The Greatest Supreme

Down memory lane, Part III

When I arrived at the hotel room we had reserved prior, I noticed Rin, who had already changed his clothes, scrolling through his phone on his bed. This man had been waiting for more than two hours. At least he deserved some free food.

Rins face brightened as he noticed me.

I checked my wristwatch; it was already past one oclock in the afternoon.

I handed him a large paper bag containing fast food. There was also some street food included.

”Thanks. Have you eaten yet? ”

”I already have. ”

”I believe Ive seen something similar in the US. Oh, what is this? ”

Rin took out the smaller paper bag that came with the larger one.

”Local street food, try them, ” I replied.

In my response, Rin grabbed the barbeque stick and stabbed an orange ball-like piece dipped in vinegar sauce. He ate it whole.

He asked, ”…Its not bad. Do you know what this is called? ”

”-Kwek-kwek. Its a deep-fried quail egg covered with an orange-colored batter. ”

”…Quack quack? ”

”Hm, nice observation. The onomatopoeia of a bird is the etymology of the food you are eating. ”

”…But is that really how quails sound? Isn it for ducks? ”

”Well, its a long story. Do you want to hear them? ”

”…No, never mind… But wait, out of all the colors, why was orange chosen to be the color of the batter? It doesn even taste like an orange. ”

This jerk, so many questions…

There was a smirk on my face.

Ill just annoy him a little. I sat on my bed and started opening my mouth.

”It has something to do with color psychology. The usage of bright colors such as red, yellow, and orange tends to make food hunger you. Its basically an encouragement for you to want more. In many street vending, products are displayed and open, meaning, with a barbeque stick, just stab here and there and eat all you can until the effects of the law of diminishing marginal utility or he more you consume, the less satisfaction youll have takes place, then youll stop eating. Thus, it will be more profitable on the part of the vendor since each piece of food has an equivalent charge… ”

While I was still explaining, I noticed his dumbfounded expression. This was the price you must pay for asking too much; an eye for an eye.

I was still explaining.

”…This is the same reason why most fast-food chains and companies use the colors red and yellow in their branding, interior designs, and even food. The red and yellow greatly impact the subconscious as they boost excitement and instigate desire. This is also known as the Ketchup and Mustard theory… ”

”….. ”

Too stunned to speak?

After a while, he murmured, ”…Was it all necessary? For a single piece of food, you… I swear you will not get a girlfriend again. ”

”Is that all you want to say? Have you learned something? ”

He grinned at me as if he had really acquired something.

”So thats why people say that if you want to seduce or attract someone, you should wear red. Its like saying to them, Eat me. Am I wrong? ”

Yes, he excelled in these kinds of things.

”Shut up now and eat your food. Ill start reviewing after I finish fixing my things. ”

”Don wanna shut up. ”

”This is the reason I want to have separate rooms with you. ”

”Im so disappointed. You already know why I don want to be alone, right? ”

Thats because you
e scared of ghosts while sleeping alone… yes, I already know.

”The reason you wanted to join this trip in the first place. ”

”Very good. ”

”Shut up now or Ill take away your food. ”

”….. ”




After that moment of silence, I fixed my belongings while Rin was eating. I could see the delight on his face. He kept looking at me, as if he wanted to ask me a question but couldn . Scared now?


I had already washed up and changed into comfortable clothes. Then I grabbed some books for me to indulge. Rin played with his phone, watched TV series, and read novels and comics… Of course, he can do this all day long.

Then Rin spoke out of nowhere, ”Hey, is reading books and reviewers your only plan for the entire week? Don you want to go somewhere? ”

”I said Ill think about it. And theres a lot I need to prepare. ”

”Haaa. ”

* * *

I spent the entire week walking papers and preparing things. Of course, Rin insisted on sightseeing during those times. So I had no choice but to walk this whining dog as well.

We visited some local museums and historical sites within Metro Manila. We also had unique adventures. Satisfaction was painted on Rins face. And as for me, I suppose it was entertaining and evocative.




And now for the main event…

I was dressed in a slim-fitting, neat white long-sleeved shirt tucked into black chino pants. I was also in a pair of black leather shoes. My natural dark brown hair was pulled back, and my sleeves were rolled. There was also a name tag indicating ”Radnier ” on my chest.

I checked my wristwatch, and the time was 1:58 p.m. I was sitting backstage and had two minutes left before the show started. I felt a grain of anxiety since I have stage fright… really.

I glanced to my right side, and there were three college students from different countries. We were in Set B of the quarterfinal rounds…

The quarterfinal round for Set A was held in the morning, and based on what I heard, Italy and the Philippines advanced to the semifinal rounds.

A stagehand approached us.

”Its about time… and good luck. ”

I stood up and was the first in line. On my side, I could see the two college girls and a man looking at me as if they were judging me. And the two ladies exchanged glances.

Are they already this close? Whats their deal?

And finally…

[Mabuhay! Welcome to the 6th International College Clash, Individuals Category, Set B, Quarterfinals!]

Cheers. Claps.

