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A Birthday Post

July 4, 2012

Lame title. Pardon me for my lack of creativity.

For a change, this birthday post won’t be about the things I’m dying to get my hands on, nor will it be about how I celebrated it. Who am I kidding? I’m pretty much sure no one’s interested to know how a stranger spent her 21st. Haha!

This post, rather, is about gratitude. No rolling of eyes, please. There’s no denying that it’s overwhelming to wake up to hundreds of notifications from your social networking accounts, unread messages, missed calls, and dozens of presents waiting to be opened. It becomes doubly overwhelming after a fancily wrapped box reveals a new pair of shoes. Or maybe a laptop. Or maybe $1,000 worth of gift certificate. Or maybe a sleek wrist watch. Or maybe the keys of the car you’ve long been fantasizing about. Or maybe an all expense paid trip to your dream destination. Mind-blowing enough?

This may come out as highfalutin, but believe me when I say that at the end of the day, the thing that genuinely, perpetually even, makes one feel loved is not the new pair of shoes, the laptop, the gift certificate, the wrist watch, the new car, and the free trip. It’s always heartwarming to know that these gifts are tangible representations of the giver’s love and effort. Cliché, but true.

So if you’re one of those who sacrificed three seconds of the day to greet me, who gave up probably a month’s worth of school allowance to buy something for me, who scrupulously crafted a personalized card for me, who gave up job-hunting for the day to have a virtual birthday lunch with me via Skype, who made a long distance call just to greet me, who offered a prayer for me for my 21st, THANK YOU.

My life, so far, has been nothing short of blessed. I’m positive that it will either remain as awesome as it is now or probably get even better in the coming years. Here’s to more years of noteworthy successes, genuine maturity, and unadulterated happiness… with everyone I hold dear! Happy 21st birthday to me!

PS: No, I didn’t receive most of the abovementioned items today, haha.

A 30-Minute Escape from (Pseudo) Stress

June 28, 2012

I say pseudo because I’m not quite sure if I should really be stressing about what I have been stressing about these past few days… weeks. Coming up with perfect solutions is a bit of a challenge if your stress, despite being somewhat unidentifiable, leaves you absent-mindedly staring at the ceiling for hours. Times like this I rely on my pick-me-uppers to give me an instant mood lift. When my hair is still too short for a haircut or when funds are low for a shopping spree, I do art. Or “art” (mind the quotation mark), if my creations are too mediocre for your liking, haha. I must say this pseudo stress has made me weirder by the minute, but I couldn’t care less! Two days ago, it took me on a spontaneous trip to the nearest 100-yen shop with only 1,000 yen in my pocket. I went there with no specific project in mind, just the motivation to “breathe” by doing anything art-related. Or “art”-related. Lucky me, I saw these endearing origami sets after fifteen minutes of rummaging through racks of stationeries and art materials. Doing origami during stressful times? So Asian!

I got so engrossed cutting and folding and tearing and pasting that my mind temporarily took a break from stress-induced pondering.

Strawberry Shortcake

Just another cake

Pastries! That fish is not a fish but a custard cake! It’s called taiyaki, and it’s mind-blowingly good! Not this one, the actual one.

Rice Dumplings – I had fun making these.

Fruits

Shaved ice and ice lollies to beat the heat

Better than Mcdonald’s – sundae/juice

Mushroom/corn

An egg and… well it isn’t so obvious, but the one on the right is actually a cabbage

Custard pudding and spoon

Flowers

Now it’s your turn to tell me how you temporarily break free from stress. Comment below or link me to a blog entry related to this. Have a happy week everyone! :)

Love, MIHO

Pig Out Sunday

June 18, 2012

I refuse to do a review of this restaurant for fear of sounding pretentious, haha. My exhaustion earlier might have made my taste buds vulnerable to deceit. For someone who’s intolerably hungry, anything, even dishes that are “too healthy”, tastes extra good!

Below are photos of what we had for dinner… before I greedily downed everything.

As evidenced by these photos, I didn’t have rice. That’s an achievement for someone who doesn’t consider a meal A MEAL without that extra carbohydrate. Hooray!

