Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“Blood Aesthetics” in Diverse Voices Quarterly

If there’s such a thing as holiday gift, then I will consider the publication of a poem – dedicated to Given Grace Cebanico, a rape-slay victim in Los Baños, Laguna – in Diverse Voices Quarterly as one. I thank the editors for including me in this issue of DVQ. You can read the poem online here: http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/current-issue/ or you can download the whole issue (in PDF form) here: http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/Vol4Issue16.pdf/

Photo credit: diversevoicesquarterly.com

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Hobbit, At Last

We watched The Hobbit movie the first day it opened in the country. And although the Lord of the Rings series is entirely different from the Harry Potter series, the anticipation for the film versions are all the same for me. The Hobbit is no exception as I consider it an essential part of the whole LOTR storyline. 

I am not much of a movie reviewer but I believe the film version is loyal to the book form. As I have said to an orgmate, I found the Riddles in the Dark part, well, dark and disturbing, the very same descriptions I have for the book counterparts. One only has to internalize the way Gollum hisses his words. But then, this is on a personal level. I cannot speak for other people.

Without prior knowledge that it has divided into three parts, I knew already that they could not possibly crunch the book into one movie. So definitely the world cannot afford to end its existence as we are yet to see the ending of The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

Earth: 0 A.D.D. (After Doomsday)

Well, it turned out that all that fuss about the Mayan predictions about the end of the world is incorrect. Or inaccurate, depending on your viewpoint. It looks hip to succumb every now and then to some doomsday gossip but for those who to a certain believed it I know it made you think about the possible last activities you could do. Binulabog kumbaga ang sana’y matahi-tahimik mong buhay. 
Now that we have a ‘fresh new’ world (and mind) to start with, let us enjoy this little planet of ours for as long as it lasts. This may be too appropriate to say (or preach) given my age but I have experienced how good it is not to worry too much about things especially about tomorrow. It’s not throwing cautions or responsibilities to the wind. I simply see it as enjoying the present.

Monday, December 3, 2012

To Write Again

The cold winds of December bring with them a gentle reminder of what I have missed doing in the past months. And perhaps it is time that I turn back again to what has fueled me before:


Blogs (or blogging, to be more precise) form the foundations of my self-inflicted, life-long venture/career/passion. Teaching and personal researches may have been requiring much of my time now (imagine the required preparations – literally and psychologically – that goes with them) but I have seen and passively accepted enough excuses to last me lifetime. And as I only have less than a month to wrap up this year, I believe it would do me good to put attention to recollections and analysis, a reckoning of sort for this year.

Will write again.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Soundtrack on Halloween

With thoughts of the saints and the dead, it is good to immerse one's self in the music which surrounded the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I consider it the darkest book in the Harry Potter series and I daresay that the accompanying scores were equally dark in tones. They match the storyline and the atmosphere of the film. Self scaring this music is but it definitely aides me in coming into terms with death as characterized in the Harry Potter series.

Photo source: wikipedia.org

The Trick or Treat as a Prelude to November-December Occasions

Without denying the fact that our country is westernized to a large extent, it is not surprisingly at all to see the prevalence of Trick or Treat, something which was virtually non-existent during our childhood times. I have witnessed this activity in the past years in our neighborhood already.

And I think the treat or treat kick starts the series of occasions that we will have for November and December, at least in our country. We’ll have to go through again the cross fires of spending and spending again. But that is a different story.

October 31: Last Day of Voter Registration

 Today, October 31, is the last day of voter registration. I urge those who have not registered yet to do so. One vote is powerful enough to make a change in this messy (and oftentimes comical) politics we have in the country. That one vote would be instrumental enough to change the political set-up in the Senate, knowing now the constant problem in the upper house: absenteeism. 

The power is in you, dear voter; no amount of political hoodwinking or propaganda should make you forget that. 

How to Unlock / Reset Samsung Galaxy Y (GT-S5360) After Too Many Patterns Attempts

I would not label myself a techno junkie because I have never really been into gadgets even when I was a teenage. That would be primarily because of resource issues but it has something to do with the dynamic changes we see in the technological outputs literally each day: I cannot cope up that fast enough.

But nevertheless when I meet a snag (a technological snag at that) I welcome the challenge. And so after battling with one yesterday, I thought it would be better to share the results in my blog. I personally find some of the tips found on the internet too difficult to follow. I hope this one would work out for those who may be having the same problem. 

