What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut. My fascination with space started when I was 10 when my mother bought us a 10-volume encyclopedia on science. I remember spending afternoons just lying belly down and reading these books. In high school, my father bought me a telescope (which is broken now, sadly) as a gift for getting good grades, especially in science subjects. My memory of that telescope is still fresh — I remember first using it to see the Moon. I was so surprised to see how jagged the Moon’s edges were — it was full of mountains! Then just several days after, I brought the telescope and the astronomy encyclopedia to our rooftop — the first time someone in our family climbed it. There, I located Jupiter not by luck but by projection using Orion’s Belt and Sirius as my guides. I was so dumbfounded to see not only Jupiter but its four moons! In the following weeks, I managed to see Saturn and its amazing rings, Uranus, Venus, and Mars. Mercury is so hard to find!
Do you have any siblings?
I have four siblings. An older brother and sister, then two younger brothers.
Who was your childhood hero?
My mom, I must say. She’s really hardworking and religious. She’s been through a lot of things but she’s still kicking! I’ve got no comic heroes, but I’m really fond of 90’s Japanese anime like Flame of Recca, Dragon Ball Z, and Yu Yu Hakusho (Ghost Fighter as it’s known in the Philippines).
What was your favorite childhood food? Has it changed as an adult?
It’s more of a snack. It’s green and sour mango with bagoong or shrimp paste. No, it won’t change!
List up to three of your favorite childhood books:
- The encyclopedias (and astronomy magazines, if they count) bought by my mother;
- Mythology by Edith Hamilton; and
- My high school world literature book, which introduced me to Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, and Anton Chekhov.
Tell us embarrassing or little known childhood anecdote about yourself
This one’s hard. Oh, I’m the tallest in our family. It must’ve been because I used to sleep with my arms and thighs stretched.
Tell us about your parent’s quirks and how they have shaped you?
My mom is religious (this isn’t a quirk though) and she always tells us to devote time to praying and thanking God. In what might have been a real quirk, my mom is very particular in doing household chores — like arranging clothes by size and color, doing the laundry by color, and cleaning the house in order (from the bedroom out). Hmm, that might have caused me to be somewhat OCD.
How many kids do you want?
Andy Peñafuerte III joins beijingkids as its new deputy managing editor. Born in Manila, the Philippines, he moved to Beijing in December 2015. Andy’s a space fanatic and in his free time you will see him reading articles about astronomy and space science. He’s also an avid traveler and documents his musings on coolkidandy.wordpress.com. Prior to working in Beijing, Andy had been a broadcast journalist in Manila, Philippines, covering major news beats like international and local politics, disasters and weather, and lifestyle.