Some things end with a happier note; my sister left Ateneo de Manila with a degree in Comm Tech Management and lots of memories (but not a lot of tears).
Okay, so this part serves a very simple purpose. I just want to remember what happened, ha. We spent two nights and three days in Hotel Richmonde, Eastwood City. The main purpose of staying was to be close to the site of ceremonies (Ateneo). We’ve been doing this whole hotel-staying business for several occasions already.
What did I think of Hotel Richmonde? I think it was pretty sweet, actually. We booked a regular room, if I am not misinformed, but it was all quite spacious. The breakfast had several choices to it, and of course I loved the croissant. The pool was quite small, probably 10 to 15 meters in length only, but it wasn’t populated that much. I do think they’re very weird, though. The hotel card used to keep the room lights and such open versus the hotel card to open the door and use the elevator were different cards. I mean, who does that? I’ve never been to a hotel that creates space for such confusion… I had the misfortune of not knowing this little fact, and not seeing the warning written on the for-room-power hotel card, so I inconvenienced my darling sister into picking my brother and I from breakfast.
What did we do? We swam a bit. I also got to explore some of the areas immediately close to the hotel (the hotel had a direct passageway to one of the Eastwood malls). My mother and I bought cheap sandals from Human (we both forgot our sandals, and we had no shoes fit for the swimming pool). While my sister had her hair and make-up done on the day itself (March 23, Saturday; hair and make-up was done by a stylist and his assistant invited by my mother), I had my nails done in Bench Fix Eastwood. And no, I was not happy about it. I will definitely stick to Good Hands (in Paranaque) or Nail Spa Lounge (in Manila).
Where did we eat? Best part, really. Aside from the breakfast bar in Hotel Richmonde –I think the name of the place was, hmm, something something—we also ate in GoodAh! for a midnight dinner the Friday before, and in Bigoli after the graduation itself. Apparently GoodAh is an old franchise. I never knew; perhaps I’ve heard about it, as my mother says it was my father’s favorite, but I never consciously processed it. Anyways, it was a quaint little place, a bit out of sync with the rest of Eastwood. The 25-hour proclamation was amusing and somewhat baffling. The food was passable –I ordered a batchoy and an iced tea. I can’t remember much. It was midnight after a long school day.
Bigoli was a nice surprise. It’s a two-floor Italian fast food place in City Walk 2 (is that how you spell it? I am such a newbie to Eastwood), and the menu seemed very encouraging when we visited it the night before graduation (to check food options). Truth to tell, our first option was Sambokojin, but the long waiting line had us caving in to our second option. We ordered a lot of things –we had several bags of take-out, untouched—but my favorites would be the appetizers, actually. I can’t remember their names, but they were absolutely divine. One of them was ravioli, the other a creative mac and cheese variant.
How was the graduation? Long, as it ever will be and was and oh, I am no longer coherent. The graduation was held in a covered court of some sort. Thankfully my sister’s course was third in line to be called, so we were all pretty alert to see her go up the stage. After her coverage was done, however, we left the area and proceeded to one of the high school classrooms, where the pictorials were to take place. My sister, wearing her toga and wielding the fake diploma (she claimed the real one after the picture-taking), posed for a solo and with us for a family shot immediately after the graduation rites. Thankfully.During my brother’s graduation two years prior, we left quite late because he hung back with some friends before coming to the picture-taking area. We had to wait for him.
One of the cool things I discovered during that brief peek into Ateneo was the shuttle system. It’s like UP Diliman’s Ikot/Toki system, only with a smaller route and more comfortable. Apparently it was an answer to Ateneo’s new one way policy. I think it was really smart, especially for the graduation; there was less vehicular traffic involved in the proceedings.
Who came with us? My lovely lola Moring, who was brilliant and sometimes sleepy and quite restless –she’s an active kind of woman – my mother, brother and Ate Risa. Tita Mina and two of our cousins joined us for the dinner.
