Sunday, September 30, 2007

On Women Scorned

I didn't "feel" Pops Fernandez. Wala lang. But last Tuesday, I got one of the first issues of the October Yes! magazine in Dumaguete. Even before I read the article, I heard Martin Nievera's reaction on a Saturday afternoon showbiz talk show. He talked about his ex-wife as a "woman scorned." Imagine, he tried to justify the shocking tell-all! What the...!?

Pops has clearly been, and continues to be abused. Buti nga she was quiet all this time. Then her ex-husband and the woman responsible for breaking up her marriage decide to move back here AND be lovey-dovey on national television...with their new son! Parang we absolve them their indiscretion. An advice column I read recommends the reply: "Even though you do not respect your marriage vows, I do." "Woman scorned" ka diyan Martin, it's wrong whichever way you look at it!

Photo courtery of:

Honestly, they shouldn't get away with it. Pops was, to the public, stoic to the pleas of Martin. And this guy markets himself to the point of exploiting Pops. This revelation is overdue. Dapat lang that Katrina person hides her face in shame at the very least.

If Pops needs to spill in order to move on, let her do it. I will even let pass her attempts at surgical enhancement. Sige na nga, I forgive her na rin that FHM cover. Her self-esteem may have never recovered after the split. Sana her true healing begins right now.

They say that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. It follows then that Martin was not only a bad husband, he's a bad father as well.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Korean On "Ungroup The Koreans"

Strangely, this week's online edition of The Weekly Sillimanian did not post a letter from Jeong Jin Tae. This student was delegated by the president of the Korean Fellowship of Students to react against the article (italics mine). As it was a letter and not a regular feature, it wasn't among the online articles. It would have been nice though for the staff to include it though. First. it would have shown their online readers some integrity and more importantly, I would just have to [Ctrl]+C then [Ctrl]+V.

Reactions to the "Ungroup The Koreans" article were mildly reminiscent of the Malu Fernandez brouhaha. Urban legend has it that the writer has not returned to class since the article came out and that threats were imminent.

Here are excerpts from the letter.

Personally, I felt so sad and angry at the same time. I understand that it was written to challenge the Korean students in Silliman, but there were a lot of negative and hurtful comments which were inappropriate. Allow me to enumerate some of them:

Most of them are white, chinky, and all of them come from South Korea. If you guessed who I'm talking about then you're a genius. South Koreans are all over the place!

...[Korean students] feel that our appearance was ridiculed and discriminated. But mind you, even the Chinese and Japanese have a similar appearance.

...Dumaguete City is starting to look like a Korean Colony. sounds very derogatory and makes [us] seem like we are a threat to Dumaguete. He could have been more sensitive and used a fairer term to describe us.

I prefer to call them just plain Koreans like most of us do because those North Korean communists don't even exist outside their own country, and to my observation, their country is like a gigantic, high-security prison. I would seriously freak out if I see a North Korean walking down the streets of Dumaguete City.

When you accuse a nation, don't ever be ignorant of what is actually going on. You should be careful because you come from a different culture... [North and South Korea] are one even though we are separated by... political ideologies... It's just like how [Filipinos] feel when somebody talks bad about Mindanao or Luzon.

Obviously, Koreans come to the Philippines to study English.

Not all Koreans come here to study English because a lot of us come here to experience a new culture to broaden our minds.

There are Korean students who have been here in Silliman for more than two years, and still their English is the same as before.

I am sure that some of us Koreans speak better English than some Filipinos.

...I haven't seen a decent Korean student get better in English, despite all the education that person is getting. And so we ask, "What gives?" There is nothing wrong with the English education that Silliman provides them.

Have you seen all the Koreans here in Silliman? Honestly, [English Orientation here] is not good enough compared to the other English institutions...

This is the reason why Koreans prefer to group together rather than playing around with their new Filipino friends. Its not that they make it hard for us to understand them, we make it hard for them to understand us. And because of this, they lose confidence in communicating with us and stick to the group where communication is not an inconvenience. We should not forget that we Filipinos have English as our second language. We know it better than Koreans do. So in general, it is us who should accommodate them.

