Whoooops and Whips!

I hereby declare that today, September 30, 2013, is a day dedicated to finish all tasks related to my History 166: Philippine History class. Apart from a comprehensive final exam scheduled next week, we are required to be part of a historical debate and come up with a photo project. These requirements are to be done by group. I am in a group with Ghe Munar, Jigs Sevilla, Jon Mariano, Justine Esguerra and Issa Naguid. Our home departments, Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering (ECCE) and Department of Information Systems and Computer Science (DISCS) are located in Faura Hall. Hence, we call ourselves Faura Friends.

Ghe, Issa and I were initially set to debate in the first week of September, before Ghe left for France. Unfortunately, there was an error in coming up with the groupings and schedule. There is an odd number of groups and there was not available group to go against us. We were supposed to debate as Government with the motion: “The American annexation of the Philippines was justified over the colonial rule.” Since we had no opponent, our professor decided to let Ghe read her speech. Then Issa and I will be debating on the same topic against a team composed of volunteers from different classes handled by the same professor.

BUT that didn’t happen. Our professor decided that it would be easier if we signed up twice for the second round of debates and just debate on the new motion. (Tsk! Preparation for the first debate went down the drain). But our professor believed that we could pull it off. He was even kind enough to put our whole team in the opposition side. Earlier today, we had to debate as part of the second rounds of debates. Jigs, Justine and Jon battled it out against Team Historectomy. Issa and I went against Team Verbal Conquistadors. We were opposition for both debates on the motion: “This house believes that the Marcos regime was an economic success.”

For both debates, Government skewed the debate to their side by defining economics as macroeconomics. We challenged the definition so as to tackle aspects concerning microeconomics during the regime. We almost bagged the two debates. As our professor put it, we had the right facts, the right arguments but lack the push. But at least we managed to win one out of the two debates.

Having witnessed the first debate where Jigs, Justine and Jon debated, we had an edge in terms of anticipating the arguments of government. But we actually had a good grasp on the matter even during the first debate. But I have to say that I officially suck as the Leader of the Opposition. Although I tried to redeem myself as the Opposition Whip (someone had to speak twice from our team). Jigs and I (as the whip) won as best debaters. Woohoo! Btw, thanks for the photo, Jigs! 🙂


But we have one more group project to finish which is due on Thursday. I was supposed to finish the write-up tonight. But the American Historical Collection closes early so I wasn’t able to finish jotting down the facts I needed for the Philippine Census in 1945.  As a preview of our photo project, here are the photos we have so far. Disclaimer: These are not the photos to be submitted as part of the photo project. These are the ones who did not make the cut. 

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Throwback Thursday: Singapore Grand Prix 2011

The struggle to live in the present is evident when nostalgia hovers above us. It is Thursday and people are most likely posting a throwback post or something related to it. I have to admit that I actually appreciate throwback posts because they give me a reason to think of the things that happened, changes that occurred and memories that are forever etched as photos. It has become a way for us to juxtapose our current selves to who we were. But more often than not, a throwback post is simply a way for us to refresh our memories so that we may not forget moments that made us smile, cry, laugh, scream, jump — memories that made us. I may not have those “We are infinite” moments similar to those in Perks of Being a Wallflower. But there are moments that I always want to remember and I would like to share them with you through my throwback posts. 🙂
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One of the most memorable things during my stay in Singapore was the time we went to the SG Grand Prix 2011. Steffi Chua and I were not particularly into the race. We were after the Linkin Park concert that followed the event. Nevertheless, we made the most out of our time in the Zone 4 walk about area. We got to try on some suits and helmets. It was extremely hot inside the suit. I don’t know how the racers manage to wear them the entire time.
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Singtel set up a simulator of the F1 race in SG. We were able to test the simulators. I discovered that would never have a career that is related to driving. I seriously had trouble maneuvering the car. 😐

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We witnessed the race by the fence. We can attest that the slabs they put as railings are strong enough. Schumacher slammed his car on the curb near where we were viewing the race. Although I am not sure if the picture below shows Sebastian Vettel or the other Red Bull racer.


But still, the best part was seeing Linkin Park play in Padang. We were in the mosh pit/fan zone. We screamed with other fans and sang our hearts out as Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda sang their greatest hits.

