Tag Archives: t5

2014: A Year To Remember, Hello 2015.

2014 was a year to remember for me. A lot of great things happened throughout the course of the year. Since I’m a bit short on words for this yearly recap. All I did for this year was a collage of some special moments that happened last year.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Looking at this collage, there were plenty of great moments that happened during 2014. The day, I finally finished my college education after a four year journey filled with success and failures. The baccalaureate mass, that came prior to graduation where they announced the honor roll which I made it and our exit through the Arch of the Centuries. That two day stretch where I won my final competitions bringing honor to the university along the way. The practicum at Marsman where I got involved in the preparation and execution of the trips during the course of the semester. The Quezon City Food Festival and fireworks display with the Claret Alumni Homecoming on the side where I got to meet our AFP Chief of Staff who was also an alumnus of the school. To family reunions on both sides of my family from Christmas to my father’s 50th birthday. To reunions with my friends from both high school and college whether it’s birthday parties or simple catch-up moments with them. I also lived the life of a passionate sports fan following my teams along the way from following the Houston Rockets transition into one of the most polarizing NBA teams today to the inspirational run by Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.
 
Despite these fun moments in 2014, there were some few hiccups and sad moments along the way. From witnessing that painful first round exit the Rockets suffered at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers to the disastrous Asian Games stint of Gilas Pilipinas which led to the ousting of coach Chot Reyes. To the death of my grandmother from my mother’s side. To being rejected in the sole job interview I took (Yes, I took more vacation time than job-seeking and I do not regret it).
 
In ending, I am thankful for the year has passed. Now that the year 2015 has arrived with some important events coming like the visit of Pope Francis in the country, a few weeks from now. I’m looking forward to a great year ahead. I hope I can finally land a job soon and help my family out and save up for my own. I hope that you will still be a part of the year at hand.

Good bye 2014, thanks for the memories. Hello 2015!

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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.

You win some, you lose some.

“You win some, you lose some.”
Well, this is a line that will sum up what has been a year of stories for me. So of all the possible lines that a person can think of when writing a blog entry, why this one? Well, I’m here to tell you the story of my 2013. Anyways, this is the first time I’m blogging outside of my humble home since I’m spending the next few days in the province, and I apologize that I won’t be able to share photos with this one. So let’s get started.
Well, let’s start first with the second phrase of the line “you lose some.”
Of course, I don’t want to start this one with all the good stuff that has happened over the course of the year. I’m saving that for later. So, I’m starting off with the challenging times during this entire year. 
It was indeed a struggle, especially during the 1st semester of my final year of college life. Well, it was something I had to endure for five months, with all the school work from the thesis, term papers, major examinations as well as those daily routines of classes. It was also a point that pushed me to my breaking point. It was indeed a tough time for me on all aspects: mentally, physically and emotionally. Even those days where I’m not talking to people out of deep frustration. Add to that the competitions where I competed, that took a toll on my body. Though I’m not blaming my choice of competing for all the trouble I got into. It was something I love to do and I will keep on doing. But, the grueling struggle took a huge toll as it affected my performance as I ended with my worst finish to a semester in UST. But I made my vow to bounce back especially on my practicum which I am taking at this moment, but I’m currently on break until the resumption of work 6 days into the new year.
Speaking of practicum, it was indeed a challenging learning process. I was still fortunate that I got into a company I would like to work with. Yes, I’ve learned some hard lessons about working. It was my first experience going to work for something I love to work with. Yeah, there were those days when you were said “You’re not good enough.” But then again, I’m learning from each day I step on the work place. I’m still a long way there, but I’m sure when it all ends. It will all be worth it.
Since I’m a sports junkie, I got to tell something about sports, 2013 was a year where I suffered a lot of sports heartbreaks. From the UST Growling Tigers losing in the UAAP Basketball Finals for the 2nd straight season, this time against the De La Salle Green Archers. To the Houston Rockets bowing out of the 1st round after putting up a fight against the then-defending West Champions Oklahoma City Thunder. To the heartbreaking loss of Petron Blaze against San Mig Coffee in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. To McLaren’s poor performance in 2013 in which Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull defended their titles. To  There have been a lot of heartbreaking moments throughout the year. But of course, there were some great ones along the way which I will tell later in this entry.
 
