Atenista pa rin

March 19, 2006. I spent my high school years in Ateneo. Every time someone would ask me why I didn’t pursue my college education in Ateneo, I always say that I don’t feel like I belong to Ateneo or with “Ateneans”, for lack of a better answer.

In Ateneo, we were formed to be future leaders who will serve the Filipino community or to be men for others. We were instilled with the value of compassion for the underprivileged, the poor and the disadvantaged, with a conscience to defend what is right. There is nothing inherently wrong with those. But now that I come to think of it, it all seemed elitist and messianic. Even the school’s geography complements this dynamics of social space. “We stand on a hill between the earth and sky” cries our alma mater song. Indeed Ateneo sits on a hill (a ridge, actually, Loyola Heights) looking down on Marikina Valley, where we actually often go for our exposure trips and Tulong Dunong tutoring sessions.

I don’t pretend to be proletariat. Ateneo, apparent in its mission vision for its students, recognizes the fact that much of its student population comes from the privileged few of this country. Whether you like it or not, Ateneans do become the leaders in business and politics in this country. [It is interesting to note that all of the Arroyos are Ateneans]. And that is why Ateneo apparently tries to mold us future leaders into socially responsible ones while in its ‘care’. [Let’s try not to think how many Ateneans failed to live up to their alma mater’s aspirations for them to be the leaders it aspired for them to be]. Ateneo High School has a lot of social service programs for its students, geared to make them more ‘aware’ of the society they live in and to make them realize of their status and social responsibility as ‘future leaders’. I volunteered for the week-long exposure trip to Zambales, diligently fulfilled tutoring and community service duties, but in the end I don’t think afternoon exposure trips and weekend immersion programs or weekly community service sessions are enough. They are but temporary “field trips” Ateneans could conveniently take when they need to or when they feel like it. I guess I wanted to take it to another level. It was time for me to become a man WITH others. As part of this society I wish to serve, it was imperative for me to be with the people, to be with the bayan I am part of. Some Ateneans might find this terribly offensive, but chances are slim of fulfilling that desire while I remained in this exclusive gated and guarded university we call Ateneo. [Okay fine, it’s my bias].

In UP, I found myself within an atmosphere more conducive for the fulfillment of my personal and social convictions, which Ateneo played a big part in forming. This is not to romanticize the university but it is truly in UP where I feel like I can do more. The experience of being with others is more genuine. You are part of and much committed to the bayan you used to observe from the comforts of Loyola Heights. You are more committed to the bayan who toils to pay for much of your education. You get to have the chance to understand better their struggles and aspirations and join them in their call for reform and changes. It comes to a point when you realize that you shouldn’t even make the distinction between a me and a them. It become a collective struggle. It is our struggle as a people.

In its website, the Ateneo High School claims that it is a college preparatory school, and as such it prepares the student for the university. With that, I might as well say that Ateneo High prepared me well indeed to become a student of the University of the Philippines. If anyone would ask me why I left Ateneo, I’d now say it’s because I find fulfillment in my being a man for others by being an iskolar ng bayan.

I’m from UP

January 14, 2006. The College of Mass Communication will have an alumni homecoming today. Not that I’m an alumni. I just thought about a perception that many UP alumni don’t appear to be as passionate and proud about their alma mater as much as say, their Atenean counterparts. That UP’s alumni network isn’t as strong? Is that true? Or am I just basing it too much on UAAP basketball games.

TD Christmas

We held a Christmas party for our TD kids in Nangka this very sunny afternoon. I was having a headache so that put me into kind of a grumpy mood. But of course, I still managed to be cheerful and all smiling with my kids.

TD Christmas Party

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TD Christmas Party

Two of the seven kids I tutor were absent for the Christmas party. I have a feeling they didn’t attend on purpose because… well, one of my kid’s family lives in a cardboard shack less than two square meters large. They are that poor. I guess she was too ashamed to show up without exchange gifts for her classmates? (It shouldn’t matter, right?) It makes me sad.

Ani mo, Day 3

Ani mo part three

See the lack of enthusiasm among my classmates during competitions? It disheartens me. Haha. Look at the crowd of other sections eagerly watching the contests.

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For the cooking contest that required all of us to use tinapa as an ingredient, we cooked tinapa in fried rice. I coined a perfect name for it — TINAPAKANin. Hahahaha. Just look at the aftermath. (It was tasty though).

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For the group singing contest, my classmates performed on an almost-empty crowd. Our other classmates even left before they got to perform (they were the last ones to perform). That’s what I keep talking about.

Ani mo part three Ani mo part three

Anyway, after all the presentations, we had our Hilites Magazine salo-salo during org period.

Ani mo part three

Class apathy (Part 2)

I am naturally competitive. I enjoy participating in competitions (may it be individual or team-ups). I have a passion for winning. I said I wanted to become a freeloader but I’m naturally not one. I can’t. Maybe that’s why I am seriously affected and depressed by my class’s lack of any desire to compete in most if not all of today’s competitions for Ani mo, ani ko.

I wasn’t even supposed to go to school today as a sign of disgust. But I couldn’t stop myself. I did go to school. We weren’t supposed to join any competitions today because we didn’t prepare anything. But, our class president forced us.

