Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi

The brods went caroling with the Sigma Deltans for a few nights last December to raise funds for our projects. We only started practicing a few afternoons beforehand, but I guess we pulled it off. Last year, the brods were caroling by ourselves, so this is a pleasant change. We were able to raise enough funds to kick off our activities this year.

Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi Caroling with Sigma Delta Phi

Exhausting holidays

After not being able to blog for more than a week, I always find it difficult to restart. The dilemma always is, do I start with the present or do I chronicle down the unwritten past days, chronologically? Do I just dump all the pictures in a blog entry or do I go write down a decent journal entry to go with it? Petty things, I know. Needless to say, the past weeks has been, for me, my most exhausting holiday season, yet, for reasons I have already mentioned, and some not. For almost two weeks prior to Christmas, I’ve been having activities every day, coming home past midnight, waking up early the next morning for another full day of tasks. When it was all over, I just dropped dead on my bed and the next thing I knew, I had slept for almost twelve hours. And then it was Christmas.

Days before the string of activities started, I was just attending my classes like a normal law student. Unfortunately, however, in almost all of our classes, I am seated at the last row, which does not bode well when the professor is a bore. It’s just too bad there’s wifi access in the room, and I’m tempted to surf the internet or play with Photobooth, alternate with listening, every once in a while. Some of our professors started calling off classes earlier than halfway through the month, perhaps in the spirit of Christmas, which is fortunate for me, because I was able to use to extra time to attend to my extra-curricular responsibilities without having to cut classes too much.

Christmas is our drug

Tumitingkad tuwing kapaskuhan and ‘di pagkakapantay-pantay sa lipunan. ‘Di lahat siguradong merry–at alam ito ng bawat isa. Kaya nga wish tayo nang wish ng Merry Christmas sa isa’t isa.

Sana, sa bawat sambit natin ng salitang Merry o Happy ay kalakipang kahilingang mapunta sa ating kapwa ang sa kanya’y nararapat at ang pagnanais na makaambag sa pangyayari nito.

Para sa mulat na pagdiriwang ng pasko at sa pagpapanibagong hubog sa bagong taon!

It’s not the most sentimental Christmas greeting I received, but it’s probably the one that I thought was quite meaningful. In a season when glaring social inequalities are grossly reinforced, sure it’s comforting to surrender to a collective temporary amnesia where we all seem to agree to forget our worries and just be happy. But we all know no matter how much we wish or pray for every day to be like Christmas, it will never happen. Sa mundo at panahong hitik sa tunggalian at kontradiksyon, isang pangarap lang ang paghiling na ang araw-araw ay maging Pasko lagi. Which all the more makes this brief season worth savoring. Merry Christmas, folks. Glad to be back blogging.

A heavy Christmas wordload

This has got to be my most hectic Christmas season yet. From big campus and national campaigns to extra-curricular functions, and almost none of them related to Christmas.

This week, for example, as part of the Defend the Office of the Student Regent campaign of KASAMA sa UP (Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP), we’re going to have a twelve-hour concert this Friday, right after the broad multi-sectoral mobilization in Makati against the Arroyo administration’s attempt at Charter Change.

This week is also the 12th anniversary week of STAND-UP (Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights – UP), where starting last Saturday, we’ve been having daily activities, from an all-day road painting, to an alliance congress to a cultural night tonight to an alumni night this Saturday.

In the University Student Council, we’ve also been having our last activities and assemblies for the year. We’ve just co-launched the Cine Veritas Human Rights Festival and wrapped up Karolfest yesterday, then there’s a big University Convocation tomorrow–and that’s not all, I still have to produce our last newsletter for the year.

For the past weeks up until this coming Friday, we’ve also been having weekly events and functions in Upsilon Sigma Phi for our 90th anniversary. We had our annual car stuffing and food stuffing event last Friday.

I haven’t even mentioned the increasing pile of academic workload for this semester. And speaking of law school, my block organized a forum this Friday, about judicial integrity, then we’re also having the annual Malcolm Madness this Saturday.

Next week, there would still be preparations for the Lantern Parade, then there’d be the KASAMA sa UP NC Meet, and to cap it all off, an All UP Student Councils Assembly which promises to be a stressful and heated assembly of student councils with conflicting ideologies and interests.

