Recent Thoughts

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Birthday Letter

Dear Jesus,

First of all, hey, hey, hey, Heyppy berthdey! (a la Eugene Domingo in Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo).

Sooo, how was Your birthday? This is like Your 2040th birthday right? Nevertheless, I hope You had a great day. Because I sure as hell had a great time on Your birthday.

Before, I used to didn’t like that my birthday is so close to Yours, because more often, my birthday and Christmas gifts were like a 2-in-1 package. But of course, now that I am older and know better, (and most especially this year in particular), I am so lucky that my birthday served as a kick-off party to this year’s celebration of Your special day. Since my birthday, things have always been on the up-side. And now that Your actual birthday is over, the fun things doesn’t seem to be simmering down. So, thank You so much for that.

Since I have already determined my Christmas wish weeks ago, allow me to just thank You for a lot of things.

Let’s start with my Christmas ‘loot bag’. Like I said in my Christmas post, I have more new clothes than I actually need. I know that weeks ago, I told You that I am not really that excited about doing some Christmas shopping for myself. I mean, if I used to consider it of utmost importance to have some new clothes to wear for Christmas, I am happy to tell You – not anymore. But when my orgmates and I went window shopping last week, I just couldn’t resist. The purple top just kept calling my name from its sorry rack, even when I tried to ignore it, haha!

Then of course, there are the chocolates and other sumptuous food treats! Gosh, I never thought there will come to a point in my life where slowing down on eating chocolates even if there’s lots in the ref will arrive. I am not sure if whether it’s because of the enormous amount of chocolate intake, my system kinda undergone a withdrawal syndrom or, I finally learned to control myself (meaning, another sign na nag-mature na ako!). Well, I sure hope it’s the latter, haha!

As for the Filipino tradition of Noche Buena, well, Noche Buena kung Noche Buena! Whereas before, my best participation in the preparation is helping out with the desserts like fruit salad, leche flan or ale ube, well, this year, I prepared a main course! Whoa! *Alleluia please* It is my first time and with the help of internet instructions and a quick question from my chef-friend Jigs, I was able to cook Alfredo sauce, all by myself. So while my sister went out for some last-minute shopping and my Mom and Dad were having a pedicure/manicure at the terrace, I was busy whipping cheese, milk and cream over the stove. My Dad was very skeptic of my culinary intuition and skills, but imagine the look of victory and vindication on my eyes when he finally tasted it and loudly admitted – “Ba Rex, kalinamnam na ning gewa mo!” Haha! My garlic bread turned out to be the biggest hit, as far as my nephew Justin is concerned. Even though I just kind of quickly carelessly tossed the bread in the pan with melted butter and garlic powder, for him the triangular piece of garlic bread was so good, he sandwiched it between two more slices of bread. (Oo, mga kaibigan, ginawa niyang palaman ang garlic bread!) It sure felt more fulfilling to share a feast with your loved ones when you know they’re enjoying something that you prepared yourself.

The Christmas Eve Mass wasn’t so bad either. The priest who delivered the homily was kinda corny, haha! But nevertheless, it was strangely amusing to see old neighbors – as in the ones you only get to see at Church once or twice a year, Christmas and Easter.

Then there came Your birthday itself, Christmas Day. Now You do know, this is a day I sort of dreaded because it is the one day in a year where relatives would keep pestering me with acads-related questions like “Eka pa magobra (Aren’t you working already)?” or “Kapilan ka mag-graduate kanyan (When will you be graduating)?” And my, this is the bad year to be asked that question! Lord, I know I am not supposed to care what other people think, especially relatives whom I only see during the holidays. I am sure, they only ask such questions just for small talk, because we don’t really have something interesting to talk about. But I hate to have to explain EVERYTHING so I won't, but by not doing so, they would certainly think of the usual cliché reason why a person is unable to graduate.

So how did it go then? Well, despite my efforts to maintain a low-profile key and hoping my nephews’ antics will steal the limelight from everyone else in the room, I was still able to get a total of four graudation-themed questions. Hmm, maybe wearing the visually attractive purple top I bought at Landmark was such a bad idea for a Christmas attire after all, hehe! Good thing though, the excruciating moments of having to answer “No” passed by quickly enough and I was able to go back to obscurity in no time at all. More luckily, only one uncle dared to ask why for yet another reason for the marching delay (with his wife commenting, (“Baka nag-loko siya”). And my Mom came to my rescue. Whew!

On the up-side (gee, this season, there is ALWAYS an up-side, haha!), despite my age and due to my non-working status, I was still able to receive P800 worth of aginaldo, haha! Again, thank You for that. Well, thank You as well for the thoughtfulness of my two nephews, Jasper and Justin who, at the start of the day, took pity in me and gave me P200 and P100 respectively, dahil “nakakaawa ako, walang nambibigay sa akin”. Haha! So that would’ve brought my total to P1100. But of course, I returned Justin’s P100 to my sister and just told Jasper to treat me to Starbucks (of the 3 brothers, he had the biggest total, that’s why he’s feeling so generous).

Then came the bonus news! My org will have another gift-giving shindig on the 29th, so I will have a chance to do something fulfilling after all, yey!

So that’s just about it – all that happened to me on Your birthday, Jesus. It was Your special day, not mine, but I definitely shared in all the fun.

I feel so blessed this Christmas that, during our way home, my heart broke as we passed by an old lola, in the middle of the highway, stopping the cars and asking for some alms. By the time I recovered from the aching shock, she was already a hundred meters away, being escorted out of the highway by a policeman. If there’s something I don’t understand, it is why can't all people just be happy on Your birthday. But of course, Your party on earth just doesn’t work that way. I just hope that when I joined my orgmates in a gift-giving activity to the less fortunate, in some way, somehow, I am able to pay my blessings forward to those who lack even the most basic resources of Christmas spirit.

Well, this is all for now. I will try to write another letter come New Year’s. For sure, I have a year’s worth of stuff to talk about, haha!

Again, happy, happy birthday! Thank You so much for allowing me and my family and loved ones to merrily celebrate Your day with You.

With much love and gratitude,
Rex

PS. Please don’t take back the fun times too soon, too fast. I sure know, by the law of gravity, what comes up, must come down. I wish that whatever big problem I will soon face, the memory of this fun month will help me weather it. I realize for certain that big problems are inevitable, and that the world will just make one after the other, momentarily pausing to at least let us savor our victory after each problem. And it’s not like the happiness I have right now is already at its peak for my life that I am so ready to die, haha! Not yet, please, not just yet.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Perfect Christmas?

For some weird reason, I’m feeling jolly about this coming Christmas. But for days now, I have been trying to figure out why so, to no avail.

Is it because for many years now, the whole family is complete since my parents came home from Bahrain for the holidays? Of course, a complete family during the holidays is always a cause for a festive celebration. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who would read this and will be spending Christmas with a parent or loved one abroad, but since this has been luckily happening for almost a decade now, it doesn’t really bring something that special to the table.

Is it because materially speaking, I am prepared? Well, I have more new clothes than I actually need and a new pair of Nike rubber shoes. There’s lots of food (chocolates, Christmas delicacies, etc) in the refrigerator that I fear I wouldn’t get to enjoy my new pairs of pants due to a renewed bulge in my belly. In short, my happiness meter when it comes to materials things is definitely way up there.

Is it because the different events that led up to it were very conducive in feeling the Christmas spirit? It started with my birthday weekend, and continued to the last week of classes for December 2007, to the Lantern Parade, to the Videoke night with college friends, to the spontaneous night out with high school friends, and finally to the Noche Buena shopping with my mom and sister, which promises quite an upper middle class family feast! I mean, after all those fun-filled activities with loved ones, who wouldn’t feel euphoric? I feel like I have enough supply of endorphin 'til after the New Year’s.

Sometimes I wonder, if I’d take away all the material gifts I have received, would I still feel as good about this coming Christmas? Of course, it’s not like I would test this hypothesis, haha! Who would want to take away the good things you already have!

I have yet to do something ultimately selfless this season. A gift-giving to the less fortunate by my organization would’ve been a perfect opportunity for me, but alas, for some valid reason that turned out to be invalid after all, I wasn’t able to make it to the fulfilling activity.

So despite having a complete family, wearing new clothes, eating lots of good food, I am still in search of something that will make this Christmas truly memorable not only because of the gifts I received, but also and mainly because of something that will make other people’s Christmas more memorable, through me.

Because really, sometimes, it kinda sucks to be so blessed, and see other people get so much less than what they actually deserved and simply dreamed of.

