I lived through three Popes in my lifetime. I was just 8 months old when then Pope now Saint John Paul II visited the Philippines for the second time (first time was in 1981, a good 13 years before I was born in this world) as part of the World Youth Day festivities in Manila. When I was about to turn 11, he passed away and was succeeded by now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 8 years later, he stepped down and passed on the reigns to Pope Francis.
From the time he became the Pope he has gone away from tradition at the same time transcended borders that we people made for ourselves. He loved the children wherever he goes. He reached out to people in sickness. He helped resolved conflicts around the world. He has his words on current issues that every one of us face on a daily basis from poverty to corruption, from LGBT issues to scandals that have rocked the Catholic church over the past couple of years, from technology to climate change. He touched not only Catholics, but also non-Catholics, agnostics and atheists. Even though it’s only been less than two years into his tenure as the leader of the Catholic Church. He has indeed changed a lot of people’s lives, and continues to do so every single day.
When it was announced months ago that he was coming to the Philippines as a part of his trip in Asia, I could not help myself not to miss this opportunity. After all, you don’t often see these events come in your lifetime. I admit, I was not that much serious about planning what to do in that event. I didn’t have much for my own to make a better plan.
Then came his arrival on a cool Thursday night in Manila, as the SriLankan Airlines jet that took Pope Francis and his entourage from Colombo to our nation. Filipinos knew that something special is about to happen over the next five days. And true enough, everything took off from the time he stepped out on the plane and do his work on our home soil. I wanted to be there at his arrival, to do two things in one. One is to continue my hobby of plane spotting with my good friend as the jet that took the Pope was an airline that doesn’t have flights in and out of the country, and seeing the Pope live and in living color. Unfortunately, prior commitments prevented me to do so.
I knew I could not go into every event during his visit to our nation. I live far from his motorcade routes and the places he’s going around Manila. It would be a shame on my end if I did not go to at least one event to see him live in person. I really wanted to live the moment and share my stories for the next generation when the time comes.
So on a cool and rainy Sunday morning, together with my mother we went to one of the events of the Papal Visit, which was held in my Alma Mater of the University of Santo Tomas, which bears significance as it was given the titles “Pontifical” and “The Catholic University of the Philippines”. From a drop-off point, we walked around two kilometers to the university. At first, we’d just settle outside of the university and on to the motorcade route to see the Pope. However, due to my insistence we tried our luck getting inside the university to bear witness to the event.
They closed the gates 30 minutes earlier than expected since people were pushing to get in before the gate closes for good. Fortunately for me and my mother, around 15 minutes after the gates we’re supposedly be closed for good until the event ends. Out of my huge fighting spirit to get inside, contrary to a warning from one of my uncles living around the area of not taking a chance of getting inside. We managed to get inside the campus grounds.
For two hours, we waited for his arrival on campus, I was able to catch up with my once history prof who got in earlier, as well as one of my college batch mates who joined me and my mother at a chance to get in. Then he arrived, he passed by the Arch of the Centuries which has been as old as the university itself, and the very place where as freshmen we are ushered in and as graduating students go out and into what lies in life after college.
Like the millions of people who attended the events of the Papal Visit, I tried my very best to get closer to the Pope. It is no surprise that in our generation, tablets, smartphones and cameras were rampant everywhere during the course of the Papal Visit in Manila. I admit, I had my smartphone ready trying to get a close shot of him for it will be a good memento for not only myself but for my entire family. Unfortunately, that was not to be as I the closest as I was to him was a good 20-30 meters away. I was unable to take a good close shot of the Pope for my own. However, despite the setback, I was able to see him with my very own eyes live and in living color. That was all good and fulfilling for me, as well as for my mother.
Throughout the event, we listened through the select youth that were given a chance to speak to the Pope as well as his message for the youth which was delivered in his native Spanish as it was an impromptu message, far from the original message that was written in English.
Here a few quotes from the event that have left a mark for myself. I’m sure, I’m not alone with these inspirational quotes.
“What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put it into practice. Harmoniously. What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel. The three languages…Can you repeat this? To think. To feel. To do. And all in harmony…”
“So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.”
“This is the first thing I want to say: let us learn how to weep as she has shown us today and let us not forget this lesson. The great question of why so many children suffer, she did this in tears. The response that we can make today is: let us really learn how to weep.”
“Today, with so many means of communications, we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? Not necessarily. It is good and it can help. But there is a real danger of living in a way of accumulating information… We run the risk of becoming museums of young people that have everything but without knowing what to do with them. We don’t need youth museums but we do need holy young people.”
