Monday, December 29, 2008

The ‘Thrust’ of Viole(n)t Mugs


As this blog reach its age of one and a half years (on January 3), I am compelled to look back at its contents and observe the form it has come to assume. There is no definite way, upon seeing them, to describe the overall nature of this site. It has dealt with my personal experiences both as a person and a student; the different events that has happened in the Philippines; personal beliefs; reviews; etc.
And upon giving it a seal (nyek!) as a form of tribute, I decided, at the coming of this New Year, to put on it the events external to myself. Diaries are supposed to take care of the more personal ones (emo moments, etc.). Of course, there’s no way I could say that I would not talk about politiks or perhaps existentialism anymore. Suffice it to say that this blog, as I see it now, is a way of knowing how well I have dealt with and experienced the ‘world’ outside myself.
Let us greet the new year with hopeful hearts!
Kahit na medyo malabo ‘tong intro kong entry para sa 2009 eh ok na rin, hehe.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Year-End II: Resolve(s)

As I do not want to have another year that will be filled with those freakish events characteristic of this concluding year, I decided to map out a rough sketch of plans in which to pattern my activities for the coming year.
I would, first and foremost, make genuine and improve past relations with people, be it in the academic, romantic, or familial aspects. The past years of disregard of them have definitely caught me finally and it is on a firm resolve that I would want to be more open to them (with reasonable limits of course) and cherish whatever connections have been established before. Even if a number of people have totally lost their faith in me, there is in every human being innumerable opportunities to make their proverbial about-faces and turn into what they think is good for them and the people around them. Choice would of course play a crucial role in this part.
As to my long-standing academics, I would definitely want to have what Gauss called work that is about criticism. Well, I am definitely far away from what he accomplished but from that principle I would want to pattern the future of my thesis. The research is exciting and the works are sure to be enjoying. If the number of publications that we already have during the stretch of my undergraduate years is still not enough to satisfy the scientific aspect of my being, then I’m bound to finally satiate it with my thesis. (I am yet to face an admission to my parents about the status of the completion of my degree.) Next to this is of course is to get some real nice job this 2009.
Writing has always been a big part of my life. And I don’t think I will be able to get away from it. And so along with this physics career which I am still building is this parallel life in writing that I want to hone and nourish.
And I’ve realized just now that music is still a vital part of my existence.
It is a valve in which I could free myself of all those abstract thoughts and freely express them in those finger movements, chords, and notes. And so as form of reparation for a seeming long-lost passion, I intend to build again my skills on the guitar. Yeah, after a long, long period of side trips on the bass guitar and drums, guitar still stands as one of the prime characters in music for me. Gotta build up again those calluses, woo!
And…er…money-wise…ahem. Well, I’d definitely want to straighten out my finance state (if ever there is one) and finally apply those things lectured by Sir Valdeavilla.
I believe I have found finally the finest course of things for me personally
when I finally obtained what I call NewFoundLife. It is a defining event which happened at the last days of this month in which I truly achieved awareness of what I truly want for myself. It in I realized that I spent a number of years just playing roles and wearing masquerades of some sort to cushion myself from the things I thought I could not handle. I intend to keep this NewFoundLife in its place. It is a ten-year campaign that begins now.
And looking back, this year has been a year of smoke and alcohol. Almost every month featured a session where they dominated. I intend to cut down my nicotine intake. Dear doesn’t want it anyway. On alcohol, it is already settled I think. I’d never involve myself ever again into alcohol excesses. There is a multitude of advantages of being sober than wasting one’s self for whatever reasons.
But then again, the future is a hazy part of our lives. All resolves and resolutions would only be achieved if we take every proper step towards them. Hard-thought decisions will now be necessary.
Let us welcome this year with brave hearts.

Year-End I: A Retrospect

I’ll always remember this year as one of the most colorful of all that I’ve lived through so far – colorful in that sense that it was decorated, if not marred, by a variety of events that I only experienced for the first time.

First of all, I have finally broke away from the religious denomination which I felt have alwa
ys suppressed most of the things that I could have done in the past. The break was nothing really serious; it was but a simple misunderstanding on whom to ask permission for a certain public performance. Nevertheless, I saw it as an opportunity not for a youthful rebellion of some sort, but for a chance to really stand up for what I believe is better for me, regardless of the means that it would require. (Although, strange enough, I was somehow invited as a speaker for a youth gathering on the same month. I would admit that being in the company of kids does give me a good and uplifting feeling.)
It was immediately followed by two secular performances, as they’d like to call it, and I wa
s more than glad to have at least expressed what I truly feel for this art that is music.
I was also fed ‘historically’, thanks to my Partner in Crime who was more than glad to have me in that trip to Corregidor. It was supposedly a trip in celebration of a personal anniversary which at least turned out quite fulfilling and enjoyable. (Recall the Asano Cement we took home as souvenir! Hehe.)
Feb Fair presented itself too as memorable. One,
for having RockEd in UPLB which became the instrument to the awakening of my senses about social issues. And second, I made some genuine confessions about my (biological) family to an intimate which proved to be so relieving to me.
February was also unforgettable for it was the first time that I was able to attend a rally (the rally was prior to that big prayer rally in Makati). So
mehow culture-shocked, it nevertheless gave me a direct insight as to how radical individuals live up with their ideals and beliefs.
It was the high-times of the NBN
-ZTE Broadband Deal Issue and it was really good to have Jun Lozada at school, discussing the ins-and-outs of his stand in the issue. Although there have been quite a number of sssooo unrelated issues asked to him, the gathering proved to be helpful in sharing the youth the necessary role of scrutinizing the issues involving the government and its form of leadership.
And I entered my blog in an essay contest! A bit co
nfident of the outcome initially (akala mo ha! haha), the results have been good enough indeed for the winners were all deserving. The best part of it all of course is having a formal awarding ceremony in SM Mall of Asia, getting freebies, and meeting the other contestants.
Summer of 2008 was fulfilling for I had my on-the-job
training in an international institute – IRRI. Although the place is not new to me, my stay there for almost two months gave me considerable opportunities to know more about the then hot rice crisis in the country (from which I was able to compose insightful entries here in my blog) I would admit that at some points in time during my stay there, I felt like giving up. But my experience gave me another pack of confidence to face new things, especially concerning jobs. Gaining new friends is of course one of the bonuses there – Yi, Karlos, Sarah, those students from Massachusetts, among other.
Our org’s annual UPCAT Review pushed through this year at least, although it has always been my headache to think of the fate of this org and
how I am virtually helpless in trying to gather those shrapnel-of-members. I would not want to discuss the issue of leadership here and my strengths and weaknesses of being an appointed leader. I express my intent here now that we would do the best that we can to sort things out for this org that I personally came to love and respect.
Seminar-wise, I’d been an active attendee of a number of relevant seminars in school. There was the lecture on Aguinaldo, seminar on money and hunger, among others.
I also managed to have two of my essays cited as good (hehe). One is for the prestigious World Bank Essay Competition 2008 which was adjudged as One of the Best 200 Entries passed for the competition. Second is the cool chance of winning in a (pro
motional) essay writing contest by Insights Café, hehe. Thanks to Kitty for this chance of getting some hard cash and freebies. Cheers! I so love writing!
As for the travels, I was not able to go b
eyond the neighboring provinces but it was fulfilling to see some of the places nearby (semi-obscure parts of Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite, hehe).
And how will I miss that chance of doing a journal article about Amorsolo, hehe. Partner in Crime superb!
And before the end of the school vacation, we won the Best Poster Award for the First
UPLB College of Arts and Science Student-Faculty Conference which was of course really cool.
Most of what was said so far seemed to be pleasant. The more elaborate decorations of the year came in the forms of the commencement of my diary-keeping, my brush with existentialism, accomplishing ProjectKitty, my troubles with women (f-ck pransis, f-ck pransis talaga, luku ka!), financial setbacks, the (clumsy) lost of my wallet, and finally having my NewFoundLife.


