2010 Flashback

Please be kind to animals.

My last taste of student leadership, snagging my second undergraduate college degree, first employment, officially becoming a chemist, and savoring a three-peat UAAP championship as an Ateneo alumnus. Those were just some of the many highlights of my life this 2010. Once again, it’s that time of the year to share those striking memories to the world again. This year, I am using my This Journal Will Actually Change Someone’s Life 2010 planner as my primary resource material. (For the succeeding years, this shall be my planner. I may still collect stickers from Starbucks though, but for other people.)

Before I begin, allow me to first recap the year before 2010. 2009 began with a sad note of my maternal grandfather dying of gastric carcinoma right before my eyes. I was then fresh from deaths of people I know last 2008, so you can say I actually reached my saturation point. Yet by God’s grace, a handful of blessings came along. There was my first college graduation, my group and solo travels, my snagging a seat in the student council, and of course, my new friends. There were lots of them. 2009 ended up in a feel-good momentum and I’m happy that it was carried on up to 2010. The fingers in my two hands were not able to keep track of the blessings that arrived.


Gela's 21st birthday, celebrated ala-Block M/M1!

  1. 2009 began with a commemoration of Lolo Abner Gatmaitan’s first death anniversary. It was just a simple Mass (plus overflowing delicious food) for my great old man, plus some relatives came over. My cousin from Virginia, Krystan was able to join the clan and their final mourning. As for me, I was at school, doing academic work. And speaking of school…
  2. The panic of [second] graduation started to settle in. Honestly, I was not really thrilled to graduate again, as heck, I have a Bachelor of Science degree hanging on my belt already. Then again, since I started BS Materials Science and Engineering already, I might as well finish it. Problem was, I then had barely a month left to do my thesis. I was on full cram mode, I even had to go to Ateneo Saturdays AND Sundays just to finish my research. But had I been given more time, I would like to do my (second) thesis again. More seriously this time. True story.
  3. Bonding with the people I love! Gela’s 21st birthday treat with blockmates, theater night (Sa Tahanan ng Aking Ama)ย with my STC (Science and Technology Cluster) Board 0910, courtesy of Entablado. And speaking of student council… ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Elections for council year 2010-2011 was underway. And at COA (Council of Organizarions of the Ateneo), we Central Board initiated the transition by setting up a Commision on Elections. I poured my whole heart in this job, as it would sort of be my last project in the council. As the COMELEC’s Commissioner for Ways and Means, I realized how much I got to love my post (as Head of STC) that I wanted to stall my graduation. Then again, leadership is all about letting people grow, including myself. Which brings me to…
  5. Start of company interviews and employment preparations. Let’s fast-forward a bit to April, where I declined three job offers shoved at my face. Two of them, I felt were not really aligned to the profession I chose. As for the other one (I’ll just keep it a secret first), I think I’m not ready for it yet. Or so I thought then.


STC Board 0910 yearbook photoshoot!

  1. February greeted me with the results of the recently concluded council elections. It was hard for me at first to actually do the counting in determining the people who will soon assume our posts, but I got over with it. In the end, I actually was excited for our brand new leaders.
  2. FINALLY, MY [SECOND] THESIS DEFENSE TO SEAL MY WORRIES AWAY. Seriously, I was first thinking that I am not going to graduate. The results I have gathered gave me data which were not really what I expected, or at least wanted. But that’s what scientific research is. Negative results are still results. (It does not mean though that most of my thesis results were negative!) That was what my BS MSE mentor, Dr. Erwin “Epe” P. Enriquez taught me as a final lesson. I will continue to live on the excellence you imparted on us your mentees, Sir! ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. After the council’s lead, all student organizations had their share of mitings de avance and elections as well. It was good of my eight cluster presidents to invite me to all of their election-related events. Nostalgia was so sweet. I felt so proud of my presidents for having done a splendid job of honing the leadership skills of the future officers of their respective organizations.
  4. Final council works: year end reports! As much as I’ve befriended my presidents, I tried to become impartial with how their org performed throughout the year. No one was perfect, but everyone strove for magis.
  5. THE LEAST EVER FINALS WEEK OF MY UNDEGRADUATE LIFE! And it turned out to be the hardest of them all. Yet, I’m still here to tell the tale, so I survived the longest seven (or actually eight) days of my life thus far. Our block decided to close five years of academic torture with a laser tag game at Tiendesittas. Epic.


MSE 2010 blockmates (M1 and V (?)) with Dr. Joe Diaz.

