Oddysey of the Minds: A Journey of Winning

Winning is nothing without a challenge.
– Somewhere in a film

Characters:
M: Her perspective will be the sole perspective you will see this story in – CMA
G: A lanky dude, with hair like John Lennon – CMA
Randz: A chubby guy with an outspoken personality – CMA
Dan: A normal girl (I guess, I barely know her) – CMA
Fev: An average students, loves reading NatGeo – CMA
Jeb: A stout man who loves Geography and History, undoubtedly his strong suit when it comes to general knowledge questions, friend since HS – CEA
Rex: The previous champion before I came to the school – CEA

Ers: A CEA student, friend since HS
Rej: Someone who is a lot like G but … more silent – CEA
Ju N: A former CMA student who shifted course – CAS
Rod: A tall guy with hair a lot like Lennon, formerly a CEA student but shifted course, friend since HS – CAS
Grach: A fellow member at the publication – CAS
F: A member of the publication – CAS
Sir C: A judge at the competition
Sir JB: A judge at the competition
Sir Norm: Coach? Financer? Supporter? A CMA professor
Candace: A CMA student, not a member of my team – CMA
Beth: A CMA student, not a member of my team – CMA
Kez: A CMA student, not a member of my team – CMA
C: Wore a red shirt that day, I knew her only after the competition – CMA
Nins: Short, thin, and everything in between, a member of my team – CMA

The story begins at PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College where an annual competition is held every foundation week. Usually held on a Friday in 2nd or 3rd week of February, the games was called Pautukay: Battle of the Minds. It, in a simple way of explaining things, is a general knowledge competition. A lot like Who Wants to be a Millionaire but with little cash and bragging rights the only prize the winner gets. Along with the satisfaction of beating the quiz master and/or any team that goes on to compete in the final round.

FEBRUARY 13, 2015

Randz, G and M first time together in a competition like this, enter the arena with nothing under their belts. Randz, was the former quiz master and no longer a part of the organizing team at the time, he decided to join. G and M just wanted to join for the fun of it, nothing major in their minds at all – not even winning. Eliminations is always the tricky part. Not really sure whether your team would make the cut, you and your team mates scramble to answer every single question given by the quiz master. At the time, Rex was the quiz master – a former champion and with a lot of tough trivia in his arsenal. The questions hurled were of various difficulty level. But then again, what could have been difficult for the quiz master may be easy for the players especially if they know it. Long story short, CEA and CMA battled for the top spot. The mechanics was simple. Bet by multiples of 100, 100 being the lowest and whatever bet one team bets, the other is compelled to match it. In case of insufficient fund, the team is allowed to borrow money from the quizmaster’s bank. Betting game; strategy, and general knowledge – quite a way to do battle. With a 1000 chips on the line, the winning question was,
What is the study of rocks?
I poked Randz to raise the board up.
We were deliberating and I was sure I knew the answer but I couldn’t find it in my mind palace just yet.
Geology? G says?
No! I reply sternly.
Rex inches near us, ready to hear our answer.
I whisper to Randz.
He relays it to the quiz master and out of the corner of my eye, I could see Sir C. Snapping his fingers. We were right! We won! Even if the CEA team gets the next questions, we have accumulated greater chips… so we won! Jun and Randz shouted in delight. I was too awe-struck. History was made then. CMA has won the competition for the longest time of being dormant and always being beat by CEA. I was just glad I beat Jeb. Do not ask why.

FEBRUARY 10, 2016

So, the next year came and Randz graduated. G went on and decided to become the quiz master. I was stuck all alone. Dan and Fev became the fillers at the time. By then, Rod and Ju N have both shifted. The usual CEA people did not join due to a conflict in schedule for their convention. Rex, still the quizmaster. Eliminations was tricky. They were to choose the top 10. We were the top 10. Haha! By a hair, pal. By a hair. The finals consisted of the team Randz coached, Rod and Ju N, and my team. The mechanics, similar to last year but with a twist – this time if a team becomes bankrupt, they may opt to switch one of their players for more money from the bank. Hunger Games; betting game; strategy, and general knowledge. Part 2 it seems. To make matters worse, the MC announced I was the defending champion. And that the quiz master and a coach in the audience are my teammates. Pressure much! Rex, the MC, sure knew when to build up the tension.
Short story short (lol) I won. CAS the second placer, and by this time, I have made a name for myself.

Up until this year.

