Shalom!

It was a Tuesday, I had unbearable classes and I had never ending projects to be submitted. Finals were coming and I had pressure from everywhere. I had to keep up with my line of 8 grades for me not to be under probation… again.

But I had time to spare. I needed to relax well and feel everything in a lighter weight. That’s why I gave into my friend, Katrin’s request that I teach children from the school she’s working for. I said yes because I wanted to be a teacher before, and I wanted to make a mark in children’s minds and hearts, and wrists – for written stars.

I arrived there late, of course. When I went inside the room, I was surprised because I expected 20+ children waiting for me. But there were only a few, starting their little art project with teacher Katrin guiding them.

I had this little art project using only paper and crayons. I told Katrin to tell the children to fold the paper in half, and color the first side, and then draw something in the opposite side, having the drawing in different shades and colors. Go figure.

I taught two batches, the first batch was filled with children aged 8-10 and the second was 10-12. There were grade school children, and I never knew if ever I had the patience to teach makulit set of children. But I surpassed the patience test and I gave them little stars in their wrists using the pentel pen I brought.

I did not give any talks and all, I just observed them and how life goes on in a little school with much intimate communication with teachers and classmates. I kind of had the same experience, going to school in the same education system. The school centered God, and they did not have much complicated technologies.

It was different from the grade schoolers from the expensive and elite schools. The environment was simple, the classmates did not have expensive gadgets. The children embraced education and simplicity. And I could really see that they enjoyed childhood. Although they had Facebook and Twitter and all the other social networking sites, they still played the games that the traditional Filipino children played. I joined them play piko during their 15 minute break.

Also, I watched them eat their snacks. I was amazed by how their allowance per day was only less than 50 pesos. Children these days, especially the peers of my younger sister, demand more than 50 pesos allowance per day! I was amazed by how these children were satisfied with a lesser allowance and enjoy it with little packs of biscuits and a bottle of softdrinks or a pack of zest-o.

They were so thankful for the stars I wrote on their wrists. But the day had to end and the children prayed and said goodbye. Instead of goodbye, as in the literal goodbye word, they used Shalom!

I wondered again, what shalom meant. Shalom is a Hebrew word used to both greet people and to bid them farewell, and it means much more than “peace, hello or goodbye”.

I said shalom back, and gave a smile that I also kept for a good day because I taught children that might be successful someday.

The Rural Youth

I’m in a city now, and I can’t help but wonder what my family is doing back at my hometown. I wonder what my sister is doing in her boring days, in a rural setting. I have been there back and forth, during semestral breaks and special events, and I honestly loved and called it as a home. A lovely home with all my loved ones and with my lovely people.

With all my wondering, I came with my sister in one of her activities and I found that she was with the youth organization of the place. The organization centered God, and the meetings were held at the church. They love God, and sometimes I doubt if they really do because they use the meetings as excuse to meet and wander around town.

One morning, they gathered at the church, amidst the unbearable coldness, for a morning jog. They came in almost a hundred, all with enthusiasm to walk many kilometers and exercise. They didn’t feel any awkwardness, except for me who knew no one, because they all knew each other.

Here are the photos that I took when I joined them, but I never talked to strangers so I stuck with who I knew.

After the longest walk, aside from getting an asthma attack, I realized something. I realized that the youth in rural areas are more close than in an urban setting. They really get to bond, off from the computer screens and facebook, and go to places where they can have fun and enjoy their youth. Some of them live from very far places, but they see each other everyday and they gladly join town activities.

On a clearer note, what I want to say is that, instead of drinks and bars and online based happiness, they focus more on happiness with real interaction to real adventure worthy places.

Can we do that here, in the internet? No. Can we be real friends, and can we go on dates headed to real places to really bond with each other? Yes.

Then let’s log off from our laptops and PCs and find real friends in the real world.

Will it happen? To me, maybe. To you, yes or no?

“School Sucks”

I personally don’t understand the people who do not like going to school. Even I did not understand the essence of waking up early to go to class and walk endless stair cases in haste for me not to be late every morning. I hate the feeling, really. But when I realized that life would be useless if I did not value education, I have slowly opened my eyes to the realities around me.

