellphone’s crappy camera to take photos. It was fortunate, though, that the venue was well-lit so the pictures turned out relatively okay. Similarly, we were so hungry that I did not even bother taking pictures of the food!

The "Money Dance" of the couple - Wedding at the Oasis Pavilion Garden, Quezon City

The program was quite long but it was expected. All sorts of things that usually happen in a wedding took place, from the tossing of the bouquet to my favorite ‘money dance’. Upon introspection, the tradition of ‘money dance’ was taken differently by different cultures. Other cultures had this idea of the guests having a one-time dance with the bride and pinning money onto the veil. But here,  from what I’ve noticed from all the weddings I’ve attended, it was usually just the newly-weds dancing in the middle with the guests pinning money on BOTH of them.

They had several audio-video presentations, but my most favorite one was the production done inside NAIA Terminal 3 (which was evidently done at the same time of their pre-nup shoot). I did not cry during the wedding, but seeing the video did really make me tear up. :’)

With the bride, Czarina <3

They say that the bride was most beautiful during her wedding and Czarina was definitely one. But I was kicking myself last night for that camera mishap because I took a barely-passable shot with the bride using my cellphone camera. I wanted to take another one but she was obviously ‘in-demand’ and she was immediately whisked away by other guests after this photo.

Photo with high school friends before leaving the wedding reception! - Orange PS by Paul Smith, black tailored skinny pants, Lanvin belt, Prada leather laceup, Louis Vuitton trousse clutch

My camera then miraculously became alive and I was able to take a few more photos before leaving the venue. Jayel, unfortunately, had to to go mid-way the program because she had to attend a practice for some work-related Intramurals. It was funny to imagine how she brought rubber shoes and training clothes inside her bag.

Photo booth! - The Oasis Pavilion Garden

Photo booth picture with Mon

Of course, we had to take an obligatory picture in the photo booth set up by venue’s the entrance. We also had a picture taken with the whole group but Jayel took it home as an evidence for her mother that she indeed went to a wedding (a decade after and she was still like that).

As it was also Mon and I’s 4th year and 1st monthsary, we originally intended to go somewhere else and watch a movie (i.e. Taken 2). But as it was already late when the whole thing was finished, we just went home and bought food from KFC to eat with my family, who was busy watching the finals of X-Factor Philippines.

Best wishes to Mike and Czare and happy 4Y1M Mon! <3