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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Francis Perlas, otherwise known as Mcsi to his friends, was cremated today. The school suspended the high school classes to respect his journey to heaven. Mcsi had been my student since his elementary days. I've known him for about 6 years, at least. We had been working closely during his grade seven as he was a member of my animation club. He really showed promise back then. Unfortunately, we parted ways when I lost interest with animation when we both transferred to the high school. I being interested with debate, he with more important things such as the student organization.

I remember him to be silent but naughty. During the rare moments that he spoke, mostly cracking a joke, everybody would laugh cause he was very funny.

I consider him a hero. I wonder why nobody thought it to be that way. He was called to respond to a call of the organization he was in and he went without question. Being the treasurer of the SRCC, he worked hard, always ready to answer the call of duty. And he did his responsibilities diligently and effectively. No wonder he was much loved by everyone. He was truly a school hero.

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Saturday, January 24, 2004

As usual, it's Friday night and I and Mario joined Ollie, Edgar, Joven, Ompong and their wives at Redjie's place. The wives were going someplace while us guys decided to stay and drink beer, play billiards and just have some fun. I was playing 8 balls when my celfone rang. I found out it was mrs. Jorolan. I wondered what her call would be so I answered. It was then that I found out that several Senior students who came in from a school activity, (LS2K whatever that is) met a tragic accident somewhere in the South. My student, Francis Perlas passed away as a result of the accident. I immediately called Rolly V to confirm. He was at with the kids who came to the Asian Hospital as soon as they heard about the accident. ANd yes, Francis Perlas had already passed away. This makes us rethink our priorities. He was so young, very promising, a happy kid and has the world at his feet. And yet, he's dead in one single moment. What a loss. I feel sorry for his parents and loved ones.


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Friday, January 23, 2004

The recent news in politics alarms me. No, it's not that this elections should be plagued with actors and actresses aiming for office or the bickerings of the politicians that I find alarming. These have been the norm in Philippine politics and I am not surprised anymore. Sadly, our country has gone to the inept we can just elect the neighbor's dog for all we care.

What worries me is the recent news on the allegations of FPJ's citizenship. Some quarters say that he is not Filipino at all, hence, is not qualified to run for office. They even have evidences to prove this claim. However, the brouhaha caused a certain Manapat, Director of the National archives to be put in hot water when three of his employees testified in Senate that he ordered for the falsification of the evidences proving FPJ's not being a citizen of the country.

Okay, so you tell me, this is not new either. Right! However, we are overlooking the bigger picture. It's so big we do not see it unless we take a look closely. But before I go into that, the question in the people's mind is, "Who is telling the truth?" Certainly, one of the protagonists should have to be lying. The event turns into a matter of credibility and judging from interviews from both camps, it would seem that both of them are telling the truth! In effect, one of them is lying and you can't even tell who? When a person can lie without batting an eyelash, you know you've seen a professional liar. We have seen this kind many times before. This makes me wonder, are Filipinos liars? Is it part of our culture? If this is so, do we have a reputation to be so in the eyes of our neighboring countries? I hope not because it destroys our credibility even further.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I am supposed to call the parents of my students who have at least one failing grade in their report cards. It’s part of the policy of the school. Just like the notice given for the number of times a student is tardy in any one subject. This notice of tardiness should be given every multiples of three i.e. 3X, 6X, 9X etc. with one notice each. When I was sitting in for the Level Coordinator during the first term, one of the flaks why we couldn’t issue a failing mark in conduct is because the adviser had not given the necessary notices. I find these policies rather odd. Why the school should impose on itself certain measures that would put it on a balance is beyond me. It’s like putting a noose around its neck to hang itself with.

Administration claims that the main reason for this policy is so that parents cannot claim that they have not been informed of their child’s misdemeanor or laziness, whatever the case may be. It’s so full of crap, if you ask me. Why should we? Any parent who is interested in his child’s performance in school will always look after his/her child’s study habits, follow up on assignments, check on given projects, take time-out to go to the teacher to check on the child’s progress! If a parent blames the school for a child’s failing grade for not having been informed of his/her child’s low performance, I say, (s)he is just looking for an escape goat. As is the case, parents blame the teachers for their child's failing grade on the basis that they have not been informed.

