Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hope for our old games

I woke up to the sounds of rowdy children outside. The noise of a sardine can being turned-over again and again was echoing in my ear. Clank. Clank. Clank.

Through the window I saw little children playing TumbangPreso(a Filipino traditional game where the goal is to hit a can using slippers). As much as I was agitated for therude awakening, a stunning realization came over me.

With the advent of modern entertainment, indigenous games are slowly dying. Children nowadays prefer playing on computers rather than go outside. Although there is nothing wrong with playing computer games, playing them at the price of forgetting our own heritage isn’t good. 

Identity and memories

Our old games are more than just games. They speak of a culture developed centuries ago. Indigenous games are also imbedded with the Philippine identity. Every country has their own repertoire of games. TumbangpresoandPatintero (a local version of tag) are only but a few of native games that is purely Filipino.

As trivial as they might seem, games unite the Filipinos to one memory. With games every grown Filipino is reminded of a cherished chapter in their lives—childhood.

The sight of children playing, brings us back to simpler times, when cans and bare hands were enough to keep us occupied for hours. Because of our indigenous games, we can go through a time machine and become enveloped with a myriad of sensations: the crisp cool air touching

our face; the sweet chattering of our friends arguing over the rules; and the beautiful sunset looming over the horizon reminding us to enjoy the last minutes of playtime before mom calls us home for the 6 o’clock rosary.

A mark of Philippine resourcefulness 

Only in the Philippines will you find children playing with old cans. Most ethnic games do not require fancy gears like gaming consoles and computers. For a Filipino child, things found in nooks and crannies can become makeshift toys. A tree branch can become a wooden sword. A two-way radio can even be made by only attaching two cups with a wire. If left with no materials, the children rely on their biggest tool—their minds. Suddenly, the streets turn into forests and the houses transform to become castles. For the Filipino children, their ingenuity lie not in their improvised toys but in their colorful imagination.

Building stronger bonds

Surprisingly, our daily trips outside brought the entire neighborhood closer. Kumpadresand kumares laugh at the thought of the past. They vividly remember every game they played, occasionally chuckling at the memory of them crying over losing a round of Patintero. Fast forward 20 years, those little children are still friends.

Perhaps our local games developed one defining Filipino trait—friendliness.

Since our games we’re interactive, you needed to develop people skills in order for fights to be avoided. This ability to compromise led Filipinos to be adaptive even to the most volatile of situations.

The contentment with hanging out with friends have instilled in us a high value for friendship over material things. Our shared past made the community stronger because we grew up together and still live near each other. This is the reason why Filipinos rarely have awkward moments with old friends because of the strong bonds developed through the years.

The rise of social media

Even if social media keeps old friends close, the current generation has grown too lazy to go outside and have a chat. They much prefer interacting in the virtual words of Facebook and Twitter. Ironically, some teens send text messages to the person beside them! The Philippines is the most active in social networks and it’s obvious that the value of personally talking to someone has diminished.

Echoes of the past

Let’s not wait until we’ll only see these games in a documentary, soon to be archived and then forgotten. The different Philippine native games are only ours to keep and there is no one else to blame if we are to lose them. They are part of our identity, childhood and everything that makes us Filipinos.

The most valuable of things aren’t touched, they are remembered. This dying tradition is priceless for if we lost it, we lost it completely.

It’s nine o’clock in the evening as I write this. Still, the children aren’t tired form playing. The constant ‘clank’ from the sardine can still echoes in my ear.

But instead of going outside and get mad at them, I let it be. If being pestered by their noise is what it takes to keep out traditions alive, so be it. After all, they’ll only experience childhood once, they might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today the world ends

Today marks a year after 12/21/12, a prophesized date that was believed to be the expiration of the world. A lot happened in a few years prior to that. Our reaction to the coming doomsday speaks a lot about our understanding of beginnings and, most especially, endings.

2012 received a lot of hype when a film about it was produced in 2009. Everyone had their own way of preparing for that fateful December day. Even if you didn't believe, admit it, you still had a few thoughts. You asked yourself what would happen in those last fleeting moments of your life. A sense of curiosity was all around us. We question the validity of such an event, but we also imagine a world where it did happen.
There were numerous theories behind doomsday. Some theorized a shift of the north and south pole. 

