Category Archives: claret

2014: A Year To Remember, Hello 2015.

2014 was a year to remember for me. A lot of great things happened throughout the course of the year. Since I’m a bit short on words for this yearly recap. All I did for this year was a collage of some special moments that happened last year.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Looking at this collage, there were plenty of great moments that happened during 2014. The day, I finally finished my college education after a four year journey filled with success and failures. The baccalaureate mass, that came prior to graduation where they announced the honor roll which I made it and our exit through the Arch of the Centuries. That two day stretch where I won my final competitions bringing honor to the university along the way. The practicum at Marsman where I got involved in the preparation and execution of the trips during the course of the semester. The Quezon City Food Festival and fireworks display with the Claret Alumni Homecoming on the side where I got to meet our AFP Chief of Staff who was also an alumnus of the school. To family reunions on both sides of my family from Christmas to my father’s 50th birthday. To reunions with my friends from both high school and college whether it’s birthday parties or simple catch-up moments with them. I also lived the life of a passionate sports fan following my teams along the way from following the Houston Rockets transition into one of the most polarizing NBA teams today to the inspirational run by Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
 
Despite these fun moments in 2014, there were some few hiccups and sad moments along the way. From witnessing that painful first round exit the Rockets suffered at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers to the disastrous Asian Games stint of Gilas Pilipinas which led to the ousting of coach Chot Reyes. To the death of my grandmother from my mother’s side. To being rejected in the sole job interview I took (Yes, I took more vacation time than job-seeking and I do not regret it).
 
In ending, I am thankful for the year has passed. Now that the year 2015 has arrived with some important events coming like the visit of Pope Francis in the country, a few weeks from now. I’m looking forward to a great year ahead. I hope I can finally land a job soon and help my family out and save up for my own. I hope that you will still be a part of the year at hand.

Good bye 2014, thanks for the memories. Hello 2015!

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Head out for a food trip on the food hub at the heart of my hometown.

The area of U.P. Village and Teacher’s Village (both West and East), count in Sikatuna Village as well played a part in my life growing up. As for a good nine years, five out of the six in elementary and my entire four year high school life, these places I always go into during my school days in the area. Every time I come back, whether to visit my two Alma Mater schools (Headway School for Giftedness and Claret School of Quezon City), it is always a very special feeling for me. Three years have passed since I graduated from my humble high school Alma Mater in Claret School of Quezon. Yesterday, I returned to the area, and on the street of Maginhawa, and I can’t help but be happy with all the changes that has happened here since I roamed these areas on a regular basis back then.

Maginhawa has become the food hub in my hometown of Quezon City as in a relative short amount of time, food and beverage establishments spawned up like hotcakes serving not only residents of the area, but also people from around the city and to an extent the metropolis to come here and dine over establishments offering a diverse line of food and drinks. I always remember when I was still in both grade school and high school, Maginhawa was just a simple street, with nothing more than residential housing and only a few food establishments were present in the area. Now, when I came back yesterday to roam around the area, I can’t help but notice the great changes that have happened here including the fact that Maginhawa is now a national road.

Anyways, Maginhawa is indeed a gastronomic melting pot as for the entire stretch of the street, food and beverage establishments line up offering a variety of cuisines and specialties perfect for the next food trip

From burger joints like The Snack Shack which is known for their delicious “worth the wait” burgers at a very affordable price for everyone as you can get one for only P70.00. “Worth the wait” in a sense they make their patties on the spot and take around 15 minutes to cook to perfection. I recommend everyone to come and try out their delicious burgers.

Another nice burger joint is Good Burgers which is well known for offering an alternative to the usual beef burger as they offer both vegetarian and chicken burgers with different toppings which customers can add to their burgers. Another one is The Burger Project where customers can customize their own burger by choosing ingredients to build the perfect burger for you.

Other notable restaurants include Friuli Trattoria offering Italian favorites like pizza and pasta, Katsu Cafe offering Japanese dishes, Gayuma ni Maria which offers a unique experience for customers with their very mysterious interior accompanied with great food. Grill Queen which offers simple barbeque dishes, and Tomato Kick which is a resto-pub.

