Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On Hayahay

It's semestral break for my girls and we're determined to make the most of it. Earlier in the day, we were at Malatapay. Although we were fine with the day's adventure, we wanted had to go to Hayahay. Wednesday night is reggae night! Recording artists and local band Enchie were featured.

Located along the famous Rizal Boulevard extension facing the ocean, Hayahay is one of many establishments peacefully sharing space, food and service in a commercial compound. There's a travel agency, a small boutique selling souvenirs and beach wear and the renowned Lab-as where we bring out of town guests for the best seafood dishes. Hayahay is mainly a venue and bar. That they draw in the crowds at night is probably the reason surrounding restaurants offer their menus there.

We got seats at the tree house in Chez Andre. Lucky! The best pizza for me in Dumaguete is here. In Manila, I go to their branch at Kingswood in Pasong Tamo (across Shopwise).

We ordered the Four Seasons, which we get when we can't decide. See the catsup served with it? That's the way it's done here, honestly! They do, though, make their own HOT(!) sauce which is excellent.

A couple of beers and one large pizza later, we where no closer to hearing Enchie perform live. There were other bands providing reggae music and they were actually pretty good. There was no moon that night and we were looking out into the vast darkness that was the ocean. It made a difference.

I was tired from all we did that day. Yup, I'm THAT old:) I swear though, the next time I go here on a Wednesday night, I'll make sure to get a nap in the afternoon and have coffee first. Or maybe I'll just pass and let the kids go. Note to self: Get the CD!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

On Malatapay

We drove to Zamboangita which is south of Dumaguete. Wednesday is market day. It's the one day of the week that hawkers, farmers and anyone who has anything to sell converge on the street leading to the resort of Malatapay. The street was packed with stalls with pirated DVDs, local vegetables, meat and everything else. The was a huge corral with livestock for sale. Live carabaos and cows included!

We weren't in the market for any of those though. Our destination was at the end of the busy thoroughfare, at the beach. There, makeshift stalls cooked fresh catch. Lechon cebu is available at PhP250/kilo. The skin is crispy, the meat tasty and is brought to your table with a dipping sauce of local vinegar and soy sauce. Yummy!

We were lucky to get the last of the lechon. The remaining 100 grams was thrown in, not counting the skin we had already started munching on. Normally, when we're unsure where to eat, we go to the place with the most people. We figure that most people can't be wrong:) But all the places were packed, and it was way past lunch! We took the first available table under a tree.

I was brought to several coolers with HUGE fish to choose from. There was tanigue available, but if you don't cook it right, it tends to get tough. Feeling adventurous, I decided on barracuda which was highly recommended. Two kilos was enough for 4 people, they said. It cost 250 per kilo, including ingredients and cooking fees.

We tried the famous "sutikil", or cooked three ways. It includes "sugba" which means grilled, "tinola" which here is fish boiled with salt, ginger, tomatoes and siling haba. Finally the "kilawin" which is fresh cubed fillet of fish marinated in calamansi juice, salt, ginger, onions and chili peppers. Visayans know their kinilaw like nobody's business!

Fresh, yummy food... a shady place to sit... the ocean breeze... being with people you love... LIFE IS GOOD!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

On Super Mario

How my grandson considered car crashes and other forms of violence as online amusement is a mystery to me. As far as I knew, he never strayed from the Nickelodeon and Disney websites.

I finally introduced him to Super Mario, THE game of the 80's. Nothing is more heroic than trying to save the Princess:)

Gabriel was hooked! What with all the levels and the world needing to be saved, it was perfect...until he had to go Trick or Treating. He wanted to go as Mario amidst the ghouls, zombies and witches. As the quintessential doting grandmother, I did my best to give in. Here's Super Mario/Gab!

PS: Do you see Silly Dog? He's never far from his master. It would have been too nerve-wracking to dress him as Luigi.