Also this year has been marked with some moments of near misses. Like my failure to secure a certificate in the Galileo GDS software. As well as the two times I almost won it in individual quiz bee competitions, plus a lot more which I cannot remember. But at the end of the day, I’ve learned from each story.
Well enough of the drama and the challenges, now we move to the first phrase of the line. “You win some!”
Here, I will share some of the great moments of the past year, so here we go:
Well 2013, has also been special for me with all the hardware I was bringing home with all the competitions I’ve competed in the past year. A total of five competitions over the year. Even though I didn’t win in every single competition I competed in, I still brought home either a medal, a trophy or a certificate, even cash money in some competitions. Add to that, the recognition I’ve been getting from the university and the college. It has been a special ride for me and I got to share it with my teammates which is always more to winning. 
In addition, I’ve been getting along with my friends nicely which has been great for me. At least I’m enjoying a lot of great company. As well as getting to meet a lot of people along the way. It has indeed been a very special moment in my life, and I’m always thankful for these moments.
 
Also, in sports there have been some wonderful moments to remember, and one of which was being one of the thousands in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena for the first NBA preseason game to be held in the Philippines between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers to which the Rockets won by a 30 point margin. It was great seeing my favorite team in action on this historic night. Also, who can forget the run of Gilas Pilipinas in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at our own soil as we made it all the way to the Finals, though we lost in the Finals to Iran. We booked our ticket to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Of course it’s worth mentioning that very emotional victory against long-time tormentors South Korea in the semi-finals where after years that the Koreans sent Filipino ballers and hearts crashing, we’ve finally gotten over the hump. In addition, as a big Houston Rockets fan it has been a pleasure that I got to meet members of Red Nation from all over the world! From those living in Houston, as well as those in other places like New York, Taiwan, Norway, Australia, etc. Even some who are from here at home. I hope we’ll have a great season to remember. Hopefully a championship!
 
Well, there’s nothing else for me to say. So to cap this off. I thank each and every one who made my 2013 very special. I’m looking forward to the brand new year in a day and a couple of hours and create a lot of memories not only for myself but for the people around!
 
Thanks for the memories 2013, Hello 2014 very soon!
K-Smoove

The hardest lessons learned. Practicum, here I come.

It’s official. The semester is in the books. I will say with a open mind and heart that this was the toughest and the most difficult semester I ever had in the 3 1/2 years of my Thomasian journey. It pushed me to my very limits. From the very tough start to the year to the huge effort I gave to recover and bounce back at the same time the balancing act I did between my academic life and pursuits when it comes to competitions outside of the university. It was also took a grueling toll on myself both physically and mentally as I went through a lot of things in every day of the semester.

Even though this was the toughest semester I had and I fell a bit short on my goal for the semester, There are still things to cheer up about, I’m glad that made it through without any failures in all of my subjects both related to tourism as well as the few general education subjects we had to take this semester. At the same time, my winning ways continued into the semester with the two competitions I competed in.

With this semester over with, my academic life in college comes to an end. Also, I will not be able to see my classmates on a regular basis as we will now carve our own paths in the next semester, as we will enter the workplace and the industry itself for Practicum. I still have one last shot to prove my worth and most importantly get the necessary experience I will need to work well in the industry I decided to work on. It’s going to always be a challenge, but I’m sure it will be all worth it. I will work hard and do good in wherever workplace I will end up with when the right time comes. At the same time, I will get ready for my last tour of duty in tourism competitions, as I will soon pass the torch to my current teammates.

Seven semesters have come and passed, we’re all down to the last semester, our days as students are already numbered and on March 27, 2014. The Thomasian journey will come to an end and a new journey begins thereafter.

