July 2, 2010

Good Morning Araneta! (Part 2)

There’s a passage, and from those passages are rumbling noises. We entered one hole from the wall, and as I ascend to the GA seats, the noise becomes eminent. It was MAYHEM!!! It was WILD!!! Pure energy is filling in Araneta! It was really, really noisy, and everything was like going wild as College Wars is about to begin. We hurried up, for chairs are precious resources at that time that could quickly be gone. Unfortunately, there are no more chairs available in the GA, so we have to stand at the back.

The view was just awesome. Well, I thought that I’ll be looking at dots. In fact, the centerstage is not that far. The dome is BIG, and when I say big, I mean it, it’s BIG! The ceiling is huge, and I’m running out of synonyms for the word ‘big’. The area is really wide, and adding to the thrill of being in the Araneta is the energy out of the competing schools. Everyone was cheering, yelling and beating drums, and with nine competing schools, the heat of the war is just burning the whole coliseum. Nine bands, each with hardly-beaten battalion of drums, and nine squads, each with an army of cheerers and yellers that has their vocal cords trained to scream out a hundred decibels, add to that nine student bodies, all screaming out their school yells and cheers, all in an effort to be the loudest, and therefore, the most supportive among the rest.

“Arriba! Arriba! Arriba Letranista!”

Everyone is on high, as everyone is cheering against one another. For minutes, it was like that, an endless exchange of drum beats, yells and cheers.

The lights closed, and everyone screamed! Whoooo! The show is about to start. As a freshmen from the province, the excitement is overwhelming, and I can’t help to stare at the spotlights swimming around the whole seating capacity of the Dome. Someone spoke, and introduced the hosts.. wth! It was Iya Villania along with KC Montero. (or was that JC? I don’t know, but I am certain of his last name.)

Of course, with that, everyone screamed, specially the girls in the audience: they constituted 80% of the total sound energy released.

The opening ceremonies was prepared on a scale I rarely see. Though it was a little bit biased over the side of the San Sebastian (because they are the host school), I found the opening really great.

Who wouldn’t call it great if one will see Kyla, Jay-R, John Prats and Billy Crawford singing and dancing on a free live show? Hahaha!

“Let the Games Begin!” shouts Iya and KC.

The nine colleges and universities included just yelled out their energy after hearing it, and the opening ceremonies concluded. Now, on to the first game.

As the utility team is removing the set-up for the hardcourt to be revealed, we went to some vacant seats left after the opening ceremonies. Some schools already went home, for they do not have their teams competing on the later games. At last, after two hours of standings, we sat.

Now, I get why bottled water is not allowed. It is because they sell items here at skyrocketing prices. You can purchase a glass of iced tea for P60-, and a hotdog sandwich for P60- too. Very affordable, right?

I am anticipating the removal of the black mats. I am longing to see the logo of “the Big Dome” in the middle of the court. I only see it in TV, and I cannot wait to see it personally.

One by one, as the rectangular sheets were removed, bit by bit, the logo is revealed. A minute or two after, at last, the long wait is over. The long seen trademark of Araneta that was once just on my television screen, is now just a couple of meters away.

Moving on, the games is about to start. The line-up is introduced, and as each player is called, some cheering squad is ready to yell out their throats for their team. Unfortunately, our star player is not around, and I only knew about it after the game.

For the first time ever in my entire life, I was thrilled by a basketball game.The “Arriba Spirit”, as they call it here in Letran, comes alive when competing with other schools. Wahahaha! I was also screaming my throat, larynx, Adam’s apple, alveoli, lungs and bronchi like hell every time there’s a steal, a rebound, an attempt to shoot, a fastbreak, a tight defense and a foul – in short, every time!

I was raising my bag in mid-air everytime we make a point, and we were screaming cheers and yells against Baste all the time. “Beat Baste! Arriba Letran!” became the battlecry of Letranites throughout the game. Maruz, my female seatmate, is also going wild beside me. She was screaming as if her life is on the line. haha :)) The game was tight, with Baste winning the first and third quarter. The fourth quarter was one thrilling quarter, for we are in an exchange of leads. Letran will lead, Baste will tie, then Baste will lead and so on. It was one hell of a game.

It is really enthralling to see half of Araneta, all wearing blue shirts, standing and raising their hands every time the Knights score in a shot. The feeling of having a team to support, and a school to support really sank deep in to me. Everyone was just screaming in joy and boastfulness everytime Letran scores, and our band just starts the beat in and we scream some of our endless cheers. And so is Baste, the yellow army just screams out on every score that is added to their team, accompanied by some drum beat and cheers.

The last minutes of the game were the most exciting, as in I watched half of it standing, in thrill of all the three point shot attempts, and on dismay at the misses, for we are trailing shortly behind Baste. The last seconds of the game were marked with desperation, with Baste gaining a firm lead with the successive free throws.

To conclude it, the Letran Knights lost by six points to the defending champion, San Sebastian Stags. We are defeated, but the experience I gained has just purchased me a victory in my life.

THE END. hahaha :D what a nonsense ending XD

Good Morning Araneta! (Part 1)

Wahaha! And this is my first blog post about my college life.

