Two years down, a lot more to come!

On April 8, 2012. I returned from blogging after a three year absence. Thus, the thought ladder that this blog is was born. Over the last two years, I’ve been writing chronicles over different things from my own life story, to sports and travel as well as many other topics.

Well, it’s been a good ride so far. Over 21,000 hits all-time on Blogger and 6,000+ views all-time on WordPress. I’ll continue to expand this thought ladder with new blog entries. Though, there was a long lull before I got to blog once again. Yeah, so I’m looking forward to write more blog entries. Starting off with my NBA Playoffs preview at the end of the regular season. Also, I’ll give a recap of every series of the NBA Playoffs from the first round until the NBA Finals. My yearly birthday blog, as well as many more stories along this summer break I’m having before heading into the workforce.

So yeah, we’re moving forward with this. I won’t keep it long, but sit back and enjoy the ride as this thought ladder grows with every post. Thanks to everyone who kept in touch with this blog! Looking forward to spend another year with you PEEPS!

Thoughts and ladders!
K-Smoove

España High! Through Black and Gold! Green and Blue!

On March 27, 2014. It all came to an end. 16 years of a whirlwind road to education for me has come to a close. The doors have opened to the real world for me. But before all of that, I’m going to do something I’ve done 4 years ago when I finished high school. So yeah, let’s do this! On this entry, I’m here to share my own stories during the course of my stay at my second home for the last four years.

The Royal, Pontifical and Catholic University of the Philippines
The University of Santo Tomas


Prelude to the Journey: Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight!

I took in the famous advertising line of Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat (which for some reason I’m not a big fan of that team) during his shoe deal with Converse to tell the story before this came fruit. As a high school student from a all-boys institution in Claret, fourth year meant you’re going to pursue college

I took three college entrance examinations, UPCAT (for the University of the Philippines System), ACET (for the Ateneo de Manila University) and USTET (for the University of Santo Tomas). As it turned out, I failed in both UPCAT and ACET. I had nothing to lose when taking the ACET, but the UPCAT back then left a sting on me. As for the USTET,  I was called for an interview for the course of Travel Management while I was on the waitlist in Computer Science. I went in for the interview, where I was interviewed by the great Dr. Dennis Ligan. Everything went well during the interview. I didn’t encounter any problem. 

Weeks later, the interview results came out. I had a notion I made it since a friend of mine came there said I passed. But my father came over to check again, then came the bad news. I failed the interview. It was rock bottom for me. Knowing I wanted to pursue the program. I felt bad about myself. A couple of minutes later, I composed myself and I started to fight for that slot. We applied for a reconsideration so we contacted the CTHM Office to ask for it. 

On March 24, 2010, I finally finished my high school education at Claret School of Quezon City. Yet the pursuit continued. Days later, I got the opportunity, I was called in for another interview at CTHM for the reconsideration. Prior to that though, I secured my slot for Computer Science, just in case all didn’t end well in my reconsideration at CTHM. On the day of the interview, I came in and I was right away interviewed by the Dean, she told me about my shortcomings and the reasons I failed the interview. I made it a point on the interview those things will never happen again, and that I kept my word of being honest during the time I had my first interview. As fate would have it, they gave me the slot. I will become a Travel Management student!

After a few deliberations, I proceeded with pursuing Travel Management at UST. Got my papers transferred from Engineering to CTHM and have myself enrolled. There I found out I would belong to section 1T5. I never met them personally on enrollment day, yet as the summer went by, I met some of them on Facebook and started to introduce myself to them. Back then, I did not know what will hit me throughout my stay at the university. Yet I was set to embark on a new chapter in my life.

Freshman Year: Entering The Portals of the Square-Shaped Campus!

On June 8, 2010, the Thomasian journey began. I finally got to meet my classmates for the first time in person. I found out right away, we were only three gentlemen in a class filled with ladies. It was a complete reversal from what I got used to throughout my life. Especially I came from a all-boys school. So this whole year was a period of adjustment for me. I had to get used to the fact I will not be able to do the old tricks and trips back in high school.

Then we all had our initiation at the University with the Thomasian Welcome Walk where we went in to the Arch of the Centuries, thus officially rendering us as true Thomasian students. Our first year at the university was a trying time for all of us. Our section back then was the talk of the town, but in a negative way. We feared that we may get reshuffled and will have to meet new faces the next school year. Fortunately, as the year progressed, the prospect went dim.

Of course we had our first CTHM College Week experience, which happened earlier than other colleges of the university. The Weinachtsmarkt (German Christmas Market) for our German class which was held in the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. The very first Paskuhan festivities we had, which I spent with my high school classmates who came over for a visit. As well as the start of the Quadricentennial festivities as the university reached 400 years of establishment in the archipelago. As the days went by, I came to understand and live the culture of the life as a CTHM student. I was not an officer back then, yet I did things that I would do for the rest of my college life. One being the beadle where I was responsible for going to the equipment room as well as getting things ready. at the podium and the projector. As well as the notes guy, for I was sending notes to people. Yet I had to end it during the middle of my third year.

Then came my notoriety for singing and dancing in between classes, for some reason I was doing things that I thought I’m being bonkers for it. Imagine, a guy on a extra sized uniform doing the “John Wall” on the beat of “Teach Me How To Dougie”.  But yeah, I got caught once by the faculty doing it at a bad time, in which I surrendered my ID and I felt really bad for it. Though, I was able to forgive those who forced me to do it and it was all good afterwards.

Well, who can forget the year we spent in Filipino class with the great Sir Alvin Ringgo Reyes? From the cooking demo/promote a place in UST video to the baby thesis. He made Filipino classes enjoyable for all of us. Not to mention when everyone went crazy when the Thai sleeper hit “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was flashed in our classes. The intelligent and brain-teasing discussions in Philippine History and Rizal Course with Sir Gene Atanacio. The very interactive German class of the great Herr Wil Josue. The very fun Business Math class of Sir Robert Arenas. The cookery classes, as well as learning the basics of tourism. As well as the two PE classes the section took, in softball and social dancing. And many other courses that we took during our first year which unfortunately, I cannot remember what happened, so forgive me if I did.

