inspired by true events

The Ride

          Summer is the best season to escape from the pressure in school and enjoy the comfort of nature especially when traveling. I was in a vacation when it held me into something like an adventure which I prefer to be one of the most unforgettable experiences I ever had.

             This memorable summer happened at the place where my mother spent her childhood years. The place was filled with coconut trees everywhere, with cogon grasses near the main road somewhere at the mountainous site of Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur. The travel took four hours from home but it excites my nerves to open my eyes through the journey. In traveling there, I was amazed with the tranquil beauty of nature when my two eyes witnessed the scrutiny of Lanao del Norte and Ozamis City. I was also able to locate the tall Mt. Malindang as well as the silent water of Panguil Bay. That opportunity breaks the isolation of me from the noise down the panorama.

            When we arrived at my aunt’s house, I wasn’t able to have some rest since I can’t wait jamming with my cousins on the farm. My closest cousin, Joveniel—a young tall good-looking man, drive me into a notable incident. He let me ride on the posterior of “the man’s beast of burden”, Carabao. I found it very exhilarating and made my heart feel queer. I hesitantly deal with it on the thought that it might hurt me and fell me off the ground. But what gives me guts was the encouragement of my other cousins to give it a try. So, I tied my wavy hair and ready myself into the adventure. I just can’t imagine my facial expression when I had ridden it going down the hill to let it drink some cold flowing water. But what I can assure is that it made my stomach filled with butterflies on it projecting a sign of nervousness including the cold sweats on my brows, forehead and at my back.

           While letting the Carabao rest for some time, we get some delicious guavas on the tree near my uncle’s hut. It was then I noticed that it’s small in size and yellowish on the inside but taste sweeter than the fruit on our guava tree at home. What challenges me again was harvesting some peanuts and camote with my bare hands which was cultivated by my uncle on his garden. After doing such things, I ride again in the back of the Carabao to bring it on its stock. My tension arouses when it climbed on the hill thus I can’t dare to look down my eyes since it seems so high that if I had lose my balance I would pitifully fall. It was like a nerve breaking experience resisting the intense pull of gravity as if all the saints can’t even help the crucial situation I thought leaving my other leg on its grave. According to one of my cousin, I was so frightened and my whitish face turned into a sort of reddish one same as the face of a drunken person. With that hilarious description, I really laugh on what I did and whenever I recalled it, I just showed my biggest silly smile.

           Indeed, it’s one of the happiest and enjoyable memories on the history of my life, the most thrill-seeking ride I ever experienced.


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“There is no dull person, lazy you call it”

