Tag Archives: batangas

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?

Smacked in the middle of my favorite month of the year.

Well, it‘s the 15th of April. We‘re right in the middle of my favorite month of the year and the weather just keeps getting hotter with each day that pass bywhich means we’re right in the middle of the summer vacation. Well, I’ve been into a lot of places along the way from places within the Metro like Makati and SM North EDSA to hang out with the family, and to places outside of it like Batangas and Los Baños to grab some fresh air and relax. I also got my salary for the sideline job I did at the start of the month, and I’m happy I got more than what we bargained for in this job as I’m saving up for the upcoming NBA preseason game between my favorite team the Houston Rocketsand the Indiana Pacers here in the Philippines this October 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena. I’ve been waiting to see the Rockets play a game since I became a member of Red Nation in 2002 when Yao Ming came to Houston. This is a chance to see them play without having to leave the country and go to Texas to watch a Rockets home game (I’ll still be aiming for it soon.) To see guys like James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsonsand Omer Asik to name some will be worth all the marbles.

Photo ©NBA Philippines
Speaking of the NBA, watch out for my regular season ending blog coming up on the final day of the 2012-13 NBA regular season this Thursday as we also prepare you for the upcoming 2013 NBA Playoffs. We know that the 8 playoff teams out East are complete with the defending champions Heat, together with the Knicks, Pacers, Nets, Hawks, Bulls, Celtics & Bucks. While the Lakers and Jazz are fighting for the last spot out West to join the Thunder, Spurs, Nuggets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Rockets & Warriors in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Yes! My team, the Rockets are back in the Playoffs since 2009. I hope they’ll have a nice playoff run especially these are still young guns.
Also, I got to watch WrestleMania 29 on television. Unlike last year at WrestleMania XXVIII, where there was a free screening at TriNoma in Quezon City on the day itself. We had to settle for the delayed telecast on Studio 23.
Photo ©WWE
Well as more of a member of Cenation than Team Bring It. I was happy that John Cena defeated The Rock in their rematch for Rock’s WWE Championship where we saw a ton of finishers from the Rock Bottom (Cena himself pulled off one of his own), the Attitude Adjustment, The People’s Elbow, the STF, the Sharpshooter. Though Cena would suffer from the wrath of Ryback on the Raw afterwards. Also Triple H saved his career by defeating Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred match. While The Undertaker goes 21-0 at WrestleMania after beating CM Punk. Alberto del Rio retaining the World Heavyweight Championship against Jack Swagger (Del Rio would lose it to Dolph Ziggler who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Raw). Fandango shocking the world by beating Chris Jericho and leaving fans crazy on his theme song. Team Hell No retaining their Tag Team titles against Ziggler and Big E Langston as the crowd chanted “Yes! Yes! Yes!” on their victory. Mark Henry beating Ryback, but Ryback had the last laugh. As well The Shield beating Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show, afterwards Show turned against Orton and Sheamus knocking them both out.
Yes, we’re halfway into my favorite month of the year, and we’re closing in on my favorite day of the year where I’ll grow old a bit more. I still don’t have any plans for that day. But I’ll figure something out soon. As I write some more with the planner I have as well as adding songs to my music playlist, look for our camera which has been lost for more than a month right now, write when our internet connection just came back, looking back at some of the great memories of a lifetime, saying you miss a ton of people along the way, and look for someone to play basketball with. Let us be remind ourselves to savor each moment that comes into our lives.
On one final note which has been long overdue. Once again, Congratulations to the CTHM Batch 2013 on their graduation last April 4, especially to my very talented and very smart quiz bee teammates Ate Marian Buenaventura who finished Magna Cum Laude and Ate Kriskyn Cabrera who finished Summa Cum Laude and the best student of the batch. I’ll miss you a ton as teammates but you both will leave a legacy which I will continue together with the team we’ll form next school year.
Taking life, one day at a time.

Went off the grid for a few days to reflect.

Last week, was the Holy Week. It’s that time of the year when Catholics living in the metropolis either go back to their respective provinces or stay within the metropolis to not get into the traffic rush with the massive exodus involved. In our part, we went out of the metro on Holy Thursday and went back to our home province and went to my mother’s hometown of Ibaan, Batangas. We left on a Thursday since it wasn’t a holiday from Monday to Wednesday so our parents were working. It‘s been awhile since we came back in town and we stayed in for the first time in a very long time in the Ol’ Blue House which was the home of my grandparents on the mother’s sideand have not been used for a long time since no one permanently resides in the house, unlike the home of my grandparents on my father’s side. It was the time for me to “get off the grid” for awhile and make a Lent sacrifice. Yes, since the house is not inhabited for most of the year. It was like a time capsule with some of the things left untouched with both old and modern features in it from old television sets to a new dining table as well as air conditioners.

On Holy Thursday, as soon as we arrived in Ibaan at the Ol’ Blue House late in the morning. The whole family went into clean-up mode as we cleaned the entire house to prepare for the coming of our other relatives the following day. By around 6pm. We were all down for the night and closed the house for we spent the entire resting.

Then came Good Friday, our other relatives arrived in Ibaan for an overnight on town. We continued with a little bit of cleaning-up and spend time together. I eventually ended up resting the whole afternoon cause the effects of cleaning duty we did was being felt during that time. When I woke up, it was almost night time, in time for the processionheld around town as we witnessed a couple of figures as well as a glass coffin with Jesus Christ in it signifying that Christ has died. Then along the nightime, we were all outside of home reflecting as the townspeople were singing throughout the night until around 11pm. Afterwards, we all went in for one final night.

