End of contract.

Marso 31, 2013 § Mag-iwan ng puna

Today ends my contract with Ateneo- March 31, 2013.

Short note/reflection 🙂

Sabi ko pag nagkwekwento ako sa mga tao tungkol sa trabaho ko, this is an ideal job. Come to think of it, I have teaching/classroom sessions, I have area work with different labor sectors, I have administrative/office concerns and I also get to be active with my advocacy. Ano pa bang kulang? Of course, sometimes I ask myself, where am I most useful? Saan ako pinakamagagamit? And I always go back to what I believe in- that for change to happen,  it is a conscious effort from both the top and the bottom, and now, I feel like I’m being called to breed a new set of ‘illustrados’ and work in their consciousness. Maybe in time, there will be a different call, but for now this is the call and I should do my job well.

Working in Ateneo is a roller coaster ride, sometimes inspiring, other times disappointing. But as I always say, hope should never run out. And most of the time, the last 10 minutes of my last session with the students is an ‘inspirational talk’. I’m quite sure most of the students will forget what I said, pero I’m still betting on it. Sabi nga sa OSCI- Magmahal, Magtaya, Magparaya. And I believe that, not because I’m from OSCI but because nakikita ko yung kahalagahan ng pagtataya. We bet because we believe. Tumataya tayo kasi naniniwala tayo.  At tumataya ako sa mga estudyante, sa mga kabataang tulad ko na andun pa rin yung force of goodness, na kailangan lang palakasin yung apoy na naroroon na through the different programs that we have and the opportunities for engagement that we offer.

The past 10 months had been good,  tomorrow, I start another year at the Ateneo, now without a written contract but maybe an agreement between myself and those I serve- to work more, do more and be more : to continuously form and be formed- to be a person for and with others, isang taong para sa kapwa at para sa bayan. And because I just came from a retreat (hahaha), let’s do it this way:  isang taong para sa kapwa at para sa bayan na nakaugat sa pananampalatayang nagdudulot ng katarungan, a person for and and with others rooted in a faith that does justice.

I think you can call me a dream weaver because I help weave the dreams of the people, those in the margins of society into the dreams of the youth.  So here’s to weaving beautiful dreams and making it happen! Cheeeeeeers!

PS: On a more personal note, today marks the end of contract too to 3 of my officemates, but more than that, they had been really good friends. And kayong tatlo pa yung pinakanakakasama ko palagi 😦 They are choosing a different path now and I really wish them well. Nakakapanibago siguro bukas na wala na kayo, Mikey Panopio, Abi Limpin and Pat Peralta. I know we will see each other again and I look forward to working with you again para dun sa mga tao at prinsipyong ipinaglalaban natin. Or siguro sa mga happy moments lang. I don’t want to be emo right now so I will postpone muna yung goodbye messages ko. Thank you for being part of my first job and making it awesome.


Letting go.

Enero 7, 2013 § Mag-iwan ng puna

How do we let go?

We’ve asked this maybe a hundred times and we’ve heard all sorts of answer. People have tried, we failed, we succeeded, we had a cheat day, we say goodbye, we forget, we were hurt, we move on, we live.

Life is a cycle of letting go- sometimes forcefully, by choice or unconsciously. Cutting our umbilical cord was our first experience of letting go, we just don’t know it. Biglang titigil ang suportang nakukuha natin mula sa katawan ng ating mga ina, and maybe if we were able to think in that moment, we would conclude that we will not survive without that cord that connects us from our mothers. We later realize that we need that in order to grow, our mothers need that so that they can go on with their lives. It was part of life.

Isa sa mga unconscious way where we let go would maybe letting go of the things we used doing before- collecting cards, watching television, playing video games, breaking toys, etc etc. Some people are exceptions. But definitely, all of us have experienced letting go of things we used doing. And we loved doing. Why? Maturity.  We need to grow. We look back and see how happy we were doing those things and we realize a lot of changes happened in us, around us, with us. Change is inevitable and coping with the inevitable change means letting go and moving on.

And there’s this letting go that hurts the most.  We let go of people.

Do we really let go by choice? Or we are just forced to let go? When do we know it’s time to let go? O baka naman darating na lang siya ng kusa? How many chances do we have? Or do we really have chances?  I don’t know. The sure thing is it’s hard, it will take time and it will hurt. It definitely hurts.

We let go of things we used to do with other people, of memories we have with them, of the joys and pains, of frustrations and hope, we need to let go of them. We let go of material things. We let go of dreams. We let go of stupidity and intelligence. We let go of superficial joys and profound happiness. We let go of friends and family. We let go of lovers. We let go of ourselves.

A Roller Coaster that was 2012

Disyembre 30, 2012 § Mag-iwan ng puna

It was a roller coaster 2012 for me- a year full of emotions, new experiences and new people. I guess this year was a year of transition, I have moved on from years of studying to hopefully a more responsible work life for me.

