Announcing an Adventure

There I told you. It’d happen again. I passed my blog entry for March but, in summary, March was a month of code and that is a probable understatement. Not only did I have to type through lines and lines and lines of code but I also had to read through heaps and heaps of readings and solve past systems and systems of equations. But it was a fun month though don’t ask me if I’d like to have another go at it.

This summer smells of code as well. Ever since I entered college I forsook my right to have summer vacations. My “vacation” will mostly be around a week after I submit the last second sem requirement and then around 2-3 weeks after I submit the last summer term requirement, depending on when next academic year’s first semester will start.

I’ve never taken a CS class on summers mainly because they aren’t always offered. But that is not to say that I haven’t coded on summers. I remember, the summer after my first year, how I tried to run through the problems at Project Euler, brushing up my Schemer skills in the process. And then just last summer, I did a lot of recreational coding.

And this summer, in what will probably be the longest 3 units of my life*, I will be taking up my internship. I’ll be sitting in front of a computer most of the time but then I don’t know how much blogging time will it afford me, that “most of the time” being company time. But nonetheless, as we are required to blog on our progress reports, you can follow my adventures at (link not working yet. I’ll set it up after I’ve posted this.).

(EDIT (4/10/2011): My blog for my internship is now set-up. All over it you’ll find territorial marks fromWordPress. This is the only public-accessible portion of my domain that I didn’t build from the ground-up. Maybe I’ll say more later.)

And—here please pardon my seeming lack of modesty—I can’t be more pleased with myself at the company which accepted me. For the next few weeks, I’ll be seen around Azeus. Everytime someone from CS hears that I got into Azeus they go like, “Wow. Halimaw lang daw natatanggap dun ah“. I’ll be starting this Monday.

(It just rained as I type this. I hear it is going to be a wet summer. And it shouldn’t surprise you that I love the rain, that I walk in the rain even when I lug my laptop on my back (my backpack is waterproof). I just realized that I may not be able to indulge in that kind of pleasure this rainy summer out of courtesy to the workplace and courtesy to my fellow commuters.)

I’m thinking of doing a redesign of my website and also a longer, probably more coherent post. But for now, I’ll indulge in the rest I’ve so wanted ever since work started piling up. It seems that posts after a month of inactivity do tend to be short. It’s a shame I don’t have a poem to share with you, as with last time.

(EDIT (4/10/2011): On hindsight, this post isn’t so short after all…)

See you soon!

*I seem to forget how the senior students** I encountered this year has warned me thoroughly about undergraduate research.

**Who have now graduated***. YAY for them!

***Well, some, at least****

****Nested footnotes!


Year Three

So, Lantern Parade again. It wasn’t as funtastic as expected, I’m afraid, nor does it stand in comparison with my previous two. It rained before the parade started. Maybe there’s something with the water that broke down part of the spirit.

The Parade went as usual for the early part, with people crowding over this lantern and that. But as it wore the lantern lines broke in segments and it wasn’t very exciting anymore. And there was too much ideology involved. Not that you can wash that entirely away from something so UP. But, again, too much compared to my previous two.

But then I over speak. A post about the Lantern Parade is a post of pictures, of course. So here they are.

An Early Drizzle

An early drizzle, which soaked the grounds as well as the AS steps, the effect being that those who opted to watch at the AS steps spent the night standing (or so my sister tells me). Which makes me wonder why…

Why are they sitting down?

…are they sitting down, here at the Engineering steps? Sure some of them had monoblocks and other what-have-you’s for dry sitting-down but most of them had none. And they sat down, monoblock or no monoblock.

Anyway, this was CSSP’s lantern/float before it rained. I don’t know what’s up with CSSP this year but they seem to be in a particularly celebratory mood; they even had sportsfests and pageants (a la Miss Eng’g, in my opinion) this year. Whatever the celebration may be, cheers to them.

See those crayons? They melted thanks to the rain, so unlike real crayons which melts with fire, not water.

