Sunday, August 27, 2006

happy days are here again!

Sheesh, I have been meaning to update my blog at least twice a week but have not done so because of other pressing matters. Anyway, I think I should post something light this time around. Several happy occasions have happened to the family since July 28th, my sister-in-law's birthday. Allow me to save these wonderful memories here. These, more in chronological order than by importance, were:

On July 28, my son Mickey, played a violin solo in his new found chamber group, the DLSU Chamber Orchestra. One thing about my son is that he seems to know what he likes and I have always been proud of that. First, he is not from DLSU but from another University affiliated to it. Nevertheless, he auditioned for the chamber and got accepted. Most of his friends from high school joined the Pop Orchestra but he didn't. He wanted chamber music more, I guess, so he opted to be alone. Much to our surprise, not only was he accepted, he was already given a stint in its concert featuring members doing solo performances. I can see my wife beaming with pride as he stepped onstage, clad with suit and tie and violin in hand. He didn't seem to be nervous and I wonder how come I would have been jittery had it been I up that stage at that age?


The following Sunday, we celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday at Indang, Cavite. We went to Balay Indang, a resort house with either Thai or Indonesian theme. The inclement weather never dampened my children's spirits as they went swimming just the same. We had a wonderful time indulging on the sumptuous food the place has to offer. Me and my wife also indulged ourselves with a simple massage.


On August 19, my eldest daughter and her group successfully defended their thesis. They were actually pining for a nomination for best thesis but were three points shy. At any rate, me and my wife are about to graduate our first child in October. Now, ain't that neat? One thing about my daughter is that she is soooo organized! I accidentally found her schedule posted on her table where her activities by the hour are all lined up with each task highlighted if it has been done. Her whole college life had been well-planned and you could see clearly where she was at the moment in her schooling as she maps out her courses. i wonder where she got that. Certainly not from me!

Friday, August 18, 2006

What a shame!

The past weeks had been trying times again due to the scandal that befell the licensure exams in the nursing profession. It is indeed unfortunate not only for the nurses who took the exams but to the whole Fillipino nation as a whole. Considering that the nursing profession brings in a steady inflow of revenue from dollar earners abroad who are slaving themselves for a brighter future, this recent news of alleged cheating in the examinations is a very unwelcome turn of events. Not only has it placed these professionals in jeopardy of having their credibilities questioned, it has brought doubts on the capabilities of the Filipino nurses in this global village. My heart bleeds for those who passed the test fair and square, who took the pains to review their lessons hard, spend hard earned money to prepare for the test, only to be deprived of their legitimate share in the profession. And all this because of scalawags hell bent to earn easy money preying on those who will risk life and limb, hold on to a double bladed sword like life depended on it just to be ensured, no matter what evil means it takes, to achieve their goals.

What worries me especially is that we are only confirming that we are a people of cheaters. We have seen this before. Allegations of cheating with the medical board, the bar, elections, hell, we've even been known to have cheated on International Little League Baseball. Sad to say that it is during these times when I am not proud to be a Filipino. May the people who caused these shame be cursed and may they lose all their teeth except one and may that hurt till kingdom come.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I did it again!

One of my works acquired a home again in Our Own Voice, an online mag maintained by Filipino expats in the States whose mission is to provide a home space for the creative expressions of Filipinos in the diaspora. A month ago, the new associate editor, Aileen Ibardaloza, got to read two poems I posted in my poetry blog and contacted me to tell me that they are interested in publishing these poems. My poem is a response I made to another poem written by my friend Toni, a co-berks member writing for blogkadahan where both poems were born. You'll find these poems here. Please do visit the site for it is a wonderful ezine with great poems, stories and essays.

This is my second poem to be published by this ezine and I am still as excited as before. The first one can be viewed here. Thank you Aileen for continued visit in my poetry blog. You don't know how much I appreciate it. Thank you Toni for sparking the idea in me to write that poem.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

College entrance exam

My daughter took the UPCAT exams this morning. It started at 6:30. While this is the third time seeing my child take the exams in UP, this is the first time I've experienced taking someone that early. My eldest and second child took the second batch which was in the afternoon. The 6:30 exam is much easier, traffic-wise so that made the trip a less taxing although the 6 hour wait is still too long. Well, at least I had company this time. A parent in our school who I happen to have known a long time was there also waiting for his child.

Anyway, this post is not actually about my daughter taking the exam. This is about the proliferation of review centers for collegiate entrance exams mostly for UP, Ateneo and La Salle. My question is why? The way I think about it is that these entrance exams are to test whether or not these students are ready for college work in their campuses. Ready to tackle their programs and that means if they have had the proper training and preparation in high school. The way I look at it, the phenomenon of having these students take special review for their entrance tests suggest either of two things: the high school preparation they have been getting is not enough or that these universities are asking questions that are way above that which these students have been prepared for. Sure, it can be argued that the questions asked in these exams encompass four years of high school and that the students should review what they have learned from the start. But if that were the case, the high school they went to could have made a simple review of what have been taken before and that should have been sufficient. Stock knowledge, so to speak. As it were, more and more students are taking these review classes aside from the regular classes they are studying in school to ensure acceptance in the best colleges. One thing for certain is that the competition is too high and that one must take everything available to him/her in order to get in to a university of his/her choice.

What really saddens me is that this makes education much less accessible to the poor. Never mind that their children have had less in terms of resources like good books, good teachers, libraries, computers and all that. Now, they need to take review classes as their high school preparation was not enough. And where would they get the money for this expensive affair? The majority of Filipinos hardly make both ends meet. The best university to go to would have been UP as it is not only the top university in the country today, it is, by far, the cheapest. And yet, this is not a stone's throw away to them. It is as far as the moon, maybe farther. This is the reason why most of the students UP has these days come also from the moneyed parents and only a fraction of the poor really enjoy the benefits of a full-time scholarship. If only our political leaders see this problem, then probably there can be a glimmer of hope that they would make education top priority and make public schools a lot better than it is today. Sadly, we have been nailed to the same problems that remain unsolvable till now - classrooms and good teachers. These are problems that could have been solved easily - budget allocation. Unfortunately, money is scarce these days as this commodity is filling up some unscrupulous, conscienced-deprived hooligan's pockets.