On Antulang

Tara had a birthday last weekend but she didn't plan on celebrating. It just so happened that Nicole wanted to be here during sem break and Arthur came all the way from Bacolod to surprise her. My Mom was also here for a few days before leaving for Manila again. It made for one big "party" wherever we were. After inquiring at their Dumaguete office, we decided to go to Antulang. The rates for locals are very reasonable. Rooms start at PhP1,080.-

I knew it would be a long-ish drive to Siaton and that Antulang was up in the mountains. What I didn't count on was that the last 10 or so kilometers would be on mostly unpaved roads taking up the longest, back-breaking 45 minutes of my life! I missed my 4WD back in Manila with its mag wheels and plush seating. All the concentrating made me hungry even if I had breakfast just an hour before AND I seriously needed a nicotine fix.

It was heaven to finally reach our destination! The "kids" jumped right into vast expanse of water. The infinity pool overlooked the ocean. Apo Island was visible at a distance. And the best part was the swimming! It made sense that the pool was filled with sea water.

Lunch was a pleasant surprise. I don't know why I expected bad food (tsk! tsk!), but when I took my first bite of lunch, I knew the rest of our stay would be enjoyable. We had dinner there and breakfast the following day, and the food was consistently good though simple. Prices would be considered steep compared to Dumaguete prices, but they're pretty reasonable when you consider that they have large servings.

We snuck in a birthday cake we bought the day before. I even got candles. But there were a FEW things we didn't consider. It was a sansrival cake that needed refrigeration. We hoped it survived the drive. Plus, Nicole had a serious peanut allergy and Arthur was allergic to cashew! The meringue wafers were already soggy but the butter frosting held it together. But everybody got to sing for the birthday girl. All things in perspective!

There was a mini-zoo and a well-maintained playground. Antulang seemed like it was located at the edge of a precipice, cliffs were below when you looked over the rails. Horseback riding, cruises and snorkeling were available. Too bad we didn't even have time to explore. The overnight stay was too short but we all had to get back to the city.

Before we left, though, we just had to see a pool villa. It's the primary picture shown on their web page and brochure. It was what Antulang was famous for, at least for local honeymooners. Priced at PhP12,500.-, it was securely enclosed and had its own view, pool and jacuzzi. All I can say is that it's worth the hype!

Although I can't say that we'd be going back again there soon, it's nice to know that our options are open. Nicole posted more pictures in her Multiply site. Click here to view. Visit the Antulang home page here for more information.

Monday, October 22, 2007

On the 21st of October

And thou shalt in thy daughter see,

This picture, once, resembled thee.

~Ambrose Philips

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On Why I Am Thankful

In light of the tragedy at the Ayala Center yesterday, I wanted to reconsider today's post. It was an email I posted at the ThankYou.ph website but thought it would be inappropriate. Upon careful consideration, I decided to continue. There is no less reason for us to be thankful today. We need to be so now, more than ever.


For the WIFE

who says it's hotdogs tonight,

because she is home with me,

and not out with someone else.


who is on the sofa

being a couch potato,

because he is home with me

and not out at the bars.


who is complaining about doing dishes

because it means she is at home,

not on the streets.


because it means

I am employed.


because it means

I have been surrounded by friends.


because it means

I have enough to eat.

For MY SHADOW that watches me work

because it means

I am out in the sunshine.




because it means

I have a home.



because it means

we have freedom of speech.



because it means

I am capable of walking

and have been blessed with transportation.


because it means

I am warm.



because it means

I can hear.


because it means

I have clothes to wear.



because it means

I have been capable of working hard.



because it means


And finally, for TOO MUCH E-MAIL

because it means

I have friends who are thinking of me.

- email from Zoyx

Friday, October 19, 2007

On Gratitude

Blogger's Note. I was deciding on what to blog on today. The choices were: (1) Philippines First Annual Thank You Day or (2) International Poverty Eradication Day. Why did I even have to think, it was so obvious!? Another cup of coffee please...

There's a whole chapter dedicated to gratitude in The Science of Getting Rich. It happens to be the longest one. The Secret acknowledges that "...the power of gratitude stands above everything else. If you only do one thing (italics mine) with the knowledge of the Secret, use gratitude until it becomes your way of life.

Yesterday's Philippine Star ran promotional material on the Philippines' first annual "Thank You" day. Among others, it cites the medical benefits of gratitude. According to the article:

Gratitude can be beneficial to your health. According to published research findings by Dr. Robert Emmons (University of California in Davis) and Dr. Michael McCullough (University of Miami), gratitude is a virtue conducive to good health, w3ell-being, happiness, and psychological stability.