FEBRUARY 17, 2017

The events prior to this date no longer mattered. They became shadows compared to the happiness I felt the entire day. It was beyond the happiness of seeing a very dear friend during the first week of February, beyond the excitement of watching Split the following week after, even more than the feeling when I found out I will be starting work as a paid intern! The universe loved me that day. Rex, was no longer the MC, G is still the quizmaster and Randz still a coach. My new teammates were Nins and Cielo. The funny thing was, the elimination round was still as tricky as the previous years; only this time, my teammates were responsive. There was also not a moment where I would look at my back and see CEA’s answers and just laugh at them if they get it wrong and pout if they get it right. Half of the time, we were guessing, (nope, not really) so I was pretty sure the CEA team was too. My CAS friends did well too. Each college was required to have two teams participate for the event and by the end of the elimination round, both teams of CAS, both teams of CMA, both teams of CEA, both teams of SHS, CRIM, and CITE got in the top 10. My CEA friends topped the elimination round. We tailed behind at 4th. It didn’t matter at all because in the final round, all will be reset to zero. Fair game.
Rex even joked, as were off to the next venue,
“Grabe Mona, wala man mi nag-ampo nga mahighest mi sa eliminations. Ang amo gi-ampo na maeliminate mo.” (We did not pray for us to have the highest score in the eliminations. What we prayed for was that you get eliminated.)
In the final round, we were practically laughing and just so noisy. It did not help that the crowd kept on cheering me when I got the right answer.
What was ironic was remember what category made us win back in 2015? Science.
This year, what made the CEA team win… yes, Science.
Triple Point. The answer they were looking for. All’s well that ends well. Rex, back to reclaim his throne and CEA is once again the defending champion. I was ecstatic, really. I kept cheering on even after the game ended. What was funny was what happened after the event. We celebrated, obviously, and as usual, the chat went on from and back to school. Afternoon came and I had to go do duties in our school publication because we would be hosting a literary event. Busy day, ahead of me but I was just too happy I met my friends again after so long. All it took was a competition.
Awarding was by night time so we waited until then, quietly hoping we’d get medals. Yep. There is no shame in just playing for want of a medal. Haha! Although the money was a bit catchy at the time too, we wanted a medal. Sadly, none was given so we settled for cold hard cash. Haha!
My jokes are nothing compared to the jokes and puns my friends make. Rex, no exemption to the party. The night was fun and full of laughter. 8 of us gathered, 5 stayed until the end. Dinner at the same place where we ate lunch, and at the same table too! Always a night to remember, if spent with quality people. It was then that Rex opened up and shared his thoughts throughout the game. I had nothing left to share, I ranted straight to them after the competition. I was just so proud so happy! It almost didn’t feel like a competition. It felt a reunion between friends. I would always glare at G if the question’s category is either Geography or History, and he would laugh, as if mocking me. In the back of my mind, “Great, Jeb knows it. History is his, after all.” But when the category fall into Humanities, Literature or Law, I sit back act calm, and don’t bother feeling tense. I guess my mom’s classes do pay off once in a while.
Waiting for the awarding ceremony, recounting the events of the day, was still what we had in mind.
They were gloating. And I was just joining in for the fun.

Bahala ug di pa mi mugraduate, basta kay daog mi. (It does not matter that we wouldn’t graduate, we won!)
Bahala ug pildi, basta kay nakulbaan ang kontra. (It does not matter if you lose, just as long as your opponent felt nervous.)
Pero Munch, daog jud mi. (But Munch, we won.)
Jaaah! Kamo man tulo! Ako ra dayun isa! Asus! Kinahanglan jud full force, mapildi lang ko. (Jaaah! It’s the three of you! And only me! It took three of you to beat me!)


We had fun remininiscing the days, taking turns in admiring this year and the previous year’s mechanics of the game. Applauding G for his questions. In all fairness, difficult … is indeed difficult. I wanted a lot of tension (hence, why I prefer the 2015 version) and Rex liked this year’s version if only the crowd weren’t as close to the players as they are. We took turns rating the previous administration’s take on the event, and the outcome of this year’s foundation week. Laughing at the fact of how every winning team had a member of the school’s publication in it (Jeb, Me, and Grach). A great time. An awesome moment.

Rex’s story was funny, cute and a testament to what we were all feeling.


Kulba biya pud ghapun bayh. Katon jung sa easy round bayh. Taka-taka ra sa mi. Unya katong nagsunod-sunod na imong mga correct bah. Ana jud si Jebsen, nagsugod na si Mona oh. Naluyahan jud mi na. Kung wala bitaw tong Triple Point nga question, pildi jud mi. (It really was a nerve-wracking game. In the easy round, when you started getting consecutive correct answers and we were wrong, Jebsen said “Mona’s starting” we started to lose composure. If it wasn’t for the triple point question, we would not have won.)
Kung correct pa jud mi atong isa lang sa sa moderate round, daog pud mi. (And if we got one more correct answer in the moderate answer we would have won)
Kung correct pud mi sa … (But if we got one more question…)

I was just laughing, at his story.
The entire time.
Because the game was never what we came for in the first place. (Yep, it was the medals and the cash)
The first win I had in the competition with G and Randz, will always be my most treasured experience of all (including future ones) General Knowledge competitions. It was… and will always be about the fun in playing and the joy of seeing friends once again – whether as a quiz master, a coach, a fellow player, a competitor. It’s nice… competing with peers it never feels like one. It is so much more than the joy of winning for own personal gains, the college, the medals or the bragging rights. The joy of being able to compete with peers is priceless. Even more so when they consider you a threat – I take it they commend you and admire you highly. And if any of my friends were to read this, believe me, the admiration is mutual.