You, chance reader, do share in this blog how your 2008 has been. Broke the mug’s entry (put some comments, that is) and let the people know about it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk IX – Christmas Crack

[The “NAVIDAD Talk” Series was conceived in my desire to expound on the obvious un-Christian origins of the occasion we call Christmas. And as days passed and my readings on this topic of Christmas origins came to a conclusion, I in turn concluded that I would not waste any page of my treasured blog on the quite obvious verdict on this issue (read ‘all but lie’). I would defend myself here and now to any possible detractor/s in the future. I have done the task of looking into religious issues such as this one in order to free myself even more from the beliefs that were once inculcated (or should I say forced?) to me during my childhood and have come to make me critical. It is not simply because I have grown tired and critical of the religious denomination to which I have been previously affiliated. And I find now more comfort in knowing that I have gained considerable liberty in scrutinizing things that seemed before sssooo untouchable. Do enjoy anyway this entry I made on the last days the summer of 2008 that is somewhat connected to Christmas: “A Filipino Carol”.]
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And so I would now venture to discuss at least shortly on the things that Christmas has done and is still doing in the lives of many of us, Filipinos.
Indeed Christmas is one of the most awaited days of the year; both by the young and old, poor and rich. This is the period when the have-nots are able to justify their actions of seeking help from those who have – perhaps some small things such as money (what a small thing!) to be spent for the noche buena or some food to be eaten on the Christmas Eve. It is, sadly, on the same note that the rich waits for this season. Most obvious amongst those politicians, they (the rich) take this chance to make pa-pogi or pa-ganda with the people by giving out free food in the form of rice and canned goods, sometimes money and scholarships. What a nice concealment indeed! In this (seeming) time of giving and receiving, not most of us would take offense in these charity gimmicks of those who aim for something high…well, something as high as a national position in the government. (How I wish there would a competition for the most attractive Christmas greeting printed on tarpaulins by those politicians.)
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Seeing now how Filipinos devote themselves to the attending of the Simbang Gabi, I have become disappointed on the way we unite for certain things. There is essentially nothing wrong in completing the masses to be entitled to a wish. It’s just that I would want this very same unity and devotion directed to something more lofty (if I may be allowed to use the term) and noble – maybe demanding those public officials to stop publicly quarreling amongst themselves about the forthcoming National Elections and instead focus on rendering genuine service to the Filipinos such as…finally getting the real story behind the Fertilizer Fund Scam and the ZTE-NBN Broadband Deal Issue; resolving the Euro Generals issue, the CARP issue; and at least come up with a more reasonable national budget for the next year. There are a lot more to say about these things but let it stop at that.
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From this, I could actually disagree with a leader of a certain group advocating alternative education when she said that getting the people together does not work for the Filipinos anymore. Perhaps individually or in small groups that opinion will still hold true. She later said in her talk that doing what we are currently doing (our jobs for example) to the best that we can contribute much already in making a difference in country. Well, yes, she’s right…maybe.
.
But how do you feel when you see hundreds of people flocking into churches? Isn’t that a spectacle to see? Now recall the People Power that we had. Didn’t they result in comparably good things for us? My point here is that we could translate that unity in the physical sense to make some real change in the society. Now that sounds quite passé, right? But I do not mean sets of noisy and chaotic rallies again. Think about it. Prayer rallies. Those walks by the farmers…
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There seem to be an evolving form of unity amongst the Filipinos. We are aware of the debilitating conditions in the country. We just really need to pool those disappointments and sentiments and form them into actions that will DIRECTLY affect our lives. Just like the spectacle of simbang gabi and gift giving during Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk VI – Mar's Mura: 'Pamunuang Puta'



There is a war of words going on right now in YouTube.com, particularly on the site containing the video of Philippine Senator Mar Roxas making that now-famous cursing on that rally in Makati. But I quitted reading them because for at least half of the comments posted there, it is evident that the reactions are split into two – the one side hailing his act and the other loathing it.