           The documentary film entitled “Juan Tanga?” presents the great role of teachers in shaping the future of the citizens. In the film, bitter facts were uncovered. Our country belong to low performing countries in the field of Science (41st of 45 countries) and Math (23rd of 25 countries); Bridge statistics results last 2004 shows only 20% are qualified to enter high school; and 80% of the teachers don’t have enough capability in terms of speaking English. Due to this, different reasons of this bitter truth were cited. The Philippine government has 918.6 billion budgets and 112 billion of it was intended for education yet there were still classrooms for learners which isn’t conducive for learning. There were large number of pupils enrolled yet the schools don’t have enough facilities which results to conducting classes in the anywhere available – in the hallway, mini gym, and even in a large hall of the school unfortunately there it is composed of many classes subdivided only by a chalk board. The teacher-student ratio was 1 is to 60+ to 80+ even though there were already 3 shifts of classes per day. Comfort rooms can’t even provide comfort. It looked like abandoned– no water, no doors; so dusty and untidy to look at. Aside from that, 17 million pupils enrolled for school and 2 million of those pupils were not in the right age for their level. Poor reading skills of pupils were discovered. Some books approved by the Department of Education contain errors grammatically and even inappropriate for the level of the pupils to be encountered. There was also a teacher even fail to distinguish what’s the grammatical error on a certain passage. Aside from that, the concept of poverty was pinpointed, impermanent addresses of pupils even the low payment for teachers. There were also teachers who sell foods inside the classrooms. There were interviews about basic information as part of our country to citizens and some fail to answer it correctly. According to Bro. Clifford, “key knowledge concepts even learning environment is found not conducive for learning primarily because aside from the lack of it, the teacher itself too is not that equip in teaching those key concepts or applying those to be effective in teaching the learners”. Citizens who have been to school much more to those which are not schooling found difficulty in spelling. There were wrong signage’s with grammatical errors. In the film too, one of the reasons why majority of the Filipino citizen tend to shunt away political issues and prefer entertainment for somehow, they knew much more about it than the latter since they at least wanted to ease their problems from their day to day life and gain smiles through it some time. Despite of all this,  there are still those which having a low economic status are eager to finish what they have as of the moment and that is pursuant of education with self-determination. The film significantly indicates a woeful scenario which challenges every Filipino.
           While I was watching the film, the issue struck me about the system of education I’ve been having all throughout my school years. I have been in a public school from elementary to high school till now in college and the course I am taking is in line with it soon too. Having this documentary film existing, this bitter fact of reality? It crushed my heart. I don’t think it is proper that the basis for the acquisition of books by the DepEd is on which is the cheapest among the competitors. Let’s say it is their process that they can save such if they make it that way. But how can they assure it is of quality without even looking at its content? As a result, there were lots of technical errors in the books and some books aren’t appropriate for the grade level of the learners. Now, the state aims to provide quality education that is accessible to all. Was this there way on how they develop our future leaders? the hope of our nation? With this, I don’t think we can achieve what we dream of achieving. Added with these are some teachers who appear to be unqualified to teach due to lack of skills in enabling leaners understand the lesson, it is so disgusting. It triggers the mentality of most Filipinos that teaching is the lowest profession and I felt bad about it. It is unfair too for those who do their job well. Thus, we should not overlook them too. We can’t say or put all the blame to the teachers too if pupils are not performing well than expected. Teachers are just a part of the various stakeholders of the curriculum. The life of a child doesn’t just revolve around the four corners of the classroom. Parents also have a role to play about it for even the kind of environment they have at home could affect the child’s performance at school too. Aside from that, the role of the government is essential. We may have competent teachers yet if facilities were not provided, the school force is weakened too.
           Despite of this, it challenges me more to pursue what I have started. Seeing the pupils in the film eager to go to school despite of the rain and even to the extent is flood though pitiful yet inspiring. The notion that poverty is not a hindrance to success ever loses its spark. It has always been means of motivation to look onto a brighter ahead and not enclosed one’s world to narrow-mindedness. In the documentary film, though kids tend to work day and night for them to survive, they still manage to do their best just to earn education. What I saw in the film keeps knocking into my heart that these young kids work hard aiming to oust their family out of poverty. Yet if the corrupt practices will still continue, I awfully feel bad about what their future life would be.
