Saturday, December 22, 2007
All year long, Filipinos look forward to celebrating Christmas, but majority of the populace celebrate it for the wrong reasons. The Philippines is known to have the longest Christmas season in the world, yet this is more the result of the Filipino tendency to dwell on anything festive rather than people actually taking to heart what this season is celebrating.
We Filipinos bother too much with trivial commotion: the intricate decorations, the dazzling lights, the melodious carolings… we know the lyrics and the tunes of the Christmas songs by heart, yet these are but brightly-colored wrappers to a hollow present, shallow distractions that cover up the emptiness of the Filipino Christmas.
Let's be frank about it. People hardly look forward to Christmas because it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Most people look forward to Christmas because of the shallow reasons of gifts, long holidays, and sumptuous feasts. I admit that I am a victim of this sentiment. During Christmas, the things I usually think about are the amounts I would receive from angpao, or the nostalgia-filled reunions, or the carefree vacations. To be honest, I only ever think about Christmas as a celebration of God's love after I stuff myself with the last piece of lechon or when I splurge using the angpao money and I feel the need to rid myself of guilt.
Those instances have caused me to ponder what the true meaning of Christmas is about, or if Christmas has a meaning at all. There is always this fuss about the true meaning of Christmas, but in fact the true spirit of Christmas is buried beneath the heaps and piles of insignificant fluff that most people associate with the Yuletide season.
What is this "true meaning" then?
Christmas is supposed to be a simple and solemn time of worship. We celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, birth of our Savior. We celebrate God becoming man out of His infinite love for us. It does not matter that these are Catholic doctrines, what matters is that these beliefs can add a little substance to a raucous and empty Christmas. Instead of immersing in worldly distractions, we have to prepare ourselves and at least attempt to be worthy of God’s love.
The sad reality is that Christmas nowadays is like a loud, wild party wherein everyone enjoys the company of one another but ignores the host of the celebration. The host invites and calls on everyone but they concern themselves with “better” things to do, like lavish gifts, luxurious vacations, and attractive decorations. They forget that the host is the reason why they were in the party in the first place.
It is ironic that we now celebrate Christmas with affluence and extravagance – high spending, overflowing food, and costly vacations, when in fact this extravagance contradicts the very milieu in which Christ is born – in the simplest venue possible, a stable. The first Christmas was a humble affair. God willed it that way. Who are we to contradict God’s example?
There is nothing wrong with festive expressions of Christmas, but they should not be the centerpiece of this Yuletide season. They can complement, but should never replace the position of God and His love as the main focus of Christmas.
The greatness of Christmas lies not in the jubilant celebrations, not even in the gift-sharing or family reunions; its greatness lies in the simple yet overlooked truth that the Christmas season celebrates the commencement of the ultimate sacrifice that led to human salvation, the manifestation of God incarnated into man, and the sublime reminder that God’s perfect love should be emulated by all, not just seasonally but for all time.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The month of October is dreaded for its exams,projects and hell weeks, but it is also the month students look forward to for the few weeks of respite it gives. October made my heart jump and ache. It was that stark contrast of emotions that made it such an interesting month for me.
By the end of September, I had already psyched myself that I would be having a hard time in October. However, the preparation proved to be raw as I came face to face with the most grueling and pressure-packed two weeks of my life. There were multiple long tests everyday, sometimes to the point of having three or four in one day. The deadlines were up for the major requirements and the huge projects. The time has come to endure tension-filled oral reports. I had to crawl my way through the hodgepodge of academic demands. Looming over everything was the mounting pressure of the semester being the lowest in my college stay. Time and everything else in the world was not by my side. We tried our hardest to finish the time-consuming projects. With sheer willpower driving me, I forced myself through the accounting exams. I then had a do-or-die moment with my Stat exams. After solving my last Chi-square and ANOVA, I was finally free!
That freedom turned out to be short-lived. We still had a Filipino paper and a megaproject for Statistics. Those requirements totally spoiled my first week of Sembreak. I spent excruciating hours and sleepless nights in front of the computer, absent-mindedly crunching statistical gibberish inside my head. I crunched away, and typed away, and when my eyelids finally turned into lead and my brain into neurochemical soup, I knew that my ordeal was over. I treaded like a zombie to SOM, submitted it, then shamelessly crumpled on the next soft thing I saw... too exhausted to realize that it was the beginning of a one-month long heaven.
When I woke up, oh I enjoyed the best feeling in the world. I was like a genie, free after a thousand-year slavery. I was like a damned soul pardoned and sent to heaven after an eternity in hell. It was as if the world sang melodiously to me. Everything I saw was rainbow. Everything I heard was music. Like they said, happiness is a whole lot sweeter when you've gone through pain. I was filled to the brim with life and hope and dreams. I spent drowsy days reading novels that whisked me to distant lands; I spent sleepless nights watching movies and TV series that portrayed amusing takes on reality. Those were carefree days to load up on things missed during the school year. Those were inspiring times to realize interrupted plans and ungranted wishes. Those were nostalgic moments to reconnect and rekindle the camaraderie between old friends through meals feasted, ballgames played, or simply laughters shared. Everything seemed to glow a little brighter as I enjoyed myself.
Then came the Cagayan trip - the highlight of the Sembreak. Initially I hesitated to go since I thought I had better plans in mind. But then, another voice inside me was incessantly whispering that it could be a memorable adventure. The winning voice turned out to be correct as I had the adventure of a lifetime in Cagayan with my blockmates. I arrived late so I didn't get to do much on the first day. I only got to eat out at a nice restaurant while listening to the tragicomic situation some of my blockmates fell victims to. After that, we as one boisterous circle played the morbidly fun game Werewolf.
The next day, we were off exploring nature in all its itchy and sweaty and unpredictable glory. We did a few legs of ziplining, rapelling, and some trampoline-jumping too. All the activities were scarily exhilarating; you had to keep faith and surrender yourself to whaetever is in store. After a sumptuous (and cheap) lunch/merienda at a five-star resort, everyone went back to the hotel rooms weary and exhausted. However, we had to prepare for Trish's debut. Oh how grand that evening was. Everyone was resplendent in formal attires. I remember awkwardly escorting people back and forth, then clumsily dancing with the debutante afterwards. We stayed there until past midnight to celebrate Trish's debut as everyone danced and chatted the night away.
The following day heralded the most exciting part of our trip - whitewater rafting! My blockmates all felt anxious since we had to sign a contract which stated that we were solely responsible for our lives. We had a stop-over at the "Trying-hard cave", which turned out to be more challenging than what its name makes it out to be. It was pitch-black inside, as if every nook and cranny was soaked with ink. The tryst with the cave was just a harbinger of things to come. Once we reached the raging river, we all knew that it was going to be an unforgettable morning. The mighty currents undulated like a monster roller coaster.It was like the EK Ride Rio Grande but multiplied by ten million. While we moved on the calmer waters, we sang jolly children's songs as we rowed with all our might. Everyone also underwent the "Drop of Death", a crazy, wild act wherein we had to jump from a high high rock down to the raging waters. As we reached shore and rode the jeepney back to the hotel, our faces still reflected the thrill of that once-in-a-lifetime escape from the dull routines of daily life.
That afternoon we decided to do something different and played Counterstrike as one block. It was so much fun! That night, we went to Haze's house to indulge in good food(lechon!), intelligent conversations, and heart-to-heart sharings. We all wanted to make the most of our last night in Cagayan, so we went to a night market to eat balot. We rode back on a "tripney" (a cross between a tricycle and a jeepney, haha)and enjoyed the night atmosphere in Cagayan. After that, everyone went up to our isolated room at the third floor to engage in a slambook session, wherein we would ask each other semi-personal questions. By 3 am, the fourteen people squeezed into two beds: some were shaking in fear (from the horror stories), others were teasing and giggling, but most were snoring. Everyone then decided to call it a night.
The moment we woke up the following morning, we rushed to pack our bags. It was time to leave. Cagayan was one great city, and we left it colored with fond memories. The block Quest to Cagayan was one grand exciting adventure indeed!
When I got home, I subjected myself to even more fun and joy. I spent days strolling around Serendra, Greenhills and other nice malls. I played basketball in Binondo with old friends, then ate like pigs at the nearby restaurants when our legs were about to break. Our family went to Tagaytay for vacation. During my free time, I immersed myself in stories of all forms: from novels to movies to games. That magical week was just the way I wanted life to be.
We got our grades the week after. They were a little better than what I had expected, but would still barely pass off as decent. I decided to make the most of my final week of freedom. I went bowling for the first time in my life with my old blockmates, and though difficult at first, it was a fun and novel experience. A few days later, we went to Enchanted Kingdom with some blockmates. We rode all the scary rides over and over until I grew dizzy with all the heart-skipping heights and brain-numbing loops. We then headed to Tagaytay to chill, relax, and share.
