Category Archives: quezon city

Quezon City at 75: The Validation of My Hometown

Last October 11, The City of Stars came alive as Quezon City began celebrating its 75th Diamond Jubilee. Throughout the day, events were done across the six districts of the nation’s largest city. From street parties in each district to the fireworks at midnight that lit up the city bright. However the center of attention was the very firstQuezon City Food Festival held along the recently christened food hub of the city, Maginhawa Street.
 
As early as the festival opened at 9 in the morning, Quezon City residents as well as people from outside the city flocked along the two kilometer stretch to sample what the area’s booming food industry has to offer. The stretch which started at the intersection with Masaya Street and ended at the intersection with Makadios Street was closed to motorists with the exception of vehicles who have been issued car passes to drive along the street.
 
Every restaurant nestled along the street gave food aficionados a lot to offer. From offerings given by café’s, casual dining spots, steakhouses, dessert & tea places catering to different cuisines from around the world such as Filipino, Italian, American, Japanese, among others. The whole stretch caters to anyone coming along on any budget. It is indeed a food lover’s dream to come and sample what this street has to offer.
 
In addition to the restaurants, tents were set up for other businesses who hope to leave their imprints on to the people who went along the festival during the course of the day. Also, an evening concert and street party was held at the midpoint of the entire festival grounds. It was indeed a festive atmosphere throughout the whole of Maginhawa Street from morning until midnight. And to cap the day off, a 15 minute fireworks display that went off near simultaneous as other areas of the city with street parties lit up the skies and brought awe to the people who stayed the night out and celebrate what this city has to offer to the world.
 
Though there were a few hiccups that happened during the festival as some food tenants ran out of food or items to sell as the night went along as well as the lack of portable toilets along the whole stretch. The very first Quezon City Food Festival was generally a success. Indeed it left memorable moments for everyone who came in and celebrated what this city has to offer. We are certain that this will not be the very last time this festival will come along in our lifetimes. Hopefully, there will be improvements made for next year’s event.

 

With other activities lined up for the rest of the year such as today’s celebration at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the Quezon City Book Fair and the Quezon City Half-Marathon Night Run. Indeed last night, Quezon City proved itself of being one of the most progressive citiesin the country.
 
On personal note, this event validated of how proud I am to call Quezon City my hometown. The Maginhawa area has been a part of my life for 11 years of my existence with my school days in elementary and in high school. At the time I was having my education in the area; it was known to have more internet shops than restaurants. I never thought that this area transformed into a celebrated food hub in a short span of time. This place will forever have a spot in my heart and mind for I made a lot of good memories here. I will always have a smile on my face coming back to take either my family or friends and enjoy a good meal together. So for anyone who wants to come I will be happy to show you around.

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

Hard lesson learned about voter’s registration in the city.

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!
K-Smoove