Went up the mountains to get away from it all.

It’s been a very long time since I wrote a blog entry here. With the rigorous schoolwork upon us, it was only now I found time to write again on this blog. So here we go with this blog entry for today.

Last Wednesday, my blockmates in class 4T5 as well as 4H5 took a break from the rigors and struggles of the life of a senior student as we went up to the mountains to have our retreat at the Caleruega Retreat Center in Batangas. But before we got there, we had lunch at Paseo de Sta. Rosa where I spent it with my friends at Cafe Breton. Then afterwards, we all went back on the road going to Caleruega. Along the way, there was a karaoke session on the bus. I tried my best singing the songs I picked on the song list, but the microphone’s modulation wasn’t good. Then in the afternoon, we arrived in Caleruega. At first glance, I saw a basketball court. I said to myself, I should have brought my basketball and played while there. But, I didn’t do my research on the place.Later, I’d realize even without bringing the basketball, I’d still have a great time all along.

On our first day, we were tentative on each other since most of my classmates do not know much about the people on the other block. Unlike me, where most of the guys from H5, I have met and known prior to this retreat. After a small orientation about the place, we went up to our rooms for the first time, where me and my classmates shared a room with three guys from H5. While the rest were on the other room aside from us. All the ladies were packed in one huge room. Then we went in for sessions for the rest of the day, the theme of our retreat was “Life is a journey.” at the same time having meals in between those sessions along the way. Also, we had a prayer session, I took in all the time I could. First man in, last guy out. We also got to know a little bit about the people from both sides. After the session at night, we all went to our rooms and worked on retreat letters along the way.

Then on the second day, I woke up to a very cool morning. It was pretty cold outside and I found peace within me. Then we went for breakfast, dropped some of the retreat letters I was able to write and had a morning session before going for lunch. After lunch, I got a chance to roam around the area. It was a bit wet since it rained in the morning. After exploring the retreat center, we all celebrated the mass at the Transfiguration Chapel (which was near our room) where I ended up as an altar server once again. Prior to the retreat, I’ve been an altar server in our college since I was in second year. It was a very inspirational mass to say the least. Then afterwards, we went for snacks before going to another session. It was also a time where I got to tell them a little bit more about myself. We had a chance to hug it out with all our closest friends. Then at night, well we got to know more about each other as we met each and everyone of us for 30 seconds at a time. It was special for me, for the most part it was more of rekindling my friendship with the people in that room, with my blockmates as well as some of the guys from the other block. Then I finally got to meet the rest of the people in their block whom I’ve never talked to yet. It was like the weight I’ve been carrying all this time went away in an instant. After the session, we all rested for the day.

On the last day, I once again woke up to a very cold morning. After breakfast, I packed my things up and brought them down to the hall for the last time. I also sent in the final retreat letters I was able to write during that night. Then spent some time bonding with my blockmates as well as the guys on the other block. Then in the middle of the morning, we went in for our last session where we looked back on what happened the past couple of days. We shared our stories about the retreat. Including my own story about the retreat, where I thanked each and every one for making this retreat very special not only for me but to all of us. I also got the chance to read out a retreat letter that was addressed to both sections from one of our former professors in UST. There were times when we all shared the emotions. Even I was shocked to find out that one of our classmates would be leaving the country before we march. When it was all over, we hugged with each other, first with our friends, then with our fellow blockmates, and finally with both blocks together while singing to some nice songs to end the retreat. After lunch, we all took one last picture at the entrance of Caleruega before going back to the bus that will take us home. But before we went straight back to Manila, we bought souvenirs to bring home. Afterwards, we went back on the road while having one last karaoke session. It was funny, while stuck in the middle of Makati traffic and while most were sleeping. I pulled off a trick where I sang Parokya ni Edgar’s The Ordertaker which woke everyone up and in the end got people pissed.

T5-H5: Friends forever
Little that people know, we both shared the same past where our image wasn’t that good. 
Yet, it didn’t stop us from being the best, and in time we all grew up and be better ladies and gentlemen. I’ll always have a smile on my face that I got to meet these great people out here.
Photos ©Vin Angelo Soriano
I admit, three days may not have been enough for me to spend a good time with everyone from both my blockmates as well as the H5 PEEPS who both have been very special in my life at UST-CTHM, T5, the block who always had my back every time as well as those who made me a better person in life and H5 who were the guys who welcomed me with open arms even though I belong with another course and another block. But hey, we still have 263 days left until the 27th of March when the Thomasian journey comes to an end and a new journey begins. March 27 will once again be a special day for me. Aside from what will happen next year, it was on this day 3 years ago when my Claretian journey ended with graduation. To those who gave me a retreat letter on my envelope, Thank you so much for the kind and inspirational words. Thank you as well to the people who talked with me during the retreat, I hope we’ll have time to sit down and talk again. I’ll be happy to say “Hi!” and have a good talk when we see each other inside the building, around campus or anywhere we may come along with our lives. I’ll never forget these people who’ve made my college life very special and worthwhile. I found my peace in this retreat, I left all the bad things that have been bothering me behind, and brought me some of the lessons and memories this retreat gave me. You guys made me very happy.
Life is a journey.
T5 and H5, you all made a difference in my life. I love you and thank you so much for all the great memories we shared!
P.S. Do you know how to do the dougie?

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