Friday, December 31, 2004

Several nights after Christmas

What I like about Christmas is that it seems to be unending. This is especially true in the Philippines where the Yuletide season starts as soon as the "ber" months arrive and ends on January 6 to celebrate the visit of the Three Magis. Now that is one long season, isn't it?

This Christmas season is very memorable for me as a blogger because it was at this same month when I first opened my first blog Soft Grumbles. So, in a way, I am celebrating my first anniversary in this line of interest. One year of blogging and I am now friends with some of the most prolific writers in blogosphere, owners of the most sought after blogs in the county today. Who wouldn't know about the sites of The Sassy Lawyer or the famous medical journal of Doc Emer and of course, the very scientific explanations of Batjay on what would seem to be the most mundane of things to mortals like us?

But what really makes this Christmas season a very important one is that I got to meet with some of the bloggers in person! It started out at Batjay's house on the 22nd of this month where I first met with Belle and Sassy and got to experience Jet's fantastic tiramisu, pancit bihon and her mom's awesome "lengua" on white sauce.

And then it happened!

Last night, the party of all parties, the bloggers' Christmas party where each one of us finally became flesh and bones rather than mere obscure individuals on the internet came to fruition. Hosted by, the party was spearheaded by the animated plughost owner Yuga and Sassy who was joined by her hubby and children, at the Cabalen restaurant at Mega mall. It was a get together of some twentyish very interesting people, who are the who's who in blogdom. I first met up with master storyteller Bong K who graciously picked me up from the house. At Mega mall, we joined forces with Batjay and Jet at Tia Maria. We proceeded to Cabalen at exactly 7:00 pm. The bloggers arrived one at a time after that. Last to arrive was the good doctor and his special soulmate who seemed to be updated with everyone's blogs as she can relate to any topic that only the bloggers would have known. Obviously, she's been reading our blogs.

Although the food was not that spectacular, the company was. Since Toni who was supposed to provide the name tags for the event cancelled at the last moment, we were left to our own ingenuity by first using table napkins which later on developed to post-it stickers for name tags. Need I mention we looked pathetic which made me think the owners of Cabalen must be wondering if we had the ability to pay for dinner. Dinner was had with hearty laughter recalling who said what in his/her own blog and the like. Soon after, we exchanged gifts and thought that the night was still young at ten and decided to proceed to Starbucks at the Podium. There, we agreed to come up with several gimmicks for pinoyblog like giving awards for the best something. Unfortunately, as the cliche goes, good things also have to last. We called it quits at 1:00 am. It was truly a night to remember.

Let me see if I can stretch my failing recall and mention each one of the attendees. I'm leaving the posting of pictures with the others. I'm sure Batjay will have one.

There's that dashing lawyer, Marvin Aceron, the tall and as good looking as Giordano models Mari and Ajay, proud father Apol the great, Edu Manzano look alike, Watson, owner of pinayexpat,amiable AnP who just flew in from Germany with hubby and yes, her son, regular commenter Enya, sexy Mec who came in with a former student of mine (i started teaching very very young you see), the always elegant Joyce Jimenez, fresh graduate from La Salle, rocker Karla, soft spoken doctor and well-mannered Julsitos, enticing conversationalist Lorna Dahl and the mysterious Vixen lady.

So there, I hope I have remembered everyone. If I have missed out on anybody, please holler. Matanda na po ako e.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

whoever said the computer cannot have a personal touch?

A good cyber friend of mine from Malaysia, Bayi, emailed me about the Asian Blog awards where two of the leading pinoy bloggers, Sassy and Doc Emer are competing for Best Philippine blog and Best Asian Newcomer Blog respectively. You can vote for them at While Sassy is leading comfortably, Doc Emer is neck a neck with Hong Kong blog "Spirit Fngers". You know how Filipina expat, Jasmine Trias, bested a very strong contender, La Toya, at the American Idol competition by a huge Hawaiian vote. Astound our Asian neighbors by sending our support to our fellow countrymen bloggers.

Of course, most Filipino bloggers, especially those in already know about this. but what really caught my interest was the fact that Bayi, again, a Malaysian, would request me to rally Pinoy bloggers to vote each day for our friends and countrymen. I will never forget Bayi. He was the first person to put a comment in my comment box. I was excited because being new to blogging, I never thought somebody else was reading my entries other than Batjay, who I came to know when I commented in his blog.

Here's the content of Bayi's letter.


Dr Emer's blog is in the running neck and neck with another Hong Kong blog Spirit Fingers for the first placing in the Best Newcomer Blog 2004 category.

Can we rally all our friends via your blog to vote for Dr Emer and Sassy's blogs?

I think both Sassy and Dr Emer are too modest to sound a clarion call for support. Would you be interested to blog a short but eye-catching post to call on all the visitors to vote for their blogs? This can be done by providing the link in the post for them to click and vote immediately. The link is

Let's win the titles for both of them. Are you game for it?


I salute you Bayi for being such a sweet and loyal friend. One of these days, I would like to meet you personally and shake your hand. There is no question in my mind that you are a Filipino by heart and soul.

Now, whoever said what the computer lacks is a personal touch?

Monday, December 20, 2004

I said I wouldn't miss blogging about it, and did!

A very good cyber friend, and in flesh, celebrated his birthday yesterday. Husband to the petite and amiable Jet, the very famous, blogger of the year is now forty-nine years old (hehe mas tumanda pa sakin. No actually di ko alam).

As my mentor in bloggosphere, he was the one who urged me to create this blog, taught me about sites like technorati which I swear I wouldn't have guessed existed, answered my endless emails, patiently reorganized my template designed by none other than Ate Siena, saved my site from corruption, and most of all, makes me laugh every morning as I read his entry(ies) for the day.

Who wouldn't know about the caped crusader aka spiderman in Philippine blogs? Yes, it's Batjay's birthday yesterday. And he's in Manila right now to attend the first PinoyBlog Christmas party on the 30th at the Cabalen restaurant, Mega mall. Can't wait to see him dance on the table as he promised.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Prior knowledge

Since I got you involved with my kidney stones and what I had done to it, i think I oughtt to give you an update. Well, I'm doing fine. As a matter of fact, its like as if nothing happened at all. Well, of course I am taking medication like antibiotics, and for whatever reason it serves other than give me a lot of gas, sodium bicarbonate. Other than that, I am doing fine. The good thing about the whole deal is that the stone was discovered early and that it did not have time to act up. If it did, I tell you, it would have been an awful experience. I should know. I had been hospitalized for this condition twice,

Now, on to business. I am not a real writer. For one thing, I am not sure if what I write has substance at all for I don't think I have the analytical mind of Sassy or Jardine Davis who see the issues in all its flavors, Furthermore, neither do I have the semantic snobbery of XP whose blog's title expectoRANTS alone is sufficient to catch one's attention for the pun it conjures is very effective, nor do I have the enthusiasm and wit of Batjay and the Ca t

When I started this blog, I intended it to be about education and everything related to it. However, I think it is not as focussed as Doc Emer's Parallel Universe which tackles issues on medicine and health. As far as i am concerned, I try to write about life and how I view it and relate it to education. Anyway, this got me thinking, what would be a good topic to write about? This got me thinking, why don't I talk about educational philosophy?

Before I delve into that, allow me first to discuss human nature as far as I remember it. There are three different views in how a person is brought out into the world. The first one is that a baby is born in a tabula rasa state. That a baby comes to the world like a blank sheet of white paper. Neither is a baby born with a smudge nor a speck of dust . The second one is from St. Augustine who gave us the concept that man is born with original sin, something we inherited from Adam and Eve. Now, that is not to be taken as it is. There is something more significant to that apple, I tell you. For how can an innocent fruit be so forbidden? Remember, the Bible is not a science book. Lastly, there is Freud's theory, the id which, according to him, is all what a baby at birth has in mind, a state of want want want. Hence, it is a primitive mind and contains all the basic needs and feelings. Later on, the individual will develop further into two more states, the ego and the superego.

In a similar manner, if we are to consider what is the best way to educate an individual, we should have a concept of what a learner is. Hence, the question, in what state do students come to the classroom? Should we view him/her as an empty bowl who will just be a recipient of every information we feed him/her? Or will he/she be critical of whatever information we offer? Whatever answer you come up with, that will be your educational philosophy. I am a staunch believer of the recent view that a student brings with him/her his/her own concept of the world when entering the classroom. This is what we call prior knowledge. Gone are the days when the teacher is viewed as the sole source of information - a star on stage, so to speak. Rather, a teacher is someone who is sensitive to the needs of a student, working on the premise that the student is a thinking being, etc. HE/She is more of a facilitator. A good teacher must know that when he/she presents a lesson, the student sort of incorporates his/her own concept and it is incumbent upon the teacher to know how to elicit the students' prior knowledge and working from there either redirects this knowledge to a desired path or declares a totally new information altogether debunking the prior knowledge.

You have been educated in school. Now, wear your thinking caps and bring your prior knowledge. What do you think?

Kudos Doc Emer

Our friendly doctor, Doc Emer is hosting the 12th edition of medical Grand Rounds, a weekly compendium of the choicest medical posts from the whole world. It gets posted Tuesday of every week at exactly 7am EST. That would be tonight for us pinoys.

Considering that the last 11 weeks were all hosted by American doctors from East to the West coast, Doc Emer has reason to be proud for he is its first ever international host.

You can view it here Visit it and read. The information you get is assuredly good for your health.

