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The bachelorette wants her Bachelor.


The first time I opened the maroon leather-bound book, I felt as if Reality, with a heavy iron-laden fist, just punched me in the face. Then in the gut. I think it left my nose bleeding for a while.

Andee and I spent a good part of our morning at the library, looking through several Creative Writing undergraduate theses to give us an idea on how to begin our critical essays. While our list of possible sources and related literature is yet to be completed, another cause of panic came by in the form of a presentation of the introduction for our essays on Friday. In a mad scramble for sources, I downloaded every related article I could possibly get from the literary journals I found online at the library (thank the literary gods for UP's access to Project Muse!) - which left me at a loss with where to start, and even how. Andee and I figured that at least, by looking at how previous CW undergrads did their work, we could probably get a head start on our own as well.

And what an ignition that was.

I opened the first page and there it was, sprawled out for my eyes to see: the words "In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing." Goosebumps on my cheeks, through my neck and down my back. All I could think of was, I can't believe this is almost happening. I leafed through the pages of the thesis one by one, and as I saw for myself the letter of affirmation from the adviser, the table of contents, the abstract, for a moment I felt a sense of hesitation, then fear, and finally excitement. This is it. We are so close. Soon, I shall have my own collection of essays encased in a divine maroon cover, with my name emblazoned in gold letters. Shivers. I felt reality knocking me out pretty heavily.

I can still feel blood dripping down my nose. Is this how you taste like, Senioritis?

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The heavens are on my side.


I was supposed to go to UP extra early today because I was to research at the library for related literature I could use for my thesis' critical introductory paper. On mornings like this (when I really need to do something despite my exhaustion and/or laziness) I usually go on auto-pilot, with my feet automatically being dragged to the kitchen, toasting my bread or getting my peanut butter or whatever, reaching for the remote of the TV to keep me awake, and pulling out a jug of water from the fridge. By the time I've taken a bite out of my freshly prepared peanut-butter toast, I noticed my cellphone vibrating from underneath my pillow and figured it might be my mother calling. Turns out, it was the merciful gods of scholarly endeavors giving me the thing I needed the most.

(Actually, it was really just Ria, and a couple of other friends doing the text brigade.)

I've almost forgotten the feeling of anticipating for a suspension of classes ever since college began - DepEd and PAGASA announcements no longer excite me like they once did the moment I stepped into "the real world" (aka the world after high school) and felt for myself the prejudice against the most stressed-out members of the student population. Never mind that we do not have the advantage of school buses or Dad's car, never mind that we have books and photocopied readings to protect and prioritize under our umbrellas, never mind that the universities we now go to turn into a soggy, flooded, gloomy microcosm of the sorry state of the entire metro - no. We are older, we are wiser. We are mature enough to brave the storms of Finals week, hell, we should be able to wade through the literal ones too. (I guess this is the part where we decry our so-called independence, huh? "We're not waterproof!" is the battle cry.)

But today, something short of a miracle occurred, and with gray skies still looming, it's safe to say that today, Friday, 24th of June, students from the University of the Philippines are licensed to borrow a line from Maroon 5 and never, ever leave their beds.

It's a very welcome feeling, this legitimate staying-under-the-covers feeling. Despite the overwhelming sense of superiority brought upon by one's personal choice to cut classes because of sloth, there's still nothing more relieving than staying in bed because you really don't have to. The weight of a resolved mind is nothing compared to the lightness of a guilt-free conscience.

Also, for the last couple of days I've been feeling awful thanks to colds, cough, and headache. I'm guessing they're all caused by the abrupt changes in temperature coupled by the stress due in large part to academics which severely aggravated the colds, cough, and headache all the more. It's a vicious cycle. I kinda need this break.

So in short, I am still under a sea of bed covers, with my stuffed elephant by my side and box of tissue on the other. I should be doing something productive now, I really should. But the library is two jeepney rides away, and my head is conveniently parked on this pillow. The rain is still pouring heavily outside and there is no way I can leave the dorm without getting any part of my body drenched. My body (and ultimately, the universe) has decided - I guess I'm not going anywhere today. Thank you, heavens.




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Papa's girl


All the little girls -
In the eyes of their fathers -
will never grow up.
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Senior citizen.


Since yesterday afternoon, I have been officially enrolled as a college senior.

That sentence has a lot of weight. Just saying it out loud (and/or typing it down) sounds so surreal - not just because I still cannot wrap my head around the idea that I am already in my fourth year, but also because before I was able to finally get my Form 5 and consider myself an eligible student for the incoming semester, I had to wait in line for hours, panic about what subjects to choose, lose patience over the system, walk back and forth between very hot and humid buildings despite heavy rainfall, use my charms to the highest (and most desperate) extent, and beg and almost sell my kidney for a slot - just so I could complete the fifteen units I needed. And all this while having an acid reflux. Talk about stressful.

This week was yet another proof that it takes both luck AND ingenuity to survive enrollment in UP - and everything else, actually.


School starts next week. I am in denial.

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Progress.