Maginhawa is also home to many milk tea joints, the well-known Moonleaf Tea Shop made their humble start here as a small joint, now their flagship branch is now housed in a nice building not too far from their original location. Other milk tea joints include Cha Dao Tea Place, ZenTea, InfiniTea and Simple Line.

Unfortunately though, since I haven’t tried out each and every establishment around Maginhawa since my visits to the area are rare and the fact I only had limited time to roam around the area yesterday, I can’t talk a lot more about the other joints around it. For a complete list of food joints and establishments around Maginhawa, you can check out this nice blog post right here: 

This area has given me a lot of memories to treasure. Now, this area can bring me more memories with all the gastronomic experience this area brings to every one coming to it. The best part about it is that these are entrepreneurial success stories of the people behind food joints to which everyone who dine here are treated into, and along the stretch, you will not see your usual big name establishments like those serving fast food. I am very excited and looking forward for my return to the area and the next food trip around these familiar grounds.

For a unique and great gastronomic experience, you must visit Maginhawa.
K-Smoove

The monsoon gave me a chance to catch up on things.

This is my 200th blog entry since I opened this blog over a year ago. It’s been almost two months since I last wrote an entry here. Never did I think, that I’m writing this one in the middle of the monsoon rains that is caused by the typhoon up north in Taiwan. Well, the rains caused suspension of classes which opened up time for me to write this one. So yeah, as the title goes, it’s time for me to catch up on some of the things that happened from the time I wrote my last entry almost 6 weeks ago.

We start back on the week after the retreat, least did I expect that the lessons I got from the retreat would not kick in right away. I was hoping to come out swinging afterwards. But it wasn’t easy and I still had difficulty in catching up with things. But yeah, I was reminded that “storms” in our life will come after the retreat and so I calmed down and re-channel my attention on the important matters.

Then later in the week, another competition came along for me, the first one for the year which was the NLEX Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee at the Atrium in Robinson’s Place Ermita Manila. I competed with a pair, which was my recruit from the third year Chamille. 9 schools competed in the competition. Well, it took awhile to finish the competition as there were a lot of controversies with regards with the questions. Despite that, it was a tightly contested battle. In the end however, we came out as champions by a mere solitary point. So we took home the cash prize of P5,000 which we later split as well as a certificate at the same time we had a celebratory meal at Yellow Cab. Then a couple of days later, our victory got put on a tarpaulin outside of our building.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Driven by the recent victory, I slowly made my comeback bid a reality as I was able to find comfort in doing all the necessary schoolwork that I need to accomplish and I was able to contribute better in each project and homework that we have as the days progressed well until the end of the preliminary period of the semester. We also continued with our thesis work within the past couple of weeks. At the same time, my training continued as we prepared for the biggest competition in the semester and the most difficult and challenging quiz bee for the year which is the PHILTOA Quiz Bee exam, so it was me, Chamille and we were joined by Miah who was also a third year student. Then on August 7, we competed at the campus of Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros. Just like the story last year, we all made it through the semi-finals. However, this version of the story had a change from last year. With my back against the wall, I was able to make it through withing the inch of my life to the Final Round on September 7 at the SMX Convention Center because I sat 9th out of the Top 10 that made it through to the Final Round. Unfortunately, my two other teammates were unable to make it through. Yet despite that, they gained experience in competing. We got something special coming up especially with more competitions lined up in the next semester.
 
Meanwhile outside of the life at school, as one of the many hoop junkies in this country, at the start of August, Filipino basketball fans were in for a great treat as the FIBA Asia Championship was held here in the country as three spots were on the line to represent Asia in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in Spain. It was also an opportunity for Filipinos to come out with their full support for the national team which is famously known as Gilas Pilipinas. Filipino basketball fans were not left disappointed as Gilas was able to gain the silver medal which marked the first time the Philippines finished at the podium of the FIBA Asia Championship and secure a ticket to the Basketball World Cup for the first time since 1978 when the country hosted the event. From the early heartbreaking setback against Chinese Taipei, to the chants of “Puso”, “Laban Pilipinas” and “Gary” (David) that rained down at the Mall of Asia Arena, to the emotional semi-final victory against long time archrival-tormentor in South Korea, and giving the eventual champions Iran a good fight for the gold. This tournament will always be remembered by a lot of Filipino basketball fans of this generation.
 
