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Albertus Magnus Building, memories and legends were made.

Yesterday, I returned to UST once again. It’s been more than a week since my last visit. But, there was a good reason to come back. It was more than just a plain visit, but it was to coach the Quiz Bee team which I was a part of the past two years and won multiple competitions along the way. It felt great to be on the other side of the fence. Of coaching and motivating the team, and not competing to put up a good fight. After spending the afternoon there, I went home tired yet thankful of the opportunity that was given to me today. Little did I know that something was brewing along my beloved college.

Today, I got the news on social media from one of my mentors, that CTHM will start holding classes on the new Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building (otherwise known as the Thomasian Alumni Center) on Thursday. It will be leaving the Albertus Magnus Building which has been it’s home since it’s inception in 2006. The new building will primarily host the Office of Alumni Relations. It will also house every college/faculty-level alumni organizations. But what will the building bring to CTHM? It will give the college new classrooms and facilities that will cater to the needs of the college and it is fully air-conditioned. One side note of the upcoming move, the CTHM offices will still remain at the Albertus Magnus Building. I haven’t personally gone into the new building in my last visit. But I’m hopeful I will be able to come inside, the next time I come back.

On a personal note, there is always that sign of envy that I never got to experience having a class inside the new building as I just graduated. But it was indeed a measure of right timing. We may never experience the vibe of the new building as students. Perhaps on a jokeful thought, the move could cut-off the college from “civilization” of the UST campus. As majority of the buildings of other colleges are closely attached to one another. Despite the envy of it all, at least we were able to come out last March with flying colors and that’s the most important thing of it all. At the end of the day, it’s for the good of the college moving forward.

Then again, a lot of mine as well as others memories of their college life were made inside the Albertus Magnus Building. From every class to spending a moment at the cafeteria or the fenced area. From the ultra cool language lab to the consultation room and faculty room where I once trained whenever I compete. From events/exhibits done inside the building to having my OJT at the travel bureau inside the building and plenty other experiences in this building that molded me into who I am today.

The nostalgia of the Albertus Magnus will always be there for me. Whenever I or anyone else who belongs in CTHM step their foot inside the building, we will have that feeling of how it was inside it. Every success and failure that was made here. From the beginning until the end of our collegiate journeys.

It will be an exciting time for the college with the move into the spanking new building. As the current generation of students will now make their own legends and memories inside it. As an alumnus, I’m optimistic with all the changes that are coming along. I hope for the best.

Alas, I will always remember the Albertus Magnus Building as a second home for the four years of my Thomasian journey.

Godspeed, Albertus Magnus 
K-Smoove

P.S. If I get called to coach the team again, where would I go?

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España High! Through Black and Gold! Green and Blue!

On March 27, 2014. It all came to an end. 16 years of a whirlwind road to education for me has come to a close. The doors have opened to the real world for me. But before all of that, I’m going to do something I’ve done 4 years ago when I finished high school. So yeah, let’s do this! On this entry, I’m here to share my own stories during the course of my stay at my second home for the last four years.

The Royal, Pontifical and Catholic University of the Philippines
The University of Santo Tomas


Prelude to the Journey: Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight!

I took in the famous advertising line of Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat (which for some reason I’m not a big fan of that team) during his shoe deal with Converse to tell the story before this came fruit. As a high school student from a all-boys institution in Claret, fourth year meant you’re going to pursue college

I took three college entrance examinations, UPCAT (for the University of the Philippines System), ACET (for the Ateneo de Manila University) and USTET (for the University of Santo Tomas). As it turned out, I failed in both UPCAT and ACET. I had nothing to lose when taking the ACET, but the UPCAT back then left a sting on me. As for the USTET,  I was called for an interview for the course of Travel Management while I was on the waitlist in Computer Science. I went in for the interview, where I was interviewed by the great Dr. Dennis Ligan. Everything went well during the interview. I didn’t encounter any problem. 

Weeks later, the interview results came out. I had a notion I made it since a friend of mine came there said I passed. But my father came over to check again, then came the bad news. I failed the interview. It was rock bottom for me. Knowing I wanted to pursue the program. I felt bad about myself. A couple of minutes later, I composed myself and I started to fight for that slot. We applied for a reconsideration so we contacted the CTHM Office to ask for it. 

