2009 Flashback

Media Noche and putukan are roughly nine hours away as of press time and as such, I am doing this annual tradition of joyfully and painfully recalling my memories associated with the expiring year. Again, I will only blog the striking moments, which are hopefully noted in my 2009 teNeues planner.

If in Facebook, I tagged you in this blog entry, it means you are one of those people who made my 2009 truly memorable!


  1. 2009 did not really start well for me and my fellow members of the Gatmaitan clan. Mommy’s father, the GREAT Abelardo Salonga Gatmaitan died last January 4, at 3:00 in the morning. The culprit was his gastric carcinoma which has been eating his stomach for around a year already. I actually saw my superhero breathe his last grams of oxygen before my two eyes. The saddest part of this was that he expired at the same moment he was attempting to hold my Uncle Berting’s hand. He was buried beside his mom Lola Masang last January 7. 😦
  2. Lolo Abner’s death awakened the existentialist Heideggerian in me. After experiencing five deaths fresh from 2008 (four batchmates, one distant relative), I began to think about the chronicles of life and death (no, not the Good Charlotte album). What is it in living and dying, aside from blood circulation and cellular respiration?
  3. January 7 marked the day of my first Polymer Chemistry (Ch141.85/MSE121) exam which I will never forget for the rest of my life. I never actually had the chance to do some serious review, I was deprived of sleep after going back and forth Quezon and Malolos Cities, to sit by Lolo Abner’s wake. I just read my notes in the morning after his burial. Come 6:00 in the evening, I just asked Lolo Abner’s soul to just pray for me to God. I found the exam really difficult. However, after a week, I was very surprised that not only did I get high marks, I also topped the class in the said exam. I can’t really help but cry and murmur my love to Lolo Abner. (Oh, I also got back my Commitment Theology (Th151) paper back the next week. It also got an A.) 😀
  4. The ride to my last student leadership experience officially began last January 21, with the Council of Organizations of the Ateneo Central Board (COA CB) Elections Miting de Avance 2009. I really had a tough time facing the 2008-2009 Science and Technology Cluster (STC) Board – all the presidents plus the Head Micab and Secretary-Treasurer Lester were so respectable in their positions that they all intimidated me. At one point my mind went blank and I actually forgot that most of them were actually my batchmates. I kept myself composed as possible though, keeping in mind the platforms my running mate Stefen and I formulated over the Christmas break. In summation, I confidently exclaimed to them that my extroversion will be a critical factor in bonding my future presidents.
  5. The election results released last January 23 sealed all my worries of me losing. Abstain is the deadliest candidate any student organization election has endorsed. Nonetheless, I was able to trample him. I will be forever grateful to the STC Board 2008-2009 for the undying support they gave me. 🙂
  6. There was the Department of Chemistry Alumni Homecoming, Chem Pro-paganda (held during SOSE-STC-HEC Week 2009), and my Mr. and Miss ACheS photoshoot with Kacie. This month was also a month of stuffing lots of Kanji (Chinese characters which are also used in the Japanese language), doing some anime research for Asian History (Hi16), and preparing for the hell that is February. Yes, as much as the Lenten season, my BS Chemistry graduation was just lurking around the corner.
  7. Joseph’s second death anniversary last January 20. 😦