The Problem: Too Many Pattern Attempts

One simple way to protect your Samsung Galaxy Y from nearby intruders is to have a keypad lock of some sort. For this particular phone you can either: 1) have a pattern lock or 2) the usual password, only this time it can be a combination of numbers and letters.

When you have reached a certain number of incorrectly inputted pattern (5 in my case), it will double lock and you have to wait for around 30 seconds to attempt your lock pattern. In this so-called double lock period, you have the option to unlock your screen by supplying your Google account. Unfortunately, there will come that uncertain time when that screen for supplying that Google account will be the only thing the phone will give you. The more unfortunate thing is when you enter the correct account but you can’t still open your phone!

The Solution: Factory Reset

Factory reset: it’s the best I could come up with, unless you want to rummage through the constellation of possible solutions found on the internet.

Here’s how to do the factory reset:

1. Turn off your phone.

2. Press/Hold the Volume Up button (found on the left side of the phone) and the Power button (found on the right side).

3. Somehow the phone will open but as you hold these two buttons press the Home button many times found on the lower part of the phone’s face. You will see a menu (Android System Recovery) like the one found above.

4. Choose Wipe Data / Factory Reset. Then you have to confirm the rest by choosing Yes – delete all user.

5. Once you have chosen it,  the /data and the /cache directories will be wiped out. You will then be given the notice “Data wipe complete”.

6. You will be brought back to the main menu and you have to choose Reboot System Now. This will open your phone as if it is a new one.

The Limitation

The only limitation I see is that it will effectively clear out the data you have stored in your phone. Contacts, messages, some installed programs perhaps. And so I suggest that you constantly back up your phone data by either using a memory card or storing your contacts directly into your SIM card. For the messages, constantly screen capture those messages you think important.

So there you have it. I hope that this will help you out dear reader.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sharing an Adventure with ‘The Hobbit’

A recent article of Sir Ambeth Ocampo talked about motivations on reading. We may be reading for pleasure or for research, among others. But for me there are those times when I am reading to share an adventure or get a feel of an adventure inside a book. That was the same motivation behind my reading of ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I felt bitin when I watched parts of The Lord of the Rings movies series without finishing the book versions. Blame it on the lack of time (such is the usual excuse). And when I found the trailer for The Hobbit movie, I felt obliged to go and read the story.

Now that I have finished the book, more than the thought that I am now prepared the film version I was overwhelmed again by the realization that we can find adventures for ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether we are living in this age when there seems to be no more places to discover other than the usual tourist spots. It doesn’t matter too if the adventure is near or far. Sometimes it’s how much it has changed us that matters. I may not have the same dangerous adventures as Bilbo Baggins but his story definitely fueled me to explore more of the land, of the country I am in right now.

Perhaps the first line of the last song found in the book is an allusion to the fact that having an adventure is a life-long endeavor: “Roads go ever ever on…”

May new adventures (regardless of its definition for you) come to you every day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Of Food and Special Occasion

Work, most often than not, would require food on the run. And operating on the law of supply and demand, food establishments offer for the busy workers food which are readily available, no-mess, and portable. But a few months earlier, as I devoured a rather pricey burger I found myself wondering how it would be more satisfying to eat something which was prepared in haste during the early morning hours, food prepared in the midst of laughter and fun and more importantly, food prepared at home. That may sound too sentimental but that is one human flaw: bestowing value on things in this existence. 

Paving the Road to Southern Peace: The Framework Agreement Effect

October 15 saw a salient fruit of the longish government talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF: the signing of the Framework Agreement (FA) which aims to create a Bangsamoro government, effectively replacing the old Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Although there has been much hype and media coverage on this event, it must be cleared right at this moment that the FA signing is just the first of the many steps which the government and the MILF have to do to meet on terms which will benefit both sides of the negotiating groups. 

What could have been more pleasurable to see were those MILF members, signing on the table in Malacañanang Palace. This simple act sends a strong message to the people on the south that both groups are intent in achieving peace in their places. This peace is not for the wealthy only or a form of surrender on either of the two groups. This is a lasting peace primarily for the vast groups living in Mindanao.

