Thursday, August 30, 2007 [ 7:26 AM ]


With the opening of the 28th Manila International Book Fair yesterday, it seems that the book industry in the country is doing a little better than in the previous years.

Though it can be argued that most of the visitors who went to this kind of book fair only represent a small portion of the society, it can still be considered a good start especially for a third world country like ours. In spite of the books’ expensive prices, it’s a good thing to know that the number of book readers in the Philippines is continuously increasing.

A report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that the International economic and financial institutions attested that indeed the book economy have shown resurgence in the recent years. In an era of PSP’s, iPod’s and iMax, many were proven wrong when they thought that it will be the start of the book economy’s inevitable death.

One recent event I can remember to prove this was the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly hollows. Though Filipinos were not as enthusiastic as the fans of the book in other parts of the world, the early queue of people in bookstores when the book was first released is an indication that books can still find its place in the country. American author Stephen King even wrote a review of the book, weeks after its release, in entertainment weekly and disproves the academics and whom he called bighead educators when they said that reading in its major part was dead.

The only sad about the book industry in the country is that the government doesn’t seem to give so much attention to it. It’s not as if it’s something surprising but there’s nothing wrong in being optimistic and hopeful- even how nearly impossible your hopes are. If the cheaper medicines bill is still not passed until now, with all the media attention given to it, how much more can we expect our congressmen to pass a bill that will lower the prices of books? Maybe it could help if we just keep our fingers crossed because something like that may not even come to mind of these honorable creatures.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007 [ 11:20 PM ]

NCAE (2nd part)

In a report by Manila Bulletin online, Education secretary Jesli Lapus said that they will spend about 50 million pesos for this year’s National Career Assessment Examination. Now, isn’t it too much money to spend for a not so useful exam?
Although DepEd officials clarified that the NCAE is not similar to the National Career Entrance Examination (NCEE) because it does not serve as a pass to enter college, it cannot be denied that they are similar when it comes to redundancy and irrationality. This idea was also the reason why former senator and education secretary Raul Roco decided to abolish the National Secondary Aptitude Test (NSAT) in the 90’s.

The argument was that in the presence of the self conducted entrance examinations of different colleges and universities, both NCEE and NSAT became unnecessary. Colleges and Universities prefer their own entrance examinations to evaluate if students fit the school standards and the courses they wanted to pursue. Though some used NCEE/NSAT as part of the requirements to enter college, they were not specific enough to be used as the only basis for course qualification.

With regard to the NCAE which is presumed to determine students’ aptness to college courses, it still just duplicates the purpose of entrance examinations. Both schools and students are not going to look at it as the basis for eligibility to the course but in the result of entrance exams.

NCAE is just another rehashed government program that will use taxpayers’ money in vain. If DepEd really wants to improve the educational system in the country, then they should start knowing which things should be given priority. If students are not having a quality education in their developing years, which is in the elementary level, they might not even have the chance of getting to high school to take any exam to assess their college capabilities.

If the government really wants to stop the nation’s escalating unemployment, they should focus in improving first the quality of our free education. Improving free education will include facility enhancements, improved classrooms, better salary for capable teachers, free accurate textbooks and low price supplemental reading materials. Only when better education is provided to students will our problem in both poverty and unemployment will be solved.


Monday, August 27, 2007 [ 11:31 AM ]


More than 1.3 million graduating high school students and out-of-school youth from both private and public schools are expected to take their National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) tomorrow. According to the Department of Education who spearheaded the idea through their National Education and Research Center, the examination will be able to help students in choosing the courses they would take in college.

DepEd started giving the examination in January last year in their belief that it will help reduce the escalating unemployment rate in the country. Education secretary Jesli Lapus said that the unemployment is not because of the lack of jobs but merely because of misemployment. He argued that there are enough jobs available for graduating students and it’s just that they are not properly equipped with the right abilities they need to get the careers they want.

