18 January 2016

Being a Filipino

Being a Filipino is the hardest job in the world. Because you are forced to be miserable in front of your own TV set every 5:30 in the afternoon.
If you are one of the millions of the surviving citizen who cannot afford to buy a kilo of garlic, your life is even more miserable.
We experience the toughest calamities, yet we prevail. We have lost family members, yet we smile in front of the camera. We are resilient. We tumble in the dirt but we stand up to face the fight only to be flipped again. But we continue because it’s bahala na.
We are the only people who claim the pride of a kababayan’s victory, particularly of a half-bloodkababayan though such victory is the only thing that made a sudden realization to the ‘half-blood’ being a Filipino.
The ‘half-blood’ eventually goes to the Philippines and becomes a celebrity.
Our talent is more recognized if we do pangangalakal or rag-picking for a living. We choose the one whose story touches us the most, neither because they are remarkably talented nor they meet the objective standards.
We run a government stuck in the quicksand of corruption. Our average working class is taxed more than what they can spend for monthly food, our babies are taxed long before they are conceived. Then we would sit in front of TV slack-jawed because our taxes went to bogus NGOs, or to a lawmaker who thought of nothing more socially relevant laws than the enactment of Anti-Selfie Bill .
We live in a country where a peasant becomes a boxing superstar and a congressman, who does acting, modeling, hosting, singing, preaching all at once, then makes it to the PBA at the age of near retirement.
Now, the boxing superstar eyes for a Senatorial seat.
National circumstances would make us feel hopeless and doleful. We hate the Chinese for taking our exclusive economic zones but we continue to patronize their imitation and below sub-standard products, and their drugs.
There are so many things we find annoying about being Filipino. We hate the traffic. We despise the system and bureaucracy. We curse the weather, either it is too hot or it is rainy. We complain a lot. We complain about things which we fail to act upon. In fact we complain that we are poor because the government doesn’t do anything about it. We blame the government. And when we do, we blame only one person like it is his malevolent act not to make us subsistent, if not rich.
We always complain. Maybe we will stop complaining once we all get rich. But I doubt that. We will always complain. Because we never cease to find the negative side of things.

18 October 2013

The Better End of Educ 14

We always get to the point where we have to pronounce the final words after we start drifting away from each other. We do this to express rancor or love or gratitude. This also gives us the opportunity to say about things we directly or vicariously experienced along the journey of doing things we performed together.
At the beginning of the course, I mentioned that I want to know how guidance and counseling impacted student achievements. In the process, I've met questions that need insightful answers. I wondered if guidance can exist without counseling or can counseling exist without guidance. I learned that these two concepts – or human activities – are also two different things. They are not transposable. They cannot happen in the absence of the other. Otherwise, their goals to transform and improve life cannot be achieved. I learned that guidance and counseling have to happen together, one after the other or both at the same time.
In doing our portfolio, I was bombarded with many apprehensions and awareness about helping. We matter to the lives of those people around us. And it only takes a touch of a hand or a tap on the shoulder to start the act of helping and consoling. Our words matter to people who value us. That’s why when we write them messages; we show them how we treat them. This portfolio has compelled me to linger on the internet, to confirm my personal answers to trivial questions. This portfolio has encouraged me to become creative. I swear, I've never been this creative before. Even in my Humanities class. I don’t like cutting out papers, or drawing things and mixing up colors. I am not skilled in these things. But this portfolio swayed me to the other side. I learned that I have the potential to be creative. I am creative, in the way I knit words together or in the way I systematize my ideas. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that despite the bunch of stuff to complete at the end of the semester, I was able to accomplish them with patience and determination of a teacher. I can’t believe I did this!
The writing of my biography was very exhausting. Seriously, I suffered several repetitive strain injuries on my right arm in the process of writing. You know that feeling when your ideas are flowing ceaselessly and you don’t have the speed of hand to write them all? It’s frustrating. The memories jam at some portion of the paper and you don’t know how to unclog them. It is difficult telling your own story because you have the opportunity to lie or just be honest. You know you have to tell them honestly, without pretensions  yet you’re scared that someone will be reading them and they judge you because you did those things in the past. But I acknowledge the fact that this writing is only a way of getting acceptance of myself; that when I tell them about a part of my experience, I unload the burden that I endure for so many years that I didn't share them to other people. I am thinking about the days in the future when I tell stories to my students and I need to remember things in college. I want to remember this because this is remarkably a great thing to remember.
I can’t tell exactly how much I learned in this course. My grades won’t literally tell them. But when I wake up each day and I still have something to ponder about from the making of this output, I know I have learned more than I am ought to learn in this course. 