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Surviving the last stretch of the semester

Surviving the last stretch of the semester

Crunch time! With less than three weeks till the semester ends, my blockmates and I are faced with the last set of requirements for the different subjects we are taking. Two things that are not helpful: cold weather that is making me lazy and Candy Crush that just promotes procrastination. Hope we get through this! 😀 *fingers crossed*

Tip: To those who want to organize their to-do-lists, bucket lists or any lists for that matter, you can check out http://todo.ly/ . It is a nifty app to use for organizing lists 🙂

The tasks related to our final year project are in a separate file in my todo.ly list. So as other things like preparing for my internship on October and preparing the files to have my internship in PLDT credited for that 1-unit subject in my curriculum.

Les macarons, les fleurs et les les préparations (Macarons, Flowers and the Preparations)

I got to “explore” the neighborhood in Reuil-Malmaison when we walked to and from the Le Hive. On our way back to the hotel after the welcoming event, we walked as a pack. When we got to the point near the metro station, I knew that we would pass by the pâtisserie I saw earlier. I have to admit that I was really looking forward to go inside that pâtisserie and munch on French macarons, tarte Tatin and other pastries. I was really happy that Dongfang, Junduo and Enzo agreed to stop by pâtisserie.
The place is called Boulangerie Deprez-Impala it is located in 2 Avenue Édouard Belin 92500 Rueil-Malmaison, France.  It is just a few steps away from the Rueil-Malmaison RER station. On display
were a variety of pastries , desserts, etc. I ordered a box of macarons. The set cost me around €10.

Fun thing about my experience in buying stuff. I really try to speak even a little French just for them to hear that I am trying. Plus, they know I’m a tourist so they would pardon my wrong grammar and pronunciation. Plus, I had a thing about counting the words/phrases that I spoke in French. So when I bought the box of macarons, I said (at the same time pointing at the macarons): “Un macaron s’il vous plaît.” The woman behind the counter smiled and confirmed if I wanted the whole box. I replied, “Oui.” I paid for the macarons and said “merci beaucoup” when she handed the package. She smiled and said “de rien!” (Success! My basic French skills worked! Hahaha!)
After we all bought what we wanted from the pâtisserie we headed back to the hotel. We  were staying in Novotel which is located in the same avenue. We bumped into our friends from Indonesia, Mita and Adam who were headed to the pâtisserie where we have been. Along the same avenue, we spotted a flower shop. I just couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of the flowers. We decided to do the most touristy thing – take pictures in front of the flower shop, Fleurs de Reuil. (Side note: One of the pictures taken outside the flower shop was used for a tarpaulin displayed in Cervini Hall and the University dorm  in the Ateneo Residence Halls Complex, where Enzo and I reside.)

After all the touristy stuff, we were finally back in the hotel. I shared the room with Elizaveta Cherkashina while Enzo shared a room with Kirill Abrosimov, both from Team Russia. We all had to prepare for our respective presentations so we decided that Team Russia will work in the girls’ room and Team Philippines will prepare in the other room. While Enzo was soldering parts of our prototype, I was munching on the macarons I bought and also helped in improving the aesthetics of  the prototype. (JSYK, I shared the macarons and did not finish them by myself. ;P ) 

Apparently, the sun sets really late in France. It was already past 10 in the evening yet it seemed like it was still 5 PM in the Philippine setting. Once Enzo was done fixing our prototype, we ran through our presentation. Prior to leaving for France, we had trouble meeting the time limit considering that we had new material added to the stack of slides. It was just a 10-slide presentation, yet we had so much to say that 15 minutes seemed like a really short time. We decided to run through the slides and we were within the  time limit. We ran through it again just to make sure that we were within the specified time limit and we were. We decided to call it a night for us to get some decent sleep. And so as to avoid getting groggy and cranky! >:D So with that, I say: Bonne nuit!

Go Green in the City 2013 – Paris: The Welcoming Event

Go Green in the City Paris kicked off with a welcoming event at Le Hive, Schneider Electric’s Headquarters in France. It was a 5-10 minute stroll from the hotel.  We got to initially meet the other participants from other countries while we walked in a pack towards Le Hive.