Foreseeing what I will be 10 years from now after graduating here in IIT, I will be surely 28 years of age that time. Well, with that 10 year period, I have had somehow done something worth of value. As a citizen, I have been actively participating to activities which involvement in it is highly a necessity like being a responsible voter during elections. In addition, I am still practicing and promoting Executive Order No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 which is highly implemented in our municipality. I have been also practicing my rights and duties to our country like respecting the rights of each individual and of course my teaching profession. Clinging to it, my hard works during my basic and tertiary education will always be significant events I would paint smiles on my face every time I would reminisce it for the rest of my life for during this time I have had my return of investment. I already got my license for teaching elementary pupils. During that time, I have been already teaching in a public elementary school in my home town. I am still assigned in the hinterlands. Well, that is the protocol in our town, there shall be a mass giving of position allowing those in the hinterlands to be transferred in schools as possible near the national highways or otherwise settled near the place of their residence. Every day, it is a great challenge to me to handle these learners for it helps me to assess myself on how effective I am as a teacher and allows me to know myself more. The problem existing of this documentary film would possibly be still arousing if “teachers”, the new and old ones, will do the old way.  Equipped with the 21st century skills, I have been a proof of doing the new ways for the betterment of not just towards my learners but for the community as well. I have developed flexibility and adaptability to cope up with the different attitudes and behaviors of my learners per school year. My task as a teacher isn’t just to teach but to treat every day as a brand new beginning to touch and transform lives as well that’s why I must be careful to what I’ve been teaching them for somehow I may be a factor of their success or failure. As a teacher, I have acquainted myself with my strength and weaknesses that it may not hinder the learners for them to learn. Teachers have find most of the time correct to the eyes of the young kids and would less believe to what their parents tell them because according to their teacher what they think is right. It is a challenged for me that I may do what is right and practice what is necessary for what is teaching if you don not teach or practice yourself with what is really necessary. Aside from that, I have been actively doing my vocation, mission and profession in a way that I have been eradicating the sense of stereotyping to the minds pupils by treating them without favoritism. As a teacher, I have been embracing Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory that there is no dull person. I’m making them realize that each individual is special and bears something they excel the most.  They just have to find it out and develop it that they may never think of themselves inferior than that of others. For me to cater the different learning needs of the child, I have been using varied teaching strategies to enhance pupils’ participation in the class. As a facilitator of learning I have been teaching science in a way that hinterland children may find the beauty of science not just a subject but as application to real life. I have been exposing the kids into the field if necessary and not limit their learning inside the four corners of the classroom. I’m making them realize that at a very young age they can be an agent of a positive change too, there is no age requirement for it. I have been extending my classroom capabilities in terms of science through promulgating school based science camps. Enhancing not just pupils’ knowledge but enabling them to develop collaborative skills towards others. I’m doing my part as an enabler in the community I belong. Well every teacher has its role as an extension to the community especially during community programs or any public activities where facilitating teacher is required. In addition, during that time, K+12 has been the new educational system thus it would allow more equip teachers in this field. I would not let my teachers whom I recognized “teacher” turn into a failure and waste away the piece of what they have shared towards me. My ground would always be having the attitude not just perception of what I must have to do. Attitude by acting necessarily towards what cognate in me and what I felt, I’ve been acting also what I think is right with regards to my profession. I have not waste the budget of the government for me allowing me to have before until during this time. As a person, during that time, I am still peace advocate doing some talks with regards to breaking the walls of religion and opening doors for respect even an environmentalist too; a friend not just to my co-teachers and pupils but towards others as well; a daughter who honors her mother and father; a student who seeks to learn more out of my daily experiences; and a lover who, out of the hectic schedule at school, smiles give thanks at the end of the day for she knows somebody still stands by her side too.
           Indeed, each person has a purpose for its existence in many ways our naked eyes can see. What am I doing today has always have to do with what would I be in the ne’er future.
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“Blip of one, affects everyone!”