22 June 2012

Boarding House Chronicles pt 3

Scraps of food lay scattered all over the banggerahan in the dirty kitchen. Upon the sink, there stood a small bucket of MY San Assorted Biscuits now serving as a container of the rapid drips of water from the leaking faucet pipe. I stayed on there for a while watching the droplets of water create an evanescent sound in the midst of the blabbing boarders, the squealing pigs in the sty and the splashing of running water in the irrigation canal.
With less effort, I placed the tray of toiletries on the banggerahan ignoring the nauseous leftovers. I tore a sachet of toothpaste and begun brushing my teeth in alternate upward and sideward motion. As a queer habit, I counted every brush strokes I make. It took me thirty quick brush strokes before I noticed the pinkish stains mixed on the foam of toothpaste on the sink. I knew it was blood coming from my gums again, only lighter this time. I stared at the foam unwinkingly and the longer I gaze at it, the more it looks like a cotton candy scant of food color. Suddenly, I saw a silhouette of a man on the corner of my eyes. I quickly rinsed my mouth with clean water and hastily washed away the foam of toothpaste on the sink. When I looked up, a tall and dark guy was standing by my side, looking at me with a sinister smile.
“Are you going to a bloody battle? Why do you sharpen your teeth?” he asked in a swaggering manner.
It was the same funny and silly question I used to hear from my classmates back in high school. His question neither moved my lips to fake a smile nor opened my mouth to utter a word because it really annoyed me. I glared at him with sheer bravado and went on washing my face. I wasn’t sure if he intended to use the faucet after me or whatnot but he stood there motionless watching every movement I make. Aware of his watchful eyes, I fidgeted with the water glass and dropped it lightly in the bucket. I couldn’t stare at his face because I’m defiant to see the sinister smile I saw in him previously. It really scared the heck out me. I shut off the faucet, arranged my toiletries on the tray and hurried upstairs without looking back. I knew he was watching me while I was walking in haste and it’s sick that I can’t look back and glared at him again.
I entered my room and tried to recollect the uncomfortable moments I just spent in front of the sink. It was an awkward encounter with a total stranger. I suspected that he’s a new boarder in the house. I tried to remember the image of his face on my mind and I saw a mole below the right corner of his lower lip. He reminded me of Rocky Salumbides, a paragon blessed with good looks and a hot body. I began to undress him in my thoughts. I started on his plaided shirt, on his cropped pants and his shoes. I took off everything else on him until he’s stark naked before my eyes. Suddenly, I caught a glimpse of a huge rat bridging over the plywood partition of the rooms. It stopped creeping on the corner and stared at me, assessing my reaction perhaps. I shifted my eyes and looked at the void of space outside the window. I kept looking but not seeing. That dirty huge rat enabled me to realize that my wandering thoughts are way too far-fetched, impure and perverted. I pulled out a deep sigh, picked up my phone, opened and shut the door and went directly downstairs.

08 June 2012

Boarding House Chronicles pt 2

The cool breeze diffused into the bamboo-knitted walls of the room, prickled the soles of my feet like frozen water. The clanking of the water pump beneath the window and the small rush of water from its shaft is a wakeup call to the snoring occupants of the room. The boisterous roars of three-wheeled vehicles can be heard against the sound of the window hinges swinging back and forth. Apparently, it’s 6 o’clock but I lingered in my bed with relish for comfort. The wind is unusually cool. I prognosticate that it will rain today. I pulled the covers upward and hid my eyes to hinder the first ray of sunlight that slipped through the window. I heard fast and heavy footsteps on the narrow and rickety staircase. Then I heard three softy knocks on the door. It was Jake, the tall and dark guy I met in the dirty kitchen last week.
“Mayor, may I borrow your broom?” he asked with a hoarse voice, suggesting that he’d just waken up.
I was elected mayor of the boarding house organization and everyone else here had since branded me with that title. I kinda like the authority I am holding now. When I ask them to fetch me water in the bathroom, they instantly do without any trouble. But it’s pathetic to think that they only obey me because I am the eldest boarder in the house.
“Mayor … your broom. Thanks.” Jake drawled out.
“No problem.” I replied. “What time are you gonna hit the school today?”
“Ahm. Later at 9:30 I guess.” He muttered with his lips partly closed.
Those lips – unusually wet all the time – which formed a sinister smile last week had become stirring, provoking and tempting. It lured me to savor its freshness. It kept me slack-jawed, drooling over it. It drove me nuts!
We discussed about random things yesterday under the Indian mango tree at the backyard. We talked about the viciousness of the school, its lapses in following its established protocol, its amenity and the people in it. It gave me a brain fart moment discussing these things with him. He told me insolently about his misdemeanors in the classroom at the Maritime Education department. He would yell at the teacher if he found the latter ridiculously disturbing. I thought this guy has an ego way too big for him. He seriously needed his butt paddled up because it’s obvious that it was never done to him growing up!
We talked about other things like our interests and guilty pleasures. He mentioned that he loves Harry Potter and Narnia movies. He even kept a complete collection at home. His confession vastly surprised me because at the way he behaves, anyone would expect that this guy watches Robin Padilla movies. I like his fashion too. I would always see him wear crumpled faded jeans and shirts with cool appliqués on them. He has piercings on his ears, on his nose and on his private parts. Of course I wouldn’t know that if he hadn’t told me. I just didn’t know what struck me but it gave me goose bumps knowing these flimsy, sleazy things about him.
I hear a lot from my board mates that I’m becoming unusually closer to him. Jake might have heard this too but it seems that he’s way too oblivious of the hearsay. I wish to have more placid moments with him in the future, under the shade of the Indian mango tree at the backyard. The next time it’ll happen again, the moon should be visible on the star-studded sky and the land breeze drifting the weeds on the meadow.