I have written about my misgiving in achieving a short-term peace in the south primarily due to the emergence of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (see my post “A Long Way to Southern Peace” here). But then we knew that talks continued at least in the ‘political’ arena and enabled us to achieve this mutual agreement. Although this partial solution seems optimistic in nature, we are yet to see the purging of the armed elements of the MILF and other similar groups in the south. Peace, at least in the southern Philippines, necessitates setting aside the firearms. It has to be enough for now.

Photo Credit / Source:

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Chronicles of a Bus Commuter

This can be properly called part one. Although I have thus far experienced many things while riding buses – from gross ones to outright hilarious – I am in the belief that more is yet to come and to be experienced. In the past five months, owing to the change in the nature of my work, I have come in contact with many people whose lives involved the ubiquitous buses.

Aisle of Standing

Who hasn’t experienced it, standing along that infamous bus aisle? From children to pregnant women, from elders to students. Excluding those terrible standing rides during my high school days (when I used to do unplanned trips to Ortigas), the longest I have experienced in the past few months was around two hours. But I realized soon that it was not a very favorable situation as I was not able to read books or prepare lessons. Thus I always made it a point that I get a seat, whether the bus is Alabang bound only or straight to LRT.

The Missionaries

I have been seeing them since I remember riding buses. And today the motivation of these ‘missionaries’ tend to look more religious. Unfortunately there is one thing lacking in all they were saying before they turn and ask for ‘donations’: depth. There is no longer a strong logic in what they do, as if mere speech would suffice to convince the listener of their purpose. What is more interesting is to study the various (personal) motivations of these ‘sowers of the word’.

The (Quarrelling) Old Married Couple

This one was a rather ugly experience. You get to meet these senior citizens who seemed to be in need of assistance but get in return angry shouts and name calling. Not that I was the one who got shouted out, but I’ve seen an elder do that to a terminal porter. Which was not altogether good; the porter makes himself a living carrying bags and luggage and not getting barked out.

But that is not the end of the story. When the bus reached our city, this supposedly revered society elder literally dragged her spouse (I presume that was her spouse) and relieved themselves on one of the wheels of the bus; in full view of the people around particularly those bus vendors. The saddest part was when we saw the elder lady get slumped on the road side, apparently having a hard time balancing her body while she peed. They could have simply asked the driver or conductor to direct them to a roadside establishment with a decent comfort room and not doing a rather gross thing like that in public. So much for ‘with age comes wisdom’.

The Chronicles Continue

This is not the end yet. Each day in transit is a day for new experiences. Cheers to traveling!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

End of Something Beautiful

The title has been borrowed from a song. I just don’t know how to describe this juncture, knowing that I am about to finish a five-month enterprise. I am not yet through with the formalities but I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching this semester. I could only wish I can still continue to do so.
As I write this and become consumed with happy thoughts, let me just share a few lines from a song that is currently permeating my head:

Evaluate your soul with (a) different kind of being
Instinctively, banish it with purity

Miles I've traveled for the passion of revealing
Yes I will survive
Loneliness, banish it with purity

~“Furlan”, Queso

The song’s basis doesn’t matter; it matches the exhilaration right now. I’ve met/got: new people, new experiences, new insights, new friends, new resolves.

It’s a beautiful end because all is new.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Remembering Given Grace Cebanico

Today, October 10, 2012 is the scheduled hearing of the rape-slay case of Given Grace Cebanico at Calamba City Trial Court. It can be recalled that it literally shocked the country to know of this brutal murder of a UPLB student last year (see my posts about Given here and here.)

My position last year was that Given was given a swift justice when the suspects were immediately apprehended. Let us hope that justice will be galvanized this time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Security

Last week I was hindered from taking the LRT because of my baggage: a catapult target made from GI sheets and wood (which you could see on the photo above). I pleaded but to no avail; the guards wouldn’t bulge. In the end, I was told to go back down and wrap it with plastic or any other material. I took the jeepney instead.

They have a point, those guards. But to a certain extent only. I may have only been the one they were able to block but what about the others, probably numbering hundreds, who could have been carrying more deadly and more dangerous materials than my petty contraption. A hundred more objects which could change the day of thousands of commuters.

A Teacher's Present

I've just got this as I write this post. After hours of paper checking it feels good to be remembered. It didn't matter whether you're a probationary or permanent.

Teaching as a vocation? More of a calling perhaps.