After the event, me and my mother went home and witnessed the papal mass in Luneta with the rest of my family on television. I thanked her for accompanying me to the event in UST, if it wasn’t for her, I would have missed the opportunity to see the Pope in person. For majority of the events of the Papal Visit, I had to settle on watching the television for it. Even so, each event left an impact on myself. From his arrival until his departure back to the Vatican. From his visit to Malacanang to the mass at Manila Cathedral. From the meeting of families at the Mall of Asia Arena to the meeting with the youth in UST. From the emotional mass on a stormy and tragedy-hit Leyte to the rainy Papal Mass in Luneta in which more than 6 million people bear witness to. From wearing a transparent rain jacket in
Here are a few quotes that have left a mark from the other events of the papal visit.
“So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silent…But please know, Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down.” – at the Papal Mass in Tacloban Airport, Leyte
“We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: to forget at heart that we are children of God. For children, as the Lord tells us, have their own wisdom, which is not the wisdom of the world. That is why the message of the Santo Niño is so important. He speaks powerfully to all of us. He reminds us of our deepest identity, of what we are called to be as God’s family.” – at the Papal Mass in the Luneta Grounds
“To dream how will your daughter or son be. It is not possible to have a family without such dreams… When you lose this capacity to dream, then you lose the capacity to love and this energy to love is lost.” – at the Meeting with Families in Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City
The Papal Visit to the Philippines renewed the hope and faith of the Filipino nation to live a life that is full of love and prayer. Pope Francis as he has said many times before asked for prayers for him. Let us never forget the lessons of this visit.
Sure, there have been unpleasant experiences and reactions during the course of his visit. Yet, the radiant optimism that this event brought on will forever be on the lives of the people who bear witness to these five days in our nation.
These fateful five days will live on for the rest of my lifetime. I will tell stories of these days for generations to come. This experience will also be an inspiration for myself in my future endeavors in life. We won’t know if he’ll be able to come visit our nation again, but as he said.
“Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God… …God reveals himself through surprises.”
I am forever thankful and grateful for this once in a lifetime experience.
Your radiant smile will forever live on with us all. You truly are the real MVP! Our “Most Valuable Pope“
A.Y. 2012-13 has come to an end. Junior Year, Third Year, Year 3 of my España journey has come to an end. Six semesters have come and go, time really flew by very fast. It was like yesterday when we lined up and hoped that we will get accepted into UST, now it’s down to one final year as a Thomasian student. But before all of that, here are some of the stories that I would like to share from the second semester of Year 3 of the España journey.
Picking up where I left off the previous semester, I was back competing in quiz bee competitions for the university. I competed in three competitions this semester, all of which happened within a span of a month.
First was the 2nd National League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Skills Olympics Quiz Bee last February 9, 2013, where we went up north to the University of Baguio campus in the “City of Pines” in Baguio City. Our team topped the elimination round, however in the Final Round we were unable to duplicate our feat from the elimination round and we had to settle for 3rd Place. It wasn’t only us who competed there, my blockmates Jeanie Tan and Kimberly Tecson won 2nd Place in the Domestic Tour Package Proposal competition, while our fellow batchmate Rolando Sio Jr. won 1st Place in the International Tour Guiding competition. Also competing was another batchmate of ours Lyka dela Cruz who competed in the Domestic Tour guiding competition. At the end of the day, we did not go home empty.
A week later on February 16, 2013, the team was back again to compete at the UP Club for the Environment & Tourism Domestikwhiz 2013 held at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Social Hall in Quezon City. That competition also had a chip on our shoulders as it will be the last time we’ll compete as one team. As both of my teammates after the competition will prepare for their graduation. It was a tightly contested quiz bee. We thought we had lost it. However, we got a blessing as we came out as CHAMPIONS! It was the second time we as a team came out as champions. We won the cash prize of P6,000 which the three of us got to share with, medals for all three of us, a trophy we get to send back to España, and a Moonleaf planner for each of us (I would give mine in a raffle afterwards.) It was indeed a great way to cap off our run as one team with a BANG!
Finally on February 28, 2013, we went to the campus of Treston International College in Taguig City as we competed in the 7th National Tourism Students Congress Skills Olympics organized by UFTE/UFTS. It is the biggest competition of the year. This time however, I competed all by myself in the Quiz Bee competition. On that day was the elimination round for some of the competitions. As for me, I was able to get through to the elimination round as I finished second among the 11 who made it through to the final round. That day would turn out great as it wasn’t just me who got through to the eliminations, as all of us who competed that day made it through to the eliminations. Then the following day, March 1. We all came back, this time we brought along new faces who will only compete on that day. Then came the Final round of the Quiz Bee. It was a tightly contested battle, but in the end, just like in the eliminations, I settled for a runner-up finish. Aside from that, my blockmates Trudeece Ramos and Katlyne Bundal also won 2nd Place in the International Tour Package proposal, it was also a victory for our class 3T5 as all of us contributed to the success of the proposal in the competition. Then our batchmate Rolando Sio Jr. won 3rd Place in the International Tour Guiding competition. The others who competed were my blockmates Jeanie Tan and Kimberly Tecson in the Domestic Tour Package proposal, Shane Prepotente and Sheila Lao in the Poster Making competition, Trixia Alda who wore the costume designed by Justine Navato in the Kasuotang Pinoy competition and our batchmate Jhie Berbano who competed in the Domestic Tour Guiding competition.