Congratulations in advance, Doc.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Gotta jam with the Rolling Stones tomorrow

I shall not report for work tomorrow. I am scheduled for a lithotripsy procedure tomorrow. For those who are not in the know, this is a painless, bloodless procedure for stone removal. A very welcome change in stone removal as I don't have to undergo an operation anymore. This is going to be my third time. It seems like I am a stone former. For a diabetic, that does not sound well. I don't know what's causing these stones to form. I don't even know what their composition is. I suspect salt as I am fond of salty food.

I should have had this procedure last Friday. I even thought the no class day was a blessing because then I wouldn't have to be absent from work anymore. And that means less trouble for me because I don't have to think about my children going to school and back. The problem was it turned out that the stone unit of the Medical Doctors is also closed!

LAstly, the real bummer is that I have to go on fasting again and drink that awful castor oil! I wonder if you've tried that before. Well, if you haven't, how about imagining drinking three tablespoons of your mother's sewing machine oil. Just a whip is sufficient to make you puke, right?

oh well, I have to do what has to be done rather than wait for this stone to act up and send me writhing in pain to the hospital again.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

And I thought the world was sleeping quietly

Our trip to Subic with friends was, as usual, very happy. It would have
been a perfect getaway from a world of constant work, a respite from the
daily hustle and bustle if not for the horrendous trip back home last Monday night.

Anyway, allow me to recount my happy memories first. We started our trip to Subic by meeting everyone at the Petron gasoline station at Tabang at 3:00 am. We left the place at 4 am and since I was not driving my own car, (I wouldn't trust my old lite ace with my family on board on a long trip like that) we had to go slow. Fortunately,
my friends understand my predicament and the guy at the helm, Dante, with Grace, Ricky and Tetay, drove at a fastest speed of around 60 kph. (These guys normally drive at an average of 120 kph). No one complained except that we were all falling asleep. I almost did at one time. So we had to stop again to take a breather.

When we arrived at Subic at around 6, we had to go on a tour first as our scheduled check in time was at 12:00 pm. We went to the beach but since it was to open at 8 we decided to roll again. We saw some monkeys on the way and much to the enjoyment of my youngest son, Coby who was seated beside me, the alpha male would constantly prove his dominance over the brood by, what else, making love to his concubines.

After that, we went to Zoobic but decided it was too expensive so we had to settle communing with the butterflies. We ate our breakfast outside the butterfly exhibit. Then we went to an adventure ride where everybody tried out the fantastic slide at Jest camp. This is where you are placed in a harness and get to ride the cables all the way down from a hundred foot drop till the bottom at three stages. The slide was fantastic but what I didn't like was the fact that I had to cross a monkey bridge twice. MAybe I should explain that I have fear of heights. So, you see, crossing a monkey bridge swaying all the way from left to right is not my idea of fun! Not to mention that my kids plus my friends and theirs are all laughing at me while I am moments away from fainting and throwing my guts out crossing the damn bridge.

Next stop was the hotel! We stayed at the Palm wing of the Legenda Suites. Excellent room size for the group. We rented out two suites. A suite is composed of a living room with a sofa bed and a couch, dining table, a kitchen, two huge rooms with a two kingsize beds and two single ones, bathroom and toilet. As I have stopped smoking, I decided to sleep as soon as I can while the women prepared food and the guys drank booze. Woke up at around 6 and together with the wife and Joven, took the kids to the go kart so they can try it out. (Actually this is one of the few things my boys were looking forward to) Slept again and woke up at around 11. Most of the women were already sleepy, Grace was already tipsy, Jenny was asleep on the couch, while the guys were still at it... and the kids? Oh they're all bunched up at the other room, probably playing cards. Gave them enough cash. HAHAHA

The following day was just bumming around some more, tour and yes, shopping. At this time, we knew it was raining hard in Manila but who could've known the extent of that downpour? We had fine weather at Subic the whole time.

The way home would have been a breeze had it not been raining. Then it happened! We were caught up in a terrible traffic jam from San Fernando exit all the way to San Simoun...TWO LONG FREAKING HOURS!!! We managed to stop at Petron (again!) for dinner and it was pouring!!! We left the place at around 10 pm. And guess what? At VAlenzuela, we were met again by traffic. Another two long hours until we could get through. All this time, I was thinking of my bed, thinking I should be sleeping by now, with the steady patter of the rain on the roof, the chilly air, my wife beside me, my children with their own peaceful dream. I suppose that was what was happening in every household.

Then I realized, we were lucky! Hundreds lost their lives in a flash flood in Real, Infanta, and most of the eastern part of Luzon. Typhoon Winnie had lashed out her anger and we were lucky we did not get stranded on the road like the bus that did in Gapan road. Just thinking about it makes me shiver!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving daw o!

The US celebrated Thanksgiving this week. Canadians had theirs last September, I think. I wonder why we don't celebrate Thanksgiving Day. We do have a lot fo be thankful for, don't we? It cannot be the cooking for we can also cook turkey as the bird can be homegrown. Brusselsprouts? Well we do have cabbages, and they're even bigger!

Well, for all it's worth, my family has a lot to be thankful for. No not, material gains, but emotional ones. The feel so good type of things. I believe we maintain a stable, happy family, so far.

First, I have to congratulate myself for it is now officially a whole week since I stopped smoking!!! I am smoke free, my friends! And this is not yet known to my family. Kim, my youngest daughter would be ecstatic if she finds out I have not been smoking for a week! Oh, I almost did.. You see, Angie, Nitz' youngest sister, just arrived from Saipan. So too, did the family of the nitz's sister's hubby. So part of the celebrations is a dinner at Dad's last Thursday and a big Filipino dinner last night! I almost broke my promise not to smoke. The strongest urge came to me this morning when Angie gave me a pack of Marlboro lights! I let it lay in front of me while I bloghopped! Then, decided I couldn't take it anymore. I took it out and gave it to a neighbor. See, i do have a strong will power if I wanted to. For that i have to be thankful!

See, my children can have titles if they wanted to and enjoy the privileges, if there are any, of each title. Kraiganne is the eldest, which says a lot! Mickey is the oldest son! Kim is the youngest daughter, and Coby is, well, the youngest! O walang inggitan, di ba? (No jealousy among the siblings, right? :-)

OF course, the school where I teach and where all of my kids go to, celebrates its Foundation week this week. And yes, my wife belongs to the same university system so this school is very much a part of us. I have been working here for twenty years, my wife, even longer. As part of the festivities yesterday was a concert given by the Music Department, (we do have a strong Music Department) where my eldest son, Mickey, played solo violin and i have the whole performance on video! That was a natural high. When he was called tp the stage, I was a bit nervous. Let me backtrack a bit. This was a bit of a masterplan, you see. When Nitz and i got married, I told her we will have a child who will play the violin. Funny but it was the violin, not the guitar which I can play. When Kraiganne was about 4 years old, my wife took her to St. Scholastica for piano lessons. I thought, so okay, I may be wrong with my foresight. Anyway, since we didn't have a piano, Kraiganne practiced on a make shift, drawn piano my wife borrowed from a friend. Picture this, you have a board of piano keys, not producing a single note, and all you do is rely on memory as to which key to press or what finger to use rather than how each of the key would have sounded. That's how my Kraiganne learned how to play her first piece. So, when recital came, i was really a mess. Jittery and frightened. When Kraiganne stepped on the stage, all smiles and confident, I was ready to be crushed! But lo and behold!!! She played the piece without a single error! Well, after that, she probably realized singing was easier and so stopped taking piano lessons.

Her siblings came and still no sign of my own Itzhak Perlman.

Then, one day, during one of my breaks inside the faculty room, Mickey (who was in Grade three then, about 9 years old) approached asking me to sign a paper that says I was willing to let him take violin lessons as his activity. You see, our students are given one elective subject starting at this age. I said sure. Then, after several months, he comes to me again asking me to buy him a violin. I had to tell him "No. First you have to show me you are really that interested. I don't want to waste big bucks on something you might lose interest in after several months." That really got him frustrated. But good son that he is, he obeyed and we would go home with a borrowed violin from school. After several months, I realized he was really interested. He never let the borrowed violin stay away from his sight anywhere he went. It was easier to look for him when we were about to go home from school because all I had to do was follow that nursery tune he was trying to master. At night, you would hear Kraiganne complaining, "Papa, I want to go to sleep but Mickey won't stop his eng-eng!" Smilingly, I would tell her to just learn how to sleep with the noise. After all, i have this belief that "the world will not stop just because you will be sleeping,my child!" :-) Now, Kraiganne, although she wouldn't admit is, is his biggest fan! Well, okay , second. First being his mother of course.

One last thing, Mickey seem to have had a fondness for the guitar. One day, he tried tinkering with my guitar. Asked me to show him where the notes were. To my surprise, he learned Earl Klugh's "If you should know by now" alone! Well, I knew he could read notes but i didn't know he could transfer the information so easily.

Another thing we have to be thankful for is the gift of friendship. We keep a very close knit group of friends with whom we celebrate every occasion imaginable . This started with two of my best friends who I used to work with in the audiovisual center of the university library. While we have separated ways, ( while Redjie Jimenez is now the head of the unit where we worked in, Ollie Marcelo, now manages hiis own thriving printing press business.) This friendship grew and we are now composed of seven families who celebrate Christmas eve together, birthdays, go out on trips (we've practically covered the whole of Luzon, except for the Bicol region) using a common trust fund. Since its going to be a long weekend, we are all going to Subic tomorrow and staying there till Monday!

Lastly, I am thankful for having started out this blog! Not only did I have a venue to practice writing, I have earned a good amount of friends whose ideas i respect so much and help me shape the man i am today. You see, inspite of my 40+ age, i am still developing into something. As the cliche goes, life begins at 40, and i believe it. So, even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving day, THANK YOU WORLD, THANK YOU LIFE!