From the left: Rex, Me, Nins, Ers, Ers’s gf

Congratulations to us all! Next year, I will be somewhere in the crowd, a spectator, cheering them on. Here’s to more competitions! Here’s to more triple points! Here’s to more fun moments!

P.S. Petrology is the study of rocks. *smiles*

The Girl and the RE: A Disappointment

I will start this off by sending you to a post previously written by a fellow blogger and someone who reminded me about the film’s existence. Be sure to read this first though. Because, hello? You owe me that much. LoL. Just kidding, Man’s post on the film is seen here.

I have had my eye set on another Milla Jovovich film this year. 

It is, and I mean the only, reason why I followed her personal facebook page – to know when the film would hit the theatres in our country. Excited as I was, I did not want to spend too much of my money on a film I have so many expectations of. After all, Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Inferno, and Split had me all riled up. So, I resorted to review channels and peers who watched the film. In the Philippines, if the film earns high, it will most likely stay for more than two weeks, two weeks being the bare minimum a film gets shown before it gets replaced. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, at least in my area, went on for nearly a month.
“Hmmm… It may be good. I will watch it after exams.”
Then came the review of someone (see first paragraph) and everything changed.

The film was for lack of a very precise term for it, a disappointment. What I was actually expecting was a continuation of the last scene, specifically the last shot of Resident Evil: Retribution. But what I was greeted with was an implied introduction. And I did feel that the very first part of the film, showed the twist. For someone so into plot twists and an avid reader of mystery novels and puzzling cases, the context was not that hard to grasp. I was tempted to sleep during the first half of the film! Draggy, dull, and I felt as though they only wanted more zombies on the screen. Personally, Alice’s journey was not what made me stick around the entire franchise. Aside from the obvious action and martial arts choreography I always look forward to in action films, cinematography is one thing I have my eyes set on in films. And I gotta tell you, the action scenes in this film are a step worse than the action scenes in the Bourne film. I could not tell if it is because Milla is now old and can no longer do the fight scenes that well, but I sure would like to see the hand that hits the opponent and not the opponent getting hit in a flash! I would have preferred a wide view of the fight scenes. To be perfectly honest, I did not enjoy any minute of the film up until they arrived in The Hive, or the “Pit” as they call it. One scene that got me all excited, “Finally! A good fight scene!” was when they fought inside the place where members of the SWAT team in the first team died; the place with all the lasers that could cut you in half.
We see Alice fighting to survive and dodge the lasers that just keep coming. And then… that’s it. The final blow was not even that mind blowing or chair gripping at all! My frustration about the film’s disappointment took me the whole day to get over it. I played the game before, just to pass the time, and the films were always a fun watch.

Zombie apocalypse films are good movies that show you a lot about human nature and the character human beings have in times of facing death or the prospect of it. The franchise was always about survival but I felt that even though the filmmakers managed to make the story go full circle and connect all six films, this last one is a really bad way of doing it. First up, the bad girl suddenly became the good girl and our main protagonist ends up just wandering because she was abandoned by a person she thought was her ally. What a way to start of a film. Yep, feed the audience with crap and make the main character just run around explaining her mission to everyone. 

The previous ones had a lot of heart in them and this one, if ever it had any, was hidden… I guess. I sure did not see it. The twist: Alice, the Alice we know (badass Alice) turns out to be a clone. The real Alice being the frail girl a.k.a daughter of Marcus, the creator of the T-virus. The ending was crap.
I should have stuck to watching Oscar nominated films. So far, none of them have proven to be not worthy of the recognition. The RE franchise was, and is still my favorite Milla Jovovich film. Mainly because Ultraviolet was nice but I do not want to rewatch it again. The RE films, though, excluding this last one, will be on repeat if I were in the mood. The dessert fight scenes and dialogues will be forever memorized and stuck in my head. I would have liked to see more of Claire’s fight scenes though. But… meh… can’t complain. At least they got a bit of royalty from my ticket.

Zombie apocalypse films, are a must for gamers like me. Always a really good way of testing the waters.

Resident Evil, a game turned film, not bad, I guess – if you there is ever any circumstance to consider. The game reached its final chapter, I have played well, seen every film, and followed the journey.

Jobless

No longer jobless
Had the interview on the 15th
It was fine, like any other
The owner and her husband took turns
I was shivering
I do not know why though
Probably because the room was really cold
Or that they were looking at me with
Eyes like vultures
Peering into you thawing your skills
Before you even begin
I begin the day after, they said.
“If we like your work, we’d hire
You then
After you graduate.”
Is that okay me?
Of course!
It’s not like I do a lot with my time anyway
And the pay will be good for saving up
New films and new shoes to buy.
Thank you to the Almighty
For giving me another opportunity
No longer jobless
And this time,
A worthwhile job in waiting
I am in training
And the first day was great
But the next days will get harder and harder
Because that’s how life really is.
I am aware.
And I will be resilient
I will be attentive
And I will learn
If… no.
Not if.

When I get the job,
I will have experience
I will be stable
And I will work hard.
Success is within reach
My gut feels it.