Then came Sunday. I decided to end this fondest of vacations by squandering all my savings on my dream gadget, the PSP Slim. It was like icing on the cake for a great happy vacation.
The first week of school still felt like a hangover of the sembreak. I have my fair share of great teachers once again, and classes are generally (hopefully) easier than that of the past semester. My class days are short, and the workload so far is non-existent yet. I was back to my silent, pondering old self once more. There were lots of times when I walked alone under the scorching sun as noisy crowds passed by and I wistfully thought of sembreak again.
The past few days made me wish for sembreak even more. In a basketball game last Friday, I injured my knee when it collided with a defender while in mid-air. It turned out to be quite serious and now I find it really painful to walk. Worse still, the orthopedic told me that I might not be able to play basketball again. That came as a shock to me and depresses me still. Saturday classes were also disheartening, since I would have to part ways with the fun NSTP block I had last sem. Apparently, the series of unfortunate events would not end. A day after my parents came home from abroad, my dad saw me idle at home and thought that I was going to be late for school (when in fact there was still a good one hour allowance before class) so he did his sermon once again - that I always wasted my time, that I had to change for the better and that I would not be allowed this and that unless he sees that I improve my ways. I just could not take it anymore and I stood up and answered back. However good his intention, his impatience just chokes me so I feel really bad about it. All these occurences were a complete turnaround of what I experienced just one week ago. I wanted to ask why, but just had to console myself with the idea that maybe I already had too much fun and there ought to be some balance in life, or maybe I just accidentally ate beef. But then, I would just have to accept these circumstances and go on with life.
I have come to learn how delicate happy moments are. These treasured moments are as fragile as dreams... they go in full bloom one moment and pop like bubbles the next. However, though life inevitably has its ups and downs, I still try to be hopeful. It is what keeps me going. All the struggles and sorrows in life become worthwhile when we encounter that one single moment which would free us once more and infuse us with hope. That being said, I will try to live life as best as I can until the next moments of heaven come along.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Since time immemorial, so many questions, both scientific and otherwise, have intrigued mankind. But as for me, no question has ever been more fascinating than the earliest question man has raised: what lies out there in the heavens above us, and how and why everything came to be.
In the early 20th century, it has been theorized that everything that existed came from a colossal explosion of matter and energy, of time and space, known as the Big Bang. The explosion generated energies so great that it formed the first subatomic particles. These particles then joined together to become the first atoms, and these matter combined to form the stars. The gravitational pull of our own star, the Sun resulted in the accumulation of stardust, eventually materializing into planets. The planet Earth then evolved to become our world today. All the matter in the world, including those inside our bodies, originated from the stars, which in turn arose form the Big Bang.
The progression had been all too perfect. If there had been a minor deviation in any aspect of the evolutionary course of the universe, everything would probably just be one endless pool of heat and chaos. Nothing would have ever existed. If the natural laws and fundamental quantities were simply tweaked a little, like if the strong nuclear force was twice as strong, or if gravity pushed instead of pulled, the universe will have been a cataclysmic mishmash of unknown floating entities. Is it mere luck or probability that came into play in the sequence of cosmic and atomic events that led to today? It almost seems as if the subatomic particles and the fundamental forces conspired to place us here. But quoting Albert Einstein, “God does not play dice with the Universe.”
The universe is fifteen billion light-years across. It holds an unfathomable amount of empty space, trillions of stars, billions of galaxies, and everything else that exists. Scientists have chronicled its fifteen billion years of evolution up to the most miniscule fraction of time. Astronomers have been able to identify the composition of stars and even the estimated amount of matter the universe contains. They have even been able to determine the shape of the cosmos. However, the most fundamental questions remain unanswered. How and why did it all start? What was out there before the Big Bang? How will the universe end? It is beautifully ironic to behold the universe since in the process, we are peering directly unto our origins. What we see is always a picture of the past, of where we came from. However, we have to accept that the limited human mind will never be able to fully comprehend the scope and mysteries of this vast universe. The answers to the origin of everything may even be outside the frontiers of science.
Yes, the questions are still there, probably until the end of time. Half a century after the invention of space travel, we still have not gone past the baby steps we took to reach the moon. As Emil Wiechert said, “The universe is infinite in all directions, not only above us in the large but also below us in the small. If we start from our human scale of existence and explore the content of the universe further and further, we finally arrive, both in the large and the small, at misty distances where first our senses and then even our concepts fail us.“
We may not fully decipher the mysteries of the cosmos, but the sheer fact that we question our origins and ponder our ends is a miracle in itself. Why? In the countless entities that the universe brought about, we are the only ones capable of appreciating its majestic wonder. We are the only ones capable of understanding our oneness with all the matter and energy that ever came to existence. In that sense, we could not simply be by-products of the natural evolution of space and time. We humans could be the very purpose of why the universe came to be.
Despite the assumption that we are the culmination of cosmological progression, it doesn’t alter the reality that our everyday activities are no more significant than the little trailing circles of ants when compared to the workings of the universe. It is humbling to realize that we are but infinitesimal specks amid the glorious enormity of creation. It is beyond overwhelming to grasp that everything we know, everything that has happened to our race is just transpiring in a single dot in the universe.
The modern tools of astronomy not only open our eyes to how majestic the universe is, but also to how tiny we actually are in the scheme of things. Once we realize this, our lives come into clearer focus. We come face to face with a question once again, what is one life compared to the billions of years of existence?
We only come into existence for a brief period of time, not even a fraction of the lives of stars and planets. Therefore, our lives should not merely revolve around mundane routines or worthless activities. We have been blessed with this evanescent opportunity to appreciate and relish what it means to live and behold the greatness of creation. Let us show that we deserve to take part in it.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Modern though our times may be, I cannot deny that Chinese customs and traditions have been an integral and essential aspect of my life as a Filipino-Chinese. I believe that ancient rituals should never be forgotten because they give us insights on our rich heritage, and remind us how special our identity is: a Filipino with five thousand years of history and culture in our blood.
One of the Chinese traditions which I find most fascinating and which holds a special place in my heart is the dice party. The dice party takes place during the Mid-Autumn Festival of the Lunar Year, and it is one of the occasions I most look forward to in a year. Our family is a traditional Chinese family, so we unfailingly celebrate this event every year.
During every dice party, I become appreciative of my being Chinese as I acquire euphoric memories year after year because there is always an unpredictable atmosphere, a sense of community, and of course, excitement over the prizes at stake.
I feel this giddy, excited feeling the moment I roll the dice in my cold, sweaty hands. As I throw the dice into the bowl, I keep on praying inside my head that the six dice might roll to as many fours as possible, or create various number patterns that will win me prizes. My heart thumps with a sense of relief and fulfillment whenever I pick my prize from the center table. As I do this, I could hardly wait for my next turn, hoping for a better combination, wishing for a more desirable prize.
There have been several funny and unforgettable instances through the years during the dice parties. Not many mid-autumn festivals ago, I, together with all my relatives, kept shaking our heads in disbelief as my baby brother kept on getting "zhong wan" (four fours in the dice or better) - the top prize - for seven consecutive turns! We kept on shaking hands with my baby brother after that, hoping that his luck could somehow be transferred to us. There was another instance when I was in third year high school. We had our class dice party and were only playing a few turns when my classmate rolled the dice and got an extremely rare six fours! That was out of six dice, the best combination possible in the game. Oh, such fond memories of people and their lucky hands.
Dice parties became more than tradition for me, it was a source of cool prizes, great fun, and unforgettable memories. Even more importantly, it continually reminds me of the richness and color of Chinese culture and makes me proud of the Chinese blood flowing through my veins.
Speaking of tech revolutions, there is so much excitement in the tech world today.
The emergence of technologies such as motion-capture, as pioneered by the Nintendo Wii and further explored by Gesture Studios, can someday lead to an absolute sense of virtual reality.
The interactive 3D web, championed by Second Life, could lead to a rethinking of the Internet. I can imagine children in the future laughing at us, "Daddy, why did you have to click on words to surf the web?"
Incidentally, a new 3D technology is generating buzz in Hollywood, as 3D movie projection has evolved into an immersive virtual-reality experience, and movie studios are already investing heavily on it.
Then, there is the sensor revolution, which has produced cheap sensors no larger than specks of dust. This development could make the entire physical or even microscopic world accessible and interactive to humans, leading to an "internet of the physical world".
Google is also planning something called the Gphone, which purportedly has free calling, texting and surfing since everything will be subsidized by ads.