It was during this point where I had a choice. Whether to stay in UST, or settle for a transfer closer to home at UP Diliman since my grades back then was good enough to apply for a transfer. Though the prospect was good, the fact that I fell in love with the vibes of UST, which validated my decision to stay. I was doing well and I came out looking forward to spend another year of the Thomasian journey.

Sophomore Year: Entering the Real Essence!

And so the journey continued, this was the point in time where our section really started to change our general outlook in front of our mentors. We began, to show how good we really became. I remember the Domestic Tour we had in Cebu and Bohol, where we came out to do well in front of the eyes of our mentors at the same time enjoy every moment together as one section. We got good props for being able to do great during the course of the trip. Then came BA Day, where I came in to field in a last minute replacement to go out and perform. Joined by my HRM batchmates Manj of H1, Miggy of H2 (who was also my HS batchmate), KP and Syd of H5 to form our own version of the “Kanto Boys”. We went out to perform which brought delight to everyone watching. It was one of the most memorable moments of this Thomasian journey. For us Travel Management students, the true test of the year came with the Mock Tour Guiding around the city of Manila. I was picked at the Ayala Museum in Makati. Once the dust settled, I came in third in our class behind the top 2 in our class Jeanie and Kim.

We also had our last two PE classes where we got to pick our preferred sport. For me, I got to take basketball during my 1st semester and handball in my 2nd semester. In both PE classes, I got to meet friends from other colleges of the university. It was also during this time where we got to have our NSTP classes. I was able to meet some of my batchmates as we were clustered alphabetically with TRM and HRM students together in one section. I also joined a couple of organizations during that year, with the Thomasian Nippon Sei (now known as Thomasian Nihon Kyouhai) and Pax Romana where I got to meet a lot of new friends as well. I was happy I found a solid group to be with among my classmates. They were there to support me.

Also, who can forget the dreaded GMSQ (Grand Major Short Quiz) during our BA class with Sir Jojo Villamin, as well as the basic accounting class. World Tourism and Geography where I thrived with because of the maps with our then class adviser Sir Win Medina. The Transportation Management class which I also thrived upon with my passion for transportation with instructor Sir Jim Nidea. The very lively speech classes of the great Ms Sheryll Sampang. Then came the transition from learning German to French. And many other courses which gave us more information about the industry we will go with.

We had our second college week where I took part in one of the games where I fell short in the end with my classmate Katlyne winning it all, I also got my first taste of competing in a quiz bee which was done locally, where our T5 family fell short by a solitary point against the T3 family, as well as the sportsfest where I got to play some basketball. The second Paskuhan, known as the “Quadricentennial Paskuhan”,  was a time where I got to spend it with a lot of people which included my blockmates and batchmates in CTHM. In addition, the year was ushered with the transition from Quadricentennial Year to Neocentennial Year. We were fortunately one of the lucky ones to witness this once in a lifetime occassion

I kept up my good performance throughout the year, though there were times I slipped, I was still doing well nicely. Though I saw that life as a Junior will be tough, I had no idea with how much will the next chapter on this story will bring to me.

Junior Year: Driven by Passion, Challenge Accepted!

Entering my Junior Year at the university, I had foreseen that it will be a tough year for all us. But I was coming in to a point, I thought I wouldn’t be in the first place. The invitation came from one of my mentors Ms. Joreen Rocamora, who asked if I could join the team to compete for quiz bee competitions. At first, I had my doubts since while I may a good student, I thought of the fact that there are a lot of my classmates and batchmates who were better suited for it. In the end, I accepted and I was in for a ride I will endure for the last two years of my college life.

During my Junior Year, I joined five competitions. I was joined with alongside my senior teammates Ate Kriskyn Cabrera and Ate Marian Buenaventura. The first one which was the PHILTOA Quiz Bee at the old DOT Building in Manila in which we competed individually, we all made it until the semi-finals, but unfortunately none of us made the Top 10. Days after, we were united as a group and competed at the International Tourism and Trade Expo Quiz Bee at the SkyDome in SM North EDSA, where we came out as CHAMPIONS. It was our first victory which we enjoyed together. The following semester, we went up to Baguio City for the National League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Skills Olympics. We topped the eliminations, but unfortunately we fell short in the Finals and had to settle for third place. That defeat, inspired us days after when we competed for the last time as a group in UP Club for the Environment and Tourism Domestikwhiz 2013, where we came out as CHAMPIONS! Then on the last competition of the year, I competed individually for the 2013 UFTE Cup at the campus of Treston International College in Taguig City, where I settled for a second place finish behind the representative from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas. Because of the good run I had, it was also rewarded when I was recognized by the college during the CTHM Awards Night with a special award they gave me, as well as the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award which was the University’s recognition for all the efforts I put into during the course of the year.

Outside of the competitions, a lot of things happened as well. We had our events management class with Sir Arnel Cruz where our class came up with the event: “Silhouette: A Glint in the Dark, The Search for The Next Tourism Ambassadress 2013.” which was held on September 23, 2012 at the AFP Theater inside Camp Aguinaldo. We also had our feasibility study with Sir Ernest Alcano, my group in which I was the leader, came up with the bed and breakfast concept in a place in my home province of Batangas. Though we had some flaws, it came out good. Well, who can also forget the chase for the Galileo certification as part of our Galileo class with Ma’am Amy Turaray. I was doing well then, but I fell short. Back then, I felt bad about it, but later on I managed to move on as the solace came with all the victories I amassed over time. Who can also forget the PDSR class of Ms. Mae Fortuna, where I learned how to do the bow tie from scratch. Then of course we got a lot of mathematics with Financial Management class, Statistics class as well as Tour Packaging class where we got to use the calculators a lot. It was also a break from Theology classes. It was also during this time we got to wrap up our foreign language studies as we completed our French language courses. Then came the International Tour to Korea which unfortunately due to financial constraints and my preparation for the competition, I was unable to make the trip.