The first event was the dance competition. Oh God, I wish I didn’t remind myself. We didn’t choreograph anything. Our presentation was worse than a moshpit on stage. And I was at the centerstage of the performance. From then on, I’ve lost all my dignity for the day. I was even willing to join the karaoke contest and the stage skit presentations. I didn’t care anymore if I became one of the batch’s laughing stock!

What made it worse was that some of my classmates really didn’t seem to care at all. They didn’t even cheer my classmates who were presenting on stage. Some of them even left the venue long before my classmates got to present. See the lack of support?! (I want to applaud my classmates who braved stage fright and performed with barely any preparations).

Apathy is very contagious. Not all O-boys are talentless. In fact, it is not in anybody’s doubt that we are a class rich in various talents. But, most of them are deemed useless every time this prevalent disease strikes an epidemic every competition season. Talented people get very disheartened by the lack of support, even the lack of any little sign of sincere appreciation. That’s why we don’t perform our best. (Maybe that’s why none of us has ever gotten the first honor award even, those who can get it get ridiculed). I admit there are many, many times I entertained thoughts of wanting to be in some other section in our batch. It doesn’t make a difference anyway. I don’t really care, the brand semi-honors section just seems to be a fallacious generalization. There are some classes in our batch that I really, really envy. They seem to have ironed out their differences to work with each other with everybody’s cooperation and participate in all competitions and activities. My class rarely works as a team. Really. It would take more than a passionate speech from a popular figure in class to make me believe otherwise. Well, those are dramatic exaggerations. What I’m saying is, I can’t be my best when I’m with my class. Many people can’t develop their talents and be their best while they’re in 4-O. I guess we just all have to wait for the end of our high school life before that happens.

Do you realize how frustrating this is for me? It’s a sad experience for a competition-oriented, team-driven kid. It’s depressing. But then comes a thought, my friends are from 4-O. I’m not saying I wouldn’t make friends, better or worse, in other sections. But you know what, in as much the same way someone doesn’t get the chance to choose to which family he is born into, we don’t get the chance to choose to which class we get grouped with. And like a family, even though there are a lot of problems in it, years of staying with it attaches you to the members. They become your brothers, however much you don’t like how they act or think. That’s why I feel sad, it feels like years of wasted talents and opportunities.

Class apathy

This is so frustrating. Our class is not joining four of the five competitions tomorrow for Ani mo, Ani ko. All because the leaders (including me) gave up being very discouraged by the severe lack of support and apathy that is plaguing the class. It sucks. It sucks because there are a lot of talents in our class. What a waste. (I was supposed to head the group that was to compete in the dance competition tomorrow. I have even invited people to join the dance group weeks before the event, I’ve prepared the song and some of the steps already and what, all I got were a handful of hesitant volunteers).

It’s always been like this. Individual talents in class are rarely nourished and appreciated. If someone is good in Math, he’s ridiculed and envied. If someone is good at singing, he’s ridiculed and teased. If someone is good at cooking, he’s ridiculed. If someone is good at something, rarely does the majority in class appreciate it. The result? Absolute waste of talent! I think this is the reason why none of the O-boys has gotten the first-honor award in the eleven terms that has transpired since high school began. Agh!! I’ve resigned to the situation.

Okay, I feel better. It’s better that I release all my frustrations now than be grumpy the entire day tomorrow.

Ani mo, day 2

Next time, remind me to care and involve myself less in the affairs of class performance in anything. It would save me a lot of frustrations. I have the right to retire from being so involved. I highly doubt we’ll win more than five banners this year. (Though, I want to be surprised). (It really frustrates me. We are a talented class and we rarely use our talents to their full potential.)

ani mo ani ko day 2 The first event was Sama-samahan. We had to fit the most number of people in a square meter area of space. Our class had 18 people in our box. I was one of the ones on top of the bunch. Kenny took the pictures for me.

The next event was the Fun Run. Our orange class PE shirts make us look like prisoners on the run. It was hilarious.

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We all stunk after the run. My rough estimate for the length of he course is two kilometers. From Moro to Gate 3 and then back to the high school.

The next event was Nagkalechelog. It’s an obstacle course race of some sort.

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Next was Rara Karera. Another obstacle course type of race.

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Next event was Makapili, which our class neglected to join because of so and so… Ah, whatever.

ani mo ani ko day 2

Ani mo, day 1

After the first three periods, we had the interdisciplinary contest. As usual, my class didn’t do well at the beginning, ending at the 15th spot out of 15 sections, after the easy round. But admirable as we are (are we?), we were able to lift our reputation as a semi-honors class and ended up 5th. That’s okay.

interdisciplinary contest After that contest was more than an hour of break time. The next event was paskong pinoy when we were supposed to decorate the halls of our classroom like a two-dimensional parol.

As usual, the first ten minutes of the allotted time was spent on useless nothings. Most of the people in class stayed in the room, and waited to be called by our more “diligent” classmates. What’s annoying is, once some of my classmates have done some little contribution, they immediately went back in the room and did nothing else to help. More annoying is, when our moderator arrived two hours later, everybody just went out of the classroom and contributed to the mayhem that was outside (probably just to show that they were participating). Even more annoying than that, once everything was done and all we had to do was to clean up, they just went back in and avoided the job. Haha!

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Tada… This is the finished product. I highly doubt our class will place though. It’s impressive when looked at the right context. Otherwise, it looks like slipshod work.

paskong pinoy