There's also the One-Laptop-Per-Child project which aims to provide $100 full-functioning and Internet-connected laptops to poor communities around the world. This and the GPhone can grant the poor access to a rich world of information on the Web.
Antoher visible development is the lowering of tech prices like Internet connections and computer hardware - which could cause the Net to reach a broader audience.
Conversely, there is Moore's Law and Law of Accelerating Returns - which will inevitably make computing power equivalent to the computing power of the human brain, and then all of humanity. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.
The wireless revolution is taking place at a faster pace than it has ever been, and cellphones have transformed into high-res cameras and powerful computers in themselves. It has become a gadget where people are able to access anything anytime anywhere.
In the internet (Web 2.0), there is an explosion of content, from blogs to videos to games and podcasts, since more and more people gain access and become active users of the Web.
Another notable trend is that of alternative energy, since it is a more efficient way of gathering power and is certainly the wave of the future. In line with this is the development of better hybrid cars, such as the roadsters engineered by a start-up called Tesla.
There is also the new invention of wireless power, wherein charging and even powering our gadgets and appliances would not need wires anymore as power can be emitted through low-frequency waves packed with electricity.
In biology, there is also the proliferation of stem-cell research and baby engineering. Medicines are getting more effective. The human genome has been deciphered, and soon, the mysteries of the brain will be unlocked.
Imagine a world where all of these developments combine in an optimal manner. We would be living in a utopian world, where lives are long and rich, where anybody can be what he desires, and where information is free, abundant, instantly accessible, and entertaining.
Eras are defined by technology: agricultural, industrial, then the space and information age. Our generation will enjoy the zenith of technology, and life will become more convenient than ever. In this lifetime, we might see utopia rising out of these technological advancements.
Just a few hours ago, we rushed to Saint Jude to attend the Gary V. concert celebrating the Alumni Homecoming. His performance was a blast! The show was magnificent! He brought out the entire arsenal - 70s and 80s songs, modern dance music, romantic ballads, and spiritual melodies. His voice was amazing, and the dance moves were slick. It was so touching since it brought the Saint Jude community of all batches together as one singing, rocking crowd. After watching, I was so inspired to sing, but still not inspired enough to dance, haha.
I walked around my school, and it felt so special and poignant. Every nook and cranny was filled with memories. Every step I took made me relive my thirteen years there. As I walked along the hallways, I could almost hear the loud chattering and boisterous laughter I once shared there with my batchmates. As I looked around the school buildings, I smiled and reminisced all the friendship and laughter, tears and hardships, fun and mischief I experienced in SJCS. It tugged my heart to know that those fond memories will forever just stay as memories. I left my childhood in Saint Jude. Then, with a resolute affirmation in my heart, I promised myself, "Yes, someday I want to give something back to the school that has given me so much." That woke me up from my deep state of nostalgia and I remembered, now I have memories to create and live. With this, I hope to someday look back at college life with the same fondness and longing as I had with my home of thirteen years.
Okay, enough of that. First sem is drawing to a close. I am torn between wanting sembreak and not wanting the s1st em to end yet. This sem has been a blast - I met a lot of new great friends, studied under inspiring teachers, and enjoyed college life as never before. But somehow, I feel that I haven't learned enough yet. It feels bitin but I don't know why. Hopefully, all these can be resolved in the next two weeks.
Tomorrow is the Ateneo-UST game! A do-or-die match between two equally strong teams! I'm so glad my friend bought me a ticket. It's win or go home for the Blue Eagles so they really have to give their all-out effort in the game. I wish that we could pull off another miracle again and proceed to the next round with La Salle. One big fight!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Today I was off to even more excitement. I was with my aunt the whole day as my parents went with brothers to Saint Jude's first-ever Family Day. Uncle, Aunt, cousin, and I first went to St. Peter for a baptismal ceremony. It was rather dragging with the rituals and everything, and Fil 14 discussions strangely kept on popping out in my head. When it ended, we proceeded to Kaisa Heritage Center to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chinoy org. I met numerous prominent people there, all cordial in spite of their high status. We listened to a talk by marketing expert Josiah Go about Blue-Ocean strategy (a new business concept), and it was very interesting and highly relevant, especially to my course. Mom and Dad picked me up from there to proceed to Divisoria Mall. Following a purchase of a cheap made-in-China DVD player, we headed straight home for a DVD marathon of Evan Almighty, Meet the Robinsons, and The Illusionist. Entertaining and stimulating movies, all three.
Tomorrow, our family will go to the temple to commemorate the Chinese Month of the Dead. I also plan to finish Coraline and then get over the boatload of pending schoolwork. Then, I still have to go to a toystore for Psych. Too much to do, too little time.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Looks like I'm feeling poetic right now. Let me post my emo rants set in an imagined scenario strung together to form a crude poem, which I submitted for bonus points in Fil =)
Note: It is the persona speaking in the poem, not me, haha. Also, this is just about 25% based on real life.
Isang mahiwagang ngiti
At natunaw ang aking damdamin
Isang mahinhing haplos
At nahulog ang aking bituka sa galak at kaba
Nang ako’y iyong kinausap
Ang tinig mo’y kay rikit na himig!
Humantong sa tawanan at konting kwentuhan
Unti-unting nasulyapan ang ginto mong puso
Hay, tuluyan na yata akong nalason ng pagmamahal
Isang araw, lumikas ka mula sa aking landas
Walang paalam, parang bula, nawala na lang
At ako’y napatulala, naghihintay sa iyo
Handang ialay ang lahat makita ka lang muli.
Nako, kinulam na ako ng iyong kagandahan
Dahil sa bawat sinasabi, kinikilos, at iniisip
Tanging ikaw ang naaaninag
Bakit hindi ko matakasan?
Nagdurugo na ang puso ko
Nag-aasam na mapuna mo ang kawalan sa gitna nito
Kasalanan bang ibigin ka,
Kaya ako pinaparusahan ng ganito?
Durugin na lang nawa ang aking puso
Nang mapakawalan na ang pait at sakit
Sa bawat paghinga
Napupuno ako ng matinding kalungkutan
Sa kaalamang wala nang pag-asang
Maibalik pa ang matatamis na gunita
Sa pagtulog na lang ako aasa
Makita muli ang iyong mahiwagang ngiti
Kahit sa panaginip lamang
Released from the shackles
of pains and mighty struggles
So awake, so alive
So upbeat, so much to do
A flurry of emotions flow wild
like leaves playing with the cheery breeze
into a special hallowed tavern
where pleasant feelings are unmasked for what they are
Ingredients generated by the senses
gathered by the heart
processed by the mind
and stirred by the soul
An outburst of ecstasy
a spark of magic
a blast of excitement
a blanket of security
a whiff of relief
a dash of inspiration
a pinch of faith
a bond of friendship
a surge of love
an outpouring of hope
and a spirit of fulfillment
Through life's great miracle
Unbelievably I have come upon
the recipe for happiness.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
|Your Dominant Intelligence is Intrapersonal Intelligence|
Reflective and thoughtful, you enjoy spending time alone.
You are good at analyzing yourself - and knowing your true feelings.
Totally self aware, you are in tune with your dreams and desires.
A spiritual and philopsophical person, your inner calmness inspires and helps others.
You would make a great philosopher, researcher, or theorist.
Friday, August 17, 2007
今天我到我父亲办公室里帮忙。 我只花两个小时左右，爸爸给我做的事已经完整了. 在那边真没事做。剩下的时间我就在电脑上网。几个小时玩电脑后，我好想睡觉. 我那時应该读算术， 但是太懒惰。我一直想... 下次再读了，现在轻松一下。 不用担心, 因下个星期二才有上课。
Saturday, August 11, 2007
JS Prom. These six letters could never justify the wonderful memories we had of that magical night. Writing this article months after the Prom, I could still make out vivid pictures of the elegant Grand Ballroom, amidst dim yellow lights, where all were in their most beautiful, dancing the night away.
Before the Prom
I didn’t expect the JS Prom to be much, really. Just another school event, I thought. But, as the weeks were drawing close to Prom Night, I was starting to feel a surge of tension and excitement.
Questions bugged my mind. Who is going to be my partner? What will I do? I can’t dance!, and more such questions.
So, expectedly, many hearts, including mine, were pounding real fast as the list of partners were distributed to classrooms. Dozens of people immediately jostled their way to the list. Seconds later, faces were instantly transfigured, clearly expressing exultation and contentment. Other faces looked disfigured, reflecting their disappointment.
With my mind silently screaming ‘
That day, fifth floor and sixth floor corridors were buzzing with not-so-hushed voices. Sino partner mo?, Ano OK ba yung akin?, Maganda ba?, Mabait ba? An atmosphere of excitement was starting to build up.
