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

Colorblind problems: the new Philippine peso bills

It has been raining since last night and I woke up feeling very lazy. I had planned to go on my bike for at least an hour, but alas, the wonderful sight of a pot of tinola and newly-cooked rice caught my attention. Who doesn’t love to eat when the weather is this cold? =D

Helmut Lang textured T-shirt, Bench jeans, brown 8-hole Doc Martens, black Prada nylon and saffiano backpack

No leather bags for today given the rainy weather, so back to my ol’ faithful nylon backpack. I also got to wear another ol’ trusty boots, my good-on-casual-jeans brown 8-hole Doc Martens. In Filipino, this is what we call pangharabas, and I love this pair when it rains.

Sticking out like a sore thumb - SM Blue Residences in Katipunan, Quezon City

I normally do not take the shuttle from Marikina to Makati every Friday because the roads (C5-Ortigas, EDSA, Buendia) are usually more congested than the other weekdays. I took again the long route going to Cubao and MRT. I thought I was going to be late, though, because of the serious traffic jam in Katipunan Avenue and Aurora Boulevard. As we were slowly pacing past the Marikina flyover, I can’t help but look up at this very high building built by SM Residences. I shudded to think how much worse the traffic in that area could be, if this place were to beging taking in residents. And of course, the ground floor will be occupied by establishments, furthermore increasing the number of vehicles going in and out of the area. A very big “GOOD LUCK!” to all of us.

Tea Farm in KPMG Building, Ayala Avenue, Makati City

 

I don't know what kind of plant this is but it looks cuteFinally arriving in Makati with thirty minutes to spare, I dropped by Tea Farm in KPMG Building to buy some milk tea for Mon and I. I have mixed feelings towards the current milk tea obsession happening in Manila now, but I am still fine drinking just a glass per week. Maybe because of the price (averaging at Php 100) or how heavy I feel afterwards with the amount of milk. LOL Well, Mon loves wintermelon milk tea and I needed an excuse to do something about my confusing bills.

Colorblind problems --- the Php 20 bill is the same as the Php 500 bill - I see no difference

 

When I was about meet Faye and Ikle last month in U.P., I rode a jeepney going inside the campus and paid Php 20 for the short trip — or what I thought to be Php 20. I was to pay for something in the Cashier when I’ve noticed that I was missing a Php 500 bill. I was racking my brain how on Earth did I lose my last Php 500 bill, then I recall handing out a yellowish bill. I gave it to the jeepney driver, instead of the 500 one. I had a lot of close shave with this kindof  mistake eversince the government started issuing the new Phillipine bills. I had no problem with Php 20 and Php 500 before, as the latter was on the very dark, golden side (notice how I describe colors? It’s usually bright or dark of a notable color LOL). But the new bills made distinguishing between Php 20 and Php 500, as well as Php 100 and Php 1000 more difficult.

Due to that costly mistake (I was given Php 12 change, instead of, uhm, Php 492), I then learned to keep any Php 500 or Php 1000 bill in a separate compartment of my wallet, far from where I usually keep the other bills. How I wish they made the Php 500 bill darker than the Php 20, I would then have no problem distinguishing one from the other. That small security fiber strip was cleary not enough.

Monette in the office!

Monday means back to work but I was more excited to wear the pair of khaki pants I have picked up yesterday! And because of the Chinese New Year, I decided to wear my Chinese collar polo — stupid excuse, I know. LOL

Blue stripes Chinese collar polo, skinny khaki pants, black Prada tessuto and saffiano messenger and black 8-hole Doc Martens with buckle and straps

Everything was normal, a usual day in the office when I suddenly got a text message from a friend of ours. Monette was in the area and told us she’d drop by the office and we were extremely happy to see her. She was in overdrive, though, and we can tell that she was extremely happy to see us. Ho ho ho. Monette, I know you are reading this and we were so delighted to see you! ^_^

Faye, Monette and I

Half of January

It seems only yesterday when we were busy preparing for the New Year and now, we are already on the 15th of January. Time really flies so fast whenever we are doing a lot of things, yet I still have more to accomplish even before the month ends.

I went to the dentist yesterday and I wore the Abraham Lincoln shirt I have thrifted last Friday. It was really funny because some of the people who saw my shirt were sniggering because they suddenly realized that Abraham Lincoln was actually cross-eyed. LOL It also rained a lot yesterday so it was a good call to use a nylon messenger and my favorite pair of brown 8-hole Doc Martens. For the past months, I’ve been using only my Red Wing and black 8-hole DMs that my other boots were left, uhm, desolate in our wooden shoe cabinet. I cleaned and moisturized all of them last Sunday afternoon and vowed to rotate using my shoes more.

Cross-eyed Abraham Lincoln shirt, brick pants, brown 8-hole Doc Martens and  black Prada nylon and saffiano messenger - Manila, Philippines

For today, it fortunately did not rain and I used my wexford messenger again. However, my love for heavy bags has been slowly dwindling because well, they are heavy. LOL Seriously, nylons and canvases are doing it more for me now than my heavy leather ones.

Vintage Balenciaga shortsleeves polo, khaki pants, Red Wing 875 boots, Mulberry wexford messenger briefcase - Manila, Philippines - "mulberry bag philippines"

Before sleeping last night, I took several photos to be used as ID picture. One of the requirements was an ID picture with my complete name on it. I planned to get this taken in UP, from the same stall where I had photocopied my classmate’s book. But as I highly doubt that they have a chalkboard there to write my name on; and usually, getting pictures taken outside entail limited choices as you get one and two shots and pray unto the highest heavens you have a good one. I wore the same royal blue shirt and silk necktie from an October shoot we had in the office because I really love how the color pops in picture. I got a decent shot in the one but I had a little fun with the camera as well.

Unused photos - royal blue dress shirt and blue Hermès necktie

I have also finally reserved our tickets to watch Les Misérables tomorrow. We will be on halfday leave because I still have several carryover leaves in the office and I have carefully allocated all of them until February. My friend, Ikle, will be back in the Philippines next Monday and we were to go to Baguio City for a three day vacation. However, as I am desperately trying to complete my requirements for a January 31st deadline, we had moved our sojourn to February 2.