Existential Breakthrough Part II

//Author’s Note: To make it more relatable to non-UP students and foreigners, jargons will be explained and tagalog words will be translated and written in italics//

If you are interested to read about my first Existential Breakthrough, see here. I had almost the exact same feeling. The feeling of having a mess of random memories spin webs around my head, and seeing it all form one concrete thought, as if it was my destiny to realize it after all this time.

Oct 28 2015.
– Kas 1 (history class)

We discussed the different changes and reforms that were happening in the 19th century Philippines, and how each one paved the way to the creation of the Ilustrados – a middle-class society of scholars who formed the Philippine revolution against the Spanish colonizers.

– UP ALYANSA GFO (an orientation on one of the political parties in campus)

After class, I went straight to UP ALYANSA’s GFO along with my coursemate. I listened to the alumni of UP ALYANSA talk about their real-life experiences in fighting the good fight, in their daily struggles of being seen as activists. One of them told us the story of how he sheepishly admitted to his parents that he was joining rallies and delving deep into the politics of his campus, and his parents’ reply was, “Baka pagkatapos nyan ay lumipat ka na sa bundok”. And everyone laughed.

– Manilakbayan’s Lumad Camp

Straight after this, I went to the Lumad camp with my dormmate. To know more about the Lumad camp, click here. I observed the camp, the amount of students, teachers and lumads mingling and walking around. I saw orgmates, classmates and a handful of acquaintances. I silently read the poems written about the Lumads’ suffering. I slowly walked around the museum they have set up, showing brief glimpses of their culture.

I met with Alay Sining, another cause-oriented organization, and I listened once again to them lay out their principles, this time to my dormmate. Then, I followed them to Kalayaan Residence Hall, a dorm for freshmen students, to give an educational discussion about the situation of the lumads. While I was there, I met with my coursemate, who was listening in to the discussion. When she saw me, she asked if I knew what the media was saying about the lumads’ situation.

Then, I returned back to my dorm, and opened, once again, the topic of the Lumads. My roommate told me that she went there, and she was able to talk to the cousin of one of the tribal leaders who were killed.

Then, I went to Twitter, and tweeted about the lumads. My high school batchmate messaged me, and asked me if I knew any more events regarding the Manilakbayan happening in the next few days. He said he was interested in meeting the Lumads, and talking to them, too.

Oct 29 2015.
– Soc Sci 3

Right after our class, our professor asked us if we wanted to follow her to the Lumad camp.

After classes, I went back to the camp with my dormmates. I wanted to talk to them, and know more about them. Unfortunately, it was late when we arrived, and most of them were already sleeping. As it was their last day on campus tomorrow, we promised to return tomorrow.

Oct 30 2015.

Our class was dismissed early, and I was with my coursemates. We decided to go to Area 2 (a place in campus with a whole street lined up with food stalls) and buy merienda (snacks). While we were there, the topic of the Lumads, once again, came up. Majority of them haven’t visited the camp, so we decided to drop by for a while before going our separate ways.

Existential Breakthrough #1

From my coursemates, dormmates, blockmates, roommates, orgmates, and high school batchmates, all the way to my teachers, acquaintances, and vaguely familiar Facebook friends, I experienced seeing all these familiar faces in one place, and experienced listening to all these people talk about one topic. All in a matter of three days.

This is the power of collective action. This is student empowerment. No matter what religion. No matter what political party you’re a part of. No matter your beliefs. No matter how long or how short your stay in UP. No matter if you’re a freshman, or a graduate. When a victim of abuse, oppression and injustice cries for help, it is inevitably in our nature as human beings to listen to them.

Talking with the Lumads…

We were able to talk to one of the Lumads’ tribal leaders, Datu Jimboy. I learned more about the culture of these indigenous people, about how differently they lived life, how they’ve been fighting to preserve this way of living, and how our country’s own military was threatening their culture, their community, their own people.

Lumads have this tradition wherein they offer food to whoever will walk upon their land, be it a friend, or an enemy. And that was exactly what they did when the NPA (New People’s Army) came. The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) were against the NPA, and so when they saw the offering, they immediately concluded that the Lumads were siding with them. They beated them up for it, despite the fact that Datu Jimboy’s tribe offered the AFP a whole pig as a peace offering on the first few days of their stay.

Lumads believe that people came from the earth, and that the land they walk upon is sacred. They have rituals and offerings, musical instruments with symbolic dances and a tradition that has only ever been passed down orally.

He encouraged us to use social media as a tool to spread awareness about their issue. His own words were, “Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyo, mga kabataan na nandito, at magagamit ninyo ang mga laptop para tulungan kami. (I am thankful for the youth who have visited us, for they are the ones who can use their laptops to help us)“. I did not expect this from him. I always thought, based on the western movies and stereotypes about tribal and traditional people, that since they do not use modern technology, they must be against it. But instead, they were all for it.

He even said that the Lumads are actually open to mining in their lands, so long as they don’t kill their people, so long as they stop burning their schools. So long as they are not taken for granted, abused, and beaten.

