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.
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.
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!
Yesterday, I woke up as early as 3:30 am. I prepared the things I need, then at around 5:00 am, I left home. The destination: Quezon City Hall. Reason: To register for the upcoming 2013 Elections.
I arrived at City Hall and already, thousands of people have already settled in lining up for the voter‘s registration which will begin at 8:00 am. I also heard from fellow registrants that some people came in lined up as early as 11:00 pm, the previous night. So I settled in for the long wait. Well, I belong in what is at the moment is the largest congressional district in the country. The second district of Quezon City which has a population of 1.5 million people. However in the upcoming elections, the 2nd district will be split into three separate districts. Batasan Hills (where I belong), Commonwealth, Holy Spirit, Payatas and Bagong Silangan will remain in District 2 with the population reduced by 60% to around 600,000+, while the Fairview and Novaliches areas will become District 5, and the Tandang Sora area becomes District 6. Both districts will have over 400,000+ residents each. So there were a lot of people who lined up in our district unlike the other districts in the city because their voting populations are relatively smaller than in District 2, and the fact the lines for these districts are not too long as we had.
I was able to meet people who were there also taking a shot on getting registered for the upcoming elections. A few hours after I lined up, we were able to get close enough and had a view of the district office. I though I‘ll be able to register.
Then the worst happened. The security guard at the asked all of us to “GO HOME”. We would not be able to register today. There is a quota per district of only 600 registrants per day. Judging by the population of the district, it was too small as the voting population is four times greater than the other districts in the city. I never lost hope. I was still hoping to get the opportunity to register. But then, something happened that made me more pissed about registering on that day.
The whole system was really poor! The people in the COMELEC office were very rude in dealing with the people, not minding the people’s causes. They could have told us to leave earlier if they knew that we were not going to make it through the line and we’ve not met the quota. They could have given us spots or numbers to register on a later date. Instead, they asked the people who did not make it through to simply GO HOME! and try your luck until the last day on the 31st.
Well it could also be a fault on my part, for not registering early when the lines were not long and when I had time in the summer. It’s just for most of the registration period after the summer, I was in school working through the everyday struggles of school life in and out of the university. I did not have plenty of spare time for other commitments outside of school work. It was unfortunate on my part, to register in a very huge district population-wise and not knew about the thousands of people were coming in for their registration.
Disappointed, well I can’t do anything to resolve it anymore. So afterwards, I went back to my high school Alma Mater. Claret School of Quezon City to take a glimpse of the campus. Took time to visit the church next door, and went out around Matalino Street and check on the different spots. A lot has changed there from the last time I was roaming this street.
For now, I won‘t be able to vote next year in the upcoming elections. I’m not going back on the last day tomorrow to push my luck to get registered, because I know a lot of people will come in the most inconvenient times of the day. Though, the upcoming election is not for a new president as only the senators and the local elections from representative to the city councilor will be elected next year. It was a hard and tough lesson learned for me. Despite that, I’d still have my voice to be heard about the upcoming elections. So, in the next election in 2016. I would come in to register as early as possible. I hope by that time, the COMELEC offices for the newly formed districts will be up so that the lines would not be as long as this year.
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME!