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No one is too old to pursue a dream

Recently, I have heard about Mam Leonora Santos-Leets(?*),76 year old woman who just had completed her course BS Nutrition and Dietetics and graduated last week. Mind you, this is already her 5th course. She is already done with Secretarial Science, BS Management, Nursing, and even Medicine. How amazing! That is passion for studying. I just wonder if she ever worked or what kind of work she does? I wonder if her professors give her special considerations? Nevertheless, I would really like to congratulate her personally for that. I could not imagine myself walking up to the stage countless times to get as many diplomas like her. So,kudos!Kudos to you lola!:)(Watch it here)

Generally, there are those people who will ask “Is it late for me if I start to study?” or who will say, “I am already late for that” then shove away the fact that it is still possible to get that sense of achievement. I am telling you if it is your dream, exhaust all your effort before you give up and claim it is not yours. Sooner or later, in God’s will you will reach your “ego vs despair” stage. Save yourself from the “If-only’s” and “What-if’s” on your deathbed.If it did not turn out right, at least, you know you did something about it.

When it comes to pursuing medicine, of course, it is an endless journey of studying. If the word “studying” causes you a terrible headache,let me say “updating your knowledge” instead. Of course,we worry about what age we will be when we graduate.This is a concern for most of the ladies, ofcourse.  Just when you think it is already late to append that “MD” after your name, take this story as example. I happened to know someone who studies medicine with me on the same level. He is already 58 years old, he has a family and already a lawyer.Of course, he has his own story to tell.It is not for me to blurt it out. But for me, he is a good example of  someone who do that “Follow your dreams”,”Chase your dreams” thing. It was rather inspiring than thinking that it is such a waste of time. And if you think it is a crazy idea, so be it.Mind your own business. I hope the next words that would come out of your mouth would not discourage people like him. It will always seems impossible until it is done. I have no other words for the school that bends the age limit of the applicant but “respect” and “gratitude”.I felt jubilant at the same time thankful knowing that there will be a school who gives chance to those who had are in the same situation.

More often than not, we are caught up with our self-made timelines.  Sometimes, we are afraid that we still end up studying our whole life. Humans as we are, we couldn’t take away the fact that “Life is short” and we do not completely control our life. As a result, we are in a rampant craze of desiring to  achieve a degree,build a family and acquire luxaries earlier. Just like a race,we end up submitting ourselves in this pressure that our own society has imposed. However, There may be detours. Things we do not expect but In the end, it still depends on our decision to reach for our dreams. With all of our hopes and desires in life, I hope we still find a way to lift up to God so He can guide us on our way to self-actualization.

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NMAT

(Since there are those who are asking how I prepared for the National Medical Admission test,here it is. I am not saying that you should do this or that, but at least, you can gather some ideas.In the end, it still depends on you.)

What is NMAT?
For those who do not have an idea what NMAT is, it is a test required for all those who aspire to pursue their medicine degree.To know more about it, click here: https://www.cem-inc.org.ph/nmat/.
So basically, they are testing if you already have acquired the knowledge you need to become a medical student or if have equipped yourself the “Doctor wanna-be starter pack”.(lol)Btw, it’s validity is 2 years.

Background:
Part 1 Mental Ability: 3hours (Verbal,Inductive Reasoning,Quantitative,Perceptual Acuity and visual,perception
Part 2 Academic proficinecy:2 1/2 hours(Biology,Physics,Social Science, and Chemistry.)

What is the big deal:

You might ask me what is the big deal about having high NMAT scores. While there are med schools that are not strict about the score you get, there are those that requires higher ranges of scores. So, basically it is for your target school; and to a lesser degree,for your bragging rights, of course.
Some take this test more than once just to get their desired grade. Some would like to take this as diagnostic test of how much they have learned so far. For those who are in the crossroads and have not decided yet, they take this as a basis if they are going to pursue medicine or not.