24 May 2012

Brave Face

He held his red canvas bag and swung it across his slender shoulder on the right and bolted like a Dalmatian found a good bone. Reaching the metal handle of the glass door, he strode in a haughty catwalk style. His jaguar stilettos hammered the concrete floor in a resonating sound at every even step he made. Random students in all-white, tucked uniform herded together at the Student Lounge glanced at him as if scrutinizing his stature. He is tall and lean, his hair almost gray, his lashes flutter and his voice shrills. He gazed at the uniformed students sternly. I rushed to the glass door and called for him before he could cross the pavement to the Techno building. “Kling, come back. Hurry!” he pivoted gracefully and went back, gliding like a punk on his skateboard. “Imbierna! I have a class at 3:00, it’s a quarter left. You’re keeping me late, you faggot!” he exclaimed. He’s always full of bravado and conceit when he speaks. Sometimes I take time to question myself how much backbone does this guy hold to produce such a scornful voice. He looks so different, almost unpleasant but he behaves like he’s on a platform and I on the ground floor. I met him last month when I joined the University Student Council. He’s from the legislative and I’m from the executive. Though I’ve been seeing him around since last semester, it never occurred to me that we can be this close like we are now. Those times I treated him like a grotesque thing to behold. His skin looks like that of a long-tailed reptile – coarse and oddly white-spotted. For some time I thought he’s a nauseous thing to stand close by. But recently, my treatment of him has become warmer and more civil. I learned that his skin imperfection is a disease – not a communicable so it’s safe to allow my skin brushes his. He suffered a huge deal of sarcasm and humiliation growing up but it didn’t get the better of him. Instead he stood still and proud, intimidating the boneheads who ridiculed him. “It’s just a matter of bravery and contempt,” he said once “if you don’t correct them when they upset you, they’ll never learn to treat you with respect.” True that. Sometimes you have to be brave even if it’s just pretended courage if that requires people to treat you their equal. The preamble did not speak of a humane society with savage people living on it. Life is not fair outside but you have to fend it off. Every time I look at Klein I think about strange things; strange but prevailing things. His guts hid his imperfections. It’s amazing how he did even that. I remember him telling me about his embarrassing tete-a-tete with a college dean last year. “You are so dumb!” She cursed him. That’s what he prized after creating a fiasco as a facilitator in a Quiz Bee during the Intrams. He was shrinking like a balloon belching all its air. I can’t tell whether he told me the real thing that happened between them or not. But during that moment, I lost one strand of respect from the ex-dean. Never before have I thought such a high paid teacher brand a student as dumb. Kling’s condition already decimates his confidence and telling him he’s dumb would crush even more whatever amount of hope he had all his life. She is awful and I’m serious about that conviction. I have my own share of embarrassment once when I consulted her about my overlapping class schedules. She hasn’t driven me bonkers when she told me I’m a nuisance. I didn’t despise her for that but she scared the heck out of me. Klein must have felt the same terror. “I gotta go. I’ll be back in a bit though. Bye girl,” he uttered. His eyes darted across the glass sliding window. He left the office; his stilettos hammered the concrete floor and echoed his steps outside the half-closed glass door. He is oddly-looking. He flutters pulses when he talks. Certainly, he’s one hell of a daring guy.

19 May 2012

Boarding House Chronicles

I tore the Business Gazette cover leaf and fanned the embers in the coal stove. The motion disturbed the subtle ashes, scared it away like a swarm of flies whipped by a stiff twig. I added cold coals in the stove and set the rice pot on it. Then I went on a corner of the kitchen and sat on a wood bench beside the kitchen table. I watched the boys intently doing a rough workout with dumbbells. I could see the moist of perspiration running down against their brown skin towards their half naked bodies. It gave me a grave feeling of nausea looking at their bodies wetted by sweat. I couldn’t bear the sight of them so I stood up and approached the stove again to examine the ashes interspersed among the cold coals and crumpled papers.
Jake stirred the noodles in his casserole with a large and elongated spoon, resisting the hot water vapor ascending from the boiling water. In our boarding house or maybe even in other boarding houses here, Lucky Me Pancit Canton is the staple food of the boarding students. You won’t find a room here without seeing a heap of pancit canton in the cupboards. You might also find the bold cans of tuna, corned beef, sardines and beef loaf but pancit canton is the dominant food supply. Apparently, it is because it’s affordable, quick and easy to prepare. I grinned at Jake as he wipes out the moist on his forehead – a mixture of water vapors, perspiration and dead skin cells. I turned halfway around and intended to sit back on the wood bench at a corner when a boy – his name I didn’t care to know – approached me with a handled rectangular box.
“Mayor, do you know cheese?” asked the boy with excitement on his face.
“What? Is that a food?” I replied with intentional sarcasm.
“Hahaha! Are you deaf? Can’t you see I’m holding a cheeseboard?” the boy asked irately.
It took me a moment to decide whether he meant that I’m deaf because I didn’t hear him say cheese or I’m blind because I didn’t see him carrying acheeseboard.
“Silly boy! You mean to say, chess?” I retort with an evil grin rather showing a sneering response.
“Whatever you call it! Do you know how to play this game?” he asked again with a bit of indignation in his voice.
“I dunno… Sorry.” I answered bashfully.
He twitched his mouth showing an evident implication of frustration. He went to the rooms and looked for a willing playmate. I shook my head and went back to the stove. I lifted the cover of the rice pot to check the temperature of the water. It’s warm and there were tiny bubbles moving in random direction. I returned the cover and then looked at Jake with an expressionless face. He moved his head towards me and threw his arm around my shoulder.
“You are so mean.” he whispered.
I chuckled upon hearing the message because his breath created a ticklish feeling in my ear and butterflies in my stomach. I removed his arm from my shoulder and pinched him on his bare back as I let out a shrill giggle.
I cherish those moments – it happened just an hour ago – and while writing this journal entry, I am wearing a big smile on my face.