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But on a lighter note, still, have a Merry Christmas! Enjoy the company of your family and friends this holiday season. I mean, after all, what's the point of having new clothes if you're alone and no one will get to see them? Haha! Joke! Don't fail the be thankful and give more attention to the more important things in life this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

22 + 1 = 23



This is my 23rd birthday post, which, apparently, is many days late, haha! Well, pardon me, I haven’t really found the proper time to reflect on this momentous milestone in my life. Besides, I honestly thought this birthday will be an uneventful one. Why? Let me elaborate.

It is my “23rd birthday”. Of course I am thankful for the past year of life, even if it was yet another struggling one. But really, there’s nothing special about the number 23. Well, unless of course if you think that it's the first odd and prime number birthday in the line of 20 which therefore makes it quite special, then clearly, you’re an eccentric person! (Doon sa nakaisip ng numerical significance na ito, peace tayo, haha!)


I have not prepared anything special on my birthday. Unlike my 21st birthday (which is a gentleman’s debut), I will not reserve 40 seats at Kenny Roger’s. Unlike my 21st and 22nd birthdays, I will not treat my friends to Starbucks in order to complete the required number of stickers to get the limited edition Starbucks 2008 Planner. In short, I have no budget to treat my friends to something. So yes, it will have been an ordinary day.

What’s the truth behind my no-budget drama? Well, I didn’t really ask for a "birthday bonus" from my parents. Because I don’t know how to justify such budget, given the ordinary circumstances. Plus, I have this major thing that makes me feel mortified to even sweet talk my way into a birthday bonus.

As for not aiming for the Starbucks planner, well, just like what a close friend said, “Nag-mature na ako!” Haha! The 2008 planner is not worth it -- the design is not that impressive, the freebie is JUST a pencil, more stickers are required, the Christmas flavors are not that enticing and for some reason, my taste buds are no longer in awe of the unique Starbucks blend.

So in short, I have resigned to the fact that my 23rd birthday will just be a simple one. I've realized that it's not the gifts that should make or break one's birthday. If I'll receive a warm and touching text message greeting or a birthday card, that would've already made me very happy.

But wait! There's more! What actually happened was a different story.

On the eve of my birthday, I was at an orgmate's apartment, doing some orgwork. It will be used on the org party next day (yep! On my birthday!) so I knew I will turn 23 there. As my phone's alarm clock struck 12 am, Michael, Jen, Kevin and Felipe greeted me a happy birthday. Felipe even went further by greeting me a 'belated' happy birthday, haha!

As I finished nostalgically recounting to my young orgmates how my past six birthdays in UP went, I got the surprise of my life (well, at least the 23rd year of my life, haha!). Out of nowhere, my closest AguGirlfriends -- Maan, Di, Pie and Fergie -- appeared on the door with balloons, candles and a box of goodies in tow, singing the Happy Birthday song. Mind you, these girls live on Katipunan, the other side of the UP campus, so their sweet gesture at 12 midnight is quite an effort.

It was a complete birthday party package. Aside from the balloons and the box of goodies (which turned out to be a box of Cello's donuts shaped with the letters of the phrase "HAPPY B-DAY WEXIE"), they even had loot bags for the guests! And the best gift of them all? The birthday card, in which they wrote long and heart-warming birthday messages.

They went home back to Katipunan at around 1.30am. I went home to my own apartment at 2.30am. And as I tucked myself into my bed, I was wearing a big smile in my heart, knowing that the would've-been ordinary birthday just turned out to be an extraordinary one.

The rest of the day was just simply great. While it is true that the surprise I got at 12mn was already the major highlight of my birthday, its euphoric effect lasted throughout the day.

In the evening, my organization had a party. No it wasn't for me. It was Aguman's anniversary last December 12 and the party coincidentally scheduled on my birthday was the culminating event. Although I must admit, it kinda also felt like it was my party, haha! My committee's efforts the previous nights was worth it, because our committee's representative won the contest that night -- yet another reason to have a happy birthday.

Since I and my other orgmates were still in celebratory mood (I because it's my birthday, and they because of the success of our orgweek), we decided to have a drink at Starbucks. There were more than 15 of us so it was such a bonding blast. We played the Skittles Game (a game were you answer questions based on the topic of the color of the Skittle candy you pick from the bag), so there was definitely a lot of laughtrip moments. It was also my first time to try out the Starbucks bagels, and my, it did not disappoint.

There was more bonus for my birthday -- I went home with a Goldilocks half-cake and a peach wine (they were both gifts from orgmates which they gave during our org's party). But of course, more importantly, I ended my 23rd birthday with lots of fond memories that hopefully, will last a long time.

My 23rd birthday definitely trumps my 22nd birthday, simply because it was more meaningful. No amount of panlilibre could beat the love (in different forms -- words, text messages, gifts, haha!) I received from my family and truest friends.


LEFT: What we ordered at Starbucks. The frappe and bagel I ordered is at the center.
RIGHT: The Cello's Doughnuts shaped "HAPPY B-DAY WEXIE. Pati yung dash, edible! Oreo-flavored pa nga eh!

For more pictures, click here.

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Did somebody important forgot my birthday? Yeah, quite a number of them actually, haha! But I don't really mind. I am sure they have a perfectly good and valid reason for doing so. Otherwise, it means I am not as important to them as I thought which is something I don't really mind as well. What's the point of having lots of friends, when you only need true ones? And those who are sweet enough to prepare a surprise on your birthday, haha!

I actually learned a lot of simple but important lessons on my birthday, but I am gonna bore you with them on the next post, haha!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Which feels worse?

To feel worthless, without a purpose? Or to be a huge failure when you try to be significant? You tried and tried, but you just died..

To be so all alone? Or to just want to be left all alone? Even if you don't really want to be alone..

To be surrounded by a lot of people and still feel lonely because not one of them really cares? Or to be surrounded by people who seem to care, but to not really feel that they do? They only act so caring when they need something from you..

To be under-appreciated? Or to get used to being under-appreciated? Even if it gets more tiring and tiring each day..

To know that you cannot help a friend? Or to realize that in doing so, you forget to help yourself? There's only so much you can put your mind into..

To know fully well that someone dear to you has changed? Or to see that someone dear to you pretend that he has not changed? He even has the impudence to pretend that he still cares..

To not know what to do? Or to know what to do after all, but it's not really what you want? Heck, you're not even sure of what you really want..

To perpetually pray, hope and wish for that one special thing that may never come? Or to finally realize that it really isn't meant for you? Who knows, maybe you don't really deserve it..

To feel that you don't deserve to get anything? Or to discover that indeed, you don't deserve anything? Because it looks like you're not going to get anything..


To be a parent and see your child in great pain? Or to be the child who knows you have caused your parents a great pain?
I mean, seriously, who cries the most tears at night?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Train of thoughts 3: Makati Standoff Edition!

I am sure that by now, you all know what Trillanes and friends have done over the dawn of the long weekend. If you wanna know more, click here for the Inquirer.net's coverage of the Makati standoff.

But for this post, I just wanna share my thoughts. It will not be an organized essay, because I do not know enough details in Philippine politics to rival the editorial opinion of the major broadsheet columnists in the country today.

*Where was I when I learned of the standoff? It was already 3pm and I just boarded a bus on my way home to Pampanga. The bus TV was on and it screened the ABS-CBN coverage. I was actually surprised because Pampanga commuters like me know that Bataan Transit buses have always been Kapuso, haha!

*My overall thought on the matter as I finished the pizza kariman I bought to serve as my on-the-go lunch: what the hell was Trillanes thinking?! Apparently, other people shared the same thought, so imagine my amusement when an article of the same title (well, sans 'the hell') was featured on the Inquirer front page for December 1.

*I didn't really pay attention to the events that was unfolding during the rest of my trip home. I figured I would read about it on the newspaper the next day anyway. Besides, I didn't really think it was a cause of alarm for me. All I knew was that Trillanes and friends "took over" the Peninsula Manila Hotel (or is it Manila Peninsula?) and (newsflash!) were demanding for PGMA's resignation. I didn't really know who was with him. So when I switched on the TV in the evening and saw Bibeth Orteza boldly declaring that she was proud to be a Filipino right now, I thought she was one of the good guys and that there's more to Trillanes 'stupid gimik'. Only to realize later on, as I continued to watch the news and get more details on the day's events, that Trillanes' staging was what it really was: a stupid one.

*Did Trillanes (and friends) actually think that by holing themselves in a posh Makati hotel would actually encourage the middle class to join him? We all know how pivotal the middle class' participation is on the success of any uprising or mass demonstration, right?