My view is that a teacher’s obligation is to the student under his/her care and nobody else. It is the teacher’s sworn duty to teach the child not only what (s)he knows but more importantly, prepare the learner to live in the outside world.

The school, as it is, cannot be a microcosm of the real world simply because it tries to create an ideal world which is far from reality. It tries to shield its learners from the maladies plaguing the world and hence come out of the school unprepared.

We want to believe that we are giving our students quality education. But is it really? Our students will never learn how to think for themselves because they are not taught to be responsible for their actions. They are not made to suffer the consequences of their wrong acts. When can we be an organization that is truly autonomous, our policies never having to bend with the influence of certain individuals who cries unfair because the so called balance of justice doesn’t sway to their favor? When will we ever hear utterances from parents that the school is very strict on this and that? That they can't do anything but obey its rules? Sadly, what we are doing right now is spoon-feeding the children. As such, I can only wonder, “when will our chldren learn to be mature adults?" For them to learn this in college is too late!

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Monday, January 19, 2004

22 students from my section went to San Pedro, Laguna today to work in a construction site. The name of the project is Habitat. It's a volunteer sort of thing whereby students from different schools are sent to the site to help build houses for the homeless or should I say squatter's area. The recipients of these houses we helped build are from the "riles" or railway.

Actually, what we did was dig for the foundation for boys while the girls lifted blocks from one place to another. I'm glad only 22 students came. These were the ones who are not very "maarte!" I would have only been pissed off had there been someone who refuses to work with us.

Anyway, the students learned how hard it is to work with one's hands for a measly sum of money. And to think people do this kind of work eeryday! It was a noteworthy project.

One thing that I am skeptical about is that projects like these for the poor do not materialize. I remember Imelda's project for similarly situated people -- BLISS! These are condo like units that were constructed by then First Lady, Imelda Marcos for the poor. What happened was these people only sold their units to the middle class. You get to see these BLISS projects today and be amazed that the car park is full.

So was the fate of the Land Reform, I was told. The "kasama" who were granted land by the government got into serious debt to the landlord forcing them to sell their share to the same landlord. It's kind of pathetic but it seems that these people will never be elevate from their present stature just because they wouldn't learn. I don't want to think that they are this way because they are lazy and that they are comfortable with just getting a mere pittance of alms and donations. however, it seems like this is the truth. I don't know but at the rate we are going, I think the discrepancy between the rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger. Who do we blame for this? Certainly not the government but ourselves, right?

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Saturday, January 17, 2004

We just came from Nanay's 85th birthday party hosted by Romella who just arrived from the States basically to give this party. It was successful. Only close relatives and friends came. The only thing I regret was that my only brother opted not to come. I don't know. He never comes to parties like these. We should've been complete. This might be the last time we will all be together.

When they arrived at the San Jacinto Panciteria, we had a hard time taking Nanay and Ditche inside the restaurant. Nanay, senile that she is, is confined to her wheelchair while Ditche is immobile herself. Sick with diabetes, all she does is eat and sleep. i'm glad she's not her usual self tonight. She's more alive and perky unlike during the time i pick her up from her house to visit Nanay. She just eats and lies down in bed, then eat again. For a diabetic, she amazes me. Her appetite is just sinfully huge. She was the one who requested for lechon and couldn't wait to gobble the whole piece. We were all standing and praying while she was at it already.

Nevertheless, I'm glad we were able to do this.


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We distributed the Student Report Cards for the second term this morning. As expected, the parents of those who failed in my class came to see me to know what happened that they should fail in a subject that, although they wouldn’t admit, consider as unimportant.