Premed:
I think if your born “einsteinette” or your pre-med course is related to these sciences then you can ace this test with no sweat. My premed is nursing. To be quite honest,most of what we have studied on the latter years do not focus on the basic sciences, which are tested on Part II of the exams. We only had that on our General education in 1st and 2nd year levels. And if you are preparing for the boards, you would really need to set aside those  so you can focus on Nursing/Medical/Health topics.Although I can say we can have a bit of an edge on some parts of bio(if it is more about human health related stuff) and social science(psychology to be specific because we have tackeled it in our psychiatric nursing. I am not generalizing that it is difficult for us but let me just say we find it challenging.

Review Strategies/Exam Tips:

I took my Nmat on November 2014, a year after I graduated.(There’s a long story why I did not take it or pursue med rightaway.)That time I was also reviewing for NCLEX exam(nursing licensure in US) which I took on October 30. So I just had a month long of serious but not-so-serious review.  I did not enroll to any review center because I did not have an extra bucks for that. Nonetheless, I took time to at least  review the included subjects even bits by bits. There are topics that I have really buried from the past that I thought I never heard them.I really had to butcher myself to some backtrack or to study them. Here are some strategies that might also be helpful to you. Some of the listed are general though.

1.If you do not have extra time to study the academic part, boost your score by practicing the first part. Maybe you can search some IQ tests in the internet. I was unable to practice this part so I got better score in Part II.

2. I managed to scheduled some catch up/tutorial session with my “halimaw” friend,Hani and his bf,Jul. Thank God our time had coincided. I am thankful to both of them for taking their time to make me understand the topics I find difficult and for motivating me that I could do it.

3. A few months before, What I did was to borrow the MSA reviewer set from a friend,Moises and Haya.
Thanks guys!

4.I searched for my  HS chemistry and bio textbooks, and the compiled hardbound book of High school sciences here at home. I just read those.

5.You can watch on youtube for the concepts.Then, google some unfamiliar topic.

6. Some say that if one must excel, he must focus on what the majority does not fond of learning so he can get extra bonus for that.That means you have to study Physics since majority(I think.haha) finds it hard.(remember the grading is different.It is by percentile rank.)

7. Answer the practice set given by CEM upon registration and review the concepts related to it.
Time yourself(wasn’t able to this.haha)

8. Upon answering questions that deals with numbers in part II and you cannot buy more time, try to see if those are relevant or not. Sometimes they are just placed there to confuse you. They might put large numbers so you can try to estimate or round it up then look at the choices if there is one that is near to the answer. Do this if you hate solving or if you are taking a lot of time staring at the numbers. But if you love solving math, go do your thing.

9.Answer the easy items first so you will have sure points. As much as possible, do not have any mistake on the easy parts because they are give aways.

10. Time is always your enemy. Do not stay on a question for a long time.And most of all, do not sleep on your exam day so make sure you have enough rest on the night before. You have enough sleep when you release your anxiety.  You would not have anxiety if you prepared well. So, time management is still the key and just like what I say, it depends on your target score. Always aim high so that even if you do not get the highest score,you will still pass.

Additional reminder:
1.Bring a jacket with you(so you would be comfortable,whatever the temperature your assigned room will be.)
2.Bring a waterbottle,snack or your packed lunch to prevent hassle during lunchbreak. You still need to go and line up in long queues.
3.Wear a watch so you will keep track of the time.
4.Prepare the necessary documents.

Important reminder:
Have faith in yourself and to the Lord above:))
God bless you!

(If you know some additional tips that can help others, feel free to share it below.)

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Medicine degree:Seat Sale!

…But in med, there are no “piso fares”, Student discounts, clearance sales, vouchers, and “Enroll in group of 5,get 1 full scholarship” promo

 

 

While others simply ask their parents for tuition fees, and their parents without hesitation will just give them stacks of cash or sign a check, the ones who rely on academic scholarship who have not received their grades yet are cryptic whether they get the MD’s golden tickets. They feel uncertain of how they can face the one who sponsor them if they are expected to get at least full or patial. Yes, academic scholarship, you have to achieve a certain grade. Tonight is one of those nights. I cringe myself to bed worrying how in the world I will have to ask for financial support if i do not get it.

