Monday, February 15, 2010

JOURNAL | Past Entries

Just rounding up some archives in my laptop files. I have this habit of writing journals but not posting them in this blog as the Internet is so sluggish I get too lazy from doing so. Anyway here are some of the few:

Gerry Roxas Leadership Forum
(Sometime in September 2009)
I attended this forum with distinguished speakers from different professions and two of them were a doctor and a governor. I just had to write down their quotes:
Quote 1: THE 10,000-HOUR RULE (The hour required to practice) -Dr. Leachon

Quote 2: SUCCESS = Goals + Talent + Hardwork + Luck -Dr. Leachon

Quote 3: Those who are too smart to run for politics are doomed to be governed by those who are not. -Gov. Padaca

Poor Philippines, happy Philippines 

(After reading this Korean book my friend Dorothy gave me, I had to write down these thoughts)

These past few days I have become so lazy to hit my keyboard and write something. I don’t know but maybe it’s because of the weather. It has been really hot here especially in this new room of mine that if you leave a wet shirt inside two hours is enough to dry it. That being said, it makes it difficult for me to even do most of my studying. I can’t study anymore and oh plus the disgusting fact that there are cats here that made it a habit to cover the place with their shit. Damn those cats, whenever I wake in the morning all I smell is their shittiness and that’s enough to ruin everything. I keep on shoo-ing them but they just won’t budge. I simply hate those cats. In fact I hate cats now more than ever. They are nothing but sleazy and disgusting creatures always messing the trash can outside and just five minutes ago, they managed to turn the can again. Damn those cats. I want to kill those two if only I could. But as killing is not really part of my nature, except for really creepy cockroaches which I happen to crush a good ten minutes ago, I wouldn’t do anybody harm.

Reading this book, Reading Korea: 12 Contemporary Stories, made me appreciate Korea as a country more. This book was given to me by my good pal Dorothy who went back to Korea last month. It has been a month indeed since she left. Anyway, the book has so many good and inspiring stories that even in dreams I get to meet the characters. It is inspiring because somehow I see the Philippines in the past of Korea. The country has been a poor one, poorer than the Philippines and the struggles that many of its citizens faced are stories never told in news reports or social science books here in our country. We have always admired Korea as an industrialized country and have settled with the fact that this country has always been that way. But I was mistaken with this. The people are surely poor before to the point that they have nothing to eat, and some would just commit suicide. But they were able to turn the table. How were they able to do that? But just today I also realized the futility of comparing the Philippines to other countries. And the question in my mind is this- are we really poor? If being rich means having so much money and good houses but full of stress, people don’t even know how to relax and appreciate life, would I want that kind of prosperity? 

The Philippines is a unique country that despite poverty, people survive on measly income and small houses. But they sure know how to laugh and how to have a good time. I have this belief that no richness can ever make people happy. In fact richness would only make people desire more. When we were poor, I appreciated life so much thinking how much better my life would be if I were to have this and that. But now that I have most of the things I have dreamt of, the happiness does not show. I am still at a loss. Perhaps the real meaning of happiness is when you see the value of what you have and enjoy the happiness of dreaming things. It gives man a reason to live, knowing that they have a goal to achieve.

Communication Research 110: Qualitative Research Notes

Misa De Gallo
(My journal entries in my qualitative research notebook, I had to write this down coz I threw my old notebook away)

December 20, 2005
It was still December 15 when I thought of attending Misa De Gallo[1]. Yes, the nine early morning masses that prompt many Filipinos to throng nearby churches and hear their priests sermon. Unfortunately, I decided not to go for the simple reason that the weather was not good. I mean it was freezing and the rain seems to go on forever. Practical wise, I just don’t want to get sick. It is not that I am an atheist or agnostic, but experience dictates that logic comes with faith. I’m sure God won’t be happy if I get sick. I will be more unproductive if I did. Perhaps I am an exception to the rule because a lot of Filipinos still attend this mass for several reasons:

1. Religious purpose. Maybe these people really want to visit the church and somehow devote their time to God or maybe they are simply religious.

2. Peer factor. As in friends! What I noticed nowadays is that young people come to the Misa De Gallo because their friends are with them and listening to the priest is the least of their concerns. That is why young people remain at the back part of churches.

3. For the food. Misa De Gallo for some people is synonymous to the food available after every mass –bibingka, puto-bumbong, suman, sinukmani, etc.[2] To some people, without the promise of these foods, they won’t make an effort to rise early and go to church.