Days passed, until the arrow of time reached the night before the Prom. I was starting to get anxious. I didn’t know exactly what to wear yet. I have never even worn a coat and tie in my fifteen years of existence. Fortunately, my dad assisted me. At the last minute, I was able to find a decent set of clothes and with a sigh of relief, slept.
The Day has come...
At 7:30 AM, our classroom still had more than twenty empty chairs. Where have all the people gone? The day before, I heard that some girls were going to have a beauty rest, to diminish dark eyebags. Others simply had the whole day eaten up by various beauty rituals. Many boys, meanwhile, opted to play Counterstrike at
As the dismissal bell rang, excitement was crawling over my body. I thought about how my partner was going to turn out. Each of the people I asked said similar things about her. They said that she’s ok. Cheerful, friendly, kind, and a bit shy were the adjectives that were constantly mentioned. So far, so good. Only time can tell if these proved true.
Going home, I met some of my classmates who just had half a day of fun playing computer games at
I hurriedly took a bath, prepared my things for an overnight stay, dressed up, and put hair gel, too much hair gel I’m afraid, hehe!
Three and a half hours to go! I was in the car making phone calls to my friends. I was already feeling so anxious about looking lost and alone in the grand hotel that I had already formulated a plan. Simple yet effective. I would hide inside the cubicle holding my bulky coat and baggage while waiting for them to check in. That way, I wouldn’t have to look like a stupid walking closet at the lobby.
Fortunately, I had no need for the plan. My friends had already checked in, Room 1614, I was told. I quickly went up, now feeling a bit disoriented as I could hardly take in the sight of Judenites, familiar faces, in elegant attires crowding the lobby. I reached the door, 1614. I knocked about a hundred times before I received a text message. “Rum 1625 pla! Sori…”
Finally, with my hands sore from the heavy baggage, I got into the room. I was completely overwhelmed! I couldn’t even walk straight into the room. It was that crowded. People – batch mates, friends, even some seniors, probably thought our room was something of a waiting room. They were busy doing all sorts of stuff. Some were chatting, others were spraying perfume, still others were wearing socks, one had just emerged from the bathroom, or fixing their ties…etc. It was a somewhat pleasantly weird and weirdly pleasant experience for me.
I joined my friends Adriel and Winston to go down to
Winston bragged about going to Lacoste to buy his perfume. I and Adriel, as if daring him, just obliged. Realizing that I had no perfume yet, I innocently asked the lady in charge, “Pwede pasample?”. I sprayed the perfume on myself twice. As I put it down, I could hardly believe what I read – 1500 pesos for this small bottle of perfume! So, this explained why the sales lady was glaring at me. I just flashed my most naive smile, then tiptoed all the way to the exit. The three of us were all too afraid to talk.
We continued our window-shopping as if nothing had happened. We met our fellow batch mates Cyril, Paul, Warner, Deric, and Mcgregor. They were all holding bunches of beautiful flowers so we asked where they bought those.
At last, with vague directions from them, we managed to reach the flower shop. I bought a bouquet. We waited for an eternity until we received the flowers. I think this bouquet is beautiful enough, I thought.
We made a leisurely trip back to the hotel. By that time, Judenites could be seen in every corner of the hotel, all armed and ready for the Big Night.
I went back up to our room and took a rest. It was almost too late before I realized, the Big Night was just ten minutes away, and I was still dressed in T-shirt and jeans!
I nearly fell down the carpeted floor as I hurried to wear my formal attire. But then, I realized, it was hard to do anything at all if you are in the midst of chaos. Wild and frantic arguments and monologues could be heard in every corner of the room. The problems tackled in those arguments and monologues ranged from disheveled ties to low supply of hair gel to missing socks to stolen bouquets. Clearly, everyone was in a state of emergency and panic.
We rushed towards the elevator, and as it opened, saw the elevator packed with juniors and seniors as I have never seen before. They were all so well-dressed and dazzlingly beautiful.
We hurried down to the ballroom and it was there that I finally managed to catch my breath. Whew! Just in time. Looking around, my eyes were treated to a visual feast of magic and splendor. So, this was the fabled JS Prom. At last, I am here. I am certain that most of my batch mates’ minds were thinking the same.
I never imagined the prom to be what it was that night. Before it had even started, I knew that it was going to be the most magical night of my life. Again, I was sure that most felt as I did.
I chatted with my friends and acquaintances with much amusement about the unexpectedly mesmerizing outfits of the teachers as we waited for the minutes to tick away.
As I entered the ballroom, I didn’t know what to expect. It was as if everything and everyone in that room was coated with an aura of magnificence and grandeur. I sat down nervously, tapping the table, simply watching the passers-by with awe. Am I in a dream? I was certain I was.
After fifteen minutes, the night had officially begun. And, soon enough, my eyes landed on a girl dressed in an elegant black gown. I instantly recognized her as my partner, Hazeline. I could see that she was also nervous.
I forgot the etiquette of pulling the chair for the partner. I just smiled at my embarrassment. With shaky hands, I gave the bouquet to her. I’ve never even done anything like this before, I thought.
I was immediately comforted as she smiled, “Thank You.” Two words were enough for me to realize, she was kind and cheerful.
A few minutes passed by. I looked around. Most people were silently staring at the tablecloth of their tables. So, I wasn’t alone in my nervousness.
I finally broke the ice by saying to her, “Ba’t parang sobra kang kinakabahan?” She just smiled and I was certain that from that point, she felt a bit more comfortable. She asked, “What course do you like to take?”
The conversation then drifted from college life, to senior life, then to subjects at school, our interests, movies and books we liked, and many more. I learned that she was going to take up medicine and that she had a great interest for biology.
From what I heard from my “tablemate” Royce, my partner, Hazeline, was extremely intelligent and a consistent honor student. I wasn’t surprised. It was evident in the way she spoke and in the topics we talked about.
As I was busy eating dessert, a presentation was projected. Every eye gravitated towards it. It showed pictures of the seniors in their “good old days.” Those scenes were truly poignant. All the pictures showed how strongly they were bonded as a batch, in good times and in bad. A feeling of sadness engulfed me in the knowledge that they were going to go, and, fifty two weeks from that moment, we will, too.
Then came the presentation of the lists of talents each junior and senior had. I will never quite understand why my name was first on the list in the Calligraphy category. Just then, I recalled moonlighting a calligraphy “business”. OK, enough of that.
After that, was when the real fun began.
As music was being played, students slowly crowded the dance floor, until, the atmosphere was hot, elated, and wild. It was absolutely pure fun! The milieu was uncontrollable yet romantic, upbeat yet mellow. I think the dance floor would have broken if the people danced any longer. Dance, dance, dance! For me, that was the climax of the event. Everybody was high, letting go of shyness and forgetting all the troubles of school to enjoy those moments of heaven. I hesitated to join at the beginning but conceded for two reasons; one, a friend made me realize that that was the only time we ever get to experience that level of energy from everyone; and two, I was constantly being pulled by who-knows-who so I didn’t really have much of a choice. Finally, midnight came. Time really flies when you’re having a great time. It was unfortunate that Prom Night would have to end so soon. But then, for me and many others, the night had just begun.
After the prom…
We rushed back to our rooms after bidding goodbye to everyone. The night had gone, but it would always be in our hearts, so special, so memorable. We decided to go to Starbucks to chill out but were lured into going to Timezone. We couldn't resist the temptation. We played, played, and basically burnt our money, but it was well worth it. It was truly once in a lifetime, to be in the arcade, with your friends, doing anything and everything. It may seem nothing much, but I’ve never felt freer! Aaron and I finished Time Crisis 3 after throwing away three hundred pesos, all at his expense. We then played some kiddie games like mini basketball, bowling, and hit-the-monkey. Then, we decided to play Dance Revo. It lasted a total of five seconds before the screen went blank with one word written, “failed.” That was a solid proof as to how bad a dancer I am. After that, we exchanged all our tickets for…five colored balls; a proof that we’re little children trapped in teens’ body. At about 2:00 am, Timezone closed. But it wasn’t the end of the fun, we were just warming up. We proceeded to our original destination, Starbucks. We found it packed to the brim with Judenites, drinking and chatting. I met and chatted with a lot of friends who were hanging out there. It was the most memorable visit to Starbucks I ever had. We walked leisurely back to the hotel, amidst the velvet sky and cool midnight breeze.
The next thing we did was room-hopping. We spent an hour chatting and playing slap-jack; with a twist, the loser will strip. Of course, it wasn’t for real, hehe.
We went back to our room at about 4:00 am. As we were eleven in the room, and the bed only fits two or three at a time, we took turns sleeping, one hour for every person.