I started my year with just continuing my fieldwork. Parang sinasara ang patapos na kabanata ng aking pag-aaral. Then came graduation, I was very happy to see my parents happy, that I finally, I graduate from UP. All my life, alam kong ito yung hinihintay nila and I know they have been patiently waiting for this day. I know this is the best gift I can give them, maliban siguro sa apo.haha. More happiness to give them a topping for the gift when I graduated cum laude, and they didn’t even know it until graduation day itself.

(c) Pau Paguia

(c) Pau Paguia

Next came the question: Saan ako magtatrabaho? There were a lot of choices: Do I go to the grassroots? Should I go back to my hometown? How about government? Eh kung mag-abroad na lang kaya ako? Where in this world can I make use of what I studied to contribute to humanity? Totoo na you can’t have it all, it is hard to find the intersection of my desires and the world’s greatest needs but it is possible. There will be dangerous compromises- as long as you stand firm with your belief and principles I think you can choose well.  I prepared my resume, researched, applied, took risks and now I am working at the Ateneo de Manila University- not far from UP.

(c) CB Bernardo

(c) CB Bernardo


I chose Ateneo because ever since, I believe that for change to happen with the least ‘casualties’, we need to have a new breed of ilustrados- the enlightened elite. Development should be inclusive and should not alienate people from the top, the bottom and those in the middle. Sorry Marx but I believe in humanity- I believe that people from all walks of life can work together for the common good. I believe it is possible to value the national interest rather than our personal and class interests. I believe that there’s always this distinction of the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ and this does not stop us to be part of one humanity. I know it’s hard, but it’s possible, and now I am working with that possibility. I have yet to see the fruits of my labor but I am hopeful and I will always be hopeful.

(c) CB Bernardo

(c) CB Bernardo

This year, I guess I met the most number of new people. I have these JEEP and INTACT-mates who have been very supportive; my OSCI-mates who showed how to form students the OSCI way; my students who gave me hope that an enlightened elite is possible but also gave me frustrations and challenged me to work hard to achieve this goal; comrades in the anti-APECO advocacy who inspired me with their hardwork and dedication to the struggle; people from Casiguran who reminded me why I do what I am doing and to whom I am doing this whom; and people who, in one way or another  shared their life with me in a deep or maybe a superficial way. Of course there’s this one (or many) person who will make you smile. And whenever I think of it this year, a person comes to mind. I know I assumed and I don’t know if I am right in assuming but well, wala pang nangyayari. Haha. I am still waiting for the right time,  and I can’t wait na. So please, make your presence felt J Another person comes to mind when I talk about smiling minus the kilig. And I am thankful and amazed that after everything, afteeeer everythiiiiiiing, I have this good friend whom I can count on whenever, wherever, whatever. And I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

(c) Renard Torrecampo

(c) Renard Torrecampo

(c) Abi Limpin

(c) Abi Limpin

(c) Melanie Adan

(c) Melanie Adan

This year is full of emotions. I remember a time where my fieldworkmates see me crying while typing our fieldwork integrated paper. Naaalala kong feeling ko nasa pelikula ako nun, with tears flowing on my cheeks yet I continue to type. I also remember when I was happily amazed with the beauty of Casiguran- the place and its people. After that, pinangako kong lalaban ako para sa Casiguran, and that’s what I am doing now. I have this memory of crying to my mother over someone, and it was unusual, very unusual of me. I have this feeling of being hopeful and frustrated because of my work. There’s  also this person who makes me feel things so hard to explain, so hard to rationalize, so hard to resist- I guess this is what they call kilig. Hahaha. =’>  Emotions make us human and I am thankful for a year full of diverse emotions that sometimes I become irrational and illogical, and we humans still need a bit of those at times. 425481_10200114705051348_185946617_n

And there’s this question of where am I headed this 2013. I do not know. Nothing is certain. Hopefully I am about to end my transition and I should start building up myself to achieve my dreams. What my dreams are, are still left unsaid, unwritten and unfinished. Maybe find someone I can share my dreams with. Or maybe not. Maybe next year, I find myself doing things I did this 2012. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s good that this 2013, I go out of what is expected of me and widen my boundaries. Maybe not. That’s good about life, most of the things are uncertain and we work with possibilities, and I love working with possibilities.

(c) Joseph Khaewpuang

(c) Joseph Khaewpuang

Hello 2013! Here’s to a year of uncertainties, of possibilities, of believing and of dreams!

Tamang lugar. Tamang oras. Tamang gawain.

Nobyembre 22, 2012 § 2 mga puna

Paano nga ba ako magsisimula?

Kakagaling ko lang sa isang klase kung saan nagsit-in ako. Nagpaplano sila ng programang gagawin sa kanilang exposure trip sa isang depressed urban poor community dyan sa may Commonwealth Ave. Bahagi ng pormasyon ng mga estudyante dito ang pagbisita sa isang komunidad ng kalahating araw at makisalamuha sa mga bata. Andun ako upang magmasid, dahil area ko yung pupuntahan nila.

Habang nakaupo sa bandang likod, biglang dumating ang Homeroom Adviser ng klase at nagkaroon ng saglit na pagkakataong makipagkwentuhan ukol sa programa. Sabi niya, may tendensiya na ginagamit lamang namin ang iba’t ibang urban poor community para sa aming mga interes.  Sumang-ayon ako at sinabing sa aking palagay, yung maiaambag ko sa trabaho ko ay makaisip ng paraan upang dumating yung panahong tatanggihan na kami ng komunidad dahil hindi na nila kailangan ng ganitong mga programa.

