Starting Anew

This time last year, I was so lost in love. It’s the kind of love that leaves you breathless. I can still remember it. The moment you asked me if I can be your boyfriend. The moment I said “yes”. The moment I thought would be the start of something beautiful that we’d share for a long, long time.

Exactly six months ago, I lost myself. I was breathless but that time, I was suffocating. I was so busy making you feel special that I completely forgot that I am special too. That I matter. And more importantly, that I should’ve been enough. Because I was more than enough.

Some of the most difficult questions to answer at that time were: “Kamusta na kayo ni *****?” and “Kasama mo ba s’ya pauwi?”. But the most excruciating of all was, “Are you okay, Pao?”

I was not okay nung mga panahong ‘yun. I was in pain. Puta, friends. Sobrang sakit, mas masakit pa kaysa nung nabato ako ng floor tile sa ulo. Imagine that and multiply the magnitude of pain by a million times. Even by then siguro, baka nga hindi pa rin enough yun eh. Pero kasalanan ko naman eh, I was the one who wanted an “out”. I chose to broke it off. Or at least, I was the one who had the guts to end things while it was still beautiful.

Eh ang tanga mo pala eh. Bakit ka nakipag-break? Mahal mo pa naman pala?

Yes, I admit it. I still love him when I broke up with him. I love him. But I didn’t want to love him anymore. I wanted to be happy. Nung mga panahon na yun, masaya ako sa aming dalawa. But deep inside, I was unhappy and alone. I lost sense of who I was. Nawala yungako“.

Being in a long distance relationship was not easy. We had a 7-hr time difference. I had to be contented with a virtual version of you. But I didn’t mind. Waking up and hearing your voice was what made my mornings bright. Rushing home after class to talk to you was not an issue. We’d have dinner (lunch for you) dates. We tried our very best to make it work. It was hard but it was worth it. I thought it was worth it.

And then it happened. You broke my trust. I cried for days. Pero despite everything, I forgave you. You were persistent and made promises. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, baka naman kasi kelangan lang natin magkita. Baka naman we just needed to remind ourselves kung gano kaganda yung meron tayo.

And then we saw each other again. Everything was back to normal. Akala ko nun tapos na yung hard part. Nagkamali ako. Mali na naman ako.

That was the time when I told myself that the relationship was not working out anymore. And we broke up just after my final exams. I needed to get away after that. I needed to find myself. So I went away, far away from all the places and things that reminded me of you. There was a lot of times that I wanted to get back together. But I had to be strong, even if my heart was breaking into million little pieces. And the only way to stop it from breaking was to not be together.

Hindi mo kinaya. You took it really hard. You had a lot of things to say about me. I found out that you were spreading false stories of what really happened. You made it look like I was the villain and you were a victim while I kept silent, all because I wanted to protect you. Because even after everything that has happened, you will always be special. I was wrong again. We had a confrontation. We said our apologies. We just stopped talking after that, and that was it. That was the end.

The days and months that followed that was a continuous process of moving on and finding myself again. Sobrang hirap pero kinaya ko. Pinilit kong kayanin. Through the support of my friends and family, I was able to pull through. However, I’m not sorry that it happened. Our relationship made me a better person. Feeling ko, it made me a lot stronger and wiser. I have become a little bit cynical but I hope it would all go away in time. And most importantly, ramdam ko na ulit na masaya na ako. Single, contented and happy.

Sabi nila, malalaman mong okay ka na pag kaya mo nang i-kwento. May konting kirot pa pero I am very hopeful na mawawala din ‘to. Sana kasabay ng pag-post ko nito, the healing process will be complete. Feeling ko sobrang babaw, pero baka ito lang talaga yung hinihintay ko. ‘Yung kaya ko nang ikwento. Yung naka-ngiti na ko pagsakay ko mamaya sa eroplano. ‘Yung pagbaba ko mamaya, masasabi kong this is really the start of something new.

A Snowfall Kind of Love

Winter is coming. Scratch that! Why wait for it if you can just come to winter instead?