But if our president will not listen to their pleas, they will have no choice, he said, but to fight fire with fire. They are planning to use APEC as a way for other world leaders to see the true situation of our country, and of our people.

On a personal note…

If you have reached this point of this extremely long essay, I think it’s safe to assume that most of you care about me. To those who barely know me, let this be our little secret.

The effect of my academic life has started weighing me down. And combined with the unstable stirrings of my heart, and it shattering to pieces just weeks later, to say that the past few days have been emotional is an understatement.

But I am thankful for the weight of it all, for it was because of them that I knew how much I could carry. I am thankful for the professors who have broken my mind, and the boys who have broken my heart. It was because of them that I learned how to fix myself back again on my own.

Existential Breakthrough #2

I love – sometimes, admittedly, too much, too fast, too deeply. I daresay I have a heart big enough to love a whole nation. And at the end of this week, I realized, “so why shouldn’t I?”

I realized, once again, just how selfish I’ve been the past few months – thinking of nothing but that one boy. Or my next class. Or how well I’ve been doing in my acads. Or how long it has been since I’ve seen so and so. Always, always about me.

Visiting the Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas (National Museum of the Filipino People), watching a play – Mga Buhay na Apoy (The Living Fire?) – that talked about cultural preservation and listening to an indigenous people tribe leader, I started thinking on a macro level. And so, my love for my country has been discovered.

And as I am a pantheist, an admirer of nature and its old ways, knowing that the people of Palawan believed that people came from fire, and that the Lumads believed that people came from the earth, the diversity of my people made me fall for my country even more.

Why should just one boy merit from all this love I’ve kept in my heart? Love that is enough to fill a nation to the brim?

Kas 1 taught me that the problems that were faced by the people from the 19th century are still the same problems we are facing today – feudalism, colonial mentality, corruption, poverty, abuse… And it seems like there’s no end to our suffering.

Like it’s hopeless to even fight in the first place when you know you’re going to die losing.

And, yes, these problems in our nation may never die. We have had them long before we were even born, and we may have them even long after we are dead and gone. But guess what?

When these problems came up in the 19th century, we had the Ilustrados to fight for our freedom, and they are the reason why are here today.

Now, in our day, in our time, our country has me – a scholar who is willingly opening up her arms as sacrifice, a sign that I am freeing herself from the fear of judgement, a scholar who is embracing the joy of serving others.

And I hope our country will have you, too.

Existential Breakthrough Part II

Highlights of my February 2014

Movies/Shows I watched for the first time:

  • The Walking Dead – New Episodes (Feb 9-??)
    So The Walking Dead came back this Feb 9! I’ve been so nervous the whole month, waiting for a major character to get bit! Ugh, the suspense is slowly killing me. Thankfully, (or unfortunately, depending on how you see it), no one’s been hurt yet. 
  • William (Feb 7)
    A comical Tagalog play about William Shakespeare, and how his works affect our modern high school students. I enjoyed it 🙂
  • Robocop (Feb 8)
    This movie actually impressed me, and it intrigued me to watch the past Robocop film/s. Although this modern sci fi movie is sure to have more eye-popping effects, I’m interested in comparing the plot of the Robocop now and the Robocop before. I admit that the message behind the movie I’ve watched was clearly stated (and no doubt stayed in the minds of the more observant audiences), but I’d like to know if the movie this was adapted from was just as deep. The ratings in IMDb seems to show that the 1984 version was better.

Unforgettable Events:

  • Loki Month!!! I did a few metas, which can be found here.
  • Went to my First Film Festival Ever!! Won 6 awards out of 10, including Best Director and Best Film! Woot! 🙂 (Feb 21)
  • PROM! And Ragnarok! On the same day! Wore my Loki/Prom Dress! (Feb 22)
  • Called my crush and asked him out to Valentine’s (Feb 13)
  • School Food Bazaar! Sold Pizza Fries and a little bit of Funnel Cake and Cotton Candy. (Feb 28)

Books/Stories I read for the first time:

  • Thor: Trials of Loki by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
    Riza gave me a Marvel Comic Book as a birthday present. MY FIRST MARVEL COMIC EVER!! It includes vagye Norse Myth references, like the cutting of Sif’s hair, the sewing of Loki’s lips, etc.  (Feb 7)
  • War is Kind by vs_milton
    Someone in real life gifted me a thing for my birthday!! Rhia, our Writing Club Chief, wrote me a Loki/Sif angst fic for my birthday. Thank you, Rhia 🙂 
  • Do or Do Not series by andquitefrankly
    My most favorite fanfic series of the MONTH! Frostiron Highschool AU. Fully loaded with geek references. JUST EVERYWHERE. I recommend it to all of my friends, even those who aren’t shippers. It’s slow, it’s funny, and definitely enjoyable. It truly was an escape from reality from me. My own twisted paradise. I love it 🙂

People:

  • Red Anton (Feb 6)
    Well, this guy I liked 6 years ago started talking to me again in Facebook. We talked about college and other random stuff. It was good. 🙂 
  • I saw Rani in the flesh! (Feb 7)
    It was at Shakey’s, and the first thing we did was hug. Will never forget that 🙂 (Feb 7)
  • Aron’s girlfriend (Feb 7)
    I also met her at Starbucks during the same day! 
  • Arlo Gregorio (Feb 7)
    Also met him for the first time, also at Shakey’s (wow i had so many new friends!). He was frakking hilarious, and it turned out he was friends with my friend so it didn’t feel too awkward. 