It was indeed a great way to cap off a great year of competition for all of us, and I’m so happy that all of us at 3T5 made a lot of noise this year through the competitions we competed all year long, and what great way to cap off the year was at the CTHM Awards 2013 held last March 12, when together with my teammates won the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award as well as medals and certificates for bringing honor to the University and the College. Not only that, our class 3T5 took home the Outstanding Homeroom Class Award for the Travel Management Department as well as the Outstanding Class President Award for our class president Kimberly Tecson.
So for the last time, I’ll thank my senior teammates Ate Kriskyn Cabrera and Ate Marian Buenaventura. Being a part of this team has been a great honor and privilege. I’m happy we’ve achieved a lot of great things as one team. Congratulations as well on your graduation from the University. We’ll find time to hang out soon. Maybe this summer will do. You two may be signing off now with a BANG! We’ll continue what the three of us started together!
Also I would like to thank our mentors from the Dean Ma’am Tioc, our chairperson (one-time class adviser) Sir Win and our secretary (also a one-time class adviser) Sir G for all the opportunity to represent the university in competitions this year. I couldn’t have asked more. I would also like to thank our coaches this semester, Ma’am Jane and Ma’am Tin for being there for us throughout the preparations until the competitions themselves. But let me not forget our previous coaches in Ma’am Connie, Ma’am Amy and Ma’am Joreen (who is now in De La Salle Lipa). I hope to come back next year better than ever and once again bring glory to the university.
When I’m not in competitions, I had to go through the every day life of a Thomasian Travel Management Student. Our seniors always say that 3rd Year, 2nd Semester is the “most difficult” semester for a Travel Management student. Indeed it lived up to it’s word. From formulating a Business Plan/Feasibility Study in our Entreprenurship and Business Planning class which we were to defend in front of a panel of judges, it also gave us a lot of sleepless nights, but Thank God it came out better than expected. Also we had to go through writing booking files in our Galileo class which also comes with a shot at a certificate for the usage of the Galileo software. As well, to our French class which will be the last foreign language course we will take at the university, to our Statistics class with a twist, to our Tour Packaging class where we created an international tour package proposal and we used in competition, to the Tourism English class which was lively and very energetic, to the TTOM class where we went inside the basics of a travel company, and to the never forgiving Tour Planning class. Each subject gave all of us a set of challenges we had to endure over the past 5 months of the second semester. Most of the time, all was well, but of course there were times where we were pushed to our very limits. I’m really hoping with all the hard work that I gave all semester long, it will translate into positive results.
Aside from the school work, there were a couple of events that happened around the campus this semester, one of which was the annual Paskuhan event which happened on December 21, 2012. The day they say the world will come to an end. But we’re all standing here at this moment in the year 2013 alive and well. But anyway, during the Paskuhan we all had a great time together with my classmates, batchmates and friends as we spent the entire night having a blast. Also, some of my classmates and batchmates went on an International Tour to Seoul, South Korea. Unfortunately, I was unable to come due to the high costs to make the trip. So while they’re away in another country, we still found a way to have some fun for us who got left behind in the Philippines as I threw a pizza party with my blockmates. Then, there was The Search for the Ideal Thomasian Personalities competition in which Mr. and Ms. CTHM came with a first runner-up and fourth runner-up finish respectively. Aside from that, the USTET results came out where the list of prospective Thomasians came out including those who were given a chance to an interview for a shot to get into CTHM. Also, there was the annual student elections both on the university-wide and college level. Finally, yesterday was the Baccalaureate Mass for the graduating students of the university as they passed by the Arch of the Centuries for the last time as Thomasian students. Next year, it will be us who’ll be passing by the Arch and sitting on those chairs.
Yeah! So my third year as a Thomasian Travel Management Student has come to an end, and Summer vacation has arrived. It will be my last summer vacation as a student. I have to make this one count! The grades will be out soon, and once summer vacation has ended, it will be the start of Senior Year in my España journey. Thesis and then Practicum. Yeah it will be one busy Senior Year for me. But for now, I’ll savor the moment and relax over the hot summer heat. I’ll leave with a photo of mine with all the things I was able to achieve this year.
JUNIOR YEAR, thanks for the memories.
Soon, HELLO SENIOR YEAR!
all in for the win.
It all began last July, when I was called in to compete for the very first time. Seven months later, four competitions in tow, already tested and proven, battlescars all over. It all came down on this hot Friday morning in Taguig. It was my last competition for the school year. As I represented the university at the 7th National Tourism Students Congress Quiz Bee organized by UFTE and UFTS.