17 October 2011

Shaped Poem

Tripartite Crime

Brown Blood
The loud fire of the .45 mm caliber pistol woke the two brothers who were sleeping soundly in a small cabin in the woods. Terrorized by the shot, they jumped off the creaking bamboo floor through the rickety wood stairs and crept toward the ash- covered loams of the deforested hills.
“Ako ron bahala mig!” Tikboy gave out as he fired two more bullets to the fleeing brothers, who managed to have found refuge behind the thick carabao bean bushes, near the brook that stretches through Bugangan River. His accomplice shushed him but it was too late. The subjects have heard him; his rough and deep voice has reached their ears with extreme poignancy of terror and surprise. Tikboy, their meek and timid brother, had just tried to murder them!
The two brothers, Digong and Puloy, have completely fled from the assailants and reached their homes catching their breath. Their clothes were muddied; they smell like a carabao ascended from its favorite mud pool.
The next morning the rumor exploded in the barrio like an atomic bomb and it reached the hithermost barangays. It was known to the local folks that they were secretly and surprisingly attacked in the woods by the two assailants whose identities they vaguely characterized. The attack puzzled the prying people immensely. Their old bedridden father has recently passed away and they’re still wearing black clothes. Who would’ve mercilessly dared to cause the death of another member of their family?
“Sin-o gid man haw, Puloy?” Dadak asked with compelling inquisition in her voice. She had been recurringly asking her husband about the identity of the attackers but he refused to name names. He remained quiet and cold towards the subject every time it is brought up in the discussion.
“Puloy, who are those predators? Why were they hunting you? “Dadak was trembling. Her grip on his arm tightened and her voice grew raspy. “Please, tell me…”
“Si Agot ah,” finally he spoke. He disclosed the attacker’s name with careful euphemism as if he abhorred mentioning it. His head fell and his open hands caught it. His elbows stood on the table that’s made of coconut slabs. It was rough that when he lifted his elbows, the coarse texture printed exact figures on his brown skin.
“Why? Wha-how could he do that to his kindred, to his own brothers?” She was delirious. The confession terrified her so much. Her eyes widened, her mouth remained open. Her knees felt weak. She dropped her butt on the bamboo floor and leaned against the plywood wall.
“Do you remember the night before last night when Digong cursed him for being irreverent to Tatay on his wake? He smiled to that but he drank the freak off the whole night. You know it; he never immersed himself in tuba or Tanduay, never before. He must’ve felt humiliated in front of the mourners and gamblers.” Puloy spoke with unusual rate of speed in his voice. His arms made anticipating movements while he spoke; his mustache imitated the motion of his upper lip; his nose crinkled travestying a little child defiant of a sharp sting by a mosquito on his temple.
Dadak motioned to speak when four rapid knocks shook the door. She looked at her husband and the latter gestured her to open it. She hesitated for a while but when the visitor knocked again, she rose from the bamboo floor and went for it.
Ferdinand entered the room, Digong followed him. He’d just arrived from Cebu where he was assigned as a parish priest in one of the congregations there. An emblem of disbelief is marked on his cheerful face. Apparently, Digong has already told him of the assailant. Digong approached the table and pressed his hands unto it.
“We have to do something. I want vendetta. No! I just want vengeance, that’s all. If we’re gonna ignore what happened last night, we’ll eventually get killed. Let’s rob him the chance to do that. Let’s kill him before he can kill us!” Digong spoke with verbiage. Enmity has possessed him. He didn’t care what or who is the person he wanted to get himself avenged of. Brother or enemy – the idea is entirely the same for him. It’s barbaric but he knew he’d be a fool if he’d let Tikboy axe his head off when he sleeps again at the kaingin range.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, not anyone, not even your brother!” Ferdinand exclaimed poetically. As a servant of God, he knew he’s compelled to do a miracle in the midst of his warring siblings. He has to work hard to put out the flare-up that grew hotter in them.
“Are you mental? We’re gonna get killed sooner or later. The fact that we know he’s the attacker won’t keep him still. He’ll hunt us to death!” Digong has neither animosity nor resentment for Tikboy. He only despised the idea of his sooner demise. He has two little kids to raise. His wife can’t grow them both. He dreams of one day seeing his sons get decent jobs and marry them off with successful women. He wants to see his grandchildren gather beside his rocking chair as they listen to his monster stories similar to that of Amor. The thought of his death in the hands of Tikboy rippled the peaceful lake of his dreams.