...don't Filipinos also prefer to group together rather than mingle with Koreans? ...English is not exclusively a second language for Filipinos, but also for other people all over the world.

Silliman being branded as a Korean refugee camp isn't a bad thing after all.

There are many terms to use to describe a second home. This statement makes us mad.

Ungroup the Koreans!

The title should be..."Accomodate the Koreans!" instead. The title chosen by the writer makes it seem like he wants to pick a fight...

I'll restrain giving my opinions and urge to edit nalang. It will be my contribution to the issue.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On "Ungroup The Koreans"

Last week's Weekly Sillimanian featured an article on their "Kipin' It Real" section entitled "Ungroup The Koreans." Written by Suthai G. Katima, it has created a lot of flak from, you guessed it: Koreans. I'm reprinting the article in full from the online edition of the Sillimanian.

Most of them are white, chinky, and all of them come from South Korea. If you guessed who I'm talking about then you're a genius. South Koreans are all over the place! Just when I thought we had enough of them a few years ago, now Dumaguete City is starting to look like a Korean Colony.

I prefer to call them just plain Koreans like most of us do because those North Korean communists don't even exist outside their own country, and to my observation, their country is like a gigantic, high-security prison. I would seriously freak out if I see a North Korean walking down the streets of Dumaguete City. How often does that happen?

Obviously, Koreans come to the Philippines to study English. This country is the sole provider of competitive English Education in South East Asia. Not to forget, it's very affordable, and Silliman is one of the well known universities when it comes to English. Sounds cool doesn't it? But do you see a significant improvement in the Korean's ability to speak English? Personally, I haven't. There are Korean students who have been here in Silliman for more than two years, and still their English is the same as before.

It's pretty obvious, but people hardly notice. Koreans have a hard time communicating and holding a conversation with their surroundings and I haven't seen a decent Korean student get better in English, despite all the education that person is getting. And so we ask, "What gives?" There is nothing wrong with the English education that Silliman provides them. It's the Sillimanians that are holding them back. That's right, "us".

This is the reason why Koreans prefer to group together rather than playing around with their new Filipino friends. Its not that they make it hard for us to understand them, we make it hard for them to understand us. And because of this, they lose confidence in communicating with us and stick to the group where communication is not an inconvenience. We should not forget that we Filipinos have English as our second language. We know it better than Koreans do. So in general, it is us who should accommodate them.

One of the main reasons why Koreans don't improve their English is they never put it into real life practice. If Koreans continue to stick together and speak Korean, when will their English get better? But it's because we don't accommodate them in our society that they group together in the first place! So I think you're getting the idea on what solutions can be applied. Well, one solution would be to (Drum roll please) UNGROUP THE KOREANS!

By ungrouping and getting them to mingle with us more, they are obliged to use whatever English they know. By being more accommodating, and making them feel comfortable with us, their Korean-group-together will be out of their daily routine. It's like breaking up NSYNC and making them all go solo. It's easy. Do you have a Korean friend? Well then, quit ignoring that person and start talking to him/her. Invite that Korean for lunch with your Filipino friends, and any other activity you have. Don't forget, we're the host, and they're the guests. And in Filipino culture, that means so much more than simply smiling and saying hi.

Fellow students tend not to bother with them because it's a hassle in creating mutual understanding. But how would you feel if you were treated the same way in their country? And mind you, there aren't a lot of Filipinos in South Korea. Learning English in Silliman is just half of the process. Putting it to use is the other half. And yes, WE are the other half. By welcoming them to our society and by encouraging them to play with us more, they will become more confident and definitely improve their English.

Actually, we tend to be intimidated by the Koreans when in fact they are more intimidated by us. We know English, and they don't. So why don't we all share the wealth, and be one big happy family? Having a Korean as a friend can be very rewarding. The sharing of culture and traditions is a wonderful experience. Silliman being branded as a Korean refugee camp isn't a bad thing after all. At least they help improve our economy, and by giving them a pleasant experience, we might just put the Philippines back into the map again. So let’s get on the challenge: Ungroup the Koreans!

