Katipbahay (no, that’s not a typo)

I was browsing through my cellphone’s notes when I saw a few paragraphs I planned to turn into a blog entry weeks ago. Obviously, I forgot about it until now. Here it is.

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They are the two best universities in the country. A good number of the best politicians this country has came from these two universities. In that sense, they are neighbors. But geographically, they are neighbors, too. On Katipunan Avenue’s north bound side is one; the other on the south bound side.

I’m talking about the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines – Diliman.

I visited the Ateneo campus with my mother once to get application forms for the Ateneo College Entrance Test. We asked the guard where the ACET forms were located. He directed us to Xavier Hall. We spotted it immediately. It wasn’t as nice as the other buildings in the campus (like the John Gokongwei School of Management building). We went in and found the office for admissions (whose name I forgot). But lunch break came five minutes before we did. We had to wait.

As we sat on the benches in front of the office. I was observing the area immediately around us. Break time means lots of students. I saw three high schoolmates. Or was it four? I can’t remember. No, I did not talk to them. We were never close. I never even talked to them so much back then.

Anyway, we were seated in Xavier Hall. Across it is Gonzaga Hall. Adjacent to them is Berchmans hall. Think of an equilateral triangle. These three buildings are laid out on the three points of the polygon.

The area in the middle of the three buildings is similar to one UP landmark: the Sunken Garden. Only this one in Ateneo is a miniature version. The Garden is an open grass field in the UP Diliman campus. Around the Sunken Garden, if one will draw a triangle, are the University Main Library, the Malcolm Hall, and the Benitez Hall. The latter two buildings house the College of Law and the College of Education, respectively.

Gonzaga Hall is like UP’s CASAA. It’s the school canteen. Xavier Hall, on the other hand, is like UP’s Office of the University Registrar. Berchmans Hall, I don’t know what it is. I couldn’t tell from purely observing students entering and exiting it. I guess it contains classrooms.

See the similarity? Rectangular open space surrounded by important buildings. Only different in size.

But the last similarity I saw that really reminded me of the Sunken Garden was the structure right across Berchmans. It was like a big shed, with three brown 5-ft x 3-ft tables. It was like the Grandstand in Sunken, only smaller. And cleaner. Or maybe it just looked cleaner because it was smaller. I couldn’t tell.

Amazing, I thought, how uncanny the resemblance was. I never thought a Sunken Garden would exist some place else besides UP Diliman. It was smaller, sure, but it was similar in form. And that was when I realized how much UP and Ateneo can be alike: when it comes to citizens they produce, to the semestral strucutre (as compared to La Salle’s trimestral form), and as I saw here, even in infrastructure. UP and Ateneo really are neighbors.

But don’t mention basketball. That’s an altogether different topic.

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LOL: Love Online (no, not the Filipino film of the same title)

It was not a grand conversation. It was not about food. It was not even about them. It was simply a conversation about Glee.

That was how Joy Cabaltera met Jeff Tagle online. Through Twitter, they talked Glee. That was almost two years ago in September 2010. Around that time, Glee’s second season was starting.

Fast-forward 21 months and, just like that, now they have been gleefully married for two months now.

Joy said they’ve been tweeting each other for days before actually meeting each other. “We were talking to each other for a few days. Then our friends started noticing us on their news feeds. That’s when I decided ayoko na ng online,” she said.

She mentioned the notion among people that online “courtship” (writer’s own words), such as the one she was in, was taboo.

Tweeting publicly for everyone to see stopped. This turned to direct messages (DMs) sent to each other. Soon enough, it went offline. After a week, they started texting each other. Then calling. The only missing piece is actually seeing each other.

“A few days,” to use Joy’s words, was all it took.

“He asked me out to see his Lego collection in Megamall,” she added. This was the first time they personally saw each other.

It took long for them to see eye-to-eye for the first time because of the distance between them. Joy was from Antipolo. Jeff was from Parañaque. They really were a long way from one another.

That long distance eventually culminated in the ultimate expression of love – marriage. Joy officially became Joy Cabaltera-Tagle on April 20, 2012.

“The date was 420,” said Joy, with a laugh alongside. “420” is a popular term related to marijuana-smoking.

Currently, Joy and Jeff are maintaining a food blog at www.nom-mage.com. The blog, in the “About us” section, says, “The two are no food critics, nor are they authorities on what’s good and what’s not. This is simply a journal of their journeys of nourishment and sustenance around and outside the Metro.”

The two are also social media advocates. Last Saturday’s Social Media Day was the first of its kind in the Philippines. Joy and Jeff Tagle served as the event’s hosts for that afternoon.

Their love story is an example of just how powerful social media is and can be, which is why their hosting of the event was very fitting.

Social media allowed Joy and Jeff to find love. The question now: what can social media NOT do?