“This is only one filial problem rooted from a petty misunderstanding and melancholy. This can be solved without anyone of you gets killed. Let’s summon your brother here so each one of you can express each other’s grudge and settle everything at once for Christ’s sake.” Ferdinand was determined to resuscitate Digong’s vanishing fear of God. It seemed the only way that could retract him from pursuing his wicked scheme.
Digong gazed at Ferdinand, then to Puloy. Dadak muttered prayers imploring for the Creator’s providence. Silence fell unto the room. Nobody dared to move for a while. Puloy gave out a deep sigh and groomed the grey of his hair with his gnarled fingers.
“Let’s sort this out tomorrow at the burial, in front of Tatay.” Puloy broke the silence. Ferdinand rose from the long bamboo bench and walked past the door he opened and closed with force. Dadak went to the kitchen to fill the thermos with hot water for the mourners at her in-laws’ house five meters away from theirs. The two brothers were left in the room. Digong hammered the table with his fist. He stood erect and placed hands in his pockets.
“We can’t get away with this without retaliation. Tomorrow is the burial. After the burial, its hunting time,” said Digong with suppressed violence. He was expecting a response from his brother.
“Gong -” a frightened plea set in his clumsy words, “I-can’t-I’m-ugh. This isn’t right,” he said at last. But in his subconscious mind, a reverse question formed: what if Tikboy is so intent to finish them off?
“If you don’t have the spine to do this then lemme do it myself! I don’t want the retard ruin my dreams just like that. If Tatay were alive, he would’ve axed him off. You know how fierce he was in dealing matters like this.” He was no longer compelled by probity. He’d made up his mind. To murder his younger brother is his new desideratum.
The burial of their father took place the next day. The whole family gathered at the church and greeted each other as if there were no tension and resentment in their midst. They looked like one big united family gathered to bid last goodbye to their father. Ferdinand believed that the warring brothers are finally in good terms. It was emotional relief seeing his brothers joined together in sorrow for the loss of the great pillar of the family. They spoke with good riddance and eventually trusted his flair for causing reconciliation in them.
The night arrived so early. It was very calm except for the stray dogs sabotaging its serenity from time to time. The little kid’s have gone to their homes and the grown-ups have stopped playing card games. The deafening silence created a rather eerie feeling.
Didong trode on the grassy path that leads to Puloy’s background. Trussed across his hips was a cold blade locked in its sheath. Puloy waited on the backyard patiently. He resisted the urge to slap with his open hand the mosquito that stung his neck. Digong found him there crouching behind the Hibiscus bushes. His small knapsack carried a sling and a bundle of poisoned darts. Together they took the path that leads to the beach where Tikboy’s hut was built.
Tikboy heard the dogs bark as if upright walking creatures are ambushing them with twigs and stones. He reached for his nylon pouch and took out his gun. He positioned his forefinger on the trigger and crouched beside a sturdy wall near the unlocked window. He waited for the rustle of dried mahogany leaves nearby. The moon came out of the dark clouds, reflecting a faint light upon the beach. The cod sea breeze gently moved his unruly hair and fanned the sweat on his forehead. Suddenly he caught a glimpse of silhouettes of men juxtaposed among the coconut trees near the high way. He fired a bullet to them and jumped out of the hut. He crawled towards the rudder of a boat when suddenly he felt a sharp, pointed metal punctured the muscle beneath his shoulder blade. He reached for it as he continued crawling. It was a dart!
His eyes searched for his enemies but they’re nowhere to be seen. He got up on his knees and ran towards the thick mahogany trees without looking back or looking ahead. His head became heavy and his eyes were blurred with thick and indistinct figures. He groped for a trunk when suddenly a cold, thin blade penetrated the bare flesh of his left limb. The stab maimed his arm totally. He couldn’t see things anymore clearly so he fired his gun at a random direction. Another blade cut across his belly, then his thighs and his face at last. For a moment the wounds scathed his muscle tissues. Another stroke sliced his right shoulder and the world was gone.
Puloy saw his brother fall flat on the rocky earth, motionless. His blood flowed out from his wounds. The blood seemed brown and thick under the moonlight. Digong stood aside at the dead body. He was paralyzed with horror and fear. The foliage rustled and several rushing steps approached them. Puloy bolted and dragged him toward the legume fields, crushing the peanuts in dark yellow bloom. The moon lurked again behind the nimbuses. The dogs howled as if giving a long, loud, mournful cry. From a distance, a shrill wail of a woman can be heard against the splashes of the sea waves. The lightning knifed the dark sky and a roaring thunder drowned out the sorrowful cries.

(The characters and events in this story are fictitious. Any similarity is coincidental and not intended by the writer.)