Almost there to the finish line. Got to finish strong.
K-Smoove

The monsoon gave me a chance to catch up on things.

This is my 200th blog entry since I opened this blog over a year ago. It’s been almost two months since I last wrote an entry here. Never did I think, that I’m writing this one in the middle of the monsoon rains that is caused by the typhoon up north in Taiwan. Well, the rains caused suspension of classes which opened up time for me to write this one. So yeah, as the title goes, it’s time for me to catch up on some of the things that happened from the time I wrote my last entry almost 6 weeks ago.

We start back on the week after the retreat, least did I expect that the lessons I got from the retreat would not kick in right away. I was hoping to come out swinging afterwards. But it wasn’t easy and I still had difficulty in catching up with things. But yeah, I was reminded that “storms” in our life will come after the retreat and so I calmed down and re-channel my attention on the important matters.

Then later in the week, another competition came along for me, the first one for the year which was the NLEX Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee at the Atrium in Robinson’s Place Ermita Manila. I competed with a pair, which was my recruit from the third year Chamille. 9 schools competed in the competition. Well, it took awhile to finish the competition as there were a lot of controversies with regards with the questions. Despite that, it was a tightly contested battle. In the end however, we came out as champions by a mere solitary point. So we took home the cash prize of P5,000 which we later split as well as a certificate at the same time we had a celebratory meal at Yellow Cab. Then a couple of days later, our victory got put on a tarpaulin outside of our building.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Driven by the recent victory, I slowly made my comeback bid a reality as I was able to find comfort in doing all the necessary schoolwork that I need to accomplish and I was able to contribute better in each project and homework that we have as the days progressed well until the end of the preliminary period of the semester. We also continued with our thesis work within the past couple of weeks. At the same time, my training continued as we prepared for the biggest competition in the semester and the most difficult and challenging quiz bee for the year which is the PHILTOA Quiz Bee exam, so it was me, Chamille and we were joined by Miah who was also a third year student. Then on August 7, we competed at the campus of Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros. Just like the story last year, we all made it through the semi-finals. However, this version of the story had a change from last year. With my back against the wall, I was able to make it through withing the inch of my life to the Final Round on September 7 at the SMX Convention Center because I sat 9th out of the Top 10 that made it through to the Final Round. Unfortunately, my two other teammates were unable to make it through. Yet despite that, they gained experience in competing. We got something special coming up especially with more competitions lined up in the next semester.
 
Meanwhile outside of the life at school, as one of the many hoop junkies in this country, at the start of August, Filipino basketball fans were in for a great treat as the FIBA Asia Championship was held here in the country as three spots were on the line to represent Asia in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in Spain. It was also an opportunity for Filipinos to come out with their full support for the national team which is famously known as Gilas Pilipinas. Filipino basketball fans were not left disappointed as Gilas was able to gain the silver medal which marked the first time the Philippines finished at the podium of the FIBA Asia Championship and secure a ticket to the Basketball World Cup for the first time since 1978 when the country hosted the event. From the early heartbreaking setback against Chinese Taipei, to the chants of “Puso”, “Laban Pilipinas” and “Gary” (David) that rained down at the Mall of Asia Arena, to the emotional semi-final victory against long time archrival-tormentor in South Korea, and giving the eventual champions Iran a good fight for the gold. This tournament will always be remembered by a lot of Filipino basketball fans of this generation.
 
Photo ©Yahoo! Sports
 
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to watch a single game live at the Mall of Asia Arena during the duration of the tournament, at the same time I have yet to watch a UST game this season. I also made it a point that I won’t watch an UST-Ateneo game again this season as three of the four games I’ve watched live were this matchup. Also, the Philippines was visited by NBA players from LeBron James in July to Kobe Bryant in August. However, there was one event that I was able to come to and that was the NBA 3X event at the Mall of Asia Music Hall where I saw James Harden and Eric Gordon in person. Fortunately, I was wearing an adidas shoe at the venue, and I was able to get a photo signed by Eric Gordon. Even though I didn’t end up with an autograph of Harden, I walked away happy and at least I got a photo of him.
 