Outside of the life as a student, it was during this year where I got to watch a couple of UAAP basketball games. I was able to watch both Finals games that year where UST fell short against Ateneo. As well as the first game of the “Chowking Saga” as the Teng brothers Jeric and Jeron battled for the first time which ended with a UST victory in overtime. It would turn out to be the only game I watched LIVE where UST came up with the victory. Then came my third Paskuhan as well as the cap-off to the Neocentennial celebrations.

My life as a Junior student, was the most challenging yet it was I would say the best year of my life as a Thomasian student. With three years down, and one year left. I was all set to end the journey off with the BANG!

Senior Year: Capping Off This Roller-coaster of a Journey!

Entering my Senior Year, I was riding all the great momentum I was able to get from the previous year. I was coming in with a huge grin on my face. However, I didn’t see the worst coming in. Throughout the course of my last academic semester. I struggled mightily. I wasn’t the guy who had the belief that he can do better. The pressure of being a senior got the better of me. That semester was the worst performance I put up in my entire stay in the university. I accepted my fate with a heavy heart. Because of the poor performance, I fell off the honor roll. I thought I wouldn’t do enough to get me through.

Once the first semester ended, my academics came to an end, and I was set to go to practicum. For my practicum, I went to Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc., at their in-plant inside the UST campus. So I never left the building for my practicum. Others may say I was crazy for not going out, but I had good reasons to pursue it here. During my practicum, I experienced everything. I got to learn the basics from telephone etiquette to the more technical aspects of work like visa documentation. I was primarily responsible for recording sales transactions and editing paraphernalia using my skills in Photoshop. I got to interact with a lot of people over my time there. It was a very fulfilling experience for me. One I would never trade away for something else.

Though there were challenging times, there were some notable moments. One was with our Thesis where me and my groupmates went through a lot in getting the paper done. It truly tested our camaraderie and literally, we have to put anything else aside. We didn’t expect a lot, but our hard work bear fruit as we finished with the 5th best Thesis Paper as well as the 3rd Best Group Presentation. We also had our project in Recreational Tour where we went to The Village Sports Club inside BF Homes in Parañaque. For a sports junkie like me, it was a DREAM! Aside from that, who can forget the Marriage and Family class of the great Dr. Alviar. Though I wasn’t really a Theology loving person, I appreciate all the life lessons with every single meeting. And many other moments during the first semester.

It was also during this year I took in the driver’s seat, I had the task to lead CTHM in quiz bee competitions. On the first competition of the year, I was joined by my protege Chamille Mercado who I personally brought in to the team, we competed at the NLEX: Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee Challenge at Robinson’s Place Manila, we came out as CHAMPIONS! in the competition. Then the following competition, I competed again in the PHILTOA Quiz Bee, alongside Chamille, we were joined by Miah Kogami who came into the team later. We did manage to get into the semi-finals. I barely made it to the Top 10, as both Chamille and Miah fell short. So I was all by my own representing UST, for the Final Round at the SMX Convention Center. I fought hard during the competition, I almost won the whole thing, but I had to settle for a second place finish behind my healthy rival Lorraine Padilla from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila. After that, I thought of retiring from competition and pass on the torch to my teammates. However as fate turned out, both of my teammates headed to Korea for their international tour which fell on the date of the competitions. I had no other choice but to compete for one last run. So yeah, I was back at it again for the 2014 UFTE Cup held at the Our Lady of Fatima University-Quezon City campus. There were familiar faces alongside new faces. It was a tightly fought battle, but fortunately in the end. I came out as CHAMPION! It was my first and only time I came out as champion competing as an individual. The following day, I came out to compete for the last time to defend the title at the UP Club for the Environment and Tourism Domestikwhiz 2014. I was joined by new teammates as my original teammates at that time just arrived from Korea in Camilla de Guzman and Lia Ciaris Tani. We started out badly, we were trailing for most of the competition, we got into the final round trailing, but we made a furious comeback and in the end, we came out as CHAMPIONS! once again and we got to defend the title. Those two days, were the most memorable days of my competition career. I came in not expecting much, but in the end God had other plans. It was indeed a magical way to cap off my run in competition. I retired on a high note!

Well aside from that, it was a last for everything else. I spent my final Paskuhan where there was no fireworks since the country was coming off the tragedy that was Typhoon Yolanda as the money for it was instead donated to victims of the typhoon. UST had a magical run to the Finals in men’s basketball, before falling short in a epic three game series against La Salle, it was a bittersweet feeling for me that we came close to celebrating a title on my last year at the university. We also had our retreat at Caleruega where I spent it with my classmates and the peeps from H5. We all had a good time, getting to know each other and having time to relax from the stress of school life.

Before I knew it, I was about to graduate. I finished everything. Time flew by very fast. Then came the waiting game. For the last time, I was honored for my success at the college level as I was given a special award at the CTHM Awards Night. Days later, it was the day of the baccalaureate mass, where we got to spend the day together with the 8,236 strong graduates from all colleges of the university. But before that, there was the announcement of the Latin Honors. At the back of my head, I was thinking I fell short again and I won’t make it. Yet, my name was called. I made it! All the emotions came through my head, accompanied by the nice cheers from all of my classmates and batchmates. At the afternoon, the baccalaureate mass happened. History shows that CTHM being the youngest college in the University were seated at the back side near the side of the Benavides Garden, and would be the last to exit the arch. However this year’s different. We were seated up-front and we would be the 4th college to exit the Arch of the Centuries. The night was capped off with the pyromusical with the theme from the hit Disney movie Frozen. I would say it was the most memorable fireworks display I have ever seen.

