Saturday, December 27, 2008

List of Holiday Thoughts

December is my favourite month of the year. The reasons are quite obvious. It’s my birthday month and it features a series of many fun events: Christmas and other Christmas-related events, Christmas vacation, get-togethers with friends, New Year’s Eve and other year-end endeavours. All the best and warmest moments and occasions are unusually crammed up in this month that a ‘cold December’ is obviously not preferred, haha.

Aside from all the merry euphoria that Christmas brings with the month, one particular thing about December that I love is that it’s the perfect time for introspection. Well, it’s pretty much default because after all, December is actually the last month of the year. It’s not like you summarize your year in the middle part, hehe.

So for this month’s column, here’s a list of my Holiday thoughts. It’s just a mishmash of what has happened in the month so far and what new things I have realized the past year. So here it goes!

Happy Birthday to moi! Like what I mentioned from my own blog post in my own blog, my birthday itself was pretty ordinary, as it fell on a Sunday. It wasn’t entirely uneventful though. A couple of high school friends surprised me in the evening with a cake. I wasn’t really all sad that I am getting ‘old’ when I turned 24. You know what my major realization was? It’s that given my 24 years of life so far, I have spent a third of it (8 years) in UP and Aguman. Indeed, our organization has been a definitive part of my life.

Happy 35th Anniversary, AguPIPS! And speaking of UP Aguman, we (Records) won again in the Mutya. Woot! Hehe! Funny how the other committees were just resigned to competing for 2nd Place. Haha! Joke. Looking at the all the produced costumes, talent performances and the witty antics from all 6 contestants, I think that overall, this year’s contest was bigger and better. I just have one suggestion for next year though: alternate “Mutya” with “Lakan”, so that the novelty of the concept will not easily fizzle out. Or else, it will just turn into some sort of unofficial right of passage for new male members. Anyway, cheers to more successful and mighty years for UP Aguman! Not for ourselves alone.

It's party time! I’ve attended two holiday get-togethers so far and there’s another that’s coming up. Both parties I’ve been to were exhausting, literally and figuratively, haha. Only with smart friends would you expect drinking parties that celebrate the gift of knowledge and sharp memory, not to mention affinity for all things that are popularly jologs or baduy, haha!

This year, I prepared the dessert instead of the main pasta course for our family's Noche
Buena. It's a two-tier Strawberry Cheesecake (pictured left), a better version of the one I
served during the 34G Christmas Break Party after the Lantern Parade (pictured right).
How I managed to 20+ people inside our humble KNL apartmen is beyond me, haha!

It's the warm and fuzzy time of the year.
There are a few things that weren’t as special as last year. I wasn’t able to finish decorating the house – in fact it’s barely decorated at all, haha. I never attended a single Simbang Gabi. But for the most part, it was still a merry Christmas. My parents’ passports were cleared just in time to make their flight back home. Our refrigerator and cabinets are roomfuls of different goodies! Haha! – which took its toll on my pants and shorts. I am seriously considering induced vomiting, haha!

Christmas Day itself was a letdown. We went home to our grandparents’ house at Sta Rita and Porac, and the atmosphere wasn’t festive at all. It wasn’t even about the food or different pastries that our relatives cook for Christmas. Most of my cousins, aunts and uncles weren’t around. When I was younger, the good ol’Dizon manor was always ‘filled up to the rafters’ during Christmas. There weren’t any bare corners in the house because all the kids would be running around and the older cousins would hang out and catch up on each other’s lives. But for the past few years, going home to my grandparents was becoming less and less of a tradition for most of our relatives. Of course, sooner and later in our lives, we would be having our own lives and that the time will come when our own house will be the grandparents’ house that we and our respective children will go home to for the holidays. But I just feel that it’s happening too soon.

It's time to look back at the year that was. I am probably gonna start writing down my year-end reflection around the 31st or the 30th. But for the purpose of this column post, I am gonna do some initial rumination.

