Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Reason I Can Have This Blog

Although this is an assignment for Sci 10, I also want this to be a tribute to Dr. William Torres; if it weren't for him, I would be blogging here today. And I also probably wouldn't be in computer science.

Walking down a Philippine street the days, one is almost always bound to see a computer shop of some form –dubbed as “internet cafes”- filled to the brim with uniformed students, gamers and social network addicts. Our country is increasingly becoming an Internet stronghold, what with numerous WiFi hotspots sprouting all over, catering to citizens armed with devices that enable them to access the Internet anytime. Such is the kind of society we live in now which can only be attributed to Dr. William Torres, known as the “Father of Philippine Internet,” who oversaw the inception of the Internet in the Philippines in 1994. However, his negotiations with the US National Science Foundation for it began as early as 1992. Definitely a man of firsts, Dr. Torres is the first Filipino to get a doctorate in computer science, as well as the founder of Mozcom, the first Internet service provider in the country. He also held important government posts which enabled him to further information technology in the country, acting as managing director of the National Computer Center (NCC) from the late 80’s to May 1993 and heading the Information Technology Coordinating Council (ITCC) under the Cory Aquino presidency in 1987. Furthermore, it was him who drafted the first National IT Plan (NITP), whose succeeding incarnations would serve as the blueprints for making the Philippines the information hub of Asia. Most certainly, Dr.Torres paved the way for bringing cyberspace to the country, providing a place where Filipino netizens can thrive.

The Internet has definitely blossomed in the sixteens years since it first came here. Dr. Torres’ contribution opened up avenues by which science and technology could help improve other aspects of Philippine society such as economics, education and politics. The Internet provides an alternative market where products and transactions can be easily carried out between local sellers and customers from here and abroad. Education also greatly benefits as rich and dynamic content can now be easily accessed by students nationwide. The Internet has also enabled the country’s first automated elections to happen, which accounted for faster results from the polls. Being that it is still young, there is still a lot of potential for enacting change in the country by making use of bits and bytes traveling through wires, cables and laptops. The breadth of information, as well as the ease and speed at which it can be accessed are the main advantages that the Internet offers. As long as we are open to innovation and efficiently handling all the information at our fingertips, then the relationship between our country and the Internet should be just fine.

Sources:

Gonzales, Carlos, et. al. "The Internet's 10 Most Influential Filipinos: William Torres." WIRED! Philippines. 1999. 19 Nov. 2010. .

Pabico, Alecks. "William Torres." i Report. 2006. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. 19 Nov. 2010. >.

Torral, Janette. "Dr. William Torres - Father of the Philippine Internet." [Weblog entry.] Philippine Internet Review. 5 Jan. 2007. (http://philippineinternetreview.blogspot.com/2007/01/dr-william-torres-and-philippine.html). 19 Nov. 2010.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Immersion (A Post in 3 Parts): Part 3

Day 3

For our last day, we were still required to wake up early for a processing session with our formator at Mang Boy's house. Basically, we just shared the experiences we've had over the past two days, as well as some insights we've gained. Afterwards, we were invited to ride the kalabaw at the house of one of us. Unfortunately, me and Aileen had to go ahead home to help with cooking lunch and other chores.
Our last lunch at Nanay Rosana's house was the most delicious. We had fried fish, the sinigang from last night, tortang talong and fresh buko juice. We chatted for a while and then we all watched the movie adaptation of "Magandang Tanghali Bayan." I found it to be the funniest Pinoy film I've ever seen. We never finished it as we had to go to Mang Boy's house (as usual) to convene for the last time. Before that, we had some last minute photo ops...
...and then it was goodbye. At his house, Mang Boy and his fellow farmers (who were foster parents to some of us) said their last words. I was really sad at having to go so early...I felt there was so much more to experience and learn. Nevertheless, we all walked to the highway (where we were to wait for the bus home) with a heavy heart and a mind full of memories.
On the bus home, I sat next to some stranger, so I wasn't able to talk to anybody. Instead, I looked out the window and pondered about the past two days. I definitely felt lucky at having had a privileged life, that I didn't have to work hard for necessities such as food, shelter and tuition. However, I also felt a certain jealousy for the simple, peaceful life they lead..very close to nature which provided them with food, livelihood and shelter. But I am lucky to have had that experience, as it showed me another side of Filipino life: the farming life. It was hard because of the many economic and political issues they face everyday. However, I would like to believe that the farmers are partly rewarded for their hardwork with the distinction of being stewards of the dying Philippine agriculture industry. Having come out of the experience a definitely changed person, I hope to one day use my skills and talents in helping these people who have joyfully welcomed me into their homes and generously shared their food and shelter. I genuinely hope to one day do the same for them and more.
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And this concludes my rather lengthy posts on my immersion trip. I am really grateful to have had this experience, and I wish we had spent more than 3 days there. I am also glad to have met all those wonderful people who have touched a part of my life. A really big THANK YOU to all of them. :'D
ciao!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Immersion (A Post in 3 Parts): Part 2