4. Forced. This is what I call had-no-option-but-to-come people. S9ince their family is won’t stop knocking on their bedroom doors; these people are left with no choice but to join the mass. Ends up making the church an extension of their disrupted sleep.

These are the people present in the Misa De Gallo. I may have missed some types nevertheless what is important is that I was able to distinguish one from the other. At least, even if I didn’t attend the mass, I can stand up for it knowing I have my own personal reasons.


December 21-22, 2005
My provincial organization, UP Kalilayan, an organization of UP students from Quezon Province had a free medical and dental service in Gumaca, Quezon. And if you are wondering, no, this project is not a Christmas one. It just happened that the organization decided to choose this particular date for convenience purposes. But before we arrived in Gumaca, I observed some rituals Filipinos do.

1. Punctuality 101. I am not very particular about punctuality since I do get late sometimes. But I think if a person is two hours late then that really blows my hat off. The original meeting time prior to departure was 2pm. I arrived at 2:30 half expecting all people would be there by this time. But many were still missing and it took us a couple of hours more before we decided to leave. Imagine the two hours wasted which could have been used for a more productive activity.

2. Nothing wrong with anything free. On the bus while chatting with my friends, I saw Diann holding a stethoscope. I borrowed the gadget and pretended I know how to use it. So my friends and I are laughing at the top of our lungs when the passenger seating in front of us asked me, “libre ba yan? (Is that for free)” Imagine, a person doesn’t know me yet just to get a free blood pressure check up he’ll talk to me.

3. Who’s first? Upon our arrival at the hall where we will set up the medical mission for the following day, we were greeted warmly by the parents of our host, Peter. After a while, the parents called us so we can eat. Nobody moved until someone stood up and went ahead. The rest followed and ate too. I think it’s very typical for Filipinos to wait for someone to lead them before they make a move.

4. A different “Ama Namin” (The Lord’s Prayer). After eating dinner someone suggested to attend the evening mass and so we did. As usual most of my friends opted to remain at the back and because this is not my territory I followed them. And we were at the back listening to the mass until we reached the part where we had to sing the Lord’s Prayer. It is not new to me to hold hands at this part but when the locals raised their hands at the mention of “heaven” and lowered at “earth.” I really tried hard not to giggle. I realized that we celebrate mass differently from each other.

Conclusion. Yes, difference in geographical locations results in difference of practices. I need not reiterate that these differences in the process become diverse in terms of human relations. However, for the purpose of this journal’s observation, I would like to note people’s feeling of alienation towards exposure to others which may develop to anxiety.

Filipino Christmas

December 25, 2009

Yes it is Christmas, the most anticipated time of the year. Mother, sister and I attended the mass. First point, most people during this time feel that it is mandatory to don new clothes (Including me). It is as if Christmas is not Christmas without having something new. Well, I was not exempted from this. Mother bought me new clothes. When I was younger I always make sure that I have something new to wear. I want people to notice me which leads me to thinking, buying new things is actually for other people rather than for ourselves. We want people’s approval and attention. Sometimes there are people who take it to the extreme buying extravagant jewels and gifts for themselves and friends. Going back to the church, it was a sea of people so to speak, with new clothes, shoes, etc. and believe me, the smell of garments diffused in the air.

Second point, I also observed Filipino Catholic’s absurd practice of religion. After the mass, people rushed to the alter to kiss the image the of Sto. Nino[3]. This tradition only happens during Christmas, but actually Filipinos love to kiss images believing that these images have some sort of magical healing powers. To me, instead of healing, these images may actually spread bacteria and that might cause sickness. So unsanitary! St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us, “where reason ends faith begins.” But I say that reason doesn’t end at this kind of show because I know it doesn’t take faith to realize it is really not good. Anyway I just smile at this reality convincing myself that if it helps a person to grow in faith then there’s nothing wrong with that.

After the mass, we proceeded to our relatives’ house. The atmosphere was generally festive although it was less compared to last year. People are very generous and visitors are well-accommodated. What I like about Christmas is that people always smile at each other even if some are enemies. The Christmas spirit never fails to cease fire.

Third point, why is it that old folks have this notion that if a person is already matured, they are not entitled to gifts anymore. So unfair! And why do ninongs and ninangs[4] hide when Christmas comes? I think we are all entitled to all the presents we deserve because nobody dictated how young or old one must be to receive something. The point is, people should not deprive anybody the happiness they would feel if they can just receive gifts. But as my professor in political science would stress, “Receiving is a privilege we enjoy but we must not forget that with privilege comes responsibilities.” Enjoying should not be one way so we need to share this happiness to others.

