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In Manila

Chemist Board Exam Blog Series Part Seven

In Manila

September 7, 2008 marked our journey to Manila for the upcoming board exam. My friends from the Chemistry Review Center and I had fun in the Mactan International Airport while waiting for our scheduled time to fly. After a week’s vacation from reviewing, we missed each other very much. We took pictures of ourselves and the landscapes that surrounded us. Some of them said, “This could be my last photo in Cebu.”. They came from Davao and will be directly heading back there after the Board Exam.

All of us were both happy and scared. Happy because we will be staying in the Philippines’ metropolis for five to six days! But the tension of the Board exam scared our hearts! Passing the exam would determine our future in the scientific industry.

After about an hour’s flight to Manila, we safely arrived at NAIA Terminal 3. We immediately found Warner, Josephus, and Jerome waiting for us. They were our friends and they had their flight an hour before ours. But everyone wasn’t there yet. We waited until 11 AM for our mentors, Dr. Joy and Ma’am Abeth, and our friend Venus to arrive. They took the last morning flight from Cebu.

Our bus was all ready to take us to our hostel, The Pius XII Catholic Center, specifically in Friendship Hall II. The whole place was great! Two kind bellboys assisted us with our luggage from the bus to our room. The hostel’s foyer was so grand that it could pass as a luxurious hotel! Adorned with golden ceiling and flooring, the whole place basked in yellow lights. A chandelier was there to add in the grandiose scenery. All of us were amazed at how beautiful it was!

Later, we were given keys of our respective rooms. My roommate was my friend Gleenece and we occupied room no. 8. It was a convenient room because we were near our mentors’ quarters in room no. 7.

Gleenece and I really liked our room. It was very spacious, not to mention it has an air conditioner and a cable TV! Wow! We could unwind before our exams! That could absolutely make us relax from all the tension. Furthermore, the bathroom was so classy! The tiles were so clean and the lights were yellow! The shower had a heater. So, we didn’t have to worry about taking a bath at five in the morning! We could really say that our stay for Php 600 per person was worth it!

Personally, I was happy that we stayed in a Catholic Center. The place had a small church named after Sta. Maria Goretti. It was a Sunday when we arrived. And so, we attended the Holy Mass and prayed in there.

However, what really kept me inspired the whole time was the center’s Adoration Chapel beside the Church. It was air conditioned. A welcoming aura surrounds the place with its pink curtains, white wallpapers, and peaceful silence. There were no pews. Instead, cushions were on the floor and that made it unique. I could infer that they were adopting a zen concept of the place. I didn’t see a typical Altar table on front. Instead, I saw a garden. The Altar was surrounded by green plants. And on the center was a stone grotto which housed the Tabernacle. On the grotto’s bottom was a fountain which resembled a flowing spring. Looking at the influx of water calmed my mind and my spirit. Peaceful. Silent. Tranquil.

The view was so relaxing that it helped me in my meditations and prayers. I was so overwhelmed with the assurance that all of us could find spiritual support for the upcoming Board Exam. All of us were prepared. There was no turning back.

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