  1. February 12 was THESIS DEFENSE day. Good afternoon, esteemed faculty of the Department of Chemistry. Today I will present to you my thesis, which is entitled Synthesis of C-17 Alkenyl Succinic Anhydride-Modified kappa-Carregeenan in Aqueous Systems for Novel Applications. My name is blah blah blah. As always, I tried to make my research presentations comical while still maintaining a professional aura. With practice from my two dearest ex-mentors, Doc Reg and Doc Rick, I was able to pull things off. Now my first graduation was crystal clear. Even Doc V said it in front of everyone on the last day of thesis defense — let’s all give the GRADUATING batch of 2009 a warm round of applause. 😀
  2. My last stint in the Ateneo Chemical Society (ACheS) (aside from being Vice President for Publications and Documentations) was to serve as the Commissioner for Electoral Promotions and Publications. It was really amusing to see potential leaders determined to take on the challenge of shepherding the rest of the organization I truly love. What really touched my soft spot though is to see the humble responses of some number of people on the question Who is your most favorite outgoing EB? in the electoral form. I am really happy to have touched the lives of these future leaders.
  3. Kacie and I may have only bagged third place in the Mister and Miss ACheS Contest but for me, our pair will always be the winner. This space in this blog entry is for you Kacie. Thank you for the smiles. 🙂
  4. As usual, there was the annual PACSiklaban by the Philippine Association of Chemistry Students, Incorporated (PACS, Inc.) (where I was currently an Executive Board Member). There was also the ACheS Family Day, Department of Chemistry Open House, and Director’s Listers Welcome. It really amuses me to see new generations of leaders taking up our legacy.
  5. My Senioritis was at its worst during Finals Week. Self-explanatory.
  6. And of course, Valentine’s Day was epic. 🙂


  1. And on March 27, Troy got his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry title. It was the day he became a certified (but not licensed) chemist. The march from the High School corridor to the High School Covered Courts was a long one under the sun but he did not mind it. The number of students from the School of Management (SOM) was in great quantities but he was still able to stand and wait for all of them, despite the heat the roof, his undershirt,  his long-sleeves polo, and toga were releasing. It was a day no one can totally annoy him. He was in total bliss. Well, it also broke his heart to remember that he won’t be seeing most of his batchmates anymore around the campus.
  2. March 27 also was the day that Troy decided to pursue his BS Materials Science and Engineering (BS MSE) course. There was no more turning back and he was all energetic to go back to the High School Covered Courts again for another graduation ceremony.
  3. Given the option to attend the Seniors’ Silent Ignatian Retreat, I decided to enroll for the three-day program, after all I may not be able to last not talking. The epiphany I had during the retreat was that my soul was totally restless – God lulled me to sleep most of the time. It was also an opportunity for me to forgive myself, as well as other people who have somehow offended me. (I actually brought along with me a heavy baggage of emotions then.)
  4. On my first Blue Roast (March 25), the skies were not cooperative. St. Peter once again lost a bowling match against St. Paul, which made him brawl in frustration. Nonetheless, I was able to snag six blue roses then. I think I gave away two of them. 😛
  5. SOSE Interlinks 5.0 was my first ever thesis exposure outside the Department of Chemistry. Macky and I may have not bagged some prizes home, but our friendship strengthened during our whole thesis year is something priceless. Here, I also got to see the researches of my fellow SOSE Seniors/Super Seniors.
  6. Good job, ACheS for the memorable Seniors’ Party. And there was COA Graduation/Induction, ACheS Transition-Evaluation Seminar (Tr-EvSem) and LS Awards as well.


  1. I was exposed to the REAL world of chemistry with the 24th Philippine Chemistry Congress (24PCC) held last April 13 to 18 in Bohol Tropics Hotel. (Well this is not my first time, as I also attended the 10th Eurasia Conference on the Chemical Sciences last January 2008.) I presented my research here not only to chemists and chemistry enthusiasts in the Philippines, but also around the world (as 24PCC was then in tandem with the 1st Asia-Pacific Conference on Chemical Education (1APCCE)). It was really exciting seeing all the researches of fellow chemists and learning more about them. Aside from these and geeky freebies, what made the trip really memorable is the good hotel accommodation, the good (free) overflowing food, the tarsier, and the heat of the summer sun as released by Panglao island’s white sands (well with sun, I have to apply multiple layers of high-SPF sunblock). My second trip to Bohol is a blast. 😀
  2. I got to bond with my fellow council members last March 30 to April 3 in the COA Formation Seminar in Caliraya, Batangas. It was also the first time that COA got to hear to loudest and most bonded cluster, my number one STC. I, Stif, Anna, Zel, Nic, Trish, Rai, Giz, Stacy, and Bianca (too bad Meki and Mei were not there) showed the whole council how explosive we can get. I am so crazily in love with this crazy bunch of people! 😀 The other clusters were very interactive as well. It really inspired me to begin with work already. 🙂
  3. AND SO YES, I AM ALREADY A SUPER SENIOR. The journey to being a materials scientist officially started.
  4. There was also the STC Board Planning Seminar (PlanSem) (where the other presidents were finally able to meet Meki and Mei at last). Too bad we couldn’t have it overnight. Nonetheless, we were very productive. 😀
  5. And of course, there was the first Talk and Tours (TnT) interviews. It may be my last.