Photo ©Yahoo! Sports
 
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to watch a single game live at the Mall of Asia Arena during the duration of the tournament, at the same time I have yet to watch a UST game this season. I also made it a point that I won’t watch an UST-Ateneo game again this season as three of the four games I’ve watched live were this matchup. Also, the Philippines was visited by NBA players from LeBron James in July to Kobe Bryant in August. However, there was one event that I was able to come to and that was the NBA 3X event at the Mall of Asia Music Hall where I saw James Harden and Eric Gordon in person. Fortunately, I was wearing an adidas shoe at the venue, and I was able to get a photo signed by Eric Gordon. Even though I didn’t end up with an autograph of Harden, I walked away happy and at least I got a photo of him.
 
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
Well, there are still a lot of events coming up, from Derrick Rose coming over to Manila this September to promote for Adidas. As well as the anticipated NBA Global Games Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 10 as my favorite team the Houston Rockets will battle Eastern Conference finalists the Indiana Pacers in a fun match-up between teams that have loaded up their roster in the off-season as James Harden, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and the rest of the Rockets will battle the likes of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West, Danny Granger and the rest of the Pacers. I’m fortunate that I’ll bear witness to history in the making as this is the first NBA pre-season game to be held in the country.
 
As of this moment, our preliminary examinations has yet to come to an end due to the fact that classes have been suspended due to the inclement weather across Metro Manila and nearby provinces. We’ve already finished four days of exams which also included our mock defense for our Thesis. While some are already done with their exams like my younger brother also in UST, I still have to take two more exams. With every suspension, a day is lost in the preparation time for the competition I’ll be competing in next month, at the same time my fear that there will be classes come October 10 could come true.
But then again, safety is above anything else and the fact that we should look after those that were affected by the widespread flooding. We’ll get through this tragic moment with our heads up high and the sun will rise again. Of course, I send my prayers to those who were gravely affected by the heavy flooding as well as the sinking of a passenger vessel in Cebu almost a week ago.
In the meantime, I’ll do something a Filipino is well know for which is finding happiness in tragic moments by looking back at the Claretian Dictionary from my days in my high school Alma Mater as I write on this Throwback Thursday. Well, the title states that it was time for me to catch up on things and now I did. I hope y’all stay safe and I take a line from the movie 3 Idiots “Aal izz well!”
Laban Pilipinas! Puso!
We will rise again.
K-Smoove

My homies for life.

Yesterday, I spent time with the MERALCO PEEPS on the birthday of one of our own, Gelo. Where for the last three years has been the unofficial” reunion party of the entire troupe. However, unlike previous years. Not every one was there as most of the troupe were having jobs during the summer time. It all happened in the afternoon at Dulcinea in Tomas Morato as we joined the other guests from his Thomasian friends (we‘re both in UST, but on different programs), and his family.

We spent time catching up with what‘s happening with our lives. Even to the point, we rant on each other including how I‘m always left out of the picture or the other things we pick on with someone from our troupe. It proves that sometimes, people never change. Even with all that’s been happening in our own lives since we took our own paths in college, the feeling is still the same. I got to admit, I was mostly silent for most of the afternoon. Because, I don’t have much stories to tell I have to say. Still, I’m always thankful to have them as company.

Photo ©Aldrin Dayauon


It was only for a short amount of time though as we never went way further into the night since we went our separate ways into the night. It made me think about next year when I hope to bring them in on my birthday and do something about it. I won’t do it this year though since like I‘ve been saying time and time again. I’m saving up on the ticket for the Rockets-Pacers pre-season game this October.

So once again, I‘ll thank the birthday dude Gelo for having us over again on his birthday this year. As well as to the MERALCO PEEPS who were there: Aldrin (the orginizer” as he created the event page on Facebook), JL, Quinn, Edison, Nur, Josh, Philip, Airam, Jolly and Siops. I hope to see you guys again soon as well as the other MERALCO PEEPS who weren’t with us yesterday.