*play Ingrid Michaelson’s Snowfall

Just so you know, I had no initial travel plans this month because of the heavy academic workload – with all the reports, papers and other nerdy stuff. But it all changed when a good friend of mine sent me a Facebook message, inviting me to a trip to Switzerland. And the first thing that came into my mind was SNOW. I mean c’mon, admit it. We all had our own snowy winter dreams and fantasies back when we were kids. I remember that I used to collect styrofoam and scratch them on the road to make fake snow. Snow has been one of my childhood obsessions and I never remembered it until that moment. The cost for the trip was also very affordable as it is organized by See-EU, an Indo-Belgian association which usually organizes trips across Europe. So I said, why not?

I was joined in this trip by one of my closest friends, Nina, along with two other co-scholars, Madz and Des, and our new-found friend from Taiwan, Herb. We travelled by bus from Ghent to Interlaken, Switzerland, which took around 12 hours. Interlaken is a town, well from the name itself,  between two lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brien which are both part of our day’s itinerary. We stayed at Hotel Mattenhof. I like this hotel because aside from its affordable room rates, it gives a nice vintage feel, especially in their common hall. Also, the view outside our room is quite nice.


After our leaving our luggage, gala time na! Our first destination was Lake Thun, one of the the two lakes surrounding the town. I was a bit disappointed because it was very cloudy in the morning, which meant it’s almost impossible to take good photos. After a few photo ops beside the lake, we decided to have lunch first.


And yes, as a cheapskate, I cooked and packed my own lunch – adobo, the ultimate baon since it’s easy to prepare and it has a long shelf-life. Haha! Pero s’yempre, nakakahiya naman kay Herb so we decided to eat in the resort’s restaurant. The food was good but like most European cuisines, medyo matabang. But the unexpected happen, the sun shone brightly even though the weather forecast said that it will be very cloudy the entire day! Thank you, Lord! Mahal mo talaga kami!


There are a lot of activities that one can do inside the resort like sailing, parasailing and other watersport activities. But once a cheapskate always a cheapskate, so we just decided to cam-whore around the place.






Next stop was Peak Niederhorn. It overlooks Lake Thun and we went up the mountain via funicular and then cable car. What I liked about the ride towards the peak was the breath-taking view around. The clear blue skies and lake water complimenting the rather browning vegetation in autumn.



When we reached the top, grabe, words cannot describe how beautiful the Alps landscape is! And it also reminded me of a popular anime series in the ‘90s, Heidi: Girl of the Alps.







The next day, we went at the Jungfrau foot of Jungfrau to drop off the other tourists. I will definitely comeback and see Jungfrau next time because even at the foot of the mountain, the views are already stunning. We travelled to Engelberg and visit Mount Titlis. I was so excited for this because there’s snow all year round there. FINALLY, MY SNOW FANTASIES WAS ABOUT TO COME TRUE! Engelberg was more beautiful than Interlaken. I had to ask my friends to pinch me from time to time to check if I was not dreaming. It’s very hard to absorb the fact that all of the things I just used to see in post cards, I am now seeing with my own eyes. I actually almost cried because of sheer happiness.




Titlis is the highest Alpine destination in Central Switzerland. To get to the top, we had to ride a cable car until the 2nd stop along the mountain. Upon reaching there, we rode a gondola until the next stop where we transferred to the Titlis Rotair, the world’s first revolving cable car. And the view was just unbelievable.





SNOW SNOW SNOW EVERYWHERE. The temperature is below zero deg C and the wind is blowing like crazy. But thanks to my bubble jacket, I do not have to worry about the cold but what I hate about it is it made me look really fat. As Madz use to say, “Lakas maka-chubby!” Lalala! Anyhoots, we were like kids again once we saw the snow all around – jumping, rolling, throwing snowballs, among others. Well, can you blame us for being too excited with all those snow?






What to do in Mount Titlis? Usually, you can ski or snowboard but the winds are just to strong that day. Too bad. But hey, the spectacular 360deg panorama, cliff walk, and glacier cave will always be there.





And because of the extreme cold in Titlis, I almost got a fever. Good thing my friends brought medicine. After an entire day up there, everyone was so exhausted that no one was even talking in the cable car on the way down. LOL!