*He even had the gall to invoke his 'duties' and 'powers' as a Senator. Did he actually think a huge percent of his 11 million voters would actually join them at Makati? Did he actually think he was popular enough to lead another People Power Revolution?

*Political analysts say the AFP's approach and handling of the standoff was an overkill and that the treatment of the media after Trillanes surrendered was uncalled for. I agree. Yun lang masasabi ko, haha! Like I said, I am not trying to be a big-time political columnist here.

*By now, you may have received the text joke about the funny lessons learned from Trillanes' recent stunt. Na pwede pala lakarin ang Makati City Hall papunta ng Manila Pen.. Na kasya pala ang tangke sa hotel.. Na nakakatakot si Ces Drilon kapag hindi naayusan, haha! In the end, the recent Makati Standoff was actually a hilarious showcase of misguided patriotism.. albeit with serious implications.

*I am sure, one of the major question for the aftermath is: Why did Trillanes and friends fail? I am sure, most columnists have given their take on this, and I couldn't agree more to most of them. But here is my personal view on the matter.
First of all, hassle na pumunta pa ako na Makati. Pauwi na ako ng Pampanga eh, long weekend pa. Bakit ako magpapagod na lumuwas pabalik ng Makati?
Secondly, I never voted for Trillanes in the last elections. Yes, I agree that PGMA is one of the worst kind of leaders the country has had in the post-Martial Law era. Yes, our country is in dire need of moral revolution, especially in the government leadership. I sympathize with their cause, but I do not agree with their actions.
No matter the desperation or exasperation of the current administration, holing oneself up inside a commercial and public establishment is and never will be justifiable. Mag-rarally ka na lang, mang-iistorbo ka pa ng mga kababayan mo? Tapos biglang isisgaw ni Bibeth Orteza on national television that she was proud to be a Filipino? So being a Filipino is about disrupting peace and order in the country's top commercial district? It's just so wrong on many levels -- economic, err, teka, economic lang pala, haha!
For me, no single person in Philippine politics today has enough moral ascendancy and integrity to lead an unconstitutional change of executive leadership in the country. (If it were Raul Roco, I would've considered joining a rally. Pero patay na siya. *Sad*
So what do we do now? The safest (and legal) bet would be to wait for the 2010 elections. Wala eh, nanalo na ang mga trapong pulitiko (whether or not they were actually voted by many people by virture of stupidity or these trapos just cheated is another issue). For the meantime, we all need to be vigilant, and not run out of hope and sense of country.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Early Christmas Cheer! (Year 2)

It's that season once again - a season of love, peace and all things mushy and good, hehe! And for the second year in a row, Christmas cheer took over me early on and much like last year, I have no idea why! I mean, there's is really nothing different on the coming Christmas, nothing that would set it apart from previous Christmases.


Again, for the second year in a row, I decorated our humble apartment at Quezon City. From hanging garlands with Christmas balls and flowers, we now have snowflakes! I chanced upon a site where you can design snowflake patterns and see with just one click how your design would look like. I also downloaded snowflake patterns by other users which I used in producing the snowflakes for our living room wall, with the help of an orgmate (a frequent apartment visitor) and a housemate.


LEFT: Our apartment sala, with the partially finished decors
RIGHT: View from below of the hanging Christmas garlands


Two weekends ago, my sister and I shopped for new Christmas decors for our home at Pampanga. And my, was it a very happy feeling! Haha! It was fun rummaging around the whole National Book Store for the best decorations that our budget could afford (the budget was generous enough to allow for lots of creativity!). We had a target budget and I forgot to bring a calculator, but fortunately, my Math wizard of a nephew came with us. So I dictated to him the rounded off prices for him to sum up, haha! I must admit, it was one of the best shopping experience I've had in my entire life. You're probably laughing at my kababawan, haha, but really, I immensely enjoyed looking for the best buys for Christmas decors. Hmmm, was it because I was not shopping for myself but for my family? Wushuuu.. haha! Mushy much!



LEFT: I formed a Christmas Tree 'landscape' out of snowflakes at the wall of our sort-of hallway.
RIGHT: The Christmas garland at our dining room. Identical garlands are placed at our living room windows.


For close-ups of the snowflakes and more shots, click here

So! Will the coming Christmas be as cheerful as it's supposed to be? Hmmm... No special someone (not that I mind), so no romantic happiness for me, haha! No definite budget for Christmas shopping, so no material happiness for me! As far as I am concerned, I have no bitter enemies recently, so no happiness-brought-about-by-forgiving-someone-this-Christmas for me, hehe! Hmmm... sana na lang, madami akong pasalubong sa parents ko, haha!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The "One More Chance" Post

I watched One More Chance last Wednesday, on its first screening day. Baduy na kung baduy, wala akong pakialam, hehe. I watched it with 3 orgmates (mind you, we were three guys and a girl, an unlikely combination indeed for a romantic movie, a local one at that!).

Anyway, this post will not be a technical review of the movie. Let’s just say that the movie pushed me to ponder on a lot of things – relationships (of the people around me, sa tingin ko makaka-relate sila, haha!), my own lovelife (or lack of it, hehe!) and love in general, and the inevitable pain that comes with it. As I write this post, I have the theme song, I’ll Never Go by Erik Santos, played on loop, for ambiance enhancement, haha!

The movie is a good one, well worth my money (syempre, Star Cinema eh! Go Kapamilya, haha!). What I liked about it is that it is a matured love story, a far cry from the horrendous show, Abt Ur Luv. (Yahaak talaga, it makes me cringe to even think about that show!). The characters from the movie belongs to my own age bracket, more or less, that’s why it was all the more appreciated by me. I’m about to turn 23, I am not getting any younger, and definitely, I have no time to play around and engage in teenybopper relationships. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the most meaningful line from the movie for me is this: It takes grown-ups to make a relationship work.

It made me think: is lack of maturity the main reason why relationships break up eventually, no matter how much love is there? Well, I have witnessed personally that love isn't always enough (and in the movie, you will see why). Quite ironic that when we comfort and talk to our friends who are having problems with their own partners, the question we always ask as if the answer to it is the only thing that matters is this: Mahal mo pa ba?

I couldn’t really say I could relate to the situation portrayed in the movie, but I was really able to feel the pain because some people really close to my heart (friends ha, hindi chever, hehe!) who could directly relate. I am there when my friends cry their eyes out. I am there when they say how painful it is. I am there when they tell me how hard it is.

I've never had a serious relationship in my whole life, but that’s not to say I haven’t fallen in love (wushuuuu, haha!). Being the one who is eternally single, I've been linked to a lot of my girl-friends. Yung iba may basis, yung iba wala. Yung iba totoo, yung iba trips lang, haha! Which begs the question, why am I single after all this time? Is it really a case of not having found ‘the one’ yet? Is no girl good enough for me? Or am I not good enough for any girl? Hehe! Of course, a few girls have sparked my interest. On most cases, it my feelings weren’t reciprocated (awwww..) and on some, it’s not them.. it’s me. Haha! Whatta cliché!

On the it’s-not-them-it’s-me cases, my dictum is this: kung hindi ko rin kayang panindigan, huwag na lang. Oo, kikiligan ako, kikiligin kami, kikiligan tayong lahat. Pero pagkatapos nun, ano na? Napakagwapo ko naman para manloko, diba?

Like I said, love isn't always enough… at least for me.

So am I commitment-phobic? Nah, I hopefully don’t think so. Every now and then, I do think about seriously having that ‘someone’ in my life. But when other equally important factors come into play, I know that my current choice is the right one for the moment. I will not risk other people’s feelings for personal gain (at love), most especially because these ‘people’ are most likely people I am good friends with. No, it’s not a case of “I am not willing to risk the friendship for fear of rejection”, because I personally believe that a genuinely sincere friendship can survive that kind of challenge. But it’s more like “I am not willing to risk the friendship for lack of certainty”. For if and when I decide to cross that bridge of from friendship to love, I think I at least owe to the other person to be sincere.

So did I cry in the movie? I would’ve, really… but laughter got the best of me because my friends (the two guys I was with, and not the girl) were already crying and I can't help but laugh, haha!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Epistaxis kung epistaxis!

Last weekend, my org, UP Aguman, successfully held the Pautakan 2007. It is an annual quiz show for high school and elementary students. I was a contestant myself back in my high school years. Anyway, one of the things that sets our quiz show apart from other quiz shows is that before the contest proper, we always ask the contestants some tension-reliever questions. Just silly, funny and mundane questions that we hope would elicit a humorous response from the kids.

From the previous years, we've asked questions like this:
*If you were an animal, why would you be a cow?
*If time is gold, what is silver?
*Ano ang paborito mong hotdog?