Then on March 27, 2014. It was the big day! The Solemn Investiture. Graduation. Whatever else you can call it. We assembled as one batch for the last time at the Albertus Magnus Building to wait for the ceremony and strap in our togas. We marched from the building to the Quadricentennial Pavilion for the Solemn Investiture. It was the culmination for all the hard work we’ve done the past four years. As expected, we marched for the conferment of the degrees, turned the tussle to signify our graduation and I was awarded with the Cum Laude medal. Then came the final surprises. On the part of the special awards, they started to mention all the winnings I got over the past year. I got another medal! A special award for all my contributions the past year. Then came the kicker! For all the contributions I brought into the college and being a perennial champion. I was given the sole distinction of the St. Hyacinth Award. I will never forget the cheers from every one of my classmates and batchmates who were witness to everything. I eventually put in a tearjerker moment when I came out to hug my grandmother, later I found from some of my friends, that moment made them cry. After we sang the UST Hymn for the last time as students. Before you know it, IT WAS ALL OVER!

So Yeah What’s Next For K-Smoove?

What’s next?!? Well, right now I’ll be taking the time off to rest. My fourth year life took a lot out of me. Add to the fact that I’m a college graduate without reaching the age of 20 is still lingering in my head. I’ve gone bonkers thinking about it. Besides, I want to enjoy myself without worrying about work for a good amount of time. Add to the fact I want to get the 2013-14 NBA season done and over, and see where will my team the Houston Rockets will go into the playoffs. I’m not bluffing about this. I really needed the time. I know some people want to get a job right away, but I’m in no rush to do so. I will get myself ready for the real world while taking the time off.

My Deepest and Sincere Gratitudes!

Well, before I cap this long entry, I like to offer my gratitude to everyone who were a part of this journey.

First off I would like to thank my friends from other colleges that I have met along the way. I may not remember you all by name, but you made a difference in my life at the university. Notable mentions to Alex Cerado of Pharmacy, Jonathan Genilla of Nursing, Sam Cada of Engineering, Kaiz del Mundo of Architecture, Camille dela Cruz of Engineering, Alexis Tivi of Accountancy, Errol Agacer of Education, Carlo Restoles of Music, Mel Agbulos of Commerce, as well as the TNK peeps whom I spent a good year with during the days at the old Tinoko Park and Botanical Garden. At the same time my high school batchmates from Claret who were also in UST. Notable mentions to German Salvador, Gelo Cruz, Rainier Ples, Nur Adiong, Patrick Foria, Siops Briones, Philip Abeleda, Albie Peralta, Edgar Ramos, Stephen Marcelo, Derrick Espinosa, Raymund Salumbides among others.

Next I’d like to thank my fellow students from other levels of CTHM for the fact I left inspiration to you guys. I wish you all the best in your student endeavors. Notable mentions to my homie Paolo de Guzman, Divine Reyes, Rochelle Engalan, Aya Lorenzo, Danica Esquilona, Dan Quiaoit, Angela Sonico, Janelle Payumo, Darlene Serran, Christine Calzada, Ina Venzuela, Sean Belbis, Vianca Castillo, Radja Castelo, Carla Bonifacio, Leo del Rosario, among others.

I would also like to thank my quiz bee teammates over the last two years years. Thank you for the opportunity to share this experience with you fellas. The run as a quiz bee competitor is something I will never forget. My mentions to Ate Kriskyn Cabrera, Ate Marian Buenaventura, Chamille Mercado, Miah Kogami, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Ciaris Tani.

Then I would like to thank the “Best Batch Ever!”, UST-CTHM Batch 2014. I may have known most of you along the way, though there were some I wasn’t able to know. I am always thankful that I was able to bring joy and honor to the batch. I couldn’t ask for more.

Notable mentions to Brandon Esperancilla, Rolando Sio, James Jandusay, Arvi Cabugao, Mico-Ehlo Chua, Jhie Berbano, Jeli Cadiogan, Shae Jose, Mimi Albesa, Naria San Juan, Rina Bingcang, Josh Naraja, Cha Sumbillo, Che Solis, RA Logana, Korine Sanchez, Fats Infante, Mel Uy, Lyka dela Cruz, Bianca Lim, Lizette Vicente, Nicole Voll, Mara Torres, Justin Babina, Luigi Antonio, Renz Cabiles, JR Rellama, Gelo Soriano, Jeremy Doinog, Kim Besin, Margie Barretto, Arny Fernandez, Micolo Palma, Gabs Jaymalin, Kenneth Cruz, Carlo Ramirez, Steffy Villalon, Den Gallardo, Dominic Dizon, Edward Queipo, Christopher Tamayo, Sese Sibal, Nicolie Tancioco, Marc Acob, Ervin Francisco, Edgar Lumawig, Dion Magahis, Belle Buendia, Matthew Cagas, Eycee Cabriga, Fonso Mercado, Jay Armocilla, Dos Bustillos, Popoi Valdez, Tin Caguimbal, my twin Matthew Villarama, Daryl Arceta, Nikki Deang, Charles Lobo, Elo Magas, Heather McNaughton.

My Marsman friends Denise Bersamina, Harley Abaño, Eden Magsino, Kuya Armand Villanueva, Klaire Villena. 

My CTHM-Claretian batchmates in Ziggy Chavez, Clarence Casem, TJ Abaquita, Ejay Clasara, Miggy Borromeo, as well as the two who left Naj Castro and Habi Santos-Cuyugan.

If I forgot to mention you, forgive me. But even though your names are not on, I’m thankful to each and everyone who made up UST CTHM Batch 2014, from those who made it and who fell short at the goal.


I would also dearly would love to thank the “Best Section Ever” in my book, The T5 family! I’d like to thank each and everyone who were a part of this section. For their unending support, in all of my competitions. It may not be the perfect section to be with, but they were the best family in school I could have. We could all have our differences, but we go the distance when we do things together and do wonders! I’ll never forget when majority of the contestants in UFTE of 2013 came from our section. So I’m giving a mention to everyone who were a part of this section. (Tropa! You will be honored later.)