The past year has been pretty much like the previous years: still shaky. Annual life-low-points seem to be becoming the story of my life, haha. But the wonderful thing about major downs in one’s life is that it is always followed by major ups. You just have to hang on and ride the storm out – even if you think you’re too weak to do so. If there’s one sure thing I’ve learned from my own personal tragedies is that I am stronger than what I think I am.

I will end the year with not much life status changes. I am just worth an additional year of valuable experience. Some old lessons just need to be learned over and over again. Haha!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

UP Aguman holds the "Pautakan: The Last Mind Standing"

December 20, 2008 – More than 50 high school Kapampangan students trooped to Wow Hilaga (formerly Paskuhan Village) for the chance to win the medals and prizes and be declared the “Last Mind Standing” for the special edition of the Pautakan. “Pautakan: The Last Mind Standing” is an individual completion version of the annual UP Aguman academic competition that is the Pautakan. It is jointly presented by the resident members and the UP Aguman Alumni Association, in celebration of the organization’s 35th anniversary.

The 35-questions Elimination Round commenced right after the Opening Ceremonies. The Top 8 scorers in this round qualified for the Quarterfinals. They are the following:

Madison Dominguez, 4th Year, Mabalacat (Don Bosco Academy), 225pts
Jose Daniel Torres, 3rd Year, Angeles City (ACHS - Special Science Class), 220pts
Adrian Neil Pineda, 4th Year, City of San Fernando (Holy Angel University), 210pts
Joe Carmel Lopez, 4th Year, Mexico (Pampanga High School), 190pts
Fred Gerald Macapinlac, 4th Year, City of San Fernando (Pampanga High School), 185pts
Renato Galvan Jr, 4th Year, Angeles City (Holy Family Academy), 180pts*
Aimar Joy Dimal, 3rd Year, Angeles City (
ACHS - Special Science Class), 180pts
Cathrene Lugtu, 4th Year, Mexico (Pampanga High School), 165pts
*The tie was broken during the Clincher Round

LEFT: The AguPips take a group picture after the successful event
RIGHT: The 50+ contestants squeezed their brains to answer the 35 questions during the Eliminations

The rank during the Eliminations determined the pairings for the Quarterfinal Encounters. The final results are shown in the table below.

Here’s the final list of winners and their prizes:
CHAMPION – The Last Mind Standing, P5,000 and UP Aguman medal
Renato Galvan Jr, 4th Year, Angeles City
2nd Place, P3,000 and UP Aguman medal: Madison Dominguez, 4th Year, Mabalacat
3rd Place, P1,500 and UP Aguman medal: Jose Daniel Torres, 3rd Year, Angeles City
4th Place, P500 and UP Aguman medal: Joe Carmel Lopez, 4th Year, Mexico
Quarterfinalists (P300 + certificates):
Adrian Neil Pineda, 4th Year, City of San Fernando
Fred Gerald Macapinlac, 4th Year, City of San Fernando
Aimar Joy Dimal, 3rd Year, Angeles City
Cathrene Lugtu, 4th Year, Mexico

LEFT: The Pautakan Last Mind Standing, Renato Galvan, Jr from Angeles City
RIGHT: The Top 8 contestants with their medals and prizes

A number of UP Aguman Alumni graced the event:
Rene De Guzman
Dexter Grajeda
Michael Peñalba
Leah Salta
Daphne Villanueva
April Parilla
Hazel Tobias

Saturday, December 13, 2008

RecordsComm wins Aguman Mutya 2008

December 12, 2008 – For the second time, AguPips gathered at a function room in the University Hotel dressed in formal wear for the culminating activity of the UP Aguman 35th Anniversary, the Mutya Ning Aguman 2008. “Wonders of the World” is this year’s theme with the six different committees assigned to six different continents.

