2/19/16; Colorama

Friday night, I attended an event that was run by the ASEC (Ateneo Student Exchange Council) Organization that was held at BGC in Manila. It was basically a paint party where they sprayed paint mixed with water on us and danced to music from student DJ’s. I ate dinner with my friends Kim, Ina, and Johnassen (Ina’s friend) beforehand. The event started at 8pm but obviously filipinos like to be late so the event didn’t really start until 10:30. It was fun because I got to see a lot of my friends from orientation that I hadn’t seen in a while and it was nice to hangout and even meet some new people and I got to talk to some classmates that I wouldn’t have had a chance to talk to in class.

I couldn’t take much pictures because it would’ve gotten covered in paint and water soon after. ūüôā

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12764502_816165678528912_3140072045058789532_oKim, me, Charisse, and new friends

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2/13/17; Under the Stars + Karaoke Night

I went to a school event that one of my friends hosted with their club called Under the Stars. We were only there for a few hours because it was just mainly listening to students perform while buy food at the booths run by students. It was a nice get together and I got to see some of my classmates outside of class. It was pretty dark to get a decent picture though.

At the event: We’re at the field. The lights are the projectors and the stage. It was way too dark to take a decent picture. Everyone basically sat on the field and there were booths behind us.

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Afterwards, my friends and I got kind of tired of the performances so they decided to just perform ourselves and we went out to sing karaoke for 3 hours. Kim and I didn’t really know the songs they had on for karaoke so we just held the mike while everyone else really sang because they sang loud enough to not need a mike anyway. ūüôā

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2/7/16: Hundred Islands Island Hopping

It was a journey to get here. We met up at the McDonalds near Ateneo to ride a taxi to get to the nearest bus station. We took a 12:00am bus to Pangasinan and that was about 6 hour bus ride. They would make rest stops ever hour and turn on the lights so it was impossible to sleep. We arrived at the Hundred Islands tourist office but we were an hour early so we sat at their bench in front of the place and tried to ignore the beggars.

When it was finally 6, we got inside and they told us that we had to get a medium boat because small boats were not safe for the windy conditions. We ended up having to wait almost 3 hours for someone to take us there. They gave us a large boat instead to make up for it. It was funny to have a large boat for the four of us when people in large boats were for 12-16 people but we got it for the price of a medium which was great.

The weather was pretty windy most of the day which was sad because it wasn’t as nice without sun but we didn’t get sunburned so that was the best part of the trip. It was a nice experience nonetheless and our favorite was Scout’s Island because it was a secluded beach so it felt like we had an island to ourselves. We only got to see like 6 islands out of the 100 because the waves weren’t favorable to see all of them but it took most of the day so it was overall fun and a good time.

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2/2/16: Taal Trip

Since there was no school today because it was faculty day (teacher’s work day), my friends and I decided to be ambitious and trek Taal volcano in Tagaytay. We left at around 5:30am to start our drive to Tagaytay, where we arrived at around 8am. We ate McDonalds to go on the way there, which was a great idea because it was an intense journey.

When we arrived, we had to take a boat to Taal, which was supposedly a 40 minute ride. However, our boat’s pump started to give out a quarter of the way so the driver decided to turn around and switch boats for safety.¬†By the time we got to the volcano, we were all soaked because the water would splash directly onto us since the boat was going to quickly.

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Above: view at Taal Yacht club

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The boat ride was really choppy and I was afraid I was going to get seasick but being slapped in the face water the whole time made it feel more like a water ride so it was manageable in a way. It was hard to get a nice picture of our view because it was so wet though.

Once we got there, we were immediately hit with the smell of horses as it was advised for tourists to ride horses for the trail we were going. We chose the secret trail which led us to crater lake. We didn’t know at the time, but it was a trail for more advanced hikers. As you will soon see, we were not in shape enough to have an enjoyable hike since we took a lot of rest breaks and drank at least a liter of water each but the views were worth it.

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Above: Our climb

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Our tour guide was actually 20 years old and he told us he would climb this trek every other day. He constantly made fun of us about how inexperienced we were but said it was entertaining to watch our struggles.

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Photo Cred: Kim

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Above: Trixie and Marco holding onto to her because he fell since it was too steep to go down standing.

Although it may not seem like it in the pictures, the hike was actually really intense. With the heat and humidity, we were all sweating like crazy. It was also such a steep hike that we all were afraid of falling. The guide almost fell a few times too.

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Above: Our view at the half way point Р1 hour in of Taal Crater Lake. It took about another hour to finally get down to it. For those not on the secret trail, they would just get to this point and go back down. For us, we got to go all the way down to the lake.