  1. March started with final council transition meetings and org year-enders.
  2. I joined the annual research meet in Ateneo, Interlinks 6.0. Did a poster here with my research partner Steven along with our other blockmates and their respective theses. We basically showed to people from the industry how wonderful Atenean research is. Or at least that was what we were instructed to do, haha I kid. Well, March 5 ended with me completing my clearance at last, graduation here I come!
  3. March 6, my term as STC Head finally expired. It was sad to graduate from the council, along with eight wonderful presidents and a secretary-treasurer all of whom I’ve put special places in my heart. As much as it was my dream to have people grow under my term, I grew with them. I learned a lot from them. And thank you to the current council for that wonderful send-off! Happy stressing days are now gone. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  4. I actually have a third graduation — my Minor in Japanese Commencement. ๆ—ฅๆœฌ็ฉ‚ใจๆ—ฅๆœฌใฎๆ–‡ๅŒ–ใฏใจใฆใ‚‚้ข็™ฝใ„ใ€‚I’ve always been interested in the Japanese language and culture ever since I was young to the point I wanted to study there for my PhD! That’s why I got 18 units of Japanese courses. Oh, did I know that my dream was about to shift gears slightly. Still, I enjoyed minoring, one of the best decisions I made in the Ateneo. After all, I’m not yet enrolled abroad right, who knows? ๐Ÿ™‚
  5. MSE thesis approved and bound! Second graduation was as sure as Jesus’ second coming now!
  6. Began a summer internship at One CORE (Committed Organization for Real-Life Education) Success, Inc.. Technically, this was my first job.
  7. Second Blue Roast for me! Good job to the organizers, it was WAAAAYYY better than my last year’s. Up Dharma Down, Itchyworms, and my favorite Sugarfree for the win! I could’ve given you my blue rose, dear, though.
  8. And of course, the highlight of March 2010 was my SECOND COLLEGE GRADUATION. Five years, two degrees, one God thank to praise. Thank you Jesus, for my BS Chemistry last year, and for my BS Materials Science and Engineering, Minor in Japanese Studies this year! Couldn’t have done it without your guidance and the awesome friends you gave me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I take it back, graduating for the second time is the BEST FEELING EVER!


Poster presentation for the 25th PCC and 5th ISMC.

  1. April was mostly dedicated to my internship work at One CORE. Here I had an experience of how great it is to be a life coach (though in a loose sense I was not really one). It reminded me of the joys of student council — of how reaching out and shaping lives of people can mean tremendous joy. Thank you Ma’am Pia Acevedo and Ma’am Pia Magalona for the wonderful experience! ๐Ÿ˜€
  2. Easter beach outing at Bataan with family!
  3. I got to attend my third ever international, locally-hosted chemistry seminar/gathering ever. Too bad the 25th Philippine Chemistry Congress (in tandem with the 5th International Symposium on Microscale Chemistry) did not take me out of Luzon like 24th PCC did (Bohol) but the Subic Bay Metropolitan Area was made awesome by the company of my blockmates (well some of them who were sent along with me by their thesis advisers) and other cool people. Yeah, we attended seminars and all, but most of the day, we just did photo-ops, rode Go Karts,ย rappelled, and enjoyed cable rides and ziplines.
  4. COA Central Board 0910 Mt. Taal climb/trek! Well, only four of us were able to go (me, Miggy, Aika, and Claudia). Yet we braved the high lunchtime sun rays and made it to the top of the world’s smallest mountain (which has a looong rocky route). The adventure did not stop as we were going home — we were caught up in a traffic which lasted for five hours. Still we turned that horrible situation into something fun.
  5. Remember those three job offers I talked about earlier? April was the month I ditched all of them. Yeah, I could have been employed last week of April, but upon contemplation, I just realized that I was not meant for two of the three for the reason that I just don’t find a fit there. The third one, I decided to postpone for the meantime.


STC Board 0910 beach road trip at Laiya, Batangas!

  1. And because I miss them so much, I started May with an STC Board 0910 beach road trip to Laiya, Batangas! Well only, me, Zel, Mei, Nic, and Meki were able to go but we got a surprise kidnap victim — Mina! Like that of the COA CB road trip, we were stuck in a horrible traffic for almost five hours, yet we just enjoyed each other’s company.
  2. My One CORE stint ended. It was great to meet and form new leaders, yet this was not really the course I took in college. So there, May marks the first month of my unemployment.
  3. National elections: automated. At last, Philippines! Thank you Sen. Gordon! I voted for Gibo Teodoro but he lost. Well, I’m not giving up hope on Noynoy Aquino, alright, but he better do his job well. His track record, after all, looks unimpressive. Plus the many girls he dated/dates/will be dating. Oh well, at least, voting is a small way of nation-building and I’m glad I took part in it.
  4. Review school for the Chemist Licensure Exams began during the latter half of May. Here I met new people again. This time outside Ateneo. While they say that the world of chemists is small, might as well take the opportunity to expand my network, right? Who cares about reviewing, when cramming spells wonders? Haha.