Short story: There are only three tickets given for each student’s family. The original plan was for my mother, grandmother and myself to be the ones inside the covered court, and kuya was supposed to go somewhere. Then, with Ate Risa’s presence factored in, it was supposed to be me and ate outside instead of kuya. But in a strange turn of events, four of us were able to enter –that is, mama, lola, ate and I stayed by saying that Ate Risa was only there to aid lola in walking; she’d leave eventually. She didn’t leave, and kuya was left outside (not our fault, honestly; instead of taking the shuttle he walked all the way from his far away parking).
What did I wear? A cute black lace and ribbon dress from Miss Couture, SM. Ah, such unexpectedly wonderful finds. We had to have it altered, though, to fit me better… It was just all so funny. I really can’t stress enough the advantages of shopping in department stores and even in Divisoria over “higher end” brands like Cotton On, Forever 21, BAYO, Topshop and Zara. Aside from the fact that the quality and design could be at the same level, there’s also less chance of having to share the look with someone else, especially in a fashion forward place like Ateneo. I saw at least 3 or so people wearing the same Cotton On dress in different colors, and 2 others in Cotton On dresses of the same season. Admittedly that dress was cute (I was thinking of buying it myself before), but, well. Just funny.
Some deathly things
March has been a month of unexpected departures: a young aunt and a fellow freshman.
Intellectually, we know that thousands of people die every day. Somewhere as you are reading this, a family is mourning or a child gasps at death’s door. But it’s different when it happens so closely to you. Aunt Vicky was my mother’s first cousin. She was a barangay captain in Laguna, and she died working in a DILG office. It was the quickest thing, and the whole town was shocked to confusion. Most couldn’t believe it –she was barely past 50—and it colored the town’s festival (scheduled less than a week after she died) a subdued tone.
And life is so, so ironic in ways. Roughly a year before, my aunt’s father died… And months or so in the interim, my aunt’s siblings bought burial land for themselves (there was a sale), but my aunt didn’t. Life’s style of jokes.
I don’t want to write much about my batchmate, who committed suicide for some reasons I’m not exactly sure of, but I still have two things to say: One, the media, the rallyists and other sensationalists are making a big deal out of it, honestly. While I’m thankful for the chances to breathe, the many school interruptions were annoying. She didn’t die wanting to be a martyr, at least she never explicitly said that, and repeatedly bringing it up serves a mostly political purpose. School tuition laws and such. Let it rest.
Two, I am irritated by those who say shit about suicide. It’s not an easy thing, and I don’t know how people could call it cowardice or stupidity. And it’s not selfishness either, in my opinion (though I don’t know everything). We keep our lives to return investments made by the government and by our sponsors; she had minimal investments and several burdens placed on her. I think it is allowed by failure of contract, really. Or something legalese.
Different kinds of work
Here we are again without Ate Risa at home. What a horrifyingly choreful world.
Stress levels were high at home without the lovely Ate Risa around to help with running the house. Or actually, without Ate Risa to basically run the house. Thankfully I still have classes and exams, so I am (selfishly) concerned mostly with myself in my dorm. In the few days that I’ve stayed at home –Holy Wednesday, half of Maundy Thursday—I’ve had to wash more dishes than I’ve done for a month, help my mother cook her staple pasta dishe, and I unwittingly aided in raising my mother’s blood pressure or something. Stress.
Meanwhile I’ve been busy handling the last round of long/departmental exams for the second semester, which haven’t been easy, so I hope my effort is repaid or some shit. The same preoccupation with studies and actually attending school also caused me to miss Ate Risa’s departure for Bicol (she left Holy Monday morning). That’s the first time I didn’t get to see her off; how weird. She’s not replying to my text messages right now, though. Alternatively worrying or amusing, honestly. I don’t know.
On a side note, hmm, this break is also very needed by Ate Risa. It’s not very easy, working with the functions of our house. (It’s not exactly the ideal working conditions, is it).
Time in Nagcarlan
Religion and family issues aside, it has been a very, very busy weekend.