Akihabara: Tokyo’s Electric Town

June 15, 2012

Anyone who is an enthusiast of AKB48 (I’m not) is most likely aware that the name of this famed girl group is a shortcut for Akihabara, the place where they originated from. With their flamboyant outfits and spirited dance moves, AKB48 is this lively town personified. Akihabara, one of the most prominent districts in Tokyo, is famous for the wide array of establishments dedicated for otakus or hardcore anime lovers. Seeing promo girls garbed in elaborate anime costumes is actually a normal sight in this colorful part of Tokyo. Pretty neat, huh?

Akihabara has A LOT in store not only for otakus and AKB48 fanatics, but also for the technology-loving geek in each of us. This place has not been considered as Tokyo’s Electric Town for nothing; the huge amount of electronics shops will blow anyone’s mind. Non-techies included. This district houses discount and second-hand stores, as well as shops selling brand new items. From SLR and analog cameras, to lenses and camera/video equipment, desktops and laptops, pancake makers and house electronics, routers, and even quirky iPhone and iPad cases, the choices are endless! Even the non-techies will surely find something to take home. Aside from purchasing electronic items, people flock Akihabara to have their gadgets repaired or maintained (and this, by the way, is the reason behind my recent visit to Akihabara). With immensely diverse electronics shops, Akihabara truly lives up to its reputation as Tokyo’s Electric Town.

Curious about a particular Tokyo district? Leave a comment, and I’ll write about it in my future posts. :)

Photo Diary: Northern Thailand & Bangkok

May 28, 2012

So far my blog posts have only been about recent events. I woke up this morning feeling quite homesick for a country that’s not even my own; hence the impetus to write a blog entry documenting an event that occurred a year ago.

I initially intended to have my on-the-job training at the Department of Tourism Philippines in Tokyo, Japan. After weeks of exchanging e-mails with the tourism attaché, I got accepted. My plan was already intricately mapped out when a magnitude-9 earthquake struck Japan, paralyzing Tohoku and the better part of Tokyo. I did not need to go through the hassle of searching for another tourism establishment. As luck would have it, there was still one slot left for the 2-month Chiang Mai practicum my college was offering. To cut the long story short, I was the lucky person to join the group last.

Wat Phra That Mon Phaya Chae, Lampang Province

Songkran Festival, Lampang Province

Maejo University, Chiang Mai – MJU’s International Dormitory was our home for two months.

Chiang Mai, Zoo

A Mo Kra Ta restaurant in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Walking Street is only open on Sundays.

Sankampaeng Hot Springs, Chiang Mai

Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai – the only all-white temple in the world

Wat Jadeeloung, Chiang Rai

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

Khum Khun Toke, Chiang Mai

Lampang

A bar in Chiang Mai

Filipinos, Thais, a Taiwanese, a Belgian, and a Japanese-Filipino (that’s me!) all in a single picture!

From this perspective, BANGKOK looks pretty much like Manila.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok w/ our Ajarns (that’s “teacher” in Thai) – Goodbyes are painful.

Never in my entire twenty years of existence have I imagined spending several months away from home. It was all magical! I met people from different races and different walks of life. Learned how to PROPERLY clean a house and do my laundry. Shopped ’til I dropped. Rode an elephant and an ox. Joined an International Conference and a YMCA camp. Attended a 9am-4pm class every day from Monday to Friday. Rode a pick-up van and screamed my heart out. Got drunk. Bar-hopped. Hosted a radio show. Went to Myanmar and Laos for less than 3 hours. Karaoke-d almost every weekend. Went home soaking wet after joining the Songkran Festival. Rode the motorcycle at an ungodly hour. Danced the Tinikling in front of an international audience. Had friends from 7-11 just because we practically bought everything there. Walked down a really steep fall and was welcomed by a heavenly sight. Rode a train to Bangkok for twelve hours. Found a FAMILY in a foreign country. Cried so hard because it was so difficult to leave our second home. AHH, THE MARVELS OF LIVING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY!

