The motto that didn’t make sense

When I was a Grade 4 newbie at the Kamuning Elementary School (having transferred from the neighborhood annex near K-D or what is now Erestain St.), I was a highly focused student who observed all goings-on, obeyed all my teachers, followed all the drills and assignments, and mostly kept to myself except for a handful of co-nerds (or were we co-dorks?) like Raymond Co and Goldwyn Azul.

it doesn't make sense
My schoolboy motto, inscribed on a quiz paper.

But as the school year wore on, I gained more confidence, indulged my curiosity, and began to show my incipient rule-breaking tendencies. One early object of this curiosity was the Chi Rho sign that some of the girls in class always wrote on top of the test papers, quizzes, and theme papers that they passed. Continue reading “The motto that didn’t make sense”

Parang ganito yan teh.

hanging bridge
Ganito yan teh. Ang mga Pilipino, parang taumbaryo. Ang edukasyon, parang tulay. E paano nga, kung marupok ang tulay? (Photo is from an Indonesian rural area, not a Filipino one: http://www.tt5.com/misc/indonesia-school-boys-photos.html But I've been around, and I saw similar scenes in many upland barrios.)

Hindi mo pa rin ba ma-gets yung nangyari kay Kristel? Feeling mo ba e nagpupuyos ka sa galit dahil may isang batang Iska na kumitil ng sariling buhay, pero di mo alam kung sino ang dapat sisihin? Umabot ka ba sa puntong si Kristel na mismo ang sinisi mo dahil sinukuan niya ang buhay? O wala ka bang naramdaman man lang na galit, kundi naawa lang saglit at nagkibit-balikat na lang?

Me gusto akong sabihin sa iyo.

Parang ganito yan Bok. Brad. Pards. Pre. Tol. Tsong. Mads. (Teka, ano ba uso ngayon…) Ok. Teh. Parang ganito yan teh. Continue reading “Parang ganito yan teh.”

A myth called Pinoy summer (1)

Author’s note: This was first published on 18 May 2003 under my Pathless Travels column published by Northern Dispatch (Nordis) Weekly. I’m reposting it here in three parts, with some revisions to update my own understanding of the issue, and to make it more timely. Read Part 2 here.
Philippine climate map
Philippine climate map showing the country divided into four zones with distinct climate types. Source: Wikipedia

After a couple of false starts, I guess we can now safely welcome the onset of that relentless stretch of scorching days we call “Philippine summer.” You know, school’s out, need to beat the heat, so everyone and their dog head to the beaches or to the mountains.

Invariably, planning one’s summer itinerary soon leads to more talk about the coming rains and one’s school plans at the end of the so-called “Philippine summer.” Invariably, too, the changing of the seasons also revives the long-standing suggestion of changing the Philippine school calendar so that classes start in September instead of June.

The usual argument is that, supposedly, the rainy season is at its heaviest —and thus most disruptive of classes — during the months of June, July and August. Hence the presumed advantage of starting the school year in September.

The other side of the debate objects to the idea, realizing that the proposal will turn April, May and June into school months. “You policy freaks are so killjoy. Get a life! Summer is for kids, so let them enjoy it without worrying about classes,” they will argue. The presumption, of course, is that there’s an unchanging, non-negotiable Pinoy summer.

Continue reading “A myth called Pinoy summer (1)”