On March 24, 2010, I finally finished my high school education at Claret School of Quezon City. Yet the pursuit continued. Days later, I got the opportunity, I was called in for another interview at CTHM for the reconsideration. Prior to that though, I secured my slot for Computer Science, just in case all didn’t end well in my reconsideration at CTHM. On the day of the interview, I came in and I was right away interviewed by the Dean, she told me about my shortcomings and the reasons I failed the interview. I made it a point on the interview those things will never happen again, and that I kept my word of being honest during the time I had my first interview. As fate would have it, they gave me the slot. I will become a Travel Management student!

After a few deliberations, I proceeded with pursuing Travel Management at UST. Got my papers transferred from Engineering to CTHM and have myself enrolled. There I found out I would belong to section 1T5. I never met them personally on enrollment day, yet as the summer went by, I met some of them on Facebook and started to introduce myself to them. Back then, I did not know what will hit me throughout my stay at the university. Yet I was set to embark on a new chapter in my life.

Freshman Year: Entering The Portals of the Square-Shaped Campus!

On June 8, 2010, the Thomasian journey began. I finally got to meet my classmates for the first time in person. I found out right away, we were only three gentlemen in a class filled with ladies. It was a complete reversal from what I got used to throughout my life. Especially I came from a all-boys school. So this whole year was a period of adjustment for me. I had to get used to the fact I will not be able to do the old tricks and trips back in high school.

Then we all had our initiation at the University with the Thomasian Welcome Walk where we went in to the Arch of the Centuries, thus officially rendering us as true Thomasian students. Our first year at the university was a trying time for all of us. Our section back then was the talk of the town, but in a negative way. We feared that we may get reshuffled and will have to meet new faces the next school year. Fortunately, as the year progressed, the prospect went dim.

Of course we had our first CTHM College Week experience, which happened earlier than other colleges of the university. The Weinachtsmarkt (German Christmas Market) for our German class which was held in the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. The very first Paskuhan festivities we had, which I spent with my high school classmates who came over for a visit. As well as the start of the Quadricentennial festivities as the university reached 400 years of establishment in the archipelago. As the days went by, I came to understand and live the culture of the life as a CTHM student. I was not an officer back then, yet I did things that I would do for the rest of my college life. One being the beadle where I was responsible for going to the equipment room as well as getting things ready. at the podium and the projector. As well as the notes guy, for I was sending notes to people. Yet I had to end it during the middle of my third year.

Then came my notoriety for singing and dancing in between classes, for some reason I was doing things that I thought I’m being bonkers for it. Imagine, a guy on a extra sized uniform doing the “John Wall” on the beat of “Teach Me How To Dougie”.  But yeah, I got caught once by the faculty doing it at a bad time, in which I surrendered my ID and I felt really bad for it. Though, I was able to forgive those who forced me to do it and it was all good afterwards.

Well, who can forget the year we spent in Filipino class with the great Sir Alvin Ringgo Reyes? From the cooking demo/promote a place in UST video to the baby thesis. He made Filipino classes enjoyable for all of us. Not to mention when everyone went crazy when the Thai sleeper hit “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was flashed in our classes. The intelligent and brain-teasing discussions in Philippine History and Rizal Course with Sir Gene Atanacio. The very interactive German class of the great Herr Wil Josue. The very fun Business Math class of Sir Robert Arenas. The cookery classes, as well as learning the basics of tourism. As well as the two PE classes the section took, in softball and social dancing. And many other courses that we took during our first year which unfortunately, I cannot remember what happened, so forgive me if I did.

It was during this point where I had a choice. Whether to stay in UST, or settle for a transfer closer to home at UP Diliman since my grades back then was good enough to apply for a transfer. Though the prospect was good, the fact that I fell in love with the vibes of UST, which validated my decision to stay. I was doing well and I came out looking forward to spend another year of the Thomasian journey.

Sophomore Year: Entering the Real Essence!