Monday, November 22, 2004

How long does one learn a job?

Just been to the cat's domain and read about Patricia's apology re the Faye fiasco which appeared at the Philippine Star on Nov 19. Some people have been very angry at Patricia for having reported about Faye without checking the data yet. So were they angry at the cat for having sided with her. In comments to this article alone, there appears two anonymous comments deploring Patricia's apology. I seconded ting aling's defense and counter rebuttal in the same post. Yeah, why are they so angry with a passion? What has Patricia done to them? So, the Faye story is a lie, so what? Have they lost a lot of invested money and time?

At any rate, this got me thinking. While it is true that Patricia should have checked her sources first before she wrote anything, she committed a mistake and apologized for it. Come on, she has been into the journalism business for merely five months. For that alone, I'd say cut her some slack. I am not ashamed to say that as a teacher of twenty years, I still commit mistakes from time to time. I am not ashamed to say that half of the years I have been working in the same school was spent learning the tricks of the trade. I wouldn't be surprised if I found out taht I did not make any impact on my students during my first years of teaching. Even colleges admit that schools do not provide everything that will be experienced in the workplace. That's why most school's have included a practicum subject, or ini a teacher's case, "a practice teaching" lesson for would-be teachers. The workplace is so different from what you are being taught in school.

Lastly, should we condemn Patricia for her error? Why? I am just glad the Faye story is not true. I am one reason less why I hate the powers that be in government.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Teaching - does it pay well?

I had always been told that teaching is a vocation. As such, it is very much likely that one cannot get rich in this profession. That makes the teaching profession above the normal run of the mill jobs there are. But then, what career is not a vocation? Being a doctor is a vocation. It is service-oriented. It should be. A lot of people depend on a doctor for survival. If there's a doctor who is dedicated and passionate, it would be my friend, Doc Emer. For one, he patiently answers questions from readers and tries to explain every single thing there is to know in relation to that question. Now, you don't see too many doctors like that, do you? Chances are, you'll get a "see me in my clinic" type of a response. What about being a lawyer? That is a career and at the same time should be a vocation, too. If a lawyer's only goal was to get money from you, you'll never see him/her in court arguing passionately in your behalf. Afterall, you have already paid an acceptance fee, an appearance fee, etc. But this is not the case. In a lawyer's mind, winning is the game.

The point is, a real pro should see his/her career as a vocation. It is only in this way that one can be assured that one will be good at what one does.

Going back to teaching, when a teacher is asked to perform a job other than teaching, like designing a stage, chances are he/she will not be paid. (I am) It is part of the commitment. What a.... Why do I get a feeling that this is a very good way to usurp power and extort somebody's talents? Isn't this intimidation of the first kind?

I have been an idealist for half of my life but when I started to have kids and had to earn a living to feed a family, the world revealed a different face to me. It is not as beautiful as my heroes presented it. It is lots of hardwork. There are humongous bills to pay. This led me to believe that being committed is not what employers (not mine, mind you) profess all the time.

Being committed is working your ass off and being good at what you do. That your students learn everything they can get out of your system. Never mind not being paid for overtime work. They can't quantify the amount of work you've rendered for the students at home preparing lesson plans, checking of test papers, room displays and all that anyway. Now that is part of teaching. But when you're asked to do something outside of your job, I believe one should be paid accordingly. Even a paltry sum. At least, you're paid for your efforts, right?
Then you don't have to sell longganisa or bags and shoes on the sides.

Going back to the issue of having a vocation. Priesthood is a vocation, and so is being a nun. Do they get rich? Maybe no. At least not individually. But they do--as a community. See those schools they run? They own it. Allow me to air out what thousands of teachers have on their minds. "I have no pretensions of getting rich with what little knowledge I have, but please, provide me with sufficient funds so that i can live decently."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sa aking mambabasang si Olga,

Salamat sa pagbisita mo sa aking blog. Ikinalulungkot kong sabihin sa'yong tila hindi ko kayang mapagbigyan ang iyong kahilingan na isaliln sa Tagalog ang mga sinulat ko sa panahong ito. Hindi kita kayang pagbigyan dulot ng maraming masalimuot na mga kadahilanan na habang ang iba ay madaling maintindihan, mahirap naman ang ilan.

Ang una ay sa kadahilanang kulang ang aking oras at marami-rami na rin naman akong naisulat dito. Sa totoo lang, ako ay halos hindi na natutulog upang makagawa lamang ng isang akda, kung akda man itong matatawag. kung minsan ay pinapalad din naman ako at nakakanakaw ng ilang saglit dito sa opisina upang makabisita sa ibang blog at makapagbigay komentaryo sa ilan. Hindi lingid sa mga bumibisita rito na ako ay isang guro at alam mo naman na ang pagiging guro ay hindi nagtatapos sa silid-aralin lamang. Ewan ko lang kung maniniwala ka na ang isang guro ay guro hanggang sa siya'y matulog. Bukod dito, ako rin ay isang ama, ng mga apat na bagamat malalaki nang mga anak, ay nangangailangan pa rin ng patnubay. Lalo pa't iisa ang aming computer sa bahay.

Pangalawa, at sa aking palagay ay napakahalaga, ako ay walang tamang kakanyahan upang isalin ang aking mga sinabi sa wikang tagalog. Alam ko na maaaring may mawala sa pagsasalin kahit pa ng isang dalubhasa dito. Huwag kang mabahala na baka ako ay nagyayabang. Bagkus, ako ay buong pagpapakumbabang nagsasabi na ang makapagsulat at makapagbasa sa ibang wika ay hindi ko maituturing na pribilehiyo . Unang una na rito ay kadalasang kulang ang aking kakanyahang isulat ng wasto ang aking damdamin sa limitasyon ng aking bokabularyo na siya rin namang dahilan kung bakit marami akong di naiintindihan ng tama sa aking binasa. Alam mo, ako ay isang biktima lamang ng pagkakataon. Ako ay tinuruang mag-isip sa ingles. Tinuruang magbasa, magsalita at magsulat sa isang wika na di ko naman kinagisnan. Sabi nga ni Heber Bartolome ng Banyuhay, ako ay tila isang asong di makatahol pagkat ako'y ngumingiyaw. ANg idiyoma na aking natutunan ay inggles. At dahil dito, isa rin ako sa mga nag-akalang lahat ng bagay na mula sa mga taong banyaga ay magaling at ang dito gawa ay mababang kalidad. Ang dali kong natanggap na ang magandang babae ay iyong mestisahin, matangos ang ilong, maputi, kulay mais ang buhok at mahahaba ang makikinis na paa. Ako ay natutong umawit at magkahilig sa mga kantang banyaga. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Grandfunk Railroad, CSNY, James Taylor, banggitin mo lang at alam ko na kung ano ang iyong tinuturan. Bigyan mo ko ng ilang nota at kakantahin ko na sayo ang awitin nila at sasabihin ko pa sayo kung anong taon ito sumikat sa Pilipinas. Sa aking murang isipan noon, pangit ang atin, maganda ang kanila. Ngayon ko lang napagtanto na hindi ito totoo. Ito ay dulot lamang ng mga ipinarating sa akin ng maling komersiyo. Binugbog nila ang aking isipan na magaling sila at ako ay isang mangmang kung ako ay hindi maniniwala. Kaya sa aking palagay, hindi man nakatanikala ang aking paa't kamay, naibuhol naman ang aking dila, isipan at buong kamalayan.

Pangatlo, ako ay nagsusulat upang kahima't ako'y yumao at hindi ko na makita ang aking mga anak at mga apo, pwede pa rin nilang gawing gabay ang aking mga isinulat dahil nakapaloob dito kung ano ang nilalaman ng aking payak na pagkatao. Kung sila man ay sumunod o hindi, wala na akong magagawa. Maaari nga namang hindi na angkop ang aking mga sinabi. Pero ang importante sa lahat ay nalaman nila kung papaano ako nagdesisyon sa mga bagay-bagay. Iyon lang naman ang aking tunay na layon. Kung ikaw man, sampu ng mga taong bumibisita rito ay nasisiyahan o nakapag-iisip dahil sa aking mga isinulat, ito ay isang napakagandang bonus sa aking pagsusumikap.

Huwag ka sanang malungkot kung hindi man kita napagbigyan ng ganap. Ako naman ay makatuwirang tao. Kung mayroon kang gustong itanong sa akin o hindi naintindihan sa aking isinulat, iparating mo lang sa akin at aking pauunlakan ng aking sagot.

Muli, maraming salamat sa iyong pagbisita at pagbibigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na maibahagi ang aking isipan. Kung anupaman, nais kong ibahagi muli sayo ang aking salin ng isang tula na pinamagatang Desiderata na sa palagay ko ay naglalaman ng aking mga mithiin sa buhay. Ito ay matatagpuan dito. Puwede mo rin marinig ito dahil ito ay binigkas at inilagay sa internet ng ating kaibigang si Batjay at ito ay matatagpuan dito

Hanggang sa muli,
Tito Rolly :-)

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Ayn Rand could be wrong, or is she?

"Who is John Galt?" This is the famous opening of the novel, "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand which became famous in the country during the 70's. This is about the disappearance of intellectuals, artists, industrialists and innovators thereby putting production at a stand still. In the story, the question "Who is John Galt?" became a byword for things or people unexplainably missing although the owner of the name was not known. As the story unfolds, we see the protagonist try to unravel the mystery of the question. it turns out that John Galt is a man who is no longer contented with how the world is turning out to be. He observed that people are becoming lazy as they become dependent on the very limited producers there are, who in turn, do nothing about it. Thus, he decided to "stop the motor of the world" by luring all these innovators and industrialists by setting up an ideal world of his own where only producers can live.