When it was my turn, the noise of the PS2 kept me awake so I just enjoyed the bed with friends until I got up and slept no more. We played pusoy dos; of course with a wager, whoever loses must drink a shot of wine. After Joshua nearly finished the bottle, we already saw people swimming. Our curiosity got the better of us so we used a videocam to zoom in and see who’s swimming - all Juniors. We planned to swim but I felt tired. As the PS2 was, at last, free from itchy hands, I played NBA Ballers. I was so much engrossed into the game that I failed to notice that it was already 8:00 am. We debated on who will eat the breakfast. I won! I went down with Joshua and though there wasn’t really anything special, ate four full plates, just to make good on my opportunity.
After eating, I could barely move so I went back to my room to sleep. Finally, free of noise. I dozed off. After two hours, as my eyes opened, I saw startled to see a dozen people surrounding me. That was really crazy, and it was somewhat embarrassing with so many people watching you sleep.
Not long after, it was already check-out time. I rushed to pack my things and went down with haste. As I walked on the carpeted floor towards the exit, I knew that the best night of my life had ended. Every experience always has to come to an end, but the memories born from it are forever cherished in the heart and the mind. JS Prom 2005 may be long gone, but it will continue to live on in my heart, always to be cherished, to be treasured, for it is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to my life.
With less than two hours of sleep last night because of the History Long Paper, and an NSTP session from 7:30-4:30, it feels so refreshing to sit back, be idle, and have my long-awaited nice, long sleep. At this moment, I'm being possessed by some soul since I suddenly feel the urge to organize the files in my computer. (Files in my computer = years of clutter = gigabytes of trash)
Next week is hell week, with a couple of long tests and some deadlines to beat. I must resist my strong desire to wander off to do better things. Must study... Must study.
28 WAYS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE FILIPINO CHINESE
1. You unwrap gifts very carefully, so you can save
and reuse the wrapping (and especially those ribbons).
2. When there is a 50% sale on shirts, blouses,
shoes, you buy them even if you don’t really like the
color or style, even if they’re one size bigger or
smaller than your size. You convince yourself, your
spouse or your kids to wear them. And if they
disagree, you rationalize your insane act of buying up
everything on sale by saying that you’ll think of
someone to give it to that’s one size bigger or
smaller than yourself, your spouse or your kids.
3. You or your parents keep a Thermos of hot water
available at all times.
4. You save grocery bags and plastic containers. You
use the grocery bags to hold garbage.
5. You hate to waste food:
a ) If someone says they're going to throw away the
leftovers on the table, you'll finish them, even if
you’re really full. (Your mom will give a lecture
about starving kids in Africa)
b ) You have Tupperware in your fridge with a few
spoonfuls of rice or one leftover chicken wing.
6. You don't own any real Tupperware - only a
cupboard full of used but carefully rinsed take out
containers, distilled water bottles, ice cream
containers. You re-use peanut butter jars as
containers for your sugar, coffee creamer and powdered
7. You have a collection of miniature shampoo
bottles, soaps, toothbrushes, mini-tubes of toothpaste
that you take every time you stay in a hotel.
8. You wipe your plate and tableware or wash them
with hot water before you eat every time you go to a
9. You own a rice cooker and a slow cooker.
10. You wash your rice at least 2-3 times before
11. You hunt for Chinese restaurants offering a
special promo when eating out with friends but you
fight (verbally) over who pays the dinner bill. You
never leave a tip if you see the words "service
charge" on your bill.
12. You convince your kids not to destroy the box of the new toy and to play with
it carefully but only for a little while so that you
can give it to someone else’s kid as a birthday or
13. If you're under age 30, you own an iPod; if
you're over 30, you own a good digital camera,
expensive mobile phone and a cheap 2nd phone.
14. Your other mobile line is Sun cell because of
their 24/7 promo. You do your darnest best to max out
this promo. You never use your other mobile phone to
call a Sun subscriber.
15.You only make overseas calls using cheaper
networks or during off-peak hours.
16. You prefer your shrimp with the heads and legs
still attached - it means they're fresh.
17. You buy shirts, shoes for your kids one size
bigger so that your kids can wear them longer.
18. If you don't live at home, when your parents
call, they'll ask if you've eaten, even if it's
midnight or way past meal time.
19. When you are sick, your parents tell you to stay
inside, drink lots of water, not to eat fried foods
because they're “hot” (“ya dyet”).
20. You text or e-mail your Chinese friends at work,
even though you only sit 10 feet apart. You YM your
friends overseas instead of calling them because it’s
21. You always cook too much but starve yourself at
home so you'll look slim in case you happen to meet
your high school and college friends.
22. You eat every last grain of rice in your bowl.
23. You starve yourself before going to an
24. You know someone who can get you a good deal on
jewelry, electronics, appliances.
25.You are aware of every 3-day sale that goes on in
town and buy stuff marked 50% off even if you don’t
need them right away or want them at all. You peel
off the "50% off" label and save them till you can
give them away as Christmas presents or birthday
26. Your toothpaste tubes are all squeezed paper-thin
before they are thrown away.
27. You wrap with napkins all the knives, spoons and
forks of the airline you fly on and put them in your
travel bag as souvenirs.
28. You never forget to take with you all the unused
bath and facial tissues when you check out from the
hotel because you believe that you have paid it all.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
As with life, I do things here not in bursts but in explosions. I have the worst habit of doing things in one big go. I rely on inspiration rather than consistency. I go for adrenaline rather than discipline. I prefer the most otherworldly and impossible short-cut rather than a tedious long way.
Unfortunately, my way rarely works.
Throughout the course of my teenage years, I have attempted over and over to search for the reason why I cannot transcend my inadequacies as a person. Recently, I finally discovered the root of Scott's evil: inertia.
I have too much inertia inside me; that is, I remain in a constant state of rest or motion unless acted upon by an immensely powerful force. When I do something, I can keep myself busy for hours without really accomplishing anything. In short, I have been wasting an immensely huge chunk of time, time that I could have invested to develop myself and devote to people I care about. I feel that I had been running on a treadmill for eighteen years: tiring myself, going nowhere.
Inertia affects me in almost anything that I do. It caused my failures in highschool, when laziness paralyzed me and stunted my personal growth. It afflicts me until now in college, even if I'm receiving better grades. This inertia has fragmented my entire college experience. There are times when I study and write papers one whole day straight. Conversely, there are times when I don't even open any of my books for weeks, except when in school. My academic life has been more of spurts and streaks rather than a long, smooth, straight line to desirable grades.
I am particularly affected by inertia in social situations. Even if I have the intention of saying something or doing something for somebody I care about, I just can't. I just can't. There are instances when I wish to express how thankful or how happy I am to a person. The feeling wells up within me until it's about to pour out, then something heavy drags it back once more, and then all I could muster is just a smile. It gets really frustrating if it happens all the time. I have lost the capability to be genuine and spontaneous because of too much inertia. I plan something, map out something, then when the time comes for me to execute the plan, it doesn't work out, Oftentimes, it doesn't even materialize at all. I have passed on so many opportunities in academics, friendship, money, love, and other things because of my inability to move without strong plodding from others. I am continually being overtaken and I'm getting used to it. On the rare occasions that I accomplish something, it feels awkward, it feels unnatural, it doesn't feel like inertia-stricken me at all.
Right now, I'm in limbo. I'm not much more real than a phantom. I am neither here nor there, no real identity, no profound connections, nothing to prove, nothing to be proud of... absolutely nothing. I have the influence and strength of an evanescent reflection. I feel divided into millions of fragments and dimensions, each having a different identity and set of ideals. Inertia has manipulated my life, and being pulled in a thousand different directions doesn't help either. Life is a vast ocean, but my confused soul is stuck in the trench, desperate to come out and roam freely, but gradually forgetting and foregoing the will to do so.
Right now, I am overwhelmed with misery. People in my life are at first eager and hopeful, infusing me with as much fuel as they can. However, I am an engine without wheels. I am struggling, giving all my might to move forward for the sake of the people I love, but I lack the means to do so. In the end, they lose patience and move on with life, while I am still stuck, with only inertia by my side, both my closest companion and deadliest enemy. Right now, all I'm holding on to is a glimmer of hope that I still have a chance to break free from the clutches of my inertia and that all will eventually be well.
Simpsons the Movie and Ateneo-La Salle Game - Oh that was a day I would relive over again if I had the chance! I nearly cracked my ribs watching Simpsons the Movie; it was soooo funny, the jokes ranged from graphic to slapstick to witty humor. I don't think I ever laughed so hard and frequently in a movie before. Afterwards, I went on to watch the replay of the Ateneo-La Salle Game. The game was a nail-biter from the tip-off - good as advertised. While I was watching, I could feel the school spirit surging within me, the Atenean inside me screaming and cheering with every great play the Blue Eagles make. Heart-stopping action all throughout! Best game of the season, bar none.