The research revealed that practicing gratitude, whether verbally or through action, resulted in heightened liveliness, optimism and enthusiasm. Furthermore, the research subjects were far less prone to depression and tension.
...An immune system supported by a sunny disposition is one more resistant to diseases and disorders that plague the body and the spirit.

Our Awesome Planet, a blog whose feed I subscribe to, made its own awesome contribution:

In Celebration of the first ever National Thank You in the Philippines on Oct. 20, I'm launching an art project campaign on saying the most creative "Thank You." I'm launching ThankYou.PH to say creative thanks to all the people that influenced and help me in my blog. This will be an ongoing campaign that would last forever (naks :)

ThankYou.PH is an ongoing community art project where people send their Thank You to show a simple appreciation to friends, family and love ones in a creative way. This was inspired by the National Thank You Day. Just email your creative Thank You to thankyouday.post@blogger.com.

It's all good!

Finally, I'd like to show you something I got in my inbox at pinoyexchange.com. Participate in any way you can. Encourage others to do the same. And don't forget to say thank you:)

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On The Science of Getting Rich

My friend Anna downloaded a copy of The Science of Getting Rich (SOGR) for me a few summers ago. Before I could print a copy, the PC crashed. The two incidents were not related:)

I didn't know what I was missing, so it didn't matter. Then in November 2005, I saw the SOGR e-book for sale at eBay Philippines for PhP0.01, that's US$0.0002266! I hit the "Buy Now!" button. Of course the seller didn't want the centavo. He just wanted to give copies away, but you can't do that on eBay. (Did I just rhyme!?)

What's the hype surrounding SOGR? The writer of The Secret, Rhonda Byrne has acknowledged this particular book as the one that started her on her path. Read the details here.

Wallace D. Wattles, SOGR author states:

This book is pragmatical, not philosophical--a practical manual, not a treatise upon histories. It is intended for the men and women whose most pressing need is for money, who which to get rich first, and philosophize afterward. It is for those who want results and who are willing to take the conclusions of science as a basis for action, without going into all the processes by which those conclusions were reached.

A few months ago, I saw the book at one of the better bookstores. Much to my mortification, it was a Filipino who published it, passed it off as their work and SOLD it! It's FREE dammit and contrary to every law of SOGR plus a few more.

I obviously didn't need it. I was thinking of getting a copy just to check the contents and photograph it as evidence. But I didn't want the "sham publisher" to get any royalty from me. When I checked for the book again, this time armed with a camera, they couldn't find one but said the price was marked down. Well whatever the amount, it was still too much!

I've always been proud to be Filipino as you can see by my nick, but this incident thoroughly embarrassed me. Anna and I checked our mail and realized that we weren't getting our subscriptions anymore. Were all Filipinos banned from the SOGR Network? I gathered my courage, emailed the administrator of the site and asked. They replied that they didn't know about it. In a way, I still feel right about informing them. A few days later, my inbox started receiving email again.

I hope to make up for that horrific transgression by my fellow Filipino. Starting today, you may download your FREE copy at this site. I will not discuss the book here, but you may go to the Science of Getting Rich Network where there are downloads, forums and ezine subscriptions available.

To Ms. Rebecca Fine, thank you!

Blogger's Note: I wrote this piece September 22 and then saved it as a Draft. I was hoping to put in a picture of the "Book" but I was never able to get one. I will publish this anyway and will add the picture as soon as I get it. As Mr. Wattles says, "Act now. There is never any time but now, and there never will be any time but now."

Monday, October 15, 2007

On Being A Farmer

I always wanted to be a farmer. I thought it would be cool to have "Farmer" as occupation in my passport.

My grandfather was a "gentleman" farmer. With his Spanish mestizo looks, he looked dashing and in command. And the mangoes! There were baskets and baskets under the dining room table and every available surface. We had mangoes before, during and after each meal and never tire of it. During avocado season, we'd just go outside and get breakfast from the fruit that fell overnight. In between, we had guava and cashew we picked ourselves. Being a farmer to me meant having lots of good stuff!

Then the awful lahar came and everything turned gray, literally. My Lolo was gone by then but I remember thinking how difficult it would have been for him. It was about a decade later that the mangoes started to come again, though not as much as before. Thankfully, we still have a couple of baskets each during harvest. I silently thank Lolo for his foresight.