                 After viewing the documentary film, entitled “Maestrang Bulod”, where it shows how the teacher in order to do their job needs to travel weekly to school and live there for a week, it wakes up my consciousness with the struggle of these teachers. There is no other road to go up hill but to ride on a boat in the river and if the water is low, no other choice but to walk barefooted with their belongings with them. The school is small where the grade one classroom looks like abandoned, untidy. The ceilings are worn out due to the rain, and of time. No complete school facilities. In addition, teacher used to treat their classroom as a house having their kitchen and bed for they don’t have any house to stay there. During night time, they used to use lamp for there is no electricity there. So, teachers with their phones with them would frequently use their phones to contact their loved ones because the battery they have must last till the weekend. Aside from there is no electricity there, the signal for phones is also limited. For the teacher especially Teacher Roshelle who wanted to check if her months old baby is fine, still needs to go to a higher elevated place to get some signal.  Aside from the teacher’s problem with the classroom as well as their geographic location, they have a great role to play also when it comes to their pupils. If in the urban areas sometimes the parents really is up to date when it comes to the performance of their child, here it is the other way around. The teacher here is most likely to follow up why their pupil wasn’t going to school. Samples of this type of students by which it took lot of attention by the teacher were grade 1pupils. One of which is a girl. After spending sometime of these pupils at school, they need to do their task as a member of the family too. But their task is, turns out to be so different than majority of those kids in the cities. If kids after school watch t.v. for entertainment or somehow play games, there at Cabugao, kids work like their parents do sometimes. A girl in grade one turns out to be a big girl at their home. She cooked for their food and took care of her younger brothers and sisters. Another pupil, a boy with the same grade level, tend to collect plastics and metals as long as it could be sold for them to have something to buy for food. As a result, this boy has lots of abrasion and cuts in the hand and legs of the kid. These two kids sometimes would have to absent from class because of this works which supposed they must not have at that very young age. Aside from this horrible reality is that, pupils aside from not all has their uniforms with them, don’t have enough school supplies as well. How many of these cases will still occur? Up until how many kids will do the same? Up until how many problems be left unsolved and added as time passes by? During the past years to this point of time, these issues are extant and sadly, Cabugao elementary school is one proof of it.
             Our country as a government of, for and by the people embraces also the concept of having a bureaucratic form of government wherein there is a branching of responsibilities in each position from the President down to the councilors of each barangays in the country. Thus, this is to ensure that the information from the national government will be easily and well disseminated. This is also a way to encourage the maximum participation of every citizen in our country.  According to Article 2 Section 25, it states that “The state shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.” Now, what is this local autonomy? Local autonomy implies that what the national government has in terms of its responsibilities to the people and country in order promote the public welfare is also true to the role of local government units from provincial to cities to municipalities down to the barangays. Thus, the local government units has a great role to play for they were entrusted to the do the necessary move a government should do for its people.  This indicates that there is a sense of independence with regards to the management of the community they are to administer in lined with the national government for the attainment of national goals foreseeing betterment of our country. First and foremost, this promotion of local autonomy is pursued because it is presumed that the local residents know best the solutions to their problems. While the national government is given more time to devote its energies to national programs, autonomy of local government provides maximum participation for local residents in planning their development. Another is for the enhancement of self-sufficient and self-reliant local governments that they make take accountable and responsible with how they run being effective leaders to where they belong. This is pretty much the basic concept of bureaucracy that the government may reach out every citizen in the country. Having this reason for this implementation made me wonder what did the local government were doing that they haven’t had given attention to the problem the Cabugao elementary school is facing. The government, especially the local government units, is an important stakeholder of a school for they at a very practical sense provide and caters the needs of a school for it represents and stands as a close figure of the national government who serves and protects its people. Aside from that, they served as resident’s voices to the higher government that somehow the needs which local ones can’t provide will be given attention and met. The Local Government Code of the Philippines, Section 3 (b), says that –“there shall be established in every local government unit an accountable, efficient and dynamic organizational structure and operating mechanism that will meet the priority and service requirement of its communities.” If this was implemented and done well, the problems experienced in Cabugao would be solved somehow and the decentralization will be paving a way to the quality of human life. Yet, is there a quality life existent there? What kind of organizational structure and operating system they are facing and practicing? Why is it not appearing to be effective? Road for transportation is even a factor by which teachers have been dealing with weekly. Section 100 (c) 1 of that code states that the annual school board budget shall give priority to the construction, repair and maintenance of school buildings and other facilities of public elementary school and secondary schools. Why is it that it seems like the school live because of teachers alone? Was really the budget shared equally? Equally to those near the national roads yet on the hinterlands is not? Why does this school do seem like it haven’t have any? If there comes but for a minimal cases only and facilities was of minimal too. Who’s to blame? The young innocent learners? The willing parents who sometimes fail to do their responsibilities as well? Or most selfish government officials who tend to show concern towards the people in times of and after that they’ve got the position, it’s as if nothing had happened? Leaving the residents to solve their own problems?  Wake up! Since it is a system, failure of one, affects everyone. If the locale of that place isn’t acting also towards this, how could they be heard? There are lots of schools in the Philippines and not all the problems are being catered or solve because the people as part of the community as well is not acting towards it as well. It’s a two way process actually between that of the government and that of the people who are in need of service. Let’s get off the weeds before it rotten our crops! What had happened to Cabugao elementary school just shows that there is malfunctioning not just in the educational aspect but to the government as well. If we will let all of this unattended were creating a country of problems and not of a country that we, as part of it, be thankful of. It is not that easy to pinpoint those who are responsible for all of this malfunctioning but what had been seen in the film needs an action. As part of the making true of our government goals in the attainment of a developed country, this is not just a one man task. It requires participation of each individual to any society he or she does belong. This film serves as an eye opener. This maybe not just happening to Cabugao but maybe it also exists in our own locality. Thanks to teachers who despite of their sacrifices, still eager to make true to their oaths not just for making them worthy of the chance the government is offering to them and their salary but as a concerned citizen of the country as well. May these kinds of teachers be still around that we may develop future leaders that are not merely in concerned of their selfish benefits but for the public for that’s what they must be doing.
            Indeed all of this disheartening reality, if not taken into action, it will still echo back to those who are responsible for this. How long will our eyes be blind? ; our ears deaf? ; our hands unused? Our hearts hardened? Who will receive the handful of shame? The earlier it is fixed the better the society we can have while were still alive. Wake up! Our tomorrows maybe in turn just part of the sad history.
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Failed Aspiration