Pouncing Zebra

Aside: This zebra is so cute. There were other balloons of this kind there, from SpongeBob to Dora, but I only managed to take the picture of this zebra. I’m not very fine with the lighting for this one but according to my sister, this shot is the cutest. Here are some more shots (whose lighting I like but are not very favored with my sister in terms of the cuteness factor).

An early show stealer is our very own Pep Squad. I can’t do their awesomeness justice just by telling you what. And no picture, even one worth a million words, can tell you what poetry their motion wrote. So here’s a video instead.

Another early show stealer is Architecture, with blocky costumes of architectural masterpieces.

This girl needs an award for the mere effort of standing through the whole length of the parade, keeping balance (with some help, I’ve been told) in face of road bumps.

It’s all white but with detail as fine as that, this, too, deserves mention.

None of the next handful of lanterns struck me in particular. I think some of them was more driven by ideology than by art.

Engineering—my college—was a big let down, I’m afraid. It started with a particularly crowd-whoa-drawing contraption which looked like a horse’s skeleton with a rider too small for it at the top. Then the rider pedals the bike and the contraption moves and the crowd is amazed. It was followed by electronic (read: Earth-friendly) jeepneys. And then a long march of Engineering organizations which didn’t display anything much aside from orange shirts courtesy of Meralco and org banners.

Upon entering UP, our Dean then told us the story behind our College’s Lantern Parade performance. There was a time when no one gave much damn on our lantern. Then she gave the ultimatum that, if our Lantern Parade performance remains lackluster, Eng’g Week* won’t be held next year. And the rest is, as they say, history. I don’t know how true this story is, me being unaffliated, but I think it is time to amend that order to something that will require the orgs to show something worth watching. Just my two cents.

Anyway, we jump to the show stealers of always, the ever-awesome College of Fine Arts.

I can’t help but feel that their parade is shorter than usual this year. I didn’t see any of the people I know in Fine Arts. But still, they’re awesome.

It’s not much of a shot on my part but this style of lantern is something I find so nice.

King Blastoise Waving

King Blastoise you’re so awesome and you’re waving at me!

I’ll tell you a secret and please make sure that King Blastoise here won’t know ’cause he’s so freaking awesome I wouldn’t want to anger him. Back in those days when I spent the day beeping on my high-tech Tamagochi that is Pokemon in the GameBoy Color, I’m not really a very huge Blastoise (or, for that matter, water-type) fan. I’m more the fire type kind of trainer. When Oak/Elm asks me to choose, I always chose Charmander/Cyndaquil which eventually evolves to Charizard/Typhloshion. And then my rival will choose the water-type, Squirtle/Totodile, which grows to Blastoise/Feraligatr. And you know what? I always beat my rival despite the type advantage. I always hard-boiled Squirtle/Wartortle/Blastoise in his shell. Even if he beats me, I’d turn the GameBoy off without saving so that my loss is technically non-existent. Then I’d turn it back on and train some more before having another go at cooking some hard-boiled pokemon. Now you know why I wouldn’t like King Blastoise to know.

Gyarados Cometh!

You didn’t tell King Blastoise? Great! Hey who’s that Pokemon? What did you say? YOU TOLD GYARADOS?! That explains why he’s rushing towards me!





So far I’ve shown you my shots in more or less sequential order. However, I just had to save this one for last, as this is probably the loveliest sight this Lantern Parade. They actually appeared somewhere between King Blastoise and Little Mermaid in a Shell. Kudos to AV Com (which, I’ll take to be Audio Visual Communication?) for this fantastic piece.

King and Queen of the Sea

King and Queen of the Sea lords over this year’s parade (and I like my shot too).

A Lovely Pair

They’re such a lovely pair don’t you think?

And of course, fireworks…


Flying Fire

Strike through.

Pyrotechnics are a whoa!

We started the day with water rain and end with fire rain? Hmmmmm…

I actualy have some footage of this year’s fireworks display. The thing is, I haven’t much time to upload them as internet speeds here in the Philippines isn’t very fast. That’s also another reason why I’m two days late posting this, instead of the usual one (The Parade happened December 17). We’ll see.