So, where’s the Christmas spirit? Where are the Christmas parties? I haven’t had time for any! Masyadong maraming kailangang isipin, gawin at napakaraming problema lang talaga sa UP at sa Pilipinas. I need to cheer up, and well, gear up for another year soon.

Christmas 2007

my family on Christmas day

I miss being a kid during Christmas. Sure, it still brings that warm snug feeling whenever you’re with your extended family. Perhaps its our consciousness that has been contaminated with the ugly realities of this world, that makes it feel less, um, exciting or magical.

Christmas Day '07 (Amadeo, Cavite) Christmas Day '07 (Tisay & piano) Christmas Day '07 (Tisay & Bikoy) Christmas Day '07 (Gino, Bikoy & Tisay) Christmas Day '07 (Family Picture) Christmas Day '07 (Family Picture)

We went to Amadeo and Indang in Cavite today and spent Christmas with the paternal relatives.

Fourteen hours of sleep

December 22, 2007. The fourteen hours of sleep I just had is an indicator of how many sleepless nights I’ve had the past weeks. I can finally say, nakabawi rin ako sa tulog.

Thank God it’s almost over. I barely realized, pasko na pala. This is the first time I felt that being invited to too many Christmas gatherings can be a little stressful. It feels quite sinful, how I’ve been overeating and drinking night after night after night, knowing well how millions of other people in this country have barely anything to eat. If Christmas is a time for joy and merry-making, it is indeed and ironically also a time that awfully reminds us of how tragically disproportionate the concentration of wealth and opportunities are in our society.

Joyful children

Pasko 2006December 25, 2006. Christmas is a time when kids earn quite a handful. I’m sort of grateful I’m still considered a young grandchild or a young nephew or godchild. And thank God, I didn’t have to dance boom-tarat like most younger kids to amuse the grown-ups.

Don’t you find it amusing how kids have a national theme song to which grown-ups will make them dance to every Christmas season? There was the the chocolate a year or so ago, the ocho-ocho, the spaghetti, the macarena, the shalala when I was much younger. Oh God, I shouldn’t have reminded myself.

Pasko 2006

Christmas with the extended family is enjoyable because of the younger kids. Christmas is always fun because the joy the children are experiencing can be contagious. I may not find Christmas as magical anymore, but Christmas is still Christmas.

Today I refused to allow some bad news about Virgilio Garcillano or the thought of millions of other families experiencing hunger ruin my day, I just surrendered to the joyful Christmas virus. This virus has made me go on eating and eating from morning till midnight today, it’s unhealthy already. I’m going to be reprimanded for gluttony.

Pasko 2006

Today we went to Amadeo and to Indang in Cavite for my paternal relatives. Then we also dropped by our Bulacan town later today.

It’s Christmas eve

December 24, 2006. This is indeed the season to be a pig. We just came home from another Christmas gathering, and I feel like some stuffed bloated teddy bear. It doesn’t feel good to realize how gluttonous one has been over Christmas. But I personally can’t help it when I’m faced with such gastronomic feasts. It doesn’t help the guilt when I think about my ‘religiosity’. I haven’t been the most pious or spiritual person the past year. In mass a while ago, as it has been for a long time, I dozed off for a few minutes. I don’t feel very Christian or Catholic anymore. I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing. In fact, I’m dreading the thought of having to attend another long mass tomorrow for Christmas eve. This is such a change from my prude Ateneo high school days. God knows how much evil and naughty stuff I’ve been up to the past year/s.

It’s just a little more than a week before I go back to the university. What things have I got left to do for the next few days?

1. Brush up on my violin and organ playing (for Film 183). I have to get down and literally brush on my violin because our Film 183 (Music in Film) lecturer required us to learn an instrument because we will do our own musical scoring for our works. Here’s me thinking, “What?! We’re film students, not music majors!”

2. Review Spanish lessons. Exams first thing the first week of school.

3. Learn and practice editing videos. This is really shameful to admit, but I’m only learning how to edit videos with Adobe Premiere now. And I’ve been a film student for almost three years.

