Sunday, November 27, 2011

Division Math Competitions

I was at the Gubat North Central School (GNCS) to address the province's best math pupils for the Division Mathematics Competitions. In my address to the teachers and pupils, I remmebered three of my great Math teachers who can serve as exemplars to the teachers: 1) Ms Caridad Erestain, my grade three teacher, for her dedication, 2) Ms Carolina Escueta, my grade 5 and 6 math teacher, for her emphasis on rote learning, and 3) Ms. Monina Fajardo, my second year math teacher, for her emphasis on kindling the students' intellectual curiosity in solving math problems in everyday life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Job opening: Program and field officers

Starting January next year until 2013, the Municipality of Gubat and the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED) are partnering for a special project entitled Promoting Democratic Values in the Barangays of Gubat, Sorsogon. The project, which will include all 42 barangays of the municipality, is intended to 1) improve community conflict resolution mechanisms in the barangays (Barangay Rule of Law Seminar)and 2) promote community participation for the diagnosis of problems and strategies faced by the barangays (Participatory Budgeting).

To undertake this project, the PCCED is hiring a program offocer and two field officers. To apply, please see the official job opening announcement.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

They that have power to hurt, and will do none

To celebrate November's being the National Reading Month ( and because the Kabataan party-list is exhorting everyone to pose with his favorite book to revitalize reading as a social activity), I am posing below with one of my favorite books: Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom.

The book had a huge impact on me, perhaps because I read it when I was fairly young (fourth year high school). I think the books you read when you were young have a tendency of becoming the most influential on you. Long Walk to Freedom was the book that first gave me a glimpse of public life, how politics could consume the life of one man, and how involvement in politics could transform the lives of other people for the better.

Fifteen years after reading this book, what I remember now were the scenes of daily humiliation Mandela was subjected to: being stripped naked, being taunted by ignorant prison authorities who were his social inferiors, the humiliatingly meager food rations. And Mandela hated them all. I remember reading there was one remarkably painful time when he promised to himself that one prison guard would be "as poor as a church mouse after I'm through with him."

And yet when Mandela became president, when he now had the opportunity to exact vengeance on that guard, he did not. As I grew older and as I have come to observe the behavior of other people, I realize that a modicum of power and authority can greatly change a man's behavior and personality. There are also other people who have all the appearance of virtue simply because they were never in a position of power to be otherwise. In college, I came across a beautiful phrase from Shakespeare's Sonnet 94: They that have power to hurt, and will do none. Yes, Nelson Mandela was one of those rare men.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It taught me the virtue of patience and waiting, and the necessity of magnanimity in politics. I consider this book one of my reading life's treasures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Training of day care workers

Earlier this morning, I was in Sto. Domingo, Albay, for the training/induction program of our Gubat Day Care Workers facilitated by the National Early Childhood Care and Development Council. This activity is in preparation for our building a childhood care and development center at the Aguinaldo Elementary School, which is intended to, among others, upgrade the skills of our day care workers. The municipality is partnering with the Council to improve early childhood education in the municipality.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Job opening: early childhood education teacher

The National Early Childhood Care and Development Coordinating Council is hiring a teacher to handle early childhood education in a center we will be building at the Aguinaldo Elem School. If you are an elem education grad, has been ranked by DepEd, bring you personal data sheet and come to the municipality 6 AM this Wednesday. There's a free jeep you can take going to Legaspi for the job interview.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

In celebration of November, which was declared by the Department of Education as the National Reading Month, we are going to screen the film Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress on Saturday, November 26, 7 PM, at the Encinas Pavilion.

Set during the Cultural Revolution in China, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a coming-of-age story of two teenagers from bourgeois families who were sent by the Communist government to the countryside to be re-educated by the rural villagers. Staying in the mountain village, they fell in love with one girl and, along the way, discovered the illicit pleasure of reading Western literature forbidden by the government.

Balzac had me at its first scene where to escape the destruction of a prized violin and hide their attachment to Western bourgeois music, the two teenagers misrepresented Mozart's Divertimento, K 334 as being entitled Mozart Thinking of Chairman Mao. After which, the village chief, knowing no better, pompously proclaimed that indeed Mozart is always thinking of Chairman Mao. Hilariously funny.

This is one of my all-time favorite films.It has gorgeous landscape, a wonderful story, a political subplot and a heartbreaking ending. I think anybody who loves reading literature will fall in love with this film.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clash of the Titans

When I was a Grade six pupil (or perhaps It was during the fifth grade, I don't exactly remember now), we had lessons about the different parts of the universe: the planets (named after the Roman Gods), the galaxies and, of course, the many constellations with strange names like Hercules, Pegasus, Andromeda and Perseus. It was also by this time that I came across Edith Hamiton's Mythology, although I do not remember how I got hold of that book. Books were so scarce then when I was growing up and no teacher encouraged reading, so I think it must be a copy a classmate must have lent me.