On Black Saturday, we packed our things, fixed some of the things inside the house, and we left the Ol’ Blue House and the town of Ibaan back to the metropolis and celebrate Easter Sundayback in Manila.

It was indeed a great time to reflect over the past year as well as get close to God during the Holy Week. It was also good to “get off the grid” for a couple of days, where I didn’t go online and surf the internet. I hope we’ll get back to the Ol’ Blue House very soon.

Getting off the grid for once in a while is worth the sacrifice.

Down south for some cool mountain air and the "Ala Eh!" feeling.

Last week, me and five of my blockmates went south to my home provinceof Batangas (though I‘m a person who was born and raised in the metropolis for most of my life). We went there as part of our research for one of our projects. We went to the area by public transportation, taking a jeep from school to the LRT station for a train ride to the bus terminal where we took a bus to the destination. We first visited the municipal hall of Sto. Tomas(which is my father’s hometown)for official business, then afterwards we went to my grandmother’s place for the night. Fortunately, we were able to catch up with the final moments of the PCCL Finals and I was able to witness UST’s victoryover Ateneo in Game 3 for the championship. Then, me and my cousin, went back to town to order dinner for myself and my blockmates as well as drinking water. Afterwards, we settled for the night. As expected, the cool air made for a comfortable and good night sleep.

The following day, the rest of my family arrived from Manila, then me and my blockmates went to the next town which is Tanauan City where the annual Ala Eh! Festival is being held. One of my blockmates who did not join us the first time joined on that day as well. We saw the parade showcasing every city and town in the province of Batangas. We also came to stream of shops from the locals including products from each city and municipality of the province. We had a great time there. Afterwards, we went back to Sto. Tomas to look for land around town for the project we are working on. After scouting the area, we went back home, then my blockmates brought their bags and left going back to Manila.

Well, after my blockmates left, I rested for most of the day. The following day, we celebrated my grandmother’s birthday at a nearby resort by the mountain for lunch. After the party, we packed our things and went back home to Manila.

It was a rewarding time to be back in my home province to get some cool air. As well as the opportunity to do something we want to achieve and make possible in the future. This is just the start of something BIG. I‘ll be back in town soon, and this time I’ll make the most of my time there.

Back home for a reason worth pursuing.

Back for some cool air away from the city.

Last Thursday was All Saints Day in the Philippines, it was also the start of a long weekend that will end today. It is the last chance to relax before the start of the second semester of classes tomorrow. So, our family went back to our home province of Batangas. For me, it’s my first time coming back since I was unable to go the last time they went back.

Since, it was All Saints Day, we expected a large volume of vehicles along our route. Fortunately for this year, on All Saints Day, traffic was relatively light and fast moving as most people already left prior to the day. We were able to reach our destination Sto. Tomas, Batangas which is my father’s hometown in a short amount of time. On All Saints Day, millions of Filipinos take to the cemeteries to visit their departed loved ones. Living up to the day, we visited my departed brother and grandfather from my father’s side as well as our relatives on my father’s side.

Brother?!? Well, I lost one of my brothers 12 years ago, he died when he was only a year old due to brain tumor. I always remember the short time we spent together, in my prayers.

After the cemetery visit, we wentto our grandparents home for the night there. Where I got the one thing I missed badly whenever I go home to the province, the cool air. Since, the place lies on the foot of the mountain and has plenty of trees. It was a very comfortable sleep. Also, it was also a chance for me to catch up with my cousins since I wasn’t there the last time my family went back to the province a few weeks ago.

The following day, it was All Souls Day, well it’s the day we really remember the souls of our departed loved ones. However, Filipinos view All Saints Day as the most important day to visit. So on that day, we left our grandparents home and went south to the town of Ibaan, my mother’s hometown to visit the cemetery there to see my departed grandfather on my mother’s side as well as our relatives on my mother’s side. The visit was brief, afterwards we went for lunch at my aunt’s parents home. Then we left for Alaminos, Laguna to visit the cemetery and the home of one of my relatives. Afterwards, we left the province for Manila.

It was a rewarding visit to say the least. Well, I was dying to visit the province once again. The last time I came back was a very long time ago. I had little or no chance during the school year to visit because of the ton of commitments that I had to fulfill in school. I’m sure we’ll be back n the province very soon.

I’m back to my roots.

Back in the province. Just like when we were kids.

Yesterday, our family went back to our province in Batangas to celebrate two of my cousin’s birthdays. One of them was celebrating her 1st birthday, while the other had his 7th birthday on April 28 (2 days before my birthday.) It was a double celebration.

It was a chance to catch up with my relatives and cousins with whom we haven’t seen in a long time for we haven’t come back to the province often this summer.

So yes, we had a great birthday party there. Great food and entertainment. My aunt and uncle own a restaurant/catering business there and their food is very good.

Then later in the night, we found our way to the WalterMart mall which is just a pebble stone throw away from the house. Me, my brother Andrei and cousin Paolo went on the arcades having a great time. Before going down at McDonald’s for some french fries and drinks along with my other cousins Ann and Trina who followed after. Before we left, we went for one round of an all-time classic board game Snakes and Ladders and after all the ladders that brought you up and snakes that brought you down. I won the game. Hehe.

Then, it was time to head back home to Quezon City. It was a great time to spend with my cousins and relatives. Truly, I miss the times when we were kids, young and carefree. It was a good feeling to relieve those moments for one more time.

Going back to my roots.