2013 Gawad San Luis para sa Namumukod-Tanging Kabataan ng Laguna


 Mga Alituntunin

1. Ang Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis para sa Namumukod-Tanging Kabataan ng Laguna ay bukas para sa lahat ng kabataang nag-aaral sa sekondarya at kolehiyo, nahinto sa pag-aaral, at propesyonal ng lalawigang Laguna na may gulang na 15 hanggang 25 taon, at isinilang at nanirahan sa alinmang bayan o lungsod ng Laguna na hindi kukulang sa tatlong (3) taon. Ang mga malapit na kamag-anak ng pamilya San Luis at mga kasapi ng Lupon ng Parangal ay hindi maaaring sumali sa patimpalak na ito.

2. Ang sinumang kwalipikado ay kinakailangan inomina ng isang indibidwal, samahan, paaralan o tanggapan sa Laguna, pribado o pampubliko. 

3. Kinakailangan na ang nominadong kabataan ay may malaking pagpapahalaga sa lahing Lagunense at sa kaisipan ng mga dakilang Laguneño.

4. Ang patimpalak ay magsisimula sa ika-20 ng Enero 2013 at matatapos naman sa ika-22 ng Hunyo 2013 bilang paggunita sa pagsilang ng Alamat ng Laguna.

Batayan sa Pagpili

1. Ang kabataan ay dapat na may adhikain na kilalanin ang mga simulain, prinsipyo at gawain ng yumaong Gob. San Luis.

2. Ang gawad ay ipinagkakaloob sa kabataang namumukod-tangi sa alinmang samahang pinamumunuan at kinaaaniban, marunong makisama at maayos ang pakikisalamuha sa mga nakatataas o nakabababa sa kanya.

Natatangi siya sa pakikibahagi sa pagpapaunlad ng kanyang pamayanan. Kabalikat siya sa mga gawain o proyektong may kinalaman sa pagpapaunlad ng pamayanan at kagalingan nito.

Natatangi siya sa ipinakitang kagalingang pansarili. Maganda ang kanyang mga grado (kung nag-aaral) o kahanga-hanga ang kakayahan sa kanyang sariling gawain at propesyon. Siya ay nangunguna, namumukod at kinikilala rito.  

3. Ang pormularyo ng nominasyon ay kinakailangang isumite kalakip ng datos at tala (profile) tungkol sa kalahok bago sumapit ang ika-16 ng Nobyembre 2012 sa Tanggapan ng Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis, Inc (GFTSLI) sa Bahay Laguna, Barangay Bungkol, Magdalena, Laguna o sa sinumang kasapi ng Lupon ng Parangal. 

4. Pipiliin ang unang sampung (10) namumukod-tangi at mula rito ay kukuha ng pinakanamumukod-tangi sa bawat kategorya at pararangalan sa ika-22 ng Hunyo 2013 sa Sentrong Pangkultura ng Laguna, Sta. Cruz.

Ang mga kalahok ay dadaan sa limang (5) buwang panahon ng proseso at dito sila ay bibigyan ng pagkakataong siyasatin, kilalanin at paunlarin ang sarili. Sila rin ay magkakaroon ng pagkakataon na makapanayam ang Lupon ng Inampalan na magmumula sa mga pili at mapagmamalaking mamamayan ng bansa.  

Kategorya at Gantimpala

Kabataang Propesyonal (Young Professional) - P 10, 000 at Tropeo
Kabataang Nag-aaral sa Kolehiyo (College) -  P 10, 000 at Tropeo
Kabataang Nag-aaral sa Mataas na Paaralan (High School) - P 10, 000 at Tropeo
Kabataang Nahinto sa Pag-aaral (Out-of-School Youth) - P 10, 000 at Tropeo
Ang sampung (10) namumukod-tanging kabataan ay pagkakalooban ng medalya at sertipiko ng pagkilala. 

Lupon ng Patimpalak 

 Ang Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis, Inc. (GFTSLI) ang siyang tagapagtaguyod ng patimpalak. Para sa mga karagdagang impormasyon, maaring magtanong sa Tanggapan ng GFTSLI sa Bahay Laguna, Barangay Bungkol, Magdalena, Laguna, sa mga kasapi ng GFTSLI o mangyaring tumawag kina: Engr. Maricris Vines(+639175820210); G. Rommel Terucha, (+639178055398); Bb. Lian Violanta, (+639164692267); Bb. Arcy Dandan (+639065678691); at G. Joey Panaglima (+639167658711). Maaari ring mag-email sa gawadftsanluis_secretariat@yahoo.com.
Nomination Form

