Category Archives: Chem Camp 2013

“Don’t Count The Days, Make The Days Count” – How I Spent My Pre-Grad Week

1 year left, 4 months, 2 months, 3 weeks, 2 weeks and then 1 week and then finally 1 day and then, here it is today, the day of graduation.

They told us not to count the days but to make the days count. And this past week, I tried to just forget about everything else and try to spend each moment with the people who have made this past school year, actually, my entire high school life a surreal and memorable one.

This past week was filled with different outings, hang-outs, reunions and events that can actually in a way sum up what high school has been about for me. Even the 3 day graduation practices we had were moments I got to spend with my friends talking about past high school memories and at the same time, future plans for not only this summer but for college as well.

Basketball – First time in a long time

Right after graduation practice ended, a few friends and I decided to hit the court and play some ball. I honestly wasn’t even sure why I was playing when I haven’t even gotten surgery for my torn ACL. Yet even if my movement was very limited, I still enjoyed myself so much as I ran the court, shouted taunts, dribbled that ball and took a shot.

Because basketball will always be part of me! Missed this game so much!

Because basketball will always be part of me! Missed this game so much!

Simply put, I was reminded of all the days I spent shooting hoops with my friends and playing those full-court games with them. I was reminded of the beauty of basketball and why I loved this game so much. And maybe the biggest reason why is the shared bond you get to build with the people you play with.

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2013 – A year of lows, A year of highs, A YEAR TO REMEMBER!

I sit here wondering how Christmas could fly by so quickly this year that I didn’t even feel the Christmas vibes at all. Then suddenly, it’s just a few hours before the start of the new year then it’s already the new year, yet how did I spend this day and the last few days at that? Glued to my laptop, drafting up essay after essay in search for the perfect combination of words that would encapsulate my first 18 years of living as I wrote my personal statements for college applications.

I guess that as this year comes to a close and another new year starts, it’s just right that I actually take a break first from finishing all my College applications and pause for a moment to look back at what an incredible year it has been.

A year of extreme lows and extreme highs, a year like no other indeed :)

A year of extreme lows and extreme highs, a year like no other indeed 🙂

Who would’ve imagined that my lowest moment would catapult me into a much bigger world where I got to venture into new countries and exchange stories with newfound friends?

Honestly, the year 2013 has been my most memorable year so far. From experiencing a right of passage in Prom to attending the Ateneo Chemistry Camp to all the SAT review sessions to tearing my ACL to joining Debate to writing for Inquirer to starting my own business to all the other experiences and moments that I enjoyed with both new and old friends alike, this year truly has been a year like no other and I’m glad, I can one day look back at my blog thankful for every single moment of this year.

2013 truly has been one hell of a ride. As I scroll down right now and look through my blog posts, I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I remember all the laughter and the tears this year has brought me.

Yet in all these moments were silver linings that have ultimately made me realize that anything is possible in this world for life is what we make it – something I will keep in mind in the new year, which will hopefully be just as memorable or even more. Ultimately, no matter how dim and hopeless a moment can be, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel for things do work out for the better!

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Fleeting Moments, Eternal Memories – A Summer to Remember :)

Looking back, Summer 2013 was such a surreal and amazing journey in itself. It was the best summer I ever had and definitely one of the most memorable 3 months in my life.

It a was a summer full of first times and new experiences. It was a summer full of smiles, laughter and tears. It was a summer that brought out the best in me. I truly learned so much about myself and all the high and low experiences I went through this past summer helped me see life in so many different perspectives.

Summer 2013 number 2

These are just a few of the many experiences I had this summer but these were definitely the highlights that stood out. These are moments that I will never want to forget. These are moments if I had an opportunity, I’d like to experience once more. These are moments that changed my life in so many different ways.

My summer just wouldn’t have been as surreal and as phantasmagorical if it weren’t for these moments. Moments that I want to eternalize, and moments I’ll forever look back to when summer 2013 is mentioned. So without further ado, here are the 8 highlights of my summer.

1. Anvaya Bonding withthe Backyardigans – March 10-11

There’s nothing like going with your friends to a beautiful resort to relax, have fun, try out new things, and off-course enjoy each other’s company!