A Korean student's reaction in this week's edition will follow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On WD-40 and Duct Tape

I went to the hardware shop today (among other things) and picked up a can of WD-40. The wet and muggy weather has left most of our padlocks and doorknobs in a semi-permanent state of "locked."

I remember my cousin Zoyx' email awhile back extolling the virtue of this product. I'm sharing!

I thought that you might like to know more about this well-known WD-40 product. When you read the "shower door" part, try it. It's the first thing that has cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It's a miracle! Then try it on your stovetop... Viola! It's now shinier than it's ever been. You'll be amazed.

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a "Water Displacement" compound.

They were successful with the Fortieth formulation, thus WD-40

The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts. The workers were so pleased with the product they began smuggling (also known as "shrinkage" or "stealing") it out to use at home.

The executives decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans. The rest is history. It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. One of them is the "brew master." There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff manufactured each year. It gets its distinctive smell from a fragrance that is added to the brew. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Here are a few of the 1000's of uses:

  • Protects silver from tarnishing
  • Cleans and lubricates guitar strings
  • Gets oil spots off concrete driveways
  • Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery
  • Keeps flies off cows
  • Restores and cleans chalkboards
  • Removes lipstick stains
  • Loosens stubborn zippers
  • Untangles jewelry chains
  • Removes stains from stainless steel sinks
  • Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill
  • Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing
  • Removes tomato stains from clothing
  • Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots
  • Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors
  • Keeps scissors working smoothly
  • Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes
  • Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide
  • Lubricates gear shift and mower - deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers
  • Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises
  • Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open
  • Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close
  • Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards and vinyl bumpers
  • Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles
  • Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
  • Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling
  • Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly
  • Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools
  • Removes splattered grease on stove
  • Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging
  • Lubricates prosthetic limbs
  • Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell)
  • Removes all traces of duct tape
  • I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
  • Florida's favorite use was "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers
  • The favorite use in the state of New York WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
  • WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. It's a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
  • Keeps away chiggers on the kids
  • Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately, and stops the itch.
  • WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
  • Also, if you've discovered that you have washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash. Presto! Lipstick is gone!
  • If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start. (If I knew what a distributor cap was, it might help)
  • WD-40, long known for its ability to remove leftover tape smunges (sticky label tape), is also a lovely perfume and air freshener! Sprayed liberally on every hinge in the house, it leaves that distinctive clean fresh scent for up to two days!
  • Seriously though, it removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
  • Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!

According to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, they wrote to the manufacturer and showed the original email. The Customer Service Department revised the list, removing uses they don't recommend. See the modified list here. Even the Reader's Digest, in its RD Living Section devoted an article to WD-40 under the heading "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things."

Another email from Zoyx had another interesting reference to this wonder product.

Sometimes, we need to remember what the rules of life really are. You only need two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

On "Not Me!"

"Not Me" was a fixture in our house as the kids were growing up. He did all the craziest things.

"Who left the lights on?"

Answer: Not me!

"Who used up all the toilet paper?"

Answer: Not me!

"Who made this mess!?"

Answer: Not me!


He even snuck in when we moved into our townhouse! This invisible fellow was single-handedly responsible for all the havoc and destruction. He left toys strewn everywhere, didn't flush the toilet, left moldy sandwiches in the back seat of the car and was responsible for all the funky smells.

I begged the children to let me get my hands on him. However, "Not Me" knew better than to show himself. At least he had a well-developed sense of self-preservation.

"Not Me" disappeared suddenly at the time my children and I were going through a crisis. He must have refused to grow up as everybody else was forced to. Or maybe the kids' father took him when he left. Two lost souls walked off into the sunset without looking back.

It was a somber first few years without "Not Me." All the homework was put away, nothing was ever missing and the toilet always flushed. The house never did go back to being rambunctious. But then, the kids were older. I certainly don't miss the chaos. What I do miss is the laughter in the children's voices as they tell me "Not Me" got away with it once again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On South Sea

Negros Oriental is home to many world-class resorts. Most of these are PADI-accredited, catering mostly to tourists and expats. Diving and snorkeling are main water activities as the beaches are typically rocky and the sand, wet and clumpy. It's impossible to swim without serious damage to your soles. So even the smallest resorts have a pool. It's a select clientele however, who can afford to pay the USD$ rates for accommodation.