24 May 2011

Culminating the World Literature course

         Our course is Literatures of the World. Apparently, we were expecting to read the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Edgar Allan Poe, Hans Christian Andersen and more representative literatures from Filipino authors. On the other hand, we were given this rare moviegoer chance to watch films based on literature books like Les Miserables, Odyssey, and King Arthur. It was an awesome experience to effortlessly understand the stories without having to read a 500-page book. However, it is always of more advantage to have read the book first before you watch its film version. It is because the big screen version usually deviates from the original story. What you savor in the film is the artistic interpretation of the scriptwriter, not of the original author. For example, in the original Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, the hero Jean Valjean has escaped prison several times. In the film written by Rafael Yglesias, Valjean escaped from parole once and he is transformed into a good man. In the movie Odyssey, Odysseus was given two options in crossing the territory of Scylla and Charybdis. In the film, it seems that Odysseus didn’t know they have to get past the monster Scylla and the deadly whirlpool Charybdis. All of his men got killed and he was left alone, brought by the waves to the island of Calypso. These are the examples of the deviations of the movies based on literature books.

          Since our course is literature, it is expected that we will be familiarized of its two main divisions namely, poetry and prose. Prose is the most artistic type and it is our favorite since we don’t have to deal with difficult imagery and symbols used in poetry. Novels give us the chance to have a page-turning experience reading them. Drama also provides us with an exhilarating experience especially because it is intended to be performed on stage. Just because we dealt with these forms of literature, we were tasked to culminate our learning in a one-day activity. The activity involved presentations of drama, oration, storytelling, character impersonation, verse choir, and choral singing. Our group did the choral singing category. We were having a hard time thinking where does choral singing belong to in literature. But since we are going to sing, we presume our category belongs to poetry since a song is a form of Lyric Poetry. The hardest part is, we have to perform it on stage and we are not real good singers! Our group selected the provincial theme song “Antique Banwa nga Hamili” as our piece because we are all familiar of it. In the first place, we don’t have a trainer to teach us how to sing it properly in chorus. Our success in the presentation is dependent upon ourselves. We started practicing our piece two weeks before the culmination. It wasn’t a rigid practice but more of a happy-go-lucky assignment we just need to get past until it’s done. Unlike other groups, we didn’t stay overnight just practicing. We trained ourselves anytime we are free and convenient. In other words, we didn’t give it our full preparation. It’s just fair that we didn’t hit the top spot in this category. Actually, we didn’t plan much about everything like our costume. On the day of the presentation, we even admitted two neophyte “singers” who weren’t with us since the first and the last day of our practice. We didn’t work hard for it so we didn’t expect to win. But then the most important thing is that we know it is not a competition. It was not the other groups that we had competed but it is ourselves. Our greatest foe in this arena is our own ability. It was fun and we cherish this memorable experience; and we give it a good riddance as we face our next endeavors.

23 May 2011

Nice Meeting You, Rizal

            Like anyone of us, he too is not perfect. He is vulnerable and emotional. He fell in love and got hurt. But unlike any other heroes the world has known for their bravery and courage, he is the gentlest and noblest. He didn’t die in the battlefield like El Cid Campeador of Spain. He didn’t win over an assault in a city like Agamemnon of Greece. He doesn’t possess invulnerability like Siegfried of Germany. He is not a mythical hero but he is not a looser. He didn’t fight his enemies by sword; he attacked them with his plume and ink.
            I should be ashamed of myself to confess that I don’t know him that much. This guy has six names and I only know him by the name he was known to the world – José Rizal. I am envious of others who kept a memory of the names of all the women he’d loved before. With great humility, I admit I only know two of them: Leonor Rivera and Josephine Bracken, the faces whom I associate with Mickey Feriols and Chin Chin Gutierrez. I don’t know how or when he was born except that I know he died on December 30 because it’s a national holiday. I have no idea how many courses he took in Ateneo and UST except that I know he took medicine that’s why they call him Dr. José Rizal. All I know is that José Rizal is the Philippine national hero and he died because the Spaniards executed him for his attempts to overturn the Catholic Church and liberate the Filipinos from the Spanish dominion. Nevertheless, I’d like to comfort myself to the belief that in order to appreciate what José Rizal has done for the country, someone need not to know everything about him including the petty things like how he comb his hair or does he wear undergarments or does his fart smell bad as well. I believe these things are beyond our concern to delve into. The purpose of the subject is to make us realize his noble deeds and instill in our minds how José Rizal selflessly devoted his life for the love of his country and his fellowmen. Rizal or PI 100 is not an autobiography, it is philosophy and history.

17 April 2011

Acceptance Gives Hope

Recently, I have been reading literature which I reckoned a flickering light to my gloomy days in the boarding house. I read a lot now because I am lonely and I need something to arouse my imagination in the midst of my solitary moments. Unknowingly, I gained more than what I immediately wanted to have. Last Friday, I have read a narrative that has really moved me to feel something deep in my heart. It made me aware that life is, afterall, not fair and therefore we seek something - a sign - that will enable us to heighten our relationship with the Creator despite the appalling inequality.  Let me share this literature that suddenly triggered me to ponder about its timeless relevance to man..