LS Field Trip - It was more interesting than expected. I was quite inspired by the Honeybee Farm Guy, leaving his studies and his life to chase a dream. I wonder whether it's still possible today... At Gourmet Farm and Gardenia Factory, I got to bond with my old blockmates from P1 by playing a rowdy bout of card games. Then, in the bus, we had the innumerable stories of Mr. Sabug's foreign escapades to entertain us. All in all, it was a fun, insightful but draining trip.
Whole day NSTP - Honestly, I never thought NSTP would be fun. Of course, it's partly because we have a cute classmate in NSTP who's kind and friendly too, making everyone go crazy over her haha. But seriously, it's very fulfilling to teach and impart computer know-how especially to people who need it. (In our case, we taught public school teachers. =) As a bonus, I get to sharpen my MS Office knowledge too!
Cesca's Debut - After NSTP, I took a rest, dressed quickly, and rode to Makati. It was a mini-reunion of sorts for me and my old blockmates. It was as traditional as a debut could get. Birthday girl and debutante Cesca was the resplendent star of the night. Afterwards though, someone got afflicted with camwhoring virus. It spread like an epidemic and as a result, we clicked and photographed the night away, taking 100+ pictures in about half an hour haha!
Accounting Long Test - After all the fun and happiness there's the dreaded Accounting Long Test. I wouldn't want to comment on it except that I felt much better about the test than the first one. One thing though, I detest Kim Chew!!! She should rot in hell solving accounting problems for eternity! To think that I religiously followed her teleserye last year... XD
What transpired in between these "events" can be summed up as school-eat-net-tv-sleep - repeat cycle a zillion times. Not that I'm complaining... =)
Monday, July 23, 2007
My daily activities have felt like a blurry and distant dream ever since I started reading the book. The happenings in the book are all I've been thinking about these days, whether I'm eating, studying, and even sleeping, haha! Harry Potter books have a spellbinding way of disconnecting us readers from the mundane routine of life, and engrossing us in a substituted yet sweeter reality - the vivid characters, the gripping tale, and the magical atmosphere.
J.K. Rowling has this unmatched gift of making fantasy stand out so much that even reality has to step aside, where characters and occurrences come alive so vividly that they seem truer than our existence, where even our daily lives that can be experienced by five senses can be overpowered by the austere but matchless allure of words.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Oh, first it was fall from H. Now it's possibly getting a low score on the standard test. Why can't I maintain a high standard for myself? Why can't I maintain anything? Everything about me seems to be so inconsistent. If I continue to be like this, I won't ever amount to anything... I wonder if I will ever become a responsible, organized, and disciplined student. I shifted to Mgt-H for that. Please let it not be in vain.
Five and a half hours until Book Seven Time... Until the next post! :)
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Order od the Phoenix is probably the best HP movie released so far... although the book (as will always be) is much better than the movie. Some minor complaints: I wished Harry (or the casting crew) had better taste. I know so many girls here who are way prettier than that Cho Chang, haha! Also, the fight scenes at the end were a bit of a letdown. The showdown between He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Dumbledore was really bitin. The eventful clash of the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters at the Department of Mysteries turned out to be puffs of black smoke and white smoke going at each other. Oh well, minor gripes. I really had a great time with this movie. Better still, it further heightened my anticipation for Book 7!
Last night I watched Transformers with my family at Mall of Asia. Yes, finally. After listening to everyone rave about this movie, I finally get to watch it. I entered the cinema bearing in mind a friend's comment on this movie, that not watching Transformers is tantamount to missing half of your life. As the movie went on, well, the movie totally overwhelmed even my atmospheric expectations. Yes, watch Transformers if you care about living your life to the fullest. It is a pleasant and exhilarating melting pot of different genres: trickles of romance and doses of comedy sprinkled with a bit of sci-fi and suspense and an incredible amount of adrenaline-draining action. This film squeezes in so many unrelated elements - military operations, a teenager's coming-of-age, an Arctic expedition, government secrets, and an alien war - yet the movie feels so coherent and seamless. Every second of this movie is breathtaking. The action sequences of this movie are mind-blowing. The visual effects are beyond words to describe. This movie will be the benchmark in the special effects department for years to come. No movie has even come close to its visual wizardry.
As the movie ended, I was left stunned, at a loss for words, and trembling in my seat. I had my senses overloaded, my brain shaken to the core, and my face engraved with a hearty smile. The movie had such a tremendous effect on me because it was made for me; Transformers had everything I ever wanted in a movie. I went into the cinema with a tentative thought about whether this could be he best movie of the year, I went out with an absolute conviction that I had just witnessed the greatest movie experience of my life.
Monday, July 9, 2007
It has been a real challenging first month of the school year. I have not gone through this kind of pressure in a long time. Filipino is exhausting, statistics is hell, and accounting is insane. Lessons are more demanding than ever. Papers are due for every subject not taken T-Th 3:00-6:00 PM. Homework just could not stop piling up. And this is just the first month. How can I expect to survive and thrive in Management-Honors if I keep up with my mediocre old self?
Ironically, I have never enjoyed Ateneo life more than I did the past month. My teachers this semester are great! It's such an honor, if a bit intimidating, to have the likes of Ibarra, Rudy Ang, Coroza, and Tirol as my teachers. Strangely, I am enjoying the lessons too. (Yes, even accounting.) I feel that I've learned more in the past month than I did the past year, hehe. Possibly I just love to be under pressure, under the crushing demands expected of a Mgt-H student. Speaking of crushing demands, we just had our Accounting Long Test a few hours ago.
It was quite possibly the most challenging exam I've ever taken in my life.
Three hours of mind-numbing torture and exorbitant exertion of brainpower on my part just is not enough to vanquish the legendary Accounting Long Test for "etch" students. I'm not even sure if I passed it... I hope and pray that I did because if not, it would be goodbye to "etch". If it is, then my stay in Mgt-H would have lasted only one month. Oh please, one month is not enough to be in my dream course. In any case, I never ever regret my decision to shift. I am actually so happy with it. Beyond the great teachers and the interesting lessons, what completes my happiness is my new block. It's such a nice feeling to meet new people; more so if they're as interesting and warm and kind and friendly as the people in Block Q. Anyway, what matters the most in life are not the grades you get but the friendships you have made.
Haha, what a way to console myself.
Oh well, there's life after H...
|You Are An INFP|
You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.
Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.
It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.
But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.
In love, you tend to have high (and often unrealistic) standards.
You are very sensitive. You tend to have intense feelings.
At work, you need to do something that expresses your personal values.
You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.
How you see yourself: Unselfish, empathetic, and spiritual
When other people don't get you, they see you as: Unrealistic, naive, and weak
Friday, June 1, 2007
I would like to see a playoff duel between my all-time favorite team, the Spurs, and the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. That matchup could infuse excitement and intriguing storylines to the Finals. Of course, I'm still rooting for my team the Spurs, and cheer on the legendary Tim Duncan, but I would love to see an underdog team like the Cavs fight tooth and nail against my mighty Spurs.
I live and breathe basketball these days. That is my way of relishing each moment of these fast-flying last two weeks of vacation. Yesterday, I went to Ritz's house with highschool friends and little brothers to play basketball - yes, one whole day of pure unrestrained on-court action. The day commenced when our bodies surrendered and our thumbs started itching for a few hours of action on the console with NBA 2K7. Yes, that is how much we are obsessed with basketball. And I don't think I will get tired of it, ever.
Monday, May 28, 2007
More on those (reviews and opinions on Heroes, Bleach and Prison Break) in future posts.
All my life I had yearned for mediocrity. I had always wanted to quietly blend in with the crowd, live each day without pressure, and just freely go with the flow. I did not care whether I had my identity still intact as long as I was accepted. I was afraid to stand out and assert myself. I shunned responsibilities and evaded the limelight. I was willing to give up anything to become an ordinary person. It eventually reached a point when I deliberately avoided excellence. That turned out to be my breaking point.
Even as a child, I knew that I was a little different from other kids. While other children were gleefully playing outdoor games, I buried my head in thick encyclopedias and novels, haunted by their boisterous laughter and enthusiastic shrieks. Deep inside, I knew that I could never share their fun. While my classmates were playing video games, I was writing stories - dreaming up my own fantasy world. I felt isolated by the thick barrier between my lonely self and these happy children.