And so the journey continued, this was the point in time where our section really started to change our general outlook in front of our mentors. We began, to show how good we really became. I remember the Domestic Tour we had in Cebu and Bohol, where we came out to do well in front of the eyes of our mentors at the same time enjoy every moment together as one section. We got good props for being able to do great during the course of the trip. Then came BA Day, where I came in to field in a last minute replacement to go out and perform. Joined by my HRM batchmates Manj of H1, Miggy of H2 (who was also my HS batchmate), KP and Syd of H5 to form our own version of the “Kanto Boys”. We went out to perform which brought delight to everyone watching. It was one of the most memorable moments of this Thomasian journey. For us Travel Management students, the true test of the year came with the Mock Tour Guiding around the city of Manila. I was picked at the Ayala Museum in Makati. Once the dust settled, I came in third in our class behind the top 2 in our class Jeanie and Kim.

We also had our last two PE classes where we got to pick our preferred sport. For me, I got to take basketball during my 1st semester and handball in my 2nd semester. In both PE classes, I got to meet friends from other colleges of the university. It was also during this time where we got to have our NSTP classes. I was able to meet some of my batchmates as we were clustered alphabetically with TRM and HRM students together in one section. I also joined a couple of organizations during that year, with the Thomasian Nippon Sei (now known as Thomasian Nihon Kyouhai) and Pax Romana where I got to meet a lot of new friends as well. I was happy I found a solid group to be with among my classmates. They were there to support me.

Also, who can forget the dreaded GMSQ (Grand Major Short Quiz) during our BA class with Sir Jojo Villamin, as well as the basic accounting class. World Tourism and Geography where I thrived with because of the maps with our then class adviser Sir Win Medina. The Transportation Management class which I also thrived upon with my passion for transportation with instructor Sir Jim Nidea. The very lively speech classes of the great Ms Sheryll Sampang. Then came the transition from learning German to French. And many other courses which gave us more information about the industry we will go with.

We had our second college week where I took part in one of the games where I fell short in the end with my classmate Katlyne winning it all, I also got my first taste of competing in a quiz bee which was done locally, where our T5 family fell short by a solitary point against the T3 family, as well as the sportsfest where I got to play some basketball. The second Paskuhan, known as the “Quadricentennial Paskuhan”,  was a time where I got to spend it with a lot of people which included my blockmates and batchmates in CTHM. In addition, the year was ushered with the transition from Quadricentennial Year to Neocentennial Year. We were fortunately one of the lucky ones to witness this once in a lifetime occassion

I kept up my good performance throughout the year, though there were times I slipped, I was still doing well nicely. Though I saw that life as a Junior will be tough, I had no idea with how much will the next chapter on this story will bring to me.

Junior Year: Driven by Passion, Challenge Accepted!

Entering my Junior Year at the university, I had foreseen that it will be a tough year for all us. But I was coming in to a point, I thought I wouldn’t be in the first place. The invitation came from one of my mentors Ms. Joreen Rocamora, who asked if I could join the team to compete for quiz bee competitions. At first, I had my doubts since while I may a good student, I thought of the fact that there are a lot of my classmates and batchmates who were better suited for it. In the end, I accepted and I was in for a ride I will endure for the last two years of my college life.

During my Junior Year, I joined five competitions. I was joined with alongside my senior teammates Ate Kriskyn Cabrera and Ate Marian Buenaventura. The first one which was the PHILTOA Quiz Bee at the old DOT Building in Manila in which we competed individually, we all made it until the semi-finals, but unfortunately none of us made the Top 10. Days after, we were united as a group and competed at the International Tourism and Trade Expo Quiz Bee at the SkyDome in SM North EDSA, where we came out as CHAMPIONS. It was our first victory which we enjoyed together. The following semester, we went up to Baguio City for the National League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Skills Olympics. We topped the eliminations, but unfortunately we fell short in the Finals and had to settle for third place. That defeat, inspired us days after when we competed for the last time as a group in UP Club for the Environment and Tourism Domestikwhiz 2013, where we came out as CHAMPIONS! Then on the last competition of the year, I competed individually for the 2013 UFTE Cup at the campus of Treston International College in Taguig City, where I settled for a second place finish behind the representative from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas. Because of the good run I had, it was also rewarded when I was recognized by the college during the CTHM Awards Night with a special award they gave me, as well as the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award which was the University’s recognition for all the efforts I put into during the course of the year.