But in the end, we still managed to end the day with a little tour around the town.




I even had a chance to fish. And spend time and hug this awesomely gorgeous guy.



It was hard to leave Switzerland that night, partly because I have never seen a place so beautiful it’s almost unreal. Switzerland will always have a special place in my heart! *sobs and laughter*


Brugge: A True Flemish Jewel

The thing that I like the most here in Belgium is its architectural beauty. I mean, even our faculty’s buildings are amazing! I wake up and go to classes in these architectural masterpieces but it still leaves me awestruck everyday. But a friend told me that if I really like architectural pieces, I must go and visit Brugge. And so I did this weekend!

Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Universiteit Gent (Photo credits:

Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Universiteit Gent (Photo credits:

Brugge is dubbed as the Jewel City of Flanders because of its medieval structures and facade. Walking around the city, I can’t help but admire its beauty. Because of the rich cultural and medieval influences of this city, it has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sint-Salvatorskathedraal (St. Salvador's Cathedral)

Sint-Salvatorskathedraal (St. Salvador’s Cathedral)

The Provinciaal Hoof

The Provinciaal Hoof

Cobblestone-laden streets of Brugge

Cobblestone-laden streets of Brugge

With my FBE girls at the Brugge Markt

With my FBE girls at the Brugge Markt (Photo credit: Dan Michael Sadia)


The street along on of the canals in Brugge

I was so happy to see a true medieval well! It's like in the fairy tales! :)

I was so happy to see a true medieval well! It’s like in the fairy tales!🙂

Aside from being a World Heritage site, it also boasts of its breath-taking canals. This is the reason why Brugge is called the Venice of the North. I wanted to ride a boat along the canals but the cheapskate in me said no! Plus, the queue for the boat ride was very long. Anyhoots, just looking at the pristine waters was already fine.

With my FBE girls in one of the interior canals

With my FBE girls along one of the interior canals (Photo credit: Dan Michael Sadia)

Canal Boat rides

Canal Boat ride


Rozenhoedkaai (Photo credit: Dan Michael Sadia)


House (more like a mansion) along a canal in Brugge

But what is the highlight of this trip? CHOCOLATES. Belgium is known for its tasty chocolates (well aside from mussels and fries, which is their national dish). Their chocolate is unique because it has a filling, usually hazelnut but it depends on the chocolatier. And yes, Brugge is THE chocolate heaven because it houses Choco Story: The Chocolate Museum!


Now, that’s a chocolate bar! (Photo credit: Dan Michael Sadia)

Chocolates are everywhere!

Chocolates are everywhere!


The three chocolate ingredients

Dark - Milk - White

Dark – Milk – White

When I tried to buy a chocolate from this lady and she told me to go away. WHY?!?

Chocolate statues

Chocolate statues. I was so tempted to chew an arm.😦

Chocolates in the souvenir section.

Chocolates in the souvenir section.

And to answer the ultimate question if chocolates make you fat, here it is!

Another motivation to lose weight!

Another motivation to lose weight!

PS: Watch out my blog next week, it’s gonna be CHILLY!🙂

Photo credit for the featured image goes to Mr. Larry Hamill. Here is a link to his photography/travel blog.


Finale: Ciao Milano fine settimana!

In my last blog, I told you about my #MilanWeekend – a sweet escape before the official classes start.

Day 2 of my Milan getaway was a bit disappointing because there were light rain showers during the afternoon. We were not able to go around too much and take pictures because it was dark. The next day, my father cannot come with me to go around the city because he has to prepare for the party that afternoon. He decided to volunteer my brother, Jojo, to come with me instead.

Bro-nding 101

We first had a haircut in a Chinese salon. Mahal kasi ang gupit dito, pinakamura na ata dito kasi 5 euros lang. We decided to have the same haircut pero fail! We ended up having different haircuts. Pogi pa din, either way.