2. Europe Trip – March 24 – April 8 

Every country has its own unique culture and exploring these countries and immersing yourself in these cultures is simply a breathtaking experience. When in another country, don’t be afraid to explore, to try out new things, to take pictures, to buy souvenirs, to eat exotic food and off-course to enjoy the culture!


3. HKUST campus visit – April 10

This was honestly the first time I visited a University and really explored it and man, I was amazed and blown away. HKUST had such a beautiful campus that I actually wanted to stay right there and start studying. No joke, the atmosphere was just that fervent and inspiring. I honestly can’t wait for college!


4.  Ateneo Chem Camp – April 15 – May 3

This was arguably the most memorable experience of this summer. I learned so many new things not only about Chemistry but about life. Chem Camp made me realize that learning can be fun and that knowledge truly is power. The importance of learning, curiosity, perspective and the way we see things are things that I will forever carry with me for the rest of my life.


I also met so many amazing, vibrant and talented individuals that in a span of 3 weeks became friends that made Chem Camp such a surreal and unbelievable experience. They were friends I shared so many smiles, laughter, joy, and in the end, tears with. Chem campers whom I will never ever forget for the memories we shared will always be one of the most transcending and surreal moments of my life! Once a Chem Camper, always a Chem Camper!

5. Xavier Basketball Summer Varsity Training – April 15 – May 8

My senior year stint with the team may have been a short lived but without a doubt, Xavier Basketball will always have a special place in my heart. All the grueling practices, bonding moments, tough losses and fulfilling wins are things that I will forever remember.

I’m really thankful that I got to be part of the team one last time and it was really one hell of a journey. It was also such a honor and blessing to be part of a team of such amazing individuals who strived each day for one goal. My basketball career not have turned out the way I expected but the values I learned, the memories I gained and the bonds I formed will be things that I will treasure for the rest of my life.


6. Tearing my ACL – May 8 

One of the lowest and at the same time highest moments of my life. Tearing my ACL was really an eye opening experience that truly changed my perspective in life. At first I was really devastated, but then I realized that things could be worse and that I am still very lucky. I really learned how to appreciate the little things and be thankful for my blessings.

Everything happens for a reason and tearing my ACL may just have been and blessing in disguise from God and a chance to start a new and try out new things.

7. Hands On Manila Orientation and Kindness Revolution 

Joining Hands On Manila was definitely one of the best choices I’ve made this summer. Hands On Manila opened the door for me in so many ways and is an outlet for me to share my blessings with the less fortunate through volunteerism. I also realized that we are all gifted individuals and the best way to use these gifts and talents of ours is to pass it on by volunteering.


8. Reviewing and taking the SAT – April – June 1 

Reviewing for the SAT was a completely different journey in itself. I’ll admit it, reviewing for the SAT was a really arduous and tedious process but looking back, it was definitely a memorable experience. It truly was a test of hard work, perseverance, critical thinking and discipline. It was the hardest I ever studied for a test and I really dedicated a lot of my time and effort in preparing myself.

Towards the end, I was actually enjoying reviewing and answering practice tests and seeing my score improve each time. Reviewing for the SAT at one point became a habit of mine. You’d see me bring around my vocabulary notebook everywhere I went. Those truly were fun times and no matter what score I got in that test, the build up to the testing day and all those hardcore review sessions will always be fond memories of mine.


My summer just wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for these 8 highlights. As summer 2013 comes to a close, I’m glad to say that I made the most out of this summer. It truly has been a summer filled with fleeting moments turned into eternal memories, a summer to remember indeed!


The Last Lecture (Chem Camp 2013) – “This is REAL LIFE!”

It’s been a week now since Chem Camp ended but everything I learned still remains in my heart and soul.

Something that I’d like to share with the rest of the world are a few lessons that I learned from the thought provoking “last lecture” in Chem Camp by our professor, Sir Henson Yu. IMG_2534

1. Be Curious. Ask Questions. Sometimes, the questions you ask are more important than the answers you find. 

In a world where everything is so easily available and where almost everything is “google-able”, we have become complacent and our imagination has been stunted. Gone are the days where in we would be curious, go out of our way to ask questions, interview people, or even experiment to find out.

