Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thriller


As much as I'd like to spend it in Halloween costume parties or night-outs with friends, I have to stay in Cavite and go to my grandfather's and greatgrandmother's grave in Laguna and Novaliches (respectively) for the holiday. Pretty boring. This is where the raw ghost stories are told. I wish our province was somewhere not-Luzon, like Capiz or Davao, so that I could really hear and maybe *be careful what you wish for?* see local ghosts! Manananggal, tiyanak, kapre, white lady, etc. Those things my Lola tell me but I wouldn't believe her. These have captured my imagination as a grade-schooler when I read the book True Philippine Ghost Stories and as I had my childhood delusions of having third eye.

I find it amusing to notice that every country has a different concept of what is scary and terrifying, as seen through their movies. East Asian ghosts are powdered white, dark-haired and dark-eyed with some creepy stories of loneliness before death. Americans have bloody ghosts with gruesome death stories involving metals (you name it, saw, nails, roller coater rides, airplane crash, knives, etc. Haha pretty industrial). While Filipinos hilariously depict their ghosts wearing our grandparents' clothes, barong and saya, anything involving old people and their stories during the war, with blood stains all over their clothes. Hahaha. These ghosts represented some of our fears of death while we're alive -- dying lonely, violently or old -- maybe that's why we find them supernatural creatures frightening. XD

Now I'm heading home and I'll be watching those Halloween special stories like I do every year. Though I wish next year I'd spend my October firsts outside. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Love and Belonging


Last four days I spent in a my first Church camp in Antipolo, and I spent it with my schoolmates who are now my churchmates and I have never laughed and cried so hard before. :)

I currently don't have a picture because there is no Internet connection at home (will post later), but to just summarize what I've learned within those days: among all our needs, the spiritual ones tend to be the most neglected. Sure I have relayed stories of my family life, friend-life, love life, academics life, etc. to others, but my Christian life remains just a shadow. By Christian, I do not refer to the religion or the institution of the society, but the very basic belief that Jesus saved us because of love.

Last Sunday night I made a last minute decision to be baptized into my Church. I said in my shaky testimony that I have been on an on-off relationship with God and I wanted that kind of relationship to end. He's been urging me to come back to him by taking away the things that I leaned on instead of him and taking the praise away from myself to Him. It's easy to be self-centered, to think that you've done every good thing that has happened in your life with your own hands. And once you face failure, again it's easy to blame yourself or somebody else without even thinking that that failure may have just been an obstacle removed and that victory is just another blessing. Being a Christian is a blessing because I realized that I have been blessed SO MUCH that my troubles are all minor and worldly. Now there is this urgency to share this spiritual happiness to everyone because believing in God is not a once-in-a-lifetime emotional experience of some sort. Nope. It's just everyday thankfulness.

Today, lots of people think that "religious people" are close-minded. I am one of those. But I did not see that I was also being close-minded by thinking that way. Declaring that you're a Christian would fit you into a stereotype of a fanatic angel who's too good to be true. I was afraid that if I told my family or friends about it, they'd say I'm all "banal" when it's not like that at all. When I met my churchmates, I saw that we came from a hodgepodge of personalities who have different intelligences, gifts and struggles. It's amazing. I am just at awe at how they have helped me to be closer to God. And I feel excitement over what is going to happen next sem as I spend my time with Him and them.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Put a Ring on It


"Ngunit, pano naman ang aking gagawin!
pagkalaki-laki ng aking paggiliw
kung siyang lalaki'y mailap sa akin,
ako pang babae ang palalapitin?

"Ako'y Pilipina at anak-silangan,
hirating magtiis, sanay na maghintay;
ang ibig lumapit, ako ay lapitan,
ang ayaw lumapit, di ko kailangan."

Kapag ang dalaga nga nama'y nagkusang
mag-alok ng puso sa isang binata,
kailangan munang mundo'y masaliwa:
ang sama'y bumuti't ang buti'y sumama.

-Lope K. Santos, Isang Binatang Tulog


I was leafing through the book Gender Issues in the Philippine Society and got really amused by this poem. Indeed, though we can claim that times have changed and there is already a thing as girl-courting-boy today, in our admittedly traditional and patriarchal society, if a woman does 'The Proposal', she is either seen as a Promiscuous Girl or a Miss Independent (usually the first one), for the simple reason that.. it's not the norm.

