Monday, April 23, 2007

Graduation Day

April 7, 2001 – High School graduation. Graduated with honors, 3rd in academic rankings for the special science curriculum of a private Catholic all-boys school in Baguio (famous alumni: Rustom Padilla; famous kickout: his brother, Robin). It was a great day as I stood proud and confident, and so were my parents who were seated on the row with other honor students’ parents.

Aside from being an honor student, I was awarded the Gerry Roxas Leadership. This was a surprise award since it was only given and announced on the graduation day itself. This award had been special to me since I had not expected it to come. It was the only leadership award given at my school (we have no PGMA leadership award), for years it had been always ‘issued’ to the graduating CAT corps commander. This time, it was given to an Eagle scout.

My father even became prouder since he too was a GRLA awardee. I remember when I was little, my father showed me his GRLA Award which was framed along with his high school photo. He got it for being a CAT officer, athlete and a scholar. I did not dream of following his footsteps. I wanted to create my own. Thus, the GRLA was never included in my high school goals. Heck, during first year I was even afraid of being booted out of the science curriculum (I think drafting scared me back then; but now, ES 1 is a piece of cake).

End of high school. Start of ‘new life’. Graduated top of the science class; 99th percentile in NSAT; eligible for DOST scholarship (but did not accept). I seemed to be a very promising student indeed. At the end of the school year, people had already been calling me “UP Boy”. So far, I was one of two accepted at Diliman, coming along with the prestige of making it into a quota course which is Computer Engineering. The others got accepted at UP Baguio, while most of my schoolmates had not even tried taking the UPCAT. St. Louis University had been the top ‘default’ university to go into especially if your high school carries its same name and tradition.

April 21, 2007 – College graduation. Graduated (PERIOD). It was a great day as I stood proud and confident, and so were my uncle and mother who were seated in the back row of the theater, just like most of the UP graduates’ parents.

Being accepted at UP is one thing, graduating is another. I’ve met lots of new people – fellow students in UP. All had entered the university having the same buoyancy as I had. Everyone was good. Graduating from a special science curriculum (or its equivalent) seemed to be a minimum requirement. Valedictorians, honor students, GRLA awardees, math Olympiad quizzers/winners; you name it, they’re everywhere in UP.

6 years in college? Who cares. Besides, my year of delay was only eaten up by just 8 units. I had the time of my life. I am very much convinced myself that I did great, even without achieving the typical academic awards. Talking about resume, I may not have that line stating ‘cum laude’, but at least I’ve got lines referring to my organizations, experiences and other achievements.

I never had any regret in studying at UP. I made my stand before when my parents almost did not allow me to study in UP due to locality. Now, I proved them right. I think it was my very first major decision in life. And ever since I entered UP, I was already on my own; it’s my life anyway. My independence was just.

End of college. Start of ‘new life’ (again?). UP Engineering graduate. Maintaining to be the person I aim to be. Looking forward to the future.


My ‘Mom’ (grandmother M-side) was very eager to see me (and UP) at my graduation however she just had her biopsy and was advised by her doctor not to travel. Original plan was for her to hire a private van then tag along anyone in our family who would want to come for a round trip ride. Since my family is based in Benguet, only my mother came to attend my college graduation (along with my QC-based uncle).

We came to the UP theater at around exactly 730am. Just quite in the nick of call time. I guess I had missed a lot of EEE picture takings with my 2007 batch mates at the front lobby who may have been there as early as 630am. Inside the theater, I was at the aisle seat with unfamiliar people at my front and back. I had Josiah and Rose at my right to talk to though.

Right after the recognition rites, I was rushing outside to avail of my EXPO photo shots. Me and my mother had some pictures taken at some spots in UP (Bahay ng Alumni, Oblation etc.). I just feel bad, I think I only have a few pics all in all with other people (batchmates, bloc mates, teachers et al) at the college rites.

For lunch, my uncle brought us to ChinaTown restaurant located somewhere at Banaue, QC for an Eat-All-You-Can Buffet. The amazing thing was that you get over 70 items to choose from. I just don’t know if I was able to eat at least Php430 worth. Not to mention I had been warned about my blood pressure. Since I kind of missed vegetables, my favorite was the Taiwan Pechay. Ice cream and black gulaman came in last.

We don’t know where to go afterwards. Since it’s hot, we decided to cool off at the mall. Went to Mall of Asia and was finally able to try the IMAX theatres. Too bad, spiderman 3 was yet to be screened on May and there were just two choices left. T-Rex andSpace Station 3D. We watched the latter since it has the earliest start time. I’d say IMAX really redefines movie experiences. I love my mother’s reactions on some scenes inside the movie house. And those were just trailers. Space Station 3D was actually a space documentary narrated by Tom Cruise. As I had been watching the film, I remembered my childhood dream of being an astronaut. It came out like a Discovery channel feature, and soon I noticed that my mother and uncle dozed off a bit. The documentary ended in about 1 hour. There went our Php200. I’d say IMAX is great! But it requires cash. You have to watch action-packed films in order to enjoy those 3D views at its fullest.

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posted by ScIoN 10:36 AM


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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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