After haircut selfie. *insert cool fist bump*

On our way to Piazza del Duomo, I met a German blogger named Antoinette who’s also heading the same way. She features sustainable fashion in her blog, Drezz Me. You should check out her blog because fashion blogs are just, ugh! I promise that someday my blog will look like that too. Well, we went ahead of her because she saw this vintage-ish restaurant and had to take pictures of it.

Even though I was in Duomo the day before, that day was just amazing because the sky was a perfect clear blue! This means it was a picture-perfect day!

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

We were fortunate enough to witness the rehearsal of the Italian Gospel Choir for 500 Cantati in Concerto, a collaboration of 500 singers from all over Italy, just in front of the cathedral. After that, we went to Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II, the oldest shopping mall in the world and houses the bags and shoes haven. However, Galleria is not only famous for it’s palace-like facade, medieval arch and stunning glass dome.

Arch of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Arch of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Glass Dome in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Glass Dome in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

It is also home to the Turin emblem, which is a bull, as one of its floor designs. According to Italian tradition, placing your right heel in the bull’s testicles while spinning around will bring you good fortune or grant wishes. Well, there’s no harm in trying!

By the way, I wished for three things while I was spinning. The first three people who can guess any of the three wishes correctly will win a prize (yay!) when I come back to the Philippines next year. I know matagal pa pero just comment your guesses below!

So what’s the prize if you get the correct answer? Maybe this?



Or maybe this one?

Abercrombie & Fitch model in Piazza Santa Babila

Abercrombie & Fitch model in Piazza Santa Babila

You’re welcome, guys!

Architectural Beauty in the Birthplace of Renaissance: Part 2

Piazza del Duomo/Piazza Santa Babila

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (Road connecting Piazza del Duomo and Santa Babila)

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II does not just boast architectural beauty as it is also home to several talented street performers – singers, dancers, pantomimists, magicians and other acts.

Afterwards, we went to Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle). It was built around the 14th century and later on renovated to provide a bigger citadel. It currently houses Milan’s museums and art galleries.

Inside Castello Sforzesco

Torre del Filarete


Torre del Rochette and a saint’s statue in the courtyard of Castello Sforzesco

Corte Ducale and Rocchetta

Corte Ducale and Rocchetta

The castle's fortress

The castle’s fortress

Tatay’s Birthday Bash

And we now go to the main reason why I went to Milan…Tatay’s birthday! Hurrah! My father says that weekends are always fun in Milan. All his relatives and friends would just gather at the park – bringing all sorts of Filipino food. Grabe! It was heaven for me because I felt like forever since the last time I had a taste of Filipino cuisine! To top it of, all my favorite dishes were there: puchero, kare-kare, embutido, kaldereta. Tapos may hipon pa! I told myself, “I don’t care if I’m on a diet. I’m gonna eat all of these!”

Tatay and Tita's handa

Tatay and Tita’s handa

Tatay and I

Tatay and I

With the birthday celebrants

With the birthday celebrants

Happy birthday Tita!

Happy birthday Tita!

Why did you use a Roman Candle instead of a normal one?

Why did you use a Roman Candle instead of a normal one?

With my uber kulit aunts

With my uber kulit but lovely aunts and ates

With tatay's barkada

With tatay’s barkada

The Perez Family

The Perez Family

See you on Christmas, my beloved Milano!


Ciao Milano fine settimana!

It’s been three weeks since I got here in Ghent and I’m really glad that summer school is finally over! Hurrah! No more whole day classes, just yet. Lalala! Anyhow, it’s my dad’s birthday week so I decided to pay him a visit (and to hoard things of course!).

I was supposed to travel to Milan with my fellow UPLB instructors but there had logistic problems so I had to go alone. The train ride from Gent to Charleroi was nerve-racking at first but it went smoothly. Yung feeling ko contestant ako sa Amazing Race kasi feeling ko maiiwan ako lagi ng tren kasi two stops (Brussel-Zuid at Charleroi-Zuid)! It’s better if you buy the Go Pass ticket (available for youth, 26 and below), which would cost 51 euros for 10 train rides. I reached Charleroi ahead of time because there was an earlier schedule that I didn’t see. From the train station, I had to ride a bus to the airport (5 euros). If you’re travelling to Brussels South Charleroi Airport, please remember that the airport shuttle leaves twice every hour so take that into account.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport: Cafe and Boarding Gates