Fatima Acuña, Trixia Alda, Hosanna Baek, Mela Balag, Ronileen Bauto, Badeth Bertulfo, Katlyne Bundal, Amethy Casal, Pricilla Cruz, JC España, Gui Echon, Jessica Eya, Abigael Ferrer, Ellah Galvez, Alyssa Garcia, Michelle Guo, Diane Jamero, Sheila Lao, Beah Legaspi, Jeruinne Ludovico, Kate Macabanti, Kristel Malabrigo, Mai Matienzo, Dek Mindanao, Hannah Natividad, Carmina Ngo, Justine Nieto, Rosary Ocampo, Era Padilla, Dja Patubo, Shane Prepotente, Precious Rigor, Angel Santos, Cza Sanvictores, Rejh Sasis, Hazel Sta. Maria, Jeanie Tan, Kim Tecson, Arjay Trillana, Kath Vasquez, She Velasco, Pauline Vergara and Lak Villanueva.

Speaking of “Tropa”, I wholeheartedly would like to thank the best group of friends I could have in my college life. Without you fellas, my Thomasian journey would never be complete. The “Tropa-GUISE”. We’re one large group! Best thing about our group is that when one leaves, another one comes in. But those who leave are never forgotten. You are the special bunch who made my college life very special! I will never forget each and every one of you! Majority of the moments I had in college was spent with you fellas. I hope that moving forward, we could keep in touch!

My very honorable mentions to you fellas:
Jean Bituin, Claudine Caganda, Cae Capiz, Kym Constante, Riana de Guzman, Ish Dumawal, Nicole Garcia, Krishna Kabigting, Marrick Magana, Deece Ramos, Yna Salamat, Marx Tapalla, Gie Wenceslao and honorary member Cyril Laurio.

I would also love to thank all of our mentors over the years. For giving us the wisdom and knowledge to be well-equipped with our chosen career path. You have inspired us to do well moving forward as we leave the portals of the university. I may not mention everyone but.


My honorable mentions are for the following mentors:

To Sir Alvin Ringgo Reyes, Sir Robert Arenas, Sir Jojo Villamin, Sir Mar Mendoza, Sir Ernest Alcano, Ma’am Rosh Raichandani, Sir Wil Josue and the rest of the CTHM faculty over my four year stay at the university. Thank you for giving us the inspiration and the wisdom in our daily endeavors as students as well as the skills needed as we set to go out to the real world.

To all my coaches in quiz bee competitions, Ma’am Connie Ang, Ma’am Christine Fajardo, Ma’am Jane Devanadera, Ma’am Amy Turaray and Ma’am Karla Colmenar. For giving us the wisdom and determination to be well-prepared for each and every competition we have competed. Without you my dear mentors, I wouldn’t have reached this point. A very honorable mention to Ma’am Joreen Rocamora, for putting faith in a guy who wasn’t even in the Top 50 of the class that he would be able to do well in competitions. Without your trust, I wouldn’t have won these competitions I joined with over the last two years.

Of course a my highest honorable mention to Sir Gene Michael Atanacio, who was my Philippine History and Rizal Course instructor. And a fellow Claretian. Thank you for all the times we spent inside and outside of campus. Looking forward to going out again when we have the time to do so. I have been very inspired by your teachings and ideals over the time we spent. You know that very well. Even though you left UST in the middle of my second year, we still kept in good touch. I am forever grateful to have been one of your students.

Then of course the CTHM Administration, to Sir Granado, our college secretary and was once our adviser in 3rd Year, you have inspired me to push forward in every endeavor I have done. To Ma’am Vangie Timbang, the HRM chairperson who also supported my endeavors whenever I compete. To Sir Win Medina, our chairperson and was also my adviser in 2nd Year, for giving me the opportunity to compete for the college and the university in quiz bee competitions. It was indeed a great honor to do something good for the university. To Dean Tio Cuison, without your approval when I applied for my reconsideration in CTHM, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I did not let you down ever since! And of course to Fr. Roy Rodriguez, OP our regent, for the undying support in all of my quiz bee endeavors at the same time an inspiration for me moving forward in my life.

My very special mentions to my family, my parents Ronnie and Janet. As well as my two brothers Andrei and Miguel. They have been my support system since Day 1. Without them, I wouldn’t even be standing here at this moment in life. Thank you for being there through my roller-coaster journey. I’m sure you will continue this as we move forward. Also includes my relatives from both the Carandang and the Reyes sides of the family, they have been an extended support system for me. Everything I have done is also a tribute to my late brother Alexis who passed away almost 14 years ago at the age of 1. Every time I point my head up in the sky, it’s all for him.

Lastly, I like to thank God for all the blessings that I have received over the four years of my college life. Without his guidance and support, I wouldn’t even be here. I wouldn’t have the passion and desire that I carried over the last four years. I look forward to his everlasting guidance as I move on to the next stage of my life.

To end this long blog entry, let me take a quote from former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich:

“We had nonbelievers all along the way, and I have one thing to say to those nonbelievers: Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!”
 
This has been my credo in my entire life. I’ve used this quote a countless number of occasions. In life, there will always be critics. I have encountered a lot of them in my entire life. I use every criticism to inspire myself to do better. Now I’m about to go down the hill and start all over again, I will continue to inspire myself from every criticism to make my self a better person for the world to see.
 
With that I end this entry, forgive me if I don’t put up photos, because the last time I did this four years ago, I had to do it on a Facebook note page where there wasn’t an option to put photos in and I’m not calling myself K-Smoove here. So I end with a few lines.
 
This has been Karl Danielle R. Carandang
A Proud Thomasian Travel Management Alumnus
Signing off.