This is the first time I failed a big number of students especially in the graduating class. I feel I have to do it. The students are becoming lazier and lazier. As a teacher, I believe it is my duty to prepare my students, not only for college, but also more importantly, in life.

From among the parents that saw me, there was this couple that caught my attention. They were the parents of on of the senior students. They were appealing fir a reconsideration as their son did not make the cut at the DLLs. Their main argument was that they wanted to put in their letter of appeal that their son has NEVER received a failing mark in any subject from elementary to high school. I told them I couldn’t do that, as it would be unfair to the others who are similarly situated. They argued further that I don’t seem to understand. I told them I did and that it was them who should try to understand my situation. They asked if I could just give their child another project to compensate for a passing grade. I told them we could only do that during the final grade.

It was at this point that they reversed their tactic by intimidating me. They began to tell me that they should have been informed before hand about their child’s situation in class but I never sent them any notice. I told them that this can be explained by several reasons. First, the communication for failing students (MTS or Midterm standing) is given before the mid-term exams. At this time, the project is still ongoing and I wouldn’t know who would pass or fail. (Why we don’t give the same before the finals is beyond me. An oversight?) Second, I keep my deadlines very flexible. I accept projects even at the very last minute. If I didn’t do this, more students will fail. Furthermore, I told them that their son is now 17 years old. Of all people, he should have known how he fairs in class (although I know their son is capable of lying) and should make the necessary adjustment if he really wanted to pass.

By this time, I realized that it was the mother who was the more aggressive of the two. They introduced themselves as professors of Law at the UP (she said this about three to four times) and that as a colleague, they are appealing to my heart for a reconsideration. (Almost teary-eyed) I stayed firm on my stand. I wanted very much to tell them that as professors, they should be the first one to understand my predicament.

When I saw that more and more parents were gathering up in my room to either get their children’s card or to clarify something, and realizing that our discussion was not going in circles (as always) I asked them if they can give me several days to think about reconsidering their appeal.

When will we ever learn the true value of education when there are parents, knowledgeable as they are, who continue to misunderstand the purpose of education? That spoon feeding the learner doesn’t work. To do so would only give them the idea that they can always have what they want, at their on time and pace. When will we ever grow?


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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I'm accompanying my advisory section to their retreat. Isn't it great that this retreat house has an internet service?

Thinking that my class was unruly, the CMO Head decided she should come with us. Guess what? I didn't know this and was just told by the woman facilitator yesterday. Guess what? Turns out that my class is well-behaved as I expected. Poor girls. They were told to sleep at ten while the boys who were with me were having a great time telling jokes and scary stories.

The girls were complaining this morning. Told me that it was like martial law in their room, the only thing they can do is breathe. Hahahaha

I don't know what the CMO head is thinking. In my book, retreats are not only reserved for quiet meditation. There should be time when the participants can bunch together and share with one another -- the real stuff -- the one they think is relevant and attuned to their senses. This is the true time that they bond with one another.

The girls will be glad to find out that the CMO Head will be going home tonight.

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Sunday, January 11, 2004

We had just gone back from a party at McDonald's. It's Manny's son's 1st birthday! yup, my nephew, the doctor! And to think we went to grad school at the same time. He, to med school and I, to Law school. And yes, his sister, Mela. She's the balikbayan. She arrived last Tuesday for a visit. She's now a PhD. As it is, he's now a doctor and I'm... what?... a law drop out! What's with me? I keep on losing interest just at the tail end. Although I wasn't at the end yet, I only have about two more years to go, probably. Well, I got disappointed.

No, maybe that's not a good excuse. I only have to do my comprehensive exams to two courses at DLSU, then write my theses on both. One MA in Language and Literature, which I took eons of years ago, (even before I went to Law school), and another in MA in Educational Management, which was just about two to three years ago. I was bent on finishing the last one but La Salle was partly to be blamed. I was in a block section, you see. ABout 20 of us in DLSZ started out until we dropped down to seven in the end. When we have all finished the requirements and was to take the comprehensive exams, my classmates chickened out. They said, "oh, I'm not yet ready!" "Let's review for another year." Well, I was willing to take the exams on my own but DLSU wouldn't let me. Oh well... The story of my life. Not a very good example for my children. I hope they don't get the picture that I'm a quitter coz I'm not.