Membership Committee – Ham Cabuso, Miss Africa
Externals Committee – Lawrence Manalo, Miss Oceania
Records & Publications Committee – Felipe Pablo IV, Miss Europe
Finance Committee – Bryan Quizon, Miss Asia
Educational Committee – Miguel Esguerra, Miss South America
Socio-Cultural Committee – Bencio David, Miss North America

LEFT: The five alumnae who graced and served as Mutya judges
RIGHT: The six 'continental beauties' during the Opening Number

The five alumnae members present served as judges for the said competition: former Aguman President Daphne-Dominique Villanueva (Kaputul 2004A), Leah Salta (Sampelut 2003A), Hazel Tobias (Kaputul 2004A), Portia Quindo (Kaputul 2004A) and the UP Aguman adviser, Michelle Fabros (Manyaman 2003B). The Externals Committee, led by Kath Gatchalian (Bucayo 2005B) and Loree Sicat (Kadaya 2005A), organized the reservations and served as the “Mutya Committee”.

There were three rounds of competition: talent, continental costume and the interview. The contestants were also judged on their overall poise and bearing. The members were also allowed to vote for their favorite contestant with each vote pegged at P1. The complete criteria for judging were: 20% each for Talent, Interview and Votes, 10% for Poise & Bearing and 30% for the Continental Costume. This year’s edition was considered by many as bigger than ever because of the more intricate and beautiful costumes, wittier interviews and more entertaining talent performances.

The Special Awards:
Miss Flawless Skin – Lawrence, Oceania
Face of the World (Miss Photogenic) – Migs, South America
World’s Choice (Most Number of Votes) – Ham, Africa, with 1157 votes
World’s Got Talent (Talent Competition winner) – Felipe, Europe, with a dance medley of Lady Marmalade and Single Ladies
World’s Top Model (Continental Costume winner) – Felipe, Europe

The Overall Winners:
Ambassadress of Love – Migs, South America
Ambassadress of Peace – Lawrence, Oceania
Ambassadress of Unity – Bencio, North America
3rd Wonder of the World – Bryan, Asia
2nd Wonder of the World – Ham, Africa
Mutya Ning Aguman 2008, Wonder of the World – Felipe, Europe

LEFT: The six contestants in their continental costumes
RIGHT: The AguPips pose for the Anniversary group pic

The win marks the second title won by the Records & Publications Committee. Last year in the first edition of this contest, Kevin Peñalba, then a RecordsComm member and now the organization’s Secretary, won the title.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

AguPips win in the UP CORE Quiz Show

December 9, 2008 - Trivia-savvy AguPips once again made the organization proud by winning the major prizes in the annual quiz show of UP Circle of Research Enthusiasts. Two teams with 3 members each joined the said quiz show dubbed "tELEVENsion: What's Top on TV". Team "Sikrams" was composed of Marco, Michael and Rex while Team "Bitrams" was composed of Abigail, Fergie and Ruby. Other AguPips were also present to support and cheer for the Aguman teams.

The questions in the said quiz show were about mostly popular foreign TV series in the past and in the present. A total of 13 teams registered for the event. After the 30 questions in the Elimination Round, Sikrams finished 1st and Bitrams was tied at 3rd with another team.

In the Final Round, 7 clips of popular TV series where screened and paused at specific moments. The competing teams were then asked on what will happen next. The featured shows were Project Runway, Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Prison Break and Heroes. Sikrams correctly answered all questions except the one about Project Runway. Bitrams, on the other hand, failed to answer the questions about Project Runway and Lost. A team composed of UP Cineastes members had a perfect score and took home the 1st Prize of P3000 cash and Cerealicious Gift Certificates. Sikrams clinched 2nd Place and won P2000 and Bitrams won the 3rd Prize of P1000.

Interestingly, the AguPips has won the same quiz show by the UP CORE two years ago. The two Aguman teams placed 1st (Celine Dagdag, Gboi De Padua & Justin Dungca) and 2nd (Rex Dizon, Argel Casupanan and Renz Caliguia).

Last week, the UP Aguman delegation composed of Kevin, Trish and Aries placed 2nd out of 15 teams in the Foodstuffing contest of Upsilon Sigma Phi. Unfortunately, only the top winner was awarded with prizes.