  1. May was, is, and will always be the month for TnT anticipations. I am thankful that I passed this year again. Thank you Angel for being a wonderful partner. And wow, I got to take Kuya PJ’s (my TnT) throne now, as I was the TnT of this year’s Chemistry freshies. My Block G1 AB Euroean Studies sophies will always be epic though. I miss them so much already! (Actual TnT training was moved to June though.)
  2. And so the swine flu scare invades the Philippines. I have to admit that made me undecided as to whether I pursue being a TnT or not. Good thing the real TnT in me decided to pursue the battle, against all odds. (Kudos to my batchmates Jayvee and Guido who were with me as well.)
  3. For COA’s OrSem presentation, I acted as Zac Apron. It was really fun! Thanks to Coleen for being a wonderful “Julie.” 😛
  4. And there was the ANC Leadership Forum. It was a great chance to meet and greet those politicians, to the point of actually shaking hands with them! I really hope the next president is worth it!
  5. Intense STC Board meetings this month.
  6. Many controversies which highly included me surfaced this month. For safety reasons, I will not mention them anymore in this blog entry, though some points may lead to clues. 😛


  1. No thanks to swine flu, the whole Ateneo calendar was messed up. This includes moving OrSem 2009 to July and TnT trainings to June. Talk about clash of schedule priorities.
  2. But hey, Take Flight: RecWeek 2009 was a blast! It did not matter that it came before OrSem. It produced a high turn-out of recruits! Good job to Sel, Izza, and the rest of their team! It was my most fantabulous RecWeek to date!
  3. And so, I have a new thesis mentor for my second undergraduate thesis. Dr. Erwin Enriquez, Associate Dean of the newly formed Office of Research and Creative Work (ORCW) is the best one in the land! (Did I say he topped the Chemist Licensure Exams last 1987?)


  1. And finally, my long-awaited OrSem 2009 last July 3 and 4. My second year as a TnT is a unique experience. Let me share: I WAS CLOSE TO THE POINT OF NOT CONTINUING. All those academic demands, weekend schedules, changing-weather sickness (I really hate that the Infirmary overlooks to much on swine flu. Hello global warming!), A H1N1 over-paranoia, and the like. But then again, about a week before Training Day 1, I met HOT BLOCK G1 2012. “KUYA TROOOOOOOOOY!!!!!!” Aww, my cute Freshies-now-turned-Sophies, I could eat them alive HAHAHA. With them (and Kacie as well), all my doubts were erased. After getting the blessings from my family, I sacrificed my time with them for what seems to be two week’s worth of training (well at least for a dormer who lives in the province like me). And even though the postponed Ateneo Sesquicentennial OrSem was just two days, its usual magic still remained. I again felt that unexplainable happiness. My body was screaming in pain but my soul rejoices in delight. Thank you Angel for being a wonderful TnT partner! Thank you, Lumi and Recelle, THE BEST LOGs in the world! Thank you TnT Core, job well done to you guys! I love you all! 😀
  2. The world of scientific research beckons with my attendance in the 29th Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (29PAASE), which the Ateneo was lucky to host this year.
  3. Second time to do an undergraduate thesis proposal. This time I was more confident — bolder. I do not agree however with the too delayed date.