I dreamed that I’ll finish this blog post within a week. At the rate I’m going it’s really not going to happen, so I’ll shorten this bit.
Summary: Spending time in Nagcarlan, Laguna for the duration of the Holy Week is unavoidable. It’s a fact of life, really. We arrived Thursday night, to some traffic, then did an uncountable number of things until we left Sunday noon. I was feeling moody for most of our stay; I probably irritated the hell out of mother and brother and sister and the world. You can’t blame me. The whole thing was a religious thing. But I did earn some money. There’s that.
- Thursday Evening… Nothing! We arrived past eleven, so not much happened. However we did observe tons of people walking about or riding in jeeps; as well as I am able to explain it is some sort of sacrifice/pilgrimage thing. I also spent some time talking to one of my aunts, which is a staple. I just don’t know how to politely avoid her. Ha. Mean? Idk. I also found more about my younger cousin’s Holy Week trip to Singapore with an uncle. It’s cool. It’s his first time flying abroad –my cousin’s, that is.
- Friday Morning… Walk and Shop! It’s a bit of a haze, and I was a bit of a brat. Short story is that we walked roughly 3 kilometers down and up to the mountainside, ish, whatever, because at the end of the road was another church to pay respects to and to ask blessings from. We didn’t even get into the church proper; there were ridiculously long lines crossing barangays for the candle lighting and the oil blessing. Mother spent her time visiting cousins and buying from the many stalls lining the walkway. I was tempted to write about hypocrisy and blasphemy and such, but as I’ve said before: I’m lazy and out of time. It’s just. Steps away from what seemed to be a relocated marketplace populated by “devout” Catholics were beggars and madmen. No hint of compassion or attention to be found anywhere, really. And how sad is that?
- Friday Evening… Procession! I can’t recall what happened in the interim. Hmm. For the evening we joined a surprisingly short procession. My shoes may just be irreparably ruined. My siblings and I also joined our paternal cousins for an after-procession dinner; the Centeno family bit was particularly devoted to Veronica.
- Saturday Noon… Reunion! It’s so weird. Or something. Because there was so few of us ‘youngsters’ in our family in attendance, I found myself a participant in two games. The first was easy, some parlor game called Animal Kingdom or such. I was assigned ‘horse’, and I suppose my neighing skill was passable since my fellow horses and I placed second. I won a face towel, yay! The second game was harder, a relay game where five members had to each finish a bag of food. And we lost, utterly. Eugh. I had to eat marshmallows. Flower-shaped.
- Saturday Evening… Bonding! We spent some time talking and eating even more with our paternal extended family. To clarify, we stay in my maternal grandmother’s house every time we go to Laguna. The evening was spent reading copies of Yes! and Star Studio and other local celebrity magazines. And eating. Always eating in the province.
- Sunday Lunch… Lunch! My sister had a beautiful tarpaulin hanging inside Ralphjoys, the restaurant where we invited everyone we knew for a celebratory graduation lunch. There were Easter Eggs involved; I got chocolate eggs and 20 bucks. Plus some other greens for other questionable reasons.
The last grasps of studying and school clings on. How irritating.
This was supposed to be the last section, which I have decided to turn into a post all on its own. It will answer some of my first year vibes frustrations, such as:
- Why did no one from UP-M ever write a guide on enrolling, living or just being a college student for newbies like me?
- Something something
- I’ll discuss. I swear.
Another paramount issue: my nails. I have no idea how to take a picture of it, but my finger nails are colored alternatingly yellow, orange and pink! SUMMER COLORS yesssss. I’ve also attended a grand total of two debuts this year. One is of a college blockmate and friend, who probably regretted inviting me as I didn’t even have the social grace or memory to give her a gift, and another is of a high school friend who is awesome and lovely and gah, she’s all grown up. . Did you notice how the quality of the content deteriorated as you scrolled down? Entropy and the universe. Not double checking for errors. More pictures to be added some time whoot. x sleepy?? not