Ang pormularyo ng nominasyon ay maaaring makuha sa Tangggapan ng GFTSLI o sa pamunuan ng alinmang bayan at ilang mga paaralan sa Laguna, sa sinumang kasapi ng Lupon ng Parangal, o sa pahinang: facebook.com/2013GawadSanLuis

Friday, October 5, 2012

An Old Sentiment about Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

 Found this recently on one of the reprints of old issues of The Adamson Chronicle, the official student publication of the Adamson University. On the upper left corner is a quote from Voltaire:

"I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

And that reminds of all the clamors against the recently-installed Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. That, I think, is what they are reclaiming: the freedom to say what they have to say without the looming shadow of possible trip to jail. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mercy Comics And A Message of Hope

The “Mercy” comics story was one of the treasures I got from the 2012 Manila International Book Fair. And I bought it primarily because it was published by DC Comics Vertigo, which reminded me of Sandman. It came as a surprise that its story is positive in character, Mercy being an entity who/which intervene in the lives of people on earth. Much like the Christian god. In the words of Paul Johnson, the story “displays a message of hope – something often missing from comics today.” This was in 1993 yet it still rings true.

* Mercy. Published by DC Comics. (c) 1993. J.M. DeMatteis – writer, Paul Johnson – illustrator, Todd Klein – letterer

Before Moving Forward

One forty three. Way past midnight. And as old songs play through my tiny earphones, I am brought back to the times when I first enjoyed them, times when I can say that I am still a bit younger. Somehow it feels exhilarating to recall those activities when those songs filled the vicinity of my old computer. But between the times of the then and the now ugly events have intervened, events that I will shamefully admit were my doing.

But as the strengthening messages of the songs revive my rather tired spirit, I am beginning to think that messages of apologies may suffice – for family members, for former acquaintances, for some who became suddenly involved. Not to acquit myself really or save myself from guilt. But rather a genuine move to free everyone else of bad feelings, a bitter taste on the lips due to the past.

Maybe that will work, and so maybe I must do it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 Manila International Book Fair Experience

* 2012 MIBF, woo!

* Church Strengthening Ministry booth – 100 lahat!

* poster boys – Ramon Bautista, Tado, Jimenez, Stanley Chi

* with Tado Jimenez and his yellow book

Another year, another book life experience.

This year’s Manila International Book Fair turned out to be good, especially for those hardcore bookworms looking for another place to immerse one’s self in the midst of books. New books, old books, it didn’t matter. MIBF was the right place to be. I did not have any clue on the exact number of exhibitors this year but for one who has been a frequent attendee to this book fair, I see that the booths are getting spiffier.

* kiddie stuff

* Rowling stuff: Casual Vacancy at National Bookstore

* Tahanan Books booth

* University of the Philippines Press booth

As in previous years, it was a place for meeting celebrities, authors, acquaintances, and old friends alike. I have been fortunate to brush elbows with Tado Jimenez and casually talk about his books. And oh, her little daughter is beautiful!

* a super stolen shot of a book signing event at
Philippine Christian Bookstore (PCBS) booth

* 3-D post cards

* a treasure place: New Day Publishers’ booth

* Pransis striking a pose

Again, I have been fortunate to obtain some very useful resources for the book project I am currently working on. Hopefully the coming semestral break would enable me to focus on it more and use the legion of books I have prepared so far for this task.

Cheers to book lovers!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Accidents Happen

As we made our way for a late-night birthday travel, we came upon the scene of a reported accident on TV. This was in Brgy. Bangyas, Calauan, Laguna where unfortunately two police chiefs of two towns were killed by a rampaging jeepney. A sudden death for a sudden event. Accidents truly happen and death is truly felt when it is close to one's home. Life cannot be as predictable as we may want it to be.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Birthday Sentiments

Today is a personal milestone. A day when I am now set to particularize my goals and limit my intended expertise to a few. Have I said no fooling around every year? Perhaps. And perhaps it is high time that I take my own words seriously.

I’ll only reach this age once, at least in this existence. And with all the downsides, poor choices, failures, and negativeness, I choose to overthrow them all now. There was that line in a movie which says we all have light and dark within us. It’s only the choice that defines us. Hopefully this time I’ll be able to rectify everything dark in the past twenty five years. Positive emotion trumps negative ones. Family defense, existentialism upholding, people interaction, Philippines, physics, enriching local history, among others.

