The City of Pines experience, all in for the glory.

Last February 9, after all the preparation and the long training hours leading up to this, it all came down to one day. As we competed in the 2nd National League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Skills Olympics 2013 held at the University of Baguio campus in Baguio City.

We arrived in The City of Pines, the day prior to the competition in the afternoon after a 6 hour trip from Manila. We stayed at the Hotel Veniz at the center of the city, which gave me fond memories of my last trips to Baguio which I had not visited for the last 3 years. As expected, we got a feel of the cool weather the city experiences, it was indeed an escape from the sometimes hot weather in Manila. We spent dinner at Tokyo Tokyo in SM City Baguio and also spent the night doing our final reviews for the competitions we‘ll be competing on the next day.

Then the following day, after breakfast at the hotel, we checked-out of the hotel, but kept our luggage at the lobby at the hotel for safekeeping and then went to the campus of the University of Baguio for the competitions. We had the smallest contingent in Baguio as it was only nine of us (7 students, 2 mentors) representing UST. Once again, our quiz bee team composed of my two seniors Kriskyn Cabrera, Marian Buenaventura and yours trulycompeted in the Tourism Quiz Bee. In the elimination round, we came out on top answering all but four of the 20 questions to advance to the final round. Unfortunately in the final round, we settled for a third place finish as we only got 3 of the 10 questions. The contest was won by the contestants from Far Eastern University while the contestants from St. Louis University Baguiofinished in second place.

It wasn’t only us who competed in Baguio for the Skills Olympics, two of my classmates Jeanie Tan and Kimberly Tecson competed in the Tour Package Propsal competition, they finished in second place together with the participants from Far Eastern University. The biggest winner of the day was our batchmate Jr Sio who won first place in the Virtual Tour Guiding International Category. Let us not also forget the effort put up by our batchmate Lyka dela Cruz who competed in the Virtual Tour Guiding Domestic Category.

 Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
After the competition, we went to the Baguio City Market to buy some souvenirs to bring home to our families and friends. I was able to buy the famous Ube Jam and Peanut Brittle as well as some bonnets. Then we went on a celebratory dinner at Max’s in SM City Baguio. Before we boarded our bus back to Manila, we went to the night market along Harrison Road to buy some souvenirs (as well look for winter clothing especially that the international tour to Korea my blockmates will be attending is closing in). Afterwards, we went to the terminal and boarded the bus for the 6 hour trip back to Manila.
 
This experience is something special for me, since this trip to the City of Pines is like a consolation for me due to the fact that I will not be joining my friends, classmates and batchmates in Seoul, South Korea next week for their international tour as I got to experience cool weather (not as cold as in Korea this time of the year) and the fact I get to experience this with great company. It is indeed a great honor to represent the college and the university in this competition as well as once again bringing glory for the university. Like last time, I have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
 
So it’s one down and two more to go for me, though the job is not done yet and there are a couple of competitions to go, I’d like to thank once again our mentors Ma’am Jane Devanadera and Maam Christine Cabigao as well as members of the faculty and the CTHM administrationfor being a great inspiration to each and every one of us who competed in these competitions.
 
We would also like to thank our families, our classmates, our friends, our batchmates and the entire CTHM and Thomasian community for all the support and prayers. We would have not made it this far without all the love and support you have given us. Please continue supporting us in the upcoming competitions that we will be having next including the Domestikwhiz Quiz Bee this Saturday, it will be the last hurrah of our quiz bee team as for the last contest, it will be myself representing UST at the UFTE Quiz Bee at the end of the month.
 
As always, we Thank God for the opportunity and all the blessings you have given us throughout this process.
 
WE MAY HAVE NOT WON ALL CONTESTS, BUT AT LEAST WE DID NOT GO HOME EMPTY. THE CAMARADERIE LIVES ON! TEAM UST-CTHM!
K-Smoove
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