Brussels South Charleroi Airport: Cafe and Boarding Gates

Charleroi Airport was rather small, like provincial airports back home, but of course it looks so much better. It has an extremely fabulous shops and cozy café. The only thing I didn’t like  about it was the flight boarding was delayed – as in Cebu Pacific kind of late! Oh well, it okay because the plane ticket fare from Ryan Air is very cheap. It’s actually cheaper than plane fares in the Philippines. The plane ride was surprisingly fast; it took a little bit over one hour to reach Milan from Charleroi. Tatay  was already there when I arrived. We hugged, and no, there were no tears! Okay well, it has been very LOOOOOONG 15 years since we last saw each other but I just thought that it’s a time for celebration, so yay!

Milan is very different from Ghent. From the busy streets to the dazzling city lights, I can say that there’s a certain beauty to its modern facade. It has been so long since I saw a lot of people in the streets (even if I arrived at late in the evening). It took us around 1 hour to get to Milano Centrale, the main railway station. When we entered the station, it almost took my breath away! The arrival hall is a true architectural beauty! All of those archaic design just made my heart melt. I immediately told myself that I will surely fall in love with this place.

Arrival hall of the Milano Centrale Railway Station. Hi Tatay!

Arrival hall of the Milano Centrale Railway Station. Hi Tatay!

The city train was like MRT but of course people are not trying to kill each other just to get inside. Upon arriving at our house, I was greeted by warm hugs and kisses from all my aunts, uncles and of course my brother. My heart was really fluttering with extreme happiness but I tried to contain it so that I won’t have to shed a tear. After a few chit-chats, dinner was served. And oh yes, they were my favorite Pinoy dishes – sinigang na hipon, kaldereta and tuyo (of course)! It’s been a month since I have tasted TRUE food (I call them true food because our school cafeteria serves bread, blah). CRAVING SATISFIED!

Nerdy Adventures in Milan

The next day, I wanted to satisfy my geeky self so I asked my father come with me to Politecnico di Milano, the oldest university and premier engineering institution in Italy. Our master’s degree program in Environmental Sanitation offers an option to do a summer internship program in any research laboratory or industrial company other than Universiteit Gent or from the Philippines for an equivalent credit of 6 units. Of course, I have decided to grab this opportunity so I will have a more flexible schedule for my master’s thesis in my second year. I was thinking of doing something about thermal conversion for biomasses and wastes. I came across the CRECK Modeling Research Group and thought it was the perfect fit for me. However, the laboratory supervisor was not around when I came by his office.

The stunning front hall of Politecnico di Milano at Piazza Leonardo da Vinci.

The stunning front hall of Politecnico di Milano at Piazza Leonardo da Vinci.

Dipartamento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingeneria Chimica "Giulio Natta" (Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering Department, Giulio Natta). Named after the Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, Giulio Natta.

Dipartamento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingeneria Chimica “Giulio Natta” (Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering Department, Giulio Natta). Named after the Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, Giulio Natta.

UPDATE: I already got accepted at Politecnico di Milano for my summer internship. I just hope that there will be no conflict arising regarding schedule or course technicalities. Hurrah for a nerdy summer vacation ahead!

Milano Shopping Spree


Along Corso Buenos Aires

It was raining a bit but no one can stop me from shopping of course! We first went to Corso Buenos Aires, one of the most important shopping streets in Milan. The stroll is already a treat itself as you can just “window shop” around. Even though I am a cheapskate, I wouldn’t let a Milan shopping experience pass buy without buying a few things.

Naglaway talaga ako pagpasok ko sa Zara.

Naglaway talaga ako pagpasok ko sa Zara.

After Corso Buenos Aires, we took a train to Piazza Santa Babila where more shops are located.

Line of shops towards Piazza Duomo

Line of shops towards Piazza Duomo

Some of the shops where a lot of my Milan loot came from.

Some of the shops where a lot of my Milan loot came from.