Ayn Rand is a philosopher who used literature as her venue to propagate her philosophy she calls "Objectivism". She is not the only philosopher who did that. If I recall correctly, French novelist, playwright, existentialist philosopher, and literary critic Jean Paul Sartre and lover and collaborator Simone de Beauvoir, author of
The Second Sex, among others, also used literature as a base for their teachings.

In a nutshell, Objectivism is based on Aristotle's equation that A is A. Hence, in Rand's point of view, there are no gray areas. A lie is a lie. White lies don't exist. In the same manner does she question the validity of religion and ultimately, the existence of God. In her frame of mind, alruism is a no-no for it breeds dependence. In her book, The virute of selfishness, she defines selfishness as different from our common usage of the word, but rather, a "self-respecting, self-supporting human being who neither sacrifices others to himself nor sacrifices himself to others." In this book, she teaches us that self-sacrifice does not exist. She defines self-sacrifice as the giving up of a higher value in favor of a lower value. Given this definition, self-sacrifice is non-existent since all of man's actions are dictated by what he seems to be the higher value.

I better stop there. I am not a philosopher! As a matter of fact, I flunked Philosophy because I was ill-advised. I took it during my very first year in college because a friend who was "breaking me in", a third year student, was taking it. I never knew about pre-requisites. And don't ask me why the university where I studied, which will remain unnamed, allowed it. (In fairness, the professor did question it, but my gallant friend argued, "Why not? We will never know if he's prepared or not until the course card is given, right? Some friend, huh?) That and Political Science II. Guess who was also in it. And yes, Samantha, I was not an A student. Well, at least, I took it as a challenge later and tried learning Philosophy on my own. My understanding might seem derailed or even demented but at least, I have a framework to live by :-)

Anyway, I think Rand committed a mistake. She denied the fact that people are different. That some are blessed with intellect some are not. Most importantly, in our context, some are born rich, and some are born poor. In our present world, that spells a lot of difference. It's all a matter of opportunity. The haves will have more opportunity than the have-nots. The former study in good schools, the latter hardly go to one. And if they do, the education they receive may not be up to par. The former have access on the most recent trends in technology, the latter don't. The former have more books to read, the latter don't. The former is concerned on learning, the latter is more concerned about survival. In this scenario, t is only in real altruism, not the kind that propagates dependence, that will even the score.

But is she totally wrong then? In fairness, let me first paraphrase Dr. Emerita Quito who said that there is no philosophy that is so right that we must take it in its entirety or a philosophy that is so wrong we should throw it altogether. To study Rand, we must understand the spatio-temporal aspect of her circumstances.

Ayn Rand was born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum and educated in Russia and moved to the United States in 1926 thereafter moving to Hollywood to begin a career as a screenwriter. That says it all, doesn't it? She experienced the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. She experienced the shift from autocracy to communism. In her move to the States, she lived a life from "each according to his need" to "each according to his ability". Working in Hollywood, a very capitlalistic place with a very capitalistic industry and making it big, what conclusion do you think one can have?

However, that is no longer the point. The correct question to ask is can she be relevant to us, Filipinos? Can we espouse her teachings? I would answer in the affirmative. Yes, when I see poor people in the slums drinking early in the morning instead of trying to earn a living. Yes, when I see children of poor families turning to pick pockets or mendicants begging for a dime. Yes, when it is now apparent that the order of the day in media is mediocrity and "xeroxed" art. Yes when the biggest tv networks are competing for soap operas so that the average person can stayed glued on the boob tube, thinking that being the underdog is noble. Yes, when I see rich kids wasting their parent's money by playing hookey and not studying their lessons. Yes when I see young boys and girls doing nothing but daydream of becoming a hot rock star of an actor or actress. Yes, when I see people standing in a long queue to purchase a lotto ticket for "easy street" instead of making everything possible to make himself/herself better. Yes, when i couldn't walk late at night without worrying to be mugged by someone who has given up the fight to survive squarely. Yes, when the people are governed by a defeatist attitude that everything is lost.

Ah, this is such a complicated world. And philosophy is too complicated I don't know why I even bothered.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

rambling on

I spent my entire elementary life some hundred years ago. in a catholic school run by nuns in Caloocan City. As part of our morning routine then was the prayer, singing of the National Anthem while the Philippine flag is raised, and the reciting of the Panatang Makabayan. Except for the placing of the right hand on the left chest which was incorporated sometime after the February revolution, nothing much has changed to this date. This is exactly the same routine we have every morning from Monday to Friday in schools.

It took me all of thirty years to contemplate on what this practice is all about and if it does what it is supposed to do -- to inculcate in the minds of every young mind what it is to be a Christian and a true Filipino so that we can take pride on who we are. From among the three, the national anthem and panatang makabayan seems to be the more inutile. The last phrase in the National Anthem says, Ang mamatay ng dahil sa'yo! "to die for your glory!" alluding to our heroes who sacrificed their lives so that we can live happily and freely. This alone should have been sufficient to inflame our passion for patriotism, inspire and move us to tears if only for the sheer intensity of the emotion evoked by the song. And yet, this is not the case.

Looking at the young minds in my care today, I see myself thirty years ago when I was a teen-ager myself. Unaffected by the words, more inclined to hum the tune, recite the sing-song pattern of a beautiful poem (I'm talking about the old version) wondering what those deep tagalog words were, rather than taking these to heart. Sometimes amused, a lot of times bored. The morning routine seems to have turned into nothing but just that - a routine. And just like it had been to me as a youngster, the morning routine is nothing but a perfunctory exercise that must be done just because it has to be done. Something that has to be egested by the system like uhm, yes, excrement. It is actually meaningless to these teen-agers. What do you expect? They're young, carefree and on top of the world. But should this be so? Should we wait for another thirty years before they experience the same enlightenment? Is this an unending cycle? What brought this about?

We are not a very fortunate race. We have been occupied by at least three oppressors who raped our resources, robbed us of an indigenous culture that could have grown by itself, prospered in a unique system of governance that would have been suited for our situation and temperament and gained the fruits of our intellect. As it is now, our resources have long been depleted, and in return are given the spoils of developed countries at a very high price. We have a deranged culture that borrows heavily from the west, giving us the monicker "brown apes" by our supposed "idols". We have caused our economy to plunge even lower than rock bottom as a result of corruption and mismanagement and seen the rise of brain drain to staggering heights in number much higher than the first wave that occurred during the 60's.

How does one expect the young to be proud of who they are under these circumstances? When even their parents are wont to buy all the whitening products in the market and coloring their hair blonde just so they can have a Caucasian look? Spend thousands of money for a liposuction just so they can have that whistle-bait figure of Angelina Jolie? Never mind the flat nose, the shortness of their legs, and the thickness of their lips. Our demented concept of beauty is absurd for what we see as beautiful is something we are not. How can we become creative and establish our own when we ourselves deem our own products as inferior just like we see ourselves?

Take a look at our television game shows. These are nothing but sorry adaptations of foreign game shows if not the actual one to which we have paid a huge amount of money for its franchise. Last Sunday, my children were watching some sort of a local version of the American idol where there are, surprise surprise, three judges. Andrew E, the girl from the disbanded "Kulay" band and another guy whom I have just seen for the first time. A local wrapper rapper was onstage and my God, did he try to sound as if he was an afro-american! Seems like he had mastered phrases which he kept on repeatin' and repeatin'... phrases, like, uhm you know what I'm sayin' dawg? It was a good thing the judges had some sense to point out that they couldn't understand a word he said during the routine and took him out. My contention is, why try to be someone you're not? This seemingly gibberish talk is a dialect for a certain group to which you don't belong. Do you think you can infiltrate this kind of sub-culture? No way, dude! Get real! Okay, so rap is becoming international, but can you at least do it in tagalog? Somehow, you could've incorporated your own that way!

Our music is going nowhere. If only we were able to appreciate our own, we might have developed a more progressive music culture. Unlike the samba that saw the popularity of Brazilians Jobim, Gilberto and Getz, or reggae which catapulted Bob Marley and Jamaica to fame, Filipino music never infiltrated the American market. Why, because of the ease by which we assimilate to any culture. While this is a good thing, still, we don't get to promote who we are and what we can offer in a huge way. Local bands would copy a song, note for note. And what's more, the singer would try to mimic the voice and manner of speech of the singer. As JKX would say, ayayayay!

Even the art scene should not be spared. I have long lamented the fact that when children draw cartoons, they would do anime characters. Why? Simply because they don't have any alternative. It has been a long dream of mine to create a full length cartoons with a team of creative talents, working with them from pre to post production. Maybe Biag ni Lam Ang for starters. But as I am a poor man, that will remain to be a dream for yet a very long time. Maybe someone out there could pick the idea. I don't care. As long as we start creating our own.

This entry is getting to be so long and boring, I wonder if you have reached this point. If you did, thank you for bearing with me. Maybe you can share your comments. I'd love to hear it. At any rate, how can we expect the young to understand the urgency of having a better tomorrow? How do we imbibe in them pride of who we are as a people? Certainly, it will take more than the singing and the reciting of the national song and pledge but it should be a start. So, boys and girls, sing loud and take pride that you are a Filipino. If not, who else will do that for you? You cannot cover your identity by make-up or any law made by man. You will always be who you are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Happy Birthday, Sassy!