Pardon the cheese, but writing this post made me want to be in this same reality again. I (sort of) hate how this longing is making me wish for the impossible, but the beauty of this is that it keeps me motivated to travel more and create memories that are as wonderful. I know in my heart that I’m bound to see great places! :)

Now excuse me while I update my bucket list..

Fangirled for the first time!

May 25, 2012

Lucky tree :(

I’m not sure how to describe the hullabaloo that arose when Ian Somerhalder finally went onstage yesterday. There were certainly lots of nudging, screaming, and FANGIRLING. If fangirling for you involves desperately devising a strategy to somehow catch even just a glimpse of him and not being bothered by the thick and violent crowd around you, then yes, that event surely unleashed the fangirl in me. It felt superb that for a split second, Ian Somerhalder was only a fence away from me! This is weird, considering the fact that I don’t even watch The Vampire Diaries. I’ve seen him a couple of times as Boone in Lost, but it’s not as if I religiously watch the series. That blue-eyed beauty was just too captivating not to fangirl on! It’s a bummer how the continuous pushing and nudging zapped what little chance I had of ogling him, haha.

Ian Somerhalder just a few seconds before he blew us a kiss ♥

Crazy Thursday that was, but I’m sure I made the right decision when I agreed to accompany my TVD-obsessed friend! I’d also love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to come to Manila in the near future, maybe next week before I leave for Tokyo. Or maybe that’s too soon. Please, please let me get what I want.

We needed to tweet right away.

This photo is from Ian’s Twitter account (@iansomerhalder). “Thank you Manila for a most surreal day!Look at this pic of me&6,000 of my new friends in The Philippines.Whao”

Of e-libraries and fondling clothbound covers

May 23, 2012

Sometimes, in the middle of a burdensome study session, I instinctively check on my friends to rid my brain of what I call academic clutter (brains need to breathe too, you know). It is through a conversation of this kind that I had access to a vast e-library two months ago. Mentally exhausted but still motivated to accomplish everything, I texted a close friend and the conversation resulted to her giving me copies of over a thousand e-books. OVER A THOUSAND, you read it right! It was like obtaining an entire section in a bookstore for free! Spotting Chuck Palahniuk, Jodi Picoult, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ernest Hemingway amongst that collection got me so excited that I temporarily forgot about the tons of deadlines I have to meet the next day. I was in book paradise, except that the books were only e-copies.

This used to be my bedtime book.

That same night I started reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, but it did not take until the second book for me to realize that using an iPad or an iPhone is not as pleasurable as the traditional way of reading. There’s something strangely gratifying about  hearing the sound of crisp paper as you turn the pages of a newly purchased book. Also, I’m addicted to that distinct scent books have, especially of the old ones. The excitement one gets at the sight of a shelf filled with hundreds of books is something technology will NEVER be able to afford.

Through nightly discussions and occasional trips to the bookstore, my Lolo, who’s already up there, together with my Lola Auntie, instilled in us the value of reading. It’s mainly because of them that we have a plethora of books at home; most of which are even older than I am. Some books are still in tip-top condition; others have already yellowed with age. A random person would know if a certain book has already been read by me if the pages are already dog-eared, haha.

I have yet to read these because as a child, I was partial to stories dominated by either kids or women. To some extent, this explains why I dearly loved the Nancy Drew series. Now that I am already “old enough” to also like guy stories, I’m giving Tom Clancy’s books a try.

‘Til the next post! :)

The A Word

May 20, 2012

 

A FRIENDLY REMINDER: If rant posts drive you up the wall, you should stop reading NOW.

…….

…….

…….

I see you’re still reading. You were warned.

ADULTHOOD – Just thinking of this gives me the heebie-jeebies; I can’t decide if I should be more excited or more anxious about it. Really, it’s a struggle when you’re caught in that awkward period between pre-adulthood and REAL adulthood.