Be like Fine Arts. Know how to stay awesome even if it rains.
~Your Skymeister 😉

*Eng’g Week, and here I lift from the Engineering Survival Guide, ay ang “pinakamasayang at pinakanakakapagod na parte ng taon!” I’m aware of the error in the construction of that phrase but it isn’t mine. I’m just quoting my trusty Guide.

Love Said

Hello Blog. For the first time since I started you I have failed to update you in a calendar month. What a shame considering that the calendar month concerned was the month I turned 18, fully responsible at last for the adventures I’m having and not having. I blame school work for my lapse. I am sorry but it might happen again.

During my birth week I was swamped. I spent my first day as an eighteener being sick and solving discrete probability equations. Not exactly my idea of being 18 at last, though the probability-solving bit can still be argued for. During the last few days of last month I was cramming boolean logic into my brain, so wanting to do nothing but code away. I can no longer remember what happened in the interim but it was most likely spent thinking that I am finally at that part of my adventure when school and education presents themselves most differently. And I sort of have to make my choice between what I know I need to learn and what they think I need to learn. And I am making it.

I still have a lot on my plate and not just academically. It has recently come to my attention that I have apologies left over from last semester that need to be said and they’ve been sitting around my mind for quite some time now, waiting for the moment to stand-up and ride my voice. Gosh. “Sorry” is one of the simplest words I know yet at times it feels longer than a scientific name. But hey, at least I can warm-up here.

So Blog, sorry for last month and sorry as I can’t write my usual account of adventures. I still owe you one for September and hopefully times will be more favorable for it. As for now, I’m leaving you with something lifted from Jason Mraz which in turn was something he lifted from Rumi, as translated by Nader Khalili. The capitalization is all mine.

I was dead
I came alive
I was tears
I became laughterAll because of love
when it arrived
my temporal life
from then on
changed to eternal

Love said to me
You are not
crazy enough
you don’t
fit this house

I went and
became crazy
crazy enough
to be in chains

Love said
You are not
intoxicated enough
you don’t
fit the group

I went and
got drunk
drunk enough
to overflow
with light-headedness

Love said
You are still
too clever
filled with
imagination and skepticism

I went and
became gullible
and in fright
pulled away
from it all

Love said
You are a candle
attracting everyone
gathering everyone
around you

I am no more
a candle spreading light
I gather no more crowds
And like smoke
I am all scattered now

Love said
You are a teacher
you are a head
and for everyone
you are a leader

I am no more
not a teacher
not a leader
just a servant
to your wishes

Love said
You already have
your own wings
I will not give you
more feathers

And then my heart
pulled itself apart
and filled it to the brim
with a new light
overflowed with fresh life

Now even the heavens
are thankful that
because of love
I have become
the giver of light

~Rumi, Fountain of Fire
As translated by Nader Khalili

See you soon,
Your Skymeister

A Beautiful Mess

I’ve long been a fan of Jason Mraz. It was the feel-good upbeat of his Wordplay that caught my ears and it was the crazy wordplay of his Geek in the Pink which gave me the impetus to buy his album Mr. A-Z (which spells M-R-A-Z, in case you missed it). It was his blogging that made me decide to blog as well, and my attempts to find beauty and something good out of everyday is largely due to him (not to Hofstadter, as people might judge).

Around two years ago, he released his third studio album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. Two years ago was the time I entered UP and his were the songs I sang as freshman life went by. I still recall singing the energy out of Make It Mine after grueling sessions from the best CS11 class ever. Details in the Fabric calmed my nerves after my skirmish that is Math17.

It was a good album all in all; I ripped 8 out of the 12 songs included into my playlist. After all, it had I’m Yours, which took Rona, and also Love for a Child which is a very nice song from the onset to the moment you finally listen to the lyrics. It also had the bestest torpe song I’ve heard so far in the form of If It Kills Me. And most of all, it had A Beautiful Mess.