Tips on being a successful quiz bee competitor!

A few months ago, one reader of this blog left a comment on this blog asking for tips on competing in quiz bees. However, I just read the comment a few weeks ago. I left my advice, but I have no idea if she was able to read it. So in this blog entry, since I’m a person who is happy to share things, I’ll give you some of my tips to be successful in quiz bee competitions.

1. PASSION!

The most important of them all! You have to give everything you have whenever you’re up competing in these competitions. You must love the feeling of competing, as it is always an honor whenever you carry the name of your school. Few people are given a chance to do so, The drive must come from within yourself, not from the people around you. As proven in any endeavor in life, pursuing  your passion will go a long way!

2. You don’t have to necessarily be the TOPNOTCHER to compete.

Most of the times, those who are leading their classes will be picked to compete in quiz bees. Unfortunately, sometimes the lack of passion to compete in these kind of competitions leads to poor results in competition. 

On my own experience, I wasn’t in the Top 50 of our batch for the entire duration of my college life. Fortunately, my coach back then, did dug deep into our batch to find me. I even had the notion that there are a lot of people better than me to compete since on paper I’m not the best student around. Yet I seized the opportunity and the rest was history! If you’re in the same situation as I was, do seize the opportunity.

There is always a significant difference between being good grades-wise and being good competition-wise.

Of course, convincing your teachers is always important. You should come out to them and express your desire in competing. As long as you have #1 and the willingness to learn beyond the things taught in classroom. You will put up a good fight every time to compete.

3. Learn something NEW every day, go beyond the books in class!

Yes! Questions that may come out on the quiz bee aren’t always based on textbooks or powerpoint presentations presented in class. It may come out from other sources. Keep yourself updated even on weekends! Go check out the news every single day and read other books that aren’t discussed in class. Who knows? It may come out come competition day and could be the difference from falling short or bask in glory.

4. Have the presence of mind to learn new things that you know will be tackled in your future studies.

Say for example you’re a second year student, most of the topics in a competition per say will be topics you know will be tackled in either your third or fourth year of your studies. People would tend to be discouraged to learn things beyond their years. However, in the lead-up to the competition, you have to be ready to learn these things. Take every opportunity to learn these things. It will also be beneficial for you as you will gain an advantage in your class when you will be tackling these lessons/information you learned in training.

5. Your school academics is always a priority, yet devote enough time for preparing for the competition.

Competing in quiz bees will never be a top priority over your academic performance in school. It is important to maintain a good standing in class. However, do allot enough time, time where you’ll be comfortable, where you will set aside your academics and prepare wholeheartedly for competing in quiz bees.

6. If you’re competing as a team, get to know each and every one’s specialties.

In team competitions, in order to build team chemistry, you have to know to which parts your teammate is good at and things they need to improve on. Let them focus on the things they’re strong at, while you focus on all your assets. If there are some topics where every one on the team needs to improve on, learn it together! 

Doing things beyond training like going on a simple lunch together can do wonders to build team chemistry. I’m sure it applies to all aspects of life. Travel, Sports, Career, Business, etc.  

7. In competition, savor the moment!

Pressure kills and will be the difference between success and failure in competition. On competition day, come in composed, relaxed and see everything as you have nothing to lose! If you don’t win a place, that’s alright. Treat it as a learning experience for you to get better so you can come back next time swinging. Savor every moment! Imagine, you’re the one representing the hopes and dreams of an institution. Few people are given the opportunity to do so! If you got a question right, that’s great. If you got a question wrong, drop it right away but do remember it back after the competition. 

Getting a place is a bonus! Ending up as the champion is a blessing! What’s important win or lose is that at the end of the day, you know you put up a good fight!

8. Lastly, be thankful and stay humble!

Be thankful to your teachers who gave you the opportunity to compete regardless if you win or lose. Be thankful to your family and friends who came out to support your endeavor.

If you do win! You can enjoy the moment! Bask in the glory of your victory! But at the end of the day, be a humble pie.

These tips I give to you all, you can take it or leave it away. However, if you will be given an opportunity to be in the same shoes as I am. Remember, that winning isn’t everything, you’ll learn in defeat to be a better guy. As a quote goes “Fall seven times, stand up eight!”

To those, who love to be in the same shoes I am, I do wish you all the best in all of your endeavors!

Giving back,
K-Smoove

Meeting the man behind Pacific Rims and Pinoy Hoops.

I was browsing through Facebook, when I saw an invite to an event for Tuesday, when I read it, I was pumped up! Because the man behind the book “Pacific Rims” and the National Geographic Channel documentary “Pinoy Hoops” Rafe Bartholomew is coming back to the Philippines for a book signing at his old stomping grounds while he was in the country to write his book in the Katipunan area of Quezon City.

So with no hesitation, I went half-day for work on Tuesday, took the LRT from UST to Katipunan and I went straight to the venue which was Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza just across the campuses of Miriam College and Ateneo de Manila University. Since I didn’t have lunch prior to getting there, I took time to eat my lunch there, and their pizza was very delicious and I’d be happy to come back if given the chance. Then at mid-day the man finally arrived. When the book signing was about to start, a crew from ABS-CBN came along with former UST courtside reporter Tina Marasigan to conduct an interview with Rafe, which took awhile. Afterwards, the owner of the place who happens to be a close friend of Rafe opened up the day with a question and answer part. I threw in a question to him where I asked about the chances of Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Where the best case is that they’ll get to pass the second round while the worst case is that they fail to win a game in the tournament, but he also said the team could be one of the darlings of the tournament. I also happen to give him a suggestion on a possible second season of Pinoy Hoops where they should look at the college game, not only limited to the UAAP and NCAA, but also to other parts of the country where I mentioned Cebu who also has a rich basketball history.