Outside of the competitions, a lot of things happened as well. We had our events management class with Sir Arnel Cruz where our class came up with the event: “Silhouette: A Glint in the Dark, The Search for The Next Tourism Ambassadress 2013.” which was held on September 23, 2012 at the AFP Theater inside Camp Aguinaldo. We also had our feasibility study with Sir Ernest Alcano, my group in which I was the leader, came up with the bed and breakfast concept in a place in my home province of Batangas. Though we had some flaws, it came out good. Well, who can also forget the chase for the Galileo certification as part of our Galileo class with Ma’am Amy Turaray. I was doing well then, but I fell short. Back then, I felt bad about it, but later on I managed to move on as the solace came with all the victories I amassed over time. Who can also forget the PDSR class of Ms. Mae Fortuna, where I learned how to do the bow tie from scratch. Then of course we got a lot of mathematics with Financial Management class, Statistics class as well as Tour Packaging class where we got to use the calculators a lot. It was also a break from Theology classes. It was also during this time we got to wrap up our foreign language studies as we completed our French language courses. Then came the International Tour to Korea which unfortunately due to financial constraints and my preparation for the competition, I was unable to make the trip.

Outside of the life as a student, it was during this year where I got to watch a couple of UAAP basketball games. I was able to watch both Finals games that year where UST fell short against Ateneo. As well as the first game of the “Chowking Saga” as the Teng brothers Jeric and Jeron battled for the first time which ended with a UST victory in overtime. It would turn out to be the only game I watched LIVE where UST came up with the victory. Then came my third Paskuhan as well as the cap-off to the Neocentennial celebrations.

My life as a Junior student, was the most challenging yet it was I would say the best year of my life as a Thomasian student. With three years down, and one year left. I was all set to end the journey off with the BANG!

Senior Year: Capping Off This Roller-coaster of a Journey!

Entering my Senior Year, I was riding all the great momentum I was able to get from the previous year. I was coming in with a huge grin on my face. However, I didn’t see the worst coming in. Throughout the course of my last academic semester. I struggled mightily. I wasn’t the guy who had the belief that he can do better. The pressure of being a senior got the better of me. That semester was the worst performance I put up in my entire stay in the university. I accepted my fate with a heavy heart. Because of the poor performance, I fell off the honor roll. I thought I wouldn’t do enough to get me through.

Once the first semester ended, my academics came to an end, and I was set to go to practicum. For my practicum, I went to Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc., at their in-plant inside the UST campus. So I never left the building for my practicum. Others may say I was crazy for not going out, but I had good reasons to pursue it here. During my practicum, I experienced everything. I got to learn the basics from telephone etiquette to the more technical aspects of work like visa documentation. I was primarily responsible for recording sales transactions and editing paraphernalia using my skills in Photoshop. I got to interact with a lot of people over my time there. It was a very fulfilling experience for me. One I would never trade away for something else.

Though there were challenging times, there were some notable moments. One was with our Thesis where me and my groupmates went through a lot in getting the paper done. It truly tested our camaraderie and literally, we have to put anything else aside. We didn’t expect a lot, but our hard work bear fruit as we finished with the 5th best Thesis Paper as well as the 3rd Best Group Presentation. We also had our project in Recreational Tour where we went to The Village Sports Club inside BF Homes in Parañaque. For a sports junkie like me, it was a DREAM! Aside from that, who can forget the Marriage and Family class of the great Dr. Alviar. Though I wasn’t really a Theology loving person, I appreciate all the life lessons with every single meeting. And many other moments during the first semester.