Oh diba, kagaguhan lang talaga? Haha! This year was no exemption. Here are some excerpts, my comment are italicized:
Quizmaster: Kung tatlo na lang ang buhok mo, ano ang mas gusto mo, sama-sama o hiwa-hiwalay?
Contestant: Sama-sama na lang po, para matibay. Oo, tapos itirintas mo, para kikay..

Quizmaster: Kung ikaw si Jinky Pacquio, sino ang gusto mong kumanta ng Lupang Hinirang sa laban ni Manny?
Contestant: Si Ara Mina na lang po, para masaya! Aba, ke-bata-bata, chismosa, haha!

Quizmaster: Kung ililigtas ka ng isa sa mga Zaido, bakit si Aljur o si Red Zaido ang pipiliin mo?
Contestant (from Aljur Abrenica's high school): Syempre, wala kaming choice no.. Errr, kasi syempre, galing sa school namin, proud kami.. Pero sa hitsura mo, parang hindi ka masyadong proud? Haha! (Note: I graduated from the same school, bwahahaha!)

Quizmaster: Kung kamukha mo si Kokey, ano ang gagawin mo?
Contestant: Hindi na po ako lalabas ng bahay!

But this particular question was the best for me!
Quizmaster: Kung papalitan mo ang pose ni Oble, anong pose ang ipapalit mo?
Contestant 1: Errr, naka-spread din po ang legs..
Quizmaster: Aba, mala-Jumping Jack, no?
Contestant 2
(from Aljur Abrenica's high school): Siguro ano na lang po, dumudugo po yung ilong..
Quizmaster: Ganon? Haha! So may fountain effect ka pang nalalaman ha? Sorry, UP can't afford that, haha! Grabe, sa sobrang katalinuhan, tulad ni Inday, nag-no-nosebleed si Oble, bwahaha!

FYI, Aljur Abrenica's high school, my very own alma mater as well, was the Champion. Oha! Oha! And no, the winner was not determined through text voting, hehe!



Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A true leader does not give up on his flock

I read from somewhere that there are six types of leaders: 1) Political - kings, governments, etc; 2) Military - generals, heroes, etc; 3) Social - leaders of reform, activists, etc; 4) Cultural - artists, musicians, philosophers, etc; 5) Economic - leaders of industry, CEOs, etc; and 6) Religious - high priests, popes, etc.

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
~Peter F. Drucker

If you ask me, there only two: one who leads to be recognized and one who leads to serve. Unfortunately for us Filipinos, we have more leaders of the former kind than the latter.

Take for example, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. While watching the evening news yesterday, I had one realization: that in effect, GMA is worse than Erap. Why so for me? Allow me to code switch for more impact, hehe: Si Erap, ninanakawan ang mga Pilipino. Si GMA, ninakawan na ang mga Pilipino, nang-gagago pa.

I could argue though that Erap made a fool out of the masses by still pretending all this time that he is innocent. So yes, nang-gagago din siya. But the thing is, Erap's clout is only applicable to the uneducated masses and a few rich people who are just as gago as him. But GMA, oh, don't get me started on her, haha! She had the gall to pretend to be something else other than what she really is: a cheater, corrupt and a disgrace to all Filipino leaders. Her (office's) press releases, official statements or explanations on all controversies / issues hounding her administration makes me sick! Does she really think she could fool people - as in even the educated middle class (and upper one at that)? It's one thing to cheat in the elections. It's another bribe people with millions. But to execute and pardon a convicted corrupt leader just to stay in power? Gard, she needs psychological help.

Back in my high school, we were taught to be servant leaders. Well, at least our teachers and superiors tried to. When you're in senior year, you are supposed to be in-charge of the student affairs of the school, right? I mean, as a senior, you are the logical choice to be the officers of student groups or clubs, team captains of sports teams, the lead editors of your school paper, etc. But in my senior year, I kinda laid low. While the rest of my classmates who were also running for honors like me ran for multiple leadership positions in multiple clubs and student groups, I only chose to run in one club and I even lost -- just because my friends in that club were having lunch during the election, hehe! Why didn't I join the bandwagon of running for leadership positions just to up my extra-curricular activity grade and up my chances to be the Valedictorian? Dahil ayokong makipag-sabayan sa mga pumapapel, wala namang binatbat.

I hated the way my classmates would run for officership just for the sake of having a 'position'. Imagine someone who can't even get his subject-verb agreement right in his sentences, and yet he won as the president of the English Club. Imagine someone who smokes (outside school grounds, at least) and yet he's an officer of the Junior Drugwatch club, which by the way, promotes abstinence from drugs and smoking. And the list of ironies goes on and on.

In college, thank God, it was a different ballgame. This time, extra-curricular activities had no bearing on my grade. (Not that I paid particular attention to my grade, hehe!). In fact, my extra-curricular responsibilities took its toll on my acads. But when I honed my leadership skills in college, I knew I wanted to be the leader for the right reason -- I wanted to serve.

And I simply knew I was the best. Haha! Joke! Noble na sana eh no, naging conceited pa?! Haha!

While the UP culture helps shape its students to the right kind of leaders that our nations will need someday, may nakakalusot pa rin. We (UP students) all know that not all Student Council candidates aim to serve the student body. We all know that some students only join organizations and eventually lead in those organizations just for curriculum vitae purposes. In fact, my own organization is not exempt from these kind of leaders who are only driven by their desire to be famous or recognized instead of being driven by genuine concern and passion to serve, to make things better. Pero ganun talaga, may mga ganoong tao talaga.

So what do we do? Well, we are in a democratic country, so to a certain extent, we can do something about it.

As I type this post, my right index finger is stained violet because I voted in the Barangay Elections yesterday. I was reluctant to 'waste' my time on vote for people I don't even know, but I voted anyway. For the Barangay Captain, I voted my brother-in-law's candidate. I trust Kuya Dennis' judgment for Kuya Dennis himself is some sort of leader in our community here so he knows better. As for the Kagawads, well, my strategy was to vote for all the women candidates. I am not really super passionate about women's rights but I figured, we should have more women leaders. Ayoko naman na puro mga lolo ang mga iboboto ko para sa Kagawad, diba? I know that I didn't take the elections as seriously as I should, but believe me, when it comes to Presidential Elections, I do make it a point to have an educated choice, especially in the elections last May 2007.

Let me end my thoughts on leadership by encouraging you to register and vote during our elections. We have a huge voting population and it is not as wise as it should be just because educated and young people like us feel it's too much hassle to visit our local Comelec offices and get ourselves registered. Kaya nananalo ang mga gago eh, kasi walang bumoboto sa mga matitino. If you are of age and you're not yet registered, please make sure to register yourself in time for the 2010 Presidential Elections (sa 2009 pa yun, pero wala lang, para aware kayo, hehe). Let us make sure that leaders like GMA will not be elected anymore.

_______________
I'm back! Well, at least I hope to be. The truth is, I didn't want to have a serious topic for my sort-of-comeback post. But I just really wanted to share these thoughts of mine. Mayroon kasi akong kilala na mag-reresign soon eh, baka sakaling ma-enlighten siya, hehe! Sana si GMA yun, kasama ng lahat ng tuta niya at ni Erap. So while a true leader does not give up on his flock, kung hindi ka naman talaga leader in the truest sense of the word, edi huwag ka na lang mag-lider-lideran, diba?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Yet another post just so no one could say I am on a blog leave..

“Silence is a kind of therapeutic communication. But sometimes, it turns out to be non-therapeutic. Why? Cos in your silence, someone feels neglected..”
~Forwarded text message

..Which I think soo applies to this blog of mine, haha!

Well, I am not really silent because I am not exactly on blog leave. But come one, a weekly frequency of updates is not a good sign. And whenever I do update, it’s not the type of content I would shortlist for my “Best Of” compilation when I reach my 300th blog post milestone, haha!

My hits agree on this. I'm averaging way below my average this time last year. So do my comments. I’d have to wait for days to be able to read new ones, haha! And what’s surprising, I couldn’t care less! Whereas before, I would worry if my post was so boring or uninteresting that my readers wouldn’t dare share their own two cents worth, hehe!

The truth is, it seems like I kinda ran out of ideas to type out loud lately. Maybe I kinda got bored with my own style. Whereas before, I’d do something or experience something and at the back of my mind, I’d say, “I am so gonna blog about this!” But these days, not so much.

Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis for my blog? Haha!