I’m listening to Disney songs (‘cause it’s a Sunday and Sundays are meant for getting in touch with the Disney-loving kid in me) as I’m typing this. Right now my nails are in the brightest shade of yellow, and I’m wearing polka-dot pambahay shorts. Do these make me less of an “adult”? I’m afraid I might have to do a wardrobe overhaul soon to swap my brightly colored dresses for the more professional-looking blacks and grays and whites. Or that I have to give up my love for Hello Kitty or anything Disney. Or that I have to grow my hair longer just because this bob is not doing anything to help me attain that post-kolehiyala look. I fear that I might have to replace my annual trip to Disneyland with business meetings and coffee dates with them bosses. I was told that jumping up and down as a way to express happiness or excitement is unladylike, so I guess I have to get rid of this weird habit too.

And then there are things that I’m INCREDIBLY afraid of, the more serious ones. I’m afraid that if I get a high-paying job, I’d give up on my REAL dreams. I’m afraid of getting trapped in the “adult” world, doing repetitive “adult” stuff. I’m truly, seriously, absolutely afraid of being too tired to go after my dreams, of losing the passion that I have now, of not being able to find my inner youth anymore. I’m afraid I’m too weird, quirky, and happy to be an adult. I’m afraid of not being taken seriously. I’m afraid people will overlook the real me just because I own a monotonous voice and loads of cutesy, too-kiddy-to-be-owned-by-an-adult stuff.

I’m afraid, but this is not to say I’m not up for the challenge. Truth be told, I’m looking forward to everything that will happen from this day onwards. I’ll be going back to this post, as a reminder that once upon a time I was a passionate 20-year old raring to embark on a brand new journey, in case “adulthood” bores my future self.

Taking the Road Less Traveled: A 5-Day Caramoan Adventure

May 14, 2012

It’s not very often that my high school friends and I are given the permission to go home late, let alone go on out-of-town trips. When the opportunity came, we seized it and boy was it perfect! It was my second time to visit Caramoan, the first one being our class’ official field trip. To say that I had an incredibly different experience this time is an understatement, that’s for sure. From the planning phase (which took place in less than a week, by the way) to the last day of our trip, we were unsupervised – totally adult-less, no parents, no aunts/uncles, no professors, only four twenty something year olds longing to momentarily flee from the hustle and bustle of city life. From the grueling journey to and from the destination to the struggle of budgeting our limited food supply, to lugging around pieces of baggage twice our weight and enduring a mosquito-infested room, our trip was an adventure in every sense of the word.

DAY 1 (May 7)

Our adventure started somewhere in Morato at around 5 in the afternoon. Together we took the cab to Espana PNR (Philippine National Railways) station. The station was unimpressive, to say the least. The only thing that separates it from the slum area outside is a fence that seems too unstable to keep us safe. Its comfort room is poorly maintained and really very stinky. Knowing that the surrounding area is rather threatening, we were perturbed the whole time.

The Bicol Express train finally arrived ten minutes after the supposed departure time, 6:30 pm. We took the ordinary sleeper train and at Php 665, I’d like to think we got more than what we paid for. It’s especially nice that the train’s staff attended well to our needs. They were even kind enough to answer the countless questions we had. A single room is good for 4. The beds are somehow similar to double decks; each has a curtain for privacy and a night-light. The room we occupied was clean and although not really spacious, it was sufficient for our baggage. Even the upper beds have a space for bags. Feeling rather clingy that time, we chose to occupy only two beds. Some flaws include the absence of blankets and pillows (the coldness gets pretty intolerable towards the middle of the 10 to 11-hour journey) and the very shaky motion of the train. Food and water are not available for sale onboard; passengers either bring baon or buy their meals before boarding the train. The comfort room was not perfectly clean that time, but it was not stinky either. I also noticed that some of the windows are already damaged. It’s probably because people living next to the railroad tracks would sometimes throw rocks at the train. Notwithstanding the abovementioned flaws, we had a pleasurable train ride to Naga.

DAY 2 (May 8)

The train reached Naga station at around 5:30 in the morning. We bought train tickets back to Manila shortly after the disembarkation. A PNR staff informed us that tickets would not be issued until 8:30, so we needed to spend time elsewhere. We figured McDonald’s would be a good place since it’s just a tricycle ride away from the station.