Throughout prep school and elementary, I was a consistent honor student and an all-around academic achiever. Yet with every contest I won I felt even more distanced from my classmates and friends. I was way ahead of my peers yet I felt left out. I wanted to give up everything I ever achieved to become a normal, carefree school kid. It made me so uneasy to be better than the rest that I almost felt ashamed to achieve greatness. Everyone else, though, expected highly of me since I had such an excellent track record in school. I detested it so much whenever my parents would remind me that God made me the first-born in our family because I was born to be a leader and destined to excel. My fragile self hated to be put under pressure. Eventually, I crumbled under all those high expectations.
When I reached Grade Six, I was determined to slack off and just enjoy life. I felt that all the effort I had poured into my studies were merely taken for granted so I decided to become a delinquent and happy-go-lucky student. I hung out with the laziest students in our class. I submitted my projects late since I used my study time to play and be merry. I was dleighted by my low scores and offenses against the school. My parents' worries and sermons and ramblings all fell on deaf ears. That same year, I almost got expelled for cheating in a science exam, the subject where I was a perennial contestant and medalist. It was supposed to be an embarrassing moment but I felt pride, pride that I had finally achieved mediocrity.
From that point on, it was a journey to the bottom for me. Every year, my situation worsened and I daresay that I was not even worthy of being a shadow of my former self. I went from top ten to bottom half of my batch. My newfound freedom quickly turned sour when I realized that I still could not enjoy life as an ordinary person could even when I gave up everything to be ordinary. Somehow, I felt even more isolated than I was before. I was in no man's land, and I had lost the little identity and aura of intelligence I had before. Subconsciously, mediocrity seeped into other aspects of my life as well. I had become mediocre in having fun and making friends. I was living everyday feigning a smile, a hollow expression that hid the lost child within me, a mask that pretended I was the happiest person when in fact it was covering up a faceless entity.
Life has a way of waking a person up if he is veered off his supposed track in life. In my fourth year in high school, life slapped me in the face thrice. It was the day of our report card distribution, and when it was my turn, my teacher failed to call out my name. I thought there must be some sort of mistake, but she later informed me that I... was not eligible of receiving my report card. She whispered to me that I had two failing marks. That moment turned the world upside down. I did not expect that I would stoop down to that level. It was even more heartbreaking when I met an old classmate afterwards. She asked me what rank I placed on the honor's list. My friend answered for me, "What honor's list? He did not even receive his report card." When I saw the stupefied reaction on my old classmate's face, I was drowned in a shame that was beyond words to describe. When I went home that day, my strict father asked me where my report card was,. I told him that I did not receive it, fully expecting him to drive me out of the house the next moment.
My father cried.
I clearly saw that those were tears of despair and shattered hopes - a desperate questioning of why his good son turned out to be like this. That was the lowest point in my life. That moment threw so many questions and sad thoughts at me, "Do I want to be stuck like this for the rest of my life?" I thought, "If I go on like this, wouldn't I have wasted everything God has blessed me with? Wouldn't I have thrown away all the time and effort my parents sacrifice to provide me with a good education?"
I willed myself to change for the better , but I found that all those years of slacking off had taken its toll on me. Laziness and cowardice had eaten away my aptitude to excel. No matter how hard I studied for some exams, I just got mediocre scores. That was the period of my life when I was painfully climbing back up to where I began. It was especially humbling and ironic for a person who once struggled to become mediocre, only to eventually struggle his way out of mediocrity.
In January of that school year, the entrance exam results were released. I passed the entrance examinations of the top four universities in the country - Ateneo, UP, La Salle, and UST. That was a big and momentous turning point for me. I realized that I still had it in me to be an achiever and that I truly cannot escape who I am destined to be. It was also the first time in so many years that I had been able to make my parents proud of me again. I had been blessed with a new opportunity to prove myself and what I am capable of achieving.
Looking back, I can see how selfish and cowardly I was when I was young. I used to live life on the basis of instant gratification. I did not care about the implications my actions would bring about as long as they made me happy. Despite everything I've been through, I do not regret about anything that happened to me. Had I not decided to become mediocre, I would have gone crazy by now still trying to live up to the expectations of everyone around me. I would not have as colorful a teenage life as I had experienced. My fall to mediocrity gave me a clean slate to start all over again. It has given me the happiness and contentment I am experiencing today.
I believe that I was destined to fall then rise once more because it was the only way I can realize a lesson about success. Success cannot be attained if it is motivated by selfish reasons. True success is all about fulfilling a purpose higher than ourselves. I view the pinnacle of success as being able to share my achievements with the people I care about. When teachers can exclaim with pride that I had once been their student, when my classmates can feel honored that I had once shared a fun-filled youth with them, when my parents can feel thankful in having me as their son, those are the greatest manifestations of success for me.
I am so lucky to have met a synergistic combination of events that have brought me to where I am today. I was born blessed with so much potential and embraced by so much love, but I have already wasted half my young life wasting them. I am happy that I still have the rest of my life to make up and transcend my past mistakes. I may never go back to my studious and responsible old self, but my roller coaster ride to and from mediocrity has given me so much more. Now, my life has purpose and direction. Rising out of mediocrity has instilled in me the heart to dream, the spirit to achieve, and the drive to excel. Mediocrity was supposed to be my passion, thankfully it turned out to be my salvation.
Posted by Scott at 1:59 PM
Saturday, December 16, 2006
This will be a long post. At this point, there are so many things I am in love with. I feel so much hope and enthusiasm weeling up within me. I feel that I am within an arm's length of reaching my dreams, of achieving so many possibilities. So here it is, all the things that has driven me and will continue to drive me to living a fulfilled life, compressed in a blog.
I am so thankful to the Lord for this year, 2006.
It has been a breakthrough year for me. I believe that I have seen more, laughed more, and experienced more, and loved more in this year than the rest of the seventeen years put together. I feel so thankful to everyone around me: to God for making the magic of life possible, for breathing inspiration unto my soul, for blessing me with love and friendship from people, and for opening my mind to the rich mysteries of the cosmos. I am also thankful to my near-perfect family, where I can be myself, and feel secure and comfortable in their midst, for they are always there to provide fun and passion to life. This year, I have also made more friends than ever before, since I had been more involved in various activities. I realize how beautiful friendship is, how spirited camaraderie can be, and how wildly profound life can be. I am filled with so much pride and confidence with the knowledge that people are starting to recognize me, and maybe even love me. I am happy to say that I have been invited to and attended more or less eighteen debuts. And that's a big deal for me because it gives me such comfort to know that I am recognized by these people as someone who somehow made an impact in their lives. This is one of the many emerging reasons why I am beginning to believe in myself, starting to have a higher self-esteem, and taking pride in the things I am doing without feeling insecure anymore. The main reason why I am feeling so fulfilled lately is because I know that I have outgrown that awkward, insecure, antisocial stage, where I was locked in the prison of shyness and fears. I now feel that I am gradually maturing into someone who has a sense of purpose and a drive to reach my dreams. If before, I was a pure dreamer, now I have started to become a dreamer and a doer. Most importantly, I am beginning to have the guts and the strength to stand up for myself, to fight for what I believe, and not just go with the flow all the time. Also, due to my experiences the past year, I am beginning to realize what I am capable of given the adequate push to the right path. I am starting to know myself better, and in effect, know others better. All this because I have had a stronger belief in God. Of course, I still have my bad habits, most of my weaknesses are still here, yet I have come to terms with myself, and in effect, feel a wholeness in my being.
OK, enough of that maturity of self talk. The past year had also been fun, and here are the reasons why:
1. Last three months of being a Judenite - Those three months were definitely a blast! It was like all the fun and happiness and friendship I experienced in my entire high school life were compressed into these three months. I felt happy-go-lucky. I always had fun and funny chats with my 4C classmates. And, I became close to nearly all of them. It was the best year of my Saint Jude life mainly because I was surrounded by classmates I came to profoundly know in our September recollection and eventually came to love in the school year. I was a carefree, basketball-loving, rule-breaking Judenite student who was addicted to DoTA and committing offenses. I was tasked with our class story for the Chimes, which I felt so honored to do, considering my academic standing. Yet, I felt people still believed in my intellect and talents, and only now do I feel remorse and shame in letting so may people down with my laziness.