One of Dumaguete's best-kept secrets is the South Sea Resort Hotel. It's a small, well-maintained spot in the middle of the city, where balikbayans usually visit or locals take their guests. Prices start at PhP500 or USD$11 for a 24-hour stay.

Of course one wouldn't expect room fittings to be at par with the high-end resorts. But rooms are spacious and clean, some with a screened-in porch. Most are equipped with airconditioning, cable TV and running hot water. They do have a restaurant, but let's just say I'd rather go home to eat. It's not inconvenient, really, as we live only 10 minutes away.

We go there mainly to swim. My whole family swims, including three-year old Gabriel who took lessons last summer. None of us is particularly athletic, and this is one of those times we play and bond. Their pool is made with even serious swimmers in mind (not one of those kidney-shaped recreation pools). At 25 meters long, it has 4 lanes so we actually race:) There's even a wading area for children.

So, how much do we love going there? Check out Gabriel's before and after pictures.

South Sea Resort Hotel is located at Bantayan, Dumaguete City. Call them at +(6335)225-0491 or +(6335)225-2409. Email For more on Negros resorts, visit Negros Island Online.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Being Behind The Wheel

I just came home from driving on and off for six hours, and it's only midday! This fact dawned on me when I felt the pain shoot up my back as I stretched. Although my day started at about 6am, it wasn't after 2 coffees that I had to leave. This was how it went:

  • 7:15 Bring Tara and Gia to Silliman in time for their 7am class. (Impossible, right?)
  • -7:45 Dash into the convenience store for juice and newspapers, national & local.
  • -8:15 Get deposit slip from guard at bank. I ask him if I can be customer #1 and get the stub already. No go! They only give out stubs/numbers at 9am when they open.
  • 8:30 Pick Gia up, go to the supermarket...
  • -8:45 ...which opens at 9am! Read the paper to pass time.
  • -9:00 Get a week's worth of groceries done in 30 minutes and bring it back home.
  • -9:45 Drop off groceries, pick up Gab for preschool which starts at 10.
  • 10:05 Drop Gab off. Gia's already late for her 10am class!
  • 10:30 Find a place to park and make a deposit to Manila account. The electricity has to be paid.
  • 10:50 Buy lunch!! Too busy driving to actually get any cooking done. Grab half a soggy tuna sandwich and an ice-cold Coke to keep your energy level up.
  • 11:15 Gab's class is almost over! Circle the block 3 times and settle for a spot far away from preschool.
  • 11:25 Run back to the car because I see I'm getting a ticket for: Illegal parking of all things, the first ticket of my life!!
  • 11:40 Late picking Gab up. He's the only one left:( I'm closer to tears than he is.
  • 11:50 Go to Hibbard Hall to pick Tara up when she's actually at the Science building across the field. And as if it wasn't enough, there's a sudden downpour!
  • 12:10 Go home to realize I've left Zaki in school. Tara sat on my phone on the way back so I didn't see the message. Rush back to Silliman.
  • 12:25 Apologize profusely to Zaki, decide to wait for Gia. Her class ends at 12.30
  • 12:45 Take Zaki and Gia home, Tara's class is at 1. Take her to class immediately.
  • 1:20 Finally get home to get a few words in.

And did I mention that all my kids are of college age!? Oh yeah, and it's THAT time of the month. Anybody would've guessed! Duty resumes at 3:00.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Boxes, Packages and Cages

My Mom sent Gabriel a package from Manila. It was addressed to him so he came with me to pick it up at the airport. We opened the box as soon as we got home.

It was a little red cage for our Silly Dog.

Silly Boy:)

So where's the puppy?

On The Five Things I Want My Kids To Know

The original title of this post is "Five Things I Want My Kids To Know (Before They Grow Up)" from The Daily Meme. My kids are now in college, so I've told them all the stories, the fundamental lessons plus things they probably wish they didn't know.