  1. Shortly after Michael Jackson’s death, ex-President Cory passes away as well. I really have to disagree with her that the second EDS Revolution was a historical mistake, but I have to admit that this Nobel Peace Nominee was one of the greatest presidents this country had. Please continue praying for our country, Tita Cory. And thank you for everything. Thank you for letting me attend your cortège as well. 🙂
  2. TnT Party at Mark’s place! Definitely one of the best I’ve ever had. 😀
  3. And the UAAP72 Season is on. The Blue Eagles kicked their arch rival Green Archers out of the Final Four running and dropped them to a pitiful sixth place.


  1. And there, the battle for a back-to-back UAAP crown is on. I shared the enjoyment and most of the hype with my beloved STC Board. More than the high points the Blue Eagles scooped, it was the company of these wonderful people that made me happy during the entire game. I really went to three ticket lines: alumni, student, and faculty just for them. 🙂
  2. September 26, 2009 is a date forever scarred in Philippine history. Tropical storm Ondoy plus global warming flooded most of Luzon. Aside from the insurmountable damage in properties, it left a huge trauma to Filipinos from all classes. Need I to say that once again, the Ateneo calendar was distorted? Classes were suspended for a week, the UAAP72 Finals was moved to October, etc. But if there was one good thing this great equalizer has done, it showed how big the hearts of Filipinos were. I was really amazed with the thousands of volunteers in the Ateneo College Covered Courts that week. Truly, God’s light shines the brightest in the darkest of moments, as my Social Theology (Th141) used to say.
  3. STC Board photoshoot! ❤ EDSA Revolution 1 Theme. 😀
  4. Ate Mila, the most epic secretary of the Department of Chemistry, finally retires after 36 great years. I will forever miss that lovely woman. 🙂


  1. And yes, Ateneo bags its second back-to-back championship title after two decades. It feels great that I graduated last 2009 and will graduate on 2010. 🙂 I will foever miss those times that I have to wake up at 3:00 AM in the morning and sleep in the University Dormitory just to get some Upperbox A tickets. Thank God for the alumni and faculty lines next year. 😛
  2. The shortened COA Evaluation Seminar was still epic. We at STC had Mei this time, but Trisha and Meki were not able to make it. We had fun with Daniel and Jay however. And once again, we were the noisiest during the entire activity. 😛 (Let’s just skip the part that I stupidly left my cellphone in Ateneo, after which it was recovered by the Department of Theology.) I really love being Head of this dynamic cluster. We are truly number one guys, and you all will always be number one in my heart.
  3. It was during October that I was suicidal. I was highly disappointed with my performance in our Polymer Technology (MSE181.2) class that I just wanted to grab my kitchen knife and plunge it quick in my wrists. Thank God for Ian Ken and my STC Board. I am reminded of how I really hate people who commit suicide – they are immature people who can’t even see the deep value of human life. It’s unfair that these people are so unthinking of their lives, when others who have no choice are desperately doing all means to prolong theirs.
  4. Did my THESIS over the BREAK. Darn. But unlike last year, Cebu served as my emergency exit this year.
  5. Erika’s first death anniversary last October 20. 😦 I have to admit I still haven’t forgotten her.



  1. And of course, after Cebu, there’s always La Union. ❤
  2. Despite its technical nature, the STC Board Overnight Planning-Evaluation Seminar (Pl-EvSem) was an avenue for us STC Board to strengthen our bonds and ties). The highlight of the night was  Stif’s cellular phone which shook the living hell out of us. 😛 I really like our affirmation session. 🙂
  3. Hurray for Boom: STC-HEC Week 2010 and its week-ender, Are You Smarter than a Freshie! Everyone was very interactive. Congratulations, Ateneo Chemical Society (ACheS), Ateneo Electronics and Computer Engineering Society (AECES), Ateneo Mathematics Society (AMS), Biological Organization: eXplore eXperience eXcel (BOx), Computer Society of the Ateneo (CompSAt), League of Ateneo Physicists (LeAPs), Ateneo Management Information Systems Association (MISA) and, Ateneo Psyche (Psyche)!  There might have been flaws in the actual planning and implementation phases but overall, it was a blast. 🙂 We all did it together. (And the week after hurray, for CompSAt and Windows 7! :D)
  4. Noy’s first death anniversary last November 26. Life is indeed too short and as Heidegger says, how we die is how we live.
  5. Had an epiphany which, for the time being, I’ll just keep to myself. 🙂