I’ve ran out of intriguing topics to write about. I've ran out of intriguing real-life friends to write about, haha! Or maybe, there are actually many intriguing things to write about but I just don’t care. I don’t want to share the same old ranting, it kinda feels lame for me. I wouldn’t want to share my everyday adventures or misadventures either, because it’s the same old stuff. Same old..

Maybe I should just switch to having an advice column for a while, just to make things interesting around here, haha! Just send in your dilemmas or problems (except financial ones) to my email: jrldizon@gmail.com. Your emails will be treated with confidentiality of course. Haha! This is so pathetic. Haha! But hey, is it such a bad idea?

Here’s to hoping I would be able to think of something creative in the next few days!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Blogging from Baguio Citeeh!

Last time I was here was in the summer of 1998. Back then, my sister just graduated and was still unmarried. The trip was made possible by Mom's membership in our parish's CWL. Fast forward to October of 2007, I find myself in Baguio again. This time, I already have 3 nephews and this trip is made possible because of my nephew's excellent performance in his Kumon Math lessons -- he will receive a gold medal award tomorrow at the awarding ceremonies for all gold medalists from all Kumon centers in northern Luzon.

So how is it? Soooo effing cold, haha! Sobra! We all know the city has an exceptionally cold climate due to altitude reasons, but this day (weekend) is extra cold -- it's raining, hard. The moment I stepped out of the Genesis bus, I felt like I was in a giant refrigerator! A thick fog surround us. Syempre, nabana naman ako, haha!

We arrived 3 hours ahead of our check-in time at the hotel that Kumon arranged for us to stay in. So we had lunch and killed time at the famous SM City Baguio. Finally, I witnessed first hand the fuss about SM Baguio's architecture, because all these years, I kept hearing rave reviews about it from my friends who to go to Baguio.

If and when I can afford it, I do love traveling, but for some reason I don't share the same fixation about Baguio City. Sure I realize that it's the summer capital of the world and all that jazz. Ever since my grade school days, I was taught that it's a world class tourist destination. Not that I disagree, but the thought of bathing in freezing water turns me off, haha, even if I am well aware that heaters have already been invented in this day and age.

Anyway, this Baguio is too short for me to enjoy it to the fullest. To make it worse, like I said, it's raining hard. It sucks to know that I traveled all the way to Baguio just to stay indoors, haha! Hopefully, tomorrow's weather will be better. But in fairness, thick fog covering the mountain tops is quite breath-taking.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Change Is Gonna Come

“If along the way, you act like you're someone you're not, pretty soon that’s who you become.”
~High School Musical 2

I'm sure you’ve heard of the cliché “the only thing constant in the world is change”, yada yada yada. But has anyone – whether a friend, a family or a mere former acquaintance – actually told you, “Uy, anlaki na ng pinagbago mo!?”

In order not to sound too preachy or condescending about this ‘topic’, I asked two good friends to identify what changes I have undergone as a person throughout the years. Here’s a summary of what they’ve told me.

STUDENT ACHIEVER. No doubt, this is one of the biggest changes I’ve undergone over the years. According to my friend, I epitomized the dream student a teacher could ever ask for. But now, not so much, haha! I am not the academic juggernaut anymore. Early on in college life, I realized that there are far more important things in life than good grades. But, not being able to do my best is a different matter.

PRUDENT AND PENNY-WISE. Well, I wasn’t exactly what you would brand as “kuripot”. But I owe my early fiscal maturity to my Mom who let me have my own ATM account at the age of 14. Not that there’s lot of money in it to splurge with, haha! She always emphasized about having at least a few savings for emergency purposes. I don’t get my allowance on a per-gimik basis – I get a regular monthly amount instead. The setup is still the same these days, but now I feel like I am too impulsive when it comes to buying – even on grocery items, haha!

A BRAT NO MORE. We use to call him “RK”. Oh well, actually, he is, up to now, a rich kid minus the “brattiness”. I still remember him pouting and brandishing his gloomy face in the house when he can’t have what he wants right away, may it be a cellphone or a laptop. Back then, he even had a better cellphone than us. What a brat! Now I know he has realized already that he cannot have everything right away. More than that, I know he now understands that he cannot have everything. These are the exact words of my friend. Her words say it all.

COMPUTING ATTITUDE. I remember having a fight with a good friend over a favor he asked of me which I didn’t give because for some reason beyond me, “it was unfair”. I guess that rift was the turning point of my ‘computing attitude or in Tagalog, ‘pagiging makwenta’. So these days, I am the ever giving friend and Kuya for my little brothers and sisters. Naks, parang ambait ko talaga, haha!

CHORES GALORE. I used to be the bunso of our apartment so I had room to be carefree. But not anymore. I am practically the landlord, bossing around my young housemates to accomplish their tasks, with deadly threats to boot for any failure to do so, haha! Quite ironic really, for when I am back at our home in Pampanga, I regress back to my childhood days, back when Mom would continually nag me to clean my room.

IN SUMMARY. The ranting and brat Rex has long been gone. He’s going through a lot but he chose to be silent about it and face it head on.

So what’s my personal assessment of myself? Well, I would like to think I am wiser these days. (Sige, na, pagbigyan niyo na ako na magyabang, haha!) In fact, for guy my age, I feel like I have experienced a lot of stuff an ordinary 22-year-old wouldn’t have experienced yet. And to think I haven’t had my heart seriously broken yet! (You see, I feel that at my age, having one’s heart broken should be the most painful experience of one’s life so far, and not be dismissed from college for up to 4 times, hehe!).

For me, it’s the stuff that we go through that changes us. (Okay fine, this realization is pretty obvious, haha!). I am just lucky (credits to my parents who definitely raised me well, I think, haha!) that despite the big stash of bad experiences I’ve had, I emerged a better person each time.

But that is not to say that right now, I am the best that I can be (waw, Mutya Buena’s song just started ringing through my ears). For I have yet to emerge the ultimate survivor completely. The ideal process would be to continually change and improve, for life never runs out of tests and experiences that shake us out of our comfort zones.

“Change… We don't like it, we fear it. But we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind. It hurts to grow and anybody who tells you it doesn't is lying. But here's the truth: sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh sometimes, change is good. Sometimes, change is everything.”
~Grey’s Anatomy, Season 4, Episode 1

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blogs Galore! 18: Current Events Edition

U-NIBERSIDAD NG PILIPINAS! U!

It's been a week, so by now, I am sure you all know that UP won (over UST, FEU and the rest of them UAAP schools). Of course, I am proud of them. Considering our 0-14 record in Men's Basketball, at least in another highly publicized UAAP event, UP won.

I am personally surprised at the 0.5 point difference between UP and UST. I thought given UP's almost flawless ruotine and kick-ass attitude and UST's incomplete pyramid and weird lack of energy, UP will win by a mile. I say that UST's Salinggawi Dance Troupe's lack of energy is 'weird' because for the past years, I must admit (even if I hate to, haha!) that UST SDT has always been fluid and graceful with their routines. Never mind the issues of lack of originality -- UST SDT is a dance troupe indeed, so magaling talaga at magandang tingnan ang pag-galaw nila as a whole. But this year, I felt that the grace and fluidity that has always been a trademark of UST SDT was missing. Is it just me, or they looked so tense and a little down-trodden during the rest of their performance because of the 'fall' early on their number?

Now about the 'UST SDT Photo Scandal'. 'No comment' na lang. It's like Malu Fernandez all over again, albeit in a lesser degree. The more people comment, the more the issue gets out of hand. But if ask me if that offensive photo changes the way I perceive UST, well, the answer is NO. I have friends from UST, and UST has its own moments of glory as an educational institution. Stupid behavior from 5 UST students cannot (or must not) ruin the reputation that UST has built in its 400 years of existence. What I don't like though is when our own schools' academic excellence records are dragged into the issue (which should be totally irrelevant, by the way). UP is UP. Period.

But anyway, since our Pep Squad won FAIR AND SQUARE, we're entitled to a year's worth of bragging rights, right? Hahaha!

ABSOLUTE PARDON OF ERAP. WHAT THE?!

What the hell is the Arroyo Administration thinking?! A judicial process is still going on (there's still the appeal to the Supreme Court by the Estrada lawyers), so why is Malacañ
ang so excited? Obviously, it's an issue of political survival for GMA. Haaay naku..

My take on this? Absolutely and definitely no pardon whatsever for me. Don't I have compassion in my heart to spare for an ailing and 'respected actor' and 'public servant'? Well, think of all the poor people that the huge money that Estrada illegally amassed could have helped. You should know by then that you're barking at the wrong tree. Ask Estrada himself instead (and his slutty mistresses).

His followers are delusional. They should not be allowed to vote, for they don't exercise wisdom* when they do so.

