Funny names

Because there are millions of us in the country, it's hard to imagine there are people with really weird names. Aside from those who have a zealous fascination for the letter h (Bhoy, Nheneng, Indhay), there are people who carry surnames that will make you go Did I hear that right? before you explode in laughter.

Junk food
In my high school, a teacher was checking attendance one day, calling each person first by surname followed by the given name:

Bastareche, Peewee.

Now that sounds like junkfood.

The good friend
Juicy true story from Ate Meann:

A lady just gave birth to a boy. Exhausted after delivery, she asked her friend to go to the City Hall to register the name of the newborn baby. The mother must have ruminated on that name for years. When the friend eventually got to the Hall, she totally forgot the name. The problem was, she couldn't go back, and during that time, cellphones weren't common yet. So, the friend thought of a glorious, decent name that the baby would use for years: Reboluto.


In my high school, a girl queued up to pay for her tuition. When it was her turn, the clerk asked, "Ano'ng apelyido mo?"

"Apelyido po."

"Hoy, huwag mo akong lokohin. Ano nga ang apelyido mo?"

"Apelyido nga po."

The clerk was about to explode until she learned that the girl was telling the truth.

What?
In Paete, Laguna, a barangay chairman is named Hermie Bagongahasa (newly raped).


After the elections

I give God the glory for my nomination as the Academics Committee Head of the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Society (UP MBBS). Thinking of it--and the fact that I managed to scrape a lot of votes--overwhelms me.

From experience, the AcadCom is a tough committee to handle. This is the first time I'm doing this sort of thing in college, and I sometimes don't know what to expect. However, I've proposed a number of projects for the academic year, some of them rather ambitious, and I hope the committee approves of them.

But I trust that the Lord see me through this. My prayer is that I may be able to exemplify godly leadership. May I not be proud, may I always be quick to listen, be humble to accept reproof, be open to suggestions.

I'm thankful that I'm working with a strong team. Dianne Deauna is the elected president who has a grand vision for MBBS this year. I can't think of any person to occupy that position but her. Her enthusiasm and devotion for the org is infectious, and I wish I love the org as much as she does. I know that with her being at the helm, MBBS will go places.

Other elected officers are: Hazel Baconga (Vice President), Pat Tiburcio (Secretary), Kino Aquino (Treasurer), Arielle Sulit (Auditor), Wegs Pedroso (Head, Committee on Internal Affairs), Monchi Goce (Head, Alumni Committee), and Adrian Bejarin (Head, Projects Committee).

What do you do when someone collapses in front of you?

She was drenched in sweat--the girl who collapsed in front of me this afternoon.

It happened in front of Ipil while I was taking some time by myself. Out of nowhere, a girl dressed in a thick, red jacket, jeans and slippers, came to the bench where I was. She begged me for help. "Kuya, tulungan niyo po ako. Mahihimatay na po ako. Madilim na po ang paningin ko." Her voice was pained, and she looked terrible: her hair in a state of chaos, her hands twitching, her knees about to give up. Moments later, she was splattered all over the place.

I asked for her name. Thank God she was still reponsive!

"Katrina," she said.

"Okay, dito ka lang, I'll go call for help." I looked around. There wasn't a soul in sight. I was hoping a taxi would pass by so I could take her to the Infirmary myself. But there was none, so I came back to her and asked her where she was before she collapsed.

"May mga kilala po ako doon sa may Sundial [in the College of Engineering]. Mga groupmates ko po. Nag-field work kami," she said.

I ran to the place she where she pointed me to go and saw three people with measuring devices. "May kilala ba kayong Katrina?" I asked them. They said yes. "Hinimatay siya. Kailangan siyang dalhin sa Infirmary. Bilisan niyo."

Imagine the sheer drama of the moment, which felt like it was a scene shot for a movie.

During all the commotion, I was praying for her. When she came to me, a part of me wanted to leave her alone. But I thought that Jesus would never do that. He would go the extra mile to help others, and that's what He tells us to do: to love others as ourselves.

The problem was that I clearly didn't have the muscles to carry her all the way to the clinic, even if I had a liter of adrenalin in my bloodstream.Clearly it was God who intervened to help her.

What a wonderful way of spending a lazy afternoon on Good Friday.

Silence

Where have all the people gone?

There's hardly a soul walking around campus these days, save for weary dormers dreaming of their homes two thousand miles away.