IMG_0183.jpg¬†Above:¬†Another hour later, finally at Crater Lake. It’s a sulphur lake but it really didn’t smell bad at all. Our guide told us not a lot of people chose to swim in, though it’s allowed, because they believe sulphur is bad for you which is quite the opposite.

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IMG_0179.jpg We went swimming in it for a few minutes, which actually felt so nice after sweating for 2 hours and sore legs from a constant incline.

The trip down was a breeze and we got down within an hour. We went back on the boat ride, which was even choppier since we went against the current. The boat was lifted in the air by the waves a few times and we were all drenched by the end of it. Fortunately there were showers when we got back and we all brought a change of clothes.

After we left the Lake Taal Yacht Club, we decided to eat lunch at¬†Breakfast at Antonio’s since it was the only decent restaurant that would allow still somewhat dirty, casually dressed people. I had a bacon, mushroom, and cheese omelette which hit the spot after a long day of hiking. According to my phone, we walked a total of 9 miles today but that didn’t take the inclines to account. ūüôā We also stopped by a local pastries shop to eat some buko pie.

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*More pictures to follow as they were on Trixie’s camera because we didn’t want our phones to get wet/dirty.

1/31/16: Family Reunion

We were invited to the del Rosario family reunion which was held at Valle Verde 5 in Pasig. We were assigned color codings based on which sibling of the older generation of del Rosarios we were from. For us, we had to wear red. Other colors¬†were¬†blue, green, and white. They encouraged us to separate ourselves from people with the same color as us but since people who were in red were already new faces to me, I got to stay with the reds mostly. Also, my cousins didn’t remember who most of the people were so it was acceptable for me not to remember.

It started off with a mass since it was a Sunday. Then, we ate buffet-style food which were grilled tiger shrimp, lechon, turkey, pasta with your choice of sauce, burritos, and fish. They only served soda and water for drinks. There were a lot of games to play but people were too busy mingling and catching up with each other to really participate. There was, however, a lot of dancing. And the older ladies of the family danced for about 2 hours straight.

I spent most of the reunion taking pictures with family and eating. It started around 11am and we left at around 2:30. You knew it was a filipino party when people took home leftovers of the buffet and when we were given umbrellas as a party favor, some took more than their fair share. For example, my aunt took at least 8 umbrellas for the 4 of us. According to them, umbrellas are pretty expensive here and are valued because of how often it rains.

 

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Above 2 pictures: Venue and decor of the reunion.

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Above: The red, Timoteo, representatives of the del Rosario family.

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12605379_10208295056234856_8704070922036103305_o.jpg Above: Picture of my aunt and cousins with with DFA sec. Albert del Rosario

 

 

2 weeks of school review

Sorry I haven’t updated this in a while. I’ve been busy with the past two weeks of school. I’m currently taking seven classes here and it takes up the whole day pretty much since I’m in class from 9-5 MWF and 8-6 TTh with hour breaks in between classes.

Classes here are a lot different than classes in America. Although Ateneo is a college, they still treat their students as if it was high school. For example, we have to follow a dresscode where teachers actually tell students to go home and change when it’s something as minor as just wearing flip flops to class. They also assign a lot of homework. On the first day of class, I already had 3 readings to do and was assigned 20 problems to do. At USF, it probably would’ve just been a day dedicated to the syllabus. It’s no wonder the students here are more stressed out here. I go to class and everyone freaks out about a pop quiz being given or homework being due. They also have bells here for when passing period is, which is about 10 minutes to walk to the next class. Finally, they assign a lot of group work. I don’t think I have a single class where I’m not in a group.

Here, they also choose “beadles” which are basically teacher assistants in class to announce things to the class via facebook rather than the professor announcing it themselves in person, which I find kind of inconvenient.

It’s going to be my third week of class and I already have a test on Friday which my classmates tell me is at least about 30% of my grade so that adds to the stress.

The classes so far aren’t that enjoyable. Some of the¬†professors that I have are just unbearably boring. For example, my genetics professor reads the textbook word for word for a 2 hour lecture and would repeat every other sentence she says. And when we finished our lab early, instead of letting us go early, she reads¬†next week’s lab procedure to us and manages to make up the 2 hours leftover. My other teachers reteach what we learned from the last class, which takes up half of the class time rather than just picking up from where they left off. It just makes classes a bit hard to handle sitting in for 1-2 hours along with a lot of homework it’s just difficult to bear.

Other than the intensity of the assignments, most of my classrooms are air conditioned and my classmates are very friendly and helpful so it makes the classes more manageable, which I am very thankful for. Luckily, I am adjusting to the time difference so it’s been getting better. And since February has been filled with holidays, the long weekends have been a nice break from school stress.

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