Places:

  • Went to the Money Museum in the Central Bank of the Philippines: Honestly, I feel like our stay here was just absolutely too short. We only had about 30 minutes to look around. (Feb 7)

Other Miscellaneous Experiences:

  • Sang ‘No Words’ by The Script in front of the whole class.
  • Ate Razzles for the first time (Feb 12)
  • Family Day (Feb 14-15)
    Quite… uneventful. This is what happens when you dream too much. Just lazed around with friends. And waited… 
  • Mala-meet (Alaskan Malamute Meet) at BoniHigh (Feb 23)
  • Borrowed Arlo’s huge CD collection
  • Listened to the Beatles for the first time
Highlights of my February 2014

Highlights of my January 2014

So I wasn’t able to make a diary for every day of the month. That was when I decided to make THIS. A diary for the whole month! Just to cancel out the boring days and highlight the good ones. All in jumbled up random order.

Movies/Shows I watched for the first time:

  • Marley and Me (Jan 25) 
    I choked in my own tears watching the last part. It took me long enough to finally get my hands on a copy of this movie. After watching this, I watched 8 Below, which obviously is not a good idea if you’re a dog lover. Don’t try this at home, kids. Very dangerous. Dangerously depressing.
  • Game of Thrones (Jan 31-?) 
    I’ve only watched it until episode 4 of season 1. But I have loved the story so far. I’ve read halfway through the book last year, and I like how close the story of the show is to the book. My favorite, so far, has to be Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark. Such badass women. The Lannisters fckin piss me off, except Tyrion.
  • Ender’s Game (Jan 29) 
    Beautiful graphics and science fiction gadgets and stuff. But there’s a lack of character development. I feel that everything was just a tad bit rushed. Still, I love the plot twist at the end. It made the movie a bit better.
  • 47 Ronin (Jan 19)
    Amazing! Just such an amazing movie! Packed with the Japanese culture, fiction, and a legend to be remembered, always. 
  • August Rush (Jan 26) 
    It is a fact that you are not a musician, artist or a lover of both or either music or art if you haven’t watched this. It’s an amazing movie, with a moving story. Fully recommended to all artists of any form out there.
  • Sherlock Season 3
    Horrible series. Made me cry so much. 

Unforgettable Events: 

  • School Sports Fest
  • Camille’s Birthday! (Jan 13)
  • Dog Show (Jan 26)
  • Picnic at Nuvali with friends! (Jan 4)
  • La Salle’s Eco Car
  • Career Talk in school (Jan 29)

Books/Stories I read for the first time:

  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (Jan 26-27)
    I got a copy of this book from a dentist in our hospital. I finished it in two days. I was actually shocked at the fact that this was based on true story. I didn’t know until I read the whole thing! I guess that’s what made the whole thing more beautiful than it already is.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
    I got attracted to the story the moment I laid eyes on it in the library. I read the first few lines, and I immediately borrowed it. I loved the last line of this book. It delivered its message perfectly. I love the layers and layers of symbolism packed in one small story.  
  • in her garden grew hyacinths by LadyCharity (An angsty Thorki fanfic)
    This fanfic! Fully recced to all Thorki fans. This hurt so much.

People:

  • I met Rani! 
    I first noticed her in Facebook. She’s my friend’s friend. I saw my friend and a bunch of other students (including Rani) in their ‘creative shot’ outfits for their graduating picture. I noticed her because she was wearing a Thor costume. She went to school as Lady Thor. That, for me, was incredibly badass and awesome and I knew that I wanted to be her friend. I freaked out for a while and jumped around my bed smiling that night. I’m glad I met her. 

Other miscellaneous experiences:

  • Played volleyball with a classmate
    Such a minor thing to include, I know. But this was the first time I interacted with someone who wasn’t in my circle of friends. And I was doing sports. 

  • Practicum teacher was a friend of mine 😀 (Jan 23-24) 
    This practicum friend is Riza. She’s my first ever friend who is actually older than me, and she was our Computer teacher for a day. It was fun. 
  • Played Assassin’s Creed in PS4 for the first time! (Jan 11) 
    I’ve never played a game for such a long time, this day actually meant a lot to me. You can say my eyes were finally open to the world that I tried to shut down for years.
  • Made my own River Song Diary! (Jan 2-3) 
    This River Song Diary was my first ever ‘personal project’. I’m actually quite proud of how it turned out. 
  • Watched everyone else get ‘promposed’
    This is actually a big deal to me. It was the first time love in my generation was openly accepted in school. It didn’t matter that it didn’t happen to me. What mattered was that it happened. I love love. I love it when people share it. 

Ideas I had this month:

Highlights of my January 2014