Today is a special day of someone who I think possesses the qualities of being a very fine lady. She's a prolific writer who can discuss anything under the sun, a witty debater you wouldn't want to be sitting across you in a debate for her pen lashes out with biting fire, a fine chef whose culinary taste is impeccable whose expertise is comparable to Bourdain, Emeril and Floyd combined. An excellent mother who sacrificed a very bright law career so that she can see her children grow up, I suppose, she's an ideal wife to her husband as well. She's all wit, brains and beauty (from the pictures I have seen of her) personified. Truly, my idol, she's the moving spirit behind, her baby, to which many Filipino bloggers subscribe to. I wish her happy birthday today. I raise my glass of cabernet to you, Ms. Sassy. May your pen be possessed by the muses so that you can inspire us with your wisdom, mesmerize us with your charm and share with us your expertise for a very long time. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Darker days! Cause and Effect?

First, I'd like to thank whoever were responsible for voting my blog as pinoyblog of the week and the person who did the wonderful write-up that accompanied it. Thanks, too, to Doc Emer who congratulated me first and from whom I learned about it and the succeeding congratulations I got from my friends. Now, on to blogging.

Side by side in today's Opinion page of the SIM are two alarming stories on the plight of education in the country. In some ways, it can be viewed as the cause and the aftermath. Isagani Cruz in his article The pathetic record of our public schools has reason to be appalled by the report that from among the high school seniors who took the National Achievement Test, only 13% got a score of 75% and above. Now that is appalling for our generation seems to be failing to do our share in securing not only a bright future but our sheer existence in this planet as a people who can govern ourselves.

The editorials' column,Flaws on the other hand gives us that part of the reason can be attributed to none other than the DepEd itself. Textbooks used in public schools contain glaring errors. Sassy had enumerated some of these glaring errors here.

While the article does not leave the blame alone on the DepEd, I would put most of the blame on the department. Just like in my school where a committee is formed to review the textbooks that we require our students to buy, I would assume there is such a thing in the department. For after all, it is accountable to the entire learning population in the public schools. They were tasked to safeguard the quality of the educational system and much to my regret, they failed miserably. I don't know how true this is but I have heard that the department is one, of if not the most corrupt department in the country today. Allegedly, publishers have their agents queued for long hours in the Department just to get their books approved. And they stash huge amounts just so they get the approval. And why not? If approved, they will be assured of millions of sales. Well, unconfirmed but it may be true. With the quality of the books used, and the glaring errors that surfaced to date, one might wonder how these books passed the screening, rigid or not.

Of course, teachers should be held accountable as well. Even if there were errors in the books, a good teacher could have spotted it right away and should have made the correction when passing the information to their students. True, but the problem here is, will the students believe the teacher right away? For after all, the book says otherwise. Remember, these students do not have access to many resources than their counterparts in the private schools. And worse, will they have time to check out the sources? While a part of them are more concerned about helping the family eke an additional income,a bigger percentage of them are probably daydreaming about how rich they would have been if they could be like their idols on tv. Something Cruz attributes to the deteriorating quality of our students. Who are these idols on tv? Screaming faggots, singers, actors and actresses cum politicians. Too bad, education could have bridged the gap between the haves and have nots. But with this development, the gap becomes farther and farther away. Truly, the future remains bleak.

If we had been Dianne Reeve's point of reference, she would not have been singing "Better Days" but "Darker Days" instead.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Calling something a rose, does not a rose make

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet So true. But what happens if we alter some of the key points in that Shakespeare statement? If we call a sampaguita a rose, does it become a rose or will it smell as sweet as a rose? Definitely not, right? It will have its own character. This is what's happening to the latest addition in the Inquirer.

The bloggers community is one in saying that the Inquirer's Talking Points, a spin-off of Sassy's and
Yuga's interview for pinoyblogs, is not actually what a blog is. In fairness, Inquirer did say it is "like" a blog. Well, to me, that meant, it operates like a blog. But does it?

What the Inquirer does have is far from being what they say it is. At best, it is no different from their letters to the editor. The only difference is that here, they give a specific topic which the readers can comment on. Well, they had been commenting before, right?

A blog is a no holds barred, personal journal of an individual which he/she may open to the blogging community for comments. As this is the case, any issue is fair game and leaves to the commenters whether they agree with the opinions of the blogger or not. Nevertheless, the original opinion is the blogger's own. Besides, corollary to blogging is the learning of computer jargon and programming like html's, linking up, etc.

At any rate, if we are to believe Andrew Sullivan when he said that blogging is a "collective mind and a corrective one" it is so because of the openness of the medium in terms of self-expression. Something not found in the Inquirer's plan. If for only that, I would say they're wrong in assuming they're creating a blog. And 'tis true,oh, so true!"

Monday, October 04, 2004

I'm ecstatic!

Allow me to brag a bit. My daughter, Kim, a Sophomore student, is very good in memorizing lines. I discovered this when my poet friend, Arlene Lawson came for a visit from Canada. As poart of her itinerary I prepared during her stay was a visit with the family. I asked my children to prepare a short program. (From that time on, my children refuses to sing in front of me, I wonder why but I overheard my youngest son, Coby, saying "Hala ka, papakantahin ka ni Papa" ) My eldest, Kraiganne, sang an Astrud Gilberto song, entitled. "A Certain Sadness", my son, Mickey played Antonio Molina's "Hatinggabi" on the violin and to her surprise, Kim recited one of her recent poems. Totally unexpected, that made Arlene cry with joy and hugged Kim tightly.
Now I can talk about it. Kim prepared a speech as part of the requirements in her Filipino class. At first, she wanted me to write it for her but I said no. Told her to write it herself, and if need be, will try to correct it. As this was to be delivered in her class, and she wanted to get a high grade, I changed the tone of the speech and make it suit her personality. You see, although she's very friendly and amiable, she can be bitchy at times. That's what I banked on. Being "mataray" is so natural for her, so I adjusted the tone of the speech to that kind of personality. Taught her the proper inflections and gestures that go with the piece and voila, during presentation to her class, she got a perfect score. Not bad, eh? Well, because she did well in her class, she was one of the representatives for the Talumpatian that happened this morning. Guess what? She won second place! Her hard work paid off. Allow me to put the speech she delivered to posterity by putting it here. With your indulgence, here it is.

Wikang Filipino, susi nga kaya ng kapayapaan at pagkakaisa? Sa aking palagay, ang Filipino ay susi nga ng kapayapaan at pagkakaisa. Bakit? Kasi importante ang wika para makamtan mo ang kapayapaan. Kung walang wika, paano magkakaintindihan ang mga tao? Kung hindi nagkakaintindihan ang mga tao, paano tayo magkakaisa? Kung hindi tayo nagkakaisa, paano tayo magkaroon ng kapayapaan?

Mabuti na lang at may mga taong nagpahalaga ng pagkakaroon ng sariling wika. Si Manuel L. Quezon ang nagsabing Tagalog ang ating wikang pambansa. Magpasalamat tayo sa kanya kasi kundi dahil sa kanya, patuloy tayong magiging alipin ng ibang bansa.

Si Jose Rizal na siyang nagsulat ng tulang "sa aking mga kabata" ay nagsabing "ang hindi magmahal sa sarili nyang wika, ay higit pa sa hayop at malansang isda".Ano nga ba ang ibig sabihin nito? iyon ay walang iba kundi,kung hindi ka marunong magmahal sa sarili mong wika,parang ikinakahiya mo ang iyong sarili. Tama bang ikahiya mo ang iyong sarili? Higit ka pa daw sa hayop at malansang isda kasi ang mga ito ay walang pakialam sa buhay at walang ibang ginawa kundi ang manginain lamang ng manginain. Ngayon, kung ikaw ay isang Filipino na hindi marunong magmahal sa kung ano at sino ka, hindi ba parang ikinahiya mo rin ang iyong sarili?

Paano tayo magkakaintindihan kung iba-iba ang wikang ginagamit natin? Marami ngang marunong mag ingles,pero ang lahat ba ay marunong? Bakit ba kasi hindi na lang magsalita ng sarili nating wika? Bakit kailangan pang gumaya sa iba? Oo nga’t magandang mag-aral ng ibang wika pero para mas mahalin mo ito kesa sa sarili mo? Hindi siguro. Yung iba ay naiintindihan ko kung hindi sila mahusay mag tagalog dahil lumaki sila sa ibang bansa. Pero kung dito ka rin lang lumaki,aba, dapat lang na mahusay kang magtagalog di ba? Nakakainis pa yung iba, "trying hard" talaga. Meron pang nalalaman na "lets make tusok-tusok to the fishball." Yung iba naman, kalimitan nilang sabihin ang "Im sorry I have to go na, my car is making potpot na e." Bakit? Ano ba’ng akala nila? Na pag mas magaling silang mag ingles kesa magtagalog e ang cool na nila? Hindi no!

Inuulit ko,hindi ko sinasabing huwag na tayong magsalita ng ibang wika. Ang sinasabi ko lang ay mahalin natin ang sariling atin nang umangat naman ang ating pagkakakilia sa ating sarili. Kung tayo mismoay ikinahihiya ang ating sarili paano pa tayo igagalang ng ibang tao? Kung meron lang sanang iisang wika ang bansa,hindi sana nagkaiba-iba ang pagtitinginan.natin sa isa’t isa. Ngunit dahil hindi ito ang nangyari, hindi lang nagkaiba-iba ang ating pananw sa buhay,pati na rin ang ating kultura at mga adhikain. Ito lang naman ang nilalayon sanang makamtan ni Quezon, ang magkaroon ng pagkakaisa ng adhikain,pananaw sa buhay at kulturang tunay na Filipino. Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat at maraming salamat po.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

To group or not to group

I am surprised to know that more and more students from my school are reading my blog. And some are even commenting now. I never anticipated that to happen. That is the reason why I identified myself. Even put my picture on the sides. hehehe Well, it happened and although I'm not complaining, as a matter of fact, I find that interesting and nice, I have to be careful about the things I write from now on.