*I used the word 'wisdom' instead of intelligence, so as not to belittle uneducated people. Wisdom in choosing our leaders can be acquired even without the help of diploma, right?

FRAT ISSUES

So, here's my super late thoughts on Cris Mendez's death.

For us UP students, it's a common knowledge that hazing exists (in varying degrees) in certain fraternities' initiation rites. Yes, that holds true despite the law against it. Heck, there's even a university rule that bars freshmen from joining fraternities and yet, these (some) fraternities actively recruit freshies.

I don't know what Cris Mendez's reasons were for agreeing to join the fraternity, but considering his age and background, I am sure that he fully knows what he was getting into. I am not saying it's his fault that he died, of course. His only fault is that he trusted the wrong people.

My provincial organization has always been enough for me -- in terms of personal relations, training, etc. So I never felt the need to join a frat. And it's not like a fraternity would be sane enough to recruit someone as 'physically-challenged' as me, haha! (I was scavenging my brain for the proper English word for lampa, but to no avail, haha!).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Premiere Week

'Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. And no, I'm not talking about Christmas (although on second thought, the 'Ber months are already here!). For US TV Series fans like me, this week and next week will be quite a hectic week -- it's one season premiere after another for our favorite US TV shows!

DRAMA
Brothers & Sisters, Season 2, Sept 30, ABC
It's currently my #1 favorite US TV show. It's well-written, the ensemble cast is equally amazing and entertaining. It's a family drama, so expect a lot of mushy issues to come up. But this is not your American version of our hard-core drama teleseryes. I actually love the way they handle the dramatic scenes -- it's mushy enough to thug the strings of your heart, but subdued enough to not come across as scripted (although we all know it's scripted). This is pretty much Grey's Anatomy, with all the wit, humor and drama, sans the convoluted love lives that tend to be annoying, especially in the past season, hehe!
Grey's Anatomy, Season 4, Sept 27, ABC
The past season was too gloomy for me, a lot of characters have been killed or written off. But I am not giving up on Grey's yet. It's still my #2 pick. I do miss my Seattle Grace gang (as if close kami no? Haha!).

FANTASY / ACTION
Heroes, Season 2, Sept 24, NBC
It's X-Men on TV, minus the spandex costumes. So Peter and Nathan blew up after all, up up in the air that is. So what happens next? Brothers & Sisters may be my favorite show but this takes the cake when it comes to suspense and making me look forward to Tuesdays for a brand new dose of Heroes. I wonder what Veronica Mars' star Kristen Bell's powers gonna be.
Prison Break, Season 3, Sept 17, FOX

And Michael Scoffield and friends are IN PRISON YET AGAIN! Geesh.. Haha! Well, it won't be Prison Break without the steel bars! Bad news though, Dr. Sara Tancredi will not be back for the new season. There goes the only rose among the handsome thorns, hehe!
Smallville, Season 7, Sept 27, The CW
Season 7! Could you believe that? When will this series end? Haha! The truth is, the only reason I am still following this show is out of curiosity -- how young Clark and young Lois will end up.
Ghost Whisperer, Season 3, Sept 28, CBS
I know this is not as popular as my other choices, but so what. I am into these kind of shows, hehe! Because I like the way Melinda (the lead character) helps people with their loss and the ghosts with their unfinished business.

COMEDY
Ugly Betty, Season 2, Sept 27, ABC

Given DH's less than remarkable story development the past 2 seasons, UB has taken over the #1 spot on my favorite comedy-drama series. Not to mention that there are a lot of eye-candies here, haha!
Desperate Housewives, Season 4, Sept 30, ABC

I miss the good ol'Housewives days. Ergo, the first season. This show has failed (at least for me) to surpass its first season in terms of story and comic content. Susan (the supposed main lead) has become more annoying than ever! I'm am still gonna watch it though, because the other characters more than make up for Susan's shortcomings in terms of character substance. Besides, I miss forwarding text messages of quotes from this series, hehe!
How I Met Your Mother, Season 3, Sept 24, CBS
This is the only sitcom on my Must-Watch List these days, hehe! Considering the fact that I am a fan of Friends, it must be the barkada dynamics and antics that has endeared me to this extremely hilarious show! Besides, I am really curious, who the mother is, haha!

Haaay, torrents galore na naman nito! Haha!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

There is justice in the Philippines..


.. after all. Yey!
Wala lang, gusto ko lang i-share. Here's to hoping that this will not adversely affect the way of things in our country.
For more info about this news, click here and here.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Michael Fajatin meets his match

If you don't know who Michael Fajatin is, well, let me introduce him to you..




Ano kaya reaction ni Arnold Clavio sa Live Report na yon? Haha! I am not sure when this news was, but I am certain it has been more than a year since I first watched this hilarious video.

And just recently, a Miss Teen USA finalist gave Michael Fajatin a run for his money!



Oha! Wala akong masabi, hehe!
A few days after, Miss South Carolina guested on an NBC show to talk about her final question debacle which by then, has already spread throughout American blogs and the Youtube. If you wanna know how she answered the question the second time around, click here.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Unpopular Opinion 5: UAAP Men's Basketball is overhyped

All views and opinion expressed by this blogger does not in any way reflect that of blogger.com or the whole blogosphere for that matter. Whatever bold statement read here should not be taken as the omnipotent truth. This blogger only wishes to share his opinions of the way things are in this universe, of which he is entitled to. If you don't share his opinion, you are very much welcome to share yours. But don't in any way hate this blogger for whatever opinion he has that is opposed to yours, for he does not in any way imply that he alone is right and that everyone else is wrong. Respect is valued here, as much as your opinion is, whatever it maybe.

Okay fine, the Fighting Maroons suck -- big time most of the time. But so what if UP has a 0-13 record in Men's Basketball? Life goes on for us UP students. It's not like we're counting on divine intervention or something, haha!

I don't want to proceed in basketball discussions because frankly, I am not a regular follower of the sport and the side issues attached to it. Neither am I an ardent Maroon fan (with the exception of the UP Pep Squad probably). If the Maroons win any game, "Yey!" If not, "Oh, well.." Certain victories are sweeter than the rest, but frankly, despite being an Isko myself, I have resigned to the fact that sports is not one of UP's strength as an education institution.

That's why I hate the way UAAP's Men's Basketball is overhyped.

It is televised via Studio 23. TV and newspaper news crews cover it more than the other sports. Thus, its players (especially the exceptional ones) are far more popular than other UAAP athletes. There are many factors why so -- sponsors, sponsors and sponsors. It's a chicken-and-egg case for me -- more people follow the competition so naturally, the news people cover it extensively. But since more news media cover it, the people have more opportunities to follow it.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against basketball. In fact, back in my elementary years, despite my personal knack for it, I was quite the avid fan of the Alaska Milkmen, especially in 1996, their grand slam year. I never was able to watch a game live for economic and geographic reasons. But that didn't stop me from making a bond paper size cardboard sign that shouted, "Go Alaska!" and waving it in front the television. I was also a huge fan of the Pampanga Dragons when they won the first ever MBA Championships.

What I hate though is the way Men's Basketball sort of represents the rest of the UAAP because of the lack of media coverage in the other sports. I am fully aware that UAAP Basketball's fans are not only limited to the students of the 8 participating universities. I am sure high school students and college students from other colleges or universities who share a similar passion for basketball are fans too. But do all of them know that there actually other sports competitions in the UAAP other than basketball?

When UST won the title at the expense of Ateneo in the 69th Season, that game hogged the evening headlines. Together with the rest of the country, we all heard that UST bravely won the basketball title. But did we ever learn that UST not only won last season's basketball title but also the Overall Title in the Seniors and Juniors Division? Last year's overall title is UST's 19th in the past 20 seasons (the other one was UP's, back in Season 1997-1998). Which bring their total to 34 Overall Championships. Very impressive right? More impressive than a basketball championship, if you ask me, for the latter just contributes 15 points to the university's total score in the league standings (UST had 331 points VS UP's 254 points).

How about my alma mater UP? We were actually 2nd overall last year and the other year (Wiki has no information on the older seasons). In fact, in the last season, we were the Champions in Girls' Swimming, Men's Swimming and Women's Judo. UP was the 1st runner-up in 10 other competitions. For the current season, while the men's are the bottom-dwellers with 0-13, the Lady Maroons actually share the lead with Ateneo with an 11-1 record. Do you think, UP sports (as a whole) would still get a lot of flak if its success in other competitions were also publicized and had more exposure? I don't think so.