The last time he ever wrote about her was right after their last– was at a friend's– before their fifth– when she was drunk and he wasn't– it was during– or was it after?– he wrote of her cheeks, no, her wrists—

It was a long time since he last wrote about her.


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Summer, part 6: The happiest place on earth.


It's not unusual to hear people say they've given up on fairy tales. In fact, count me in on that statistic. I'm nineteen - hell, I've been rejected, I've cried myself to sleep, I've clung on to Jeff Buckley's Last Goodbye, I've been through what I'd like to call "life's ceremonial jade-ing." I've long believed that fairy tales do not happen, and for the most part, do not exist, really.

Most people must be guilty of using the word "Disney" as an insult. In our course, anyone who chooses the "Disney" version of Little Mermaid would probably be considered a disgrace. If you still see Prince Charming as your proverbial life hero, your bookshelf (and life) must lack variety. Clearly, you haven't gone out to read tragedies, let alone experience them. Which is a shame. Because there is more to life than the Disney perspective.

But see, it's through the rose-colored glasses of Disney that I first saw life outside the four walls of my home. It was Mickey and the gang that showed me that things will always be okay when you have a great (and diverse!) set of friends. It was Snow White's seven dwarfs that introduced me to the different types of people you can meet, it was Ariel's friends under the sea that opened my eyes to new worlds that I could never have imagined on my own. It was Mary Poppins inside my head when I refused to tae an awfully disgusting antibiotic, and it was Belle's love for books that sealed my fate as a reader. For all their flight and fancy, the Disney movies that I saw growing up were all instrumental in making me realize that your world doesn't have to be confined within what you know - some stories may not be real, they may be imaginary and all in your head, but there's nothing wrong with that. And sometimes, it's even the most unreal that speak volumes about what really is.

I no longer wish for fairy tales. But I forever owe Walt Disney my love for stories and the art of telling them. Just having to step into a place where magic happens was enough to make me feel grateful for all the tales he's woven into our lives.


P.S. I look so dark in this picture, I cannot even- (finish this sentence properly.) My friends, proof that this year, summer happened.

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Summer, part 5: Anilao



The high school barkada outing we have been planning for years finally, finally happened. (We have no "group name" we just refer to ourselves as "Friends" - which isn't exactly wrong, really, but isn't unique either. Oh well.) With a little luck and help from the universe (aka my parents) we were able to find a location at the very last minute and before you know it, we were off to Anilao.

The barkada wasn't complete, and we won't be any time soon because Inna is in Canada already. It's such a shame that we weren't able to do this while she was here - mostly we just hang around each other's houses, watching lame-ass movies, eating chips, gossiping about batchmates - the usual. The funny thing is we were okay with it. We were never the kind of friends who went out to swanky restaurants or shopped together - we were fine just lazing around on someone's bedroom or Trixie's pool. It was the company that mattered, not the venue. But I guess this summer we figured it was about time we grew up and ventured someplace else. After all, we were almost twenty years old! We needed a proper outing. Thankfully, majority of us managed to pull some strings and take some time off - and this happened.

And so this was that. It probably was the most fun we've ever had in a long while. Doesn't it amaze you how with high school friends, the amount of time or distance that separates you will never get in the way of you guys reconnecting? It was as if we were back where we left off four years ago, in St. Paul, wearing our checkered skirts. A lot has changed, and yet it felt like nothing did - it was a comforting kind of sameness just being with them again.


The biggest most exciting part of the trip was our sudden decision to go scuba diving. It was the first time for all of us and we were really, really excited. It was a good thing we had more than enough money with us to accommodate the additional expense, but something tells me that we'd be more than glad to save up for it again next time - we were hooked, really.


It was just a twenty to thirty-minute dive for each of us but it was probably the most beautiful half hour I've had in a while. Just to see marine life in their natural habitat was truly humbling - if this was what we had under our shores, how come we never really appreciate it? A beautiful pink and purple fish passed by in front of me, and I thought to myself, there are so many things in the world I have yet to see and yet to know - I can't wait to discover more of them.

It was such a shame that we weren't able to bring a proper underwater camera (the camera used for the scuba shots were the resort owner's) - I would have loved to share all that I've seen with you guys. But I guess you'd have to experience it for yourself then :)


Me having a very "P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney" moment. This was definitely one of my most memorable experiences ever - something I can cross off my bucket list. I'm looking forward to scuba diving again, but more than that I can't wait to do it again with Friends. :)

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Summer, part 4: The wild side.

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Our Striptease Aerobics class had our "mini-recital" on the last day of summer classes. For about three to four days, we mashed up our routines and choreographed our steps for our group presentations, with our polos in hand and hair cascading down our shoulders. It wasn't exactly an R-18 kind of show, of course, but let's just say it was sexy enough to raise the temperature with our hips swaying in tune to a trusty R&B gapang song. :>

But seriously, it really was the best, most empowering PE class I've ever taken - the last time I've felt this confident about myself was about ten pounds ago. I wouldn't mind taking this again and again, even if I didn't have to. The best part was convincing myself that I could pull off puta red lipstick, after all! - just not for everyday purposes, though.