It was also during this year I took in the driver’s seat, I had the task to lead CTHM in quiz bee competitions. On the first competition of the year, I was joined by my protege Chamille Mercado who I personally brought in to the team, we competed at the NLEX: Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee Challenge at Robinson’s Place Manila, we came out as CHAMPIONS! in the competition. Then the following competition, I competed again in the PHILTOA Quiz Bee, alongside Chamille, we were joined by Miah Kogami who came into the team later. We did manage to get into the semi-finals. I barely made it to the Top 10, as both Chamille and Miah fell short. So I was all by my own representing UST, for the Final Round at the SMX Convention Center. I fought hard during the competition, I almost won the whole thing, but I had to settle for a second place finish behind my healthy rival Lorraine Padilla from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila. After that, I thought of retiring from competition and pass on the torch to my teammates. However as fate turned out, both of my teammates headed to Korea for their international tour which fell on the date of the competitions. I had no other choice but to compete for one last run. So yeah, I was back at it again for the 2014 UFTE Cup held at the Our Lady of Fatima University-Quezon City campus. There were familiar faces alongside new faces. It was a tightly fought battle, but fortunately in the end. I came out as CHAMPION! It was my first and only time I came out as champion competing as an individual. The following day, I came out to compete for the last time to defend the title at the UP Club for the Environment and Tourism Domestikwhiz 2014. I was joined by new teammates as my original teammates at that time just arrived from Korea in Camilla de Guzman and Lia Ciaris Tani. We started out badly, we were trailing for most of the competition, we got into the final round trailing, but we made a furious comeback and in the end, we came out as CHAMPIONS! once again and we got to defend the title. Those two days, were the most memorable days of my competition career. I came in not expecting much, but in the end God had other plans. It was indeed a magical way to cap off my run in competition. I retired on a high note!

Well aside from that, it was a last for everything else. I spent my final Paskuhan where there was no fireworks since the country was coming off the tragedy that was Typhoon Yolanda as the money for it was instead donated to victims of the typhoon. UST had a magical run to the Finals in men’s basketball, before falling short in a epic three game series against La Salle, it was a bittersweet feeling for me that we came close to celebrating a title on my last year at the university. We also had our retreat at Caleruega where I spent it with my classmates and the peeps from H5. We all had a good time, getting to know each other and having time to relax from the stress of school life.

Before I knew it, I was about to graduate. I finished everything. Time flew by very fast. Then came the waiting game. For the last time, I was honored for my success at the college level as I was given a special award at the CTHM Awards Night. Days later, it was the day of the baccalaureate mass, where we got to spend the day together with the 8,236 strong graduates from all colleges of the university. But before that, there was the announcement of the Latin Honors. At the back of my head, I was thinking I fell short again and I won’t make it. Yet, my name was called. I made it! All the emotions came through my head, accompanied by the nice cheers from all of my classmates and batchmates. At the afternoon, the baccalaureate mass happened. History shows that CTHM being the youngest college in the University were seated at the back side near the side of the Benavides Garden, and would be the last to exit the arch. However this year’s different. We were seated up-front and we would be the 4th college to exit the Arch of the Centuries. The night was capped off with the pyromusical with the theme from the hit Disney movie Frozen. I would say it was the most memorable fireworks display I have ever seen.

Then on March 27, 2014. It was the big day! The Solemn Investiture. Graduation. Whatever else you can call it. We assembled as one batch for the last time at the Albertus Magnus Building to wait for the ceremony and strap in our togas. We marched from the building to the Quadricentennial Pavilion for the Solemn Investiture. It was the culmination for all the hard work we’ve done the past four years. As expected, we marched for the conferment of the degrees, turned the tussle to signify our graduation and I was awarded with the Cum Laude medal. Then came the final surprises. On the part of the special awards, they started to mention all the winnings I got over the past year. I got another medal! A special award for all my contributions the past year. Then came the kicker! For all the contributions I brought into the college and being a perennial champion. I was given the sole distinction of the St. Hyacinth Award. I will never forget the cheers from every one of my classmates and batchmates who were witness to everything. I eventually put in a tearjerker moment when I came out to hug my grandmother, later I found from some of my friends, that moment made them cry. After we sang the UST Hymn for the last time as students. Before you know it, IT WAS ALL OVER!

So Yeah What’s Next For K-Smoove?

What’s next?!? Well, right now I’ll be taking the time off to rest. My fourth year life took a lot out of me. Add to the fact that I’m a college graduate without reaching the age of 20 is still lingering in my head. I’ve gone bonkers thinking about it. Besides, I want to enjoy myself without worrying about work for a good amount of time. Add to the fact I want to get the 2013-14 NBA season done and over, and see where will my team the Houston Rockets will go into the playoffs. I’m not bluffing about this. I really needed the time. I know some people want to get a job right away, but I’m in no rush to do so. I will get myself ready for the real world while taking the time off.

My Deepest and Sincere Gratitudes!