Just the other week, I learned something about the relation between perception and substance from an alumna of my org in UP. And I can't help but relate the lessons I learned in UP's pathetic basketball campaign (at least in the men's division). Just because we suck big time in the highly televised games, it undermines the rest of our athletes in terms of perception. Ateneo and La Salle however, just because they are 'rich' universities, they are stereotyped to be well-trained players (a generalization I am guilty of myself).

So what's my point then? Haha! Well, I just want other sports to be televised as well, not only for the welfare of the winning teams in those competitions but also of the sports themselves. I think that in its own little way, a bigger awareness of the other sports helps in promoting that sports to us Filipinos. I feel we are too obsessed with winning an Olympic gold in basketball even if we actually have higher chances in other sports.

_____
This year's Cheerdance Competition will be on September 16, 2007! Go UP! Haha! *cough* bitter sa UST!
*cough*

U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas!
Matatapang, matatalino
Walang takot, kahit kanino
Hinding-hindi magpapahuli
Ganyan kaming mga taga-UP
U-nibersidad ng Pilipinas! U!

Well, except in men's basketball. Haha!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Definitely not running for honors



This is not a graph of the Dollar-Peso exchange rate the past few months where the lower the value, the stronger the Philippine Peso gets. It's how my GWA* (General Weighted Average) plunged through my n-years at UP Diliman, ehe.

They say that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, here's a quick recap of the story behind the 'picture'.. (Click the picture for a larger view)

1) It's my first sem ever in college and obviously, at UP. Incidentally, it's also the highest point of the graph, haha! Back then, it wasn't my strategy to excel in my subjects that consisted of GEs (General Education, UP's term for minor subjects) and a 5-unit Math major. Of course, I studied for my exams and I aimed for above average scores. But I never aimed for the highest marks the way I used to back in high school. I figured back then, I am but a small guppy in a sea of science high school aruwanas, how could I possibly stand out? Haha! I also decided that I am done with trying to meet other people's extreme expectations (read: receiving honors / medals). Looking back after 6 years, do I regret it? Yes.. Haha! Because it was my one and only chance to be a College Scholar (UP's own version of a Dean's Lister), and I didn't even grab the chance. Looking at the empty fields of my resum
é for 'Honors Received' in college, of course, I do regret it.

2) I finally had a EEE major -- a introductory programming course. That sem, I tried to outdo my first semester performance, but alas, my first real taste of hard core programming (my programming lesson back in high school are so easy!) and Chemistry did not cooperate. I redeemed my Math self-esteem that sem though with a 2.0 in my first Calculus course (I got a 4.0 in my college algebra and trigo subject, thank God I managed to pass the removals back then).

3) It's the school year where I was my organization's officer -- my first major extra-curricular responsibility in college. One can assume it affected my academic performance, but really, to produce a 2.50 average for a year where it's 85% majors for me is not an easy feat.

4) My first DROPPED subject -- Math 157 AKA Discrete Math Structures. Primary reason for the surrender? It's the professor, hehe! Dr. Hermo is probably the most feared but famous Math professor in UP in recent memory. But he sure was one of the best mentors. Mabagal lang talaga ako pumick-up, haha!

5) First 5.0 -- EEE 103 and EEE 51. 103 is an introductory course in electrical engineering and 51 is a subject of complicated and convoluted electric circuits. I am just thankful I'm through with those. It's my first time to be a disappointment, at least academically, to my parents so telling them (they're abroad) was a challenge. The reaction was way better than I expected though. :)

6) I was the President of my organization this school year. Yes, yet again, it did affect my studies which bore another DRP and the said 5.0s. After my term, I decided to 'retire' from the leadership business.

7) More 5.0s for me, but it's also my first ever 1.0 on a 3-unit subject -- Psych 101. Wow (sarcastic), a 1.0 on a free elective, haha!

8) My first ever 5.0 and DRP free semester in 3 semesters! But before you say I have redeemed myself, I almost did not achieve this minor achievement. I actually had two 4.0s that sem which I both luckily passed.

9) Dark Ages. The steep decline should say it all, hehe -- a deep hole from which I have to save myself from as of yet. It was the worst year of my life but if I look back at this point in my life someday, I know there was a good reason behind it. You know how your room gets even messier while you try to clean it? You know, the brief period where you put out all your stuff in the open to decide what to and what not to keep, and arrange them properly from thereon. That's how I want to look at that stage of my life.

10) To end on a brighter note, I'll focus on my 4 fruitful summer terms -- all of which were DRP and 5.0 free. At least, my summer sacrifice weren't for naught. :) Notice how my GWA would minutely increase after each summer term.

Obviously, I am barely the achiever that I was back in high school. When I finally graduate from college, I would receive nothing else other than the fake diploma the Engineering Dean would hand to me (the real diploma will be released MONTHS after, haha!).

Do I have regrets? Of course, I do. But not over the medals or honors I would have received if I made the conscious effort to focus entirely on my acads (and probably perform better). Friends would always dish out the patented excuse that after all, "mahirap naman kasi talaga ang course ko -- Engineering ako, CoE pa..". But it's an excuse I would rather not use, and I myself wouldn't deem reasonable (if I were on the receiving end of the excuse). I can't even invoke the classic Starstruck excuse where "tinry ko naman po ang best ko" because deep in my heart I know I didn't.

But what's done is done. (Clich
é excuse na naman, hehe!) I would have to live with the consequences of my mistakes, but at least as I go on with life, I have ways to redeem myself and realize my true potential. Wushu, may mga ganoong statement? Hehe!

At least I had a full college life -- and this is an excuse I would always stand for. With 'full' being defined as something that was designed to teach me some things I wouldn't have learned any other way, and made me a better person. Like I always say, better grades only make me a better student and a better son, but not necessarily a better person.


*Not to be mistakened as my Semestral GWA. Each point in the graph is an updated, overall and as-of-this-sem GWA. My semestral GWA is another story. I would need a deeper Y-axis, haha!
*GE GWA: 1.80, so kahit pala based on minors, hindi pa rin ako Cum Laude, haha!
*Eng'g GWA (subjects required for all Engineering students, regardless of specialization): 2.72
*EEE GWA (all my actual majors): 3.22. Oha, bagsak na bagsak, hehe. Andami kasing 5.0 eh. May mag-ha-hire pa kaya sa akin?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bloody Thursday

About a week ago, I noticed a bond-paper size advertisement for a blood donation drive that will be held at UP Diliman. Of course, such blood drives are no strangers for us UP students. At least one organization will hold such in a month, in partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross. Anyway, the teaser enumerated the many benefits of donating blood: knowing your blood type, being prioritized in case you yourself would need a blood transfusion someday. But the reason that really caught my attention was this -- you would be able to produce new red blood cells. Haha!

Despite the attention the teaser solicited from me, it never really convinced me to donate blood. Not that I have a phobia of blood, needles or pain. I guess what made me hesitant was stories of donors that would feel dizzy or sick afterwards. Not that I am generalizing, for I know that dizziness is a case-to-case basis. And that's exactly why I refuse to donate blood for the first time -- because I don't know what will happen to me after. Besides, I've always thought I am not exactly a very healthy person myself. My own blood might even jeopardize a person's life, haha!

But last Thursday, I agreed to donate blood for the first time (an orgmate was a member of the organization that set up the blood drive last week). I figured, even if I get dizzy after the process, I don't have anything important to do that night anyway. Besides, the blood experts will screen my eligibility anyway, so there was no harm in trying.

I finally verified that my blood type is A. Fergie, another orgmate who donated blood for the first time as well, went first. Being the crybaby that she is, well, she cried! Haha! Even before the Red Cross person inserted the transfusion needle. While waiting for my turn, I wasn't really nervous about the idea of a needle being inserted in my inner elbow. I do know how to handle a little pain. What bugged me though is what would happen to me after I donate my blood. The fat girl that was wincing beside Fergie after her donation wasn't helping to calm my nerves, haha!

The prick from the blood test was way more painful that the one for the transfusion. The Red Cross person said it's because the needles they use for the blood tests are the cheap ones, haha! I thought I would feel my blood gushing out of vains, but I didn't. I didn't feel anything at all. Fergie and I both felt light-headed though, after they drew our blood.