Architectural Beauty in the Birthplace of Renaissance

Milan (or any city in Italy I think) boasts of its architectural grandeur. Piazza del Duomo and Piazza San Babila are home to a few of Milan’s finest structures – from shopping centers to churches.


Chiesa di San Carlo al Corso (Church of San Carlo al Corso)

20140919_174657 20140919_175027 20140919_175247

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one fo the world's oldest shoppping malls

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shoppping malls.

Monument of King Victor Emmanuel II

Monument of King Victor Emmanuel II

And of course this, Piazza del Duomo experience will never be complete if there is no obligatory “flocked by pigeons” shot!

Obligatory "flocked by pigeons" shot. May nakakaihiya pang version nito nung lumipad sila sa ulo ko pero 'wag na lang yun. Haha!

Obligatory “flocked by pigeons” shot. May nakakaihiya pang version nito nung lumipad sila sa ulo ko pero ‘wag na lang yun. Haha!

PS: Please watch out for the continuation of my #MilanWeekend on my next blog! Ciao!


Art Attack at S.M.A.K. Gent

Yesterday was the last day for the graduating students to vacate their dorm rooms. As a tradition, Filipino graduates would always give away  some of their stuff to the incoming students. Hence, the new things in my room. Sobrang nakakakuripot kasi gumastos dito!


My room with all the hand-me-down stuff. Ang sarap sa paa nung mga carpet! Hihi!

My winter loot. Thank you Ate Charry, Ate Elsie and Kuya Dennis!

My winter loot. Thank you Ate Charry, Ate Elsie and Kuya Dennis!

But this blog is not about that, it’s about another ordinary day which turned out to be super awesome!

I woke up a little late today because I was very tired of all the cleaning I did the night before. Nakakainis ng kasi ‘di ko naabutan ang live streaming ng UP Pep Squad sa UAAP CDC 2014! Anyhoots, I received a call from Kuya Dan, also a former UPLB Instructor from the CE Department, that Ate Charry and Ate Dulce, needed some help transferring their things from Groningen to an apartment somewhere else. They need my biceps “daw” for the cabinet. So even though hindi pa ko naliligo at nakapambahay lang ako, I gladly obliged to help them out. The apartment was near the dormitory anyway.

On our way back to our dormitory, we saw an old man looking lost. He approached us and asked for directions on how to get to S.M.A.K. Fortunately, Ate Charry knew where it was. It turned out to be an art gallery. And much to our surprise, the man turned out to be a painter. His name was John Nakashian, an Armenian born artist who is now staying at London. At age 76, I really could not believe that he is still flying around the world to see all these art exhibits. He was very glad that we helped him find S.M.A.K. so he invited us to come with him to the art exhibit.

With John Nakashian at S.M.A.K.

With John Nakashian at S.M.A.K.

Shocks talaga! I panicked because I was wearing shorts and slippers. As in, mukha talaga kong yagit! But then again I thought, “How many times have I actually gone into an international art gallery and exhibit?” So kahit nakakahiya, pinatos ko na. I am very glad I did take the offer because the art pieces were amazing. Never mind the attire though.

Technicolor cubes

Technicolor cubes


And yes, I was sitting on an imaginary chair.


One of my favorite pieces in the exhibit


Show me the way of an artist


Simple installation art with a very strong message on water scarcity and the situation of elderly health care.


Tinalo nito si Sadako sa pagiging creepy.


Vegetarian sword fight, yaaaah!


Still amazed by how artists can transform bed foams into a magnificent work of art.


Graffiti art corner


Burnt styrofoam blocks have never been so amazing! Although we shouldn’t forget all the GHGs released just to make this piece of art.


Who knew bread crumbs could be so profound!


Ate Charry, Kuya Dan and April are still awestruck with this one.


Gargantuan beauty


Subtle beauty in modernity

Enclosed by own barrier. Still waiting for that person who can break this glass and release me. Charaught!

Enclosed by own barrier. Still waiting for that person who can break this glass and release me. Charaught!

Truly, the universe did conspire today! Thank you universe for allowing me to meet a brilliant painter and giving me a chance to bask in the beauty of art!

