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Showing posts from March, 2018

At the National Arts Centre

After our walking tour of UPLB, it was time to go up the slopes of Mt Makiling to visit one of the sites frequented by tourists and artists alike: The Philippine National Arts Centre. It also hosts a school for artistically gifted teenagers (yes, it sounds a lot like Professor X's School for Gifted Youngsters)... I had wanted to go to school there but I realised early enough that my musical inclinations wouldn't meet the cut; students going here were so dedicated to their craft while I was just a hobbyist.
On our way up, I was amazed at how excited Nico was getting. He recognised the names of the artists who studied or visited the National Arts Centre (their photos and names were on banners lining the road going to the centre). I, in contrast, only knew of a few people.
Our first stop was St Marc's Chapel, just one of my favourite spots in Los Baños. It has got to be the most peaceful place because it's not visited as much as other chapels. A good place for weddings b…

UPLB walking tour with friends

The first time I had a walking tour of UPLB was when I was an incoming freshman. It's good that I've gone on a walk with my lawyer friends because UPLB has changed A LOT and I wasn't able to see the changes until I saw these through their eyes. So, I thank Gary, Nico, Jason, and Joys (the lawyers) and Krishna (the lab rat) for the invitation (and the prodding) to make this campus tour a reality. 
Just outside the College of Economics and Management (CEM) was a striking red piece of art. I don't what it's supposed to represent or why it's there. All I know is that I never noticed this because I rarely went to CEM after I graduated from UPLB.

And the path that used to be made of stones is now concrete. Back when I was a student, I had to make sure that my footing was sure because I could stub my toes here.

These benches under the tree are new additions, I think, because back in my day, students who stayed in their organisation's tambayan sat on wooden benche…

One step at a time: the Makiling Botanical Garden edition

Time has flown really fast. One of the days I realised this was when I went to the Makiling Botanic Garden six years after I was last there. I didn't go hiking back then; rather, my last walk there was 11 years ago!
I was happy that little seemed to change in this montane landmark. The bridge over the creek, the pavilion, the flowering plants, and the gigantic trees were still there. The only thing that changed in a major way, I think, was the closure of the raptors sanctuary high up in the clouds. I went there twice, years before it closed (thanks to a typhoon that destroyed the facility). 

For this trip up my memory lane, my lawyer friends were there. Actually, it was just supposed to be a tour of the UPLB campus; but what tour is complete without a hike on Mount Makiling's beautiful slopes, right? They were so unprepared; meanwhile, Krishna and I were ready while Daniel (who didn't planned on going with us) was also game for a quick walk in the forest. In this photo, t…

"gatekeeper" for #UNLEASH2018

Stop! Who would cross this bridge must answer me these questions three.
Last year, I was part of the first cohort of "SDG Talents" in UNLEASH Innovations Laboratory, held in Denmark. I had a very good experience at UNLEASH so when there was an opportunity to help out for this year's talent intake, I volunteered almost immediately. 
Little did I know that it was a gargantuan task: Because there were so many applicants this year, UNLEASH got its evaluators to check out more applications than we have expected!!
BUT, it's well worth it because we (working in the background) could see how the next cohort might act during the Innovations Lab in Singapore. As I read through the experiences and the insights being provided by these people, mostly younger than me, I kept asking myself: What have I been doing with my life?!? Where did they find the time to do something heroic during their free time?!?
Singapore is hosting this year's UNLEASH cohort. I am looking forward to …

Coming "home" to Microbiology

On March 17, I attended UPLBInstitute of Biological Sciences' Microbiology Division's alumni homecoming. It was a day of meeting old friends (including our former instructors), meeting new ones (especially Microbiology majors from other batches), and reminiscing the days when we hung out by the pressure cookers during our pre- and post-lab activities. When I arrived, the party was in full swing, thanks to the adept hosting skills by my former professors (who have been tandem hosting since I was a student), Millet Carlos and Jun Barnes. 
They brought back good memories about my days as a Microbiology student. And then I also met my other professors, the fun ones, Sir Sabino and Sir Von... that made my day too!

More importantly, I saw my academic adviser in UPLB, Mam AKR. I was one of two BSc students she took under her wing from my batch (the other one is Mark Vicente). Her mentorship is one reason why I'm where I'm at right now. Hence, when she sent the homecoming ann…

Manila Cathedral, through the years

For several months, the Manila Cathedral was under repair. The façade was covered with scaffolds and it didn't seem to me that it was open to the public; hence, I opted to skip visiting the cathedral when I made a stop in Intramuros. Until last year, when the façade was suddenly cleared and started to look more welcoming.
This time around, I was at the Manila Cathedral for the wedding of my cousin, Joharra. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, I noticed that there was an exhibit about the cathedral's restoration. I was impressed with the efforts taken by the group who did the restoration and the exhibit because they really dug deep into the archives to make sure that they are doing the right thing.

It was fascinating to see old images of the church, reflecting how different it has become... in fact, the present structure is the eighth cathedral. The previous one (1792) looked very different from the current church. For instance, the bell tower appeared to be attached to t…

Joharra and Dex get married!

Joharra, a second cousin of mine, is currently based in New South Wales. Despite being based Down Under, she and her now-husband opted to get married in church in the Philippines. We're thankful that they decided so because it was a chance for my dad to reconnect with cousins he hasn't been in tough with for quite some time.
Joharra and Dex exchanged vows at the Manila Cathedral and had their reception at Sofitel. It was, quite frankly, a grand way to celebrate the beginning of their life together as husband and wife; it was also a grand way to bring relatives together in one room! I had the chance to meet relatives I didn't know I had and it was nice to see that my second cousins, aunts, and uncles were as close to Lola Maning as we are to Lola Bats (they are sisters).
Congratulations, Joharra and Dex! May your lives be filled with happiness and blessings. Thank you for reconnecting us with our relatives from your side of our large family!

Sunsets at IRRI.

March hails the arrival of longer days and glorious afternoon skies. This was also a signal for me to get my butt of my chair and start walking in the afternoons (since arriving from the US, I had to catch up on a lot of things so I didn't really have the time to enjoy the outdoors... I decided to make time for it). 
I didn't make a mistake because each time I went outside, I saw pomelo-pink twilights, purple-grey clouds, and yellow-orange skies. 
And because the landscape is always breath-taking at this golden hour and because I'd like to slow down and grasp the view while I had it, I decided to do walks rather than runs. I'll need to return to weight training and cardiovascular exercises in the gym... but with these sunset views, I prefer to do hour-long walks in the meantime. I do achieve my step goals but I accept that weight loss will be a lot slower. The trade-offs, however, are these photos... all taken in different days using my mobile phone. One day, I'll…