“Freedom is a state of mind”. It is the closest thought that I could say about what Roxas did. Of course, he has all the freedom to speak of the deteriorating state of the government in the country. While he has the seeming sensitive position of being a senator, it does not exclude him from being a free Filipino – free to speak of what he sees in the society; of his sentiments and views on the plight of his fellows. His place in the senate makes his words even more reliable as he spoke about the things going on right inside that one hell of a government, about that ‘bitch’ that has haunted the Philippine archipelago (ever since that fake president assumed the office, as others would say).

And I fairly like the word. No, perhaps even Tagalog term ‘puta’. There is so much whoring in the country now (particularly in its leadership) that it will take a hard time for those whores and pimps alike to conceal its consequences. Perhaps only the deities of the major religions in the country know what (or how much) has been given to those toy congressmen just to kill the impeachment complaints and to push the amendments of the Constitution. Perhaps they (deities) too know how the fertilizer funds were actually allocated to those toy politician comrades. Not to mention the other ‘seedy’ dealings and activities of these leaders. Actually the description ‘toys’ is really insufficient. Whores, MGA PUTA, really are the fitting terms for these (unfortunately) elected government officials.

We are projected now as a nation who is a master of ‘gamitan’, ‘bayaran’, ‘kampihan’, ‘suhulan’, ‘patayan’ among other. And there is one great pride that I could feel on knowing someone, someone as influential (if I may use the word) as Mar Roxas, to speak against the whore-pimp government, thereby distancing himself from that dirty office and making himself one with those who struggle for justice and their rights which were taken away, abused by that government. If he has any underlying motives in doing that controversial act of cursing in front of thousands of people, it will go against him in the future, unless that act, as he attests now, is really a genuine sentiment of his and the people who attended the really…and perhaps the Filipinos in general.

I, for one, do not want other leaders to do the same thing. For me it is enough that much of Mar’s character and personality is put at stake in this present struggle to put an end in the moves to build a leadership composed of those power-hungry individuals who care not in the least about the poor state of the Philippines and its citizens. I personally hope that the people themselves get involved in the fight, in voicing and uncovering every dirty deeds of this regime (and it seems to me that it is already a fitting description).

We have been in the passive state for a long time now that it is only expedient to rise now to defeat the beasts occupying the public offices. I wish that some time in the future, we would see this fateful December 2008 as a period when we he Filipinos started to take actions explicitly which began in that speech made by Mar Roxas in Makati.

NAVIDAD Talk V – Coming this 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk IV – Of X’s and Devils

I really think that this one should be made as short and clear as possible. It’s just that I cannot help but explain the events that led me to this.
Doing personal studies (I call them that) has been my hobby. I enjoy more doing things that are outside the bounds of the academe – no time frames, no grading systems. All are at my own pace. And so weeks earlier I decided to delve in this Christmas thingie and attempted to learn a thing or to about this most-celebrated occasion of the Christian world (I hope it’s not an exaggeration, hehe).

And now to my story…

A long time ago (when I used to sit on the pews of that rickety church in our city every SINGLE Sunday) I chanced upon that sermon about Christmas. Yeah, it’s been the preacher’s style to time his topic on special occasions. Now there was one point he made about Christmas. He said that the Devil (hmm, haha) is always on the lookout, diving onto any chance of getting rid of that Savior Christ. The term Xmas, he said, was actually the Devil’s work because he made it a point to replace the ‘Christ’ part with something that would deliberately erase the trace of Christ in Christmas, who is the ultimate reason for the occasion. Well, good enough…until now…The use of X was actually seen in early Greek versions of the New Testament, where X or the Greek letter Chi pertained to the first letter of the word Christ. And according to that oh-so-good Oxford English Dictionary, it has been used as an abbreviation for Christ as early as the mid-16th century.

(Perhaps it would be debatable; knowing that I have actually obtained the info from the net. But at least there must be references for these online materials, which would be most likely printed or published materials.)

As for me, it was a lesson learned: “Never believe a thing unless there are sufficient evidences for it.” (Thanks Prof. Acuña for your book).

Well…I never believed what that preacher said anyway.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk III – UPLB CAS Stuff

Just attended the first-ever UPLB College of Arts and Science Student-Faculty Research Conference here in Los Baños and it was quite fun and enjoying (you know, getting to know the people from the college – the faculty members [w.t.v.e.r.] and the students [ahem, whew] ).
The mixture of the topics wasn’t that good (confusing in fact, for me) but nevertheless offered sssooo interesting topics that really kept me hooked up. There’s that talk about food safety, large classes and theater which occupied the first half of the day. Later there were the talks from my own instructors and former classmates. The best of course for me, was the one given by our seminar teacher, Dr. Marvin Albao about a certain application of Kinetic Monte Carlo Method.
Aside from having good times with other ‘coursemates’ (actually classmates in most subjects), the event was made even memorable when we actually won the Best Poster Award (u.g.), woo! Cheers! Sir Marvs; bow tayo dyan!
[Special thanks to Renz for bringing along his high-tech cam for the pictures!]

*I could provide a copy of the book of abstracts just like the other files I often offer free here on my blog or perhaps I might as well upload them in 4shared.com with corresponding access/security passes