The silence is almost deafening.



UP SOCCSKSARGEN

I spent the day with friends from UP SOCCSKSARGEN for the sem planning. This morning, though, we had a little emergency. Katrina had an allergic attack probably because of an insect bite. She had rashes all over, so we rushed her to the Infirmary. Praise be to God because she got well immediately after taking the meds. We resumed the planning as soon as she got out that afternoon. A tough cookie...that girl.



I'd like to spend half the day tomorrow in a mini-retreat. May the Spirit quicken my heart in reading His Word. May I be reminded of the sufferings of Christ, my utter sinfulness, and God's amazing love.

Drawn on a paper torn from Manong's expensive notebook

stunned!

What expression do you see?

I'm going to analyze your responses and tell you specifically what kind of person you are. (I'm kidding of course; I'd rather that you see my friend Razel who makes you answer these nice tests and classify you as melancholic, phlegmatic, choleric, or sanguine.)

Anyway, I had purest the intention of drawing a stunned face. You see, I feel really stunned these days, with all the org + academic pressures and the need to get some decent sleep in between.

But on hindsight, the man above looks like he's just eaten a dozen slices of pizza with eight glasses of supersized Coke. Not even close to stunned.

What's his name?, you ask.

I haven't really thought about that, but does Constipated sound good to ya?

Atonement

Atonement, I realize, is my kind of a movie: no silly plots, no unnecessary dialogue, no hint of corni-ness. I'm not going to divulge all the details; it's for you to find out. But really, if you haven't watched it yet, then I suggest you do.

There's this one scene that defined the movie for me: one sultry summer day in 1935, Briony Tallis hurriedly finishes her play, something she wants to present to a dinner party that her upper-class British family is preparing for.

The scene is a vague picture of my early childhood. I would grab a pen and paper, write anything that popped into my head--a poem, a letter, a sketch--and pretend that people were going to read it. Most of it was incomprehensible, I realized much, much later, but the practice kept me busy during the long afternoons when I wasn't allowed to get out because I had to take a nap. But I didn't sleep but wrote those things instead--one of the reasons, I guess, why I didn't grow any taller.

Cheating in Econ?

If not for my rooommate who happens to be an Economics major, I wouldn't have known about the situation that's about to explode big time and turn the School of Economics (SE) into a huge mess.

I'm talking about the scandal involving some Economics majors who have recently been accused of cheating. These students belong, as you may put it, to the higher level of the student food chain. They have high grades to boot. They're expecting to graduate with summa, magna, or cum laude laurels on their heads. They're also doing well in their extra-curriculars, holding prestigious offices in established orgs in UP.

The question that must be answered now is this: did they cheat?

In an angry, passionate open letter to President Roman, Chancellor Cao, and Dean De Dios of SE, Bernadette Lopez, apparently one of the accused, writes:

"I have devoted my life to the pursuit of academic excellence and purposeful leadership. I compete with no one but myself. I have thus achieved to be a Summa Cum Laude candidate, a Features Editor of our college organ, a Vice-President of the UP Junior Marketing Association, and winner in various national competitions."

To prove this, the blog entry also lists her long list of achievements and grades.

She concludes:

"I did not cheat to get high grades. I have not cheated my way through college. All that I am and all that I have right now are the product of hard work and sheer dedication. Any logical person would agree that it is much, much easier to study for four years than to cheat for four years. My professors, past and present, and the people who really know me can vouch for my performance. Thus, I call for justice and due process. I call for the stop of trial by publicity and biased judgments. I call for the University’s commitment to merit and excellence in its proceedings."

Clearly, what she deserves is a fair, thorough investigation. Question the witnesses against her. Evaluate their accounts; see if they hold water. Before judging her any further, solid proof must be sought. Trial by publicity is no trial at all. People tend to rely on hearsay rather than concrete, tangible evidence.

I will not go so far as choosing which side I'll be on. I'm not in the position to do that. But I'm deeply saddened that something like this came up in the first place.

What we're faced with is a situation that can make or break lives, even restore or destroy reputations. But the issue also echoes a reverberating call: to stand on the side of credibility, fairness, and truth.

Of solid, unwavering truth that shall always prevail, no matter what we do to hide or twist it.

Writing

What could be more exhausting than a three-day climb to Mount Everest?

Writing a term paper. In Filipino.