Cebu SkyWalk Extreme!

  1. Not much activity was done during June really (I miss my OrSem TNT stint!) except that we had our regular trip home to Cebu. This time, we went to the beautiful Camotes Island (I can’t believe that I’ve never been there, and I call myself a Bisaya (or at least half, haha.) We (or only me) also went to the new SkyWalk Extreme ride in uptown Cebu City where a walk to the highest heights of the Queen City of the South await the brave of heart. Of course I took the challenge, knowing that it was impossible for me to die there. Not even the slightest possibility.
  2. Oh, I fixed my PRC documents. This is it, I’m taking the ChemBoards! Good thing I did not falter in my decision.
  3. Bored as I was during that month, I just went to Ateneo to pester my faculty friends, haha. And then July came with a surprise of a lifetime.


UAAP73 Men's Basketball (Seniors) Round 1, Game 1: Ateneo vs. FEU.

  1. July 1 marked the first day of work as a chemist in Pascual Laboratories, Inc.! Thank you, Doc Abe Pascual, thank you Sir Regie Alto for accepting me. Well, I was not yet licensed then haha.
  2. UAAP (University Athletics Association of the Philippines) 73 is on! GO ATENEO ONE BIG FIGHT! Watched the first ever Ateneo game (versus FEU) with some of my STC friends. Too bad we lost. But hey, we got a picture from Fabilioh.com! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh but FEU, that was just the beginning. You better watch out… And you better cry! Hahaha meanieeeee!
  3. Renewed my passport! Hooray for the efficiency of DFA! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can ย now travel abroad again!
  4. Okay, so I am gaining weight. I was stuck in a two-orders-of-sisig-per-day tempting diet to the point that my waist already expanded from 24″ to 32″! That’s of course on top of the alcohol I consumed during that period. Well, some people say I look good with this new weight, so I just started with an exercise routine to trim down some extra belly.


Co-employees at Pascual Lanoratories, Inc.

  1. August was the month that my former instructor, good friend, and wise life mentor Ian Ken Dimzon left for PhD studies in Germany. Dude, if you are reading this, thank you for every lesson you taught me. I’ll never forget them! See you soon abroad, and when we finally settle here in the Philippines, I know we both have our PhD titles already. ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. UAAP madness stalled me from reviewing for my ChemBoards. But no complains here. It was worth my time to line up as early as 4:00 AM in front of Ateneo just for those alumni tickets! ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. August 21 marked the debut of my beloved little sister! Happy eighteen, Kim! ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Pascuallab Passion Awards 2009 — the very first company event I attended. And I was so inspired to witness the awarding of such passionate people. I want to be like them! I want to work like them! ๐Ÿ™‚


UAAP73 Men's Basketball (Seniors) Round 1, Game 1: Ateneo vs. FEU.

  1. So my September (7-8) began with torture from ChemBoards, but we received the good news exactly one day after. YES I, TOGETHER WITH ALL OF MY BLOCKMATES WHO TOOK IT PASSED THE CHEMIST LICENSURE EXAMINATIONS. Yes, we are certified, licensed chemists now. Hang on to your beakers folks, we’re gonna be legen –wait for it– DARY!!! Haha. Congratulations to my friends Elvis, Haydee, and Norbert for making it to the Top Ten (10, 7, 10 respectively).
  2. And September (as in exactly Sept. 30) ended (yes, that’s how fast it rolled!) with a THREE-PEAT championship of the Ateneo Blue Eagles in UAAP73’s Men’s basketball (Seniors) division. It was a tough journey towards the Championship for this season’s second-seeded teams but the big boys from Katipunan demolished FEU far greater than how they were beaten by them during the eliminations. Good job, Mr. 100%, Coach Norman Black! I want a four-peat next year! Oh ย yeah, the Blue Eaglets also got a three-peat championship. ๐Ÿ™‚ RAPSA ATENISTA! GO ATENEO ONE BIG FIGHT!
  3. And I have a new niece/goddaughter. Say hello to the world, beautiful Zoey! ๐Ÿ™‚


The waaaaaaaves of San Juan, La Union: AWESOMESAUCE.