I remember I really loved that book. It had so many wonderful, magical stories about heroes conquering powerful enemies, gods scheming against each other and, of course, love unrequited. When I was a boy, I had a taste for fantasy stories. My favorite komiks were Kuwento and Pinoy Komiks, and every week starting from Grade 2, I would go to the Enaje komiks joint in Balud to read all the komiks there for only ten centavos each. Whenever I walked home from school, I would always pass by the big tree in front of the church and take a peek at the hole on its trunk. And I believed if I religiously look hard enough, a duwende might judge me worthy of friendship, and show himself to me and give me untold riches which I could bring to my parents (I guess I was materialistic as a kid, probably the reason why no duwende bothered with me).

Anyway, for a year or so sometime around grade six, I was mythology-crazy. One day, I would imagine myself Zeus hurling thunderbolts against my classmates. The next day, I would be daydreaming of travelling away riding Pegasus. Sometimes I would like to be just bad and conquer Olympus and take all the gods as my prisoners. It was also during this time that I, together with some friends, began hunting for betamax tapes on mythology. And it was at Chia's video store that I got The Clash of the Titans, about Perseus, his love Andromeda, the flying Pegasus and the deadly Medusa.

I will be watching The Clash of the Titans again at Encinas Pavilion, 7 PM, this Saturday November 19. It is a classic fantasy film I am sure every kid will enjoy, and yes, it is much, much better than its recent remake, which you probably might have seen recently on HBO. You can read more about the film here on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Photo contest


Manila, 25 October 2011 – Dun & Bradstreet Philippines (D&B) is inviting all amateur and professional photographers residing in the Philippines to showcase their talent by submitting entries to the Dun & Bradstreet Photo Challenge. Entries may be entered under any of the following categories: Philippine Skyline, Famous Landmarks and Places in the Philippines, The Global Filipino Businessperson in Action, SMEs: The Backbone of the Philippine Economy, The Power of Information, BPOs as a major driving force in economy growth. Multiple entries per contestant are allowed.

Those interested to join may view the complete mechanics and submit their entries by visiting the Dun & Bradstreet Photo Challenge website at The contest runs from October 20 to November 20, 2011. Contest winners will become proud new owners of Canon digital cameras.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Upcoming TESDA training at the municipality

Below are the upcoming trainings to be undertaken by the municipality. If you are interested or have some inquiries, please see PESO Manager Rowena Fajardo at Civil Registrar's Office (tel 311-1061)

TVET Schedule for the last quarter of CY 2011

1. Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC II (SMAW)
2. Electrical Installation & Maintenance NC II (EIM)
3. Carpentry NC II

Community-Based Training for Enterprise Development (CBTED) & AHMP Program

1. Hydroponic Gardening
2. Gulayan sa Paaralan & Barangay
3. Pili Shellcraft & Fashion Accessories Production
4. Paper Recycling

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Bagong gawang spillway sa Anibong, Barangay Bulacao

Ito ang bagong gawang spillway sa Anibong sa Barangay Bulacao na pinondohan ng PDAF ni Congressman Ramos. Maaari nang dumaan ang mga taga Barangay Sangat sa Barangay Bulacao kung patungo sa poblacion. Kung inyong matatandaan, ang bahaging ito ay wasak sa loob ng mahabang panahon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Call for applications: American Studies Ph.D. program

The University of Heidelberg seeks applications for its Ph.D. program in American Studies at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies(HCA). This structured, three-year English-language program is open to German and international applicants who wish to earn a research-oriented academic degree. The program aids students in acquiring the skills to independently conduct major scholarly research in the fields of American history, politics, geography, literature, and cultural studies. It not only offers a modern multidisciplinary curriculum but is particularly committed to building a true community of scholars by fostering academic debate and continual exchange among its participants.

Unlike Ph.D. programs in the United States, this program does not include a preliminary phase ending with a preliminary or comprehensive exam. This means that no automatic master's degree will be awarded and that students will not have time to develop their dissertation topics while enrolled in the program. Instead, acceptance to the Heidelberg Ph.D. program in American Studies requires a well developed advanced concept of a research project.

To apply successfully, a candidate needs to fulfill not only the general entrance requirements but she or he also needs to write a meaningful proposal. The proposal should outline the guiding questions of the dissertation project while embedding them in current academic debates and show that the dissertation will make an original and
important contribution to a particular field of research. The proposal should also list the source materials that will be used and provide a realistic timetable for the completion of the project.

Applicants also need a letter of intent from a professor at the University of Heidelberg that she or he is willing to be their advisor for the envisaged project. Candidates need two letters of recommendation that not only assess the applicant?s academic qualifications but also evaluate the proposed dissertation project.