Araneta. Araneta. Being inside of this Big Dome was just a dream back then. Mentioned on our history books, being the venue of major concerts, and being the past home court of PBA, who would not want to be in it? With a said capacity of around 20,000, I surely want to be one of the fraction of a percent of the population that could get their butts in to sit in one of the chairs.

It was our Theology1N class when someone from the Office of the Chairman of the College of Business Administration and Accountancy (CBAA) knocked at the door.

“Scholars, scholars,” he said.

The hot topic back then was our requirement in P.E. to watch the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) opening ceremonies at Araneta Coliseum, with tickets priced at P50, (and that was the cheapest.) Good thing, we, the special, so loved scholars of this institution, were exempted at PE and NSTP, for we have review classes for Advanced Accounting to attend to, in exchange for the grade that they’ll give in PE and NSTP.

I have no plans to go, but I want to. But I do not want to spend P50 for a general admission ticket, which seems to me like a place so far far away from the centerstage that we can only view moving dots, where in fact, they are a whole cheering squad. So what is the sense of spending P50. The other tickets are priced at three digits, and with that sum, I considered it a luxury.

“Bibigyan tayong ticket,” my co-scholar said.

That was the talk of the town during our lunch break, that scholars will be given free tickets as sponsored by the VP for Academic Affairs, who was also in charge of bringing us in into the scholarship. He is the father figure in the scholarship program. Some have already received their tickets, while I have little interest in getting one, because I never wanted to waste fare and effort to go to Araneta only to watch dancing dots.

“Pupunta ako!” everyone confirmed.

So as not to be an outcast, I forced myself to join. On the other hand, it is another experience of riding the MRT (or LRT, I still do not know which is which.) and another new landmark to go to.

We got our tickets, and everyone was complaining that it was just only a GA ticket. (GA- General Admission). The second year scholars however, were reminiscing their freshmen moments at Araneta. They are also at GA, and they can remember the sound of drums banging their head like hell. GA was the noisiest part of Araneta as they described, because you’ll sit “with the whole band beside”. “Masaya!” they commented. Though sometimes, what is happy for them is sometimes annoying and uncomfortable to me. Anyways, gotta give it a try.

The next morning was an ordinary one. I have to roll again on my bed before finally waking up, for my biological clock is still asleep, though I need to get up early. Our first year leader asked us to wear blue, when I am supposed to wear brown. My blue shirt sucks, that’s why I do not wear it that often. Our leader said that what we are going to wear should have a significance to Letran, and that is – BLUE. Red is for San Beda, the ultimate rival of Letran. Yellow is for San Sebastian (also called Baste) and Jose Rizal University. I forgot the other colors and the other schools.

Now, I am on the thrill of riding an MRT (or LRT). Wahahaha! The Central Station is just a walking distance from our dormitory, and that makes me have access to some parts of Metro Manila. Along the way, I saw my new favorite, the Waffle Time stand, and I specifically like the Swiss Choco waffle. There is also a Siomai House stand there, but I never tried to eat there yet. Soon, I will! Anyways, it is just my second day to ride an MRT, and the thrill of paying the exact coins to get a card that you’ll swipe in to pass through a turnstile sparks my mind that I am living in New York… (concrete jungle where dreams are made off!!! Sing with me!)

Then, we waited for the next train to come. I have only watched this in movies (Slumdog Millionaire?) and now I am experiencing the thrill of riding in a train. There are many passengers, maybe because the early morning rush hours are not yet over. And since there are many passengers, we patiently stood for two stations before walking on a long footbridge to another station. There, the new train is empty, and I got a chance to sit.

We are now heading for Araneta! Woohoo! And as we pass stations, more and more students come in at the train. First are the red ones, with blood red t-shirts proudly claiming that they are Bedistas. Letran vs. Beda has been a hot rivalry ever since, for blue and red combine to make dead violet, haha!

On the third station, yellow fever comes in – the students of Baste. They are Letran’s first opponents in the basketball event after the opening ceremonies, and for a fact, they are the defending champions in Men’s Basketball, whereas Letran is the defending overall champion for the whole NCAA.

How I love the train ride! It makes me wanna sing in to the tune of Empire State of Mind whenever I see those towering skyscrapers at a distance. Yes, a new world has opened up to me. The soft murmur of rails soothes me, and the female voice that tells the passengers on which station are they in now makes me have that LSS, though it is not a song, it’s a phrase.

At the Cubao-Araneta station, the train went empty. The half-filled train all drained out in that station, for everyone is going to be in the big event. We walked in past Gateway, and to the footbridge leading to the Coliseum, marked by a whole wall picturing the view of Araneta in a full-housed PBA game.

And there goes the Big Dome, big as I assume. We are still outside, and we went down the stairs to fall in line. The line for GA ticket holders is different from those of Patron, UBox and LBox. The line to GA is lengthy, and I have to wait for about two minutes to finally surpass the strict inspections of the guard. Surprisingly, no bottled water is allowed, and that made me wonder why.

There’s a passage, and from those passages are rumbling noises. We entered one hole from the wall, and as I ascend to the GA seats, the noise becomes eminent.

and to be continued.. :)

---oh sorry, it is LRT Line 1 and 2, as corrected by Mr. Manuel Ayson... hahaha :D he was laughing at me because of this. :))