I've adapted the title and renamed it "Five Things I Want My Kids To Know (That I Haven't Already Told Them):"

  • You are worth it. You are worth all the home-cooked meals, the sleepless nights, the hours behind the wheel. You are worth the time, you are worth the love.

  • You may not need nor meet the one "who completes you." It shouldn't bother you. If someone does come, I wish that they too hold themselves in esteem and personify your ideal.

  • I'm okay. I have been slowly preparing myself for your "emancipation" as I've helped you prepare. In this Asian culture, we're all going to get a lot of flak for this, but I will be your most ardent advocate. I will celebrate that you live your lives as you wish. Should you feel I be repaid in the future, just come visit or call. That will be enough.

  • Everybody has their story. Don't be too quick to judge. Give everybody the benefit of the doubt.

  • (For my girls:) Women are just as capable. You have CHOICES. Empower yourselves and your daughters.

Blogger's Note: For my children who read this, don't freak out! It's not a sign of impending doom:) For other readers, this is one of many subjects bloggers may choose to write on. For more about this topic, click on Fireball's site here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On Manang Purita

My son spent his term break with us in Negros Oriental. We spent a couple of days in a local resort we frequent called South Sea. I met Manang Purita.

She sells sea shells on the sea shore!

Sorry, I couldn't resist:)

More posts on South Sea coming up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

On Missing Someone

A Father means so many things...

An understanding heart,

A source of strength and of support

Right from the very start.

A constant readiness to help

In a kind and thoughtful way.

With encouragement and forgiveness

No matter what comes your way.

A special generosity and always affection, too

A Father means so many things

When he's a man like you...


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Update: On The Barong Tagalog

I found the source of the article from the previous post! I'm so happy to finally get out of the funk and be able to acknowledge the work.

It comes from the website of the Filipino-American Student Association at The College of William & Mary (FASA).

"The purposes of FASA include learning about the Philippines and what it means to be a Filipino and Filipino-American. FASA will also educate the student body of Filipino culture, providing an opportunity for Filipino-American students to blend their Southeast Asian and American cultures in a productive manner. It is also FASA's duty to improve the academic and social environment."


FASA Constitution

December 3, 1991

See the original article here.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

On The Barong Tagalog


I feel so bitin that I wasn't able to make a commentary/summation at the end of my last post. But as my brain won't cooperate, I'll post an email from my cousin "Zoyx the Great" instead. Although it touches on Filipino dress, it has a message that can be applied in these contemporary times. However, I don't know what the message is yet:) Go figure:

During the Spanish occupation of the Philippines (over 300 years from 1561-1889) the barong tagalog was required by the Spanish government for Filipinos (Indios) to be worn at most times to show the difference between the rich and the poor. The poor who serve the rich must always be in uniform.


Take their chauffeurs, maids, and employees as examples. They are in uniform to immediately distinguish them from the employers. When the Spaniards colonized the Filipinos, they had to make it abundantly clear who the boss was through the imposition of a dress code. Men were not allowed to tuck their shirttails in. That was the mark of his inferior status.

Second, the cloth material should be transparent so that he could not conceal any weapon that could be used against the masters. Third, as a precaution on thievery, pockets are not allowed on the shirt.

By the turn of the century a new middle class began to emerge among the Filipinos. These were known as the principalia. They have mastered Spanish laws and were able to obtain title to lands. They became successful in business and agriculture and sent their sons to be educated abroad. They were privileged to build their houses in the poblacion around the plaza near the seats of power.

Only a member of the principalia could be addressed by the title DON, and only they were allowed to vote. They had all the trappings of power and status, but for one undeniable fact: they still had to wear their shirttails out, if only to remind them that they were still Indios.

What the Spanish authorities did not smother out was the Filipino's will power and determination to psychologically conquer their colonial masters, through improvisation and reinterpretation. The Filipino's stylistic bongga (flashy dresser) was a reaction against the overt discrimination and insensitive oppression of the Spaniards.

