Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day out in North EDSA




Joel came back for a short vacation from his post-grad studies in the US. Noah, Rizza, and I met up with him at the SM North EDSA for lunch. We ended up at the Trinoma in the afternoon.

Had a lot of fun. Thanks!! Dapat maulit ito bago umalis si Joel!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last days in school



These photos were taken the last three days I was at the University of Queensland. I'll miss this place and the people in there (even if I stayed there for only a few weeks).

Off to the next adventure...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The last day of President Aquino's wake



August 4, 2009.

A lot of people showed up at the public viewing of the former president. She will be truly missed. Since cameras and mobile phones were ordered to be stowed in our bags, I didn't take photos inside the cathedral. But I did get pictures of the growing crowd...

Later that evening, it was reported that the queue had reached the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (Manila City College), and waiting time was five hours!!! That is how well-loved Cory Aquino is. People braved the rain to see her one last time...

Corazon Aquino, 1933-2009


The Philippines has lost another defender of democracy, former President Corazon Aquino, on August 1, 2009. The country mourns her passing, and flags are at half-mast. President Gloria Macaagal-Arroyo has declared August 5, as a holiday, so that more people can participate in her funeral. 

She has been touted as one of the country's finest leaders in one of its darkest hours; her unwavering faith a model for the millions of people who have put their trust in her. The brand of leadership she used is an inspiration for the world. True, her administration has been marked with challenges: natural, economic, and political. However, her presidency was at the time of the country's transition; the emotions of the times are reflected in songs that never fail to remind Filipinos to be proud of themselves and their freedom. She was a mother, first and foremost, to this country, a figure that it needed the most at that time. 

Hers is not a state funeral, as is the fashion for former heads of state. Instead, her relatives declined the Palace's offer, whatever their reasons are. Nevertheless, it is quite fitting for the housewife that was hoisted to power, and was never blinded by it. 

Now that she's gone, I realise that the people involved are getting on in years. It is now our turn, those who have been still too young to participate, to live up to the ideals that she and her peers have fought for and gained at EDSA 1986. It is up to us to make sure that the next generation understands how much has been sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy now. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

MovieWorld, Gold Coast: 25-Jul-2009




The Laguesmas brought me over to the Warner Bros. MovieWorld theme park in Gold Coast. I enjoyed watching the Shrek show at the Roxy Theatre, eating ice cream at the Music Man Ice Cream Parlour, going into the Spooky Castle, and seeing the Hollywood stunt driving attraction.

Thanks to Ate Tin and Kuya Rowan for bringing me there :)

Yum Cha in Sunnybank: 24-Jul-2009


After the graduation, Ate Tin and her family, brought me and Ate Dinah to Sunnybank for some yum cha at the Landmark Restaurant in Sunnybank. The food came in woven baskets carted over by the staff. I absolutely loved the flavours in the chicken feet and the beef. The other dimsum had prawn or crab in them, so I didn't try them. The aquariums on display just by the door of the restaurant had HUGE king crabs! These must be the biggest crabs I've ever seen! Plus lobsters, shrimp, some big fish too.


Graduation day!!!: 24-July-2009

 
Finally, the day I officially become a PhD graduate!!!! My family was largely absent, but friends were there to celebrate the day with me. Ate Dinah, Ate Tin, and her husband, Kuya Rowan, and her daughter Rihanna, were at the venue to watch the ceremony.

Unlike my UPLB graduation in 2002, which lasted six hours (at least) and PhDs marching last, the ceremony in UQ lasted about two hours only, with the PhDs marching first. No photographs were allowed in the venue, and were only permitted outside the UQ Centre Exhibition Hall. An official photographer was present to shoot everyone's acceptance of the UQ tube. 

I felt more excited and relieved with seeing the final copy of my thesis being accepted in March this year, than the graduation ceremony in July. Probably because there was a long gap between the two events. Nevertheless, I was so happy to wear my Doctor of Philosophy Cambridge-style academic dress, with the red-lined gown, the red-lined hood, and the funny bonnet. The happiness of having my thesis accepted was more of relief, while of the graduation was more of closure, and the start of my post-PhD life.


Thanks to Bob for making sure that I attend my graduation ceremony! 

Moorooka dinner: 23-Jul-2009



(photo credit: Sam)

I was whisked off to Moorooka this time by Stella, Sam, and Dinah. Moorooka is a suburb of Brisbane a few kilometres off the city centre, and is accessible via train or bus (according to Dinah). 

Andrew (Dinah's boyfriend) had cooked "Chicken Surprise" for this dinner, to welcome us. Stella and Sam are students at the University of Queensland campus in Gatton, while I was at the St Lucia campus for only a few days. Aside from chicken, there was pizza and garlic bread. Both were purchased at Castelli's Gourmet Pizza in Indooroopilly. And, there were olives!!! Andrew had green olives on hand and was happy to share them with people who appreciate olives (that includes me!). 

The chicken was great! It was so tender, and the soup that it was in tasted a lot like tinola because of the ginger. A great feel-good meal on a cold night! After dinner, Stella and Sam kindly dropped me off the Oxley train station for my trip back to Lawnton.

Winter in and around Brisbane (2009)


I was in Brisbane for two weeks (July 20-August 1) to attend my graduation. Since winter is the season out there, the sun rose late, and set early. Thus, many of the weekday shots were in low light.
Photos taken in Manila, St Lucia, Lawnton, West End, Indooropilly, South Bank, and the Gold Coast.

The end of post-grad life begins...

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

Four years ago, in July 2005, I began my journey as a post-grad student, not knowing whether I took on a challenge larger than I can handle, or it's something that I can finish. All I knew then, was that an answered prayer was beginning to unfold... my goal of entering grad school was here at last. 

"Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived." - Jean Luc Picard

The years went on as if a blur of building friendships, reaching goals, experiencing failures and triumphs... plus the opportunity to see other parts of the world. Last year's highlight was pulling through the difficult task of submitting my thesis manuscript in September 2008. Thank goodness for my love of taking pictures... I have a lot of memories to keep, albeit my absence in almost all of these shots.

At last, I was at the end of this journey. What made this even clearer, was what I saw the first day I was back in the lab at the University of Queensland, although this WASN'T OFFICIAL until July 24th...

Hehe :)