In the midst of the semester, everytime the words “Next semester” will pop up, i’m always left wondering how my grades are faring or have fared because we still have to wait for the registrar to release our official grades. Pondering this thought, it hits and hurts you right in to your heart,up to your bone or to your every neuron (that’s quite a lot) whenever you receive a not so high remark after the exam, quiz, assignment, drill or manuscipt that you have submitted. You feel blue. It makes you think that you are lucky enough because you did not fail; and at the same time,ungrateful because you know it might not suffice.You know, there are several levels of effort which corresponds to a deserving grade. It would really be upsetting if  these two do not match up.(If you know what I mean)  I do not want others to think that I am bossy so i just end up zipper-ing my lips whatever my score is. There will really be a time when you inevitably get a low grade, It hurts to think that your brain alone is not enough,even coupling it with effort is not enough to sustain your funding next semester.This would hurt the ego of those who used to ace their class in premed.(Just be depresssed and move on.But let me tell you, you don’t have extra time for that so move on right away.)

 

If my being “grade conscious” offends you, then i apologize. But perhaps i might not be the only one who is like this, and I have to express how difficult this is for us who do not have the luxury of earning a six-digit salary twice a year. (I have a separate blog about grade conscious, read it Here: ) And not to mention the Medical books,manuals and other requirements which are also costly. So I hope the school administration and school department must consider that when they sell them.In case  you do not have any idea how much a semester of medicine  costs, it is around 80-150k PHP. But if you belong to those group of students who are solely entrusting their next semester to academic scholarship, this is really challenging, extremely challenging. (We acknowledge that outliers may not consider this as achallenge for this is just a piece of cake to them.hahahaha.)But don’t get me wrong, more than the pressure, it is also a pleasure to study med.

They might say I may afford to do some weird stuff,to travel,to buy some decent clothes or eat some variety of food every once in a while, but i say the deals are one of the cheapests. You just have to couple effort and creativity. (I am a proud “budgetarian”,btw. I am a financial freedom advocate and “Live-your-life-to-the-fullest” advocate.Haha) But in med, there are no “piso fares, Student discounts, clearance sales, P10,000 off vouchers, and “Enroll in group of 5,get 1  full scholarship” promos or “All-you-can-enroll” the units buffet.There are only scholarships. It sucks that it really has to be that expensive though. That is why many are curtailed of their dreams to become a doctor.

In the same light, I hope there will be more people who will care to provide some financial assistance for those who are less able to afford this education but are willing. To those people who have graduated along with this dillemma,i salute you. People who experienced this short of funds would understand this. It is just so frustrating that you still have to think about this every now and then. So the key here is if you do not want to overthink,  just stop it. All you can do now is pray and leave things up to God.That is the idea for now.

There is more to life. While it is still vacation, train yourself to do the extra mile. Make it a habit. There is a huge difference with studying and schooling although both are associated with school matters. Appreciate about other stuff. Widen your scope. Then few days before the start of class,Relax yourself and prepare your mindset for the rollercoaster graded challenge of medschool. You may scream. You may curse.You may throw up and be sick. You may cry and laugh but you should not jump out.Nevertheless, Finish it by taking pleasure all throughout the ride.

Believe me, I know the healthy level of “grade conscious”. For all we know, this numerical characters are not really the basis of how a person may fare in life. It does not directly predict success. But still at the end of the day, we cannot deny that it is our gatepass to our MD dreams. And we are left with no other option but to motivate ourself and enjoy the challenge.

(This is dedicated for the fighters of their dreams and to those who wonder how it feels when you just rely on scholarship grants, academic or not. This is also for those who are always financially capable so they will not ever take it for granted.)

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Mt. Maynoba + Mt. Cayabu + Waterfalls 

Sunrise


June11,2016 

Sea of clouds?until 8am?near the metro?with 8 “wonder” falls? Who wouldn’t want to experience that? 