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
Well, there are still a lot of events coming up, from Derrick Rose coming over to Manila this September to promote for Adidas. As well as the anticipated NBA Global Games Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 10 as my favorite team the Houston Rockets will battle Eastern Conference finalists the Indiana Pacers in a fun match-up between teams that have loaded up their roster in the off-season as James Harden, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and the rest of the Rockets will battle the likes of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West, Danny Granger and the rest of the Pacers. I’m fortunate that I’ll bear witness to history in the making as this is the first NBA pre-season game to be held in the country.
 
As of this moment, our preliminary examinations has yet to come to an end due to the fact that classes have been suspended due to the inclement weather across Metro Manila and nearby provinces. We’ve already finished four days of exams which also included our mock defense for our Thesis. While some are already done with their exams like my younger brother also in UST, I still have to take two more exams. With every suspension, a day is lost in the preparation time for the competition I’ll be competing in next month, at the same time my fear that there will be classes come October 10 could come true.
But then again, safety is above anything else and the fact that we should look after those that were affected by the widespread flooding. We’ll get through this tragic moment with our heads up high and the sun will rise again. Of course, I send my prayers to those who were gravely affected by the heavy flooding as well as the sinking of a passenger vessel in Cebu almost a week ago.
In the meantime, I’ll do something a Filipino is well know for which is finding happiness in tragic moments by looking back at the Claretian Dictionary from my days in my high school Alma Mater as I write on this Throwback Thursday. Well, the title states that it was time for me to catch up on things and now I did. I hope y’all stay safe and I take a line from the movie 3 Idiots “Aal izz well!”
Laban Pilipinas! Puso!
We will rise again.
K-Smoove

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!
K-Smoove
P.S. Do you know how to do the dougie?

Flood, it’s a way of life for a Thomasian.

The flood has been a way of life at the University of Santo Tomas, for many years now. The campus has been flooded countless times from times of heavy rainfall or strong typhoons. There is not one year that the campus will be flooded.

For three years of my Thomasian life, I never experienced getting stranded in the flood on campus. It all changed yesterday. My classes on a Thursday always end at 1pm. However, we had to stay on campus for we were going to have a consultation for our thesis. Then came the heavy rain at around 2pm. We pushed with the consultation despite the heavy rainfall and the fact they already suspended classes at 3pm. Once were done, the flood waters continued to rise, we went up the second floor of the building. I knew they were not going to get themselves and will ride out until the floods subside. However, I took a chance and laid everything on the line. I left the building putting my own safety at some risk, and started my road through the floods to get a ride back home. Even inside the campus it was already flooding reaching above the gutter. Once I got out of the gate, it was just the start of the battle. I kept on walking, crossing the overpass to the direction of the road back home. It wasn’t flooded on the gutters. But once the gutter ends on an intersection or corner where the elevation is low, the flood waters were at a high of knee-deep. I had no slippers which is better in walkig through the flood, so I braved the flood with leather shoes on and I took out my socks which was already wet. In some corners, residents set up bridges for people to cross through the road for a small price. But I didn’t want to pay for that so I went through the flood. I walked from in front of UST up to Blumentritt which was 1 kilometer long for about an hour through the heavy flood. Once I got there, the flood was gone and fortunately, there was an FX bound north waiting so I took it for the ride back home, and after an hour on the road. I arrived home wet but safe.

It was an experience unlike any other. I never thought I’d be able to go through this experience in my life. As they say, you’re a certified Thomasian if you get stuck on campus in heavy rain or walking through the flood which I did. However, this could be the only time I’ll pull off this stunt. If we get stuck in the flood again, I’ll have to ride it out inside the campus and wait for the flood waters to recede before going back home. Well, it’s better to get stuck on campus than falling on a manhole that could be opened on any road in times like these.

Lesson learned: Bring slippers and my phone’s charger on campus from here on out.

Walked my way through the flood, now I’m a certified Thomasian. LOL!
K-Smoove