WEARING my smudgy make-up and French curls from the 26th Gawad Ustetika awards night, I packed my luggage and went on a sudden nine-hour trip to a place known as the destination of adventurers—Sagada—without knowing what lay ahead. Banaue’s frost greeted us after the long bus ride. It would be almost impossible to survive without the aid of a thick coat, a winter cap, knitted gloves, and a scarf (at least for tourists like us who are used to the tropical climate of the metropolis). But the breathtaking scenery of the rice terraces alone would make one doubt if he was actually awake or dreaming. From then on, I equated Sagada with Seventh Heaven.

But the journey to heaven is not a walk in the park because everyone needs to earn his ranks first before reaping the reward, just as the Israelites suffered immensely before reaching the land flowing with milk and honey.

Meanwhile, they say a trip to Baguio won’t be complete without the Kennon Road experience. Sagada also has something roughly similar: the Halsema highway, which links Baguio to Sagada. We took another route out of necessity but it was roughly the same dizzying ride.

Although we missed the sunset at Echo Valley as well as the sunrise in Kiltepan Tower, there is one thing I am proud of—I managed to get out of the Sumaguing Cave alive. For my friends, it was an ordinary adventure, but for me, it was a total struggle. In a situation that required us to go down the rocks using a rope, a local guide told me to put my trust in the rope and everything would be fine.

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Out of fright, I cried. I wanted to tell the guide that I would not entrust my life on a rope. I later asked if there was a shortcut. But the guide said there was none and I was forced to entrust my safety on the rope and my friends pledged to help me. Also, I prayed to God.

Faith, like adrenaline rush, pushes us to perform beyond our limits, turns the impossible to something realistic, and gives us the backbone to fight for what we believe in, no matter how hard the odds.

Whoever believes in misa de gallo or simbang gabi know what I mean. Although the primary premise of dawn masses is the preparation for Jesus’ second coming, many devotees still carries with them the traditional belief that their wish would come true if they successfully completed the nine mornings.

This same faith turned underdogs to winners in the ongoing ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup in Hanoi as the Philippines broke the hearts of the Vietnamese crowd with a 2-0 shocker against the defending champions, courtesy of goals from Chris Greatwich and Phil Younghusband. Cheers for the Filipinos!

***

A few weeks ago, I, together with other UST students, was surprised when security guards at Padre Noval gate who saw us in our jogging attires, reprimanded us, because apparently, there was a new order limiting the jogging time from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. In addition, the memorandum said the joggers should pay P150 for a jogger’s I.D., renewable every year.

Honestly, I haven’t seen the memo personally, but my blockmates took a picture of it posted at the P. Noval gate. What was appalling is that the conforme was not even signed and the date of implementation was left blank.

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Nonetheless, there were still non-UST athletes who continuously do their rounds at night without wearing their jogger’s I.D., which is a violation of the No. 4 rule in the memo, “Wear your jogger’s I.D. while inside the campus.”

I understand that authorities wanted to live up to their responsibility of keeping us safe and secured ,at least inside the campus. But the UST administration should practice consistency in implementing rules and since ignorance of the law excuses no one, there should also be a great effort in making the rules known to the public so as not to surprise them.

Merry Christmas and a grace-filled New Year to all!

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