As I heard the announcement, as per instruction of the stagehand, I took a step onto the stage, and the blinding lights and cameras met my eyes, and the loud cheers encountered my ears. Geez…

I walked toward my seat on the stage, and other competitors followed me as well. The cheers slightly subsided, and I could see other audience members looking at their seatmates, and the others were whispering at each other while looking at me… this was why I hate stages.

In front of me now was a podium with a microphone, a buzzer, an LED screen panel, and a nameplate indicating USA.

I, then, noticed Rin in the front audience chuckling. What now, jerk?

The emcee started to speak with a cheerful voice while looking at us from the other side of the stage.

[Welcome dear delegates from the four countries… USA, Bangladesh, South Africa, and Spain. I am your quiz master, I am Susan de los Santos, teaching Political Science at the University of PPP. I am delighted to see you all here…]

I gently smiled at the message, of course. This show was live on national television after all.

The quiz master started pointing her hand to us.

[From the USA to Spain, may you introduce your name, age, university, course, and experiences so far here in the Philippines? Also, press the buzzer before you introduce yourselves for testing. USA, you may go first.]

Should I say that its not my first time here? No, these kinds of responses would always have follow-up questions…

I pressed the buzzer.


I looked at the quiz master and spoke through the microphone with a bright smile.

[Hi. Im Zekiel Radnier, twenty-two years old, from the University of A, New York City. Im studying Business, and I feel great here in the Philippines.]

A cheer and clapping were heard.

[Wow, thats a wonderful remark… Zekiel right?]

I nodded my head.

Other contestants then introduced themselves, and the quiz master asked questions after each introduction.

After several minutes, the introduction had come to an end. Then, the quiz master explained the rules and mechanics.

And finally…

[Here it comes.]

The crowd became silent, I became attentive.

[For the first setter question… Category, Music Classics.]


I listened very well to the unfamiliar piece, and various thoughts entered my mind.

It was clearly Romanticism. Was it Rachmaninoff…? No, the style was distinctive.


[Give the last name of the composer.]

I pressed the buzzer. I was the first to do so.

[Yes USA?]

Then, I answered.


[Liszt is… correct. You have five points.]

Cheers. Applause.

[USA, since you answered the setter question first, here are your bonus questions in the same category.]

Yes, this was a mechanic. Once you answered the setter question correctly, you would receive three bonus questions. Each question had an equivalent to five points when answered right. So, twenty points were possible, including the points from the setter question.

[First bonus question. Richard Wagners Ritt der Walküren is played at the beginning of Act III of what opera in the Der Ring des Nibelungen?]


[The correct answer is Die Walküre.]

[Second bonus question. Frédéric Chopin is a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist known for his nocturnes and ballades. How many ballades did Chopin write?]


[The answer is four.]


[After Bachs death, his music faded into arcane until another composer staged a famous revival of the St. Matthew Passion. Give the last name of the composer.]


[Mendelssohn is… correct. You have gathered a total of fifteen points.]

Clap. Clap.

Things are going well, I guess.

After less than half an hour, the last sets of questions had arrived.

[For the 20th setter question and the last one… Category, Geography. Recite the longest place name in the world.]


[Yes, South Africa?]

The lady from South Africa then answered.


[…Unfortunately, that is not the answer I am looking for. Anyone who wants to try?]


[Go ahead, USA.]

[Krungthep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.]

[And that is the answer I am looking for. It is the 163-letter official and ceremonial name under English romanization for Bangkok, Thailand, which is the longest place name in the world.]

I nodded my head.


[Okay USA, here is your set of bonuses. On your screen monitor, there is a single outline of a map of a country found somewhere around the globe. Name the six neighboring countries.]

Hm, this is Cameroon, so…

[Nigeria, Chad, The Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.]

[Correct. You have five points.]

Clap. Clap.

[Next question. Only two Southeast Asian countries are considered Christian-dominant, with the Philippines being one of them. Name the largest municipality, in terms of area, in the other Southeast Asian Christian nation.]

”….. ”

I answered, […Viqueque, East Timor.]

[…The answer is Viqueque, which is found in Timor-Leste, the second Christian-dominant country in Southeast Asia. You have five points.]


[Okay, last question. In 1570, a Brabantian cartographer created the first world atlas in the modern sense, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The Antwerp publisher, printer, and bookseller printed not the first 1570 editions, but the important expanded 1579 Latin edition, with Catalogus Auctorum, Index Tabularum, and Nomenclator, and also played a major role in marketing the book. Name the publisher.]

…The inventor was Ortelius but the publisher is…

I answered, [Christopher Plantin.]

[Your answer is correct; it is Christopher Plantin. You have an additional five points.]


The quiz master then announced,

[And that concludes the quarterfinals. Here is the official tally: USA got 100 points; South Africa, 130 points; Bangladesh, 55 points; and Spain, 35 points.]


[South Africa and the USA will face each other again for semifinal rounds tomorrow. Congratulations to all.]

I smiled brightly as I clapped my hands. I glanced at my seatmates and slightly bowed. Then, they reciprocated my action.

I stood up from my seat.

Lets give it a slight push tomorrow.

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