Thankful for these great men.
K-Smoove

2012: One hell of a year for me. Thanks for all the memories!

It’s December 31, 2012, who would have thought we would make it to this day, after the biggest comic epic failure of the century happened 10 days ago with the end of the worldnot coming to fruition, bringing doomsday preppers and believers into utter disappointment. Well it has gone and passed. Just like the year 2012 will be in a couple of hours. 2012, has been one hell of a year for K-Smoove with all the good and challenging times that life has to offer. So here are some of the highlights of my 2012.

Well 2012marked the year I turn legal, as I celebrated my 18th birthday on April 30, where I had a simple house party with my friends with some delicious food at home. I was supposed to register for the upcoming 2013 elections. Unfortunately, I was too late to get register, and I will have to wait for the 2016 elections.

It also marked the end of the Quadricentennial celebration of the University of Santo Tomas where we were all witnesses to usher in the Neocentennial Yearof the university, we were also witness to a once in 50 year spectacle called Velada Tomasina where we came to school wearing Filipinana clothes from Barong Tagalog to the Baro’t Saya, and to cap the celebration with a university party and the ever-famous fireworks around the university.

I got to hang out a lot with my friends this year, whether we’d go out to do a school project, a ordinary school day, watch UAAP games live at the venues, a summer time birthday party, university events like the Quadricentennial Closing and Paskuhan 2012, college events like the CTHM Sportsfest and CTHM College Week, watching WrestleMania 28 at TriNoma or a reunion + basketball with my high school friends. I had a great time with all my friends this 2012. It was a fun time hanging out with them and it brought meaning to my year.

I also got the opportunity to meet a lot of people along the way, from within my own college CTHM, to fellow Thomasians outside of my own college, and the people I meet on Twitter or Facebook. My world just got smaller in 2012!

There were also times of victories in which I finished 3rd in our class at the Tour Guiding examination, the success of our class event “Silhouette: A Glint in the Dark, The Search for the Next Miss Tourism Ambassadress 2012″ (where I fondly remember of being the “Devil’s Advocate” of the preparation process.), and of course Team UST-CTHM‘s victory at the 2012 International Tourism and Trade Expo where I was a part of the winning team. I really hope for more success in 2013.

There were also times of defeats and challengesfor me, especially not winning a post in the class, there were also a couple of heartbreaks which will not be mentioned on this blog entry, not making the Dean’s List for two consecutive semesters, not making the Top 10 of my first competition representing UST-CTHM, and all the struggles of the average student. These challenges though made me a strong as the days progressed this 2012.

Of course, all the family bonding we had this year with our relatives, from weddings to birthday parties, to reunions, outingsand Christmas celebration. It was all worth the time spending with my family and relatives.

Since I’m a sports junkie, I also would like to talk all the biggest sporting events this 2012 from the London Olympics, the Miami Heat winning their second NBA championship (LeBron James finally gets the ring), Talk ‘n Text, B-Meg (now San Mig Coffee) and Rain or Shine winning PBA titles in 2012, the New York Giants defeating the New England Patriots once again in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull winning in Formula 1, UFC matches (St-Pierre vs Condit, Silva vs Sonnen II, Henderson vs Edgar II, Dos Santos vs Velasquez II to name a few), Ateneo defeating UST for a five-peatin the UAAP Basketball Finals, but UST gets their revenge in the PCCL vs Ateneo, San Beda defeating Letran in the NCAA, Philippine Azkals games from the Suzuki Cup to all the friendlies, Chelsea defeating Bayern Munich on their home turf in the UEFA Champions League Final, Manny Pacquiao’s double whammy in 2012 losing to Bradley and Marquez, Nonito Donaire’s 4-0 year, Lance Armstrong’s cycling ban, and all other sports events that have happened this year.


2012, will be one for the books for me.To end the year with a bang! I would like to thank all the people who were a part of my 2012, my family, my relatives, to my troupes Tropa-Guise & MERALCO, to my blockmates in T5, to my batchmates in CTHM both Travel Management and HRM, my batchmates across the university, my other friends in the university, my high school friends, my old friends, to my friends outside of the Philippines, to all my mentors, and FINALLY to Godfor being the best guide of my life.

