WhirlwindWeek

Still clinging to the painful irony that the more write-worthy things a person is doing, the less time he or she has to actually write about them, and vice versa.

WHIRLWINDONE – EARGASM:

Got to see toe: Live in Manila last Tuesday. Screw language barriers, these guys play instrumentals that explode into total eargasms, whether album or live. Being up close, though, allows you to see every shiver, every face and every drop of sweat that leaves them as they birth note after note, complete with grimaces of what could be pain, passion or both.  Probably the most intense and awesome concert I’ve ever seen. Ever. And, to quote my brother, an absolute steal at Php 1500 (EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT HELLYEAH)

WHIRLWINDTWO – GEEKINGOUT:

On the Global City shuttle on the way to the NBC Tent to watch said concert was the first time somebody actually sat beside and talked to me because she saw the copy of A Clash of Kings I was reading. Talk about work schedules and how I look too young to be a teacher quickly devolve into GRR Martin not sparing any character whether they be man (Red Wedding trolololol), woman (yes, Lady counts trolololol) or child (Mycaaaaah trolololol), and so on, until the NBC Tent glides by.

WHIRLWINDTHREE – TIPSYTOPSYTURVY

I think I’m starting to get my old levels of alcohol resistance back, because of the simple fact that I’m drinking a lot more often than I did when I started working. Case in point: sleep at 2am with almost a bottle’s worth of brandy in my system, report to work at around 8am while still tipsy (no hangover thank goodness), be able to focus on said work until around 2pm.

WHIRLWINDFOUR – THEMOSTDIFFICULTENTRANCEEXAMIVEHADTOTAKE:

LAE results finally out last Thursday. I passed. Yay. Now everybody’s welcoming me to Hell/Hades/Tartarus/etc. At least I know what I’ll be doing, at least for the next few years. Believe it or not, I like having a sense of direction.

Been a helluva week so far. Wonder what the weekend has in store.

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More Fun (piece displayed beside an impromptu exhibit of students’ “More Fun in the Philippines” projects)

We Filipinos are lucky to be in the position we are in now: we speak English with the best in the world (sometimes even better), we enjoy the best things the world has to offer us, and we are able to draw from any number of inspirations and influences in order to create things that are art on so many levels. However, we are and have, for most of our history, been at risk of forgetting who we are.

People have always questioned why we even teach Philippine literature, consequently Philippine culture and history, in English. Some even go as far as petitioning to stop using English as a medium for education, instead teaching everything in Filipino. They follow through by saying that people who do not speak and write primarily in Filipino are not “true” Filipinos. These people are missing the point; the point is not really to not speak in English, but to never forget how to speak Filipino. Never forget where you come from, lest you lose your idea of where you are going (to provide an inferior translation of Rizal).

Installing Filipino pride in today’s youth is indeed a difficult task for a teacher today. What use, after all, are 1521 (the year Magellan “discovered” the Philippines), the 1898 Treaty of Paris (the treaty that handed our country over to the Americans) and Proclamation 1081 (Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law) to somebody other than a point, a check mark in a test paper?

But numbers are simply numbers, and facts simply facts. The real tests of pride come much more spontaneously: when the “Lupang Hinirang” (not the “Bayang Magiliw”, mind you) plays in the background all of a sudden, when a student wears a malong/bahag properly, when a child looks at a grocery aisle and decides to buy Nips instead of M&M’s. Being aware of these subtle yet powerful displays is essential to identity. Being able to tell what makes us Filipino, and how our superhuman senses of humor and self-deprecation can make even national calamities look like dance parties, can give us a sense of pride that no amount oppression can remove from us.

The point? Never forget where we and you come from, and you will never forget who you are.

And just to make things clear: yes, it really is more fun in the Philippines.