For example, Filipinos were forbidden to use imported silk and fabrics for their Barong, so they ingeniously used pineapple leaves to weave the piña and jusi cloth of the barong, turning the outfit into such delicate material, of luminous silky rich mixture much finer than silk. And to add insult to injury, they hand-embroidered the front with such exquisite abandon: Calado and hand-work all over. Palgrave, the ethnographer noted, "The Capitan's shirt was the native barong, of fine and delicate fiber, embroidered and frilled; it was light and cool and not tucked in the trousers". (Corpuz, 74)

The Barong Tagalog gained its power, prestige, and status when President Quezon, the first Filipino president, declared it the National dress. The status of the lowly inferior Barong thus became another symbol of Filipinos' resistance to colonization.


After World War II, Philippine presidents began wearing the Barong Tagalog at their installation into office and on every formal state occasion. In contemporary times, the Barong Tagalog is the power dress.

As an abogado de campanilla, you cannot afford not to wear the Barong Tagalog when arguing a case in Philippine courts.


Today, every visitor and foreign dignitary invited to a Malacañang Palace state function must, by necessity, and dictated by protocol, be dressed to the nines in a Barong Tagalog. The invitations specifically say come in "Barong" instead of the traditional "Coat and Tie". Thus, every one invited to dinner at the Presidential Palace and in many Filipino homes will unknowingly and unwittingly have to experience directly, what it feels to have to wear his shirttails out, to suffer the indignity of having the material of his barong transparent so that he can not conceal any weapon; and horrors, to be accused directly of incipient thievery by having no pockets in his barong to put the silver.

So, when El Señor Spanish Ambassador is invited to a state dinner, you can say, "Ah, what sweet revenge!" It makes you a little bit more proud of your self and your heritage while wearing it.

Blogger's Note: Source of the article above is unknown. I have used minimum, mainly typographic editing.

Friday, September 7, 2007

On School Uniforms & Dress Codes (Part I)

My middle daughter goes to an all-girl Catholic college, a true-blue colegiala, so I won't mention her school nalang. I want to believe that she's in her comfort zone, but I'm fooling myself. I knew right off (she told me herself) that she just preferred going to somewhere that required a uniform. She was always serious about school, so having to don the same outfit everyday gave her time for the more important stuff. And when your head is fuzzy in the mornings, like hers is, it's clearly a no-brainer.


My son goes to DLSU. Typically, I never noticed &/or he never brought up the fact that he's been wearing the same set of clothes I got him in his freshman year (he's a senior). Though he claims he doesn't care, he still looks put together. Everyone else in the campus dresses very well. As DLSU remains a Catholic learning institution with tuition a premium, it's no surprise. Last year though, there was a move to impose a dress code. Most vehemently opposed were the proposed bans on certain types of footwear. The males would have been disallowed to wear their sandals and the female coeds, their precious Havaianas. The horror!! The student body won that round.


My other two daughters go to Silliman University where the vibe is more bohemian. (Think UP in the late 70's before the rich kids started enrolling there). There's a diverse demographic represented in the campus. Only a small percentage of the population is actually based in Dumaguete. Students come from all over the country and recently, from different parts of the world. With increased cultural exposure, the youth became more sophisticated. Knowing what's current is easy with the advent of real-time information transmission. Telecommunications giant Globe Telecoms has recognized this upcoming force and came up with the MySilliman SIM. Further, it has made wireless connectivity available in the campus.

Silliman is hip, in a laid-back sort of way. (Am I making sense?)

At the heels of Foundation Week festivities however, yesterday's issue of The Weekly Sillimanian reported somber news:

"The proposed dress code policy states that men should not wear sleeveless shirts; tank tops; flimsy or see-through pants, shorts, or shirts; "porontong;" and short shorts.

On the other hand, women should not wear micro-mini skirts; mini skirts; backless, strapless, or off-shoulder attire; see-through blouses and skirts; skirts with slits reaching the upper thighs; hanging, tube or spaghetti [sic!] blouses and dresses; plunging necklines; leggings; short shorts; PE shorts; and bra-less outfits.

Moreover, both men and women are prohibited from wearing rubber, bedroom or bathroom slippers; tattered or torn pants; and items of clothing that show foul language and/or graphics."

If approved, the proposed dress code will take effect next school year.

