Life is really a daily race against time. College for me has now come to an end. Last March 14, I was one of the 6,136 graduates of the University of Santo Tomas – Manila seated on plastic chairs and faced the Grandstand for this year’s Baccalaureate Mass. Four days after (March 18), I officially obtained my degree B.S. in Biology during the Solemn Investiture held at the Philippine International Convention Center Plenary Hall.

Last Supper

Before the Baccalaureate Mass, all students from the College of Science were met by assigned faculty advisers for the distribution of graduation tickets and payment of some dues. What I was happy about was the food, of course. A chicken meal from McDonald’s and a fluffy bread became our so-called ‘Last Supper’ before candles, pins, and souvenirs were given away. When the Mass at the Grandstand was about to start, we all walked together forming a straight line per section. There was a feeling of fulfilment as this was for us, the last time that we will walk together in that same floor. Before the Mass, every student was going nuts taking pictures of each other, their professors, and school landscapes. It was as if it was the last time we will all see each other. Actually, nobody knows when we will all be together.

Mass and Gimmicks
Every faculty and college in UST had their own gimmicks. Some had party poppers, colorful balloons, streamers and noise-makers. The homily of Acting Rector Rev. Fr. Rolando V. dela Rosa was very meaningful. “Don’t think about the future which is full of uncertainty, think of where you are now,” he said. What Fr. Dela Rosa said was actually true. Finishing college is something that is historical for a human person. It is what parents have worked for. After four years, every Thomasian graduate is tasked – to be a competent, compassionate and committed individual who stands by truth. The ceremonies ended with an audio-visual presentation and an eight-minute grand fireworks display. All graduates were then asked to pass through the Arch of the Centuries.

Pacquiao Day

So it was Graduation Day, and at the same time, the day Manny Pacquiao won against Marquez. Well, for some 450 students from the College of Science in UST, Easter Sunday meant the official end of dissection, test, discussions, memorization and experimentation. I was very happy that my whole family was there to witness my college graduation day. I did not cry unlike the melodramatic people around me, but deep inside I am sad. I will miss college. But there is an end in everything and a new beginning to look forward to. The cliché “Isang Bagong Paglalakbay” was surprisingly very appropriate for the graduation theme of our college. I really loved the small-scale version of the UST letters together with the stuffed tiger that ornamented the stage. I also loved the Filpiniana theme. Thanks to the program, I learned a lot of Filipino words:
Vice Rector for Religious Affairs = Bise Rektor Para Sa Mga Gawaing Pangrelihiyoso
Dean = Dekano
Asst. Dean =Katuwang na Dekano
Bachelor of Science = Batsilyer ng Agham
And I enjoyed mentioning our college courses in Filipino like Biolohiya (Biology), Kimika (Chemistry), Matematika at Pisika (Math and Physics), Agham Aktwaryal (Actuarial Science) and Sikolohiya (Psychology). I wonder why they didn’t have a Tagalog translation for Microbiology (can it be Biolohiya Para sa Mga Sobrang Liit na Bagay?).

I still have to get my alumni card, transcript of records, diploma, and yearbook. I will come back, but not as a student, but as a Thomasian alumni. Congratulations Batch 2008! See you in 2011.

Hayden and Sam

Hayden Christensen may not be related to Sam Milby but these are the films I watched in consecutive days this month – Jumper and My Big Love. I even watched one of these movies twice and I will not disclose which of two it was. For the sake of documenting the moment I shelled out a couple of hundreds for these movies, I present these reviews.

Too Cool
The childhood idea of teleporting has fascinated me once again through the movie “Jumper” led by Hayden Christensen. He was better in Star Wars where he played the role of Anakin. The beginning of the film became the summary of the whole story – David Rice (Christensen’s character) discovers at a young age that he can teleport anywhere. Practically, that’s it. Then comes the villain Roland played by Samuel L. Jackson who wants to exterminate the race of ‘jumpers’ (yes, because they can ‘jump’ from one place to another). The white dye on Jackson’s hair made me laugh several times. It looked like a rag placed on top of his head. It was a disaster. On the love angle, Millie (played by Rachel Bilson) was Christensen’s ultimate crush. Bilson’s acting didn’t change since her appearance in one of my favorite TV shows, The O.C. The ending was too ‘happy’ and it seemed like it won’t have a sequel. Although my interest was sustained throughout the movie because of the action-packed moves and amazing sceneries from Fiji and London, I was not satisfied with the story. Cool but not artistic. Two out of five stars for this film I watched at Gateway Cineplex.

Too Fat

The next day after watching Jumper, it was time to laugh once again. Whenever I watch a local film, I see to it that it’s comedy. Star Cinema should already give me an award for being an avid viewer of their comedy movies dominated by Ai-ai De Las Alas. This time, I watched Sam Milby and Toni Gonzaga’s ‘My Big Love.’
With all the advertisement, I had a synopsis of the story before I entered the movie house. Sam (Macky) is a very fat pastry chef coming from a well-off family who fell in love with a young socialite columnist played by Kristine Hermosa (Nina). When Nina met 300-pound Macky, she was shocked. Their first day was a mess and Macky was very depressed for Nina turned him down. And you know what happened next. Toni Gonzaga(Aira), a fitness instructor, helped Macky in the process of losing weight then both of them went abroad and never saw each other for a couple of years. Macky came back as a hunk and went for Nina again. Aira, on the other hand, realized she was in love with Macky.
And the typical make-believe fantasy comes again. This is what’s wrong with Filipino romance movies. It is very unusual for a rich boy to decide and marry a poor girl that instant. Another thing, the sudden pour of rain was so ‘scripted.’ Plus, the way Macky and Aira met was very coincidental, too much serendipity.
But if you want a good laugh, the movie is worth the pay. Pinoy movies nowadays have sense, although not that original, but you can see the improvement. Three out of five stars for this film with screenplay by fellow Thomasian from the UST College of Science, Michiko Yamamoto. I loved hearing Sam and Toni’s cover version of Peabo Bryson’s ‘If Ever Your In My Arms Again.’

Lessons of Truth Part II

At last, UST has a statement regarding the ZTE Broadband scandal. The statement is the star witness himself, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, who is a Thomasian.

I never had the time to write a follow-up on the blog I made (Lessons of Truth) right away because of the busy schedule in school but I was happy to know that some reacted to what I have written (one of them was a person I admire, Manuel Quezon III). Last February 22, I joined the Rally for Truth headed by the UST Central Student Council. Together with my friends from the college publication and the glee club, we marched towards the Arch of the Centuries and lighted candles for ‘Truth.’ After which, at 6pm, we went out to the Espana Street and joined the students holding the banner “Bumusina para sa Katotohanan.”

Student fervor was so intense that I did not notice that wax of the candle I was holding was dripping all over my right hand. We shouted and asked drivers passing along UST to honk and make noise. We were many and came from various colleges, but we were united by the call for ‘Veritas.’

After an hour, I felt happy. In a small way, I voiced out my concern on a national issue. The breed of corrupt officials should be exterminated. Although a new People Power is not an advisable solution, the closest thing we can do is continue what Jun Lozada has started, and that is the fight against greedy, corrupt and evil men and women in the government.

Let us not allow these people to run a country full of talented individuals. Slowly we are losing the Philippines. But it is not too late. Let us remind ourselves of the song that inspired us after the historical EDSA I – “Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan, ay kayang makamit ng walang dahas, basta’t magkaisa tayong lahat.”

May oras din kayo… May oras din tayo!

And from the favorite shirt of Jun Lozada:
We are UST…
United in the
Search for

For photos, see UST for Truth album at http://eal1987.multiply.com