Well, before I cap this long entry, I like to offer my gratitude to everyone who were a part of this journey.

First off I would like to thank my friends from other colleges that I have met along the way. I may not remember you all by name, but you made a difference in my life at the university. Notable mentions to Alex Cerado of Pharmacy, Jonathan Genilla of Nursing, Sam Cada of Engineering, Kaiz del Mundo of Architecture, Camille dela Cruz of Engineering, Alexis Tivi of Accountancy, Errol Agacer of Education, Carlo Restoles of Music, Mel Agbulos of Commerce, as well as the TNK peeps whom I spent a good year with during the days at the old Tinoko Park and Botanical Garden. At the same time my high school batchmates from Claret who were also in UST. Notable mentions to German Salvador, Gelo Cruz, Rainier Ples, Nur Adiong, Patrick Foria, Siops Briones, Philip Abeleda, Albie Peralta, Edgar Ramos, Stephen Marcelo, Derrick Espinosa, Raymund Salumbides among others.

Next I’d like to thank my fellow students from other levels of CTHM for the fact I left inspiration to you guys. I wish you all the best in your student endeavors. Notable mentions to my homie Paolo de Guzman, Divine Reyes, Rochelle Engalan, Aya Lorenzo, Danica Esquilona, Dan Quiaoit, Angela Sonico, Janelle Payumo, Darlene Serran, Christine Calzada, Ina Venzuela, Sean Belbis, Vianca Castillo, Radja Castelo, Carla Bonifacio, Leo del Rosario, among others.

I would also like to thank my quiz bee teammates over the last two years years. Thank you for the opportunity to share this experience with you fellas. The run as a quiz bee competitor is something I will never forget. My mentions to Ate Kriskyn Cabrera, Ate Marian Buenaventura, Chamille Mercado, Miah Kogami, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Ciaris Tani.

Then I would like to thank the “Best Batch Ever!”, UST-CTHM Batch 2014. I may have known most of you along the way, though there were some I wasn’t able to know. I am always thankful that I was able to bring joy and honor to the batch. I couldn’t ask for more.

Notable mentions to Brandon Esperancilla, Rolando Sio, James Jandusay, Arvi Cabugao, Mico-Ehlo Chua, Jhie Berbano, Jeli Cadiogan, Shae Jose, Mimi Albesa, Naria San Juan, Rina Bingcang, Josh Naraja, Cha Sumbillo, Che Solis, RA Logana, Korine Sanchez, Fats Infante, Mel Uy, Lyka dela Cruz, Bianca Lim, Lizette Vicente, Nicole Voll, Mara Torres, Justin Babina, Luigi Antonio, Renz Cabiles, JR Rellama, Gelo Soriano, Jeremy Doinog, Kim Besin, Margie Barretto, Arny Fernandez, Micolo Palma, Gabs Jaymalin, Kenneth Cruz, Carlo Ramirez, Steffy Villalon, Den Gallardo, Dominic Dizon, Edward Queipo, Christopher Tamayo, Sese Sibal, Nicolie Tancioco, Marc Acob, Ervin Francisco, Edgar Lumawig, Dion Magahis, Belle Buendia, Matthew Cagas, Eycee Cabriga, Fonso Mercado, Jay Armocilla, Dos Bustillos, Popoi Valdez, Tin Caguimbal, my twin Matthew Villarama, Daryl Arceta, Nikki Deang, Charles Lobo, Elo Magas, Heather McNaughton.

My Marsman friends Denise Bersamina, Harley Abaño, Eden Magsino, Kuya Armand Villanueva, Klaire Villena. 

My CTHM-Claretian batchmates in Ziggy Chavez, Clarence Casem, TJ Abaquita, Ejay Clasara, Miggy Borromeo, as well as the two who left Naj Castro and Habi Santos-Cuyugan.

If I forgot to mention you, forgive me. But even though your names are not on, I’m thankful to each and everyone who made up UST CTHM Batch 2014, from those who made it and who fell short at the goal.


I would also dearly would love to thank the “Best Section Ever” in my book, The T5 family! I’d like to thank each and everyone who were a part of this section. For their unending support, in all of my competitions. It may not be the perfect section to be with, but they were the best family in school I could have. We could all have our differences, but we go the distance when we do things together and do wonders! I’ll never forget when majority of the contestants in UFTE of 2013 came from our section. So I’m giving a mention to everyone who were a part of this section. (Tropa! You will be honored later.)