4. Register at Quezon City Hall to be able to vote in May. I’ve been meaning to do this last week, but I didn’t get to do it. There’s less than a week left before registration closes so I better really do it. I’m not a very big believer in our democracy and in our elections, but what the hell. It won’t do me or the country harm if I vote in May.

5. Exercise! Gluttony is unhealthy. Better get back to being healthier.

6. Do a bit of organizing in my perennialy messy room. I never get this done, but let’s put it in my list nonetheless.

7. Rest well and enough for a new year of stress.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Caroling for CMC

I went caroling with some of my UP MCO and UP CAST orgmates last weekend. The two orgs were requested by our college dean to go around some of Manila’s posh subdivisions and sing for our college’s affluent alumni for money. We were able to raise a few ten thousands last weekend.

On Saturday, I went with my MCO orgmates. We practiced at Mass Comm’s empty halls that afternoon then we proceeded to Ayala Alabang to sing at an alumna’s house.

Of all places, I met my Ateneo high school friend and classmate, Toff de Venecia, at the said alumna’s house. His theater group was having a garage sale at the same house. I haven’t seen him since high school graduation and it was sort of embarrassing that while I’ve been missing out on all his initiated get-togethers, I bump into him while caroling for UP CMC. It was really nice to catch up with him. Of course, there was one time he brought up his perception of UP and all the anti-Charter Change noise, and I just had to quickly change the topic myself. I even tried to avoid discussing why we’re caroling and raising funds for the college ourselves.

After caroling at Ayala Alabang, we proceeded to Casino Filipino in Paranaque. It wasn’t a very good experience at first. They were so strict with letting us in, because we weren’t there to gamble anyway. We were led to the employees’ entrance and they gave us ID’s and placed stickers on our camera phones. And nobody showed us the way to where we were supposed to go. Anyway, when we got to one of the casino’s restaurants, where another alumna was the manager, we were treated to a filling dinner. Right after eating, we were led to the casino’s lobby where we were asked to perform after the dance number of a handful of scantily-clothed girls. We weren’t expecting it, and we were nervous. But everybody was busy gambling to bother watching us, so that was all right. We felt like we were some pathetic entertainers but it’s okay.

The next day, I went with my UP CAST orgmates to go caroling at more alumni’s homes. First up, we went to an alumna’s house at Ayala Alabang, again. We were treated to lunch there, then we performed in front of our alumna’s family.

After that stint, we headed off to another posh subdivision, which name I forget, but was also somewhere south of Manila. To our surprise, the occasion we went to was a family reunion, with tens of people. We performed anyway and it was okay. We were fed there too. Next up was at another alumna’s house, this time in posh San Lorenzo village in Makati. It turned out to be the family of Dana Crisostomo. It was weird at first, but we were more relaxed there since they were a smaller audience and most of them are familiar faces. Our last stop was at an alumnus’ house in Acropolis village in Libis.

I also had dinner with my orgmates at Eastwood that night.penmanship.

UP Carolfest 2006

The first university-wide caroling contest was held last Thursday at the University Theater. UP CAST, as the winner of the CMC Carol Fest, was sent Mass Comm’s representative to the university-wide event. Since it was the first Carol Fest and UP CAST is foremost a film organization, we didn’t expect much. My orgmates were out there to represent Mass Comm well and have fun. Their performance is quite an entertainment number actually. No one else would dare rap and dance in a chorale contest.

We were actually quite surprised when we saw how other colleges were taking it seriously, what with all their specially-tailored costumes and formal wear. We also grew quite apprehensive especially when one of the faculty organizers from the College of Music explained the criteria, which was full of academic musical jargon…

UP Carol Fest …which is why we were really pleasantly surprised when we learned the next day that Mass Comm won second place. We admittedly weren’t the best chorale, or the best in vocal blending, acrobatics, harmony or whatever. But I guess having fun and performing your best does pay. I’m really proud of my orgmates.

UP Carol Fest The College of Social Sciences & Philosophy won first place, while the College of Engineering was tied with the College of Mass Communication for second place. The College of Architecture got third place.

UP Carol Fest

UP Carol Fest UP Carol Fest

There were also wonderful performances from the UP Pep Squad and the UP Streetdance Club.

UP Carol Fest