This part's hyperbole, but you get my point.

My four years in Metro Manila, where virtually everyone speaks Tagalog, didn't seem to help. I'm still as bad a Filipino writer as I was when I got zero in my Grade 1 quiz on katinig at patinig. Now it takes me 24 years to write a single sentence. What I have so far reads like a paper written by a grade schooler. My sentences run wild.

In the likes of, "May dahon sa likod ng aming bakuran."

Now where's that good ol' English-Filipino dictionary when I need it most?

Water baptism

By the grace of God, I underwent water baptism today. Baptism is a church ordinance where a believer publicly identifies with the life and death of Christ and signifies his desire to obey and worship Him. It was a joyful occasion.

This is the three-minute testimony I gave during the occasion. There were 19 of us who were baptized, and each testimony I heard proclaimed God's love, mercy, and grace to undeserving sinners. To GOD alone be all glory, honor, and praise!



Mine is a story of the little Sunday school boy born into a good Christian home. I heard the gospel at a very young age, but came to truly understand it much, much later.

You could say I was a very good boy. I prayed. I went to church. Plus, I did extremely well in class. Externally I was also very moral. I never cursed, hardly violated any school rule, and I was kind, thoughtful, and polite.

Internally, however, I was corrupted. I was reeking with pride, contempt, lust, and hypocrisy. Although I knew practically all the Bible stories that were taught in church and could even conveniently recite them from memory, I had no grasp of the gospel. Although I knew Jesus—the parables He taught, the messages He preached, the promises He gave, the miracles He performed—I really did not know Him on a personal basis. Although I could argue against the false beliefs of other religions, I could not dispute with the wrong beliefs I harbored in my heart. I was, as Paul puts it in Ephesians 2:1–3, dead in trespasses and sins…carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and was by nature a child of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But Christ drew me to Himself.

I could not pinpoint exactly when I actually received Christ as my Lord and Savior; it was probably in my fourth year in high school.

By the grace of God, I came to truly understand who God is. I also realized that man in sinful—by nature and by choice. The just punishment of sin is eternal death in hell. But the good news is that God, by His mercy and grace (and not by any good thing in us or that we have done), provided the means to save us from this death and bring us to Himself. That means is Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, who freely chose to die for sinners like us and be the propitiation for our sins. Christ’s offer of salvation is free and undeserved, and can only be received by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

From a purely human perspective, my conversion was nothing spectacular. And yet, I think it is one of the greatest miracles God has performed. I, a sinner, was radically changed. I became alive in Christ. I found a burning passion and love for God. The things I learned about God in my childhood suddenly became precious truths I held on to. Sunday worship services became the pivotal point of my week. Meditation on God’s word became the most exciting part of my day. Praying became the sweetest chore.

It is with joy incomparable that I say, with Paul (Galatians 2:20), “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me, and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Why Titus Tan

I'd like to believe I'm apolitical. Unless it's very pressing, I'd rather not talk about politics because, when that happens, the conversation will only lead to some form of disagreement. There's your side, my side, and the truth.

The on-going campaign for the University Student Council (USC) posts has proven very exciting. As opposed to the past fews years I've been in UP, there are no bigwigs this year, no larger-than-life personalities. This year we're witnessing a battle of general programs of action, project proposals, and policies. Which should always be the case. The question isn't who gets the post, but what he will do when he/she gets it.

That's why I'm hesitant to endorse any particular candidate. The voter's focus must be the program. But, I realize, personality does matter, for the proposed projects can only be as good as the persons who implement them.

It's not a secret that I'm campaigning for Titus Tan of KAISA. Titus is running as vice chairperson. True, he's a friend; he's a seatmate in a lot of my major subjects. But my endorsement just doesn't spring from the fact that I've known him for quite a while.

I can tell you that Titus is a good leader. He did well as chairperson of the College of Science Student Council (CSSC). The students felt that there was something good going on. Finally the Council was at work. In a sense, under Titus's leadership, CSSC's role in the studentry was redefined and broadened.

Titus is a hardworker. He sacrifices his time (which should otherwise be spent writing his lab reports) for the Council. He is dedicated. He is honest, humble, and never self-serving.

But you could always say the other candidates are like that. They probably have better grades or speak more eloquently. They probably do. But can you blame me?

I think I know Titus well enough to say that he's far better than what he claims to be. And he can do so much more.