NAVIDAD Talk II – Manny Makes a Monument

Despite a number of domestic problems that introduced themselves at the start of the month, I’d nevertheless remember this early December with a proud thought. Perhaps almost all the Filipinos feel this way as Manny “demolished” (yeah, I like this word that they often used in news articles) the Golden Boy.
There is no point in recycling the news in paper and on the internet and tell again how Pacman cemented his place in boxing history. Suffice it to say that despite having entered the ring as an underdog, he reversed the hasty conclusions of the people (including Filipinos in fact) to show that all things ultimately depended on the events inside the ring…live.
Although no more than an avid watcher of boxing matches, I was really surprised to note how much de la Hoya has advantage over Pacquiao. He was really tall! And whenever he stretched his hands, it was like it could pierce through a wall – long-reaching indeed. But who would have thought that that the Golden Boy would end up with a semi-massacred face? Manny has proven himself enough. He is a genuine boxing icon.
I could still recall the excitement over the small crowd that has gathered around a small colored TV in that obscure kopra store house at the back of our public market. (Yeah, I did watch from there as I wait for my tarpaulin to be printed and add to that the nicotine break). They were cursing whenever Manny lands a hard punch on Oscar’ body or face. And they were clapping their hands at each end of the round. You could feel their desire for Manny to win this branded mismatch...And they got what they want… (and their money from winning bets, I could see that.)
On a personal note, I learned one solid thing about Manny’s fights. He was keen on saying that applying all, and I mean all, the things he learned from the trainings to the ring fights is instrumental in winning. Well perhaps it is. I mean no glorious things are achieved by mediocre preparations. Hard preparations are needed to achieve lofty ends.
As usual, his glory is claimed by the Filipinos and so I congratulate our race for this. At least in the field of sports, we can actually see that we are still capable of uniting ourselves. We’ll see how his influence would affect the society in years to come.

Congratulations Manny! Mabuhay ka!

*image taken from a video clip from YouTube.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

NAVIDAD Talk I

[The first of the series of entries I decided to run here about the celebration they call Christmas.]

I would like to start this thing off with one of the IDs of a local TV station which goes something like this: “We may not have snow here in the Philippines, but we have the longest Christmas…” Just where did this tradition[?] (loud Christmas medleys heard as early as September; early Christmas sales; etc.) originate, I really don’t have any idea.

---------------

Although I have become quite hostile to the idea of what they loosely call Christmas, I could still recall that it was once a big part of my childhood. Having been raised in a Catholic-Baptist mix of a family, it was a central activity for us.
Never will I forget the time I spent playing at the foot of lola’s* old Christmas Tree, decorated with colorful shiny balls, small fruit replicas, baskets of flowers, reindeers, snowman, and other seeming lucky objects. The design enhanced by the Christmas lights of different colors, I would play with the decorations, making stories and then act them out using those objects. Tito Roy also used to have gifts prepared for his inaanak**. I just don’t understand why I always feel so sad whenever I see blinking lights and lights with accompanying sounds…does this have anything to do with my past? Tss. Whatever.

---------------

Being the one who initiates the decorating of the house, I was somewhat compelled to do it still this year despite my resolve not to partake in any aspect of the celebration. Well, I put up the ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ but mother finished the task using wall designs of flowers and those shiny stuff usually used to decorate Christmas trees.

*grandmother
**godchildren

© 2008 Francis Emralino . Lantern (Parol) picture taken in downtown Lucena City, 2007.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Necessary Spark

“… A single spark can start a spectral fire!”

- (defunct) At the Drive-In -

A few days from now, we Filipinos (assuming that most of us still have that thing they call “sense of history”) will be celebrating the birth of one of our heroes, Andres Bonifacio.


Bonifacio, or Supremo as he is commonly referred to in history books, is known to us as the founder of the revolutionary group KKK (not to be confused of course with the secret society from the US) which fought against the oppressions of the Spanish colonizers.Many stories have been told about him – his early life as a vendor, the issue of him being a member of the middle class, his rage over Tirona’s objection on the Tejeros meeting, and the often-mentioned comparison between him and Aguinaldo (see my entry about Aguinaldo here: "Uncovering Real Philippine History Details..."). In one way or another, he was destined to make his mark in our history.


Let us do away with the incompetence in battles that is always associated with him; the only point I have to make here is that history would be entirety different if KKK was not founded on that fateful 1896. I have always appreciated people who initiate new things, even if he or she would not live to see the fruits. Certainly, he did not see the outcome of the revolution he conceived and actually started, but the spark he made in fact grew into a wild fire that spread through the country battling against the oppression.

He may not be our National Hero today (which I would not contest anymore after attending PI 100 class) but it is only to him that I would attach a unique title – the Necessary Spark.

photo from etravelpilipinas.com

Listen to a radio show program about Bonifacio. Visit rockedradio.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Illusion of the Mysterious Stranger

[I’ve reread a number of books on my makeshift bookshelf which I discovered are related to the philosophical movement I am quite interest with today. Although this story which I am to talk about is pretty much a work of fiction, it nevertheless gave me a chance to connect a previous entry and that philosophical movement with what the story is talking about.]


The first things that come into my mind when Mark Twain is mentioned are of course the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I could still remember when I used to dig in that thick Tom Sawyer book in our elementary school library and was really having a hard time reading it because of the unfamiliar English words.
It was only during my sophomore year in college when I sort of “rediscovered” Twain. Armed with a substantial amount of money thanks to a scholarship, I made my debut to the Manila International Book Fair (achoo!) and bought a ‘box set’ of Twain. In there I found one of the stories that surpassed my awe of Tom Sawyer’s adventures.

The story is entitled The Mysterious Stranger, a narration of a certain man recalling his boyhood in a town in the middle of (sleeping) Austria, Eseldorf. He was particular in relaying the events concerning the visit of a certain youthful stranger by the name of Satan – an angel from heaven.

The story proceeded with describing the remarkable things that Satan could do, even to the point of changing the lives of the people of Eseldorf – shortening their lives or suffering, relieving them of heavyheartedness, among other. For the whole stretch of the story the narrator, Theodor, was able to follow the workings of this attractive angel.

In the end Satan finally bade good bye to Theodor as he has to attend to some other work in another corner of the universe (take note, not world but universe). It was at these last pages of the story that Satan sort of revealed to Theodor that all of the things that he has experienced, seen, or heard are but only illusions. He himself and even Theodor are but illusions. I could only imagine the swift change in the feelings of the innocent Theodor from that “vague, dim, but blessed and hopeful feeling”* to the “great hope that was struggling”* in him.

Whether or not Twain derived the parting words of Satan from his own beliefs, it does not really matter; although I have a growing suspicion that it was, since the story is described as “a monument to the misanthropy and pessimism of his later years”* and “Twain’s grim views of God, man and the universe”*.