  1. My Super Senior Syndrome is worsening! Let me gain some weight first. 😐
  2. My coming-of-age birthday was a very memorable one with my STC Board loves. I will forever love them for their unwavering support. 🙂 And 200+ greets from different people I love! 😀 Though I was miles away from my family, my second family at STC celebrated with me.
  3. Took the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level 3 at the De La Salle University last December 6. The exam was just so-so. My head spun during the latter part of the exam though, due to lack of sleep.
  4. Fifth block M/M1 Christmas Party at Tracey’s place again (December 19)! TREAT TO US DECEMBER BOYS AGAIN. MAGIC SING AGAIN. FUN AGAIN. MEMORABLE, as always. Highlights of the night: a) my “fu-mell off kami, parang briefs” quote, b) Steven’s winner voice, c) Marlon’s “Pop the Magic Dragon” Billboard-topper song, d) and me getting 100 in the Magic Sing. (Thanks to Air Supply’s Even the Nights Are Better. Too bad I missed their concert this year.) Thanks to Mau for the gift! 😀
  5. PasCOA, the COA annual Christmas party was epic. We at STC were the noisiest again, with Mei’s favorite line “pa-kiss sa lips/leaps… …president.” I was kinda tipsy then, and after the party I had to cram for my Ceramics (MSE131) Long Test. Oh, yeah, we also had an exam for MSE Lab II (MSE106.2) as well. Who cares about exams when you’re partying with the people you’re madly in love with? 😛
  6. Fun org parties with AECES’s DiRock Delta and MISA’s Glitterati. Aside from that, there’s ACheS’s, the Department of Chemistry’s, the SOSE Faculty’s, the Physical Chemistry thesis group’s, and so on. I had around ten plus (10 +) Christmas parties this year, and still no pound was added to my weight. 😛
  7. Completed the nine nights of Simbang Gabi once again! And once again, I made a wish. 🙂
  8. Bonding with my cousin Krystan (from Virginia) and our other cousins as well. We turned La Union and SM North EDSA’s IMAX theater upside down. (Hurray for Avatar last December 27!)
  9. Ateneo’s Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary celebration was a blast! I am so happy that I was able to take part in the festivities.
  10. Toshiba interview! I hope things went well.
  11. Good job to PACisama and Under the Stars (both December 4). 🙂
  12. Evacuated at Schmitt Hall last December 21 to 23 for thesis’ sakes. Lost my student ID and Norman Black-autographed Ateneo cap in the process. 😐
  13. Raided Topman, Zara Man, and other clothes stores for new outfit. They raided my wallet clean as well. It was good of them not to burn it. 😐
  14. And this will happen later: ANNUAL COMPOUND NEW YEAR’S PARTY. It will be epic again, I know. 🙂

2009 saw me in a mixed state of emotions. I am happy that it helped me grow as a person. Nonetheless, I am still happy to see it go. Bring it on, 2010!

As to where 2010 will bring me, I am not sure. I might try to do more research in graduate schools or get a job already. I am a go-with-the-flow person, after all. Still, I hope that 2010 will finally help my restless heart.

Now I think I need to start reviewing for my Optics (MSE188.1) exam. Nah, I’ll just help cook for Media Noche


One comment on “2009 Flashback

  1. Pingback: 2010 Flashback | Philosoposer's Lounge

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