I got my own farm in an unbelievable manner. It deserves a separate post. Last summer, I planted 23 seedlings. They say that each full-grown mango tree yields enough fruit worth PhP50,000.00 per harvest. If my math is right, that's just 20 trees to get a million annually! And to think that some farmers get their trees to bear fruit twice a year.

I would have added about 30 more seedlings this year but there was a severe drought followed by floods. Another story. You'd need just 10 square meters per tree. The area of an Olympic-size swimming pool is 1,250 sqm. Now, YOU do the math! And that's just mangoes. Bamboo grows much faster and is in constant demand. Mahogany is worth its weight in gold (well, almost!) and very low maintenance. That's not even the "cash" crops, like calamansi and black pepper. Within a short period, these give you income continuously. Who doesn't need these few hundred pesos every few days?

We all have a piece of idle land somewhere. It can be in your back yard or a spot at the ancestral home. It may be a hectare in a fifth-class municipality, like mine. Just take the initiative and do a little research. Use some of your Christmas bonus/cash gifts and get a seedling for a mere 100 a pop. In many parts of the country, you can find someone to look after your trees for an equitable split of the profit. And this is AFTER the first harvest, which may take years. Not only do you have a life, you add to someone else.' It can't get any better than that.

Now if every ten year old boy or girl planted a few trees, they would have enough money after college for graduate school or a comfortable nest egg. So, who wants to be a millionaire?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More On Teachers

I'm happy to get a lot of reaction on my "Teachers" post, even from family members. One of my sisters is a teacher. One of my aunts studied to be a teacher. She ended up being an Ambassador, but that's another story. My Mom, a lawyer, taught Constitution for a time at Assumption College, her alma mater. A few years ago, she taught at Silliman Law School. Now that she's retired, I should bring up her going back.

In other parts of the world, teachers are getting recognition. Oprah Winfrey says they're her favorite people. In 2004, a Favorite Things" episode of hers featured only teachers in the audience.

In the world of fashion, designer Zac Posen has partnered with DHL to create the Zac Posen + DHL Tote For Teachers and will donate 100% of proceeds to benefit Teachers Count. Teachers Count (USA) is a non-profit organization that prides itself in furthering teacher appreciation. Read the full article here.

The October 4, 2007 post from Blogger Buzz, the official Blogger blog:) points to the Official Google blog for this post:

When it comes to philanthropy, everyone’s got something different to give – some people have money, others have time, and bloggers have devoted readers. The creative folks at DonorsChoose have a few ideas about how bloggers can help students and teachers.

In case you’re not familiar with DonorsChoose, it’s a site where teachers post needs they have for their classrooms, and donors fund those projects directly. If you’ve got a blog, a website, or even an email account, you can help by creating what’s called a challenge. Just pick some of your favorite projects and challenge your family, friends, and readers to fund them. If you’ve got a Blogger account, it’s easy to add your challenge to your blog in just a few clicks.

Pity there's no such thing here in the Philippines. Maybe we should start one. Awards given out are well enough, but they're individual. It's time our educators receive their due. They do more for our country than most legislators. And that's the truth.

On Television

We have a single television at home, and it's not even PIP (picture in picture). It's deliberate. I know all the design rules which say you shouldn't put one in the living room. Well, I don't have a den or a dedicated media room. So into there's very little choice.

I made my mind up about this when I was a teenager. And to think that at the time, we only had 5 channels! We had a television set in every bedroom and hardly saw each other except during meals and on the drive to school. It was kind of frustrating having 5 siblings and no one to talk to. I swore to myself that if I ever had a family, we'd live in a small house with just one TV! All the better to bump into each other all the time.

Then cable came along. With just the cost of a subscription, there was a myriad of channels, commercial-free, available 24 hours a day. It was chaotic for awhile. I used to watch HBO late into the night. I had missed a whole era of cinema and music starting with the birth of my first born until the youngest started going to school. And although it's a whole new programming out there and everybody's older, Nickelodeon is still our default channel.

It's a daily practice in democracy. And censorship. We vote and decide what we watch. It doesn't matter who gets the remote first. Sometimes, we consult with clickthecity.com just to agree ahead of time.