How I wish I can get a scholarship abroad. Then, there will be no distractions! Just me on my own. The thing is, I have to earn some dough! What will happen to my family if I don't earn? And besides, I may be too old. The possibilities for guys my age are very limited. Time sure doesn't wait for no man. Right now, i have less chances and as Bro. Rafe told me, "beggars cannot be choosy."


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Thursday, January 08, 2004

Signs and Billboards

Had I only seen the road signs
I would have made the turn

Avoided the terrible potholes
Known the bridge was weak

Had I only read the billboards
I would have known what to buy

Shopping would have been easier
Faster than I could rhyme

I wish my life had road signs
Then I would have been strong

How I wish my body had billboards
Then I could have read the signs.

rolly



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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I wonder why my last post came out three times. I must've clicked "post" thrice. It's very unlikely but that's the only reason I can think of.

Anyway, I remember the headline of the Inquirer last Sunday. "Miriam bolts from the opposition" or something like that. I could just imagine why. FPJ's choice for VP was Loren Legarda, the "crying lady" during the Erap investigation when the senators asking for the ouster of Erap lost their bid to have the envelop containing the Jose Pidal account opened. This came as a surprise to a lot of people. I could just imagine Miriam's disappointment.

I am disappointed with Loren Legarda, as well. Talk about principles! It seems that this is the first thing thrown out of the basket to ensure winning in the elections. Marcos had been right all along. In politics, you don't have permanent friends, just temporary allies.

Talking about principles, I had been naive to think that members of a political party are there because they believe in the party's cause. I am sooo wrong! Philippine politics is replete with cases of turncoatism. I remember former President Fidel Ramos. When he lost the bid for the presidency in his own political party, he bolted out and formed or joined another which was ready to put him to the arena. It was a good move but then, where was his principles and his political agenda? It seems Loren Legarda is doing a repeat, right?
Hah! Let's see. I still believe the electorate will have a change of mind and FPJ will lose this election. I believe the masses, his stronghold, will wisen up. He's too popular it might run out of steam at the last leg of the journey.

Should he win, then I guess Weng was right. We deserve him.




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Monday, January 05, 2004

A lot of Filipinos attribute our misfortunes as a people to the colonization of the country first by Spain for three hundred years, USA for fifty and the Japanese for three years. Maybe this is correct. However, it has been a long time and I believe we’ve been independent for many years now. We should have seen the light of day, so to speak. And yet, we are still suffering the spoils of a country whose culture had been marred by tyranny, miseducation, and the despoils of war.

Spain, ironical as it may seem, had used religion to suppress the growth of our own culture and oppress us through intimidation by plaguing our minds with guilt using the name of God. The US, on the other hand, used education to hide its own selfish motives. Subtly, the Americans, rather than making us a country of producers, had turned us as mere consumers. And to think we were doing good before the coming of these colonizers. We were actually doing good on our own. History tells us that our forefathers had their own religion, an organized government, and even exercised foreign relations by trading goods with them, etc.

However, this is not about history. I will leave that to my favorite historian, Ambeth Ocampo. This is about commercialism and consumerism. A few weeks back, some friends of mine went to see the concert of that Chinese (or Taiwanese) group, I believe to be known as the F4. Each of them paid Php5,000 just to see those “cute boys” in person. They practically went gaga over those straight-haired “singing sensations” (although I doubt it very much that they are). Now, I believe they are only a part of the thousands of fans who thronged to the concert. This makes me wonder, while our economy continues to plunge even lower, here we are ready to give away much needed cash to yet another foreign act who is actually run-of-the-mill..

