Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Purgatory Week

It's Purgatory week (not hell week yet!) and my Asian History exam is approaching. And right now I am busy reviewing my papers about the history of Japan and other Asian regions. So sadly, I will have no post for the several next days... Whew! Wish me luck!

I told you last time about one of my favorite films "Itim" (Rites of May). Luckily, I found a video clip of this on the internet! It is the last part of the movie and it is in Tagalog language. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any subtitles.

Anyway, the scene opens with the protagonist's eerie dream where you can see life size, hyper realistic statues of Christ and/or the Apostles slowly moving towards him. It cuts rights across the entire film and to the next scene about the revelation of the old man's past about his lover which he killed and thrown into the river. The old man was quite stunned to hear the anguished, hysterical voice of his previous lover, now righteously but frighteningly vengeful (the soul possessed the girl, just like in exorcisms) that he wheeled backwards his chair and fell down the stairs.

It was a tragic story, and I was amazed by the eerie air in Mike de Leon's work when they aired it on TV during the Holy week when I was young.

It is getting warmer these days. The sky is burning blue and the sun creates bright yellowish light. It is the same sky as the last year's sky, which inspired the setting of my unfinished story for the bunny.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Second Parents and Summer

In the 16 years of schooling, I've had my share of better professors. Perhaps you heard this kind of list before. Often, upperclassmen are asked to recommend professors by the newer students who will take the same subjects-- a tradition partly kept as a precaution, understandably since no one wants to be managed by "terror" teachers, as we call them. But of the most memorable of them, I want to share their wonderful traits as mentors, and how they managed to influence me as who I am today.

The first of them was my teacher in grade school named Pablo Salazar. He was a tall and thin man, with bony cheeks and large eyes (I am describing his appearance because I never forgot his unusual height). He was my art teacher at that time. I remember when he taught me how to illustrate through oil pastels. This was my primary medium back then, and to be honest with you, I merely started using water-based mediums such as watercolor and acrylic when I came to college three years ago. Anyway, he always supported me in art contests. Once, I won in one the grand prize of cash and an oil painting of a bird by a well known architect in the Philippines because of his coaching.

The next one came from my high school years. And she is Gina Manalili, my first year high school teacher in local history. And she was the one who made me appreciate history. She was a gentle woman in her 30’s.

My third memorable professor was also from the high school faculty,also from my first year. He was my Religion teacher, Demosthenes Calabria; we called him Brother Dem. He belonged to the Catholic order that oversaw our school. What I liked about him is that he united our class, and bound us classmates closer to each other. He visited our houses by his bike to greet us or to invite us for a get-together activity, or just to have a little chat with us or with our parents. Rather approachable despite a distinct, beatified air about him, we all considered him as a very good friend. Sadly, he was destined to another branch of our school soon after that year ended, and we rarely saw him again.

The fourth one I met in my second year, and she was my Filipino language teacher, Roshel Arceo. My first impression of her was that she numbered amongst the "terror" profs--which was somewhat true, despite of her young age, but justifiably so. She made the class compete against one another for seven “magical” objects. These objects, made of cardboard and in a shape of stars, orb, rode, and others, containing power of "infallibility" in class, as well as high grades from examinations or recitations. But to achieve these objects, there would be a debate about a specific topic, or a speech contest, or a group presentation. And of course the best group would receive the award. And the group holding the object shall maintain they place until someone will took it.

I included them and a few more of my notable high school professors in my first story which I dedicated to a high school friend I wrote about before.

The next two will come from my college. He was quite renowned not only in the classes that he taught in, but also amongst his colleagues in his respective field; he is Marlon Rivera, my advertising teacher in third year. He gave me some practical advice for our future careers, not to mention the way he teaches is also highly applicable in everyday life. The man was very critical, but he made so much sense that we didn't mind getting dissed; instead, we would be quite anxious to make up for our past mistakes. No one wanted to disappoint him, because when he talked, you could almost believe he saw potential in you, no matter how helpless you were in reality. He was also terribly quotable that even now the bunny remembers the times she got reproached for her work (we were working on ad slogans most of the time) and work habits with lines like: "Do it once, it's funny. Do it twice, it's not, it's stupid," and "Is freedom really the point of adulthood? No. The point of adulthood is responsibility."

And of course, the last but not the least is my teacher in Philippine History (Kasaysayan1) during my third year college, Kristoffer Esquejo. Aside from my high school local history teacher, Ma’am Gina, he further developed my love for history, as he expounded on every detail of past events (with a little comedy to match). He had a very good approach towards students, probably because he understands us (being still young, around in his mid 20’s). At that time, he wasn't officially counted amongst the tenured professors in the university since he was still working on his Master's degree, yet I could say he was one of that faculty's most brilliant and inspiring teachers. I should know since I also had the misfortune of getting into subjects with History professors who, although they knew their stuff, would bore you to the point of sleeping, or regret that you had to remember the past. History with them was always too academic, but with Prof. Esquejo, it was alive.

Next semester, I have to get new subjects to complete my credits. I still hear of some very good teachers in our university that I have never personally encountered. I hope I will have a chance to learn under some of them. But of course, I should never forget the ones who are not professors who teaches class in a formal school, but are simply ordinary people yet they give me very good advice and lessons in life. Among them are the ones who are closest to me, friends, and relatives (thanks, Bunny!), including ones whom I never met in person but gave me in spirit encouragements and advise in life (thanks, Candie). All of them are the ones who shaped me the way I am today.


But before the next semester begins, there is the summer vacation, and it is fast approaching. The days are getting so much warmer. And I wish I could visit a beach over the next months for some relaxation, away from the tiring academic days.