As of 2007, according to a video I saw in YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWyleIk4Qkw), there are 13.5 Million children below 6 years old, which is 15% of our population… And 5 million of those children do not have access to pre school education. I can imagine those children walking around the streets without knowing the names of the colors they see. They might not even know how they should spell their names. The most basic things are the most essential in life, meaning that pre school education is the most basic foundation for the rest of their lives.

6 out of 1000 elementary graduates actually make it to high school, and according to the video, only 2% of the high school graduates are fit to enter college.

I am lucky to be in school. Thus, I have no right to say that school sucks.

I am aware of what is happening outside the gates of my university. I see teenagers lurking around, with the dirtiest clothes holding the filthiest pieces of garbage. I see children holding cups for the money they ask from the strangers. I see women carrying babies, breast feeding them while they are on the gutters sitting asking for alms. These are maybe the effects of not going to school.

See, I have made a chain reaction when you are not able to go to school. This maybe simple, but try to fit in the complicated things…

No education – No proper/decent work – No decent salary – No food – No shelter – No clothing – No decent lifestyle

You can fill that up.

See? There are a lot of effects when you don’t have decent education in your life. And honestly, I think this is a cycle. When you don’t have proper education, you won’t have a decent paying work, and when you don’t have a decent paying salary you won’t have money for food, for shelter, for clothing, you won’t provide the basic needs of a family, and you won’t have money for education of your children. And when your children won’t have proper education… History will repeat itself.

I think I’ve made my point.

K+12: A Stronger Foundation for the Next Generation

This coming school year 2012-2013, the K+12 Basic Education Program by the Department of Education will be implemented in all public schools nationwide, aiming for “a stronger foundation for the next generation” according to President Aquino who led the launch last April 24 at the Malacanang Palace. The new program requires kindergarten education, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school, and another two years for senior high school. It is said that the new program seeks to elevate the quality of education in the Philippines, and thus will empower Filipinos to become more competent and be well-trained. Moreover, the said program enables high school graduates who don’t wish to continue college land in a decent job, and it would be easier for both high school and college graduates to get hired for work because of the adeptness they have acquired during their schooling.

I agree that this program is a step for us Filipinos to become highly proficient in whatever field we choose. It is also a move for us Filipinos not to be left behind by other countries who have adapted this educational advancement long ago. Having this new program, I think is more than enough to hone young minds and become professionals.

But, are we all ready for this big change?

Aside from the financial burden it would inflict to the parents, is our government prepared enough in imposing this new education system? Note that during the previous system, there were already various and never-ending problems such as the lack of classrooms, teachers, reading materials, and even chairs where students can sit and listen comfortably. It’s been an ordinary scene in public schools where a number of seventy students or more struggle inside the four corners of the room. Some share in a single seat and some even just sit on the floor or at the top of their lockers or near the platforms, and some two or more students share a single book. All of these occur even if the education concerns have the biggest share in the national budget over the years. Now that there are additional years added in the new program, could these problems be resolved especially in isolated areas where resources are barely delivered? Is our educators prepared enough to teach and adapt the new curriculum? I hope yes. Because how can we successfully attain “a stronger foundation for the next generation” if all we could provide are limited classrooms, reading materials, chairs, and even skilled educators.

 

Note: These photos were taken in a private school in our city. I think it reflects the different problems  of our country’s education today which all boils down to scarcity of everything.

Vim Amorio

As teenagers, our hormones are unstoppable.

When I hear or read the word population, I think about contraceptives and family planning. Also, the other things are… Sex, lust and love. But who cares? I mean, there are different other things people think about when they hear population.

To be honest, I have never been in to a talk with my parents about sex. And I haven’t listened much when sex education is discussed in our classrooms. I am, for me, the least knowledgeable person when it comes to sex and sexual education.

As an independent being, or so I think, I read blogs about sex, sexual education, and whatever there is connected to using condoms and pills.

I ended up at Anna Sotto’s blog, http://sexandsensibilities.com

Here’s what I read…

“It’s a normal process for teens [to want to know more about sex],” explains Dr. Dr Wei Siang Yu, a medical doctor from Monash University. “Their hormones are raging and they need to be informed about how to deal with these urges and understand the changes their bodies are going through.”

