Redefining rivalry, top 2 grads take competition in stride

Magna cum Laudes being grilled by your karikna
Magna cum Laudes being grilled by your karikna

THE RIVALRY could have been as fierce as the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton match. After all, at stake was the honor of being this year’s top graduate in a well-esteemed university.

But for Kathleen L. Hortelano and Julius-Ver A. De Guzman, who were classmates in all of their four years at the Mariano Marcos State University, the competition was anything but cruel.

For one, while they may have excelled in accountancy, the course was not really their first love. Hortelano wanted to be a soldier like her father while De Guzman dreamt of becoming a doctor like his eldest brother. As it turned out, destiny had other designs for the two. They took up BS Accountancy and the rest is sweet history. Continue reading “Redefining rivalry, top 2 grads take competition in stride”

isipin mo na lang meron pa, meron nga.

[Ngayong linggo sa aking mga klase sa pilosopiya, sinisimulan naming talakayin sina Heidegger at Sartre.  Tiyempong natsambahan ko ang kyut na tulang ito ni Joey Yusingco, na naging estudyante rin minsan ng bespren kong si Alona Ureta-Guevarra sa Ateneo. (Ang liit nga ng mundo!) 

Merong mga nagsasabi na wala daw kwenta ang pilosopiya, kasi naman, mantakin mo, pati ba naman ang wala ay pinagtatalunan pa.

Wala lang… haha]

Continue reading “isipin mo na lang meron pa, meron nga.”

Two Thousand and MINE

IT’S FIVE DAYS before the New Year, but, given the consuming revelry that goes with the holidays, chances are the reign of the Earth Ox would have dawned by the time you read this. I honestly hope, dear karikna, that you are holding this newspaper with all of your ten fingers intact and unbandaged.

When we were in high school, our teachers in English would greet us “Happy New Year” by requiring us to write formal compositions on topics like “How I spent My Christmas vacation” and “My New Year’s Resolutions”. (At siyempre, hindi pahuhuli ang mga guro sa Filipino. Sila man ay nagtatakda din ng mga komposisyon sa mga nabanggit na paksa.) With all due respect to Mrs. Editha Agdeppa and Gng. Rosita Felipe—my language teachers in high school, I never enjoyed writing those pieces. For one, I found them corny. Also, I thought the teacher had no business peering into my personal life and all the way into my inner psyche.

As fate would have it, however, I myself would become a teacher who loves to read his students’ self-reflexive essays. Also, as a mushy columnist, I have no qualms about sharing my stream of consciousness to the public. And yes, as you may have observed, I am occasionally corny, too. Oh, how things change.

Change, as the cliché goes, is constant. Sometimes predictable, many times not. If economic technocrats are to be believed, we will feel the full brunt of the global financial crisis this 2009. As today is difficult enough, it is both frightening and depressing to imagine what other plagues await us in the dim, dim tomorrow. More pain and suffering for Pinoys… Now, that’s predictable.

It should console us though that times of great struggle intensify man’s search for meaning, which should explain the marked increase in church attendance these days. I am sure Bishop Sergio Utleg is happy with this development, although I am not sure if the cash registers, er, collection bags, are smiling as well, given the impoverished parishioners’ perishing purses. (Huh, the underlined words make a good tongue-twister!)

In my case, karikna, I don’t resort to the religious opium. I spend part of my holidays thinking of what I still want to do. Note that this is not goal-setting, as I am never inclined to be hard on myself. A free spirit, my future is not carefully laid out, planned, and organized. This is not sweet lemoning either. Simply, what I do is just a dreamy inventory of reasons. For, as my favorite philosopher and soulmate Friedrich Nietzsche puts it, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”.

So go my “why” lists, in random order:

Continue reading “Two Thousand and MINE”

Philosophizing the nurse, nursing the philosopher

ALL RIGHT, my students are bright, as we boast of having one of the finest nursing programs in the country. Their training is rigid, and the selection process very tight. But, at the turn of the semester, I feared that my students would take my subject lightly. I took pains in urging them not to treat philosophy as a “minor subject”, for there must be some reason why it is a curriculum requirement.

After a month, my students submitted their phenomenological reflections. My heart broke when I discovered that many of them wanted to pursue something else, but were forced by their elders, who finance their studies, to take up nursing instead. It is sad that our ailing economy kills the dreams of the young. Older people are infected with bitter pragmatism, and few of them are as supportive as the father in a PLDT commercial (“Kung saan ka masaya, anak, suportahan ta ka”).

Our class had an engaging discussion on Martin Heidegger, who posits that when man confuses being with having, the origin of desire is located in external possessions: money, gadgets, and whatnot become the source of happiness; deprivations lead to feelings of sadness and frustration. In this case, the human-being has identified her self with objects of passing significance, and has forgotten her own existence.