  1. First thing done on October was to go back to Cebu to give thanks to Mama Mary for her prayers during our ChemBoards.
  2. October 15, before this beloved country of God and together with my friends, I took a vow as a licensed chemist. It’s now official and I just got my professional license. This is it! Time to give all my best for the progress of local research!
  3. Surfed my heart to San Juan, La Union with Mei and Nic. Well, it was supposed to be an STC Board 0910 long weekend get-away, but everybody was suddenly unavailable (guys, next time!). I go to La Union on a regular basis with my family but I’ve rediscovered the beauty of this province with my friends. ๐Ÿ™‚ You rock, San Juan Surf School!
  4. Tropang TKG (Tiktik-Kalawang Gang) all-nighter reunion before October ended! Awesome friends. High school is the part of my life that I will never ever forget. Thanks for the night guys!


Starbucks Katipunan Cheer Party.

  1. November always begins with us Gatmaitans going up to La Union. So this was my second trip to La Union this year. Happy birthday to my nephew CJ! ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Harry Potter 7.1 on the big screen! On its first screening day. I am so a Potterhead. Ever since 5th grade!
  3. Since the Yuletide was a month away then, we started with our party performances for Pascuallab’s Christmas Party. We were assigned to perform S01E06 (Vitamin D) and S01E20 (Theatricality) of Glee (as it was the theme). I met new people again (or at least talk to them, establish bonds) as our research lab is in UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub while our company’s operations divisions (ergo, most of the employees) are in EDSA. Great people, great stories, great times. I always looked forward to our practices actually. Oh, we new hires also had to perform something, and we were assigned S02E02 (Britney-Brittany). Great people in that group too.
  4. And there was the Starbucks Katipunan Cheer Party. Bonded with my co-chemist, Ate Arlyn and her cutesey daughter Laela! Shucks, I want a child already. Haha.
  5. Oh, overtime works all over November weekends! Wonderful research assistants! New friends again!


Some of Pascual Laboratories, Inc.'s new hires for 2010 with Sir Jappy Pascual.

  1. December started with me moving in to my Uncle Tony Gatmaitan’s place in La Vista. I love this place, I’ve been visiting him and his family regularly, since I was a kid!
  2. AteneoChem golden alumni homecoming! Met lots of inspiring people. I am so motivated to follow their footsteps.
  3. Ecorun at Taguig! It’s been a while since I joined in a fun run. Good thing it comes with a cause this time. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Block M/M1 2009/2010 Christmas Party. Year 6! Blockmates are super awesome.
  5. Pascuallab Christmas Party!ย Glee-inspired theme. Our group went all out Lady Gaga, as this was the one assigned to us. As for myself, I became Kurt for the night, stealing all the audience’s attention. Needless to say, we won first place. ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact, we bagged all prizes (best in costume, etc.)
  6. Year-ender Tropang TKG Party. It feels so great to end the year after being with these people. We’ve bonded twice this year, after our busy professional (yeheeeeesss!) schedules, at long last. AND ALL NINE OF US ARE PRESENT! Deu, Niรฑo, Adriane, Oliver, Nel, Junel, Joman, and Meinard. We’re gonna rock 2011 more! Simbabae ulit! ๐Ÿ™‚
  7. Oh btw, completed Simbang Gabi! For the third year in a row! Wonder if that qualifies me for three wishes (so I can wish two more after those which I made?)
  8. Other parties galore. Yeah, I love to eat! That’s why I’m countering my already enormous belly and large double chin with a solid exercise routine. Naaah, it’s the bonding with other people which matters. Oh, but exercise matters too!
  9. Turned 22 this year. Now, people that’s read as “twenteen-two.” Soooo, I’m still a teenager, haha. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ah, the pangs of adulthood, I can feel them already. I barely got hold of my thireenth month pay and Christmas bonus!
  10. And as usual, there’s the annual Gatmaitan clan New Year’s Party this December 31 evening.

All in all, 2010 was a big transition year for me. From student to professional. From stick-thin to fatso-loco. New disciplines were developed, new friendship and bonds were established, new beginnings started. All wonderful.

Sadly, as the year draws to a close, my ultimate wish last year — for my restless heart to find answers to its Everest of questions — did not fully materialize. Come 2011 I promise to totally get a grip of myself and run the fastest I can until my feet hurt. My biggest dream is, after all, a moving target. It’s now or never. It’s either I snag it or I die trying.

A meaningful 2011 to everyone! Let’s all fill our bellies with that delectable Media Noche!


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