We learn a whole lot more from watching a gamut of shows. The whole family knows what's going on in local showbiz (my fault!). I watch MTV and the UAAP games with the kids. They know Wolfgang Puck and I've told them who Hannah Montana's dad is.

Although this arrangement works for us, we altogether spend a whole lot of time in front of the boob tube because of it. Studies have blamed television watching to aggressive behavior, autism and obesity, among others. Frankly, I hope this isn't true:

Interestingly, the studies found that it doesn't matter what people watch, whether it's "The Simpsons" or "McNeil/Lehrer," or "Murphy Brown" or "Nightline": the more television you watch, the less literate, the more stupid you are. Source.

As to subliminal messages from television, there's enough theory for a two-hour Discovery Channel special. In the meantime, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and picking up a book.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

On "Lupang Hinirang"

When the girls were little, we'd have a little talk or story before bedtime. There was a night I decided to bring up and explain the National Anthem. I heard them use sing-song voices and syllabicate so I knew they had no idea what they were singing.

Their ears picked up when we got to: Duyan ka ng magiting, Sa manlulupig, 'Di ka pasisiil. (Cradle of noble heroes, Ne'er shall invaders, Trample thy sacred shores).* I swear there were tears in their eyes when we got to the last part: Aming ligaya, na 'pag may mang-aapi, Ang mamatay nang dahil sa 'yo (But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged, For us, thy sons, to suffer and die).* I was so proud of my girls!

Today, as we await the Pacquiao-Barrera rematch, I must admit feeling apprehensive about R&B Princess Kyla's rendition of "Lupang Hinirang." Remember Geneva Cruz? I'm not the only one who feels this way. The article "What’s The Proper Way To Sing The National Anthem?" by Eliza Victoria appears in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Aside from [Sarah] Geronimo, singers Lani Misalucha, who sang in the first Pacquiao- Morales bout on March 19, 2005, and Bituin Escalante (July 2, 2006, Pacquiao vs. Larios at the Araneta Coliseum), also took vocal liberties in their renditions of the National Anthem.

Jennifer Bautista, who sang in the Pacquiao-Morales rematch on Jan. 21, 2006, went off-key on the song’s last word.

At the Sept. 16, 2007 match between reigning world bantamweight champion Gerry PeƱalosa and North American Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Bernabe Concepcion in Alabang, Christian Bautista delivered an abbreviated version of the song when he missed the lines, "Buhay ay langit sa piling mo / Aming ligaya na ’pag may mang-aapi."

How will Kyla measure up to previous performances? Azucena at the Peyups forums predicts:

na iimagine ko na ang version ni kyla ng national anthem..."bahayang maghiliw' heheh may kulot kulot pa... sa lahat ng kumanta ng ating national anthem eh dalawa lang daw ang nkakanta ng tama...c lea salonga n nkalimutan ko yung name ng isa. prang singer noon. galeng talaga ni leah!!!!

However, according to the Philboxing website:
There’s no stopping Solar Entertainment Corporation, MP Promotions and TV Partner “Kapuso” GMA 7, in making sure the Philippine National Anthem will be done in the most professional way. The partners agreed that GMA will handle the assigning of [Kyla], in this light, the partners have been careful in deliberating and painstakingly ensured that our national anthem will be delivered in accordance to world class standards.

Originally written as a march, it's frustrates me no end when Filipino artists of note stylize the song. They sing it to the tempo of "The Star-Spangled Banner!" Actually, it should be more like "Hail To The Chief" but prouder. How difficult is that!? The Inquirer article adds:

Teodoro Atienza, heraldry section head of the NHI’s (National Historical Institute) Research, Publications and Heraldry Division, said that when sung “at the proper pace,” the national anthem should last from only “53 seconds to less than a minute.”

I'm holding my breath, it's Kyla's turn to sing.

She was terrific! It was no more and no less than what "Lupang Hinirang" was meant to be. The Filipinos in the audience sang along, not worried that she was going to alter it midway. But doesn't Manny Pacquiao know the lyrics?

I now present my girl...KYLA!