Twenty five years. After another twenty five years I hope to blog about the rectification process, that is, if there is still blog and internet by that time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 21, Secretary Jesse Robredo, Life, and Other Random Thoughts

The news during the recent long weekend (thanks to Eid-ul-Fitr and the new holiday that is Ninoy Aquino Day) revolved on the uncertain status of the country’s Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo, whose rented private plane crashed off the coast of Masbate. Eventually his body, along with the pilot’s, was found still inside the ill-fated plane, at the bottom of the sea on August 21.

As the wake proceeded, stories poured out from the people who were able to work for and work with him – stories of goodness, humility, and virtues best shown by an ideal servant-leader. Suddenly the term DILG became synonymous with the concept of selfless and honest public service. Somehow Secretary Robredo’s death agitated the sleepy and satiated politicians on their seats and made them uneasy on how they would be seen when they die.

What I enjoyed hearing among these stories was the fact that he could walk freely through the streets of Naga City and actually collected garbage in many instances. It’s like being a politician without the wearisome security problems that are usually associated with the position. For a short time, I already appreciated his approach to politics and perhaps more than that, his approach to public service.

I may not be in the public service but his life story certainly cut through me, especially the fact that he remained a strong family head despite the obvious time-consuming nature of his work. It is responsible action on responsibilities at best – from family, to community, to country. Again, his stature may be hard to reach but I want to take his life as a pattern, if not an inspiration.

Secretary Jesse Robredo’s post was well served. We must now look forward in seeing his progeny.

* Photo Credit: www.gov.ph

Act of Kindness

The title was derived from a phrase in the Evan Almighty movie: acts of random kindness. It feels rather different when you meet such kindness in person. The experience came in the form of my wallet – suddenly lost, actually unknown to me, then returned.

I decided recently to make use of markers and eraser only for my classes. Aside from them, I only brought with me my cell phone and particularly my wallet so that I will not lose it. In the end, I lost it without even knowing it (I accidentally left it on a drawer slot in the table on one of the classrooms I use).

Then there came these five students who took the trouble to rummage through my wallet to get any identifications of the wallet’s owner. Good thing I still have my temporary ID inside and so they identified me. Hopefully my fervent thank yous will suffice as I do not have any substantial resources to treat them as a reward. The heavens will bless them for me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Heritage of Shortsightedness

The almost week-long suspension of classes (and work for the others) has relieved some of their strenuous activities. To some it was a chance to prepare for future studies (or work) and a bonus of being with their families. But in the backdrop flows a muddy and filthy view of the reality: that the reason behind the series of class and work suspensions is the flooding of most of the places in the National Capitol Region and surrounding provinces due to the unusual heavy rains brought by the southwest monsoon.

It was particularly irksome to note that we cannot mark a name for a typhoon for there was none. It was only rain, ulan, or habagat. But this nameless disaster has brought in destruction to infrastructures and personal properties which I think could rival the havoc wreaked by Typhoon Ondoy three years ago.

Manila in particular almost became an extension of sort of the nearby Manila Bay, only this time it is relatively shallow (from knee deep to head level) and brown in color. Class suspensions are grounded on the consideration that there will be no ways through which students (and employees) can pass. To wade or to swim would be definitely be out of the question.

What is disconcerting is that we have seen the same ugly flooding and destructions despite all the hype about the early warning systems on floods or any other disasters. These flooding and destruction come as a slap of insult to those who invested time and resources to get these warning systems to work. On the side of those affected it is another reason to throw blame to the government and complain of all the services that the government lacks in giving.

But every morning as we turn to watch the morning news about the updates on the flooding and those affected, there is one feature that I see emerging from all that has happened recently: that there is a glaring lack in coordination in all the efforts of the national government and the government agencies and the citizens. Of course we see the basic ones – weather or disaster updates being echoed by the various information dissemination means of the government such as online sites and the people in general should receive them on time. Assuming they receive the information but on their end they decide on their own (mostly for personal reasons) because they are not wholly (or should I say deeply) oriented about the things that they are likely to encounter soon.

The snag starts with the local authorities who at some point (thanks this time to the media) who are at lost as to where the big volume of water to their places come from and where the water would probably go. And the locals on the other hand maintain the indifference stance, ignoring all the time to heed the calls for proper waste disposal. Then there were those who opt to live under the concrete protection of bridges, adding to the already suffocating problem of decongesting most of the waterways (particularly in Metro Manila).