Today, everything is handed to us on a silver platter but in order for us to continue progressing and in order to succeed in life, we must go back to the basics. Life itself is a question and it’s up to us to explore it ourselves and find our own answers for that’s what living life is all about!

2. Look for something you will want to tirelessly know more about….be it Chemistry or not.

We only have so little time in this world. We don’t have enough time to master every single thing. This is why we have to follow our hearts and pursue what we love and are passionate about. When you are passionate about something, even the hardest of tasks and what may seem like tedious work to others is FUN for you.

Reaching master level in anything takes time, hard work, dedication, perseverance and most of all heart. Nothing in life is easy and mastering just one thing can take a lifetime. Don’t let this discourage you though from living your dream for anything is possible as long as you give it your all.

3. School is not about getting a good job. It’s a perspective. A world view. 

This statement really hit home for me and really encapsulated what Chem Camp was about. Throughout my high school life, I’ve always questioned as to why I even go to school for I couldn’t see even half the lessons being applicable in real life.

I always asked myself, “How do I apply this in my real life?” I never really found out the answer up until last Friday during the last lecture of Sir Henson.

His response to that question, “This is the REAL LIFE!” Going to school and learning about these things are the real life. It’s more than just about memorizing all those facts; it’s about being cultured, being humane.

If you think education is all about getting a good job, then just go to a vocational school. It’s really a matter of perspective and seeing things from a different perspective.

One of my favorite quotes from Sir Henson that reemphasizes this is: “A pessimist sees a glass half empty, an optimist sees it half full, while a Chemist sees it always full, half in the vapor phase, half in the liquid phase.”

Chem Camp helped me see learning from a different light. I realized that learning can and should be fun. It truly depends on how you approach it for “Life is what you make it.”


4. Using knowledge is power

The more things you know, the more powerful you are. There are so many ways how you can use knowledge and it’s incredible how unique and complex the world is. There are a million things out there that we don’t know and are just waiting to be learned. Obviously, the more you know, the better of you are.

Life is unpredictable. Right now, you may think that what you just learned won’t help you or benefit you whatsoever but a year from now, 5 years from now, or even 10 years from now, you never know, that simple piece of knowledge that you thought was useless could just save your life or better yet, save the life of others.

5. With great power comes great responsibility

This line has been repeated thousands of times for it simply states the truth. We are the youth, the future of the world. The knowledge we gain from school and from our everyday experiences empower us and equip us to be able to make a difference in the world in the near future.

How we use this knowledge, however, is in our hands. We can choose to sit about and do nothing, or we can choose to make the most out of our lives and what we have learned by starting a change, making an impact and quite possibly, leaving an everlasting legacy.


After 3 surreal weeks in Chem Camp, the last lecture of Sir Henson was the icing on the cake.

Thank you again Sir for everything you’ve taught us during the 3 weeks in Chem Camp but most especially, thank you for making a difference in our lives! You’ve definitely left your mark in us Chem Campers!

CHEM CAMP 2013 ❤



Chem Camp 2013 Theme Song – Little Wonders by Rob Thomas

One song in particular that I played during our sink concerts in Chem Camp that really got everyone emotional and sentimental was the song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas. There probably isn’t a better song out there that can sum up the entity of the experience in a few lines. The lyrics really encapsulates what an experience it has been for most of us.


Here is a copy of the my favorite lines of the song:

In the end we will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made in these small hours

These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate            

Time falls away but these small hours

These small hours still remain



For the Music video:

The bolded part is the part that really struck a lot of us. Most of us, going into the first day of Chem Camp, did not know what to expect but as the hours, days and weeks flew by, a countless amount of little but meaningful wonders definitely took place! It’s amazing how one “Chem Camp” can bond and bring together unique students with a myriad of different personalities coming from such diverse backgrounds.



Chem Camp may be over but all the little wonders, all the twists and turns of fate, and all those small hours will definitely, without a doubt, still remain! ❤


Top Eight Reasons Why I Miss CHEM CAMP – Part 1 – “In the end we will only just remember how it feels”

It’s monday once again, the start of the week, and surprisingly, I’m actually starting the day off by blogging. You know why? I MISS CHEM CAMP! I’m suppose to be seated in the lecture hall right now laughing at the comical jokes of our hipster Professor but Chem Camp is sadly over. 😦 I guess there’s no better way to spend this time than to remember and write about the reasons why I miss Chem Camp!