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Summer, part 3: Bataan


I went with Mommy's officemates at BOI during their outing at Bagac, Bataan last May 6. It was my first snorkeling experience and it really affirmed my love with the water. I was the only girl in the group that decided to snorkel (the rest just stayed at the beach) and several of the young boys in the group, who were the sons of mom's officemates, thought I was a high school junior! Imagine that. I think they still don't believe I'm turning twenty this year. They cried bluff when I told them so. I, of course, take that as a compliment. Ha!

I got a hold of a blue starfish and it was beautiful - it was the first time I ever saw a starfish in its natural habitat. (No worries, I returned the starfish safely to its home.) This was me having a pretty Misty moment. I was almost tempted to challenge someone for the Cerulean City badge - almost.

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Summer, part 2: At the checkered flag.


<a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-d-UlBq66SdM/TeXSxKuTaxI/AAAAAAAAA2Q/GzJOR_ArOac/s1600/race.jpg" onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-d-UlBq66SdM/TeXSxKuTaxI/AAAAAAAAA2Q/GzJOR_ArOac/s400/race.jpg" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5613124252721179410" style="cursor: hand; cursor: pointer; display: block; height: 300px; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center; width: 400px;" /></a><br /> <div style="text-align: justify;">The Boyfriend was part of the team of five that the College of Engineering had chosen from the Mechanical Eng'g department to represent the school in the Bosch Power Tools Cordless Race Asia last May 15. They were to build a go-kart from scratch using six of the Bosch cordless tools as the main engine. For about two months, their team had been busy designing and creating the entire thing by themselves, with professors only supervising them as they went along. The days and nights were long and grueling for them - no summer classes and no girlfriend dates allowed for the most part. But it paid off. Definitely, definitely paid off.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /> </div><div style="text-align: justify;">Rainier was not the driver, but he was in charge of the controls and in fact, designed one of the vital parts of their car. On a surprise late-night Starbucks date along Katipunan, he tried explaining the blueprint of the automotive with drawings on a tissue but my feeble mind, capable only of understanding Donne's metaphorical conceit and Shklovksky's defamiliarization, not mechanics, could only open my mouth and nod my head in awe. Not fully comprehending the ideas, but appreciating them nonetheless, I felt proud, not only because I knew they would win, but just the fact that they made a car from scratch at nineteen - that's definitely something.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /> </div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><a href="http://www.facebook.com/teamupme">The UP ME DrillDrivers</a> are now one of the two representatives of the Philippines for the Bosch Cordless Race in Beijing this September (the other being Mapua) after qualifying in the Philippine leg of the race. The black car with the yellow stripes - that's the <i>Aura1</i>, the DrillDrivers' baby (and official girlfriend for the last two months, haha.)</div></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /> </div><div style="text-align: justify;">One little trivia: Among the eight schools that competed, only the UP team had participants who were not fifth year students/graduating students last April. The DrillDrivers are all juniors/incoming seniors. They beat six other teams for the top two spot. <i>(insert UP pride here)</i></div>

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Summer, part 1: Of math, men, and milk teas.

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For about a third of my college barkada (yes we have a huuuge group; we exponentially increased the summer after freshman year), summer meant having to drag ourselves out the bed every morning for not-very-exciting-subjects-we-have-to-get-over-with. Yes, it's self-inflicted pain caused by our urgent desire to graduate on time, but it still doesn't take away the fact that We. Go. To. School. During. The. Summer. And. It. Still. Sort. Of. Sucks. But it's our daily lunches (and afternoon snacks) together that make everything less dreadful.

Shoutout to my "summer buddies" Mark, Jas, and Adrian, all of whom have Math/Physics and PE, like me. For most of our four weeks together they've filled their guts with fat and oil courtesy of the much-loved Beach House. (Yes, just them, since I've brought with me canned goods for lunch every single day.) You know you've found friends you can grow old with when you can spend three straight afternoons just being vain around two huge letters of the alphabet representing your school. Or when you can imagine an entire civilization with instead of call centers you have bike centers generating electricity and a prison where criminals are being tickled to death. We've talked about our funerals (a barkada mausoleum with life-sized statues!), our futures (Mark gets the weird kids) and even Tekken characters and their history (my friends are obsessed so I had to know who Lilli was and what a ghost battle meant), and yet we still never ran out of things to say.

On some days, several of our other friends would join us in the afternoon, meeting up at our newest favorite tambayan somewhere near Maginhawa, that quaint little teashop called Moonleaf, and again we would laugh about our cringe-worthy pasts, uncertain presents, and idealized futures - this time, over wintermelon milk tea and pearls - like there's just no time and no place else to talk about them but right then and there. It was always a riot, and it was never a bore - this was what we truly needed. I missed these kinds of genuine dates, the kind that had us all under the same roof with all our stories and worries and joys and pains, the kind that made me feel sad about the Katipunan jeep finally arriving when it's time to come home.

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