Breakfast at McDonald's

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology.
The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’ The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.
Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.
We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.I did not move an inch…. an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.
As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling’. His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God’s Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, ‘Good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.
The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them.
The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).
Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.
I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’
I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, ‘I did not do this for you.. God is here working through me to give you hope.’
I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope..’. We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.
We are not church goers, but we are believers… That day showed me the pure Light of God’s sweet love.
I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it.Then she looked up at me and said, ‘Can I share this?’ I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.
She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.
I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn : Unconditional Acceptance.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to……


 What is special about this story is its spiritual value and most especially its relevance to me. Reading along, it enabled me to gain rational thinking about my sexuality and the sense of belongingness I feel, the gift of acceptance I receive or the amount of disdain that I get from other people. The story is short but comprehensive, simple but artistic. Aware that the writer is real and her experience is exquisitely genuine, it really made me understand its message deeply. Its universality is apparent that it applies mostly to people regardless of age, race, culture and creed. Its impact is more or less enduring that it can stand through the test of time. Her story is a reflection of human nature, unique and rare. Its value is equal to that of a novel. Whoever wrote this story, I am so grateful that she was glad to share it to other people. It made me experience something and entirely touched my human heart.

01 March 2011

Teacher's Role in Classroom Management

Curious about how a teacher handles her class, I came to observe a Physics class of roughly 40 students; a mixture of two sections in third year. The classroom set up is so high school. When I looked up at the ceiling I saw Chinese lanterns hang loosely; more of it filled up the square ceiling. The walls are pinned of colorful cartolinas painted with maxims from famous world philosophers. It’s funny that I found mobile numbers scribbled on them which I suspected written by the students wanting to have textmates. The walls at the back of the room are filled up of huge pictures of Philippine Presidents with their names in bold characters; the ones you get to see on a daily basis and will make you memorize them unconsciously.
The class started with the checking of the students’ attendance, after which, the teacher recalls the last meeting’s topic. Then the students took hold of their assignments while the teacher wrote the problems on the board about finding velocity. To my calculation, only one third of the students in the classroom seem to be paying close attention. Some students had their time poking their seatmates, some really enjoyed throwing crumpled papers upon their classmates and few went in and out of the classroom without even noticing my presence at the back.
Apparently, the teacher has established a very low affective filter in the classroom. The students barely showed respect or fear to the teacher. The teacher’s voice seemed to be drowning in the noise created by the blabbing students. I can share empathy to her as a teacher dealing with a huge number of students in a classroom. I understand that having more than 40students in your class is pretty hard to manage. So her attention is focused alone on the students who actively participate in the discussion. The students are pretty hard to get their attention and have them participate in a lesson.
There should be some necessary things to be re-considered. The classroom set up is inappropriate. The teacher remains positioned in front overlooking some students at the back. There should be a particular seating assignment so the students will not have the freedom to choose any seat that they feel comfortable watching the playground. The teacher should not maintain a low voice throughout the discussion because it shows small passion to teach. The teacher might introduce an exciting strategy in presenting her lesson. I have observed that the students are lively and joyful in playing around the classroom during the class. Perhaps they might enjoy a game in the classroom as facilitated by the teacher. The teacher can start the lesson with a little competition that might entice the students to participate. A plain discussion seems to be boring for them but group work and each assigned a specific activity might pull them together to work on their own. I believe in this scenario that teaching doesn’t mean the teacher has always to do the talking. Rather as a teacher, she can facilitate the class to discover things on their own.

07 December 2010

On Becoming a Teacher

You might have experienced the feeling of being left out when other sections have already reached the peak of their lesson while yours is just starting off at the bottom. You might be asking your teacher a question like, “Ma’am, are we there yet?” Well that’s totally sick!
But you can’t hate your teacher if she has become oblivious of her class. You can’t despise her either if she complains at the top of her lungs that it takes her forever to reach your classroom which is on the rear of the Science Building. Perhaps you reckon that your teacher has been secretly diagnosed of Alzheimer’s or plainly having an odd symptom of rheumatism. Now you’re swearing and cursing that your school sucks because it sends you obnoxious teachers who have the infinitesimal amount of passion to teach. But hold on… What have you been up to while the teacher’s not around? If she’d left you slack-jawed waiting in vain inside the classroom, that’s not probably the perfect time to enjoy your nonsensical blabber or verbal diarrhea while swarming around the halls of General Education Building. Instead of magnifying noise pollution at a two-way traffic corridor, why not try to march your way out and read up some books in the library? I’m pretty sure the librarian won’t throw balls of fire at your face if you messed up her bookshelves. Have you ever asked yourself if you have read all the books that your age requires you to have read? To overshare, I’ve came across with this trivia over the internet while blogwalking and it’s about The 30 Books Everyone Should Read before Their 30th Birthday. It occurred to me that I have only read two: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Man, I’ve missed a lot. I’ve wasted too much time reading Precious Hearts Romances and Liwayway. Then I realized it’s never too late to make up for my incompleteness. I still have a decade of leisure to read the remaining 28 books plus two bonus books or perhaps even more than that!
You are teacher wanna-bes. How can we pass on knowledge to our future students if we only have little of it? How are we going to enrich our minds with inspiring ideas and general information if we don’t read a lot? Come on peers, get a life!