UP Aguman co-presents a Language Forum

December 9, 2008 – In line with the celebration of it’s 35th founding anniversary, the UP Aguman accepted the invitation to co-present a language forum entitled Ing Kálam ning Amanung Sisuan: A Closer Look at Philippine Language Problems. The other organizations behind the forum are SALiGAN sa CSSP, UP Samahang Linggwistika and STAND-UP. It was held at 1pm at the Multi-Media Room of CSSP, PH 400.

There were three invited speakers for the said forum: Jason Paul Laxamana (from Kalalangan Kamaru), Prof. Ramon Guillermo (Department of Filipino) and Ricardo Ma. Nolasco, PhD (Department of Linguistics). While the forum focused on the Kapampangan language, the speakers also discussed the many issues and problems faced by the many languages in the Philippines in general. Studies on the languages used as mediums of instruction among Philippine schools and the corresponding effects were also presented. USC Councilor and UP Aguman member Rose Angelique Dizon also graced the event as the Student Reactor. Kontra Gapi performed an intermission number during the break.

Just like in Aguman’s 1st Semester ACLE regarding the Kapampangan language, the first Kapampanganovela Kálam was also screened for the audience to showcase the reinvigoration of the cultural and language awareness in Pampanga.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

UP Aguman 35th Anniversary Activities

December 9 (Tuesday)
Forum with Saligan sa CSSP, Stand-UP,
UP Salin and the UP Linguistics Department
Kálam Ning Amanung Sisuan"
Palma Hall Room 400, 1-4pm
UP Diliman

December 10-12
AguShirt Days

December 12 (Friday)
"Mutya Ning Aguman 2008"
University Hotel, UP Diliman

December 20 (Saturday)
Pautakan: The Last Mind Standing
Poinsettia Hall, Wow Hilaga
City of San Fernando, Pampanga

Thursday, December 4, 2008

UP Aguman officially welcomes 14 new members

December 3, 2008 - UP Aguman held the Induction Rites for the latest batch of applicants, Pinanari 2008A. The event officially marks the end of the application process that started in July 2008.

The Membership Committee, lead by VP for Internals and MemComm Head Acey Duarte, organized the major activities of the whole application process which include the Unity Night, Talents Night, Formal Interview, Final Rites and numerous mini-bonding activities that aim to forge the friendship and camaraderie not only for between the applicants but also with the members. The batch's Final Rites was held last November 23, 2008 at Bacolor, Pampanga.

The 14 official members of batch Pinanari 2008A are:
Hamuel Herald Cabuso
Ian Bencio David
Maria Carousel Diaz
Miguel Duval Esguerra
Ruby Ann Mamangun
Lawrence Ivan Manalo
Quill Quioc
Bryan Leonard Quizon
Jona Pamela Salvador
Katrin Raxiel Serrano
Abigail Sunga
Julyn Nyril Tiatco
Nicolle Timoteo
Erika Gayle Tuazon

The Membership Committee is now recruiting new applicants for the application process during the 2nd Semester.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pautakan: The Last Mind Standing

UP Aguman and UP Aguman Alumni Association
In celebration of its 35th Anniversary

Poinsettia Hall, WOW Hilaga (formerly Paskuhan Village)
8am, December 20, 2008

The Prizes for the brightest students of Pampanga:
CHAMPION: UP Aguman medal + P5,000
2nd Place: UP Aguman medal + P3,000
3rd Place: UP Aguman medal + P1,500
4th Place: UP Aguman medal + P500
4 Quarterfinalists: P300
Plus Certificates of Recognition and Participation to all Contestants

"Pautakan: The Last Mind Standing" is this year's special edition of the annual UP Aguman project, the Pautakan. For its 35th year, the UP Aguman Alumni Association partnered with the residents for this special anniversary project. The Pautakan has always been about celebrating the Kapampangan youth's academic excellence and thirst for knowledge. This edition won't be any different. While the original Pautakan is all about team effort, this time we're only looking for that extraordinary individual. Contestants will battle against each other and when the dust has settled, only one person with "the brightest mind" will be left standing.