Tama nga naman. Ginagamit namin ang mga komunidad na ito upang hubugin ang mga mag-aaral. Minsan nakaka-frustrate. Siguro sa isang klase, kalahati dun, alam mong binobola ka lang sa mga papel nila, ¼ naman ay sarado ang puso at isip dun sa karanasan at yung natitirang ¼, walang pakialam. Hindi ko alam, siguro may isa o dalawa yung talagang nagging bukas na mahubog ng karanasan. At nakakafrustrate dahil alam kong sa loob ng 30-40 years, itong mga taong to ang magiging susunod na Noynoy Aquino, Jose Rizal, Amando Tetangco, Claro M. Recto, Juan Luna, Tony Meloto at iba pa. Nagtrabaho ako dito dahil naniniwala akong hindi sapat ang pagbabagong mula sa ibaba kung hindi naliwanagan ang mga nasa itaas. Naniniwala ako sa bagong henerasyon ng mga ilustradong para sa bayan, kasama ang bayan. At hanggang ngayon, tinatanong ko pa rin ang sarili ko kung possible nga ba ito. May pinatutunguhan ba itong mga ginagawa ko? Worth it ba yung pagtanggap sa amin ng mga komunidad?

Sa pagtatapos ng planning session ng klase, may nagtaas ng kamay. Gusto daw niyang magbahagi, nung una akala ko wala lang to. Pero nung binuksan ko yung tenga ko para making, narinig ko yung sinabi niya. Wala naman daw tayong naibibigay sa komunidad. Kung mayroon man tayong nababago, napakaliit lamang. Ang nababago ng mga exposure trip na ganito ay hindi yung komunidad, kundi tayo. Bumalik sa ala-ala ko lahat ng mga pasaway na estudyanteng kinainisan ko, yung mga pagkakataong puro reklamo lang yung naririnig ko, at yung walang kasiguraduhan ako sa ginagawa ko. Hindi naman talaga tayo sigurado sa kung anuman. Dun sa sinabi ng 1st year BS Chemistry student na yun, alam kong may nabago sa akin. Hindi man ako sigurado sa  mga bagay-bagay, mas nadagdagan naman ang pag-asa ko na hangga’t may isang taong katulad niya, may patutunguhan yung pagtaya ko. At dun mismo sa pagkakataong iyon, alam kong nasa tamang lugar ako, sa tamang oras at sa tamang gawain.

Bakit nga ba ako tumutuloy kahit hindi naman ako sigurado sa kalalabasan ng mga ginagawa ko? Pag-asa. Sa pag-asa naman nagsisimula lahat.



Protektado: Maybe moving on, maybe goodbye.

Oktubre 24, 2012 Isaad ang iyong hudyat upang mabasa ang puna.

Ang nilalamang ito ay protektado ng password. Upang tingnan ito, mangyaring ilagay ang iyong password sa ibaba:

Protektado: What happened to us?

Oktubre 20, 2012 Isaad ang iyong hudyat upang mabasa ang puna.

Ang nilalamang ito ay protektado ng password. Upang tingnan ito, mangyaring ilagay ang iyong password sa ibaba:

ice cream.

Oktubre 7, 2012 § 1 Puna

It was our comfort food. Or just mine. Yet, you willingly ate ice cream with me, sharing our stories over that one pint of ice cream with 3 flavors. Of course, Oreo Cookies n Cream would be there, for sure. One time, I made you decide which flavors we will eat and you chose the flavors I wouldn’t choose if given a chance. Sometimes, we would just go on with whatever flavor our mood would fit. 

Life is sometimes about choosing what flavors of ice cream to eat. There are the non-negotiable- for me it would be cookies n cream. Sometimes, we let important people decide for us, giving them the consent to choose for you, or for the both of you. It teaches us how to sacrifice, how to trust and how to accept. You may or may not love the choice of flavor, but we sacrifice and we accept. Those were the times when we have control over the choices we make, or maybe we are content with the choices that we have.

But there will come a time that there are good choices yet they won’t satisfy you, or they are not what you are looking for. Image yourself craving for Strawberry Flavored Ice cream and you didn’t see that in the ice cream shop. You will feel disappointed, but you never lose hope. You go out, try another shop and you see nothing. You try and try, but no strawberry ice cream. You get tired but you never lose hope. You try the only flavor you have for now, but you know the difference. You make the most out of what flavor you have, you become happy then you crave for the strawberry ice cream again.

No matter how we get tired. and tired. and tired of looking for that one choice that will make you happy, you should never lose hope. There’s that strawberry ice cream for sure, there’s just no stock yet. You wait. And wait. And wait. A new flavor comes up. Strawberry something ice cream. You found a new happiness, maybe better. Yet, you know for yourself that there’s always a place for that strawberry flavored ice cream in your taste buds, or maybe in your heart.

I miss eating ice cream.  

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