Students reading my blog, as a matter of fact, is a blessing because I am no longer inside the classroom and there are a lot of things I believe I can still share with students. I can use this blog as a venue to say my piece. Double the blessing because I am not a good speaker anyway. Let's put it this way. I am a better writer than a speaker; a better musician than a writer; a better painter than a musician and a lot better of a dreamer than anything else combined.

Anyway, since students have been quietly reading my blog, I would like to dedicate this entry to them.

Let me talk about group work. A few weeks ago, I noticed a parent fuming mad along the corridor. When I asked her why, she said her son couldn't go home because he had to wait for his group mates to show up and be assured of a grade in their group project. However, from among a group of six or seven, only three showed up while the rest had either gone home or had to be elsewhere for "other" pressing matters without having done anything at all for the group. The task was given two weeks ago. According to the mother, the problem with group work is that sometimes, only one person does the whole work while the others are contented to have a grade without any participation at all. She was so disappointed to the point of saying that group work should be scrapped. I had to tell her that in spite of the problems posed by the exercise, group work has its own educational value. It teaches cooperation, working well with others, camaraderie, sharing resources, leadership and being good followers, resolving conflicts within the group, compromise, etc... True, a problem arises when one or more student wouldn't cooperate. Hence, I would like to focus on group work so that students in any school for that matter, may be guided accordingly.

There are several consequences of a group failing to do what it is supposed to do. Turning in a low quality output is one. At this time and age, mediocrity is a sin. With our present condition, we need to give the best efforts we can muster. Let's start that in school. Students whose works are below par need to work harder. They should learn how to work as a team.

Since I'm at it, I would suggest that a group be creative and original. Stop being copycats. If you watch the local tv stations in a particular given time, say 8 am, 12, or 5:30-6 pm and suddenly feel bored and decide to jump from one channel to the next, chances are you will end up watching the same format, practically the same, albeit with a little variation, of the same theme or concept in a different show? Channel 2 and Channel 7 noontime shows seem to have only one set of writers. And they are the networks that allegedly are competing for the number 1 slot. They are almost alike in everything. In the morning, change channels and you'll find that if one is showing the traffic situation, the other is showing the same. Exercise segment in one, change channels, exercise at the other. No wonder cable tv is gaining ground. Had the think tanks of both networks been doing their homework, we would have more choices, right? Now that is group work.

Going back to group work. The worst case that can happen is when only one person did the entire project. A group may come up with the best project in a batch but it is still a failed one when only one or even only a minority of the members actually worked on it. This is the worst because lazy people get away with it. We have several ways to guard against this. One of which is the evaluation using a rubric. Individual efforts should still be considered. However, since it is group work, a certain percentage for the output should be allocated, too. A good teacher must have followed the progress of the group but let's face it, this is not always the case. For one reason or another, there will be times when the teacher cannot do anything about it and the only consideration will be the final output. It is in this case that group work becomes detrimental to the learning process. Sure, the group could have turned in the best product but that is not the point. The point should be the learning gotten from the project. At any rate, what benefit would the student have from a grade that is undeserved? Take this to heart. Who loses from this rotten deal? The teacher who has been taken for a ride by lazy students or the students who did not learn anything? Lessons are prepared by teachers based from their knowledge and expertise. They sweat it out to prepare a good lesson for the students' benefit, put their time and effort to make their students learn. It is the duty of every learner that these efforts are put to good use. It takes two to tango. The teacher teaches so that the students learn. Don't waste everybody's time. Learn from every experience you get in school.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Translating word for word

One routine job for me every morning is to issue admission slips for returning students who were absent the day before and students who came in late for the day. Sounds boring, right? - - Actually, it is. But sometimes you do get to smile now and then at the letters you get and far out excuses coming from students why they were late. The most used excuse are: “Woke up late” “Had to wait for my brother/sister” and the perennial “Sir, traffic, e.”

At any rate, me and my partner had a blast one morning when a freshman student came to the office with a note. Just by looking at the letter’s handwriting, I knew it did not come from any of his parents. So, I was prepared to confront him to say that I knew for a fact that neither his father nor his mother wrote the note. However, I was surprised to see that it was signed by him. Since this was a new encounter, I immediately read the content of the letter thinking it might be a different request. Well, it was an excuse letter alright. You’ll get to know the content of the letter as you read along.

Me: “Hijo, first of all, an excuse letter should be done by either your father or mother to attest that you were indeed sick so that we can excuse you. You cannot write me a personal note and tell me to excuse you for your absence, okay?”

He just nodded and kept quiet. My partner was inside our room doing something and was smiling. I was at the receiving area.

Me: “You should also be careful with your subject-verb agreement, ha? When the subject is plural, you don’t add s to the verb, okay?

He nodded again.

I let out a sigh and then asked, “And hijo, what do you mean when you wrote, ‘I was already feeling hot?'” He paused and thought about it then responded…

Him: “Sir, feeling ko, lalagnatin ako. Mainit ang pakiramdam ko, sir.” My partner was not just smiling by this time. She already had a huge grin on her face but pretended to be busy writing something.

Me: “ah okay. You know what, you don’t say it like that because it means something else in English, ha.”

No response. Just looked blankly on the wall as if thinking about something.

Finally he said, “Sir, may scientific calculator ka ba?” (Sir, do you have a scientific calculator I can borrow?) It turned out he was about to take a test in Stats. So, all the while I was preaching him, he was thinking about his pending exams and where he can get a scientific calculator. That sent my partner to the floor. O di ba, masaya? (Take note, hindi siguro samin nag elementary yun. hehehe)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Look Ma, I'm a new me!

At last, I have a new template! Beautiful, isn't it? Well, credit is not mine, though. It should go to two people: The ever reliable Batjay who, in spite of his hectic schedule, manage to squeeze this into his work load, and Ate Sienna, owner of ManileƱa dot com and the spirit behind the pansitan blogging community. While I have continuously sought Batjay's expertise in computers, something I have not been blessed with, Ate Sienna's creations are a wonder, even to a supposedly graphic artist graduate like me. What a combination, eh? Thanks guys!

Friday, September 10, 2004

some plugging!

A good friend of mine, Omi Reyes, is opening his one man show for the nth time at Art Space at the 3rd floor of Glorietta 4 at 6 pm today, September 10. If his awards are not enough to say how good an artist he is, I don't know what else will. We were together in two shows and my friends who attended couldn't help but marvel at his virtuosity. If you enjoy my works online, you will definitely find his works a real treat for he is by far a better artist than I am. Since his works this time are about musical instruments, I believe he also has several musicians at the exhibit to render some tunes. See you there!

Enjoy her while you can

I have not been very active lately. I have a lot of backlogs in work and in blogging. I have a very good excuse. Last Sunday, I went to visit my 85 year old mother only to find her weak and not her old self. I tried talking to her but she would only nod and kept on sleeping. i thought she only wanted to rest and so I left.

As you may know by now, I celebrated my birthday last Tuesday. Birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions but on this one, I had the greatest scare of my life. I thought I was going to lose my mother. It turned out that she had not been responding to my brother and sister when talked to and wouldn't wake up. They called for an ambulance and took her to MCM where it was found out that she was suffering from bed sores. Apparently, my siblings did not know how to move her while in bed. Dr. Redentor Pagtalunan, our surgeon for so many years, God bless him, attended to her. He took charge and ordered for some sort of an operation to take out a lump from my mother's back. This created a big hole. I didn't know this could happen. Anyway, the doctors even asked us that should my mother have a cardiac arrest, would we allow them to resuscitate. A very painful decision was on our hands. After some careful deliberations, it was agreed that none of us wants to see my mother in that sorry state and so, we said, let's leave it to God. But in the meantime that she's still alive, we want them to do all the best that they can do.

Hallelujah! My mother is now awake and even giving us a hard time because she would keep on taking her IV off her hand, touch the tube on her nose that we had to tie her when we have to fall asleep so as to restrain her from causing her more damage. Her vital signs are okay which I believe means she will still have a long way to go. Boy am I relieved!!!

So, to all of you who still have your mother around, enjoy their company for we do not know what the future has for all of us. I did not go to school today to be with my mom. Funny, but when the doctor asked her if her condition was "gumaganda o pumapangit" She smilingly said, "pumapangit" then laughed. Yup folks! That's my mom. She may have forgotten who I am or who the people in her room are but she never lost her composure and her sense of humor.


In a different story, I was watching Dateline news (I don't know if that was current or a replay) the other day, and I found out that Americans go to Canada to purchase medicines because it's a lot cheaper there. However, this austerity measure will soon be gone for guess what? American drug companies like Pfizer, etc. have forbidden Canadian drug stores from selling drugs to Americans or face repercussions. hmmm, and I thought America is land of the free. Well, it's true that they have not prevented Americans from buying elsewhere but they have restrained the sources from selling them. So what's the difference? And all for the sake of profit. Shame! Shame!!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Maybe they do tell something about myself!

done sometime when the cost of a Marlboro was about .25 each. Size: 24" X 30" Oil on canvass. Posted by Hello

Since I can't think of an issue on education to blog about at this time and i do have some idle time, allow me to post some of my works done when I was in college. These two nude paintings were done live. Yup, a model sits for us for three hours while we draw and paint. Usually, the nude study was our exam for our painting subjects. I think we had six. Nope, we don't get turned on. As a matter of fact, my first time was kind of funny because it was I who was intimidated by the female model who was looking back at me. (Alam nyo naman, mahiyain ako)

torso study done in college. Size: 24" X 30". Oil on canvass Posted by Hello

We usually had female models. Except for the next one. He was our first and only male model. A female classmate who was "todong hinhin" was late for class that day and was surprised to find us biding our time, smoking outside the room when the class had already started. (Nope silly. We were taking our time because we believe the male model was easier for us than painting a female nude) When she asked us to enter the room with her, we told her to go ahead while we finish our smoke. She hurriedly entered the room only to emerge out again much faster, shocked to find out that the model was male. We really had a good laugh as we looked at her paled face.

