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I can safely conclude that every student in UP looks forward to the Lantern parade. First, it signifies the start of the Holidays; Second, it is a good excuse to be actually drunk (Let’s face it, attending classes with a hangover and attempting to recite the Declaration of Independence in slurred speech is not cool.); And third, you can choose delicious dinners from different academic organizations (you see, it pays to be extra friendly to the other orgs). In my four years in the university I attended the last two Lantern parades and enjoyed it very much. Anyway, I learned quite few things which will be very useful in case I find myself attending next year’s parade (I just hope to God it’s not because I’m extending.)

Lesson Learned No. 1
Always prepare your vocal chords. It’s okay if you belong in other acad orgs whose number of attendees average of thirty and above. But I belong to the Skimmers! The Skimmers are tiny in number to start with. so imagine if other people decide to go home early to catch up with family. Plus the mascot, we are lucky if we’re around twenty. The solution to the problem therefore is to shout at the top of our lungs. And I meant that literally.

Lesson Learned No. 2
Yell your loudest but make sure you don’t send spit showering. I was a victim of some spit rain last year. I swear my hair smelled of spit at the ends. I discovered it way too late in the parade and whomever that person who graciously showered my hair escaped my wrath because it was a bit dark. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. But I’m totally sure it was spit.

Lesson Learned No. 3
Never wear shoes that may cause you any inconvenience or whatsoever. I wore my green sneakers this year and I felt my pinky toes (I don’t know if it’s the right term) ache. Being in Skimmers, I totally know what grace under pressure is. But grace under pain is a different matter altogether. But mind you, I was still able to dance half of the night away.

Lesson Learned No. 4
Bring your own water bottle. There’s always dancing after the program so it’s best if you come equipped with the necessary elements. It sucks when you have to get out of the dance area because you feel thirsty. The thing is, some people might get in your spot. Yes, the dance area is wide and a lot of spaces to dance on but there’s only one specific place where Sir Kurt danced. Yeah, if that’s not called depressing I don’t know what is.

Lesson Learned No. 5
Due to the Global Recession, the lanterns now used in the Lantern parade were reduced to mere neon lollipops. So to avoid experiencing what I experienced, do not attempt to wrestle a friend for one because it might already be laced with his or her own saliva.

Lesson Learned No. 6
Do not enjoy the dancing very much because the bus leaves at eleven. So if you don’t have somewhere to stay in the city or you don’t have any plans dor Smallville, better join the queue for the bus back to Miagao at around 10:30 or else you don’t have anywhere to seat on. Unless you are pretty desperate and lacking of conscience, you can seat on the lap of some person.

Lesson Learned No. 7
If your governor asks you to pay, you have to pay up. I didn’t and when it was the time to eat my conscience bugged me real time so I left and ate at JD’s instead. Poor me.

Lesson Learned No. 8
Ma’am Loret is also a human being. These past two years, she has been into a major complete character change. I realized that she is capable of loving and to care. She sure knows how to rock last year and this year, I just loved her in that video. Kudos, Ma’am Loret. (Okay, wipe the tears, wipe the tears. That’s it, gooood…)

Lesson Learned No. 9
The Goldies always give it their best shot. That’s why they win most of the time. If only the Skimmers put half as much effort as they do in the Paskua celebration, maybe we will win. Maybe. But still ther’es a fifty or so percent chance. We shouldn’t lose hope you know.

Lesson Learned No. 10
Being a host is a tough job. Imagine having to deliver a punch line out of nowhere just to keep the audience entertained. We are in no position to say the hosts were better last year. The important thing is someone took the job. To the detractors of the hosts of the Lantern parade program 09, God bless you and no further comment. (Though it was a roll last year, I must say, no offense meant.)

I would love to come back next year and I’ll have these in mind. But I’ll make sure that next year, I’m just visiting.

Tanduay Spells Home

map

Barotac Nuevo is a town located at the northern area of Iloilo province. It is an hour and a half away via jeepney from the city if you happen to ride the dilapidated orange jeep owned by the Acero family but basically it is a good forty-five minutes. The population is at twenty thousand but mind you it’s just a guesstimation. If I remember correctly it has twenty-nine barangays which are accessible through tricycles or pedicabs. The pulse of the town lies in its agricultural lands although the donations from OFWs greatly improved the local economy. For the tired Barotacnon who came from only God knows where, the sight of the old and faded Tanduay billboard means home. For the regular passerby or (if fate permits) a tourist, it’s like the official welcome to Barotac signage.