Another speculated that in 2012 we were long overdue for another Yellowstone eruption or a meteor strike. Even if NASA discredited these conspiracy theories, people still weren't sure they were safe because the date might not be right but the possibility is definitely there. It’s just a matter of time.

Some people spiritually prepared themselves by praying hard or going to pilgrimages. Others took it to the next level, a group of people called Doomsday Preppers thought of radical ways to survive Armageddon.

It was January 2012, and people were now feeling the pressure of how short time is going by. Suddenly everything mattered. People now began reflecting on their lives. They recalled all the glories and follies they ever did.

One of the few things good about 2012 was how it changed people’s relationships. Some took the chance to make-up with old enemies. Classmates hugged each other in a Christmas party and gave forgiveness. While others admitted grievances to one another. Although skeptical, it wouldn’t hurt to get a few things off your chest before the year ends.

12/21/12 came….and went. It was just a normal day. We all woke up, grabbed breakfast and did our routine.  Nothing unusual about it except for a few waiting for Yellowstone to erupt or a meteor to come crashing down and ending all our lives. The sun rose in the east and as the moon came, it became more and more apparent that 2012 was just a hoax. Nostradamus was wrong.

As the moon rose brightly on that Friday night, a sigh of relief escaped our mouths. A realization strikes us: we still had another year to live.

Then Christmas came a few days after. The yuletide spirit caught us all away. 6 days later we celebrated the new year with a bang. And the idea of doomsday went away as we switched our calendar to 2013.
Yet on this day, 12/21/12 still remains in our lives. We didn’t die but 2012 gave us a new perspective about life.

Every day is a race. Time is against you. Life is a race. The moments are counting down and every action you take is using up time.

We all have dreams. Yet life is too short to just dream. We live for a purpose and we should spend time reaching that. The moment the sun rises, the moment we wake up, we must already have a plan ahead for the day and accomplish it.

Doomsday or not, live every single second of your life like it is your last. Never take for granted every day given to you. A lot of people have regrets and will do everything to be alive again. This moment is yours, take it. Do everything the best you can.

Our lives might be just an illusion or it might be reality. But once we cross over, our existence vanishes. YOLO is wrong. For you live a life every day, but only die once. And once you die you can never be yourself again.

Every life is a blessing. It’s up to you to make the most of it.

Love like there is no other.
Live like there’s no other day.
And learn like there is so much to learn.           

Carpe diem!
Seize the day!

How did you spend your 12.21.12? I'd like to hear from you! 

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Who’s the real Devil?

photo taken from
Cruel. Deceitful. Gruesome. The ultimate antagonist. The personification of evil. Evil. One word. Devil.

Good and evil

Humans have always viewed the universe in two ways: Good and Evil. Conflicting concepts ever locked in battle.

Every good story must not only have a happy ending but also a worthy antagonist. One that will simply make the hero’s life a living hell. Whose ultimate defeat- death- will serve right. The fall must be spectacular, 
bloody and merciless.

Yet the greatest of evil is a monster. An abomination of a thousand forms and names. Ever since there was good, it was there. The devil, the anti-thesis of humanity.

The devil has been blamed for all the evil there is. When Hitler killed millions of Jews, it was believed that he must’ve been the devil. When Judas kissed Jesus and sealed his fate, the Devil possessed him. When Brutus stabbed Caesar it must’ve been the Demon’s work.

Every human culture must’ve had a dark figure in their faith. A harbinger of chaos and despair. But isn’t it unfair that the demon is the causality of every atrocity there is. The devil was once the bringer of the dawn, it fell from grace when he disobeyed. It was casted to the deepest depths of the earth- hell.

It must feel bad being eternally damned and getting blamed for everything. In the end a deep question remains: is there a demon to begin with?

Real or Fantasy

It’s an irony that humans get all the credit for the marvels they make. Creations like the pyramids are testaments to our ingenuity.

But what about the tragedies of our history? Every single war, every life lost to the inquisition, the holocaust, 9/11? We stop, stay quiet. “It wasn’t us,” is what we can mutter.

Is the concept of a demon real or simply a figment of our minds? It’s human nature to point the finger at someone else when it should be at us. The truth is, the reason why we play the blame game for so long is that we can’t accept the probability that it might be our own fault.