And the story does not end there. Our models were given 15 minutes of posing time and 5 minutes of rest. During the break, this male model would wrap a very thin, short towel around his waist and go around the room. He also had the annoying habit of putting one foot on the braces of the stool, and since these were quite high, his "thingy" would peep much to our amusement. Guess who was his favorite stopping place. Yup, my female friend.

The last one is a much later work. Compared with the first two, I think you can see that I have mellowed a lot. No more of that reckless, bold, harsh, I-don't-give-a-damn attitude of a teen-ager who is set to conquer the world as seen through the brush strokes and the color harmony. Well, disillusionment happens only in one lifetime so, I guess that was understandable. Besides, i think there is still a part of me that longs for being uninhibited. Maybe that is the free spirit in me. Enjoy!

Size: 4' X 4', acrylic on canvass. Compare the treatment of color and brushstrokes of this later work with the first two. Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 28, 2004

just sharing 2

These are two of my works. One done in 1999, the other in 2000. I painted these with a crayon resist technique using what else? crayon and watercolor. I am attaching a poem that goes with the first one. The waterfall, on the other hand, has a very inspiring story beneath it which I am not ready to reveal yet. Both these paintings are now owned by my good friend and soul mate, Arlene Lawson, an American poet who lives in Richmond, BC, Canada. She used to own the Country Garden Mouse until she handed it over to her daughter, Trudy. She was gracious enough to send me pictures of my works so that I can share them with you. I'll try to post other styles I paint in next time. Hope you like these, too.

the wall Posted by Hello

The Wall

laden with heavy artillery
shows its might

repels unwanted

mute witness
to many crimes,
crevices draped

with dried blood
of gallat men
in war

in peace
hides lovers
at nooks none can see

scribbling their
names inside
a broken heart

baked under the sun
stitched with a bow
of a naked boy

on its floors
rubbers of every
sizes, different kinds

to me
it is a
cultural parapet
separating you
from me
i strike this barren wall

with hammer
of peace, understanding
and love

Waterfall Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Just sharing!

As you probably know by now, classes have been suspended, albeit late, of course, by the DepEd due to inclement weather. Yes, right after I woke everybody up at 4:00 am, prepare for school, traverse some flooded areas just to get to school much earlier than we normally use to. Why? Because Mickey had to play violin in the mass and most of all, Kim, my youngest daughter, was to go on outreach to a place I don't know where to be with a foster family just so they can share food, some groceries, etc... I was urging the head of the activity to cancel as the weather was not good. However, since the skies cleared this morning, they went ahead as planned. Come lunchtime, I received a call from top management that classes are suspended. So, everything went haywire after that. Amid all these, my daughter was still at the site and was just about to leave. (good thing coz they were supposed to stay there the whole day)

So you see, there are a lot of things I have to be annoyed and be angry at. But that's not my style. I'll only die young from all that fretting and tension. So, instead, I'll blog and share with you a picture I took during our exhibit at Heritage Center of Shangri-la mallm Mandaluyong sometime in 1998. This is one of my paintings and it's entitled "Hala Hila". Looking on was my first principal (Mr. Ed Cadlum) and his wife, (Mrs. Cadlum, who else?) who happens to have been my wife's boss for sometime, and a very good friend of ours, Marissa. Hope you like it.

Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 21, 2004

How deep are the roots?

I wouldn't be surprised if most students would doubt the relevance of some rules imposed on them in schools. In my school alone, there are rules that would seem impractical if not non-sensical to their young minds. One of these rules, for example, is to always keep right when climbing up and down the stairs and using only one from among four for each year level. Well, maybe not a good example because there is a good reason for tha: to decongest the stairway and preventing from bumping one another. But impose it even when chances are high that nobody's going to go in the opposite direction?

Or why should boys have a prescribed haircut? They're not in military school, are they? Well, if I am to gauge it during my high school days, I know the teachers of today would certainly be living a nightmare had they lived during the 70's. We grew our hair at shoulder length, even longer. Pre-martial law days saw teen-aged boys sporting long hair in schools like San Beda, San Sebastian, UE, and FEU, and even tolerated at a certain extent at La Salle and the Ateneo. This is the reason I was having second thougths of prescribing a #3 guard on students who wished to go "semi-kal" or semi-bald. It seems like we are not after the hair, we are after the fad.

Then it dawned on me. Never mind the rationale of every rule. A this point of our lives, it is imperative that every young Filipino learn to follow the rules. We know very well that we lack discipline and not doing something about it. Our hard-headedness has been the cause of our problems to boot. Just look at pedestrians crossing the streets everywhere and anywhere at will. See public commuters running after a bus, pushing and shoving one another just to get a ride. Look at the litter in the streets. Look at drivers who snake their way in traffic. Need I say more? All these things manifest lack of self-discipline, don't they? And we complain endlessly at discomforts brought about by these phenomena.

Why do we lack self-discipline as a people? Poverty? Lack of education? Laziness? Maybe, but where did all these traits come from? Sadly, I believe the problem is deeply rooted. I think that these characteristic traits are embedded in our psyche as a result of having been a colonized country for so long. Three centuries of Spain, fifty years of American education and three war torn years from Japanese imperialism will surely take its toll on a people abused, tormented and made to believe that they were inferior. Just look at our concept of beauty. We look in admiration at the mestizo's acquiline nose, white skin and blonde hair. When I was growing up, mothers marvel when their young had these features. "Uy, pwedeng-pwedeng artista," they would say. Look at how we go gaga over whitening lotions and soaps?

Now, what has all that got to do with our lack of discipline? Why not? I could just imagine our ancestors doing all they can to evade the oppressive Spanish fraile or guardia civil just to spare humiliation or even death. I can almost see wily Filipinos using their imagination to put one over their oppressors. After all, our literature is replete with characters like Posong of the Pusung tales, a trickster who uses a lot of tricks just get the upper hand or just to get even in a certain situation. Furthermore, I strongly believe that our hard-headedness to follow rules is an offshoot of our ancestors' defiance towards authority. These are reenforced when the Americans and the Japanese came. These are what we inherited. These are what we are living today.

But it need not be so anymore. We are beginning to listen to more Filipino music, albeit its western influence. More and more public commuters are falling in line to have a ride. But we have a long way to go. WE should learn again how to follow rules, blindly, if need be. Let it start with our students now. Teach them the way of good followers so that they would become good leaders of tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Caped crusader to the rescue

Maybe some of you don’t know that I am maintaining two blogs. This one where I talk about education, my life as a teacher, the other, my first blog which I call soft grumbles where I put my attempts at poetry and other things.

I blog for several reasons. One is to keep abreast with the times. I am not a young man and lest I become obsolete, a dreadful state for a teacher like me, I try to learn the rudiments of technology. I try to learn as I watch in awe my 15 year old son, Mickey create works of art using the Adobe or make musical notations on a program called Finale, both features he downloaded on our computer.

I blog because I derive pleasure in making articles, something I didn't know I was capable of, in the hope that it would help me increase my vocabulary and probably be a better poet. Furthermore, I get a kick reading comments coming from readers, especially when they happen to share my views and appreciate it when they correct a wrong perception I would have.

Lastly, and most importantly, I blog because I want to leave something to my children even when I am long gone. You see, when you are a father who is not well-off and certainly won’t be able to leave material things for your children to inherit, the next best thing is to leave a legacy behind. My first idea was to publish a book, but the cost of printing a single piece is too expensive. Knowing that I am not a respected writer, publishing a hundred is out of the question. Hence, I thought of ways I can fulfill this dream of leaving a legacy behind.

The internet provided me with the right venue. First, I joined a group of writers in a virtual university called writersvillage where I was accepted to be a student of poetry.

Then blogging came along. And as they say, "the rest is history."

Yesterday, I got the shock of my life when I tried to open this site. For no apparent reason known to me, nothing appeared! Not a single entry was here, the site meter gone, and only a portion of my links was present. I panicked. It seemed like a work of a lifetime was washed away. I felt weak in the knees, perspiration dribbling from my forehead.

I went to another computer and tried opening it hoping that it was just my office computer that broke. Nada! I went to my account and discovered that something wrong happened to my template. It did not seem right. The links I made - gone. I wrote blogger support but I know it would take sometime before I can get an answer.

In cases like this, who do you call? Nobody else but the caped crusader,
Batjay! He simply told me to republish because it seems that my template was corrupted. Even offered to send him my username and password so that he could take a look. (Well, the idea did cross my mind but that would be imposing too much) I followed his suggestion to republish. First I clicked on edit so that I can get to the "republish" button and voila, they appeared. Although the links were no longer there, at least, the entries and comments remained in tact. What a relief! So, bloggers out there, I hope nothing of this sort ever happens to you. But anyway, if it does, don’t despair. There are a lot of good Samaritans out there ready to help. After all, we are just one big community.


If I have forgotten to include you in my links, don’t hesitate to call my attention. I would appreciate it very much. Thank you.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The speech that never saw the light of day!

Yesterday, the Philippine Art Educators Association, (PAEA), conducted a seminar/workshop for its members in my school. As the name implies, it’s an organization of Art teachers in the Philippines. I have been a member of the organization for sometime but was never that active. Anyway, yesterday’s topic was about creativity.