The point is that I don’t find it surprising to know that there are people who believe in divine providence, as if it is as common as the clouds I see outside my window each morning. But I found it really electrifying (believe me, that adjective is not enough to describe what I felt) to read the very things I’ve thought already, as if we were of the same mind. Now don’t take this as if I could have written Mysterious Stranger myself. I am concerned with the gist of the story – that pessimism in the seeming orderly world which have been inculcated to me (I would avoid using the word “us” here).

I find it more meaningful to take note of that dream-like character of our existence – a race which conceived of a god from whom emanates rays of questions and contradictions instead of light and wisdom – rather than accept them as they are. I gain a greater sense of freedom and knowledge of myself in trying to ask about the things about the life, the world in which I found myself…and I become much more human.//



“Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane – like all dreams; a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one;…;who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorable placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!...”
-Satan*

*Twain, Mark (Samuel Langhorne Clemens). The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories – Unabridged. New York: Dover Publications, 1992.
Photo credits: giam.typepad.com / clem.mscd.edu / giam.typepad.com

Monday, November 17, 2008

Congratulations Nuevo Maestros y Maestras!


Be proud you are a teacher, the future depends on you.
-Ricardo T. Gloria

Who would not recall this quote that decorated our elementary school walls? This, to a certain extent, proves to be an outstanding truth. One only has to ask people who have taken the stormy path of the education curriculum (I could still recall the overnight works of my mother). And perhaps to get a clearer picture, ask teachers to a drink and coax them into telling the hardships of speaking all day to hundreds of students or so and inhaling a thousand chalk particles. I do believe it takes a full heart and a lot of guts to man the classrooms.

And so I hai
l our new teachers, those who have just passed the recently-concluded licensure examination. You deserve the honor and glory of assuming one of the most dignified professions of the world.

Congratulations to you Bleysz, Dex, Jheycee, Leah, Sugar!

(I do hope that I will live to witness the salvation of the poor conditions of the education system of the country. Sec Lapus? Well...you have all the chances of entering the history.)*puffs cigarette*

Pa-pizza, pa-inom naman kayo! Woo!

See Inquirer.net for the complete lists.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The McObama Deal


My momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."'

- Forrest Gump

I personally do not care with the way the American government moves its arms across the globe to extend its imperialist aims but I am making a short note here on what seems like a turning moment for these white guys.
We’ve been bombarded of its story on the newspapers and on the internet (any frequent Yahoo! user would definitely notice the polls on their site): the US Presidential Elections 2008.
This coming event would make their people hold on to their seats as a White and a Black battle for the Oval Office seat. Even at this moment, when the election is just a few days away, they are still plying the states to win the votes of the people. Obama, the black guy, seems in the lead of this office race but the McCain camp says otherwise. We’ll see, we’ll see, in the marked day of November the Fourth.
As to why I labeled it a turning moment, well in the event Obama wins, that would be at least a triumph for the earlier people there that fought during the dark times of discrimination and disregard on some of its people. A modest reader would definitely recall the struggle of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. A serious history lover would then make mention of Freedom Riders, and perhaps the story behind United Farm Workers, and the San Francisco Ethnic Strike, among other.
All the lights seem to fall down now on this black guy. Accounts say the other is more competitive for the post but well, whoever wins the office would definitely face a mammoth task of changing the face of his country marred with issues of imperialism (gggrrrr!), wars and occupations (darn, not new) and economic crisis (hmm).
The Superpower will get its Tuesday makeover. (Laughs)

photos by faithmouse.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ang Und(r)as


We all are grateful, I daresay, to the inventor/s of SEMBREAK. Because of it, students now have a short vacation, a break from all the tiresome academic things (goodbye din muna sa mukha ng mga terror teachers, instructors and professors, haha), perhaps a short break for those work.
Being in a country where family ties are indeed strong, such breaks give a chance for families to get together, mag-kumustahan, and of course to remember together their loved ones who have passed away.
All Saints/Souls Day or Und(r)as here in the Philippines is an event worth noticing. Filipinos value the day that we can in fact read something about it in Noli Me Tangere by Papa Joe Rizal.

How do your families observe Und(r)as? Do you have any special activities that you do annually? If not, what do you usually do? Off to some resort maybe? Or do you just stay at home and enjoy the free hours?

Do share them here as this, in a way, surveys how we Filipinos react towards to what I may call a revered event in the country.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Winning Moment

Woah! The news, when it finally reached me, literally cleared away the clouds of dormancy that has reigned over me in the past few weeks. It definitely fueled me to go and proceed again with the laborious review on a bunch of academic stuff. So so so happy about this one!

The winners are the following:

Grade School Category:
"My Calapeño Role Model"
by Alenia Selene Laurente (San Lorenzo Academy)


High School Category:
"Untitled"
by Arjay Machete (Jose J. Leido Jr. Memorial National High School)


Open Category:
"A Worthy Motto Stella"
by Francis Emralino (University of the Philippines)


The announcement and the winning entries can be found at the Insights website: http://www.insights.tabulas.com/

(I won’t say that this is a consolation for that lost wallet. This is a whole n
ew different story.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

LOST and (NOT STILL) FOUND


I imagine (in horror) a man whose face hidden in shadows holding a blue object. Upon closer inspection I recognize it as my wallet…
He digs in it, finds the 990 pesos neatly arranged and puts it in his own pocket. He then stops in front of a stinky old trash can besides a noisy, busy street. He pulls out my ID, throws it into the bin, looks at the variety of ATMS and then throws them too. He continues emptying my wallet (of my resident certificates, receipts, pictures, other IDs) until he finds the three pieces of one-thousand peso bills in the center pocket, folded in two. He gleefully pockets them too.
I could not see his face, only his teeth, as the light from the lamppost strikes on them.