After 1 ½ hours of van ride to Sabang Port and 2 hours of boat ride to Guijalo Port, we finally reached Caramoan. From Guijalo Port, we were accompanied by the tour guide assigned to us, Kuya Otep. On a different note, we found out that Aga Muhlach was also in Caramoan with Charlene Gonzales during that time. What are the odds of us catching a glimpse of a celebrity couple in an unexpected place? We did not see them, sad to say.

During the whole duration of our stay in Caramoan, we occupied River View Inn. It is a no-frill accommodation in Barangay Ili. River View Inn is really just a place to sleep with some basic amenities: airconditioned rooms, a TV, a restaurant, and a private bathroom. Food is not readily available, though. The guests have to advise the restaurant staff in advance to give them time for cooking. I’m not sure if they do it on a regular basis or if their guests were too scarce that time that it would be uneconomical to prepare dishes in advance. It’s a good thing that the food supply (junk food, canned goods, instant noodles, bread, cookies) we brought from Manila lasted until the last day of our trip. Food was not sparse for the mosquitoes in our room; I could almost sense their glee upon seeing four healthy girls. I was not expecting anything fancy since we travelled on a tight budget, but they should have at least cleaned the rooms and provided us with spotless towels. The sanitation of the place was not even passable. But then again, staying in a poorly maintained accommodation is part of the backpacking adventure we were so badly craving for.

Already in beach attire and with sunblock richly slathered on our skin, we were ready to go come 2:30 pm. Together with Kuya Otep and two boatmen, we headed to Busdak Beach for the first leg of the island-hopping. This was followed by Cagbanilad Beach, Minalagos Island, Matukad Island, and Lahos Island. Climbing the rock cliff at Matukad Island for the second time proved to still be as challenging as my first try way back in 2010. The splendid view of the neighboring seascapes and the famous giant milkfish (which I failed to see the first time I got there) more than made up for the laborious and backbreaking way up.

It was already a little over six when we decided to call it a day. The boat ride back to our inn was exciting. The darkness gave the surrounding landscape and seascape a different kind of charm, creepy but awe-inspiring nonetheless. What was left of the sun’s light casted an interesting glow on the mountains; the horizon was blazing red and pink. Even in the absence of the sun, the view was breathtaking. How I wish pictures and words were enough to give justice to the beauty that was right before my eyes.

DAY 3 (May 9)

We were ready to go before the sun was up. It took us a good couple of minutes before we got to our first stop for the day – Sabitang Laya. Preparations for the next Survivor installment were ongoing, and so tourists were not allowed to visit the place. Thanks to our boatmen, we were able to sneak a 10-minute visit. Bizarre but overwhelming rock formations, the ostensible nonexistence of any form of living thing except for the trees that surround the area, and the feeling of aloneness you get just by being there make the island, indeed, apt for a Survivor challenge. It sure felt overwhelming to be in the presence of such wonderful blessings. In a matter of seconds, I fell into a sweet reverie. I imagined ourselves waking up to the sight of nothingness and walking barefoot searching for food. It’s a bummer how the arrival of a speedboat carrying two men made me snap back to reality. We vacated the place straight away.

Our next stop was at Liwan Beach. It was a mountain climb away from where our boat moored. Aside from Kuya Otep and one of our boatmen, a bunch of native kids joined us in our climb. The rate at which they ascended the mountain was unbelievable. While we were struggling to catch our breath, the kids were scampering all the way up like the mountain was their playground. The view atop was so splendid that I immediately forgot about my sore legs. We needed to climb down the other side of the mountain to reach Liwan Beach. Total isolation – that was what the beach offered to us. Much to our delight, no one was there aside from us. The silence was deafening, but I loved it that way. Though the sun was harsh that time of the day, we went for a dip, lazed around, and took loads and loads of pictures.

The wide expanse of sandbar was a wonderful welcome as our boat approached Cotivas Island. As if the nice view wasn’t enough, charming little nipa huts lined a small area of the island. We rented one for a fee of Php 50, and there we had our lunch. By lunch, I mean bread, sausage, and canned tuna. The only thing I hated about the island is the abundance of people (not really abundant, just a bit too much for a Caramoan island); it sort of gave me a feeling of being in Boracay, except that the place was not crowded by resorts and that cigarette butts were not scattered everywhere.