8. THE VENUE – The Ateneo Campus had such a serene and vibrant feel to it. From the towering trees, to the wide grasslands, to the multiple buildings and halls, Ateneo just had a different feel to it. It really started to feel just like home especially after all the memories that were made in there!


7. MY BODY CLOCK – At first, I was really skeptical about waking up early to attend Chem Camp but as I got to know the Chem Campers and as the weeks flew by, I actually started waking up early for I started to look forward to Chem Camp. This is why today (Monday) feels so wrong that even if I woke up early, there’s no more Chem Camp!! :((


6. THE LECTURES – Although there were obviously some mundane and vapid lectures, more often than not, the professors who handled the Camp were able to keep it interesting by the use of jokes, mind blowing facts and interesting stories. At the same time, the topics they chose to teach us were also very practical and could easily be seen in real life. Topics like crime scene investigation, sugars in the food we eat, and a lot more.


5. THE EXPERIMENTS – I’ve never really been an enthusiast of doing experiments since I find it really tedious and banal but the experiments in Chem Camp helped me see things from a different light. The practicality and unique nature of most of the experiments made me feel really accomplished after I completed each one. From the tie-dying of the shirt, to the making of bouncing putty to the making of lip-stick, I really did learn a lot of things and at the same time, have a lot of stories to tell! Sadly though, I wasn’t able to do the experiment that I was looking forward to the most, Ice Cream Making, since I had to leave early on that day for a game. 😦


4. SINK CONCERTS – No party is complete without the music! Playing music while doing the experiments really helped us connect, bond and stay vibrant and fervent all throughout the procedure. It truly is perplexing how music can bring people together and just make the experience so much more emotional and meaningful! Towards the latter part of Chem Camp, I made sure to play songs that were full of meaning and really made a lot of us realize how much fun we’ve had in Chem Camp.


One song in particular that I played that really got everyone emotional and sentimental was the song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas. The lyrics really summed up what an experience it has been for most of us.


“In the end we will only just remember how it feels”

So that rounds up the first 5 five reasons as to why I miss Chem Camp! The top 3 reasons will be coming soon!


Chem Camp Day 2 – Seeing Things From A Different Light

IMG_2356Another day at Chem Camp and another day of learning and seeing things from a different light. This is one of the things that I’ve really learned from the first two days of Chem camp, to see things from a different perspective. Like our teacher said, everyone sees things differently. For instance, an ordinary person would see a chair as a chair, while a chemist would see a chair as a set of molecules bonded together.

It truly is crazy how everyone sees things differently but at the same time, that’s also what makes life so beautiful and what allows us to grow as persons. At times, we are so boxed in that we forget to see the light. It never hurts to listen to what others have to say for they are human to and they have a reason for their beliefs.

Chem Camp so far has really helped me appreciate life more and the beauty of the different things around us. I can’t help but be inspired how chemistry is present everywhere around us and how it has led to the creation of countless things that we use in our everyday life. For instance, the ink of permanent markers are made from non-polar materials while the ink of washable markers are made from polar materials. The secret behind this is that like attracts like so since water is a polar solvent it can wash away the ink of washable markers.

Our teacher was also really good in giving analogies and relating chemistry concepts to real life. One of my favorite comparisons of his was the one about bonds. He mentioned how the more bonds carbon molecules have, the harder to break them apart. The truth can also be said about bonds in real life. The more bonding times and moments we spend with friends, the harder it is to break us apart.

Aside from these real life lessons and applications, Chem Camp has also given me the opportunity to do experiments that I’ve never even done before. For today, we had a blue printing and tie-dying experiment. Although these may sound really simple, it was really fun going through the process and at the same time bringing out the child in me as we tie-dyed our shirts with different colors.

It’s not everyday that you get to be with teachers and friends who see Chemistry in such a different light from the rest of the world. I am really fortunate and thankful to God that I was given the opportunity to be part of this Chem Camp. I use to be really skeptical about the importance of Chemistry but I think I’ve seen the light. Everything truly does have a purpose and maybe, my hard work during third year in Chemistry actually paid-off and resulted in my being invited to this camp!

“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” -Tim Burton