And in the most possible way, I agree. I have so many friends that are really in to sex, because they are curious and maybe because of peer pressure. As teenagers, our hormones are unstoppable. Even I can really say that we need sex education, we need to know why we are having these urges, changes, and whatever.

“One major downside of this initiative by DepEd is that children might someday indulge themselves in sexual activities and might even master it, successfully avoiding pregnancy.  Surely contraceptive methods will be introduced in their agenda, but looking into the emotional impact of failed relationships to our children.  These kids will surely have relationships at a young age.  However, due to their immature decisions, most of the time it can just lead to failed relationships.  Girls/women will always be at a losing end.

Therefore, my recommendation in this matter is to introduce sex education only to young girls; that, we should not only introduce the scientific part of sex education but also how to manage relationships without being taken advantage by men.”

(http://www.bukisa.com/articles/315755_sex-education-in-the-philippines#ixzz1tExr7vst)

So, I was having this shoot with my boss’s son, and in the location, I found these. Thus I felt the need to take a photo. The shoot was located in the farthest part of Davao, even I wouldn’t go there because the place is eerie and far and lonely. But I saw these, that’s why I wonder that these contraceptives wouldn’t fly there alone. Of course, someone had to bring it and use it there.

It’s odd and ugly to think that these people who used these items do not really care about hygiene. Having sex by the side of a lonely road with grasses all around, really? That’s why I agree when they said that sexual education should really be taught in high school, or even elementary. People, especially adults, should teach other adults and kids and teens the right way and the right place to have sex.

I don’t know if you agree, just leave your comments if you don’t.

X,

AidxParedes

 

The simple things you do will make great impacts. Every decision you make will go a long way.

 

To begin this with figures you might already know, you might just simply shrug this off. Nevertheless, I’ll keep this thing going to save open minds who choose to read this and perhaps, make a change.

Year two thousand and twelve started with repeated reports that the global population has already reached an escalating number of 7 billion. And by year 2043, it is expected that the world population will reach a jaw-dropping number of 9 billion, according to the United Nations Population Division. But despite of knowing this worrying statistic that bears undesirable possibilities, many of us still turn a blind eye and continue living our way that in effect, will surely worsen the problems that we are already facing today, and may even create new problems that would make the future generation suffer. To say that overpopulation as a root problem is dealt only by those who were stricken by poverty is a wrong thing. It is a core problem that all of us, young, old, rich, poor, men, and women, share and must be mindful about.

Many of us may be unaware of this. The moment we open our eyes from a deep slumber until the moment we close it again to take rest, we start and end our day by consuming different items that all came from our world’s scarce resources. The energy we use in cooking and in using our appliances, the food we eat and even the utensils we use to eat, the water we drink and use to bathe, the fuel and the vehicles we use to get to our destinations, the pleasure we get from our gadgets and from sleeping on our beds, and even the smallest piece of clothing we wear—all these that we enjoy every single day of our lives came from our planet’s diminishing resources.

Water as man’s basic necessity seems to be very abundant, considering that over 70% of our earth’s surface is covered with water. But note that only 2.5% of this is fresh, and the rest 97.5% are salt water. We do not just simply drink water to satisfy our thirst, but we also use this in different ways and most of the time, in a very careless way. Today, there are already billions of people in the world. And some of these billion people do not even have the access to fresh and clean water. If this large number will continue to grow, do you think our earth’s water supply still enough to support a rapidly growing population—to think that this amount of fresh water may have become even smaller because of pollution, human wastes, and sudden contamination?

Fish, which is a staple food in almost every corners of the world has decreased gradually due to excessive consumption by humans. I remember in international documentaries I’ve watched, it was surprising that even sharks, whales, dolphins, and other huge aquatic creatures are illegally captured to be sold in the market. Forests trees are being cut both legally and illegally (most of the time having no initiative to replace those trees and check if they have successfully grown) to satisfy human needs. If all these human activities continue without doing efforts of conserving, preserving, and rehabilitating, would there still be left for the future generation? Would there still be a friendly environment available for them, and resources that would guarantee their survival? It may be absurd to think this way, but we never know it would be possible that time will come when all people would fight for this-and-that in order to stay alive.