Subsequent to our visit to Cotivas Island, we headed to Bugtong Beach, Manlawi Sandbar Beach, and another island whose name I don’t know. Just when I thought I had seen the prettiest sandbar in Caramoan, Manlawi came in the picture. A fee of Php 250 was needed to enter the island. Manlawi Sandbar Beach gave us more of sandbars and brilliant blue waters against vast skies. The presence of quaint and colorful tents made me want to stay overnight and be a bit more of an adventurer.

DAY 4 (May 10)

St. Michael Parish Church of Caramoan was constructed during the Spanish era.

Interior of the church

The night before, we randomly picked CamSur Watersports Complex as our next stop after our tour around the town of Caramoan. We were aware that choosing to do water sports over touring Naga city would entail extra strain to our already painful muscles. But the opportunity for another adventure was too attractive to ignore; it was not in our will to put that to waste!

It took us a 2-hour boat ride from Guijalo Port, a 1 ½ hour of jeepney ride from Sabang Port, and a 5-minute tricycle ride to reach CWC in Pili. The hourly rate of Php 165 is already inclusive of vest/helmet rental, wakeboard, and kneeboard. Aside from the fee of Php 165, guests have to deposit an amount of Php 500, which is refundable upon return of the gears.

Riding the jeepney like a boss

Wakeboarding and kneeboarding totally occupied our attention, so much so that we briefly forgot about our 6:30 pm departure and our plan to go to SM Naga to buy dinner and shop for pasalubong. It was already 30 minutes past 5 when we left the resort. I am not exaggerating when I say that the sequence of events thereafter went totally berserk. We hailed the first jeepney we saw and although it was already too full, we managed to sit on its floor, in between the passengers. Tremendously crazy, I know! Minutes later we decided to call PNR Naga to urge them to move the departure time to 7 instead of 6:30. They didn’t oblige, and were only amenable to a 5-minute extension. We knew that was virtually impossible, so we asked them to move us to the next train departure at 8:30 pm. There were no more slots, unfortunately. Making it to the first trip was the only choice we had. Sweaty and strangely on a high, we reached SM Naga with only 20 minutes to spare. We figured pasalubong-shopping would be too time-consuming, so we scraped it off our last-minute to-do list. The mall-goers gave us puzzled looks as we carelessly ran hither and thither in an attempt to do everything in the shortest time possible. Time was running too fast, so fast that I did not care so much that my undergarment was already almost exposed (too much information, I apologize) and that my bath towel was still on my shoulder. We were like antelopes running in the wild, and time was our predator. We found ourselves hailing the first cab we saw five minutes before the departure time. The driver must have noticed our tension because he was willing to drive in a fast pace… in exchange for a hundred bucks. We were irked, but there was too little time for complaining. Believe me when I say we made it to the station JUST A MINUTE AFTER 6:35, JUST IN THE KNICK OF TIME. The train was already about to leave when we arrived, and the security guard needed to blow his whistle to make it stop. It left just a few minutes after we got in. IT’S A WONDER HOW WE MADE IT, BUT WE DID! Now excuse me while I type random letters to express the accomplishment we felt that time… hdbfhjbfjhd jdbfchjdbjsdb jkdhbcjsdbcjksd kdhbjsdcj!!!!!! Between laughing and giving each other congratulations-we-made-it hugs, we devoured our Jollibee Chicken Joy like it was the yummiest chicken in the world.

Tired and wasted and broke…

…but still very happy :)

DAY 5 (May 11)

Just as our trip was about to reach its end, another misadventure ensued. My friends and I failed to get off at Espana Station, so we alighted at Bluementritt instead. It was 4:30 in the morning, and still too early for our sundos to fetch us. We headed to Mcdonald’s Quezon Avenue to take breakfast together. We started going home, one by one, at around 7.