It's also not a very "Filipina" image to display, according to the poem, to be the one to make the first move. But what exactly is a "Filipina"? Is it Rizal's dream girl, Maria Clara? Is it Mars Ravelos' superhero, Darna? Is it Cory Aquino, the housewife turned President?

All I know is that the general idea, the social construct that is a "Filipina" is a female role model who does positive things to the country. It's debatable if she's conservative or not coz how can you possibly make anything happen if you're conservative? You can only NOT make things happen.. Personally, I think there's nothing wrong in being an initiator with the matters of the heart. Although, I don't think I will do the same thing for myself. ^_^' ..At least for now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Global WarNing


Climate change, more than the significant physical and chemical changes that occur in the atmosphere (in my own terms), will never be given much attention if it didn't affect human lives. Even though it is climate that changed, this phenomenon has both social causes and social effects.

One structural social cause is industrialization with capitalism. During the 20th century, plenty of trees have been cut for coal, mountains cleared for mining, lands for building subdivisions and at the same time worldwide production increased as we perceive that we need to consume more stuff (a factor perhaps is the media), to buy appliances that produce CFCs, cars that emit carbon monoxide, non-biodegradable but "disposable" things, cheap materials with the illusion of saving. A month later these would probably end up dumped in some landfill or a river. Then, the physics and the chemistry of Mother Nature do their jobs that create "natural" disasters. And this is just a simplified equation using simplified vocabularies of what is happening today.

Social effects are even easier to name because they are observable. Few millimeters of rainfall and our streets are flooded due to our "auto-clogged" canals, the soil erode downwards because nothing could hold them together, causing dangerous land slides to those who are living at the foot of mountains, air is filled with smoke that damages our health and the environment that we use for our own livelihood. It affects the economy, people blame the government, different organizations call for environmental education, companies start a "green revolution". Even though we know that these are too little too late, it is better than exerting no effort to address this issue. If climate change has both social causes and effects, then there should be a social change that accompany it.

I remember my class adviser in sixth grade angry because our room was filthy and noisy while she was gone. With chalk, she wrote some block letters that forms the word INITIATIVE, telling us that it is important that we learn that.. the capacity to do things without having to be prompted. Everyone should learn that lesson too for we do not know what kind of "prompt" the earth would give us. Let's not dig our own graves. And in my case, I don't want sequel of An Inconvenient Truth.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Final Countdown

What's left of it.


Technically, we have no classes anymore. But we do have exams and papers that are due this until next week. I really I have to utilize my free time to finish everything as early as possible, so that I'll have a seemingly longer sem break! :D

Philippine Contemporary Issues paper: Homosexuality
700 words to go. I've talked about the Filipino culture with regards to homosexuality and the various institutions in the society that influences it. I love it but I don't know how to conclude it. Trying to look at this issue in as many dimensions as possible to produce something that hasn't quite been written yet, something utterly DEEP. I'm a bit desperate at getting the approval of my Prof here because he's such a competent person. He wrote a note at Facebook about the structural mistakes that lead to the aggravating of situation during Ondoy. The article says a huge part of Marikina and surrounding areas (where UP should the border) should have been reservoirs only according to the frost plan of Manila in 1941. Instead, schools and commercial homes were established there. The article caught the eye of the media and is said to probably be used on TV. IMAGINE.

General Sociology: (No title yet) (Somewhat the "societal forces" that influences UP voters on why they vote or not, contrasted with Filipino voters)
Group paper, I don't like group papers. You have to wait for everyone to finish. But it's probably better in this situation because it has the usual "Four Chapters". *OH NO!* Ever since I got a barely passing grade in the exams of this subject, I've grown to dislike it. One should really never underestimate any subject with a word "General" on them. -_-

Aside from those papers, I have an exam in Philippine Institutions, orals in Gen Socio againnnnn and a paper still in Gender and Sexuality, but I'd rather go to class and see my classmates again :'( I saw my best friend in the class testerday
morning and how I missed it! Time flies. Sem is about to end. I have heard of many plans on how I'm going to spend the 3-week vacation. Hope my blog would be filled with good stories. I've also pre-enlisted some subjects already and I SWEAR next sem to never be a mediocre. Adjustment period's over. It's time to get down.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wait no More

They say the future arrives an hour at a time.