Day 2 (Wee hours of morning)

This part of day 2 deserves some attention for something very unusual to me happened. For some reason, I woke up at around 1 in the morning. To check the time, I felt for my cellphone which I put in the bed, to the right of my head. Oddly enough, instead of my phone, I felt something hard. I thought it was my partner's face, but I remembered that she was sleeping to the right of me. I sat up and saw, in the darkness, that there was a cat sleeping there! Right in front of my face. I know I was overreacting, but I was a bit shocked and traumatised as I wasn't too keen on animals, especially cats. I can tolerate them around me, but not when they touch me. I got my phone, and flashed the backlight at the cat, hoping it would get out (the walls of our room weren't connected to the ceiling, so it could easily climb the cabinets and get out), but it would not. I opened the lights and the door, but my partner woke up and asked that I turn off the lights (she immediately went back to sleep so I couldn't ask for help). I sat at the foot of the bed, waiting to see if the cat would jump on the bed. It did for two more times, at which point I was really terrified of going to sleep for fear of it sleeping next to me (or worse, peeing on me or scratching me!). I was awake for another hour when I saw that it was not gonna jump anymore. Still, I slept curled at the foot of the bed.
Note: Apparently, the cat was used to sleeping at the bed since the bed's original owner, Ann, was the cat's prime owner. Ann loved animals, as she also took care of their two dogs and the five (or four?) puppies. Actually, most of the residents in the barangay loved animals; almost every house I saw had a pet dog or cat.
This concludes my day 2 morning adventure, now on to the regular day 2.

Day 2

On Saturday, we woke up at 5:00 in the morning, in order to make it to our 6:30 am call time. We were finally gonna plant and farm today! Nanay Rosana prepared a pretty big breakfast for us, knowing that we were gonna do hardwork today. All of us were to meet at Mang Boy's house so we could all walk towards the field where we were gonna plant.
We were given a 1/10th hectare of land to plant on. At first glance, it looked small and manageable for all 18 of us (plus some local farmers who volunteered to help us), however, we found out thereafter that it was a very long and tedious task. All of us stood on the pilapil, anxiously debating whether to plunge in right away in the mud. The planting was full of large snails (whose broken shells could cut through your foot), and me being the very maselan girl that I am, I was very afraid to step in. Only after a few of my groupmates went did I follow.
The mud was very cold and mushy. It felt as if I were stepping on chocolate pudding. Still, it was like having a free foot spa, although it was hard to keep your balance when your feet sinks in the ground with every step. Since we weren't given any instructions as to how to go about, the kuyas and manongs were glad to assist us as we started. We were to take a bundle of rice seedlings (punla), and then plant 3 or 4 of them. Ideally, I wanted to do area with 3 straight columns to the other side, but before long, they became wavy lines. Still, I was proud that I was one of the faster workers.
We were able to completely plant on our field. It was rewarding to see our previously empty lot full of planted seedlings, that hopefully, could one day grow into palay. The heavy feeling bought about by sweat and dirt clinging to our bodies was trumped by the feeling of accomplishment we had going back home (Interjection: I actually got lost on the way home. Aileen went ahead since I stayed behind with my groupmates for some photo ops. For some reason, I missed the narrow pathway to my house since it was hidden by trees. My only clue was the number of dogs we had. One house I thought for sure was the one turned out to have three white dogs. We only had two dogs, one white and one black/brown. Thank god for those forsaken pets I guess.)
Back home, me and Aileen helped with laundry and lunch. For some reason, I had forgotten being tired from the farming we did. After the chores, I still didn't feel tired. I don't why.
After lunch, I met with my groupmates so that we could practice for our presentation later at community night. We did a musical skit entitled "My Romantic Immersion." Basically, we were going to reenact our immersion trip and incorporate a love story within. The romantic angle involved a guy and girl falling in love during immersion. However, when the girl dies (due to falling out of a window after being harana'ed), the guy then falls for his best friend. WHO IS A GUY. Yup, this was a tragicomedy all right. The comedy parts being expertly supplied by my groupmate's impersonation of our long haired and half-Korean formator, as well as by our planting choreography to the tune of Lady Gaga's "Telephone."
Before the community night, all of us had a group session with some of the people from AMTG, who gave us a national situationer on farming. It was a certainly eye-opening talk, as we became aware of the many issues certainly not reported by mainstream media. For one, my full-fledged support for CARPER has now become conditional, as I found out that it didn't fully benefit farmers. We also learned some math, as we were told of how many spoonfuls of rice was equivalent to how many grains of rice.
After the talk, we were given a full tour of the barangay, and we went to the road which was constructed by pouring concrete on 20 hectares of cultivated land. That was probably the biggest injustice that was done to the farmers. That 20 hectares of land could have put a lot of meals on their tables and a lot of means to pay their children's tuitions. However, the capitalists have again trampled on the rights of the weak and asserted their "superior" selves.
The tour certainly took its toll on my legs, for once we were back home, my thighs started to ache. We ate a hasty supper and then went back to Mang Boy's house for the night's gathering.
Community night was a blast! Our presentation was a hit, as well as the other group's dance number. I also enjoyed the "Hep Hep Hooray" game for the kids, especially when one of us impersonated Pokwang. The Pinoy Henyo game was also fun, especially when one of the pairs were teased as being bagay. Another fun moment was when the keyword was "santol" and the guesser still couldn't figure it out even if there was a santol tree right above us. It was really one fun night. :)