Tanduay

Just like any other town, Barotac Nuevo has its own share of colonial legend. And it’s actually available in Wikipedia. It’s amazing how updated the Internet can get. So the legend tells of a certain Don Simon Protacio and his steed of incredible beauty, Tamasak. Despite Don Protacio’s love for his horse, he decided to sell the horse to the governor-general at that time in exchange that Barotac (back then called “Malutak” which is Hiligaynon for muddy) be made town. It is said that due to the stubborn incapability of the Spanish to pronounce “Malutak” correctly, the name turned out to be “Barotac” and the “Nuevo” was added in order not to confuse it with an older town in the north with the same name.

Some people say that it is because of this legend that the townspeople are drawn to football. The young and not-so-young men in town are amazingly good kickers. So in order not end up in jail for violent tendencies, they turn to football. The town is officially known as the football capital of the country. We don’t create the calibers of Ronaldinho and Beckham but we definitely have something to show similarly close. Other towns play basketball during their town fiestas. But in Barotac, the people go out of the covered court and herd towards the football field where the action goes on. It is such a big thing that various media outfits in the country feature the town and also some magazines, including FHM. The town also witnessed important football events like that time when the Philippines hosted the SEA games. Some of the football games were played on the Barotac Nuevo football field. Athlete scouts also visit the town once in a while to offer full collegiate scholarships for worthy players. (My friend actually went to UST for two years but he said it’s hard balancing the academics and the athletics. He added that most of the time he’s so tired he can barely lift his feet off much more read a book about Industrial Engineering.) And to add to that, FIFA (Federation of International Football Association) actually built a training center in the outskirts of town to further aid these young athletes.

football

Other than the undeniable love for football, there is not much to say about the town. It’s not as rich as say, Miagao but it’s not slow in progress either. There’s a single inland resort called Hacienda Fiametta which offers horse-back riding (once again an inclination to horses), kayaking (which in other words is just plain boating in some muddy river), and thank God, a swimming pool.. Then, around six or seven videoke bars scattered in the town proper which also has a hierarchy, believe it or not. The top spot belongs to Friends where the who’s who of (that is, schoolteachers, politicians, and businessmen) Barotac gather to have a drink. Also, we seem to be totally into batchoy and halo-halo. There are so many places in town where you can find a batchoyan or a halo-halohan.

On school days, high school students from the schools located in town flock in the plaza around four to five in the afternoon. They fill the air with sweet perspiration mixed with baby powder and cheap cologne. Sometimes, you get a waft aroma of sunshine. You get to see young couples holding hands while walking and friends chattering away in some odd incomprehensible language. It reminds one of those days when the world is so full of possibilities. Possibilities like together they can paint the world with pastels, like nothing can ever shatter their dreams, like failure is no big deal. They looked and felt invincible. Such is high school.

plaza

Okay, back to Barotac. It is also a town where the pedicab drivers hang around with beer-bellied policemen who lulls at every chance they get. Personally, I can say that the town is generally peaceful although once or twice a week it gets featured in Ratsada or TV Patrol Iloilo for some brawls over land titles, girl problems, or who’s turn it is to sing “My Way”. One party would either end up dead or wounded and on rare occasions, it was a suicide attempt which on much rarer occasions turns out to be a successful suicide attempt. The most recent issue about the town is the war between the mayor and the vice-mayor. The body count is two.

Indeed we also have warring political clans. Right now, we are governed by a political family which if the prediction of the people would come true would last a good twenty years. The thought depresses a number of people but anyway, when election time comes they’re quite happy just as long as they get paid for their vote. It’s a cycle that currently sees no end. Wait, there is no end in a cycle. Hopefully, this case is an exception.

ferj

It’s been four years since we left town. My parents have no intention of going back. But it’s always a place where I feel I belong to, despite the hurtful memories. I’ll always miss that faded Tanduay billboard. There’s a reason they put “home” in hometown, just like the old adage “Home is where the heart is.” I guess I’ll always feel that way for Barotac Nuevo.

