Being Filipino…

Being a Filipino is the hardest job in the world. Because you are forced to be miserable in front of your own TV set every 5:30 in the afternoon.

If you are one of the millions of the surviving citizen who cannot afford to buy a kilo of garlic, your life is even more miserable.

We experience the toughest calamities, yet we prevail. We have lost family members, yet we smile in front of the camera. We are resilient. We tumble in the dirt but we stand up to face the fight only to be flipped again. But we continue because it’s bahala na.

We are the only people who claim the pride of a kababayan’s victory, particularly of a half-blood kababayan though such victory is the only thing that made a sudden realization to the ‘half-blood’ being a Filipino.

The ‘half-blood’ eventually goes to the Philippines and becomes a celebrity.

Our talent is more recognized if we do pangangalakal or rag-picking for a living. We choose the one whose story touches us the most, neither because they are remarkably talented nor they meet the objective standards.

We run a government stuck in the quicksand of corruption. Our average working class is taxed more than what they can spend for monthly food, our babies are taxed long before they are conceived. Then we would sit in front of TV slack-jawed because our taxes went to bogus NGOs, or to a lawmaker who thought of nothing more socially relevant laws than the enactment of Anti-Selfie Bill .

We live in a country where a peasant becomes a boxing superstar and a congressman, who does acting, modeling, hosting, singing, preaching all at once, then makes it to the PBA at the age of near retirement.

Now, the boxing superstar eyes for a Senatorial seat.

National circumstances would make us feel hopeless and doleful. We hate the Chinese for taking our exclusive economic zones but we continue to patronize their imitation and below sub-standard products, and their drugs.

There are so many things we find annoying about being Filipino. We hate the traffic. We despise the system and bureaucracy. We curse the weather, either it is too hot or it is rainy. We complain a lot. We complain about things which we fail to act upon. In fact we complain that we are poor because the government doesn’t do anything about it. We blame the government. And when we do, we blame only one person like it is his malevolent act not to make us subsistent, if not rich.

We always complain. Maybe we will stop complaining once we all get rich. But I doubt that. We will always complain. Because we never cease to find the negative side of things.

To be continued…

Declamation: BEST FRIEND

“Ugh! Keep that away from me, you fricking retard! Duh, what’s that grotesque thing you’re holding?”

“Hey, hey Mylee don’t freak out. This is a Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar. It’s unattractive, I know, and oh, it’s also incredibly poisonous. It eats poisonous plants for fun! But after its metamorphosis, it turns into an exceptionally majestic looking butterfly! See, take a hold…”

“Stop it!” (Shrieking)

That’s Marion. He’s my bestfriend. Well, I’m lucky to have a geek friend, you know. Ugh, no he’s lucky to have me. Way luckier.

‘Cause I’m an eye-catcher in school, I’m a consistent honor student, and I’m an actress.

Yeah right, Marion got the brains. But he doesn’t get the brawns. And when it comes to talent… he’s way behind me. He’s just overly intellectual.

 

“Oh before I forget, Myla, dear. The principal announced the audition for the school play this afternoon. Would you like to try out?”

“Yeah I heard that. But… hey, are you… ?

“Well, just for a change. Who knows? I might be given the role of the Mad Hatter.”

“Are you fricking serious? Johnny Depp? Hahahaha!

That afternoon, I went to audition for Alice’s role…

‘WELL, this is grand! I never expected I should be a Queen so soon—and I’ll tell you what it is, your Majesty, it’ll never do for you to be lolling about on the grass like that! Queens have to be dignified, you know!’

‘Speak when you’re spoken to Alice!’

‘But if everybody obeyed that rule and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so that—‘

‘Ridiculous! What right have you to call yourself a Queen? You can’t be a Queen. Who’s been painting my roses red? WHO’S BEEN PAINTING MY ROSES RED?”

“Not me, your grace! The ace, the ace!’

“Oh no, Your Majesty, please! It’s all *his* fault!”

“You? “
“No, two! “
“The deuce, you say? “
“Not me! The three! “
“That’s enough! Off with their heads! “

“I warn you, child… if I lose my temper, you lose your head! Understand?”

Your Majesty! Your Majesty indeed! Why, you’re not a queen, But just a – a fat, pompous, bad tempered old… ugh..

“Ohh. Have I gone mad…?

“Shut up Hatter!”