This is the only way I could think of right now to relieve me of the terrible disappointment that has gripped me today: to write something about it. It gave me a very heavy feeling, losing such an important object.Of course there is only one person to be blamed and that’s ME. But I could tell for myself that never have I lost it before, even when I have traveled in many places in the country. It was that darn carelessness for a few seconds that completely changed my day.
But I am still betting some trust to my fellow Filipinos. I still believe that many of us still has the heart to be HONEST even at these rough times, when the very sight of money brings ecstasy to those who don’t usually have it. Honestly, if after this week and still that precious object is not found, I could only blame 1) my 5-second carelessness in getting off the jeepney and 2) the corrupt government that encouraged the breeding of those heartless people who cannot do an easy thing such as returning something that don’t belong to them. It’s the darn poverty I’m speaking of, of course.


(Just allow me to be a full-blooded pessimist for just one night…I could get over it after this night. Can anyone give me a tobacco? I miss it.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

QQQUUUESSSStion/s!


Rather than twist my mind yet again with a sensible topic to write about in this blog, I instead came up with a question-and-answer type of entry here.

Since I believe the month of October is one of the most:

1. BUSIEST (for most of the students hurrying up to finish school requirements for the semester and professionals accomplishing assigned works before the holiday by the end of the month) and;
2. MEMORABLE (to those who have already graduated and for whatever other reasons, hehe),

I would like to ask you...

WHAT DO YOU USUALLY DO WHEN YOU ARE FACED WITH A PILE OF WORKS (school stuff, work stuff, the infamous "Hell Week" for UP studes, etc.)?

DO YOU MAP OUT YOUR PLANS OF ACTION(prioritizing and the like)?

CAN YOU SHARE ANY EXPERIENCES WHEN YOU HAD TO DO SILLY/BAD/NASTY/NOVEL THINGS JUST TO FINISH YOUR WORKS?

Do share them here. And tell your friends to put in theirs here too. I'd be much glad to read about your personal experiences (para maibsan naman ang bigat na dala ko sa kakaisip ng mga gagawin ko ngayong darating na mga linggo, hehe).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How's your X-Curve, buddy?

Favorite subjects / topics? Let’s see.
Physics – compulsory kasi eh
Math – well, to a certain extent
History – profound
Arts – =)
Music – Life
Tsss…Well what about finance? Ah..Uhm..Well..You know…
Hope you get it.
I’m not that at ease when money talk is involved. (simply for the reason that I’ve been to a number of money-related problems before, haha. Na-trauma ba ‘ga?)
Good thing that Chance (indeed Chance) led us to a finance seminar by a managing director of a company in the business city of Makati. Fundamentals of Financial Planning and How Money Works, that’s what the event was called. A little reluctant before, I nevertheless enjoyed (in fact thankful) the whole thing.

So, let me lay down a few salient points from it:

Point 1. Well, we have to understand the concept of that thing he calls X-curve. Briefly, it’s a sketch of our responsibilities and wealth as a function of time. As time goes by, we have to lessen our responsibilities that are financially-related and at the same time increase our wealth (in the form of savings). The significance of this was eventually shown later on in his talk.

Point 2. Realize that money/income is just temporary. This one I think does not need reiteration. =)

Point 3. Financial discipline. He said that this is needed no matter how big or small one’s income is, whether you are an executive officer or a simple employee.

He then used the bulk of his time in explaining how money could really work for us. (Research on the Rule of 72 by Einstein…daw). Add to that a number of concrete steps to one’s financial security (oh yeah, the DIME acronym,haha). I would agree to what he said that it’s good that at our age, this thing about finance is already taught. The younger, the better.

(I’ve taken notes of the seminar, a good thing because the electricity was rudely interrupted, rendering the OHP and thus the speaker’s PowerPoint presentation useless. If you, chance reader, want it, I’d gladly send it you.ô)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Talking about the “Dance”

I’ve attended again one of the activities that involve some of the ‘highly-active’ groups in Southern Tagalog. As to what it was all about, well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in mentioning the name: “Cha-Cha: A Dictatorship in the Making”, a forum/discussion of some sort with the Tagaytay 5 and former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona. (It may be worth mentioning here that it was out of curiosity that I became interested in these kinds of things which eventually blossomed to what I can roughly term as “awareness”.)

I was late in the forum and had hardly understood what Rev. Joel Tendero (Conference Minister, NESCon UCCP) was talking about. It was followed then by a screening of the “RIGHTS v.2.0” tagged as “Special Advance(d) Screening”. (Ayus ‘di ba? Free s’ya take note!)
“RIGHTS”, to give a short background, was submitted to MTRCB for review, but was unfortunately labeled as X Rated and so was banned from public viewing. The rating was later changed and is in fact readily available now. (Although I am not quite sure if it has already made its way into the limelight of YouTube). Let me give some short descriptions of what it contains:

“Bakwet”– shows a child singing a regional language (I think) about politics of course
“Eduardo Serrano” – about the story of a ‘political prisoner’; “Krimen ba ang maglingkod sa bayan?” says the man in this short presentation
“Luya” (Ginger) – I personally like this one; “Tao ka Hindi ka luya Pwede kang umaray (At higit sa lahat) pwede kang lumaban”
“Peace” (Kapayapaan) – this has a strong message; it shows a man in an obvious military/police uniform holding a pair of electrical wires which eventually lit up a big neon light boasting to the people the announcement of “PEACE”; later a man gagged and tied to a chair is electrocuted using the same electric lines that facilitated the lighting of those neon lights

“Quenching Fire” – again this exhibited a very direct message; it showed rallyists being water cannoned by the BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection) and the PNP; an old lady said in Tagalog something like this: “Sa amin, wala kaming mainom na tubig Pero (r)ito sa Maynila ginagamit lang nila ang tubig para kami ay madisperse”; I was a bit shocked and saddened by this at the same time
“Human Rights 101” – this is nice; it shows a lolo preaching to the farmers, judging from their looks and costumes, the basic facts about their rights in forming labor unions, expressing political opinions etc; “Hindi ka pwedeng ikulong dahil sa ‘yong political na paniniwala,” lolo says
“Tagu-Taguan” – a bit of horror presentation, simple yet so unnerving; it shows a child playing the role of a “taya” in the game tagu-taguan (hide-and-seek); it later turned out that the boy was looking for the people who seemed to just vanished in the air…Jonas Burgos...etc…I know that you understand it...
“Terorista Ka Ano?” – hilarious, pure comedy; it simply shows how some ‘people’ reacts violently to the idea of who is or are terrorist/s

The afternoon activities ended with a candle lighting ceremony that was joined by the late rains. (Sadly enough, it prompted the Guingona guards to whisk him away. A few people noticed his exit…) And me? I ended up bringing a former schoolmate to the nearest jeepney loading zone.