Once accepted, students are expected to take one class on method and theory, one class on academic writing as well as a presentation and media skills class. For the entire duration of their enrollment, students are expected to attend the Ph.D. colloquium. Regular progress reports and orientation talks with advisors are also an integral part of our Ph.D. program. There are no tuition fees.

Upon completing the program, the graduates are awarded either a Doktor der Philosophie (Dr. phil.) or a ?Doctor of Philosophy(Ph.D.) according to their choice.

The deadline for submitting applications for the next term (winter semester 2012, October) is February 15, 2012.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Marathon reading of the Noli Me Tangere

We are holding a marathon reading of the Noli Me Tangere on Dec 29-30 at the Monreal Ruins, BU Gubat. We are looking for volunteers who can read aloud two pages from the novel. Readers can either read their pages at the Monreal Ruins or, if you are abroad and can't attend the event, you can join us via online video call or by a pre-recorded video. Join us in celebrating the life of Jose Rizal and his great novel. Sign up here.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Save the date: December 10

Burugkos Inc is organizing an acoustic night at My Bro's Mustache on Scout Tuazon, Timog on the night of December 10. Proceeds from the event shall be used, I was told, to fund a waste management seminar for Barangay Rizal. If you are meeting your friends come Christmas season (or having a Christmas party), you can have your celebration during the acoustic night event. That way, you also get the chance to meet other Gubatnons in Manila.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Barangay Carriedo Bridge Project

Earlier this morning, I was in Carriedo for the formal turnover of this bridge project which will help control the flooding during heavy rains and make for a safer way going to Barangay Manapao. The project was funded by the PDAF of Congressman Ramos.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Dr. Juan Escandor Search for Best Human Rights Teaching in the Municipality of Gubat

First Prize: Samsung N100-MA02 Netbook

Second Prize: Canon Powershot A800 Digital Camera

Third Prize: Nokia C3 Phone


1. The contest is open to all public elementary school teachers regularly employed by the DepEd in the Municipality of Gubat.

2. Entries should be lesson plans designed to be taught within 40 minutes and prepared for any grade level or subject area, except Makabayan and Edukasyon sa Pagpapahalaga. You may choose whatever specific human right you want to feature in your lesson plan. Please refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

3. The lesson plans will be judged by how well they are able to seamlessly integrate human rights concepts into regular lessons. Please make the lesson plan as detailed as possible (including descriptions of teaching materials you want to use in your execution of the plan).

4. The lesson plans are preferably to be submitted digitally by e-mail to both and, but hard copies may also be submitted to the Mayor’s Office. Please include your name, name of school where you are regularly employed, and contact number.

5. The lesson plans will be collectively vetted by a committee. The committee will choose the best seven lesson plans among those submitted. The teachers who submitted the best lesson plans will each be observed to determine how well they execute their respective lesson plans. From the seven finalists, the top three to win the major prizes will be chosen.

6. A teacher is allowed to submit only one entry.

7. Deadline for the submission of entries is November 14, 2011. Teaching demo of the best seven lesson plans is to be scheduled on November 18, 2011. Awarding of prizes will immediately follow at the Monreal Ruins inside the BU Gubat Campus at 3 pm.

Human Rights Seminar-Workshop for Teachers

The weekend of October 22-23, we held a Human Rights and Peace Seminar Workshop for Teachers at the LIKAS Ridge Training Center in Irosin (very nice place, clean and comfortable dorm beds). The over-all goal is to inject human rights concepts into elementary school curriculum. We invited the teachers whose pupils' average marks in the fourth periodical exam last year were the highest in the municipality.

The project was conceptualized by the municipality and was financially supported by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). Mr Florencio Bermundo, Values Education supervisor for the Division Office gave the welcome remarks. Director Ana Elzy Ofreneo of the Commission on Human Rights's Education and Research Office and Dr. Aurora Parong of Amnesty International Philippines gave lectures on human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We were also generously granted a personal sharing and reflection by Mrs. Zenaida Enaje, former principal of Gubat National High School and sister of martial law martyr Dr. Juan Escandor. Later in the program, we were also joined by Karapatan-Bicol and Father Bong Imperial of the Our Lady of Penafrancia Seminary (OLPS) for a conversation on human rights concerns and issues in the Philippines today.

Nothing is better for us as citizens than to get a human rights education. The Philippine Constitution deems it very important that it tells us to have one. I myself have very fond memories of a human rights class I had under Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, now a member of the GRP peace panel talking with the NDF.

There are some people though who believe that a human rights education makes us selfish, but it was because people were not even aware of a self with inalienable rights the state cannot encroach upon that in times past whole populations were decimated. When we become better aware of our rights, we become better aware of our political obligations as citizens because whether we like it or not, yes paradoxically, it is the existence of the state, our sometimes very oppressor, that also guarantees the protection of our rights.