With my market basket at S.M.A.K. Gent. Oh di ba? Sobrang high fashion ng attire ko kahapon? Hihi!

With my market basket at S.M.A.K. Gent. Oh di ba? Sobrang high fashion ng attire ko kahapon? Hihi!


One of John Nakashian’s work on a signed post card

One of John Nakashian's work on a signed post card

One of John Nakashian’s work on a signed post card

UP AChES’ 9th Anniversary: The Ultimate Throwback

Because after 9 years, we are stronger than ever. #BlazingAlliance

The UP Alliance of Chemical Engineering Students (UP AChES) is celebrating its 9th year today, Sept. 3, so hurrah everyone! And because I am missing this momentous occasion, I decided to dedicate this blog to my beloved organization so that everyone can join me in reminiscing the family behind the best years of my college life.

DISCLAIMER: Because it’s throwback thursday, most of the pictures are from something years ago. Di pa uso ang ganda dati, promise.

How it All Started for Me

I joined UP AChES when I was still an old freshman back in 2012. Oo na po, pasaway na ko, guilty as charged! Back then, freshmen students are only discouraged to join any organization during the first semester since this will be their time to adapt. Anyhoots, I was invited by Kat Alaon (Batch 2007-A Equilibria), who also happens to be a resident in the Men’s Residence Hall. I reluctantly came with her to the orientation at KFC Vega because I was actually just after the free dinner (I know, I know, medyo PG ang dating).

The turning point for me in that orientation is their audio-visual presentation on Academic Excellence. And when they said academic excellence, what they really meant was extremely bright and gifted members. They showed that most of their members had a grade of 1.0 or one point-something in their subjects, from CHEM 16 to higher ChE subjects. After seeing the AVP, I told myself that this is the organization for me. I want to be academically excellent, and this is the perfect organization to realize my potentials as a student.

After the recruitment process, Batch 2007-B Grephein was born. Back then, Grephein was the talk of the town because we were 26 in our batch, by far the largest batch ever in an organization.

Grephein during the 4th Anniversary Night

Grephein during the 4th Anniversary Night

Grephein cooling tower bonding

Grephein during the 2011 Graduation Ball and Induction Party

Grephein during the 2011 Graduation Ball and Induction Party

Pero ito talaga ang favorite batch picture namin ng Grephein! All thanks to the superb editing skills of Ram Malabanan. Iba ka talaga Ram!

Reasons why UP AChES is the Best Part of my College Life

I can go on for days just telling you how awesome it was to become a part of UP AChES. But I managed to trim down the reasons (both serious and funny) to these:

Holistically Excellent Memebers

If I haven’t stressed it out enough, yes, I believe that many of the brightest students in engineering can be found in UP AChES. In the span of 9 years, our organization is proud to say that we have produced:

  • CEAT’s first and and only SUMMA CUM LAUDE, Jomuel Velandres
  • 1 Magna Cum Laude
  • 11 Cum Laude
  • 3 board exam topnotchers (2nd, 5th, 8th)
  • 8 UPLB Chemical Engineering Quiz Team members, 3 of which are team captains
  • 4 BPI-DOST Science Awardees
  • 2 CEAT Best Thesis Awardees
  • 3 international student representatives and ambassadors
  • 4 nationally awarded student researches
  • 2 nationally awarded service and community development groups
  • 2 CEAT Leadership Awardees
  • 1 CEAT-SC Chairperson
  • 3 CEAT-SC Vice-Chairpersons
  • 2 CEAT-SC University Student Council Representatives

To see more of our organization’s awards and achievements, click here.

Reliable Study Buddies

Since academic excellence is part of our mantra, we had to live up to it. This continuously drove us to be better students and future engineers during our college days. Who would be better study buddies than your beloved batchmates and orgmates?

UP AChES 06 and 07 during the ChE 143 fieldtrip to Northern and Central Luzon Power Plants

UP AChES 06 and 07 during the ChE 143 fieldtrip to Northern and Central Luzon Power Plants

This also pushed us to give more than what is expected of us and deliver outstanding projects and presentations in our classes.

