Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Frustrating Things in Amazing Race

Contrary to popular beliefs, teams joining this reality show do not have what it takes to win the million dollars (plus some great freebies if you arrive first at the pit stop). No matter how good you are on reading at maps/directions or how physically strong you are, it won't really matter if some unfortunate things happen unexpectedly. Here are some things that would actually change the drama of this show.

1) The first team leaves the pit stop at around dawn and arrives at the airport, only to find out that the next scheduled flight to their next destination will be at around noon or evening. The other teams behind them will surely catch up. Back to square one.

2) Teams arrive at the airport and dash outside the terminal building to search for vacant taxis. Then the teams made a mad dash on the highway to their next destination. Unfortunately, upon arrival at their destination, they found out that the place they're going to perform a certain task is closed. They have no choice but to wait 'til morning.

3) No matter how good you are in reading maps, it would be useless if you bought a map written in a foreign language. I can't imagine myself reading a Chinese map.

4) You use all your charm just to be on THAT certain flight.

5) Virtual Pit Stop. This would surely spoil the euphoric mood of the supposedly 'winning' team, after the host gives their prize: their next clue.

6) Taxi drivers usually know where they are going, given that they have been driving on that certain country for a decade (or forever). Although, some of them can't understand English, resulting to confusion and a waste of time and resources.

Team member: Excuse me, sir. Can we just stop for a while and ask a local because I think you don't know where you're going.

Driver: Yes, yes, I do! (Then, he continues to drive, leaving the team clueless).

7) Foot race. It's a bit frustrating when you're seconds away from winning a grand vacation package from Travelocity. Things get worse if you're racing to the finish line. I'm pretty sure that those teams who are only seconds behind the prize will regret about it.

8) Overcharged fees of the taxi or public utility vehicle drivers.

9) The taxi stops in a gasoline station to fill its tank. Time is precious.

10) You're team mate keeps on whining about your clumsiness on a certain task. Your team mate doesn't have the right to direct you. I'd rather quit the show if I have a team mate who keeps on yelling, "Stop being so stupid" or "Run faster, you idiot!" at me.

11) Language barrier. Always the problem (especially in China, Japan, and South Korea).

Well, teams must have witty strategies to overcome these predicaments. I'm pretty sure that team work will overcome these. If you audition and got lucky to become a part of the show, just enjoy the race.

It's a race of a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Experience CDO

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."

- Lin Yutang

Last August 1, 2010, the delegates of VYLH (Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health) Region 11 elected me as the Regional Representative. My task is to collate all the reports of Region 11 and present it to the regional meeting. So, in October 21, Kuya Anggo called me.

"Hi Renz, this is your Kuya Anggo from VYLH. We are going to have our regional meeting at Cagayan de Oro. We will stay at Hotel Conchita. I'll send some important travel docs to you and to your Dean."

So the day after, I booked a flight to Cagayan de Oro. I have always wanted to try going to Cagayan de Oro by air. I've been to CDO many times by land and it was exciting at first because you get the chance to see the beautiful scenery of Bukidnon. But as time goes by it gets pretty boring once you get used with the route.

Fast forward to November 12. I arrived at Davao International Airport around 10 am and waited for my flight. My uncle, who happens to work at the airport as the Senior Air Traffic Controller accompanied me up to the predeparture area. It was my first time to board and ride an airplane ALONE.

At around 1140, AirPhil Express Flight 253 departed Davao. The flight was pretty smooth, though I wished had a violent turbulence. Just kidding. Here are some of the aerial shots of Davao City.

20 minutes after departing Davao, the seatbelt sign was on and the pilot announced that we are now on final approach at Cagayan de Oro City. I have the chance to see the aerial view of CDO. Siltation of Cagayan River can be seen very clearly in the air.

When the Q400 finally parked on Lumbia Airport's tarmac, I hailed a taxi and arrived at Hotel Conchita 30 minutes later. Traffic in Cagayan is very different compared to Davao. By three in the afternoon, my long-lost ninang fetched me and treated me in Starbucks and Missy Bonbon. Also, I've finally met Dan, my online bestfriend (LOL) together with his classmate and treated me a melon gelato at Missy Bonbon. Thanks Tita It and Dan for the warm accommodation. Too bad, I forgot to take pictures with Dan and friend at Missy Bonbon.

Meanwhile, back at Hotel Conchita, the other delegates from Bukidnon, Zamboanga, Davao and Butuan have arrived. We had a short briefing about tomorrow's meeting. Later, we went to Limketkai Mall. We took pictures with the mall's authentic conifer tree. Later, we got hungry and decided to eat at Yellow Cab.

The second day was pretty exhausting. We spent the entire day inside the hotel's conference room. We reported about the updates of our region. I was impressed with some of the regional reports, especially in Region 9 and 10. They have exerted extra effort to relay the important information about New Born Screening and Rare Infant Diseases. Fortunately, we finished all of our agenda in just 1 day. Since some of our delegates came from the host city, they toured us in Xavier University. I really liked the architecture of XU and it's relatively bigger compared to Ateneo de Davao University.

Since the famous night cafe aka CDO's Divisoria is just in front of Xavier University, we entered its chaotic streets and alleyways. I was extra careful with my personal things - digicam, cellphone and wallet - that my hands were always in my pocket. I only bought this hipster Ray Ban eyeglasses for only 60 pesos! Despite the mayhem, I was still amazed since we don't have this in Davao. I love Cagayan de Oro for its mayhem (well, in a good way). It's a brand new experience for me!

We went back to the hotel at around 10pm. Everyone was tired except for yours truly, Kat, Shane, Ryan, Leo, Charles and Joan. We tried to knock some of the delegates' room and ran as fast as we could to the adjacent hallway. We missed the feeling of being a kid, by the way. We also shared some ghost stories up to two in the morning.

Going home is the saddest part of the trip. You wish to stay longer when you are about to arrive at your home. We bid farewell to Joan, Ryan, and Norwin. They have to leave early so that they won't miss their respective flights. On the other hand, the Davao and Bukidnon delegates rode a hired van and traveled at least three hours before reaching Valencia City, Bukidnon to eat lunch at Jollibee.

It was a fun trip! I'm looking forward for the National Leadership Congress this coming May 25-27, 2011 to be held at either Corregidor or Batangas.

Youth volunteers, keep the fire burning! :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Losing Grip

When I entered UP three years ago, I told myself to get as much as unos and graduate with [Latin] honors. Three years had passed and my principle had changed, all because of those experiences I had in the university.

Tres is just a passing grade; barely passed a certain subject. But you know what? Having a grade of three is the best experience in my whole life. Cliffhanger. It's just a matter of life and death.

At the start of the semester, you start to set your goals. By the end of the semester, you should have a GWA of at least 1.45 and become a University Scholar. Then, you try your best by studying every night. You even choose to stay home during weekends to finish your thesis than strolling at the mall. Then, your circadian rhythm is destroyed.

I just learned that you can't please everybody, no matter how hard you try, like what happened last semester. Evolutionary Biology (BIO 140) is a very interesting subject. But despite my interest (it came to a point that it became an obsession) on this subject, I only got tres. 3.0. It was really painful when I only got 25/100 despite having a four day preparation prior the exam. Well, the problem was, I had a hard time catching up with my professor's rhythm.

When I went to school three weeks ago to get my class card, I was really nervous. I thought that I was going to flunk this subject. When I got my class card and saw the number 3 circled by a black ink, I almost cried. Tears of joy. It just shows that if you start losing your track, you just think of finishing it, no matter what the results are.

I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough.