Monday, October 29, 2007


Matatag means solid, firm, and steady. And ever since in my mind, when I’ve heard this word back in high school, stepping into our campus fresh from a sated vacation and just to be surprised by the administration’s newly established military system, the picture that immediately was a tree. I was not precisely sure but the tree, for me, gave me the perception of stability and composure. That was why the attack of the inevitable boredom of the day, which left me clambering in front of the computer in defeat, made my waning artistic abilities spark up in rage: I created this:

I know it’s not much to be placed side-by-side with prominent emblems of other organizations but, nevertheless, I am proud for creating such work, because finally, our Facebook, Friendster, and other social networking site accounts will now have a semi-formal feel to the once-deprived outlets for relaying messages, posting announcements, and whatnot. Looks so infantile? That’s just a draft. I can always create a new one—and maybe not a tree, anymore.

By the way, “Matatag” was our high school batch’s designation for the whole brigade; there were Makisig, Magiting, and many more Filipino adjectives that start with the letter “M.” Masarap? Malandi? Well, I am not hoping for those designations to come in reality but, without doubt, it would be fun calling the seniors those tags.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

an orange a day

Just minutes ago, I have witnessed this local version of the gameshow 1 vs 100. Hosted by the domineering Edu Manzano, tonight’s episode exemplified the nation’s elementary education condition: Alarming.

I said elementary because in this episode, both celebrity and noted young students represented the “Mob” of the show (nah, the specifics are too tedious to discuss). What was really disturbing, in the utmost concern for the Philippine education system, was that these little kids must have either went out of the classroom to harvest guavas at the school grounds or the current teachers’ capability to edify young minds have already faltered. These two reasons should explain why those kids were not able to answer this simple and basic question:

1. A/An _______ a day keeps the doctor away.
a.) apple
b.) orange
c.) grapes

Fact: A lot of the children answered orange.

Bullfrogs! There were more questions that could easily shake you out of your seats about this uneventful truth witnessed by millions of viewers, too, worldwide. What Christmas character is always described as the snowman (answer: Frosty), What is the sound that’s usually portrayed by Santa Claus (answer: Ho ho ho!), and many more. Sigh!

So much for "pag-asa ng bayan", eh?


Thursday, October 25, 2007

we won

Those two little words may seem so flamboyant for its size but those two words meant so much for us. The Weekly Sillimanian’s literary supplement (after numerous years of stagnation), Dark Blue Southern Seas (DBSS), won 1st runner up in the recently concluded 1st LUBAS Awards held at Candahug Palo, Leyte last October 24, 2007, as part of this year’s College Editors Guild of the Philippines - 4th Visayas Formation.

Take note: No other student publication won in the Literary Folio Category—no champion, no 2nd runner up. Though we landed on the second place, the fact remained that DBSS was the only work that passed the judges’ standards.

As part of the editorial staff for this magazine who tediously made it to the point of near-surrender, alongside unpleasant comments from various sectors of the university when the final output was circulated to all, the unexpected accomplishment was enough to give those blabbermouths the slap-on-the-face execution.

Maybe the hyped-up Kaffeklastch, the demure Mabalahibong Huwebes (ehem), or the factual Mapping the Literary Culture of Silliman hit this year’s theme “Arming campus journalists with competence to advocate social awareness and press freedom.”

Competence, eh? This is all for you dimwits: Blag! Hurrah for our first try!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

how to cheat the best way

Stealthily looking a seatmate’s exam paper, relaying sophisticated hand signals, tucking tiny papers in every available space of a folded handkerchief, or simply exchanging answer sheets when the teacher’s eyes wander a moment or two—these are some of the many modi operandi that we call cheating. It is prevalent in all campuses around the world—including Silliman University. It is alarming to know, cheating is now claimed as part of a student’s life. For a Christian institution, is this really the way to find the truth, and live life? Think again.

Cheating, as defined in the Webster’s New Encyclopedic Dictionary, is “to get something from another by deception or dishonesty, which suggests using trickery that escapes observation.” And yes, it is indeed. But for college students a detailed and systematic definition of the word is not important; for as long as they have practiced and finally mastered the craft, the act of cheating is as easy as tying one’s shoelace. “Forget values, forget ethics, and pass this damn exam” might be a professional cheater’s code of conduct.

So to survive the pressure that goes along College life, amid disconcerting Professors who seem to enjoy giving mind-numbing exams (or psychological games), cheating slowly has been transformed (from a mere unintelligent way to battle “unprepared-ness”) into an all-around survival kit that could render obsolete the now-waning art called “study.” For in this generation, study has become undesirable.

A majority of the student populace would not consider cheating taboo these days. “It is normal,” one proudly says, or, as another friend relates, “Cheating really looks bad considering that it is like stealing, but if you’re in a tight situation, the act will be done without any hesitations. [sic]”

We can say that cheating is a quest for perfection; a quest to accomplish the formidable task, to achieve the prized goal. But it is not easy. After all, dilemmas go with everything that is thought to be trouble-free. Since a lot of us already know what cheating is and why it is done, therefore it’s uncommon to ask: “How could we cheat—the best way?” Through a number of question and answer sessions with familiar campus figures (ranging from the freshmen up to graduate students), here are the top three unique and bizarre ways of cheating that were explicitly shared. But in order to comprehend the nature of these techniques, it’s rational that we ought to learn what is actually needed—the devices for the “perfect” crime.

Since names of techniques differ from one person to another, we have laid out the materials first (as headers) which may also serve the method’s codename. Let us begin the lesson.

1.) Materials Needed: Pencil and Eraser
- College students these days seldom use basic elementary writing tools such as the pencil. But in this technique, with an ultra-sharp pencil alongside a good-sized rubber eraser (approximately 2” x 1” x 0.5” in dimensions), you, as the conspirator, could fly to greater heights and catch those elusive 4.0s [four-point-zeroes]. The process is simple: First, with your super sharp pencil, write in fine, minute letters your question on the rubber eraser and pass it on to your accomplice beside you, or much better, to a person who is brilliant and “good” enough sharing his or her golden answers. Second, just wait for his or her answer to be written on the same eraser before retrieving it back. It’s that easy!

Question: Wouldn’t the teacher ever notice that you keep on passing along that tiny piece of rubber?

2) Materials Needed: Paper and Garter String
- This method could be best used for people who usually wear skirts (short skirts are preferable). Definitely, this is for women. The procedure should start right at home; write all answers that you need for enlightenment in a small sheet of paper and tie it with a short stretchable string (or garter), then insert it under the skirt. One foreign friend (nationality hidden) shared this as effective. She said that this is popular in their hometown’s high schools. Since they are required to wear near-skimpy skirts as part and parcel of their uniforms, why not use this uncomfortable sight as something useful?

Question: Wouldn’t it look promiscuous that a lady frequently pulls out something from under her skirt?

3) Materials Needed: The Answer Sheets
- If the situation gets tough and executing the first two methods is too lame, why not act with the nastiest wits present in mind? This last method is the funniest but, nevertheless, most effective. The method: Plan it out with your all-time partner-in-crime and make sure you sit beside each other in the room. When you’re in the middle of the exam and you can no longer extract any sensible guesses from your mind, snap those fingers (or give out any sign that can easily be identified, like clucking the tongue), and in a skilled synchronized performance, drop your answer sheets and pick up your partner’s paper instead of yours.

Question: Wouldn’t your situation even worsen once you pick up your accomplice’s paper and discover to your horror that he or she has more unanswered questions than you have?

Even those who consider themselves puritans of goodness must accept the argument that cheating is human nature. For cheating starts early this will, without doubt, grow and strengthen as it is constantly practiced. I, myself, have plunged into the hidden and dark world of cheating, and, honestly speaking, have found that it is upsetting—like there are thousands of needles piercing every innards in me. Actually, cheating could even worsen one’s already-dire circumstances. For Sillimanians in the 21st century, it is obvious the majority are still blinded by cheating’s false glorious promises.

As mentioned in an article in the Weekly Sillimanian (issue 79, volume 7) dated last August 2, 2006, “cheating has become more acceptable to students” and, as it develops into a more common trend in every passing hour, “the important thing is to get the job done.”

Certainly, cheating would still exist in the next years to come; still holding its bogus guarantee of perfection and exactness. But sad to say, it is never the best way out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the litcritter challenge

Odie a dark, horrifying story without God or matters of faith
Jordan a minimalist story that is short, in the vein of Socorro Villanueva
Justine a male-chauvinist story that convinces in its anti-feminism
Lyde a testosterone-filled story that convinces in its utter masculinity
Marianne a sweet story without any dark elements
Michelle a story with the dialogue as the primary narrative style
RJ a domestic realist story, without any hints of intellectualism, with a housewife as a main character, and not having salt as the main source of tension
Dirgy a gay love story that will make all of us swoon
Pong a sincere story about the need for God and saints in our lives

All new stories to be submitted on or before October 25. My, oh my! And all I have managed to write so far is a meager one-and-a-half page-length paper. By the way, welcome to Litcritters Pong! Mesmerize us with your writings. [wink!]

Monday, October 15, 2007

red monday

If you are given three hours, what would you do?

It’s easy, you may say. The list to be written is endless: Stagnate yourself in an internet session and browse hundreds of Facebook accounts, reread your old favorite novel that has already accumulated enough dust to acquire colds and cough, paint if the Dali or Malang in you needs some visual art calisthenics, and many more!

But this day, I had just spent my three-hour time on something I was least fond of: Impacted Third Molar Extraction. It was not easy, I had my braces adjusted too!

Yes, sounds familiar. I had this same operation last May, but that tooth was from the right side (and the whole process took three hours, too). This time, I had the one from the left side removed. It had to be, it was for the common good, I tell you.

It was not a moment to enjoy, really, but surely it was memorable. Well, who would not forget opening one’s mouth for three long hours, with some person crossing the threshold within by means of some cold, shiny blades and other contraptions, stressfully pulling that damn big tooth over and over again, while a sucking tube inserted under the tongue created buzzing sounds in the head? And from a session which started at exactly 10:00 AM and ended at 1:00 PM? Anyone who would say these would never leave even a tiny mark inside the head needs a visit to the nearest dental clinic.

My decision of wearing a red shirt, too, was not bad. Actually, it was a choice of epics proportions! When I opened my eyes (honestly, I shut my eyes on the whole process when my dentist gave me the first anesthesia shot), my two bare arms where spotted red, big and samll. Not because I had attained some unspeakable disease, but it was due to the blood spurting out from my mouth powered by another sterile and gleaming device that powerfully spray water. I looked at my arms with amazement and felt like I survived a twisted game of Jigsaw—of Saw fame.

I just hope these Mefenamic acid, Amoxicillin, and Tranexamic acid would lessen the pain and hasten the wound’s healing. CEGP-Visayas Campus Journalism Convention at Leyte and enrollment begin next week!

And let me add this special menu I “enjoyed” this day:
Breakfast: champorado with milk and longganiza
Lunch: 1 cup of plain Oat Drink and 1 cup human blood
Snack: clotted blood
Dinner: porridge of unflavored oatmeal with drops of blood

Anyways, on the good side, when there’s something to smile in the next years to come, this set of teeth would look fabulously proper.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

clean and grim

Chronicle no. 1: Clean
September 15, 2007


I am pretty sure you were the guy who woke up at five in the morning, when the light of the sun was barely seeping out of the thick grey clouds, but then slumbered back in bed only to be awoken the following hour by a thought that you must be present at the bus terminal by six-thirty sharp. Yes, you were the one.

I remember it was Saturday that you made haste and clambered out of bed and mechanically executed your daily routine:

1) Grabbed the big brown towel hanging from the wall and some necessary toiletries located under the wardrobe.
2) Ran down a few steps, followed some bending paths, and ultimately reached the bathroom.
3) Endured an ice-cold bath, dried, and went back to the room with a gazelle’s swiftness.
4) Sported a plain dark brown polo short, khaki pants, and then snatched the idle light brown bag from the cluttered table.
5) Waited for the earliest tricycle.

You looked so clean, so earthy, with all the nature-colored apparel you donned. It was as if the very essence of nature emanated from you. If you just had enough time to climb up an acacia tree, I might have mistaken you for one of its branches. All of these thoughts swam absently in your mind until a tricycle noticed you idle by the side of the road. You were lucky enough to catch an early ride that shakily went to the terminal. And all of a sudden, you thought of riding a bicycle, rather than a tricycle, since that would be the day you were to support and spread the word about SolarGeneration—Pilipinas at Bayawan. For in your mind, you shouldn’t be promoting vehicles emitting carbon and all that smoke. Go green!

Huh, bike all the way to Bayawan? That must be a joke, so you rejected the idea instantly. But what is SolarGeneration—Pilipinas or SolarGen? I’ve recently learned that this is the youth arm of a much bigger organization, Greenpeace. SolarGen aims to inoculate everyone with the importance of our natural resources and how we can properly use these. And as a first project, SolarGen promoted the “Simple Lang: Save the Climate” movement to various universities in Dumaguete and Bayawan Cities. The movement challenges everybody to be energy-conscious by integrating climate-friendly habits into the our lifestyle without compromising practicality and convenience.

Switch off the lights… Unplug all appliances… As simple as that! Everyone will be pleased, living in an eco-healthy world.

You were excited because, on that weekend, you were not tripping for pure entertainment but for an advocacy. You had a mission. In all honesty, your sole purpose why you tagged along with Razceljan Salvarita, Fiona Jade Lim, and Lyde Villuaneva was that you had nothing to do on that specific weekend, seeing as all of your usual partners-in-crime had gone out of town too: Boracay, Apo Island, and Bohol!

What had made you more interested in the occasion was the group had also planned on conducting a workshop on public mural art for budding high school artists. And you yourself were a self-proclaimed Mauro Malang! You instantly elated into a core group member of SolarGen.

And then everything proceeded in a blur: Upon arrival, all four of you headed off to City Hall, were welcomed by few local officials, and led to a hall filled with young people eagerly ready to learn the art of wall painting (not the carpenter’s job, though). After the workshop, you were introduced to the city mayor, German P. Saranya, and you were amazed by his plans of producing Jatropha Oil, to be extracted from a plant locally called “tuba tuba,” as a safe and effective alternative for any vehicles’ fuel. You had learned that the city wholeheartedly supported eco-friendly lifestyle that they launched a project on cultivating the Jatropha plant on their hectares of fertile lands.

Just when you thought you had had your day, sluggishly dragging your feet back to City Hall after you had a mandatory “photo shoot” for documentation purposes, you were surprised to learn that there would be a coastal clean-up activity the following day at the Bayawan Boulevard.

Yes! Yipee…
You were happy. By 8 o’clock in the evening, all four of you went to Toto Benjamin’s house and spent the night close to nature where crickets’ sounds and the rustle of leaves serenaded you. You felt so clean.

Chronicle no. 2: Grim
September 16, 2007


I am extremely sure you were the guy who didn’t sleep well that night. You were accommodated at Toto Benjamin’s, a family friend of the mayor. There was nothing wrong with the quarters provided, it was just that you were restless. You didn’t doze back, but stayed awake, until it was time for you to be present at the Boulevard at six-thirty sharp. Yes, you were the one.

I remember it was Sunday that you made haste and got up from bed and automatically mulled over your routine:

1) You must go get the big brown towel hanging from the wall and some necessary toiletries located under the wardrobe.
2) You would run down a few steps, followed some bending paths, and ultimately reach the bathroom.
3) You would endure an ice-cold bath, dry yourself, and run back to the room with a gazelle’s swiftness.
4) You would dress yourself up with the attire appropriate for the day.
5) You would wait for the earliest tricycle by the side of the road, outside the boarding house.

Boarding house? What boarding house? You totally forgot you were a hundred kilometers away from Dumaguete City! Out of the abrupt realization, you grabbed your bag from the floor, fumbled for objects that you direly need, and to your amazement, discovered nothing much helpful (behold, a discovery… a toothbrush!). The necessity of bringing extra clothes and toiletries had been entirely disregarded the other day, for you were so filled up by your enthusiasm. Fiona and Lyde noticed your long face so they lent you soap, shampoo, towel, and toothpaste.

Quickly shampooed your hair… Brushed your teeth… Splashed on some cologne… As simple as that! And you were a bit pleased, your spirits high.

Your excitement sparked up again because you were going to clean an area of the boulevard where young mangroves grew. Ironically, you had cleaned up yourself to clean up the Boulevard. That was not an everyday opportunity considering that in the first place, you attained adequate amusement yesterday just by ranting word upon word about poster-making practice and art aesthetics. But when you entered the room, you witnessed Lyde, Fiona, and Razcel in different get-ups while you were dressed in the same shirt and pants; the exact articles you had worn a few hours ago.

You tried ignoring them and focussed on the idea that the high school students you had deliberated with the other day would be present. You knew some of them, while others remained as familiar faces only. However, you thought, their company would always be fun and great so you settled on the comfort of this thought.

And then everything happened in a blur: Upon arrival, all four of you headed to the site at the Boulevard. The sun was covered by thick grey clouds. Before you started picking up trash, you attended a short fellowship. After glorifying the one above us all, you had an exercise session. Suddenly, it rained very hard; a downpour heavy enough to soak a body in a minute. How tragic, you were wet and you had no extra clothing! All of you went back to Kuya Toto’s residence and procrastinated there until it was time to leave the City of Bayawan. The clean-up drive was cancelled.

Just when you thought you had had enough being the green-eyed grim monster of the group, you were stunned to discover that there was spring nearby Toto’s house in which you could go for a dip.

No! Argh…

You were sad. By 11 o’clock in the morning, all four of you travelled back to Dumaguete City by a V-hire, spent the day in the ride wherein you can only hear the constant hum of the decrepit aircon until you arrived at the city. You felt so grim.