Afterwards, the book signing began. Since I came in first, I got to have my copy of his book Pacific Rims signed up first. Since I happen to follow him on Twitter, I was surprised he read this blog especially my articles about Gilas Pilipinas and my NBA Global Games experience. He also happens to know my obsession for the Houston Rockets, which gave a huge smile on my face. Best part of it all was we got to converse in Filipino of which he’s fluent for a little while.

 Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
So I’d like to thank Sir Rafe Bartholomew for the opportunity to finally meet you in person. I am looking forward to the day we cross paths again. Thank you for all the inspiration that you gave this kid who loves basketball and sports a lot. I also forgot to tell you that I’m a lefty just like you are that’s why I came in very inspired.

It was a unique experience for myself, I really hope that my friends can come in and jump the train with me the next time he comes back.
Inspiration comes full swing.
K-Smoove

Capping off the greatest ride of my life.

I never saw it coming. I never expected I’d be embarking on what would become one of the best two day stretches of my life. Because prior to it all, I never expected that much. I knew I wasn’t able to prepare well enough for what I will embark and pursue to accomplish. But I know this will be my last ride, capping off a great run I had the past two years. Yet, for those two days, everything happened like it was a good night’s dream.

It all began on a Friday, February 28 at the Our Lady of Fatima University campus in Lagro, Quezon City. I took a short bus ride from my home to get there, and it would be the first time I will meet the rest of the team who will be there with me competing at the 2014 UFTE Cup. In last year’s tournament, together with some of my classmates and batchmates, we competed at the Treston International College campus in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. I finished second in the quiz bee competition, losing valiantly to a better man from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas. In the lead-up to the biggest final test I will have competing as an individual, I saw some familiar faces and saw new ones. Winning it all wasn’t in my head. I’d just wanted to put up a great fight. Then almost mid-day, the competition began. I fought against 28 fellow students from colleges and universities across the Philippines. It was a tightly contested contest, I didn’t knew where I am standing with the rest of them during the entire course of the competition. When the dust settled, the scores came out, and I won it! by three points over the lady and a good friend of mine from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila Lorraine Padilla who beat me in the PHILTOA Quiz Bee last year. I never saw it coming. It was an emotional victory for me as it was the first and only time I won a competition as an individual.

Then more blessings came along for our team, as the Tour Packaging pair of Angela Sonico and Janelle Payumo from class 3T1 won also, while the Domestic Tour Guiding participant Danica Esquilona also from 3T1 won. While Dan Quiaoit and Miya Morelos put up a good fight in their International Tour and Kasuotang Pinoy competitions respectively. The cherry on the ice cream is that we won second place in the overall standings which was won by Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila who won for the second straight year.

Then the following day, with less rest coming into the next competition as the program last night finished unfashionably late into the night. I went in again, took a ride from home to the DENR Building also in Quezon City for the last competition I will embark on, the UP Club for the Environment & Tourism Domestikwhiz 2014. We were coming in as the defending champions where I was also a part of the team which won last year. The team this year, is a bit different from the team I started with the year, since both of them from the original team were unable to go since they were coming off a trip from South Korea. So I came in with a team composed of myself, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Tani both from class 2T3. This year’s competition is smaller than previous years as only 6 schools competed. We struggled out of the gates to start the competition, we had a tough time as our competitors gained ground on us. But we were able to do enough to get into the final round with 3 schools competing. We were happy that we will get a place at the end of the day, then in the final round, we made our move. We were able to recover all lost ground, when it all was said and done! We defended the title! It was a special feeling for me to defend a championship we won. We never saw it coming, yet we were there on top of the mountain once again!

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
With that great run I had over these two wonderful days, my run as a quiz bee competitor for the University of Santo Tomas – College of Tourism and Hospitality Management came to an end. At the end of it all, the statline I compiled over the last two years:
1-time semi-finalist
1-time Third Placer
2-time Runner-Up (both as an individual)
5-TIME CHAMPION (4 as a group, 1 as an individual)
(4-0 when a competition was held in my hometown of Quezon City)
These would have not been possible without the help of the CTHM Administration led by Dean Tio Cuison, Sir Win Medina, Sir Granado as well as Fr. Roy Rodriguez our Regent who gave me the opportunity to compete not only for the college but for the university. To all my coaches over the years, Ma’am Connie Ang, Ma’am Tin Fajardo, Ma’am Amy Turaray, Ma’am Jane Devanadera, Ma’am Karla Colmenar for giving us the wisdom in all our endeavors during the times we competed, and a special mention to Ma’am Joreen Rocamora (who’s now in De La Salle Lipa) for believing in a guy who wasn’t even in the Top 50 of the batch to compete on the biggest of these stages. To all my classmates, my 4T5 family who have been there to cheer me on even if they’re not in body to be at all my competitions, to my fellow batchmates who will graduate soon, to the people who I joined this journey in, my teammates over the years Ate Kriskyn Cabrera, Ate Marian Buenaventura, Chamille Mercado, Miah Kogami, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Tani. To my family who supported me from the very beginning. And lastly, to God for all the blessings I got over this two-year stretch.
So with all of that, the greatest ride of my life comes to an end. 
This has been Karl Carandang, competing for UST-CTHM signing off.
The ride ends with a bang!
K-Smoove

The Marsman Chronicles.

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to write on this blog, primarily because of the experience I’ll be sharing with you today with this blog entry right now.

Now, why is it called “The Marsman Chronicles”, because this entry is about my experience as an practicum trainee (on-the-job trainee) at Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc. at their UST Inplant office inside the Albertus Magnus Building, so yeah for my internship, I never left the building and the UST campus.