Psychocentric tourists, comfort-seeking and averse to taking risks, would consider this trip flawed, unorganized, and too spontaneous to handle. As for us, the imperfections of our trip only made the whole experience more enjoyable than it already was. It’s one of those few instances when flaws make something all the more perfect. I would not have wanted it in any other way.

5 Things I’ll Miss About UP

May 13, 2012

Whatever inconvenience punctuality entails, I experienced on my first day in UP. Barely two hours before the Freshman Orientation Program set at eight in the morning, I was already in front of the venue, half excited and half anxious about how my first day as a college student will turn out. I did not mind the two-hour wait, what with all the interesting things around me – the early morning joggers, the enthralling silhouette of the trees on either side of me, the colorful carts of the smiling ice cream vendors, the remarkable paucity of cars that time of the day. The sunny weather only made everything extra marvelous. A part of me was somehow convinced that UP purposely gathered together in one area these things to give me the freshies a warm welcome. Two hours of waiting felt like thirty minutes, thanks to the happy-as-a-clam mood I was in that time.

The next events were unforeseen. The guards already opened the gate thirty minutes or so before eight. Of all the things a freshman in UP would forget on her first day, I left what was supposed to serve as my temporary identification card! Funny thing is, I was able to bring with me my vanity kit with all my kikay stuff inside. So much for being “prepared”. I knew panicking would not magically transport my Form 5 to where I was, so I, with what little courage and guts I had that time, approached the guard to ask him the way home. I know this might seem dumb and pathetic, considering the fact that I was already in college. But you see, I have been a hatid-sunod type of student ever since I can remember. To make the long story short, I was able to successfully find my way home… crying. (Well, at least I made it. Sort of.)

This funny-if-you-think-about-it/pathetic/awful incident is just one of the many mishaps I had in my four years as a college student. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but these moments will be missed… along with some other things I’ll miss about being a UP student. Emphasis on some ‘cause I only picked five out of the gazillion things I’ll be longing for soon.

  1. The culture. I’ll miss how rallies are an almost-everyday thing in UP. I’ll miss how wearing your pambahay to school is completely acceptable, although I never made an attempt to do it. I’ll miss the school spirit especially during basketball games and the annual Cheerdance Competition. I’ll miss the academic freedom we get to enjoy, exploit, or abuse as an Iskolar ng Bayan. I’ll miss the invisible bond we have as students of the same university. You see, we’re not made to wear uniforms unlike the other schools. Also, virtually anyone can enter the campus because not all gates are manned by guards. One might wonder how we differentiate our fellow students from the everyday passersby. It’s not as if there’s a need to do it, but let’s just say I have this special talent of determining if a random person in his/her civilian clothes is a schoolmate or not. I don’t exactly know how I do it; it’s either my love for UP is so intense that I get it right 99% of the time or I just tend to be judgmental. Err.
  2. Food. Beach House. Mang Larry’s Isawan. Random pancit canton-slash-kwek kwek stalls. Long Island. Chocolate Kiss. Restaurant of Choice. Rodic’s. CASAA. Area Two’s Iskorambol, Owen’s, UniversiTEA, and Lutong Bahay. A 5-minute jeep ride will take you to Maginhawa’s Moonleaf Tea Shop, Burger Project, Friuli Trattoria, Tomato Kick, Delish, and Ambula. Name it, UP has it.
  3. People-watching. I love the fact that UP’s population is so diverse. Pick a random place at any given time and there you’ll see nerds, clowns, fashionistas, jocks, and Plain Jane’s. The best place to go people watching in UP hands down is in Palma Hall (or AS, as how UP students would call it). Nearly half of the GE subjects (a.k.a. minor subjects) are held in that building; hence the abundance of students.
  4. Lantern Parade. Who wouldn’t miss this once-in-a-year merriment? Even the non-UP crowd would attest to the fact that this event is one that should not be missed.
  5. Enlistment/Enrollment Period/Falling in. Need I say more? You ABSOLUTELY know what I mean if you’re an Isko/Iska. UP is not “University of Pila” for nothing. Wink wink.
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