I don't know why I prefer shopping by myself if it's for myself. Guess I'm such a fitting-room person, and waiting is a hard task for anyone.. My own mother knows I tend to lose the sense of time, hydration, body pain, hunger, toilet urges, and sense of companionship when I shop with someone.. Unless it's shopping for somebody else (such as buying Christmas gifts). So most of the time I just go off alone, and so far it's better that way. On the other hand I think of people who might be fun to be with when I go shopping.. :)

***

Last Sunday my family voluntarily reunited for my younger brother's retreat ceremony. What I liked in that evening was when my Kuya and I went to the parking lot because we weren't needed in the last program. Suddenly, beside the car and underneath the stars we were talking about our plans for the future. College courses, organizations, post-graduation scenarios, our parents, work, law school, where we'll live, public involvement, companies, even marriage! So serious yet so understandable. So.. first time. In the middle of it, I wanted to interrupt him and say "Wait, let's not think about those things yet coz we're still too young." ..Maybe that's because you always see your siblings in a childhood-friend context. Then I remembered that maturity starts with the mind and it's such a poor excuse to be "young" to dismiss things. So on we went with the conversation.

Now I know that we really are aware of a lot of things.. But we are taking our time. (Hmm.. Just. Like. Shopping.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Endings

*One night and one more time! Thanks for the memories* -FOB


I have just came from our PE Cheerdance recital tonight called Dancing in September (I know it's October already, delayed by the typhoon:). We practiced a few minutes before our turn and then danced in a jiffy. After our performance, we were like screaming and hugging. It's over and it's goodbye! I really loved this class coz it taught us how to do rolls, cartwheels and lifts, which nobody knows how to do. Our last meeting as classmates brought me to the mood of gratitude for this sem, which is my first in the campus.

Other than PE, my Wika Kasaysayan at Kultura and Gender and Sexuality classes finished this week. Last Thursday, my latter class had a mini-farewell party, we brought pizza and sodas while Sir provided the ice cream. This is the class where my group made a skit instead of a report, one was Mike Enriquez, I was Kris Aquino and my friend is Dr. Jack Q. Lero, and our Prof said in the end that it was the most commendable. =D I learned so much about sexual science in this class, met the coolest classmates too. Everybody is at ease with each other. We have really interesting stories to tell about interesting topics -- homosexuality, pornography, gender equity, attraction, love and the human anatomy. FIL 40 also finished, and I cherished that class too, those three meetings we were in the room figuring out if Ma'am will come to class. :))

Funny thing was these three subjects I got by chance. Every semester, new sets of people are brought to our lives by some random system, yet I found myself enjoying this one. Short term was never irrelevant because life's most memorable moments are just that.. moments. It's kind of like having three High School graduations right now. Friends really make school worth the effort. =)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sweet Day

Happy birthday Ma.


Today my exams in SOSC 3 did not push through. Instead we were given an assignment for two weeks, and on Thursday we're going to have a farewell potluck. S-weet! I really loved that class, "Exploring Gender and Sexuality". It really influenced me to take a closer look at a topic so infrequently discussed. SOSC 3 never bored me from Day One, as I have the most open-minded and funniest classmates and one good friend. Looking forward to Thursday. :D

In STS class, our group leader interrupted my eating-inside-the-auditorium because I was tasked to be his assistant and the timer for the groups because he was assigned to be the host. At first I was like hey, I wanna sit down and eat and watch the groups. But then I just picked my butt up and it turned out to be better because we got to talk, and I got a something to do instead of just bumming around my seat sleeping. I admire his theatrical confidence so much, his eye for detail and despite of that he's for-real.

After that class I went with an ex-blockmate to have a look at her boarding house. The rent costs P1500, inclusive of the electric and water bills, and has free cleaning. WOW. Where can you find a deal like that? The house had a good location, just inside UP and it has a gate before it, making it safer. I think it's less flood-prone too. But the house itself doesn't look very good, aesthetically. The walls are made of plywood and kind of empty, but it's bearable considering that Rizal is just a jeep away just in case. I will consider how much I want to be a little bit independent at the cost of inconvenience.

Dad visited us here to eat out for Mom's day. Mom was on a light mood and Dad gave me extra bucks before he left telling me to spend. Yes he specified to spend because he knows that I can save a lot. I really am not a saver! I just want a car ASAP. Haha. I was thinking of not having a normal debut celebration since last night. What if I just spend it with an institution or with my distant relatives? Anyway, that's for later. More blessings to Mom! :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

To-do Lists

Ever felt frustrated when you think of your goals?