“At the moment, what essence do you find in your existence?,” I asked them. It is not very difficult to figure out: e$$ence. It does not take a sociologist to understand why. Our government is a joke, our economy a disaster, and only God knows what other tribulations await our benighted land. No wonder that many professionals are now taking up nursing—doctors, dentists, physical therapists and, yes, even lawyers. Some of them have been my students, older than I am, and resigned to this nation’s dim tomorrow.

Continue reading “Philosophizing the nurse, nursing the philosopher”

Jeans Cequina, my kindred: THE Quirkyalone

JEANS CEQUINA is an idol-turned-colleague-turned-friend. Little did I know that she has been my kindred soul all along.

“Kin” dreams of singing in a bar where battered souls and wounded hearts go for healing. I dream of frequenting that bar. In Jeans, reality meets fiction. Born and raised in a sugar plantation in Bacolod, this artist is as sweet and gentle as the pandas that she slept with (until she realized that sleeping alone is still best). I am eternally indebted to Jeans for being a lighthouse in my stormy days. How can I forget those mornings when on my table I’d find notes, paintings, candles, or food– from Jeans who proclaims the gospel of being okay?

Once, on our way to the office, rain poured heavily, I grabbed her hand and ran. To my surprise, I saw Jeans genuflecting, all wet, her left knee hurting. “Even if it were acid rain I wouldn’t run, she said”. She got up and walked gracefully, as if wearing a gown. People who saw the fall laughed at her… but we laughed at ourselves harder. That’s vintage Jeans.
In her essay, which I am posting in this blog (and will hopefully feature in the print edition of my weekly column come February), this woman of many passions celebrates the joys of solitude and being out-of-the-box. If there is one person who can write–with sincerity, depth, and magic– about being a quirkyalone, it is she. I am reminded that one time when Jeans, I, and other friends met for dinner after a long time of missing each other (we meet veeeery rarely), this life-of-the-party wanted to be home before 1o pm. The reason? The next day, the Ilongga was to have a very important date with a very important person–her self.
This spiritual comrade is nothing more, nothing less…than a woman who finds joy in life and in living, …because she views life not as a cross to be borne, …or a world to be remade, …or an oyster to be opened, …or a time to be suffered, …but simply as days to be lived in harmony with all men, …for the glory of our Creator.

(Quirkyalone noun/adj. A person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than dating for the sake of being in a couple. Also, a movement and an international holiday that happens to fall on February 14.)

Read on…
QUIRKYALONE: a self-portrait
I am the puzzle piece who seldom fit with other puzzle pieces.

But I didn’t choose to be different, as you didn’t choose to obey the rules. I was born to a new age of pois, pandas, pixie dusts, dawns, rain dancing, colored sea stones, celtic music, gaels, lighthouses and an eternal love affair with my paintbrushes, my pen and papers.

My rules are not conventional. My spirit cannot be contained in a single receptacle.

I gravitate towards the lowly, idiosyncratic, peculiar and unpopular. I refuse to get entangled in the mishmash of sales invoice, bank statements and or a dismal display of that signature coffee cup in hand. I am your cat in the rat race.

I am different.

My friend is the moon. My music is the bagpipe and the pennywhistle. The only steps I take are tapped and in harmony with the ‘riverdance’. Sunrise is my ally but shadows always teach me things.

I am my own style but I am also beyond it. I partially reside in a closet with a mélange of moods, mystery, magic and other manifestations. I am shaped by my atypical interests and they steal pieces from each other, every single moment, making me a shape shifter and a beautiful walking mosaic.

My irreverent approach to life is driven by my endless imagination (and yes, often by hunches too!) and never a conscious pathetic attempt to look cool or conform to an existing public image.

Making magic and fairy tales come true, for me, lie in seeing the world with a heightened perception like seeing a drop of poetry in the most mundane of things.

My frame of mind is an eternal journey to more and more mystery. And my eyes, aside from being an icon of creation, is merely a peephole to the full shebang that goes inside my heart.

I am different.

I resist the tyranny of ‘couple-dom’. I have a positive space in my heart for singles like me who choose to be single rather than in a mediocre relationship. Yet make no mistake: I am no less concerned with coupling than your average serial monogamist. Secretly, I am a romantic—romantic of the highest order. But I want a miracle! Out of millions, I have to find the one who will understand.

I am different. I inhabit “solitude” as my natural resting state. In a world where marriage, proms or tandem bikes define the social order, I am, by force of my personality and inner strength, a REBEL.

I see the world with different eyes and I am continually amazed by the beauty and madness around me. like my lighthouses, i have a wealth of lovely people beside and behind me ready to fire me up endlessly. and just like a lighthouse, i reflect myself back to them with a connection that is way beyond words.

I am different. I am a “quirkyalone”…and loving every minute of it!

I am overwhelmed because being different gives me all the leeway to sashay my blots, blemishes, failings and flaws. No regrets. No shame.

I am different. I don’t have to be perfect to be whole and happy.

That’s my take on the world.

–jeanscequina (08-08-08).