PS: Sorry for the grammar and typo errors. I was on a writing frenzy when I wrote all this. :)

to be continued...
ciao!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Immersion (A Post in 3 Parts): Part 1

Hi my lovelies! For one I'm in a much better mood today, much better compared to what I was feeling when I wrote my last post. Anyway, I'm treating you guys to a nice long post (three parts in fact) of my immersion trip, because it was really that memorable. I was gonna post this last July 12, the day immediately after I came back from immersion, but as usual, school came in the way. So here now is my recount of the three of the most extraordinary days of my life.

A background explanation: The immersion is required for all college seniors. It a part of imbibing us with social awareness and responsibility, as well as bringing our Theo lessons in liberation theology (look it up, it's pretty eye-opening) close to home. I wish not just Ateneans experienced this. I'm quite sure a lot more people have a need for this kind of experience.
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Day 1

THe night before July 9, I slept at around 11:00 pm. I was going to sleep earlier but I still had to pack my bags. I woke up at 3:30 am to make it the bus station at around 5:30 am. I arrived at 5.
My first time waiting in a public bus station was actually pretty eventless, I just watched people with lots of belongings come and go.The toilet with the brown water was really disgusting though.
On the bus going there, I sat down next to a girl who wasn't my Theo groupmate (btw, I'm the only girl in my Theo group) and we spent the whole time talking. She was my first new immersion friend.
The bus dropped us off two blocks away from our destination. As we walked, I could sense a change in scenery. The concrete building and houses immediate ly became wide fields and trees. The road was dustier and rockier the farther we walked.
The first house we stopped at was Mang Boy's place. He was the leader of the AMTG, a local farming union. He, his wife and their friends all welcomed us into their community. After some talk and introductions, we were to be paired up, with each pair assigned to a house.
Our house was one of the farther ones, with a narrow dirt road surrounded by fields leading up to it. The house of Nanay Rosana and her family was concrete actually bigger than my house, although it was unpainted. Still, I surmised that they were one of the more well-off families in the area. We arrived there to find no one home, save for their househelp Kuya Boyet and Nanay Rosana's brother-in-law Mama Aming (Mama is Kapampangan for "uncle"). Immediately, we were asked to help in drying out the palay (unmilled rice), since they had gotten wet by the rain the day before. Two long strips of tarpaulin were laid out on the ground and we had to spread two sacks of palay all over. I was surprised that we could step on them even with our shoes on (Later, I saw that a tricycle actually passed over it. Turns out it doesn't matter whether the outer covering gets dirty, it's not gonna be eaten anyway - although I worry about some of the unmilled rice that gets included.)
Anyway, after working, we rested in a small hut outside the house, while Kuya Boyet went to get some water. I was glad to finally get to drink something cold, however, I had to take only a sip to find out that the water had a very metallic taste. It came out of a water pump, directly from underground. Although it was clean, I just couldn't stomach the taste. Good thing I bought some of my own.
We got to talking with Kuya Boyet. Turns out, Nanay Rosana sold some snacks outside of a public school and would not be back until 5 in the afternoon. It was only just 9 in the morning, so we had some 8 hours to kill. Kuya Boyet told us some things about their life, like how the family used to own a fishpond right outside of the house. But due to hot weather, many of the fish died, and they eventually had to empty out the pond (This sucked because I've always wanted to try fishing.). He also told us how farming wasn't a very lucrative livelihood, since millers buy the palay at very low prices to sell the rice themselves for a very high profit.