All in all, the experience itself was pretty okay. My friend even said I should donate every 3 months because it turns out I am a healthy donor. Hopefully, the 450mL blood I donated will help save a life soon and will not go to waste. Dugong-bughaw yata ako.. Haha! I didn't get a single cent for my donation (kaya nga donation eh, hehe!), but the Red Cross people gave me an 'bottomless' glass of iced tea and a few biscuits. Hopefully though, this little noble act of mine will merit good karma. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Train of thoughts 2

*I am so loving tennis! This morning, we played tennis yet again. It's my 5th time to play already and this morning we had a different trainer. Jun was our third trainer and by far the most challenging one. His forehand and backhand drills were quite fast-paced. Before, we'd have 10 shots per turn, so when it's not our turn, we have enough time to rest and recharge. But Jun implemented a 1-shot-per-turn policy, haha! So ayun, takbo kung takbo, ikot kung ikot. Add the fact that he intentionally throws the balls farther so we are indeed forced to really run for the ball while maintaining the form and executing a splendid follow-through. Of course, we're not successful all the time, haha! Just to spice things up, we (me, Michael, Bong and Kevin) introduced a bet in our tennis lessons. The one with the most ober-da-bakod shots will have to pay for the drinking water for everyone. (Ober-da-bakod, as in lumagpas sa grounds ng tennis complex grounds ang tira, haha!). As I've never had that kind of shot, I was quite confident I wouldn't lose. But it turned out, it was a quadruple tie -- all of us had ober-da-bakoded the ball twice.

*The looooong weekend we had last week is taking its toll already. There are make-up classes left and right. Oh well, as if I'm affected, haha!

*I was able to watch High School Musical 2 already. I was able to download a torrent last Friday. Well, it was a complete cheesefest, as always. Good thing I love cheese, haha! If you could just get over the fact that it's HSM, and that it's from Disney, and that it's so teenybopper, and that it's for children and teenagers, and that you're probably in your 20s already -- well, you can actually enjoy the movie for its songs. But oh well, that's just me and it isn't suprising that I am able to appreciate because I'm a pop music lover.
If you want to listen to the songs, click here.

*I also watched A Love Story last Monday. The moviehouse was so jampacked that the moviehouse crew prepared monobloc chairs for those who couldn't find any seats. The age bracket of the crowd is quite diverse, although I must point out that most of them are lolas and lolos, haha! And I watched it alone by the way. Haha! I don't mind really. Okay lang, kahit naman yung katabi kong babae, mag-isa lang. Uuuuuy... Yikes, did I just uuuuuy-ed myself? Haha!

Friday, August 17, 2007

BFF

“Sinong bestfriend mo doon?”
“Syempre, ikaw lang!”

Saang commercial na nga kasi galing tong sikat na dialogue na ito? Ewan, ice cream yata yun.

Pero kung ako ang tatanungin, hindi ko alam ang isasagot ko, haha!

Sa aking St Scho days (Kinder to Grade 2), dalawang tao lang ang naalala kong naging matalik kong kaibigan. Pero sa pagkaka-alala ko, hindi kami nagtawagan ng bestfriend o kung anu pa mang kadramahan. Hindi ako naging maswerte na magkaroon ng pirming kalaro o kaibigan sa school.

Sa elementary DBA days ko naman, mayroon akong 3 maituturing na barkada at mangilan-ilan pang kaibigan. Pero wala pa rin akong best friend. Sa high school, ganoon din. May ‘main’ barkada ako, at marami pang kaibigan pero wala rin akong ‘best friend’. Apat kami sa barkada – ako, si Dennis, Tots at Gamby, pero mas close sina Tots at Gamby. Malamang silang dalawa ang mag-bestfriend, mas una silang naging close eh. So by Pauli’s Exclusion Principle, kami ni Dennis ang partners-in-crime? Haha! Hindi siguro!

Mas madami akong friends sa college kaysa high school. Naturalmente, mas madami kang makikilala sa college eh. O pwede rin na dahil nag-improve na ang ugali ko at nabawas na kahit papaano ang kasupladuhan ko, hehe! Pero syempre, may iilan din akong mga nakilala noong high school na nanatiling matalik kong kaibigan hanggang ngayon (pimping Jigs & James, hehe!).

Palibahasa, mas madalas kong maka-bonding ang mga college friends ko, kaya’t sa tingin ko mas kilala nila ako. Pati mga baho ko sa pang-araw-araw na buhay, alam nila, haha! Pero ngayon, ang mga dating kuya at ate ko, wala na. Nakapag-move on na sila sa mga kani-kanilang careers at ako lang ang natitira pa sa UP. Haha! Kaya ngayon, ako ang kuya ng lahat. Halos singkwenta rin ang mga nakababatang kapatid ko ha.

Hindi talaga ako mahilig mag-bestfriend. Para sa akin kasi, kung kaibigan ko ang isang tao, kaibigan ko siya. Wala nang discrimination kung best friend ko siya o hindi. Basta ang issue sa akin ay ang kung gaano kami ka-close o kung gaano na kalalim ang pinagsamahan at ang pagtititwala namin sa isa’t isa. Ayoko ko kasi yung ituturing kong bestfriend ang isang tao tapos syempre, mag-eexpect ako na ako din ang bestfriend niya. Eh paano kung hindi? Ala ngan namang sabihan ko pa siya ng kakornihan na, “Wuy, magmula ngayon, tayo na ang mag-bestfriend ha?” Kulang na lang eh sabihin ko na, “Oh paano, tayo na ba?” Diba? Haha!

Sa loob ng dalampu’t dalawang taon ko sa mundo, marami-rami na rin akong nakilalang tao. Yung ilan, naging kaaway ko, pero mas marami, naging kaibigan ko. Mayroon din na akala ko kaibgan ko, hindi pala. Ginamit (at ginagamit) lang pala ako.. (May ganoon? Haha!). May iilang maswerte na nakilala ko nang husto at naging importanteng bahagi ng buhay ko. Naks, anlalim.

Wala akong bestfriend, pero mayroon akong tinatawag na 'friends for different occasions'. Ewan ko lang sa inyo ha, pero ako, marami akong hilig o trip sa buhay. At hindi lahat nun related. Mayroon akong fine-dining friends (Jigs & James, kayo to, haha!), videoke friends (Garahe pips!), Starbucks friends (groupmates!), Aguman friends, muni-munihan friends, high school friends, tennis friends, volleyball friends, online friends, EEE friends at marami pang iba! Syempre, hindi naman ako close sa lahat ng mga to, pero ayokong line-labelan kung sino ang mas importante. Kanya-kanya naman silang papel sa buhay.

Isa pa, ang kaibigan para sa akin, parang kapatid lang. Palibhasa kasundong-kasundo ko ang kaisa-isang kapatid ko, kaya ganoon ang tingin ko sa mga barkada’t kaibigan ko – na ang tanging kaibahan lang ay hindi mo kasama sa bahay ang mga kaibigan mo.

Hindi naman sa pagbubuhat ng bangko (at malayang kumontra ang mga real-life friends ko na magbabasa nito, haha!), pero seryoso akong kaibigan. As much as possible, hangga’t kaya ko, nandoon ako para sa kanila. Pero hindi ako naghahanap ng direktang kabayaran o kapalit. Kuntento na ako na kapag ako naman ang nangailangan ng tulong, maasahan ko sila. Ganon naman talaga sa buhay diba? Give and take... Hindi naman pwede na take ka lang nang take. Yung tipong mabait ka lang kung may kailangan ka.

Pero ako, kahit simpleng appreciation lang, okay na. Pero importante sa akin ang utang na loob, dahil yung mga taong wala nito ang mga nakakasakitan ko ng loob. Pero sabi nga ni Ali Sotto sa interview niya sa Startalk, “If you did it out of love, you won’t regret what you did for them..” And yes, that is tantamount to saying that I do love my friends… like I’ve said, like my very own brothers and sisters. And hey, even siblings fight, right?

Pero, having said that, hindi pa rin ako mahilig sa labelling tulad ng pagtawag sa isang tao ng ‘bestfriend’. Hindi rin ako trying hard maging cool na bibigyan ko pa ng official name ang barkada ko. Ang superficial kasi ng dating eh – may pangalan nga, walang kwenta naman ang mga pinagsamahan. (Or maybe, akala lang nila, napaka-cool nilang people na kailangan pa nila ng ‘name’?) Gayunpaman, sinasabi ko sa mga friends ko na mahal ko sila, na importante sila sa akin, at proud ako sa mga pinagsamahan namin – pero tuwing birthdays lang nila noh, haha! Besides, actions speak louder than words. You don’t have to announce to the world all the time na friends kayo. You just act like real friends that you really are, without much fanfare.

Basta’t marami akong totoong kaibigan, keber kung sino ang best at kung ano ang tawag ko sa kanila, diba? Kailangan ba may best? Kailangan ba may pangalan? Eh bakit, magpapa-recognize ba kami sa Office of Student Activities? Hindi naman diba? Haha!

Quick Thoughts