What does this mean really? That we are ready for another invasion, this time not brought to us by force but sadly by surrender. Why? Unknowingly to most, we are surrendering our aesthetic ideal, and hence our culture, our soul as a people. Whether we like it or not, primetime TV has been invaded by Taiwanese soap opera stars. ABS-CBN went all the way to promote these shows until everyone was hooked. I remember the all out publicity the network has given everyday, right after the news to promote these Taiwanese stars. Some people have told me that this is because buying these shows is much cheaper than producing them. Fine! But what about our culture? Our own culture that is hitherto a bastardized version of where ever and who ever we copied it from. These so-called TV stars would not have been as popular as they are had they not been well promoted. This is a good example of the power of advertising. If only we can use the same to deter the masses from voting for FPJ and any incapable “presidentiable!”

While we try to sing foreign songs mimicking the accent and style of the singer, trying to play it on the guitar note for note and , prefer buying signature clothes, shoes, and equipment over locally produced ones, our culture, let alone our very unstable economy, is very vulnerable.

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Sunday, January 04, 2004

I feel lazy since yesterday.

As usual, politics is the main topic in the country today. It seems like every Juan, Tomas and Poldo (naks, pwede kaya yung translation na yun?) are talking about the elections. Like as if they really cared. Come to think about it, does it really matter who is running the affairs of state? I have lived through the Marcos years and nothing happened to me or my family. Of course, we were threatened with a lot of scary stories like should it be known that we didn't vote during elections, we would not be able to go out of the country... but that's about it. My family is not a political one, which I believe is more dangerous. We never fought the establishment so we were not touched.
Okay, before you aim your guns at me, I know the intricacies of government and what a poor president can do to the country. But that's not my main issue. My main concern is that no matter who the president is, it is the people's attitude that will matter most. Our economy is bad simply because we fail to patronize our own products. i have known people who would rather buy signature clothes than buy food to eat.
Driving in the streets of Manila and you will see how we lack discipline. Each one to himself. It's really a jungle out there. Once you learn how to drive, you will also learn to curse and shout invectives, Everybody becomes the enemy. The cops, fellow drivers and pedestrians, all fighting and asserting that they have the right.

Maybe I am not expressing what I want to say clearly this time. however, my main argument is, it's not just who the president is, it is about the constituents as well. I'll leave it at that in the meantime.

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Friday, January 02, 2004

Just to be sure, today is the 2nd of January. Hah! I got the date right. Now, let's work on the time. It's 6:00 pm. It's JT's birthday today and my brother-in-law's family is here to celebrate it with us.

I just got word that my best friend, Arlene, is sick. She suffered a minor heart attack. Right after we came home from my mother's house, I checked my mail and there it was. A message from Glennis with the heading saying, "Bad News". I already something was wrong with Arlene. She hasn't answered my email yet and she said she'll be back home on the 29th.

The good thing is she's stable and is out of the ICU. Wish I was in Edmonton right now to at least help with the chores and everything that has to be done.

I can't think straight. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

Funny but my wife asked Coby to accompany Mamang (that's my mother-in-law) to Quiapo for the first Friday mass. Coby wouldn't go unless his Kuya Mickey go with them. Nitz offered to bribe them a hundred pesos each. They went. No wonder they were all dressed up when I woke up this morning.
After a few hours, Mickey had a text message for Kgan which read "Please tell Mama I'm not going to Quiapo again!" HAHAHAHA

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Thursday, January 01, 2004

I haven't gotten any sleep yet. That's the problem with me. If I don't get to close my eyes steadily at about 10 pm, chances are I'll never get to sleep at all! The real dilemma is if I get to sleep earlier, like 9, I would be up at 1:00 am. The magic number is 10. no more no less. Am I weird or just plainly an insomniac?

Oh well, reviewing my blog, I just realized the date is a day late. Hmm, it's american time. Silly me. How do I change the date? I wish I was computer-literate. Right now, the computer to me is just a high tech typewriter. Not to worry. I'll find it. It's just that I haven't really gotten to know this whole blog thing. I'm very lazy!