As we talked some more (We also found out that Kuya Boyet was from Mindanao, and that he worked for the family by recommendation of a relative in the area. Sometimes, he would go to Manila to work as an insurance agent for police officers), we suddenly saw Mama Aming come toward us with some hopia and a bottle of RC Cola. Kuya Boyet told us that it was hard to talk to Mama Aming because he was hard of hearing and that he could understand very few Tagalog. Nevertheless, we found him to be a very nice old man (albeit a rather eccentric one - he liked to just walk around the house and stop at odd intervals to state into space. We found out later that he was born with a mental defect, and late detection meant that he wasn't fully cured. He has always been in the care of Nanay Rosana's family).
A couple of hours later, Nanay Rosana's second oldest child came home from arranging some documents in the city.
Ate Rocelle had just graduated from nursing school and was just waiting for the bar exam results. She wanted to find a job to support her family in the meantime. She told us how life was not very easy in their place, that you really had to work hard to make it through. Still, she wouldn't exchange her life in the province for one in the city, noting that the quiet, simple life was the one she preferred. She was very nice to us, although a bit shy. She offered us some santol, and mymy, it was my first time to eat santol and it was really good. Kind of like an oversized lanzones. Anyway, she left us alone for awhile while she cooked dinner. Me and my partner Aileen decided to wander the area for awhile.
The barangay of Sta. Cruz was rather big, but the community was very close-knit and open to people. It was easy to say hi and walk up to people without looking at you like strangers. We played with some children and met some locals. We tried visiting the homes of our other companions, but they were nowhere to be found.
Back at the house, Nanay Rosana and her youngest child, Ann, eventually came home. For some reason, Nanay Rosana reminded me so much of my own mother. They were both on the plus side (hehe), both owned their own small businesses to get the family by and both were very motherly. Nanay Rosana had four children, the oldest was in Manila, the next was Ate Rocelle, the next was in college and the youngest was Ann, who was in her first year of high school. Her husband was in Iraq, working as a handyman. Another thing that Nanay Rosana reminded me of my mother was how they both liked to chat and talk, in a very cheeky manner.
Nanay Rosana told us how their life is not always very comfortable. The money she and her husband earns was only enough to support their basic necessities. The rest they had to borrow from friends and lenders. Still, according to her, they never lose hope, as long as she has her children and their education to rely on. For her, a good education is really the best tool for getting success out of life.
For dinner, we had sinigang sa santol, another new introduction to my tastebuds. It was very good, with the santol adding the right amount of sweet and sour to the dish. After dinner and washing up (not very easy. Washing dishes is another level harder when you had to pump for the water. I definitely felt some muscles start to form in my arms.) We then slept right after for we had an early day tomorrow.

to be continued..
ciao!

Monday, July 19, 2010

At A Low Point

(This isn't an emo blogpost. Please. I just need an outlet to express myself right now.)
I'm just really tired right now. Not just physically tired, but also mentally and emotionally tired. I'm sooooo tired to the point that I want something bad to happen to me just so I could have a good excuse to spend time in a hospital or at home and just rest and think about everything. These past days, I've woken up with a heavy heart, anxious and not at all ready to face what the day has in store for me. I feel ready to burst at all these bottled up emotions because I can't share them with anybody -not with my parents nor to my sister (although she's the closest person in the world to me). I miss being bored and carefree soooo much that I am tempted to give up all the responsibilities I've taken.
Although I put up this happy and cheerful facade, deep inside I feel heavy and I'm cursing everything that's wrong with me and the world. Yep, I'm pretty sure the causes for all these are not just personal, but they definitely exist outside of me as well.
I don't really know what to do now. I wanna break and punch stuff, but I'm sure the release will just be temporary. God, I really wanna get through this right now because I'm gonna crash and burn pretty soon if I don't.