The worst part is, it’s not just a probability but a truth we are at fault and it’s quite obvious. How we keep on passing the blame is surprising. Humans have been like this since we began. Since Eve blamed the serpent for eating the fruit of knowledge. 

Mirrors and Reflections

Over and over, devils and demons. Never ending, but where is it? The antagonist of humanity has been
around for millennia. We’ve even given it a name. Even more so a description.

I stare at a medieval painting of a demon. Two arms, legs. Chest. Walks upright. It has a likeness to it. The face is so familiar. It has ears on either side of its face. A mouth that’s blood red. It even has a bush of hair on top. Its face is contemplative. Different emotions could have channeled through its face. But I can get over its eyes. So deep and dark. It pierces myself.

I look away. All this about evil forces is getting on my nerves. I get up and go to the washroom. Water splashes on my face. I get the towel and dry myself. As I look up, I face a mirror. And on the other side of the mirror I see the greatest revelation of my life.

taken from
Who’s the real devil?

I think I just found the answer.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Growing up too fast

Love Lust Faith Dreams

Another year is closing on me as I celebrate my birthday. I come to a realization that I’ve been acting way older for my age. Perhaps it would be a fine time to slow down and enjoy my youth.

I’ve heard many times before about people wishing to go back to the ‘glory days’ of youth. The look on their faces shows reluctance. Sometimes, I focus too much on who I want to be, without taking notice of who I am now. I get so frustrated about the limitations of being my age, not aware of how overwhelming it is in the real world.

It’s crazy how when I was in grade school I wanted so bad to start highschool, and when I was a senior I was itching to become a college student. And now in my tertiary level of education, I’m dying to gain independence and go on working. My Algebra teacher told me that the moment you become an employee, you’ll miss the student life.

Sometimes, I get all cocky inside thinking of how much I could change the world around me. But kind-to-think of it, the change within me hasn’t come to an end yet. In short, I’m still not ready. I shouldn’t think about all of the problems of the country that much yet, I should look out for myself first.

I can’t turn back time to get myself to think younger, but the best I can do is to start now. It’s fun to be young, sure there are rules, but there aren’t that much obligations to deal with. The vitality that we posses, our life, is brightly glowing. Though we have the occasional pimples, I still don’t have wrinkles or a balding head to worry about.

One such thing that is synonymous with youth, is the sweetness of the eternal feeling of love. I used to say, “I love you, and I will marry you.” Chessy right? Though treating your partner like someone you would marry, I find myself not ready to think about those. Yes love is delightful, yet I’m not at that age yet to take too seriously.

I should have fun. Enjoy my life. I ought to avoid overburdening myself with problems that aren’t there in the first place! After all, we are only young once in our lives. I am growing up way too fast, time to take a breather, and live like I should—like my age.   

Monday, July 15, 2013

No time for blogging

The frequency of my blogposts only shows the obvious, I do not have time for blogging anymore. 


College has taken so much of my time, though I only have class for five hours. The moment I get home no longer do I write my thoughts, I eat then I’m off to bed. The varieties of the topics I could be writing only frustrates me even more! There is so much to write yet so little time!
Ever since I entered college I’ve been exposed to so much. Events, opinions, my college life, things that I could have made a story out of.

I love blogging, it helps me give an avenue for my thoughts. However, time is  scarce resource. Prioritizing my time leaves blogging somewhere in the bottom of the list.

There are a lot of things I have to worry about. My studies which have to take care of or else I will lose my scholarship. My lovelife that needs big amounts of time and effort to maintain. And even my social life, I have to reconnect and keep myself updated too you know!

I’ve been itching to get time for writing and I’m really glad to have found some. Perhaps I could dedicate a little of my time to blogging at least  once a week.

Whenever I login I face a backlog of posts from my close blogger friends, Rayoona, Lance, Teo, and Morgan. I haven’t had the time to keep tabs on their posts.

For certain, I’m not alone in my situation. Most bloggers are teens, who have to study, some even work! And for these people I have a piece of advice. Make a mental note of what happens day by day, and then if you’re lucky you can blog about it.