---
Well, I was kind of disappointed at how such activities go. Perhaps some could say that I am still a novice in these kinds of things, “baguhan kumbaga”, and am yet to experience far more shocking things. But…I think what I have seen in the television, heard in the radio, read in the newspapers and magazines are quite enough to come into these views:

1. Things are too general. It gives me a feeling of boredom to hear the same angst-driven shouts and chants. I could not help but recall my book by Saul Alinksy which advises the radical what to do to successfully effect changes.
2. Disorder follows from an un-followed program. O yeah, that’s it. With the time being ssssooo precious(?) to most of the Filipinos, they often leave the activity/ies dahil sa katagalan.
3. Prayer still seems to me arbitrary. (Well, still a too-personal opinion.) One only has to see how many people disregard it. (Puffs smoke…)

The only consolation to it is that at least, people are aware that change must be effected NOW..(especially in the way our government is managed).
Photo credits:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Isang Bukas na Liham para sa mga iskolar ng Bayan ng UPLB (USC-UPLB)

[Well, everyone has space for his or her voice/thoughts/opinions here in my blog. So I’m putting up here the letter distributed by our Student Council.]

Isang Bukas na Liham para sa mga iskolar ng Bayan ng UPLB
University Student Council-UPLB AY 2007-2008


Isang mainit na pagbati sa mga Iskolar ng Bayan ng UPLB!

Ang katatapos lamang na plebisto upang iratipika ang 1984 UPLB Student Council Constitution at USC-CSC Elections ang patunay sa sama-sama at masikhay na pagkilos ng mga estudyante nakakamit nating ang ating mga inaasam na tagumpay. Ang 70.55% na student participation o katumbas na 7,173 votes cast at 95.5% na affirmative votes para sa 1984 UPLB Student Council Constitution ay patunay lamang na kinikilala ng mga mga Iskolar ng Bayan na ang mga konseho ng mag-aaral ang pangunahing tagpamandila at tagapagtanggol ng kanilang mga demokrarikong karapatan. Kinikilala nbatin na ang mga konseho ng mag-aaral ang pangunahing magtataguyod ng interes ng mgs estudyante. Upang magkaroon ng malalayang puwang upang matapang na tumindig ang mga konseho ng mag-aaral sa usaping pang-estudyante, kinikilala ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan na may pangangailangan na maging autonomous, representative, at democratic ang katangiang ng kanilang puwetso.

Bagama’t malaking tagumpay ang paghahalal ng ating panibagong konseho makalipas ang limang buwang pagka-antala, hindi (r)ito natatapos ang ating pakikibaka para sa ating mga demokratikong karapatan. Bagkus, ito ay umpisa pa lamang ng tuluy-tuloy at papalakas na kilusang estudyante na magtatanggol at titindig para sa kanyang mga batayang karapatan.

Habang papalapit na ang pagpili ng panibagong Chancellor ng UPLB na siyang mangunguna sa pagpapasya ng tunguhin ng unibersidad sa susunod na tatlong taon, muli tayong ng ating panahon upang tumindig para sa ating mga demokratikong karapatan lalo’t higit sa ating karapatan sa edukasyon. Bukod pa rito, hinahamon tayo na kolektibong tutulan ang represyon sa loob ng pamantasan na sumasagka sa ating mga demokratikong karapatan. Lalo’t higit, tayo ay hinahamon ng ating panahon na ibalik ang oryentasyon ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas bilang pamantasan(g) naglilingkod sa sambayanan; isang pamantasan na kumikilala sa karapatan ng bawat mama(ma)yang Pilipino sa makabayan, siyentipiko at makamasang edukasyon.

Muli humihingi ang Konseho ng Mag-aaral ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Los Baños ng buong-buong suporta nating mga estudyante para sa UPLB Student Agenda. Sa primarya, ito ay binuo nating mga estudyante at mga organisasyon upang lamanin ang ating lehitimong panawagan para sa de(-)kalidad at abot-kayang edukasyon at malayang kampus. Marapat nating tandaan na ang mga naranasan nating pag-atake sa ating mga institusyong pang-estudyante at mga tahasang pagtapak sa ating mga demokratikon karapatan sa kasalukuyan ay walang puwang sa panahong kumakaharap ang pamantasan sa tahasang komersyalisasyon Marapat lamang na sa panahon ng pagpasok ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Los Baños sa kanyang sentenaryo, panatilihin natin ang tootong esensya ng aktibismo; pag-aaral ng lipunan, maalab na militansya at masikhay na pakikibaka para sa ating mga karapatan lalo’t higit para sa karapatan ng batayang masa. Nawa’y ang sama-sama nating pagkilos upang panatilihin ang mga batayang institusyong pang-estudyante na mangangalaga sa ating mga interes at kagalingan ay lakipan natin ng papalaks at tuluy-tuloy na pagkilos para sa ating mga batayang karapatan.

Muli, kami ay nagpapaabot ng lubos na pasasasalamat sa inyong suporta lagi(’)-laging pagsuporta at pakikiisa sa ating mga kampanya. Hanggang sa mga susunod pang lumalakas at lumalawak na pagkilos para sa mga estudyante at sambayanan! Isang taas kamaong pagpupugay!