UP AChES 07 with Engr. Bataller after our Bubble Cap Distillation Column Presentation

UP AChES 07 with Engr. Bataller after our Bubble Cap Distillation Column Presentation

UP AChES 07 delivering the most successful and biggest ChE 199 seminar in the past years.

The Organizers: UP AChES 07 delivering the most successful and biggest ChE 199 seminar in the past years.

The Participants of ChE Summit 2011

And, you are confident that when you do your thesis together, you’ll finish just in time because you can COMPLETELY TRUST your orgmates that they will deliver satisfactory results. As a bonus, you’ll also get to present your theses at a national research convention.


After presenting our scientific research [undergraduate theses] on xylose production. Of course our research group is composed of UP AChES members.

No Dull Moments

Just because most of our members are good in academics doesn’t mean we are boring people. You can actually see us goofing around and laughing boisterously around the campus. And, we also know how to party, just like this!

Because we party like this, like theres no tomorrow

No seriously, we do it like this.

The guys throwing me up in the air during the 7th Anniversary Party. No one was injured, I think. Haha!

Never mind the gigantic pata please. The bottomline is that we had fun.

UP AChES at PACSosyalan 2011

UP AChES at PACSosyalan 2011

Having Impromptu “Gala”

Another great thing about UP AChES members is that most of them are very spontaneous individuals. We would sometimes go on a trip that were decided on a whim. And that makes it much more exciting and fun.

UP AChES Movie Bonding: Here Comes the Bride

UP AChES Movie Bonding: Here Comes the Bride at Walter Mart

On-the-spot Movie Bonding at SM Batangas City

On-the-spot Movie Bonding at SM Batangas City

Our first dump truck ride on our way to the river at Candelaria, Quezon

Our first dump truck ride on our way to the river at Candelaria, Quezon

Christmas getaway at Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar

Christmas getaway at Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar

Vanity and Cam-whoring Every Chance We Get

I don’t know why but looking back at our pictures, I was shocked to see that we had this “thing” for fierce poses. And as for vanity, we have this annual photoshoot where members scout for possible profile picture for the social networking sites.


When I saw this, I gasped and said, “Lord, patawad! Bakit di uso ang ganda dati?” Sobrang nakakaiyak.

This is still my best anniversary photo shoot piece.

This is still my best anniversary photo shoot piece.

Best Friends

If not for UP AChES, I would not have found my closest friends today. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

Besh and I. We became bestfriends year 2009. :)

Besh, Kat Pillejera, and I. We became bestfriends year 2009.🙂 And we both became UP AChES Presidents (2011 and 2012).

My one and only inaanak in UP AChES, Sheney

My one and only inaanak in UP AChES, Sheney Garcia. She joined the organization in 2010 and served as the Academics Committee Head and Vice-President for Organizational Assets.


Dana Reyes, a former grade school classmate but we were never really that close. When she joined UP AChES in 2008, she became my kinakapatid, through Ninang Eden (my Ninong’s girlfriend at that time).

The first generation of our UP AChES family From L-R: Rey, Jesse (Dana's ex-boyfriend), Dana, Lala, Ninang Eden, Ninong Noy, Pao

The first generation of our UP AChES family
From L-R: Rey, Jesse (Dana’s ex-boyfriend), Dana, Lala, Ninang Eden, Ninong Noy, Pao


Our UP AChES Family with our inaanaks Gelo, Sheney and Jai. Nasaan ba kasi si Arvee at Lala? #4everMIA

And of course my beloved Pyro babes! From L-R:

And of course my beloved Pyro babes! From L-R: Richard, Pao, Jamel, Tatis, Aleli, Jesse (their MemCom Head), Abhel, Melvin, Dante. Never mind Chan, panira ng magandang picture.

Again, happy 9th year UP AChES! At such a young age,  I am proud of what you [we] have accomplished for the past years. From 9 towards infinity! #OneProudAChES #BlazingAlliance

PS: Please like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get more updates.

PPS: I failed to post this yesterday because I have a fever. It’s freaking cold here. Last night, it was 12 degC, I think and its summer!