You can’t tell how excited I am to catch up with the blogospehere. But until then I have to get back to studying. See you guys soon! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

P 18,000 isn't enough

Editorial cartoon  is credited to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 26, 2013 

Recently the governemennt plans to give a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) amounting to P18,000 to every family living near esteros. This is in order for them to move out of the squatters area and rent an apartment in the city. The goals of the CCT are relevant: for the safety of the squatters and to help the government solve the squatting issue that has taken  them so long to accomplish. However, 18K isn't enough to solve these problems.

Financially speaking, 18,000 pesos cannot cover the family for a year to rent an apartment. Here in Tondo Manila, a small two-floor apartment that my family owns, costs around P7000 per month to rent. The CCT is barely enough for three months! And we are talking about a small apartment. Considering that most estero families consist of six members, they can't possibly fit in a small apartment. With the money the are given, they've no choice but to rent a substandard apartment to get the most out of the 18K.

There is also no certainty that the entirety of the CCT will be actually used in finding a suitable home. Other than shelter, food and water are also vital needs. With the small income estero families earn, it come to no surprise that the moment they receive the 18k subsidy they'll spend it not in apartments but for food. Therefore not fulfilling the goal of the CCT.

If the P18K CCT is not enough to rent a suitable home and that it isn't really used for its real purpose. They'll still end up in the esteros once again, one way or another.

We need to invest in a long-term solution. Building houses will help but won't completely solve the squatting issue. The government also need to provide stable employment for these families so they won't rely anymore on government aid. Failure to give jobs to these families led to the failure of the Arroyo Administration to solve this issue, this is why the problem still persists.

The CCT doesn't solve the squatting issue. This is just a quick-fix, eventually the dilemma will spring back,. A permanent solution is required. The squatters need houses and employment, not P18,000. Because 18K isn't enough.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

The greatest victim of bullying

bul·ly·ing [bllee ing]
intimidation of weaker person: the process of intimidating or mistreating somebody weaker or in a more vulnerable situation

Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Bullying stands out as a global problem, especially to the youth. It has victimized millions. And the need to solve and address this is imminent. If the bully is the one who is bullying, then does it follow that we should prosecute the bully? Should we corporately punish, expel, suspend, and to a great extent, send bullies to jail?  No, a clear no, we should not do these. Not known by many, the greatest victims of bullying are the bullies themselves.

The bullies are not at fault for becoming the person they are. There are several factors that come into play, the media, the social upbringing, peers. These all play a part.

Notice that the media in a variety of forms, either movies, TV shows, novels, and even video games, take violence as a part of society. Violence in the form of action movies like the Bourne Legacy, Wrestling shows like WWE and video games like Halo, and the Warriors. In fact, they don’t just accept violence, they revere it. Only in these times have bringing a gun, joining gangs, and beating people to a pulp have never been so cool! And at the flick of the remote, access to these contents can easily get into the minds of the youth.

Another thing that makes the media even more powerful is the parents who do not guide or supervise their children. The parents should be able to teach their children the borders between right and wrong. How a child is brought up to this world defines his personality. So if the media is not at fault, then maybe this person, whom we call the bully didn’t have a great childhood. Maybe he was neglected, perhaps he was beaten, and maybe just maybe he never felt loved or affection. It’s no surprise that because the bullies doesn’t feel good about themselves that their thoughts about themselves are so low, that in order to gain happiness, satisfaction and pleasure, they have the need to degrade others lower than they are.

Finally, more often than not, bullies don’t start as bullies. Usually, they might have gotten into the wrong crowd or met the wrong friends. Peers, friends, whatever you call them, can make or break you. And if you spend time with people who hurt, discriminate, intimidate, and prank others just for the fun of it, chances are, you’ll become one of them.

It can be safely concluded that the bullies are not at fault. There are several factors that come into play. Bullying is simply a manifestation of the effects of the media, social upbringing, and peers.
Scolding the bully repeatedly, over and over again, suspending, expulsing, and if all comes to jailing, does not in any way solve the problem of bullying, it makes it even worse. You have gotten rid of the bully, but not the bullying.

Bullies are people like us, human beings. They’re just a little confused, maybe misguided. So let’s not blame them, but help them. Lets help them, lets bring them to the light. Change them to the person who will accept and love others for the way they are, just as much as they love and accept themselves.

After all, the biggest victim of bullying are not the bullied, but the bullies themselves. 

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