*This translation was made by Senator Camilo Osias and Mary A. Lane and was made official by an act of the Philippine Congress in 1938. As such, it is the canonical English translation of Filipinas and is being taught in Philippine schools (along with the official Filipino text and the original Spanish lyrics). Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, October 6, 2007

More on Dress Codes

I was reading The Philippine Star the other day and read the article "Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down" by Exie Abola, a blogger and teacher at the Ateneo de Manila University. Filed under the Star "Fashion" tab(?), he wrote about "[t]he climatic disturbance that threatens to turn into a storm...a proposed change in the dress code."

I wrote previously on a similar move from the authorities at Silliman University, where two of my daughters go. I also write this from a different perspective: My father, uncle, brothers and cousins went to the Ateneo. Some of my young nephews still do. There were stories of the old Padre Faura campus. I remember that in the 70's it was a big deal to colegialas that the High School boys wore casual clothes. I vaguely remember some sort of dress code at the time but it wasn't that much of a big deal. Ateneans being as they are, they were wont to outdress each other. My brothers still dress appropriately although I can't say for sure if it's due to their Jesuit education.

So it's hard for me to imagine Ateneans come to this state of "underdress." I would likely picture them to be more dressed "up". One point raised by the author was something that didn't arise in the Silliman discussion. Is it unique to the ADMU?


Stories abound of students who go out of the campus and meet others, perhaps to conduct an interview or other school business, wearing shorts and flipflops. It has happened in my own department. One of our literature majors who graduated just this past March applied for a teaching position with us this April and arrived for his job interview in — you guessed it — shorts and flipflops. Our chairperson, needless to say, was not amused and reminded the candidate that he wasn’t at the beach. (He didn’t get the job.)
The matter of dressing for church was also mentioned.
...we discussed the idea of a dress code for churches, a matter in the news a few months ago when bishops were reported to be miffed by the too-casual wear especially of the youth. During that session the class agreed on another statement: that the church is a special place deserving special treatment. Most of the students thought these two assertions were true, yet they had a hard time conceding that church officials were right in wanting tougher rules on what the congregation should wear.

People in Dumaguete mostly dress for church. I bet they still wear their new clothes to Sunday Mass to have them "blessed" before wearing them elsewhere. As a reminder however, or in obedience to Church hierarchy, there are posters at the bulletin boards.

The author raises his view as an educator while I write as an individualist and parent. Though there is concern on the youth's lack of propriety, I'd like to assume that we are both wary of the consequences of the implementation of dress codes in school campuses.

[Rules] are fashioned in the context of a relationship between the ruler and the ruled, boss and subordinate, parent and child, teacher and student. How the rules are accepted depends greatly on what kind of relationship exists between the two unequal parties. If the subordinate views authority with suspicion or even downright hostility, he will probably meet any move to control his behavior with resentment. I can imagine students packing flipflops and skimpy shorts and tops into their knapsacks to bring them out when they leave the campus and hang out in the coffee shops along Katipunan, brandishing their defiance on their bodies on the other side of the concrete highway.

And in the end, what will have been achieved? Will the new rules make people more respectful of others, more aware of decorum, more appreciative of the rules of propriety? Or will they only foment ill will? Isn’t it true that if the [relationship] is chilly, then being told how to dress up will only feel like being dressed down?

(Blogger's Note: Mr. Abola has graciously given his permission to quote from his work. You can read his blog and the article in full here.)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

On Being Tagala in Negros

My roots are definitely Ilocano. Pakbet or diningdeng were daily fare. I thought pinapaitan was party food. I spoke only English or Ilocano for the first 9 years of my life. Imagine learning to speak colloquial Tagalog only at the age of 10! To this day, I still need my bagoong fix.

In the Visayas though, I'm regarded as Tagalog. We were in culture shock when Mom's work brought her here nine years ago. It was a time everything was closed on Sundays except churches and the local sabungan. Only recently has there been patis and bagoong alamang in the grocery shelves(!). Both patis and toyo are local terms for soy sauce. I have learned not to flinch when called "'Inday," which is a term of endearment. But I refuse to put catsup on my siopao and pizza.

This city welcomed my Mom, an urbanite to the core, when she was first assigned here. Everybody knows and greets her with due respect. She chose to retire to here.

When we got news of my father's unexpected death in Manila one early morning, everybody came. They brought breakfast, finished my cooking, and brought 10 tickets for the next flight home! (Who does that!?) I'm still trying to recall if they did all our packing too.