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

Sept. 18: Cha Cha ni Gloria: Martial Law in the Making, (Forum with Tagaytay 5), 1-4 p.m., Makiling Ballroom Hall, Student Union Building, UPLB. Student Regent Cnsultation Re: UPLB Chancellor Selection, 7 p.m., Makiling Ballroom Hall, Student Union Building, UPLB.
Sept.20-21: KASAMA sa UP Luzon-wide Student Leaders Conference (Open to all Councils and Orgs). UP Diliman, Quezon City.
Sept.23: Dialogue with UP President Emerlinda Roman Re: DemRights Issues, 4 p.m., UP Diliman, Quezon City.
Sept. 29: Board of Regents Meeting Re: UPLB Chancellor Selection, 9 a.m., UP Diliman, Quezon City.


*** Characters in (parentheses) are my insertions and/or corrections.
photo from multiply.com

Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Goals, Golds, and Godly Things



[This is in response to the persuasion I received in connection to a personal belief of an acquaintance of mine who, sadly enough, seemed to be unaware of the change in my outlook in certain aspects of my/our existence.]
Having been into numerous experiences together, a friend of mine could not help but visit me in our house and check on me. It was quite good for me since the concept of a “friend” has been a perennial personal issue.
We roamed the city and visited some places until we ended up on a food shop and he, convincing me into enrolling to a certain school (yeah, a religion-related school) that he plans to attend next year. I knew the premise behind his motivations to go there, but he insisted that he expound on them so that I might be persuaded.
He first asked me what I want to achieve ultimately in life. I have a concrete answer to that (well, to say it roughly, it’s about figuring out the meaning of my existence) but I decided to play upon and returned the question to him instead. Well he responded that people most of the time aspires for wealth, for fame, for pleasure, and for other “worldly” things. He then proceeded to ask, what would you do now if the people achieved all of them? Is that the end of life for them? For me, I kept my answers to myself because I do not want to argue with him. So he stated that that would be a boring life because essentially, there would be nothing left for those persons to do. It’s utterly meaningless, he said.
Along came the expounded premises. He said that ULTIMATELY, the GOAL of MAN is MAN himself. From that point, I felt that he was having the same thinking as I have. But on that point only. What proceeded next was a bit...well...expected of him. He said that the goal of man would be to bring souls into the next life. Even if we have all the things that we could ever dream of, he continued, one would not be ultimately completed unless the person could win a soul every single day. Indeed apart from this, the activities of man would be utterly futile and meaningless. Eternity, he said, is what maters most.
----
I’ve always treated such topics with respect and so I would not, even in this entry, attempt to have my reactions into those statements. I would instead lay down what I think is missing in these premises that he put forward.
First, I would daresay that to a certain extent, the present life is unworthy of continuance, being a place where war is ever-present, diseases is contagious, and poverty the ultimate killer of beings. The idea of eternity is what helps us to make through each day’s hardships – that peaceful future, an everlasting life where all is just happiness and love. But…that’s just it.
But I think since we are still in this “world”, why would we force our minds to leave the present states of our lives, force our eyes to close from the horrors of our daily existence, cover our ears from the wails of the poor and hungry, keep our mouths from spreading the truth about politics, health, and peace?
Why would be want to ultimately win souls when we cold not even prove to the poor, hungry, hurt, and bitter people that while we are still in this world, we are capable of deciding for our lives, that we can chart the courses of our lives however trying our present situations may be?
How can we bring them into eternity, into a place of utmost bliss, when we ourselves cannot show to these poor, hungry, hurt, and bitter people that we too are worthy of that afterlife?
Can we do it when they see us struggling with problems on finance and family, leaving a life of compromise, jobless, and obviously tired and fed up of the things we are doing?

No, I would not buy the promo of eternity if that would just deceive them, pull them away from the real things of this existence.

I would instead share to them the goodness that will be brought in trying to achieve, specifically understand, the reasons behind our existence – its meaning and the role it plays in other people’s lives. In ultimately knowing that, they would come into terms with the bad things happening to them and to the other people in their immediate environment and consequently achieve a greater sense of freedom amidst a world torn by wars, hate, inequalities, hunger, and poverty. Only after that would I openly receive the details of that eternity thing.
----
I decided not to speak for the whole duration of his talk for a number of reasons. First, I would want to hear the whole of his arguments. Second, I would want to really understand what his beliefs are. And third, to have a complete set of thoughts in which to compare, even at least to certain extent, my own. It was a good decision because from that, I’ve realized the blind beliefs I have adhered to in the past. I would want to get more involved with the people around, I should have said to him, with their affairs and with the meaning of their existence. There are greater degrees of aspirations that are way above his naïve examples of wealth, fame, pleasure, and women. If only he knows how much he could gain from understanding the lives of our people, I would have gladly partaken in that hearty meal we were having.
I just hope that when the time comes that I will be the one to speak to him about that thing, he would be patient enough to to what I have to say. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering Nine-Eleven

There is no denying that the date 9-11 Attack will forever haunt each of us. Yeah, I would believe so for there were a number of Filipinos who got caught in that ‘terrorist attack’. In one way or another, we are associated to it.

I am actually watching now a home video shot near the destroyed Twin Towers to have a real feel of what happened (Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNNTcHq5Tzk&feature=related). It was just all pictures and news articles that reached us during our high school days back in 2001 and I only got this chance now to see it like I was really there.

Fear and confusion. That’s what I think what most of the New Yorkers felt during that time. I would not go on and discuss again the harrowing details of the tragedy. But suffice it to say that what happened rationalized the decision of the US to declared war on terrorism…to some extent.


I sympathize with all those who lost there loves ones; sadly most of them being simple and innocent victims. Who ever wants to get caught on the battle for power and ideologies? Who ever want to see a thousand people killed in a declared war they are not particularly and directly connected to? Who ever wants to see a chain reaction of revenges and more wars and killings? Perhaps the bitterness of those who lost their loved ones have turned now into something that only themselves can explain – maybe numbness of feeling, maybe acceptance. But for the majority of the Americans, perhaps particularly in the administration, justice must be done…
As for me, all I realized is that even superpowers can be taunted in the face of the whole world.

Images from:
xrlq.com, rhymeswithright.mu.nu, upload.wikimedia.org, blogs.zdnet.com, wikipedia.org