Standing 728masl in Tanay, we hiked this newly opened mountain circuit of Mt.Maynoba and Cayabu. I have tried to climb mountains in Rizal,such as Mt.Binacayan and Mt.Daraitan, in which they said are showcasing sea of clouds but i have not experienced this view because you really have to be early in the peak to see that. Here are some details from pinoymountaineer.com: 

CAYABU-MAYNOBA LOOP)Tanay, Rizal 

Trailhead: Brgy. Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal 

LLA: 14°36′22.4′′N, 121°25′18.6′′ E, 728 MASL (+470m) 

Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours 

Specs: Minor hike, Difficulty 3/9 (Summit); 4/9 (Loop hike), Trail class 1-4 

Features: Sea of clouds, scenic views of the Sierra Madre, waterfalls 

Article history: Created 4 June 2016 by Gideon Lasco 
Due to its high success rate of seeing the sea of clouds, I took all my bag of hope and faith that i will be enjoying it this morning. You might want it too.So here it is.

The team
This time I was with my invictus buddies, taro,mike and lilet (who happened to be a first timer on hiking). 

Kudos mike,taro and lilet!

We joined an organized climb by Sir Mar Marayag,who happens to be very kind and jolly:)

Itinerary

Surprisingly, we were ahead of our itinerary because we reached the jump off earlier than expected.

1:00am Meet and greet at Farmer’s cubao 
1:40am ETD at Cubao 
3:00am ETA at brgy cayabu, Tanay Rizal Breakfast & Registration 
4:00am Start trek to mt.cayabu 
5:30am Arrival at mt.cayabu summit/Rest/Photo Ops 
5:45 am Start trek to mt.maynoba 
7:00am Stopover to Peak 
8:30am Arrival at mt.maynoba summit/Snacktime 
9:00am Start descent/To 8 Wonderfalls/ swimming 
10:00am – 12:00pm : 8 Wonderfalls 
12:00nn Start descent traverse going to exit 
1:00pm Lunch/wash up/Shower/Swim 
3:00pm ETD going to cogeo/Cubao 

Registration 

We reached the jump off at around 3am. At that time, there were already other climbers who were registering. 

As a protocol,waiver must be signed by the climbers.

Doing some final prep while waiting for the start of our hike at 4am

Early hike

So this,so far, was my earliest climb of all.(No judging pls.haha)It was still dark.I suggest you start early as well.

This is ms. Gi,ms. baby and sir mar sharing their smiles during the ascent.


Lilet and I woke up like this.just😂 kidding.




“Is it recommendable for first timers?” 

It is actually crucial to answer this question because it might discourage a person from climbing.However, It still depends on the person. I think this will be challenging to the beginners but i can say it is doable like my friend Lilet (imagine she was from a 2-10pm duty,not to mention we had not enough sleep for this but i don’t encourage you to do that) Read as much about the trail so you know what to expect.Buy yes babe, it is doable. 

Congrats lilet!💪🏻💪🏻😀😊



Trail 

There are tall grasses/”talahib”so wear your arm or leg warmers as protection because your skin might get itchy or irritated . As you head towards the falls, the trail will include some rocks and forest. There are parts that are slippery so better be careful. While it is doable with just holding to stable stems,A trekking pole will be very helpful. 

Ascent 

The steep,ascending trail will surely pump up your cardio.I think I can compare it to Daraitan. So for those who have been sedentary,try to jog and run before the scheduled hike. As the time passes and the sky recovers from its darkness, you can already appreciate the sea of clouds as you go up. 

You see those lights up there?That is where we came from:)

When we had our hike, we felt a bit cold, though it is tolerable. Aside from grasping to the trunks of the trees and the bamboos, ropes are logically placed on slippery and steep portions. 