I have, and it makes my headache whenever I think of it. Questions just keep popping up: Is this the right course? What will you do after you graduate college? What will your career be? It's so hard to find the answers because everything is uncertain and has no guarantee. In the meantime, here I am with a mound of schoolwork. I have to finish this semester nicely in the hopes of keeping up with my grades when I was a freshman (not that it's "record-high". Just the feeling of having to exceed your own standards), and I have to make the next semester even better because I didn't quite enjoy my free time this sem. I guess I was too afraid of getting too busied up that I avoided the extra-curricular activities that "called" me. I should really have a sort of Bucket List every semester, because I tend to short-cut things, which is no fun at all.. Never liked the feeling of having grass growing under my feet. :|

Long term, I don't know what the future holds for me.. Who does? But I sure want to have a good future. A verrry good one. I'd like to believe that it's up to me even though there may be outside forces, because I'm dying to make sense out of myself. We have different definitions of what "success" is, but initially to me, success is being independent. I don't think I'll take so much pride of having a great car or a house if it was bought to me by my parents. The feeling of liberation and competence just makes me ITCH.

PS. I found the song below in my iPod, I don't know who put it there. Nice lyrics. Title is like that of a love song, but it's more of about self-actualization. Play!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Caught in the Sexuality Web

Go dress them boys pink and girls blue.


These past few days I was thinking of a good topic for my Philippine Contemporary Issues paper. Just now I chose Gender and Sexuality because come to think of it, everybody has genders and sexualities, but it's a neglected topic because it looks "personal", when actually both are heavily influenced by socialization. I think studying gender and sexuality would say a lot about the degrees of our collective consciousness and self-expectations.. :]

Locally, the Philippines is a very patriarchal society. That's probably why it seems it's better to be tomboy than to be gay. The machismo endorsed by the media as well as the sexuality beliefs from our own families restricts people. It subjects one to a prison bar that is gender even before the society gets to know the other characteristics of the person. In fact, even tangible stuffs are given gender, such as cars and flowers. I remember a guy friend asking for a mirror, and I told him the only mirror I got is from a compact powder. A compact mirror is "female", that's why I didn't give it to him easily. See that? If you step out of the box, most likely you'll judged by the society and those who strictly conform by it. It has effects on our choices, and our choices determine a huge part of our life.

I'm glad anyway that our views of homosexuality are somewhat improving and that the issue is getting to the mainstream. I've recently watched the local movie entitled In My Life, and it impressed me at the level of acceptance we already have, and it also focused on the "ever-crucial" concept of family. Sexuality issues used to be an off topic even for myself. But now it's an interesting field we can truly learn a lot from.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Don't Stop because it Doesn't

Prepare for trouble, make it double.


I'm currently in Cavite with the whole family. We are lucky that our house here too was untouched by the typhoon. Another typhoon will be entering the Philippines, already named Pepeng. I still can't get over the fact that Ondoy has been affecting everybody from Mega Manila. Its aftermath is still in the headlines of newspapers and TV shows, like President Arroyo opening the Malacanang Palace for evacuees and Conrado de Quiros remarking, "It is in times of disaster that the Filipino ceases to be a disaster." That quote stuck to my brain the whole day because it is a positive remark about our nation. As Michael Tan's article also said, from bayanihan came kabayanihan (from community spirit comes heroism). It's nationalistic.

A calamity like this strikes only occasionally, but not everything is romantic after the tragedy. There are stories of overpriced medicines and funeral parlor services, as well as public officials postponing help until the media comes to cover them, and politicians advertising themselves to the poor typhoon victims. I don't know if that is genuine helping or being opportunistic!

Anyway, Dad plans to have his own relief operations on Saturday somewhere in Cavite. I wanted to help in the distributing itself, to be deployed in the field, but I also have to go home to Rizal since there is a possibility that classes will resume next week. We are not very rich, but Dad has this thing about helping other people without expecting in return probably because he came from a poor family. These deprivation stories are quite predictable, as many kids of my generation have been bombarded by them since childhood. Mom and Dad have built our home without help from relatives -- from their wedding, their home, their careers to how they managed our household. If I should learn something from the repetitive and almost annoying stories, it is that we carve most of our destinies with out own hands. And that carving happens everyday. Nothing should ever come to waste even if circumstances aren't always favorable. Filipinos should learn that lesson too (and I'd like to think that most of us already have).

Pray that Pepeng won't further knock us down..