cries of the No answer!

Have you ever experienced aspiring something and doing all the best that you can just to achieve it? But how about through all your efforts, you turned it into failure? Go on reading my story and discover how I react on it.

A lot of school organization develops students’ talent and one of the finest clubs a student could affiliate in school is to be one of the staff of a school newspaper, especially being an editor-in-chief of it.

I was a graduating high school student when an opportunity comes my way. I didn’t expect that I would be one of the nominees for the editor-in-chief position in our school newspaper, The SEER. I was astounded when by name was written on the board during the election to be voted for the said position. Well, honestly, a smile painted my face when I got a higher vote than the other candidates since I aspire to be it but I was still worried about the big responsibility that I will be handling for the whole school year. What gave me hope were the encouraging words of our school newspaper advisers, saying “You have the potential, Dain. Don’t be afraid to show it. We know you could do your part, well.”

I, 16 years of age — a modest young lady with a Filipina skin tone and beauty having a wavy hair, took it as a challenge.

Months after the said election, I and one of our adviser, attended regional workshop training. Its venue was at the City of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro City. The training was all about how we are going to do our part well as the head of the paper and do some activities on lay-outing the newspaper including the making of its content. During the training, my adviser receives a comment from the other participants saying, “Uie..! You brought a good student since she concentrates much on the training and look she isn’t yet able to move her snacks.” Upon hearing that remark, my heart blooms into gorgeous flower and persist on what I did.

Weeks after the training, I and my staffers met almost every day for our preparation for the Division Schools Press Conference. I did everything what is needed not just only as an editor-in-chief but also as a friend to them. Then, when everyone is working with their task, it’s the time for me to work on mines too. Sometimes, our adviser would asked, “Where is Dainie?” Then, a staffer would answer, “Ma’am she’s on her favorite spot, at the corner, she’s very TH on her write-ups”. Then our adviser would just smile. I usually wanted to be alone, at that time, since I aim on reaping awards for the honor of our school.

October came and our most awaited event happened, the conference. It was friendly competed with the different public high schools in our division. With that hoped to grab awards, each us did our paramount to present a good article. After every staffer of ours finished their contest, our advisers had their follow up about it. When I had finished mine, I was asked by Teacher Charity, but I just said “Ma’am I did my best, that’s what I know.” Then, an angelic smile painted her face after I utter those words which made me feel confident. The contest took 2 days of quest and the 3rd day was the revelation of winners in every category. Cheers of participants filled the hall, every time their co-staffer enters the stage. In fact, I cheered when my co-staffers were able to be at the top 10.

The most pressured part was when it comes into my category. My heart beat faster and felt that butterflies on my stomach. Before the result was divulged, I can also sense as if the top of the world trying to control unexpected movements with that sweats on me as a sign of nervousness. I can really feel that my advisers expected that I could qualify for the regional contest just like what I did the other year but, I failed them. I was just ranked at the top 6 and discouragement filled my face as I receive my certificate. My co-staffers comforted me saying “That’s okay Dain, at least because of your efforts on encouraging us to do our part during our meetings in school, all of us belongs to the circle of ten.” Though they said those words, I just can’t really hide the sadness I felt inside. The night after the event, I was lying on my bed remembering what I have written on my article. I just can’t accept that I eagerly did everything but I ended into a loser, a failure. While emoting, my phone beeps and when I opened the message, it was a text from our adviser which states, “Dain, we’ve seen your efforts for the honor of the school and we appreciated it. Don’t be too discouraged.” Suddenly, my tears keep falling from my eyes and at first I just can’t control it. I rushed into the door of my room and closed it slowly so that my parents won’t see me crying. Then, I cried it as long as I could until I fell asleep.

The morning came with that eye bugs, I realized that whatever great opportunities may come if it’s not meant for you then it will not be for you. Sometimes it will just pass us by and leave lessons for us to learn. Merely, its God’s best way for us to be transformed into a better person in terms of facing our lives .Thus, reminding us that no one is perfect and not all we wanted will be granted especially those earthly aspirations. It also made me ponder that since God didn’t let me qualify, I know a better opportunity is waiting that is really meant for me.

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