The thing that puzzles/fascinates me is that Dumaguete runs at its own pace. It was a constant source of irritation and a strain on my schedule until I heard an expat yell in disgust: "What the hell is wrong with you people!?" at Lee Plaza. Although I wanted to come to the defense of the young girl, I could see where he was coming from. I was standing behind him at the line for 30 minutes, waiting for our parking tickets to be validated. He was first in line. I now remind myself that patience is a virtue and these are my friends.

Beyond that, the people Dumaguete City adopted us way before we adapted to them. I drive along the ocean every time I go downtown, how cool is that!? Everything is so mellow, even typhoons don't come. We have more mestizas and expats here than in DasmariƱas Village. It's the closest the Philippines has to a college town. I heard that is was Jose Rizal who coined the name "City of Gentle People." Our National Hero was right on!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On The Toyota Land Cruiser

My friends know that I'm enthusiastic with everything about cars. I only get the newspapers mainly twice a week: Thursdays for Food/Cooking and Wednesdays, which have special sections for Motoring. I have to see the pictures and ads which are not available in their online editions.

We had a Toyota Land Cruiser in a shade my siblings called "Smurf Blue." I think it's still around, in the province somewhere. I'll bet it has defied the surrounding lahar and stands proud. Built like a tank, it's still around poorly disguised as an armored truck. I can go on about the specs but I'm probably the only one who'd care.

There has been a resurgence of old school and retro auto design which I'm particularly appreciating. It's a trend that includes music, architecture, furniture design and fashion. Maybe we've just run out of ideas.

Anyway, a few months ago at the EDSA Shangri-la Plaza Mall, I saw the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser! Bigger and better, but not distinct from the original, it made my knees weak. I could have wept! It was an import, not available locally. I wonder who owns it!? Please, please someone tell me! I would kill just to be in the driver's seat. I know the specs and price of this, I've read them online:)

Sadly, I don't think I'm going to apply the principles of The Secret to this one. If I had that kind of money, I'd get a hybrid, the MB Smart car or Toyota Prius. That would be the politically correct thing to do. I'll just hope that more people get an FJ Cruiser so I see it more often on the streets. This one won't get resurrected as an armored truck for sure.

On Teachers

A vocation is an occupation, either professional or voluntary, that is carried out more for its altruistic benefit than for income, which might be regarded as a secondary aspect of the vocation, however beneficial. Vocations can be seen as fulfilling a psychological or spiritual need for the worker, and the term can also be used to describe any occupation for which a person is specifically gifted, and usually implies that the worker has a form of "calling" for the task. Source

PTA meetings are not a time to get emotional. When the kids were little, I was in a meeting almost every week and hearing not a single word. I was planning menus in my head, mentally checking the contents of the refrigerator or philosophizing on the essence of housework.

There was once, however, I noticed everyone else was silent. The speaker spoke passionately about bringing up our children to be teachers. It was a vocation, Sister ___ said, this desire to teach.

It was a time when there was a serious scarcity. Most who qualified the Board went off to other countries to be nannies. They taught other peoples' kids. I understand where Sister was coming from. It was an exclusive girls' school and the perfect source for future teachers already ingrained with their vision. It was a prayer that their school would go on with alumnae on their faculty.

Only to these teachers did I totally entrust my young children. Separately, we would do our best to mold their minds and spirits. And while the kids are now in college, I still want the assurance that they learn from the best. Yet if they were unwilling, from whom would our kids learn? Somebody has to do it, not just anyone. Our young Filipinos deserve the best.

I especially love public school teachers! They are in the front lines during elections. They show up before and during registration, revision and elections. And if they don't, they'd be subject to arrest. And while candidates' watchers have relievers, these poor people require bladders of steel, digestive systems of camels and all the patience in the Old Testament. Try being meticulous and accommodating when you've been up 16 hours. They personify virtue.

My youngest daughter is a freshman in Education. Though our reasons are more practical than idealistic, it's enough. I'm also asking my other daughters to take enough education units at least to qualify as instructors. I dare most of my children's friends as well, to consider teaching as a first or part-time job. It's a mission which began with a PTA appeal.