A Beautiful Mess is a very nice song to sing right but very disastrous to get wrong (largely because its large fanbase will make you pay for your murder). It has a certain kind of poetry to it, one that makes you pause and feel the moment the notes and words register into your gray matter. I remember describing it to my sister as soundtrack-esque, meaning, I find it a song very fitting to play as the closing credits of a cathartic movie rolls. But I’ve said too much; I might be boring you.

I’ve been a fan of A Beautiful Mess for two years now and it is only recently that I’ve made sense of its message. I’ve always thought it was about how life isn’t perfect but because you are here it is the best of all possible worlds. I now find that interpretation a little off mark.

It is about relationships.

It is about being you and I and we all at the same time. No matter how messy things may get, it is still beautiful by the mere fact that here we are, related by things so simple you’d find it stupid they can connect people at all; things like smiles and greetings and back-slaps and high fives and kisses. We. Indeed, tides may turn and hearts disfigure but that’s of no concern when we are wounded together. Now I know why that line moves me so.

I am reminded that beauty is something you choose to see and create much like how love is something you choose to be. It seems to me that life is made up of choices, even in the most mundane of things. We are related because we chose to be in this together not because the gods wanted us to be. Things have always been up to us.

Wherever you may find yourself this coming rainy season, I hope you’d find yourself able to believe that the sun still waits behind the clouds. Or, if you aren’t really feeling very sympathetic towards the sun especially after his summer wave, why not put your umbrella down and dance in the rain? Across rocks and imaginary boundaries I’ll be dancing with you.

And do yourself a favor and be Mrazmerized by a performance of A Beautiful Mess. Here are my favorites:

The rip-off from Live on Earth has the best quality among the three and the one from Royal Albert Hall has the lowest (it is but a bootleg). Nonetheless, I enjoyed the one from Royal Albert Hall the most. That performance has this tendency to make me feel empty and filled at the same time. It even moved Jason Mraz to tears. The one from Nobel has him singing alongside a full orchestra, which in my opinion, magnifies the catharsis inspired by the song. Much like in relationships, beauty, and love, the choice is yours. Watch none, watch one, watch all or search YouTube for your own favorite. Again, the choice is yours.

Your Skymeister

P.S. I’ve rolled out some new code for the tags of this website. They should be working well but if they dontplease tell me. Thanks.

Meeting Maria

I spent last weekend in the wild, being dirty and sleeping inside cramped messy tents whose temperature fluctuates between cold and scorching hot, depending on what time of the day it is. I brought some mosquito repellent with me, only to find out that I should’ve feared the ants as well. The only way I could’ve cleaned myself (even partially) entailed going through the cold caress of mountain water. This is adventure indeed, the kind catterpillars sadly forget as they become butterflies.

My muscles are aching as I type like I worked out for a whole month straight without even a few seconds of water break anywhere in between. But the ache reminds me of a good two nights and two days spent in the cradle of Maria Makiling. Clearly, this is the welcome kind of muscle ache, one that is the sign not of deteriorating health but of a life lived in two-days’ worth of adventure. I’m both glad and sad that they’d be gone in a few days. How I’d miss this feeling and the kind of joy the experience brought me. I feel that I’ve lived life, for two nights and two days, as the experience took my breath away.

Before I delve into the fun of reliving the adventure allow me first to wish my left shoe a very solemn “Rest In Peace”. You have been loyal to me for the past two years or so my dear friend, going through mud and shine, opening your mouth that protects the fingertips of my left foot eventually but not making a single sound of complaint. Your twin, right shoe, will have to rest as well, now that you are gone. I regret that he won’t be able to do it in the house though, as we are pretty crowded already.

My left shoe died an honorable death, in the midst of adventure, as I spent the good part of last weekend jumping through rocks and grabbing various plants for dear life, double checking in a hurried fashion beforehand that it is without thorns and that it is not actually some camouflaging fauna. It died last Saturday but I had to abuse it further by using it again for the same purposes the next day after last Saturday which is last Sunday. My vocal chords nearly died as well, as I screamed cheers and whoa’s in flow with my group’s collective effervescence.