Fatima Acuña, Trixia Alda, Hosanna Baek, Mela Balag, Ronileen Bauto, Badeth Bertulfo, Katlyne Bundal, Amethy Casal, Pricilla Cruz, JC España, Gui Echon, Jessica Eya, Abigael Ferrer, Ellah Galvez, Alyssa Garcia, Michelle Guo, Diane Jamero, Sheila Lao, Beah Legaspi, Jeruinne Ludovico, Kate Macabanti, Kristel Malabrigo, Mai Matienzo, Dek Mindanao, Hannah Natividad, Carmina Ngo, Justine Nieto, Rosary Ocampo, Era Padilla, Dja Patubo, Shane Prepotente, Precious Rigor, Angel Santos, Cza Sanvictores, Rejh Sasis, Hazel Sta. Maria, Jeanie Tan, Kim Tecson, Arjay Trillana, Kath Vasquez, She Velasco, Pauline Vergara and Lak Villanueva.

Speaking of “Tropa”, I wholeheartedly would like to thank the best group of friends I could have in my college life. Without you fellas, my Thomasian journey would never be complete. The “Tropa-GUISE”. We’re one large group! Best thing about our group is that when one leaves, another one comes in. But those who leave are never forgotten. You are the special bunch who made my college life very special! I will never forget each and every one of you! Majority of the moments I had in college was spent with you fellas. I hope that moving forward, we could keep in touch!

My very honorable mentions to you fellas:
Jean Bituin, Claudine Caganda, Cae Capiz, Kym Constante, Riana de Guzman, Ish Dumawal, Nicole Garcia, Krishna Kabigting, Marrick Magana, Deece Ramos, Yna Salamat, Marx Tapalla, Gie Wenceslao and honorary member Cyril Laurio.

I would also love to thank all of our mentors over the years. For giving us the wisdom and knowledge to be well-equipped with our chosen career path. You have inspired us to do well moving forward as we leave the portals of the university. I may not mention everyone but.


My honorable mentions are for the following mentors:

To Sir Alvin Ringgo Reyes, Sir Robert Arenas, Sir Jojo Villamin, Sir Mar Mendoza, Sir Ernest Alcano, Ma’am Rosh Raichandani, Sir Wil Josue and the rest of the CTHM faculty over my four year stay at the university. Thank you for giving us the inspiration and the wisdom in our daily endeavors as students as well as the skills needed as we set to go out to the real world.

To all my coaches in quiz bee competitions, Ma’am Connie Ang, Ma’am Christine Fajardo, Ma’am Jane Devanadera, Ma’am Amy Turaray and Ma’am Karla Colmenar. For giving us the wisdom and determination to be well-prepared for each and every competition we have competed. Without you my dear mentors, I wouldn’t have reached this point. A very honorable mention to Ma’am Joreen Rocamora, for putting faith in a guy who wasn’t even in the Top 50 of the class that he would be able to do well in competitions. Without your trust, I wouldn’t have won these competitions I joined with over the last two years.

Of course a my highest honorable mention to Sir Gene Michael Atanacio, who was my Philippine History and Rizal Course instructor. And a fellow Claretian. Thank you for all the times we spent inside and outside of campus. Looking forward to going out again when we have the time to do so. I have been very inspired by your teachings and ideals over the time we spent. You know that very well. Even though you left UST in the middle of my second year, we still kept in good touch. I am forever grateful to have been one of your students.

Then of course the CTHM Administration, to Sir Granado, our college secretary and was once our adviser in 3rd Year, you have inspired me to push forward in every endeavor I have done. To Ma’am Vangie Timbang, the HRM chairperson who also supported my endeavors whenever I compete. To Sir Win Medina, our chairperson and was also my adviser in 2nd Year, for giving me the opportunity to compete for the college and the university in quiz bee competitions. It was indeed a great honor to do something good for the university. To Dean Tio Cuison, without your approval when I applied for my reconsideration in CTHM, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I did not let you down ever since! And of course to Fr. Roy Rodriguez, OP our regent, for the undying support in all of my quiz bee endeavors at the same time an inspiration for me moving forward in my life.