Shit, I really wanna curse somebody right now. *sigh*


ciao.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Those Music Shuffle Games

Hello! So I'm the office right now. I'm currently not doing work-related stuff since my teammate is debugging our program and I'm just waiting for him to find out some bug from the part of code I wrote. Instead, I've been doing the review of related literature for my thesis project. And right now I'm taking a break from that because I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around linear discriminants and vector spaces and face subspaces (we're doing a project on face recognition). I need a couple of hours before I go back to torturing my brain again. In the meantime, I'm gonna answer those music shuffle games that currently pop up on Facebook. I got the following from this site.

Anyway, basic instructions: Put your music player on shuffle and each succeeding song is the answer to each succeeding question. Got that? M'kay, let's start.
1. Which song describes the mood you are in right now?
-The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You -MCR --I wish I had a jetset life.
2. Which song describes the mood you are usually in?
-Shots -LMFAO
3. Which song describes one of your favorites things to do?
-Rock That Body -Black Eyed Peas --uh uh
4.Which song describes something else you like to do?
-Iris -Goo goo Dolls
5. Which song explains the way you think about love?
-Go All The Way (Into The Twilight) -Perry Farrell --I don't think Twilight is a good source for love advice.
6. What would you sing to your soulmate right now?
-Gegen Meinen Willen -Tokio Hotel --Apparently, this means "Against My Will." Hm.
7. Which song best represents you?
-Can I Have This Dance -from HSM
8. Which song describes your sexual preference?
She's A Handsome Woman -Panic At The Disco --I wonder what this means?
9. Which song describes what would occur between you and a prostitute/manwhore?
-The World Will Never Do -Cobra Starship
10. Your lover on the side?
-Possibility -Lykke Li
11. How about your wife or husband?
-Full Moon -The Black Ghosts --Good god, another Twilight song.
12. Which song would be played at your wedding?
-For Now -from Avenue Q --Nice song.
13. Which song would be played at your wedding reception?
-Top of the World -AAR --Nice song again.
14. Which song describes yourself in the future?
-The [Shipped] Gold Standard -FOB
15. Which song describes yourself in the past?
-Finale -Dirty Rotten Scoundrels --Hmmm...
16. Which song would be appropriate for a one night stand?
-We Rock -Camp Rock --ha!
17. Which song would best describe your first time kissing?
-Dr. West -Eminem --Maybe my first kiss is someone who's a doctor or whose last name is West?
18. Which song would best describe your first time having sex?
-Bleeding Love -Leona Lewis
19. Which song would best describe your fashion sense?
-Somebody To Love -Queen
20. Which song would describe your taste in the opposite or same sex?
-Just So You Know -Jesse McCartney --Maybe I'll be in love with my best friend's boyfriend?
21. Which song best describes your parents?
-The Bass -Sander Van Doom --Haha..Their voice sounds like bass to my ears.
22. Which song best describes your family in general?
-Ride It -Jay Sean
23. Which song best describes your friends?
-Waking Up in Vegas -Katy Perry
24. Which song best describes your school?
-All By Myself -Celine Dion --Rather accurate, I'm kind of a loner at school.
25. Which song best describes your public personality?
-Now Generation -BEP
26. Which song best describes your private personality?
-I'm Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You -from Jennifer's Body OST --Err.

So there you have a sampling of my half-OK, half-crappy taste in music. Haha..expect articles like this in the future when I have no idea what to write here.
ciao!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sullen

Reading: A bunch of blogs. Now I'm an intern, I spend most of my time in front of a computer. I miss reading actual books. :'(
Listening to: Kids - MGMT

Hey! As stated above, I'm into the fourth week of my internship. Eveything's great actually...we're working on an important project for the company and I'm working with 3 great guys. And I'm also enjoying my 3-month stint at the gym. I'm loving my hiphop and cardio dance classes.
However, even though everything sounds peachy keen, I can't help feeling sullen most days. I don't why, but it seems like I tend to focus more on the negative aspects of my life right now instead of the good ones. I feel inadequate and inept to live my life to the fullest. I also feel as if I'm alone and that no one can understand my problems but me. Call me emo, but I'm pretty sure I have more things to be emotional about than those people who dye their hair black or wear eyeliner all the item. *sigh*
I hope I really get through this period, no matter how long it lasts. I'm trying to pull strength from wherever it may come. I hope I see better days ahead.
ciao.