Until then, cherish the good times this 2012 and leave all the heartbreak behind, let’s enjoy the fireworks and the medya noche later tonight, as we bid 2012 goodbye, and usher in 2013!

Hoopin’ with my bros once again.

I always remember and cherish all the basketball games, me and my friends in high school played during PE classes twice a weekand in Intramurals each year. Victories and defeats. Good and bad games. Falling short and rising again. You name everything that may happen in a basketball game. However, with every game played, the brotherhood gets stronger and bonds are made that lasts a lifetime.

We have gone different paths after all was said and done, and today, me and my PEEPS got together once again as we have been doing so since we went our own ways and played hoops once again, it’s been almost three years since we played a game together. It was also time to catch up with things that have been happening with us from the last time we all got together, especially for one of my friends who came back from Cebu for Christmas.

We played our first game on midday at a basketball court inside one of my friends’ village, it was at first a 4 on 4 full court battle, until two of my other friends arrived and it became a 5 on 5 match-up. Our team won the game and I scored a couple of baskets, but the defining moment for me in the game were the TWO BLOCKSI had in the game, the most notable of those blocks was a block on a three point attempt from behind the guy taking the shot, after that block, he struggled with his shooting.The other block was on a short jumper also from behind the guy taking the shot. I had some of Serge Ibaka’s genes on those blocks. It may not be a LeBron James chasedown, but both blocks were specialand the fact that I have not made a block in a game in 5 years.After the game, we took a rest from the action, and then played another 5 on 5 battle with a different set of players, but it was only a halfcourt game. Unfortunately, on the second game, our team lost and the guy who I blocked at the three point line got his groove back, maybe he wanted to exact revenge on me after that block. After the games, we took a long rest at his home, before heading out for lunch where we had more time to catch up and talk about our life stories in college, as well as relieving some memories of our days in high school. After a long discussion, we went our separate ways to our homes.

So once again, I thank JL, Aldrin, Francis, Gelo, Patrick, Nur, Ichi, Miko and Josh for the great time spent and all the hoops. Until our next trip/reunion!

Brothers for a lifetime.
K-Smoove

Eventful week to say the least.

On the third week of the new school year. Well, it has been an eventful week to say the last.

This week, I got to spend time with my old history professor in UST at a nearby Starbucks and shared stories over cups of great Frappucino. We share a lot in common, the most special of those commonalities is that we came from the same high school and that we share memories of our lives as students there, we also get along with other things
like sports, current events, history, trivial facts, and a lot of other things.  

We were supposed to have our meet-up with a friend of mine, as well as his former student. Unfortunately,
he was unable to come with us, add to the fact that he’s not coming back to school anymore. I was very sad to see him leave under those circumstances. He was like a brother to me, and we also shared a lot of things in common. Well I’m hopeful we’ll get to see each other very soon.

Aside from that, I‘ve been getting along well with my PEEPS in my block.
We get to hang out more often, and spend a lot of good time with each other. I am very thankful for them, as well to show that they really are true friends even in times where our friendship is challenged. Well, I‘m a person who is thankful to a lot of people from God, family, relatives, mentors and my PEEPS, because without them, they wouldn’t define who I am today.

Aside from that, we had gone well into the new school year. More lessons have been delivered in class, quizzes, activities and home works have been given, things are getting more challenging, and finally after waiting for a long time, we met our professor in Tour Planning. Well, we also got to see our options for the international trip we are going to have next year. I’m right now, 50-50 on attending the trip since it‘s not a compulsary trip.


It has been a challenging yet rewarding week to say the least. it’s tough to see good people leave, but we have to move on, think positive and continue living the dream and enjoy life to the fullest. In a couple of weeks, we’ll have our college week and a few more weeks later it will be the Christmas break. We’ll get even more busier in those times, I don’t know if I’ll be able to write another blog entry frequently. Yet like I always do, I’ll sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.


The return rolls on.

K-Smoove