Party hassle

December 26, 2005

The Christmas celebration here in the Philippines extends up to the second Sunday of January the following year in time for the “Three Kings.” From what I know, the Philippines has the longest celebration of Christmas that begins from September. Thus, I believe that Filipinos are by nature festive people. One cannot deny the fact that we love to celebrate any special occasion. Let people be happy and for a short time forget problems. This makes us feel happy knowing that like Christmas, there are special days to look forward to.

To be happy, may be the utmost goal of everybody. For this reason, we schedule our Christmas parties at friends’ house. To begin with, I don’t really enjoy parties. Some acquaintances whom I barely know tell me that I am anti-social. The thing is, I don’t see anything good out of parties. Imagine, you will need to dress up which will be additional laundry. You will have to spend money. If money is no object then perhaps it is okay but it’s not the case. Also, you have to contend with the fact that you need to pretend you are happy for people to like you and let them inside their circles, otherwise suffer being out of place. There’s also the burden of forcing those stories out from long forgotten memories to keep up with small conversations which eventually would lead to a more personal one. Finally when the party is over, the host must tidy up the whole place. You are not only spent but may suffer from headache too.

Luckily when I finally decided to go and see my high school friends whom I didn’t see for quite a long time, I didn’t have to suffer the party hassles I just mentioned. Actually I kind of a enjoyed the party. What I observed in our Christmas party was that there is someone who naturally emerges as a leader and organizes the entire party. Without the leader, the party wouldn’t be as fun.

It didn’t take a long time before the lights went out. There was a blackout. As usual, moments like this, friends gather at the living room and started talking about creepy stories. Point raised, why do we love talking about horror stories when the lights are out. Instead of getting afraid, I enjoyed the bonding moment it brought us. The discussion was carried over to midnight snack. The following morning, most of us woke up late and if truth be told, I was very hungry but couldn’t eat even though food is already served. Why? Because not everyone wants to eat! Again, here comes my who-is-going-to-be-first pet peeve. Such a bummer.

New Year emotions

December 31, 2005 – January 1, 2006

Bonne annee. (that’s happy new year in French)

2006, year of the fire dog! (how hot can the fire dog be?)

It is as if my friends and I didn’t have enough of seeing each other last December 26 because we met again today December 31 at SM Lucena. I don’t know, but there is something nice when you meet your friends. Gives you that assurance that life will be okay. We didn’t do much actually, we just sat there laughing and waited for others to come. I have this belief that for friends to grow stronger there must be constant communication. Because you see, these friends of mine have been my friends since second year high school and I believe and strongly feel that our friendship has been tested by time. I noticed that we are all eager to take pictures. “Matakaw sa pictures (Photo addict)” that’s how people call us. But in my observation, Filipinos are really fond of taking pictures. I love to admire myself in the pictures. Do we Filipinos love to take photos of ourselves? What then does that tell about our psyche? Watching news reports, I see people waving at the camera. Is this in any way connected to the big hit Pinoy Big Brother? This really makes me wonder. But still a picture is worth a thousand stories so I shouldn’t be left out.

Since I am already in a department store, I noticed that shoppers are fewer now. Well, I guess this is due to the fact that it is already New Year and buying gifts has subsided compared to last week’s rush. But Filipinos have this very bad habit of procrastinating, doing things at the eleventh hour. I noticed from friends and relatives that the ritual of buying presents and Christmas stuff such as food ingredients and decorations was usually set when everybody’s on their feet. Ends up malls and small stores are always congested. Public markets were crowded, you won’t last long to tell your tale if you continue your quest in these places. Perhaps more serious to me, because I don’t really have patience.

Five o’clock in the afternoon and the streets are slowly getting deserted. This bizarre feeling of silence creeps up to me. My friends tell me it won’t be long till the celebration starts. And so an hour before 2006 says hello, I was at a relative’s house together with my family. We were to celebrate the parting of the New Year there. Of course the food at times like this was one of the reasons why I love it so much. The food- generally a buffet of rounded fruits, barbeques, hams, etc. (fatty foods). And we were all wearing red. We were hoping that this coming year will be a better one.

[1] Misa De Gallo, literally translated as cock’s mass done during the wee hours of the morning nine days prior to Christmas

[2] Filipino rice cakes

[3] Sto. Nino, literally “baby Jesus” is a wooden sculpture of the baby Jesus Christ held by someone at the altar where everyone can kiss it

[4] Ninong and ninang, godfather and godmother 

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