We are pleased that “Sibalom has access to the internet and information is just one click away like how you use your cellphones in messaging” - (Sir John). There is a wide variety of information waiting to be unlocked in the internet. How you’re going to transform this information into a useful form merely depends on your resourcefulness and ingenuity.
 The internet lab in school is intended to serve as a portal to further academic researches which cannot be practically done with the books in the library. It is actually a modern extension of the school library. In most schools, social networking sites like Facebook, Friendster or Myspace andmicroblogs like Tumblr, Plurk or Twitter are banned on their browsers. It is due to the figures revealed in a survey by IT Company Global Secure Systems that “52 per cent of youngsters use Facebook during lessons for up to one hour in every ten that they spend in school.” It is also for the reason that these sites have become a breeding place for cyber bullying. Sadly, UA students have taken the liberty to expand their social circle on Facebook and several others even feign ignorance in visiting pornographic websites and downloading porn photos and videos. Little did they know that pornsites have spyware and adware that contains malicious codes which can harm computers. It is annoying and disturbing that they are tolerated to do such stuff inside the internet lab.
                There are many ways to ‘waste’ your time to worthwhile things while surfing the internet. Instead of poking someone you don’t know or tagging incriminating photos of yourself on Facebook search other wholesome websites that can offer you reliable and useful information. A keyword search is helpful when you Google up chunks of information that are categorized by Photos, Videos, Books, Blogs, Realtime and Discussions/Forums. You can even stream video tutorials for grammar and English proficiency on Youtube. I have personally tried this interesting stuff and I swear it helped me a lot.

What does it take to have an interactive learning environment? Should it be the teacher talking in front of the class while her students are lolling their heads on their seats? Or should it be the students bombarding themselves with various ideas while the teacher is seated at the back as she facilitates the class?
                For several others, they’re probably pissed off when the teacher jumpstarts the first meeting of the semester with assignments of topic reports to be presented in class by each student. Apparently, somebody will think that he’s damned by the Fates because he has to deal with a bummer teacher for a whole semester. Another may think that his teacher is such an apathetic couch potato thinking that the teacher might just lurk at the back staring wearily to a classmate who’s having a “stuck between a rock and a hard place” moment while presenting his topic report. You think that’s awful and you already want to regurgitate your existence out of the classroom. Before you decimate your heart with too much animosity, try to hold back. A classroom won’t be much of a classroom if your geek teacher does all the talking. Take a mental note of this: the role of your teacher is to facilitate your learning not to spoon-feed you; to manage classroom activities not to twaddle with you. If you aspire to become a teacher, then it’s probably wise to assume the role of a teacher in the classroom starting as a peer facilitator and co-communicator. Turn away your stage frights; don’t fret because everybody has the same fear. Set aside hostility and reinforce yourself with optimism. It is your task to make the class interactive by indulging yourself to sharing of inspired ideas and emphatic insights. In the end, you’ll be leaving the school equipped with the necessary aptitude for teaching. Now that’s epic!

10 November 2010

Okay, Thanks. Bye!

I really did wish I never knew you. What am I saying? Do I really know you? I'm goin' bonkers again. I haven’t met you yet! Hey self! Are you mental?
Lemme clear that. I’ve seen you around here (cyberspace, on the wall in my bed room, on my TV) but I haven’t met you yet in person. Merlin's beard!
I fell in love with you and that's most certainly gross. Yeah, right! don't be surprised. I used to think you’re a cool guy, someone who's different. But after everything I did, i mean, after researching on you I really, really went crazy. I'm hurt. See, I'm hurt! Why? because I am dense.
I guess it ends tonight.Your subtleties just pisses me off. Sorry I stole your pictures last week. I always wanted to have them… to dream about.
Yeah, it ends tonight. I have to officially end it. I'll quit this before its gonna kill me emotionally. I have to get a life! I don't wanna dream about you anymore because the next dream about you would be my worst nightmare. Its stupid. Its the stupidest thing i made everyday.. dreaming about the person who doesn't even know I exist.
I’ve cried a lot because I'm becoming paranoid and I cant cry hard anymore. It's done. Its over. end of the story. Goodbye! Skype Emoticons

19 September 2010


I sit here today, and at this age, I have absolutely NO IDEA who I definitely am. But I know what I stand for, I know what I believe. I know that there are things I did in the past that were not right, or fair. I have made mistakes.

In 20 years, I’ll look back at the boy sitting here with his
thick black hair,
ever changing passions and ideals,
the dreamer,
the friend,
the lover
and I won’t dislike him.
I don’t dislike the “me” from the past, I merely recognize I’ve grown above and beyond and I AM NOT defined by what people might have THOUGHT about me.

I joked before, regarding being always right. That was merely a joke. I learn on a daily basis. I value the opinions and ideals of others, but nothing will ever stop me from expressing my own.
Debate and discussion is not about making someone believe or stand for your ideals. It is about expressing them, so that someone could be more enlightened to “the other side of the story”. Being right is less important than being heard.