The organizers had prepared a short program for us to get to know the other participants, some of the judges and the organizers. They had this human bingo activity as an ice breaker. We had pieces of paper with descriptions that matches participants in the room. So apparently, Team Singapore (Junduo and Dongfang)  and Team Philippines (Enzo and I) got to sign as the people who traveled the longest to get to Paris, more than 20 hours of flight and transits.  Natalia Weber  from Team Brazil perhaps had to sign all sheets of paper for she had the most unique description. Due to some unforeseen circumstances she had to present their project one her own and her partner would be joining her via a video stream. (Woohoo! Girl power!) I found out who had pets, who loved reading books, who spoke a lot of languages, etc. With finger food  and drinks, that was a great way to start the event. 

Here’s our mini debacle, it apparently said in one of the e-mails prior to the event that we have to wear something that says something about our culture (i.e. a traditional attire). My teammate and I both overlooked this part of the e-mail. Although it would have been better if I got to wear a Filipiniana attire and he got to wear a barong Tagalog, we managed to pull off a smart casual outfit accentuated by Philippine flag pins. (What better symbol to use to represent a country than a flag? Hahaha… Excuses!)

Greg Yeutter and Alexa Forney from Team USA had represented USA through their apparel in different ways. Alexa dressed up as someone from the early 1900s. On the other hand, Greg explained that the aviator glasses that he had was the same model that American soldiers had during the World War II. (This earned Greg his instant fame for photo ops .:)) Ashta Sinha from Team Germany wore a dress to represent Germany. Mahefa Manitra and Volahasina Rasendramalala wore clothes that represented Madagascar, their home country. While Team Indonesia, Adam and Mita, wore clothes that bore traditional Indonesian pattern Their clothes were made from batik fabric. Team China also wore traditional Chinese attire. Teams from  India also wore their colorful outfit that I found really pretty! 🙂


But I got to give the Award for Best Attire to Team Poland, Marta Walendzewicz and Tomasz Mądry!

But just to give everyone an idea on how we would have looked like if I was in Filipiniana and Enzo was in a barong Tagalog. © 2012  during the Dorm Fiesta and © 2009 During the Awarding for Pambansang Gawad sa Ulirang Kabataan. 


Touchdown Paris! (With a mini trip to La Défense)

It was a 13-hour flight to Paris from Guangzhou but I felt ready for whatever was in store for that day. (Yes, that’s how excited I was to be in France!) We landed in Charles de Gaulle Airport. It was a good thing the Schneider Electric already organized transfers from the airport to the hotel in Reuil-Malmaison.


• There is no harm in trying to ask if you feel that you are starting to get lost in the big airport. But where people are headed is generally the exit. 

• Sortie is the French for exit. This comes in handy also when you try to get around the city via the metro train. 

The first bunch of people we got to meet were the team from India (Ujjwala Godavarthi and  Abhishek Mishra) and from China (Yu Wufei). They were apparently on the same flight from Bangalore, India. In our effort to keep track of every moment we took a series of photos using my camera (which I propped up on a tripod) during our ride to the hotel. 

We finally arrived in our hotel, Novotel which was located in  Rueil-Malmaison (somewhere in the suburbs of France but quite near the city central). Since the rooms weren’t ready yet, we just deposited our luggage. We rode the RER A  and headed to La Défense to grab some lunch. 


• Have a map with you or at least now how to read the maps in the stations. 

• When you buy a ticket (billet), it will be obvious that you are a tourist because you are speaking English. But at least try to speak French. They would appreciate it! (Seriously!) Even a “Bonjour!” at the start of the sentence would make a difference.  

• Be polite and say, please (S’il vous plaît!) and thank you (Merci!) . 

La Défense 
La Défense  is a business district located near Paris. It was the nearest place where we could actually buy stuff we needed, have our money changed and grab some lunch. When you get off at La Défense station, you can exit and arrive at a mall called Quatre Temps. 

• If you are looking for a money changer, you wont find any inside Quatre Temps. You have to go our and go to a different building called CNIT. There is a money changer located at the ground floor. 

• If you are looking for electronic stuff like an adapter for your devices, you can also find a store called FNAC inside CNIT. 

Since we had to take the RER again and head back to Rueil-Malmaison, we decided to go back to Quatre Temps. We had our lunch in Quatre Temps at a place called Bla bla bar. I am not kidding the restaurant was really called bla bla :))) I had a seafood sandwhich which I wasn’t able to  finish. The serving was just too big.  After lunch, we headed back to the hotel. 

And oh! I got to take a photo with French guys in their French outfit! 🙂