2. I passed all four schools that I had taken the college entrance tests. And those were the top four universities in the country: UP, ADMU, DLSU, and UST. Up to now, I still think that it was either some sort of a miracle or some kind of a mistake that made it possible. With La Salle's results, which came early January, I was like "Oh yeah! I passed the brain-numbing exams!" Next came Ateneo. My initial reaction was "Wow... the school of my dreams... Did I really, I passed it!!!" Yet the pride I had inside was nothing compared to the relief and pride and joy that my Dad felt, since he is THE Number One Ateneo fanatic, having graduated from Ateneo himself. Next came UST. "My dream course... Architecture! I love this." Of course, I was never expecting to pass UP since I was informed that usually, only the top ten of the batch are accepted, and I was, errr, Rank118. I was happy enough to pass three schools, but, when the results came, I was like, "No, no, no, that can't be. It must have surely been sent to the wrong Scott." I was in an ecstatic bout of self-denial. Wake up, this is just a dream. But when I confirmed for myself that I really got accepted... "What did I do to receive such a wonderful blessing?" Wow. I was speechless, and I beamed with so much pride, my heart was filled with indescribable sense of fulfillment, that finally, I have exceeded expectations, and exceeded what I believed I was capable of doing. That was a priceless moment in my life.
3. The carefree days of the graduation practices were the most fun I ever had since, well, maybe when I became a teen. It was all fun and chats and jokes and laughter with my classmates. And after a few hours of practice, we're out. DOTA TIME! Oh yeah! We played for hours on end. We played as if there was no tomorrow, we had fun like never before. We were free form the shackles of Judenite life. We had all the perks of Judenite life without the restrictions of assignments and Chinese tests, so it was pure, unrestrained fun for those three weeks.
Finally, it was graduation time. My batch mates were really bonded in deep friendship, dating back to when we were four years old. And Graduation Day is a celebration of the end of a thirteen year chapter, the beginning of a new one. Graduation Day in high school is a turning point of life where things would never be the same again. It was a happy moment to savor, yet a heart-tugging moment to shed tears over. We were bonded together by destiny, by thirteen years of the roller coaster that is Judenite Life. After it, we would never be the one complete batch again, since many would go their own ways. We would never have those crazy moments during Math class, or the eating sessions during Chinese class, or late-night practices for the passion play. But, the knowledge learned, friendships formed, and experiences shared will continue to live on in each of our hearts, and that is what makes the bittersweet event of graduation so meaningful and cherished.
4. About a week after our graduation, my mom enrolled me into a week-long summer camp sponsored by Grace Gospel Church. The camp was to be held in Baguio. Initially, I dreaded it. I felt that my mom did not even give me the chance to enjoy my first summer vacation out of SJCS in my own terms. Also, I did not know anyone from GGC. I planned on not going to the summer camp, but my curiosity and passion for adventure go the better of me.
It turned out to be one of my life's greatest surprises. The enjoyment and fulfillment factor of the Summer Camp experience can probably rival my two most meaningful experiences - Beijing Tour and 4C Recollection. It was just so amazing to have all the people around you with so much faith in the Lord. It was so refreshingly uplifting, especially today when more and more people are ashamed of their Catholic faith. That one week summer camp, aptly named "Exposed", exposed me to a wonderful community I never knew could exist. Everywhere you turn it was all smiles. Every single person out of the three hundred or so people who attended were all so friendly and approachable. I met so many new friends, and they were all true and sincere. The activities we did made me know Christ more profoundly. The many speakers shed new light on how to properly view and practice my faith. Also, the place was really nice - a spacious seminary made of glass and log overlooking a valley in Baguio. We had activities ranging from water-gun games, Bible Study sessions, singing of praise and worship songs, listening to inspiring and mind-opening talks, basketball pick-up games, and even DOTA haha! The whole summer camp was a process of rediscovery and enlightenment about oneself, others, and God. When I came back home from Baguio, I can say that the one week I spent in the Xposed summer camp made me a whole lot richer in fun, friendship, hope, faith, and love!
5. One fateful day, while eating in Edsa Shang with my dad, I received a life-changing call from... the Ateneo Office of Admission and Aid, my request for change of course had been approved! Yeah! Once my dad saw the big smile on my face after that call, he knew who had called and immediately congratulated me. That call made me feel like I was on top of the world. That call relieved a heavy burden I had been carrying ever since I received my acceptance letter from Ateneo. Finally, I had no qualms about studying in Ateneo anymore since I knew that I did not give up my slot in BS Architecture in UP for AB Humanities. I had been accepted into BS Management!
6. The rest of my fabulous summer was spent taking up Dale Carnegie lessons in Ortigas, driving lessons in A1, lounging around in malls, and playing basketball and DOTA. It was the most relaxing summer ever since I was experiencing ultimate freedom. There was nothing to trouble me, only exciting events to look forward to one after the other. There were debut parties of my batch mates, basketball in Acropolis, DotA either in First Street, in Bacood, or Hamachi :) There were sleepless nights at Aldrin's house with my Third year and Fourth year classmates playing XBox, PC, or PS2! There were lazy afternoons spent lounging around SM Centerpont, Robinson's Galleria, Greenbelt, and Powerplant. By the second or third week of May though, I began to feel bored. I kind of missed school, and I was excitedly looking forward to college life in Ateneo - with a whole new environment and a set of new faces.
7. My first semester in Ateneo can be described as - an uneventful adjustment period. On a positive note, it was probably the easiest semester I've experienced in a long, long time. Thirteen years of burning the midnight oil as a Judenite can do that to you. It was easy mainly because of the short hours in the classroom and the freedom from the perpetually stress-inducing Hwa Wen and Li Shi subjects. It also felt easy because our workload was significantly less than what we had in highschool. It was refreshing to get decent grades again. It felt even better to do that amid highly motivated and intellectually gifted individuals, the norm in Ateneo. However, something was missing. The friendship and camraderie I encountered felt nothing like highschool. The people were great but it required much more effort to click with them. Because of this, my first semester in Ateneo had nothing of those wild moments and exciting escapades that I had grown accustomed to in highschool. (probably with the exception of me witnessing Doug Kramer's last-second shot at Araneta Coliseum, hehe) Nothing to complain though, my initiation to college life is as smooth as it gets. Better yet, it could only get better with second sem and beyond. For me, my upcoming years in Ateneo is a whole new chapter of life to experience, a new jewel chest of knowledge to mine, and a new treasure trove of memories to build. I could only face the future armed with the values I gained from my fun-filled reminiscence of the past - faith, inspiration and hope - as my best tools to carve out another beautiful journey.
Posted by Scott at 12:18 AM
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
All my life I hated math, I hated it so much in highschool that I was considering an art or writing course for college. Math is just...not me. Math requires organized ideas, logical sequence of thought, and a step-by-step approach in solving. I am disorganized, I prefer random thinking, and I like short cuts and free flow of thought. All my life I sucked in Math. Math was constantly my lowest score in the report card. I get bored and sleepy with just staring at numbers for a few minutes. I also remember taking five or six advanced summer classes in Math, going back to elementary, so that I will be able to keep up with my classmates the following school year. So, it came as a pleasant surprise that gradually, since studying in Ateneo, I am beginning to love math. The little bits and pieces of theorems and properties are starting to fall into place. I am beginning to see the big picture. I now appreciate the meaningful consistency and beautiful logic of mathematics. Possibly, I was inspired by my B+ in Math 11 during the first semester. And now, with six units of Calculus, I am psyching myself to do well in it. With this, I realized that as we grow, our perceptions about things change. My relationship with math transformed from hate into love. As our perceptions change, we start to realize that what was impossible before slowly becomes a possibility, as long as there is the desire to change.
Posted by Scott at 10:42 PM
No sign of rains, not even a drizzle, but when I got home at about 5:00 in the afternoon, I was treated to great news! No classes tomorrow!!! Tomorrow would have been a busy day. To put it more dramatically, tomorrow is potentially the busiest day of my Ateneo life, and God saved me. I am hardly prepared for my two hour tennis session, consultation about the GMO research paper, and Calculus long test tomorrow. yeah! FOUR straight days of no classes and freedom! Now, I can take my time to study my lessons one by one. Or will I really study? hehehe... With so many fun things that I can do, it'll take real discipline and strength of will to study. Yet, I should since I'm not in happy-go-lucky highschool mode anymore, and I should aim for the Dean's List!
Posted by Scott at 10:13 PM
I am the secretive type of person, never an open book. I am the type of person who keeps everyone guessing about my motives, desires, and emotions. In short, I do not seem to be a person who would ever resort to blogging since writing a blog is about sharing your thoughts to the world. So, what pushed or inspired me to blog? Several factors, but the main reason is that I really love writing, and I realized what a waste it would be if I kept all my writings to myself without sharing them with others. Blogging is the gateway of the world to an individual's innermost thoughts, and that really intrigues me. Also, I think that blogging can serve as an outlet of one's emotions, and an apen notebook of one's ideas and musings. So here I am, new to the exciting world of blogging, and getting ready to share with the world a piece of my mind and a glimpse into my soul.