UPV dorms are currently holding an inter-dormitory basketball and volleyball competition which the dormers call Hanutay (Volleyball) and (Pasingot).

The competitions started officially in December 01, 2009 and are still ongoing, the games are dated December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 respectively.

There will be a break in the games since the students will be going home for Christmas vacation; the shcedule of the games will be posted next year at the first day of class.

Almost all dormitories inside the university are joining the games except for Natonio’s Ladies Dormitory.

According to Mr. Rodrigo Hofileña or Manong Rod, one of the Balay Kanlaon staff, the winners are determined through double elimination.

This annual inter-dorm competitions have been going on for around five years, Manong Rod says.

The winners will be determined next year, in an awarding ceremony wherein the winning sorms will recieve an official ceritficate of appreciation for joining the games.

The goal of the games are to promote camaraderie, friendship and fairness among the dorms, Manong Rod says of the competitions.

To signal the coming of the Christmas break, Balay Kanlaon dormers and staffs celebrated their annual pre-Christmas party last night starting at 7 pm up to 2 am in the lobby of the dorm.

Balay Kanlaon or Hall 2 is one of the five official dormitories in the University of the Philippines Visayas; the other dorms celebrated their own parties earlier in the week.

The party started with a parade along the dorm area which was followed by a candle lighting ceremony outside the dorm.

The House Council and the staff also prepared games such as Paper Dance, Paint me a Picture and other parlor games.

One of the highlights of the party is the Carol Contest performed by the groups that were based on the wings in the dorm.

Before the party ended, the dormers and the staff exchanged gifts which was followed by dancing and partying until 2 am.

Femm Jaranilla, a first-year PH student said it was amazing and a good way to end the year. She added that she’s excited of the upcoming Lantern Parade.

In order to hone leadership skills among students, the Office of the Student Affairs will hold a Leadership training on December 12, 2009 at the Audio-Visual Room of the Graduate Program Office, 3rd Floor, Graduate and Continuing Education Building (GCEB), UPV, Iloilo City.

The training is officially called as “Seminar Enhancing Leadership Habits and Attitude”.

Each organization is required to send at least one representative and specifically a freshman, sophomore or a junior.

“The leadership training is held annually and usually sa ILC (Interactive Learning Center). However this time the venue is changed due to some unknown reasons.”, according to Eduard Dionio.

Eduard Dionio, former president of Oikos and has attended the training last year has this to say of the training, “Basically ang goal gid ya is to enhance the leadership capabilites of the students. May mga group-building activities and they teach you how to handle the problems within an org.”

50 students will be accomodated and there will be free snacks and drinks for the participants.

“UPV recognizes the fact that we need a new batch of leaders. Especially kay magraduate na ang iban.” Eduard Dionio ends with a laugh.

Watching news aired 16 years ago is like experiencing time travel. You get to see the familiar faces, only younger and without the traces of Vicki Belo’s miracles (not that they need one anyway).

You also get to hear news that, amazingly enough, can still be aired today. We are still bombarded by the same issues and problems. They can actually recycle that piece on jueteng, they only need to change the names of the people involved. I can almost hear my deceased grandfather saying “Just like the old times”.

Of course, (it will not escape the eyes of a young adult of this generation, it’s definitely the first thing one would notice) the fashion disasters are, well, disastrous. I’m no fashion expert, I know. And back then, the balloon hair and padded shoulders were a fab.
Nostalgic?
You also get to realize how greatly influenced by the American television Filipino shows were, even the news. The backdrop of fake skyscrapers during nighttime came straight from something like the Jay Leno show.

I remembered how my mom and brother sort of conditioned to have a crush on Robin Padilla. My mom would ask “Sin-o crush mo?”Then my brother would whisper to my ear “Si Robin, si Robin.” Obedient that I am, well, you get the picture. It’s a story my mother would reveal to my friends later on. She gets very elated seeing me in complete and utter humiliation.

In 1994, I was suckin lollipops, watching Cedie, peeing my skirt. I didn’t have a care in the world. I loathed news because I thought it was boring. I also remember clearly that it was the golden age of cable tv. In my young age, it offers limitless options. So imagine my agony everynight when my father would place himself in his favorite monobloc chair ans watch the early evening news. I should have been watching Johnny Bravo instead.