Sea of clouds,Peaks 


It offers a very good view of Sierra Madre mountains system and other mountains such as Mt.Tukduan banoi and Mt.irid to name a few(maybe i can go there next time.) When the sea of clouds subsided,they will look like cottonballs.

sea of clouds +apple on my hand=perfect morning



When you look at this,you can see the sea of clouds. But when you turn your ,back you can see this majestic view of green mountain ridges and this valley .



OTw to summit

You might think that is already the summit because of the very nice view.Little did we know we still need to walk down and up.

can you see that flag there?that is where we will be going.That is the summit.

Time to rest…


..and eat.

Then take a picture,of course.

i’m so proud of this guy!❤️❤️❤️



Descent 
The waterfalls are along the way.I suggest that you bring outdoor sandals,just in case you do not want your hiking shoes to get wet.You will be crossing some streams of waters.(or just wear your sandals.It is just that i feel more safe wearing my hiking shoes but i find it more of a hassle to put them on and off so i ended up swimming with them.squishy squishhy) 

 I can say that the trail can be compared to Mt.Daraitan because we had to trek on rocks which added to the challenge.


There is also a stream of water(bukal) which they say is potable and safe to drink. I was ambivalent at first but I still tried it. It was clear,cold,and a little sweeter than the usual. 

All of us tried it. And I must say, we are still alive and we did not have any tummy aches. Some refilled their water containers.Some washed themselves. So I think, It is just okay not to bring a lot of water as long as the “bukal” remains to be clean. 

Taro ,trying the bukal water.

After the tall grassy trail of maynoba and cayabu cones the forests  trail.

it was already hot this time so we are very eager to see the waterfalls.

 Waterfalls 
Some may call it wonderfalls or chasing falls or mini waterfalls.The water was so cold and clear. I wouldn’t regret taking a dip on it.



It might look brown on the photos but maybe they are due to the reflections of the waterbed below. 
These interrelated downstream of water is really a gem or reward to the hikers who likes to get a dip after hiking. Though it will still take you 1hr to get on the foot of the mountain after the last falls. Be careful because the rocks, although not that sharp,are slippery. We tried the 1st.2nd and the 7th falls, with depths of about 4-5ft.
The 2nd

4th…

The 4th falls. I think passing this is the most challenging. The rocks are so slippery and if ever you will fall with your bag?that would be a disaster😂


There are many interesting earthly things,such as big boulder of rocks,big trees on the way down but i was not able to take a picture of it. Here is one  we’ve seen. 
They do not know the name but they say it is non-edible.(tell me if you know about it,please.) 


Jump off

Since it was still dark whwn we started the hike,we were not able to see what was here until we reached this upon our descent.

so these shower rooms are pretty clean enough.It s floors are tiled and it has a separate cubicle for the toilet bowl.Shower costs 20php.

resting my feet while waiting for the others.

Btw,this is how the registration area looks like at daytime



Memorable  climb 
It was a memorable climb for me not only because it is my first time to witness the famous sea of clouds but it is also an event 2days after my birthday and a day before the Philippine independence day so i consider this as  my first birthday climb and first independence climb.
So before ending this ,let me say thanks to sir mhar,for organizing the trip.Thanks to out newly found friends and our trail guides.Most of allThank God for providing us a good weather so we can appreciate once more this amazing creation of yours. .Thanks Lord it was success.

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Attire (For those who do not  have an idea

Comfortables shirt or rashguard or drifit

Leggings/warmers/trekking pants 

cap,warmers,shades,headgear

shoes or outdoor sandals/slippers

gloves with rubber on the palmar side.(optional)
Things to bring:

Hydration bag/Water at least 2L,  Gatorade

Trekking pole(very helpful)

Trail food and baon(I usually bring Mentos and chicken;)

Raincoat (just in case)

Medic Kit

Extra clothes and towel

Tissue,Alcohol,Soap

Survival Tools/Ropes

Plastic/ziplocks and Garbage bag

Survival kit

Whistle

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Btw if you are curious about how much we have paid for these,here it is:
Event Fee: P550.00 Inclusions: RT Van Transfers ,Environmental and Registration Fees,Local Guide Fee