But before all of that, on the day before probably, the biggest day of my life, with a team of 7 including 1 coach, we began our journey from UST to the campus of Treston International College in Taguig City. As we all had to go through the elimination rounds of the competition. With me competing the Quiz Bee, I was joined by my blockmates Jeanie Tan and Kimberly Tecson who competed in the Domestic Tour Package Proposal, Trudeece Ramos and Katlyne Bundal who competed in the International Tour Package Proposal. We were also joined by our batchmates Jr Sio who competed in the International Tour Guiding competition, and Jhie Berbano who competed in the Domestic Tour Guiding Competition. Accompanying us was our coach/mentor/mother Ms. Jane Devanadera.
When all was said and done, we all came home happy as all of us made it through the eliminations and we‘re all coming back tomorrow to compete in the Finals. I finished second in the elimination round of the Quiz Bee. Three points separated me and the one who topped the elimination round. While the others did a very good job in advancing to the Final Round. Aside from that, we saw some of our former mentors like Ms. Joreen Rocamora who is now in De La Salle Lipa and is one of the reasons I was able to get this far and the one who believed and gave a lot of faith and confidence in all my abilities, as well as Chef Ayie Cordova who is now in FEU.
Also, as the inner hoop junkie kicked in, I was thrilled to see the San Mig Coffee Mixers starring James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, Joe Devance, Coach Tim Cone, among others, and I also got to see GlobalPort’s twin towers of Japeth Aguilar and Alex Crisano on the elevator. Too bad I did not have a camera with me so I was unable to take a picture with them.
Then it all came down to that Friday morning, with the seven of us back to compete, we were also joined by three of my blockmates, Shane Prepotente and Sheila Lao who competed in the Poster Making competitionand Trixia Alda who modeled the work of Justine Navato in the Kasuotang Pinoy competition. Aside from them, members of the Students Tourism Society Executive Board also joined us with Brandon Esperancilla and Korine Sanchez.
At around 11 am, together with 10 of my competitors in the Final Round, I stepped into the stage, took a seat, prayed for one last time, and the Quiz Bee began. It was a tightly contested competition, but in the end, I came very close to victory. I would settle for a runner-up finish. Four points separated me from the champion, while the one who finished thirdwas also four points behind me. Afterwards, I congratulated the champion who sat behind me as well as my other competitors for a good fight. The champion who I got to talk to afterwards came from De La Salle University–Dasmariñas, while the third placer came from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila.
When the day was over, we also bagged in other awards. My blockmates Deece and Kat won second place in their International Tour Package Proposal of New Zealand which was a class effort by all of us at 3T5 who conceptualized the Itinerary, Costing, Marketing Video and Brochures that were used in the competition. Also, our batchmate Jr won third place in the International Tour Guiding competition. Jeanie and Kim on the Domestic Tour Package Proposal, Shane and Sheila on their Poster Making competition, Trixia on modeling at the Kasuotang Pinoy competition and Jhie on the Domestic Tour Guiding all did a good job and a valiant efforteven though they did not make it to the Top 3. Aside from that, we finished 4th Runner-Up Overall in the Skills Olympics which was won by Lyceum of the PhilippinesUniversity–Manila.Afterwards, we all went for one thanksgiving dinner in Chowking at the nearby Market! Market!
So yeah, what has been a great year for me competing has come to an end. I competed in five competitions this year. The last three all came within a span of less than a month. Two championships, one runner-up finish, one third place finish and one semi-finals appearance. It was indeed a great and learning experience for me.
I would like to thank all our mentors Ma’am Jane Devanadera who was a “motherly” figure to all of us through the last few days as well as Ma’am Christine Cabigao. Also, we would like to thank our families, our classmates (especially my block 3T5), our batchmates, and the entire CTHM and Thomasian community for all their support and prayers throughout the last couple of months in the journey we all took to this moment.
Finally we Thank God for all the blessings and the inspiration you have given us throughout these past few months. It is indeed very overwhelming on my part to have made it this far from the time this all began last year.
Next year, I wish I can play a part on improving our chances in winning competitions, especially now, I’ll be the only one left from our quiz bee team this year as both my teammates will be graduating this month. I took into heart what our mentors both old and new said over these two days in Taguig. Like every opportunity that I had this year, I hope I’ll get the opportunity once again to be a part of something BIG and bring glory to the university once again. That’s why I‘m saying to myself time and time again I’m all in for UST!
Now, it’s back to reality for me as we wind down on this school year. There is plenty more work to do right now. Projects to pass, papers to defend, exams to pass, get certifications and all those things. For now, I’ll savor this moment. For tomorrow, it’s back to work again!
Thankful and Blessed! Opportunities taken have bear fruit.