And as I know that general allusions to the experience will do the adventure no justice, allow me to compress about two days’ worth of story in a single web page, as I try to set the record for the longest blog post ever. Right. Let the stories start.

Table of Contents
Laying Down Ground | The Trek | Running Again, Some Swimming, and Goodbye Finally

Laying Down Ground
Friday, February 5, 2010, Deep Evening

Tired and exhausted from last night’s academic cramming as well as from the day that passed, I stepped off the bus and was readily greeted by Orion. Arr hunter, I say. Thanks for the greeting as I am here not to choose the events that will happen but to let the adventure choose me. Be my guide.

For the good part of the night we tried to make the provided tents as cozy as possible. Evidently, a man’s idea of “cozy” is way different from a woman’s. A tent is capable of holding six people but seven of us had to share, plus a few battalion of ants. I brought some mosquito repellent but I’m totally unprepared for these warriors, biting us violently for entering the critical zone of their territory. And we had our luggage with us too, taking up a generous part of our already-cramped tent. I remember being told once that pretty men travel light. If that is true, then Maria Makiling won’t be dating any of us by default.

We were briefed of what awaits us. I didn’t hear anything save for the word “exciting”. After about an hour of planning we embark for slumber land and I felt the rough contours of the earth against my back. Adventure here we go!

The Trek
Saturday, February 6, 2010, Morning to Mid-Afternoon, and then whole day

We rose before the sun to prepare for what lies in store for the day. This is the first time we’ll be actually cooking and, incidentally, my stomach’s been lucky enough to have a choice between two culinary sets so that if something goes wrong here, I always have the other group for back-up. It’s a long and complicated story of how come there were two groups but in any case, the two groups merged into one later on, forming what can be considered as our main class, plus a few additions.

And yes, pictures…

Rappel Instructors

As you see, it was still pretty dark when we started cooking that I cannot rely on natural lighting and I had to resort to flash. This is one of the two groups I’ve been talking about. Though not really a part of the group in the strict sense of the word, pictured here are our two rappel instructors.


Chemical Engineers

Left to Right: Stephanie Peralta, Ariel Jan Sadural, Cherielyn Cariso, Dyan Canlas. All of them major in Chemical Engineering. All of them are in the group with me even in the strictest sense. And all of them are fun to be with.


I’m pretty fond of these people. For one, AJ has been my highschool classmate from year two to year four. Then again, they’re just plain fun to be with. And also, they are the second cooking group I’ve been talking about.

And oh, yes, just to give you an idea, this is where we’ve been sleeping:


Being the celestial body lover that I am, I made sure that I know what time will the sun rise and set for the whole time we’ve been there, as part of my preparations. Unfortunately, sunrise and sunset isn’t as pronounced as I expected here. But that is not to say that I did not shoot some scenery.

Saturday morning sunrise at camp…

Saturday was scheduled for trek, an activity which I thought will have me clicking through shots and feeling the cool mountain breeze. I was wrong. The trek found me with my shirt glued wet by perspiration on my back. I found myself finally appreciating Gatorade and thanking AJ for lending me a cap. The trail was beautiful, green and overflowing with flora, ripe for some shots. Unfortunately, my hands had been busy looking for firm features to hold on to and breaking the momentum I gain as my feet followed the dictates of the natural laws of inclined planes, too tired to resist. This is where my left shoe died, in service, ever loyal.

That all said, I still managed to take some pictures while trekking.

Dyan and Che, with a flower they find pretty

Dyan and Che, with a flower they find pretty


Don't faeries bathe in here?

Don’t faeries bathe in here?


Taken just before we stopped to eat packed lunch live at the trail.


Ging and Baki. Not taken by me, most probably taken by Dyan.


Dyan and me. If you stop for a moment and think, it will become clear to you that I obviously did not take this picture. Taken by either Ging or Baki.


Chilling out live at the trail

Chilling out live at the trail. Taken by Dyan.