With our world’s ever-increasing population, it all boils down to an increasing demand and consumption of food, water, and all other natural resources. To have a bigger population means more green lands will be converted to housing zones, more trees will be logged to build needed structures, more health and other services to provide, there will be more human wastes that will worsen our already unhealthy surroundings, and there will be more and more hungry mouths to be fed. In short, to have a bigger population means there will be MORE demands—unending demands that will continue to injure earth. But how long can earth’s resources sustain the incessant demands of the human race?

To think that great thinkers and scientists may have a remedy for human’s increasing population and diminishing resources may be in the cards. But hey, that would be another thing taken from our planet’s depleting supply. Everything we have and everything we do all came from exploited resources, remember?

Now, look around you and think about it.

The simple things you do will make great impacts. Every decision you make will go a long way.

So, will you just sit there and ignore this reminder, or you will stand up and do what you think will help the world?

Vim Amorio

These are only a few of what I wonder about.

One is alone, two is a couple, three is a crowd, and four and more is a party. Well, that is a made up quote for something odd and amazing called family. Odd because things happening inside a home are only explainable by those who are in it, and people outside it can’t seem to understand what’s happening. Amazing because of all the things happening in between love and difference.

Well, as the middle child of a family of five, I sometimes get jealous of my siblings when they get stuff and I don’t. I wonder how my parents feel when they feel that one of their kids is jealous of the other. I mean, I wonder how they would sort it out with the jealous kid.

Well, that’s just one thing an adult would face, I guess, when they are already called parents. It’s a problem an adult could probably handle well, or not. But to think of it, it is hard when things get rough and the little problems kids produce would be a burden that would heavy the shoulders of those in charge at home.

I wonder how teenage parents handle things like these.

I don’t want to know by experience, though. But when curiosity gets in my system, I can’t help but wonder how teenage parents handle things like these. Will they sleep through it? Will they party and forget about the problems at home? Will they settle things down by asking other older people tips and all? Or will they be able to settle it at all?

I think, as to what I have seen inside my own home, problems are not limited to toys and kids getting jealous. There are more problems and responsibilities parents face. Knowing that they are the most responsible people inside a home, they would really think of things really hard at night, when they are sheltered in a blanket and maybe they pray that they can get through another day.

I’m sure they think of the money they would give their children before they go to school. Then after, they think what food to cook for breakfast. Then after breakfast comes the other harder to think of things. Tuition fees, better home, sex, new clothes for themselves and the kids, food for the coming weeks, bills, and everything else gets in to the mind of a parent… I guess.

I wonder how a teenage girl with a big baby bump would think of the future. I wonder how a teenage boy with an up coming baby thinks of the future. I wonder how beautiful the teenage girl and teenage boy’s baby could be, how it would grow up, what will he want to be in the future, what color would be his favorite… And I wonder if that kid would be a teenage boy or girl soon, with a baby.

Will that baby experience quality education? Will that baby grow up with a complete family? Will that baby be like his parents? Will that baby be successful? Will that baby be able to live at all?

These are only a few of what I wonder about.

Teenage Baby Bumps

There are too many things to think of, too many days and nights to spend when you’re a teenager. Yes, teenagers like me have a lot of things yet to know, experience, and feel. But some teenagers get lost and they wander away from reality to a fantastical world full of sex drugs, and rock and roll.

And then black out happens.

In the Philippines, according to the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (Uppi) and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, 26 percent of our Filipino youth nationwide from ages 15 to 25 admitted to having a premarital sex experience. What’s worse is that 38 percent of our youth are already in a live-in arrangement. (http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/lifestyle/lifestyle/view/20080614-142572/Teen-pregnancies-in-the-Philippines)

This is what I am talking about. These teenagers have fun in their teenage lives and where do they go? Some, they go out of the teenage wasteland. Some, they get stuck there and their futures never brightened. And some, in many cases, the effects of too much sex, drugs, and rock and roll… have babies.

I wonder what will the future be for them, the people who have babies. Will they be successful or will they be just pure teenage excess with no good use? I know these words are harsh, but it’s true. All the words that hurt are true.

X,
Aidx