It all began in November where 2 weeks after I went there for the interview, I was finally brought in to train there. 2 weeks later, my co-trainee Denise arrived. At first, we learned the basics from telephone etiquette, browsing e-mails of past work, and simple tasks like reorganizing file cases and all those things. Then came the complex part of the work. For the entire course of my internship, I worked on the Mock Tour Guiding from itinerary proposal to calling and replying to suppliers for the trip. I also got to do a little bit of airline reservation like getting into the stream of Galileo and Abacus CRS (computer reservation system). Then I also did a little bit of documentation for passporting (new applicants and renewals) as well as visa processing primarily to South Korea as we had two groups that went there this semester. However, my primary work was being the back office of the in-plant recording transactions on a daily basis as well as using my capabilities at the computer especially in Adobe Photoshop to design ID’s and luggage tags which were used on the trip.

Primarily my internship was a great experience for me personally and professionally. It was a fun working environment while there and I enjoyed coming to work every time. However, there were times where it wasn’t smooth sailing. There was a time I could have been booted out midway through it all, because of our lack of good performance. But, both of us interns worked our hardest and did a good job as the days passed on!

After 75 working days, the Chronicles came to an end yesterday. So I would first like to thank Mr. Albert Ricacho who was there from the very beginning of my internship until the end, for being a great motivator at the work place. It was fun working with you there. To Ms. Jenny Ylarde for also giving me the inspiration in tough times. To Ms. Lady Lou Pangilinan, once our supervisor for pushing us to do our best at the workplace. As well as to my co-intern Denise, we worked and complimented each other well. Lastly, to the company itself for giving us a complete hands-on experience on the inner workings of the tourism industry.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
It is finished!
K-Smoove
 
P.S. Sorry I can’t share all photos during my internship.

You win some, you lose some.

“You win some, you lose some.”
Well, this is a line that will sum up what has been a year of stories for me. So of all the possible lines that a person can think of when writing a blog entry, why this one? Well, I’m here to tell you the story of my 2013. Anyways, this is the first time I’m blogging outside of my humble home since I’m spending the next few days in the province, and I apologize that I won’t be able to share photos with this one. So let’s get started.
Well, let’s start first with the second phrase of the line “you lose some.”
Of course, I don’t want to start this one with all the good stuff that has happened over the course of the year. I’m saving that for later. So, I’m starting off with the challenging times during this entire year. 
It was indeed a struggle, especially during the 1st semester of my final year of college life. Well, it was something I had to endure for five months, with all the school work from the thesis, term papers, major examinations as well as those daily routines of classes. It was also a point that pushed me to my breaking point. It was indeed a tough time for me on all aspects: mentally, physically and emotionally. Even those days where I’m not talking to people out of deep frustration. Add to that the competitions where I competed, that took a toll on my body. Though I’m not blaming my choice of competing for all the trouble I got into. It was something I love to do and I will keep on doing. But, the grueling struggle took a huge toll as it affected my performance as I ended with my worst finish to a semester in UST. But I made my vow to bounce back especially on my practicum which I am taking at this moment, but I’m currently on break until the resumption of work 6 days into the new year.
Speaking of practicum, it was indeed a challenging learning process. I was still fortunate that I got into a company I would like to work with. Yes, I’ve learned some hard lessons about working. It was my first experience going to work for something I love to work with. Yeah, there were those days when you were said “You’re not good enough.” But then again, I’m learning from each day I step on the work place. I’m still a long way there, but I’m sure when it all ends. It will all be worth it.
Since I’m a sports junkie, I got to tell something about sports, 2013 was a year where I suffered a lot of sports heartbreaks. From the UST Growling Tigers losing in the UAAP Basketball Finals for the 2nd straight season, this time against the De La Salle Green Archers. To the Houston Rockets bowing out of the 1st round after putting up a fight against the then-defending West Champions Oklahoma City Thunder. To the heartbreaking loss of Petron Blaze against San Mig Coffee in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. To McLaren’s poor performance in 2013 in which Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull defended their titles. To  There have been a lot of heartbreaking moments throughout the year. But of course, there were some great ones along the way which I will tell later in this entry.
 
Also this year has been marked with some moments of near misses. Like my failure to secure a certificate in the Galileo GDS software. As well as the two times I almost won it in individual quiz bee competitions, plus a lot more which I cannot remember. But at the end of the day, I’ve learned from each story.
Well enough of the drama and the challenges, now we move to the first phrase of the line. “You win some!”
Here, I will share some of the great moments of the past year, so here we go:
Well 2013, has also been special for me with all the hardware I was bringing home with all the competitions I’ve competed in the past year. A total of five competitions over the year. Even though I didn’t win in every single competition I competed in, I still brought home either a medal, a trophy or a certificate, even cash money in some competitions. Add to that, the recognition I’ve been getting from the university and the college. It has been a special ride for me and I got to share it with my teammates which is always more to winning. 
In addition, I’ve been getting along with my friends nicely which has been great for me. At least I’m enjoying a lot of great company. As well as getting to meet a lot of people along the way. It has indeed been a very special moment in my life, and I’m always thankful for these moments.
 
Also, in sports there have been some wonderful moments to remember, and one of which was being one of the thousands in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena for the first NBA preseason game to be held in the Philippines between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers to which the Rockets won by a 30 point margin. It was great seeing my favorite team in action on this historic night. Also, who can forget the run of Gilas Pilipinas in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at our own soil as we made it all the way to the Finals, though we lost in the Finals to Iran. We booked our ticket to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Of course it’s worth mentioning that very emotional victory against long-time tormentors South Korea in the semi-finals where after years that the Koreans sent Filipino ballers and hearts crashing, we’ve finally gotten over the hump. In addition, as a big Houston Rockets fan it has been a pleasure that I got to meet members of Red Nation from all over the world! From those living in Houston, as well as those in other places like New York, Taiwan, Norway, Australia, etc. Even some who are from here at home. I hope we’ll have a great season to remember. Hopefully a championship!
 
Well, there’s nothing else for me to say. So to cap this off. I thank each and every one who made my 2013 very special. I’m looking forward to the brand new year in a day and a couple of hours and create a lot of memories not only for myself but for the people around!
 
Thanks for the memories 2013, Hello 2014 very soon!
K-Smoove