Returning to camp, I found myself slumped dead near the entrance of our tent, not minding the heat, nor the flies buzzing around, nor the ants who seem addicted to my shirtless torso. I know not how many miles we walked nor how high a height we reached. I did not take a bath immediately which was lucky because our group had someone to sprawl on the ground when we were taught how to rescue someone down in a cliff with a possible spine injury.

Darkness bit the skies again and soon we were cooking and eating by flashlight. It’s such a shame we were not able to light a bonfire because all the firewood around can only be found along the trail, and our own legs might just kick ourselves in protest if ever we plan to return there just to gather some firewood.

Running Again, Some Swimming, and Goodbye Finally
Sunday, February 7, 2010, Morning to Mid-Afternoon

AJ and me woke up at around 4AM. Being one of the two group leaders, AJ spent sometime going around the tents of our group, retrieving their consciousness from slumber. A few minutes into the activity and we were entertained by someone’s semi-consciousness and made-up terms courtesy of the spirit that is alcohol: “Lutuin na yang mga AJ na yan!” (Cook those AJ’s now!), and, “Lagyan ng isang metrong wetness yung shroup” (Add a meter of wetness to the shroup), she’s been saying (yes she’s a she). We laughed our heads off from that episode for about a couple of hours, until the person concerned regained full control of her consciousness and…you should’ve seen her face.

I spent two hours doing nothing but walking around and eating breakfast, breathing fresh mountain air. It feels and sounds so bummer to relate that I ate instant noodles on a moment as fresh as that. Instant noodles is the only junk food that remains in my system after all. I’ve kicked my addiction to soft drinks and cheesy potato chips but not to instant noodles. Note, however, that I suggested, before Saturday’s adventure, that we hunt for snakes along the trail so that we’ll have something to cook in camp–a suggestion that was met with yeah-right faces from my groupmates.

Breakfast at Camp

Sunday morning breakfast at camp.


Sunday’s most anticipated activity is map navigation, an activity very similar to trekking sans the almost-vertical slopes, packed lunch, and instructor guides but with a lot of competition, a lot of tasks and a single compass. I cannot decide what is more memorable between the trek and map nav. They’ll most probably tie. The trek is memorable because of the ooh’s and wow’s generated by nature’s beauty; map nav, on the other hand, is memorable due to all the adrenaline and willpower involved. We were so competitive in map nav that I really wasn’t able to take any pictures.

We were misguided and so we were lost for about a good half an hour. Nonetheless, we returned first in camp and you can only imagine with what euphoria did we tread around the still-empty tents, willpower being replaced by effervescence and cheers. Unfortunately, we didn’t win Best in Navigation because start times are not the same for all groups and so there are some chronological translation involved.

After lunch, some refreshments, and a few hours’ rest, we proceeded to the pool to cross about 100 meters, with an optional break after meter 50. Not the most anticipated activity because swimming isn’t really something you’d learn in a few meetings. At this point, I would like to thank one instructor who gave me some last-moment pointers on how to conquer water. It’s thanks to him I crossed 50 at my first try and almost made it to 100 at the second one. I am most grateful.

And what did our group get after this whole adventure? Aside from bonding moments, we got also got this,

Best Group

Best in Navigation went to the group who made their way past all the tasks and points fastest; it does not necessarily mean that they did the tasks best. Best Group, on the other hand, went to the group who did everything best; since they are best in everything, it also means that they have the best time in navigation (it need not be stated since it is already implied). Quod Erat Demonstrandum. That I want to show.


It’s been fun and I am thankful for this adventure, this opportunity to bond with nature and other people. I didn’t travel light but I guess Maria Makiling still dated me. I saw her beauty and I hope I’ve been the gentleman Nature deserves. In about two days I’ve seen cliffs, walked a forest and drank mountain water–lived all my boyhood dreams, in short. After such an experience, it feels so bummer to say “Damn! I have a Calculus exam this Saturday and a Data Structures exam this Monday”.

I shall not forget, the day I met Maria.


Colophon: I keep on saying that the adventure lasted for about two days when my story is divided into three chapters. The explanation is this: we only spent one whole day (Saturday), as Friday and Sunday was arrival day and departure day respectively. Hence, about two days.