“No… Done with the bloody red Queen!”

 

….

Contact me via fonzichrist@gmail.com to read the whole composition.

THE BETTER END OF EDUC 14

We always get to the point where we have to pronounce the final words after we start drifting away from each other. We do this to express rancor or love or gratitude. This also gives us the opportunity to say about things we directly or vicariously experienced along the journey of doing things we performed together.

The cover photo of my biography.

The cover photo of my biography.

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

I can’t tell exactly how much I learned in this course. My grades won’t literally tell them. But when I wake up each day and I still have something to ponder about from the making of this output, I know I have learned more than I am ought to learn in this course.

EdTech2 Ends. JWU!!!

The subject culminated with a short test. I thought I was about to answer an essay type test with items like “I love EDTECH2 because…” and you have to complete the sentence with five to ten sentences. That would be trivial.

The exam we took last Saturday has gotten under my skin. Out of that 50-points test, I got 32. Technically speaking, the test is only 25 items but since each correct item is given two points, the total score is twice the original score. But it wasn’t bad at all because if the points weren’t doubled, my score would be 16 out of 25. LMAO.

Nevertheless, there are just things I want to reflect about the end of the whole semester in this subject. During the test, I was groping for concepts inside my head. I was trying to visualize things that transpired all the while during those previous discussions with dull and unsure discussants. I couldn’t remember anything. Maybe I wasn’t listening at all during those times. But no. I was listening critically because I would poke my seatmate every time there is a concept discussed erroneously. I just don’t know why I couldn’t be so sure of my answer when the test items were presented. Maybe the questions were ambiguous. I can’t tell. I can’t tell because I can barely hear the questions being asked.

It was the final exam. WHAT?? The final exam was partly presented on slides and partly recited. What’s the difference if it was distributed in the form of paper questionnaires? There’s quite a big difference. With a paper test, you can always skip items where you’re not sure about its answer and proceed to the next one. You can always adjust the pace of reading the questions at your own convenience and at the level of your reading comprehension. When the test is given orally, not all students maybe able to quickly apprehend and contemplate. We do that in quizzes but maybe not in major exams. Why? It is because major exams spell the difference between a passing and a failure grade. It marks your survival in the subject. So if it is given to you orally, you might feel giddy and lost in the middle of the exam plus the excitement of going home because it’s Saturday.

I don’t feel bad because I didn’t get a perfect score. I don’t always get the perfect score. Ako pa! I just whine about how it turned out because of the process it was given. I’m only blabbing what I’ve learned from our Assessment of Learning course.

I couldn’t consider that test-moment as the time of my life. Fail.

Keeping the Tradition

Illustration by Louie Daguison

The rain has gone away. No, it was a false pretense.

At the beckoning of the dean of ceremony, the foot parade crawled up at around 8 in the morning. Fifteen minutes later, the sky exploded again. The procession of students, athletes, coaches and faculty queue the lanes from UA to Sibalom and back.

Couldn’t we formally open the Intrams without parading the streets of Sibalom poblacion?

Nope.

The foot parade is a tradition that has been part of UA’s cultural DNA. It is decades-old practice that has barbecued students, and faculty of the institution on a fiery morning sun. This year, it was a totally different story. Typhoon Lawin pestered the weeklong event. Scattered rain showers on a massively cloud-coated sky ambushed the frailty of uncovered courts where ball games were held. Spectators gone awry and the athletes were soaked wet.

The situation seemed unfamiliar for the outsiders but it was a déjà vu for the residents. No matter how unpredictable the weather was, the activity must go on. It may compromise anybody’s health but it is part of the memorable experience. This intramural meet is a breeding ground of friendship that proliferates despite of diversity, of unity in spite of disruption and of solidarity against the breaching forces. The gloomy weather might’ve killed our joy or drowned our shrieks and laughter but the important thing is, we surpassed the test of patience and determination towards our common goal. May the athletes, coaches and everyone involved focus more on the significance of the event than the event itself.

We commend the people who were persistent in creating an impetus such that this weeklong activity will be accomplished. We appreciate the students who did not treat the weather as an encumbrance but instead an ingredient to real delight. We congratulate the student officers for giving extra effort and spending sleepless nights only to secure the success of the events.

This is how we keep the tradition.

This is the editorial I wrote for Sirinipal 2012.