*Any bona fide student of any year level from any high school (public or private) in Pampanga can join.
*Contestants must present a valid high school ID as proof of eligibility.
*An official coach and/or recommendation from one's high school is NOT necessary.
*There is no requirement for attire.
*Participants and winners from the regular Pautakan held last October 25-27 at Don Bosco Academy Pampanga are are still eligible for the special edition of the Pautakan. After all, this individual competition is a whole new ballgame!
*Interested students are encouraged to pre-register to the following contact numbers:
FERGIE 09276565665
FERDINAND 09274321682

Regularly visit Aslag Online for any announcements.

*Participants must be bona fide high school students, and he shall represent himself only.
*A participant is required to be at the contest site fifteen (15) minutes before the contest proper. Should he be late for an Encounter or an Elimination Round, a leeway of fifteen (15) minutes will be given. If he still fails to arrive after the 15 minutes, he is automatically disqualified for that Encounter or Elimination Round. In an Encounter, the other participant will be declared the winner.
*The contest shall be composed of a Written Phase and an Oral Phase, the mechanics of which are as follows. The Written Phase will make use of answer sheets. No calculators, slide rules, and the like shall be allowed. The contestants are expected to bring their own pens and/or pencils. The Oral Phase utilizes a timer-buzzer device. The contestants shall be briefed on the mechanics of this before the contest proper starts.
*Questions will revolve around 8 subject categories: Mathematics, General Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History and Current Events, Arts and Literature, and General Information and Trivia. Each question shall have its corresponding number of points and allotted time depending upon its degree of difficulty. *Complaints on a particular question shall be entertained by the Board of Judges only before the next question is asked. The complaint shall not be entertained thereafter. Only the participant may approach the Board of Judges to air the complaint.
*The complainants shall be the one to present their sources, if necessary. The UP Aguman will neither present nor divulge its sources as its questions and answers are valid. The decision of the Board of Judges is final and binding.
*Any form of coaching from the audience shall be penalized by nullifying the question.
*All rules and regulations shall be strictly followed and implemented.
*UP Aguman reserves the right to modify or alter the aforementioned rules as the need arises.

In case more than 40 contestants register, a mass elimination round will ensue otherwise, the written eliminations will proceed. All contestants will answer a 65-item test that will equally cover all subject categories. The exam ill be a combination of problem solving, identification and multiple choice questions. The Top 25 scorers will proceed to Round 2 Eliminations. There will be no need for the tiebreakers as all contestants involved in any tie will qualify.

All qualified contestants will compete in a 35-question Elimination Round. Round 1 scores will be discarded and al socres will be reset to zero. Questions will be divided into Easy, Average, and Difficult, with corresponding points of 10, 15, and 20, respectively. The quizmaster shall read each question twice and each contestant shall write their answer on the sheet provided for, within the allotted time, after which checking immediately follows. The Top 8 contestants will proceed to the Championship Encounters. In case of ties in the ranking, three (3) clincher questions will be asked to break the tie. If a tie still ensues, the knockout system will be applied.

From this point onwards the Top 8 contestants will compete in one-on-one Encounters in a Single Elimination format. The Round 2 Elimination rankings will determine the pairings.
*Ten (10) questions will be asked in each Encounter. The length of the corresponding time limit for each question will depend on the question’s difficulty. A participant will be given only one (1) chance to answer. The first to buzz-in will be given five (5) seconds to declare their answer. During the 5-second allowance, the time limit countdown will be temporarily paused. If the first fails to answer correctly, countdown will resume and the other participant will be given the remaining duration of the time limit to buzz in and similarly, five (5) seconds to answer. No more steals will be allowed thereafter.
*A participant shall wait for his name to be acknowledged by the quizmasters after buzzing-in, before he gives an answer. If he fails to do so for the first time, it incurs its first warning. On the succeeding instances, however, he shall be disqualified from answering the question.
*The participant with the most number of points after ten (10) questions wins the Encounter and will move on to the next round. If a tie ensues, the knockout system will be employed. Knockout Questions will be asked and the first to answer correctly wins the encounter.
*The Final Encounter will have 16 questions instead of the usual 10 questions, and the one who will win the Finals will be declared the Last Mind Standing.

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