As I expected, the street party our president was talking about didn't materialize. Right after the children's party at the basketball court, nobody would want to proceed to our street anymore. (No, I wasn't there. I went home right after the oath taking)Really, what parent would want to attend a street party here in the Philippines on New Year's Eve? Everybody expects you to be home, right? Our president's hubby (they live across my house) invited me to come up their azotea for a drink. We ended up finishing a bottle of brandy (and still I couldn't sleep--drats!) The thing is we manage to finish the bottle at 11 which gave me time to join the family, light some sparklers (I couldn't believe I'm did that. I thought those were for sissies... what can I do? I was a teen-ager during the 70's where New Year is firecrackers galore) urged my wife and children to drink red wine (hah! better learn from their dad than from their friends, right?) feast on a simple media noche prepared by the wife and all that... Then, turned the tv on, my sleeping pill which turned out to be my "upper" as the film on HBO was good! Now, it's already 8:30 am and I'm still wide awake! And to think we will be on the road a little later to join my mother in her house. Awww my aching head!

Okay, don't forget, this is the first of January 2004. Man, I'm pathetic when it comes to computers!!!!

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I haven't gotten any sleep yet. That's the problem with me. If I don't get to close my eyes steadily at about 10 pm, chances are I'll never get to sleep! Oh well, reviewing my blog, I just realized the date is a day late. How do I change the date? I wish I was computer-literate. Right now, the computer is just a high tech typewriter. I'll find it. It's just that I haven't really gotten to know this whole blog thing. I'm very lazy!

As I expected, the street party our president was talking about didn't materialize. That was to be expected. Right after the children's party at the basketball court, what parent would want to attend a street party here in the Philippines. Everybody expects you to be home, right? The thing is, our president's hubby invited me to come up their azotea for a drink. We ended up finishing a bottle of brandy (and still I couldn't sleep--drats!) The thing is we manage to finish the bottle at 11 which gave me time to join the family, light some sparklers (I couldn't believe I'm doing that. I thought those were for sissies... what can I do? I was a teen-ager during the 70's) urged my wife and children to drink red wine (hah! better learn from their dad than from their friends, right?) feast on a simple media noche prepared by the wife and all that... Then, turn-on the tv, my sleeping pill which also turns out to be my "upper" as the film on HBO was good! Now, it's already 8:30 am and I'm still wide awake! And to think we will be off on the road a little later to join my mother in her house. Awww my aching head!

Okay, don't forget, this is the first of January 2004. Man, I'm pathetic when it comes to computers!!!!

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I haven't gotten any sleep yet. That's the problem with me. If I don't get to close my eyes steadily at about 10 pm, chances are I'll never get to sleep! Oh well, reviewing my blog, I just realized the date is a day late. How do I change the date? I wish I was computer-literate. Right now, the computer is just a high tech typewriter. I'll find it. It's just that I haven't really gotten to know this whole blog thing. I'm very lazy!

As I expected, the street party our president was talking about didn't materialize. That was to be expected. Right after the children's party at the basketball court, what parent would want to attend a street party here in the Philippines. Everybody expects you to be home, right? The thing is, our president's hubby invited me to come up their azotea for a drink. We ended up finishing a bottle of brandy (and still I couldn't sleep--drats!) The thing is we manage to finish the bottle at 11 which gave me time to join the family, light some sparklers (I couldn't believe I'm doing that. I thought those were for sissies... what can I do? I was a teen-ager during the 70's) urged my wife and children to drink red wine (hah! better learn from their dad than from their friends, right?) feast on a simple media noche prepared by the wife and all that... Then, turn-on the tv, my sleeping pill which also turns out to be my "upper" as the film on HBO was good! Now, it's already 8:30 am and I'm still wide awake! And to think we will be off on the road a little later to join my mother in her house. Awww my aching head!

Okay, don't forget, this is the first of January 2004. Man, I'm pathetic when it comes to computers!!!!

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