Who draws the line and defines decency and modesty? The same piece of clothing may look cute on one girl and obscene on another. Is it then all a matter of bra size? The only answer to this issue is ban these clothing altogether, with no partiality to age, creed, race, or dress size. This is what SU plans to do.

If parents do not censor their children's clothes, can the school take over? Given, most these students stay in dormitories away from home. They observe an extraordinary amount of independence and responsibility until graduation. Should we not grant them at least the freedom to choose what they wear?

End of Part One.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

On School Uniforms & Dress Codes (Part II)

I pity Silliman University authorities for even trying to define "appropriate dress." It's so subjective that it's bound to generate arguments on all sides. I won't spare anyone my take on this matter. I will, however, make it a lot more interesting.

Sleeveless shirts for both men and women are not only worn for their fashion merit. There's a whole sensibility to this. It keeps the wearer cool in the Dumaguete weather and the blackouts:) The best part of these articles of clothing is that they spare the public at large from those disgusting things called sweat marks.

Unless I go to a private affair, I don't wear tube or off-shoulder blouses. I wouldn't exactly define them as inappropriate, but I got that email with the video of a girl whose tube top was pulled down as a prank by a stranger. It totally freaked me out!




And who's to tell us what's foul or not? Even being politically correct is a matter of taste. The shirt above cost 35 pounds and anyone "fasyon" recognizes it. If it's "in," is it right? And how about politically incorrect t-shirts, what does it mean anyway? Is a "Gloria Resign!" slogan foul? Any number of minorities may find any number of logos offensive. Take your pick.

What's with plunging necklines? I made a comment regarding bra size in my last post. I wasn't exaggerating. They matter. Plunging necklines only seem obscene when it's filled it out, and even that's a matter of debate. With anyone with cup size smaller than "B," you would only expose your clavicle.


An identical dress, a fairly decent one by any standard, can look different on two women. We may write down all the rules and the kids may try to follow it to the letter with malice to no one. Sometimes, though, we should just admit that we don't have it all covered.

This pair of pants retails at $79.00 at Abercrombie & Fitch. These are "The" tattered/torn jeans!

What if you can't get these jeans and can afford only ukay? I once had a pair of those and literally wore them till they fell apart. And it was the time when torn jeans weren't even uso.


Athletes in shorts always look HOT, they distract you in the worst possible way. Is that why they want to ban athletic wear in the campus? So for as long as the Varsity teams compete to the best of their ability, let them wear what they want! I'm kind of divided on the PE uniform thing though, especially when they've been recently used. If it's a matter of hygiene, I'd probably consider. But as to the comfort and time element, I'd rather run to my next class in this gear than in a pretty dress.

On the subject of "short" shorts for men however, I agree that they should be banned. Just because they're fugly, nothing else. Wearing those infamous "nutcracker" shorts are over. Plus, this might cause blood to rush to you head. Not nice!

Leggings are cute. I was there when they came out the last time, I think the 80's. I hope they're not on the way out. It's entirely different how they are worn by kids today. It's actually a form of modesty to wear leggings or skinny jeans under a short dress.


Fashion is dynamic so it keeps changing. And even as the dress code is being discussed, tube tops might not be "it thing" anymore. As for trends yet to come, do we keep adding them to the list?

I am not for the imposition of a dress code. As a conservative mother, it's important for ME that my children wear clean clothing and attire appropriate to the event and venue. They were taught to give due respect to those who admit them into their territory, so to speak.

To impress my standards on others however, is not right. Part of the respect is accepting what OTHER PEOPLE deem appropriate.

Silliman is known as a progressive and liberal Christian university. Will it risk losing this reputation with the imposition of a dress code? I suggest their students be "gently" reminded that their demeanor reflects not only their education, but more importantly, their person. They should be "encouraged" to dress as befits their distinction of belonging to this elite institution. They should be acknowledged as adults and told so. The most severe of these actions should be a "request" for self-monitoring.

The biggest complement Silliman University can pay itself is to forget about this. It is for them to believe that their students have inculcated their vision and been taught well. As a late, great Law School Dean told me a long time ago: "We cannot teach our children independence and critical thinking if we do not willingly give them the opportunity to practice these."