And so when disaster comes, the real politician in our leaders saves day by simply providing the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster and by polishing some neat rhetoric for the media to consume and disseminate. Those affected meanwhile make do on their makeshift protection and bear the poor conditions on evacuation centers. And this we see each and every time a disaster comes to the Philippines.

It’s sad how shortsighted we have all become.

I think we should shed this heritage of ours in light of the rise of technological advances (although they have their own disadvantages too) and make use of them to improve the aspects of our lives no matter how small it might be. Natural disasters can never be contained for as long as we live on Earth but we can make long-term preparations for them.

The scenes of those wooden boats plying the flooded streets will always remind us of how slow we are, as a nation, in improving our lives.

On that note a simple start would be by making effective and reliable information sharing with regards to a town’s or city’s flood behavior (for lack of a better term), geography, and other details that will prove crucial in case of emergency and/or disaster. Then a systematic and preparation and projection of evacuation processes should be in place. On the citizens’ end, we all go back to the germ of discipline, where we start recalling our elementary school lessons on the simple waste segregation and proper disposal. The video footages of the mess hauled from the area of Santa Ana in Manila are a testament to our growing disregard for discipline. But we can start again.

In any problem, we could start moving forward if we recognize our faults and from that gain our self-healing, and hopefully later on, make tangible actions and solutions to problems in our community and country.

A short post-habagat entry.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis 2012 Experience

Time, personal incidents, lost motivations, and engaging work have consumed what could have been my allotted free times to go and deal again with blogging. But a rather sultry night following the days of rain has perhaps agitated my body and finally moved me to look back into the largely unsorted photos of this once-in-a-lifetime activity and write my thoughts about my experience about it. I refer to my participation in the recently concluded Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis Para sa Namumukod-Tanging Kabataan ng Laguna 2012.

This should have been made already shortly after the awarding rites but it seems more befitting now to make mention of my own experiences a few days ahead of our scheduled meet-up; a kamustahan activity of sort this month.

From those who were completely clueless to those who were fully oriented and well-aware of the competition nature of the search, more or less forty young people from different towns and cities of Laguna were convened in the already-historic place called Bahay Laguna in Magdalena, Laguna to formally join the ranks of those who will participate in the annual search. I remember the disorientation I felt when I first read the notification message which I read on very day of the first meeting. Crawling from the makeshift bed in the already-disorderly apartment, I put on formal clothes saved for work which were fortunately ironed and well-kept. Later on I’d be battling with the rain during transit, confusing text messages regarding the directions to the venue, and a nagging feeling of not being prepared at all. But thankfully I was able to finish the whole introductory activity despite being half-sleep-deprived.

Months soon passed and we participants were engaged and subjected to several activities which, to a large extent, raked into our beings and allowed us to see ourselves better, all the time under the precepts and the inspiring life that was lived by Governor Felicisimo T. San Luis.

And perhaps I would concede to the observation that you get to appreciate someone or something if it is already gone or nearing its end already. Approximating the frequency of my attendance (for in some cases I had to miss an activity either due to work or to personal reasons), I’d say that I have appreciated more the search during the last few sessions, from the days when we were allowed to organize something on our own up to last event. It would have been good to have a clear idea of the competition. But for my case, it was more than fortunate that I was able to learn more about the search during the process already. The learning was always raw and the camaraderie that was forged was, as I have felt it, essentially permanent.

Competition-wise I lost but the prospect of winning was already in the waning as the names were being announced onstage (but that would only be natural for someone who has missed most of the activities). The prize came in the chance to join such an activity at my age when, as I see it, I am already out-of-place (as serious writing contests are my type at the moment). More than that, it was the chance to get to know a group of people with different backgrounds, family stories, religious views, and personal lives which, when shared, enriched our times together more. It will be on a note of regret to realize that I did not get the robust motivation to share more on my end. But still, all the talks and engagements have been insightful.

As in every point in life, it was just fortunate that we were pooled in those particular times. Separate lives will eventual diverge our times and paths and we could only live on memories. I hope I’d be able to attend to future events and see younger generations take the same process. I don’t know but it seems that Gob moves still at the present and bond the Laguna youth more into a one big family.

But in the end, my whole experience in Gawad cannot be confined in just a single blog entry. The heart carries the whole experience.