But I guess at an early age, my father was able to show me the importance of knowing current events, of actually caring about what was happening. Although realization on my part came a bit late.

It’s a bit sad that 16 years later, nothing much changed. The media delights in delving into personal matters of celebrities. The Filipinos penchant for drama is fueled by the media. Kris Aquino for one made sure the masses had plenty to talk about. She still does. I’ve matured and realized a lot, the rest of the world moves forward but Kris Aquino remains the same, just like the Filipino media.

In recognition of the need to end the violence against women, the UPV Gender and Development Program and the UPV Anti-Sexual Harassment Office willl hold a Forum on Social Responses on Sexual Violence, Human Trafficking and Cyber Crimes on December 1, 2009 in the UPV Auditorium.

This will be the first in a series of activities prepared by different organizations to support the 18-Day Campaign to end Violence Against Women which is from November 25-December 12, 2009 with the theme “Commit. Act. Demand. We can End Violence Against Women.”

According to Soule Zephora Bolivar, BA Literature student and a member of Gender Advocates for the Youth (GAY), “The forum intends to show the society the gravity of sexual violence and human trafficking. It also aims to learn how much the people know about these crimes. We want to get the people involved in our cause.”

Soule adds that “Different groups of people eill speak in the forum like women and the youth.”

GAY, the organization founded by Prof. Rose Asong from the Division of Humanities will also have a representative in the said forum.

“The forum promotes awareness about the situation of our women in today’s society, and it is a step towards helping our violated women and children.” Soule adds further.

A Day of Transformation

November 23, 2009 was a day bound to be remembered by Filipinos, historical but dark and definitely bloody. It was the day of the Maguindanao massacre, perhaps one of the bloodiest event ever to happen in the history of the Philippines (if you think post-colonial and contempoaray that is).

The convoy of Ginalyn Mangudadatu who was about to file her Certificate of Candidacy in the nearby town, consisting of family members, supporters and mediamen were shot by approximately one hundred armed men. Fifty-seven lives were lost, twenty-four of which were mediamen, and a few were innocent people just passing through.

It was a day of transformation. Civilian volunteers were made assasins and the silent baranggay Ampatuan is now infamously called “the killing fields.” And if not for the arrival of the army in the crime scene, they would have succeeded in burying all the bodies.

Many people are condemning this atrocity. Indignant views not only from Filipinos but the international community as well flooded websites and social networking sites. The massacre catapulted the Philippines as the number one country in the list of the most number of extra-judicial killings. What made this crime more atrocious was that there were civilians who were killed. Worse still was the women Mangudadatus were reportedly violated before they were killed.
Bloody
All fingers are pointing to the rival political clan of the Mangudadatus, the Ampatuans. The Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus are both from the same political party, held under the wing by the President herself. However, this does not prevent them from warring against each other despite peace efforts and an intermarriage was made.

Such a crime can only be ordered by someone who is powerful enough. The question is: Did the Ampatuans actually thought that they could get away clean just by burying a whole convoy right into their backyard? The presence of heavy machinery and some buried bodies and vehicles reveals that they planned to bury all evidence and the bodies, which in all its essence, is quite stupid. Did they expect people to think that the convoy just vanished? Brgy. Ampatuan is not some sort of Bermuda Triangle now, is it?

Another thing is the goverment’s incredibly slow action upon this matter. It took them three days to actually invite the primary suspect for questioning. Many people conclude that it is because of the protection of the President. It brings to mind the past election where the President got a landslide victory in Maguindanao and the opposition got literally nada. She owed this victory to the Ampatuans. Despite her actions of sympathy and promises that due justice will be given to the Mangudadatus and the families of the other victims as well, it is still hard to believe her empty words. She’s made promises that never came true, one can only hope that this time it’s for real.

Lastly, let us hope that the presidentiables will not use this tragedy to their advantage in the coming elections. Gibo Teodoro had his face printed on the news along with Vice Mayor Mangudadatu. Again, let us hope that he is sincere.

This tragedy only shows how blinding power can be. It shows that in the country today, even the mob bosses seem a lot more kinder than a politician who is threatened to be out of power.

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