I was asked by my former boss, the art coordinator, to give the welcoming remarks as she couldn’t give it herself as she had to attend her graduate studies at the UP. I prepared a speech thinking that I will be talking to a big number of people. However, maybe due to the inclement weather and the fact that our school is not that accessible, only a few showed up. Well, it was very intimate with only five people from other schools participating. Together with the teachers in my school plus the officers of the organization and the speakers, there were about twenty of us inside the lobby of the school’s theatre.

As it was very intimate, I decided to forego of my prepared speech and just welcomed everybody, introduced the teachers of the school so that they would know who to approach should they need assistance and thanked the organization and the speakers for coming over. I also decided to stay the whole time to give my support to those who attended. (I planned to supervise the cleaning of my room then go home afterwards.)

I am reproducing part of the speech I prepared here for safekeeping. One never knows when it might come handy. And besides, I can use feedback to improve this one. Here goes:

Good morning to all of you, colleagues.

It is very timely that today's workshop should be conducted in this institution. We are, at this point, intensifying our integration program knowing that each of the subjects being taught in school should re-enforce one another. But before I go on to the nitty-gritty and pre-empt today’s speakers, allow me to just share a few personal observations.

Undeniably, most schools today give emphasis on Math, Science and, to some extent, English subjects. These are the subjects perceived by many as the more important disciplines taught in school and yet, studies show that these are where Filipino students are deficient in as compared with their counterparts around the world. Hence we see schools strengthening these subjects in their curriculum to uplift students' performance in these areas. In the process, the Arts may once again be relegated to the background. Sadly for us Art teachers, if this trend continues, we may be seeing the brink of a total disinterest of academicians' of the arts. This should not be so for it would mean a collapse of our cultural fiber and loss of our soul as a nation.

Realizing the importance of the Art curriculum in learning, the Philippine Art Educators Association has come up with this workshop entitled “Art integration as a creative teaching strategy.” In so doing, PAEA aims to introduce innovative and creative strategies in teaching the art subject by incorporating elements and principles of the arts to different subject areas. I believe this is the right path we should travel in for we will learn to make the discipline suit the country's needs for individuals ready to address emerging problems brought about by technology, globalization and the socio-economic and political upheavals we are facing via education. By so doing, we make the art program more relevant in nation building and place the Arts in its proper perspective... Thank you and a pleasant and creative day ahead of us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Not everyone was born to be a rocket scientist!

I am happy with how this blogging thing is turning out to be. Not only am I beginning to hone my writing skills (whatver there is) but also gaining a lot of friends via this medium. I am glad I have started and have joined pinoy blogs, a community of Filipino bloggers, a new set of intellectuals of today who are either residing inside the country or those living outside, friendly, courteous, and ready to extend a helping hand to a fellow blogger in need.

I have just befriended one student, Rachel an Ateneo student, who gave me something to blog about. In our repartee via the forum, she reminded me of a distant past, painful but proved to be enlightening in the long run.

As a Fine Arts student in a School of Music and Arts sharing two floors in a building occupied by Dentistry and Medicine students, we could almost feel the sneers and raised eyebrows as we passed the first three floors in order to get to our domain. Maybe we were paranoid but we knew, or thought we knew what they would have been thinking, "Okay, studying to be painters, but hen what?" On a few occasions, the bolder among the lot would call us "squatters." I'm jsut glad we were the last graduates of that school. It has been moved to a new location in Caloocan City. Anyway, although we did not admit it, at the back of our minds, we knew they had better chances of becoming rich. Sure we dreamt of being big someday, probably earning the title of national artist, but hey, one among thousands of students learning how to paint? Chances are practically nil!

Then it came to me. Not everyone was born to be a rocket scientist. Each one of us has been blessed with a talent. The gift of gab, a magic hand that can do wonders, fast feet, a sweet voice... to each his own.

In a meeting several years ago, I sat with a school production of a musicale as its sceninc artist which saw me arguing with some subject coordinators who would not allow a particular student to join the school's play because said child was failing their subjects. I'm sure this is nothing new. We have given emphasis on Math, Science, and to some extent, English, with good reasons. These are the subjects where studies have proven that our students are deficient in. But in our quest to improve on these skills, should we forget about the other disciplines? With my given example, should we deprive the boy to make something of himself by way of his special talents and interests? If the boy can really act and sing well, that would give him a good boost to his ego and it is imperative that we provide him with an avenue to show what he's got. What we could do is to give him some sort of remediation or even tutorial sessions in order to help him with his grades. Stifling his creativity is not an option.

Let's admit it. We are fond of measuring success by how much money we can put into our pockets. If this is the sole gauge of success, do you remember the time when Jun Limpot was drafted to the PBA? He was offered millions of cash. And that was not because he knew algorithm or the laws of physics but because he was good at what he does.

And yet, through all these, I still say that the key to a successful career is not the monetary gain one gets but with the happiness one derives from it. I don't care anymore if my contemporaries in that college building are now successful doctors and dentists. All I know is that I am happy with my wife, my four kids, my old Lite Ace that can only be best described by sayint that it is something that runs on four wheels, my very own little house, my contented ego and my humble blogspace. And these are already a mouthful by my standards. :-)

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Can someone tell me I'm wrong!

Just as I have blogged about being left behind in modernizing education through the use of technology because of power outtages, guess what I read in the papers today.

THE Philippines needs 400 billion pesos (7.18 billion dollars) over the next 10 years if it is to avoid recurring power shortages, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo warned Friday.

So, we are definitely not out of the woods yet when it comes to power shortage. We may not have had too many brownouts in years since 1993 when we would have 6-8 hours of brownouts but this only seems to be a lull before the storm.

However, is it really that bad? Or better yet, should it really be that bad?
With a Php100 billion deficit, the country's economy looks even dimmer. What makes me cry is that we are faced with this problem not for lack of resources but because of inefficiency and corruption. Hence, this is man made. Sad but we have to admit it, we are being governed by the most inept, power-starved, greediest bunch of people. If only the late Rev. Jim Jones were still alive, I would have suggested for all of us to just join him and drink that poison to save us from further shame and too much trouble.

In response to the situation, GMA has urged Congress to speed up a bill privatizing the Napocor. Passing the buck, eh? It is too bad already that the private sector had to shoulder education, a very important requisite to national development. Now, we also have to privatize basic commodities like water and electricity. What this means is that these commodities can skyrocket to high proportions because we know that government will still be inutile in controlling it, just like it is doing with the oil price increase. Besides, with that kind of debt, what Philippine company would have the ability to purchase and run the operations of Napocor smoothly? I'm seeing the possibility of another multi-national corporation taking the helm. What this means is that just like Citra, Malaysian firm, running the South Luzon Expressway increasing the cost of using the highway from a measly Php2.25 to its present rate of a whopping Php 42.50 from C5 to Alabang in only three years. And traffic is still there! Prices of power skyrocketing high? No, double that.

Now, can someone please tell me I'm really way off here and make my day happier?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Welcome sunrise!

Batjay emailed me and Sassy, who likewise blogged about it, about Secondary 1 students at Crescent Girls' School using PC's in lieu of pens, textbooks and paper. Being a pilot class, these girls will be among the first students to use this high tech PCs, which come loaded with digital textbooks, multimedia learning tools and note-taking software. You can read about it here.

Whether we like it or not, computers are here to stay. This will naturally bring a big change in how education will be in the next decades to come. For one thing, we may be seeing the final stages of the traditional classroom where students ranging from a minimum of 10 students to as big as 70 per class come to learn all at the same time. At this very moment, actual universities are going online and offering virtual schooling for college and post-graduate courses. I alone, am a member of one where I try to learn how to write poetry.

What will be the implications of having a virtual university as against the traditional schools? One of the main arguments against this scenario is that students will lose the chance to socialize with their peers. In one of his latest entries, Doc Emer in his blog entitled, Do you think Dr. Emer has "Poor social skills? presents us with a study of children without siblings as lacking in social skills. While commenters agreed that this may not be so since these children may have grown up with friends of their own age, a virtual school will deprive them of the needed interaction with their peers. And because one has no need to go to school, what this means is that there will be no more games to play with one another during recess and PE. No story telling during breaks, no need to look decent and be careful with social manners.

Another argument is that there will be no instantaneous interaction between student and teacher. True, they can use cameras, but this may be very impersonal. Hence, gestures, hand signals and body movements which betray ones true feelings and sentiments may be hidden from view.

Lastly, the syllabi, methodology, testing and evaluation will have to be altered to adapt to the change. For one thing, we must be wary of safeguarding that students are the ones doing the work and not anyone else. Tests will be more open-ended and memorization will be minimized as the student can easily pick up the book and check sources. Hence, studying will be more on the analytical rather than merely identifying by rote and mnemonics.

Now, let's talk about advantages. If and when this virtual schools happen, students, as well as teachers, will not have to leave their houses anymore. All they have to do is turn on the computer and read the lesson. Ergo, no traffic to contend with, lesser kidnappings if not nil, no need to declare a no class day during typhoons, etc. Furthermore, it will be a lot cheaper to maintain a school in the long run, as we no longer need classrooms with blackboards and everything that comes with the traditional package.

Again, at the rate we're going, this phenomenon may not be far from coming. When this day comes, I wonder if we can pick it up easily. I guess not when we have not gotten rid of our fear of long brownouts happening again like it did before. Not when most of the populace is reluctant about change and refusing to leave our comfort zones. Not when our students are not mature enough to be left alone and study by themselves.
We must be ready for we are about to see the sunrise of tomorrow. Wag na tayong magpa-iwan kung saka-sakali.