My very special mentions to my family, my parents Ronnie and Janet. As well as my two brothers Andrei and Miguel. They have been my support system since Day 1. Without them, I wouldn’t even be standing here at this moment in life. Thank you for being there through my roller-coaster journey. I’m sure you will continue this as we move forward. Also includes my relatives from both the Carandang and the Reyes sides of the family, they have been an extended support system for me. Everything I have done is also a tribute to my late brother Alexis who passed away almost 14 years ago at the age of 1. Every time I point my head up in the sky, it’s all for him.

Lastly, I like to thank God for all the blessings that I have received over the four years of my college life. Without his guidance and support, I wouldn’t even be here. I wouldn’t have the passion and desire that I carried over the last four years. I look forward to his everlasting guidance as I move on to the next stage of my life.

To end this long blog entry, let me take a quote from former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich:

“We had nonbelievers all along the way, and I have one thing to say to those nonbelievers: Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!”
 
This has been my credo in my entire life. I’ve used this quote a countless number of occasions. In life, there will always be critics. I have encountered a lot of them in my entire life. I use every criticism to inspire myself to do better. Now I’m about to go down the hill and start all over again, I will continue to inspire myself from every criticism to make my self a better person for the world to see.
 
With that I end this entry, forgive me if I don’t put up photos, because the last time I did this four years ago, I had to do it on a Facebook note page where there wasn’t an option to put photos in and I’m not calling myself K-Smoove here. So I end with a few lines.
 
This has been Karl Danielle R. Carandang
A Proud Thomasian Travel Management Alumnus
Signing off.

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

Junior Year, thank you for all the memories. Hello Senior Year! Soon.

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.

 

Photos © Karl Carandang


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.
HELLO SUMMER!
Soon, HELLO SENIOR YEAR!
all in for the win.
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

Goodbye Multiply as a social networking site. Why good leaders go early?

Photo ©Karl Carandang
The day was February 15, 2006, it was a couple of days before I finished my elementary education and heading into high school. When I stumbled upon a site named Multiply which allowed users to build a webpage of their own, and well it all began from there.
 
Before there was Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr, there was Multiply was one social networking site where it allowed users to share their photos, blogs, videos and all other things while giving users an opportunity to customize their own sites.
 
For three years, majority of which was during my days in high school at Claret. I ran the site with great honor and dignity. I shared my stories even if sometimes it could be “absurd” as the title of my page says “Where ABSURD thoughts come to LIFE”. It also gave me an opportunity to use and practice my HTML and CSS skills as I was able to give my site a custom look.
 
At one point, Multiply was king in social networking here in the Philippines and a lot of my friends used the social networking site aside from Friendster which was back then the king of social networking.
 
Unfortunately, I had to put the site in inactivity as the “Facebook revolution” in the Philippines had begun and the audience share for my posts on Multiply site was dropping.
 
Three years later, I just browsed the site to relieve some great memories of my site. Multiply has now become a e-commerce site, and then I read the news that on December 1, the site’s social networking feature was shutting down for good while focusing more on their flourishing e-commerce business.
 
Personally, I was saddened by this development, I had a lot of great memories running a Multiply page. From every good and bad thing that happened from running the site, it was all worth it. So for now I’ll wait for the time when the option to retrieve my photos, blogs, videos and all other things out of my page before they clear everything this December.
 
Like the saying goes “All good things must come to an end.” and I’m sure running a Multiply site was a pretty good ride and one of the best moments in my life.
 

I am also writing this blog in honor to the late Secretary of Interior and Local Government Hon. Jesse M. Robredo. He is one man in the cabinet of President Noynoy Aquino with whom I have a lot of respect for he was one man who proved to everyone that good governance is possible and canbe achieved. He was an inspiration not only to the Bicolanos, not only to all Filipinos, but also the entire world.

Sec. Robredo passed away last August 18 after his chartered plane carrying him, his aide and the 2 pilots crashed off the coast of Masbate City on a afternoon flight from Cebu City to the secretary’s home town of Naga City. His body was found this morning after almost 3 days underwater. His aide survived the crash.

Salamat Sec. Robredo.
Thank You Multiply.
K-Smoove