The idea of helping students in choosing what careers to take based on their abilities is great, but does the NCAE really serve that purpose? I think it will, but only if DepEd starts fixing their way of conducting the exam. Giving the examination two months before graduation like last year was a fiasco and doing it now in the last week of August will not make much difference.

If the Research department of DepEd really did their research, they should know that by this time, many students have already taken their entrance examination in different colleges and universities. As far as I have experienced, as early as June, students are already applying for examinations for their tertiary education. Conducting an exam to help them decide what course to take by this time is too little and too late. Students who are planning to enter college must have decided what program to take far earlier.

The late exam will only mean a much later result. My younger brother who just graduated in high school last year and was part of those who took the first NCAE examination received his exam results three days before his graduation. But that’s not the worst yet, because some of his classmates haven’t even received their exam results until now. If students will just start to decide what careers are suited for them after receiving the results, two things are likely to happen: First is that they will just get confused and two, they will run out of good schools to enroll at.

If DepEd is really determined to continue this examination every year, the best thing they could do is to give it to third year high school students, which is only a logical thing to do. If there are students who needs guidance in deciding what course to take, it will be them because they will be the ones who will take college entrance exams by the end of the school year. Even if the results come out by March, at least they will still have time to think before applying for a college entrance exam.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007 [ 12:05 AM ]


Most of us have our childhood dreams that we would have wanted ourselves to be. Be it fictional or real, possible or not, for as long as it answers the classic Little Miss Philippines question “ano ang gusto mo maging paglaki mo?” it is part of our childhood fantasies and frustrations.

We could have had lots of them that range from being an astronaut to being a mailman, an Olympic gold medalist or the richest person in the world. All of them vary on our mood and on the things that we are so involved into when we were having those eccentric ideas.

I can even still remember myself dreaming of what I wanted to be whenever I am so bored with my school subjects or whenever I’m listening to a very good music that drives me to trance. As I somehow wanted this space to be like Dumbledore’s pensive of some sort for me, here are some of those someday-I-want-to-be thoughts that entered my mind during the years where I still believed that math is not a complicated subject.

Band vocalist – this thought came to my mind during the 90’s where the eraserheads are on its peak of popularity. I am one of those many who loved their songs from its lyrics to its rhythm and melody. Whenever I hear their songs being played on radio or see them perform on tv, I can always see a clear view of me standing on Ely Buendia’s shoes and singing with confidence in front of a large enthusiastic crowd.

Detective – my fantasy of being a detective was influenced by the two detective books that I read when I was in the fourth grade, Encyclopedia Brown and Sherlock Bones : the dog detective. I love it whenever detectives deduce so complicated clues and able to make a very complex problematic scenario look simple.

Great basketball player – Unlike the first two mentioned, this is one of my dreams that I believed is not so impossible for me to achieve. Although I play basketball, what I wanted is to be like a Michael Jordan who has a very swift movement and grace whenever he plays. The idea of making the spectators, commentators and even your opponent stare in bewilderment because of your great moves is just so great. Until now, I can’t resist thinking of myself playing in court like MJ whenever I am watching a basketball game.

Doctor – who doesn’t dream of being one when they were young? I remember that it was after I watched an episode of Bayani where they featured our national hero who invented alcohol (I can’t remember his name) that I end up wanting to be a doctor. I just gave up on this one when I noticed that my knees always tremble whenever I entered a hospital and see people in their worst conditions.

Scientist – the Back to the Future tv series was the one who influenced me on this. After each episode, they always feature a short and simple science experiment for kids and I always feel exalted whenever I was successful in doing it. I just stopped pursuing this dream after my first year high school science teacher threw my experiment project out of the room as she almost fainted in rage. (But honesty I don’t think that it was because of my project that she was angry, maybe that was just part of her menopausal syndrome) The idea of my experiment was to create an insect repellant (katol) using paper and garlic. I was successful in creating the mixture and making a katol figure out of it but when I lit it up using a match, it burst into flame and produced a very very bad scent that you can almost taste. Come to think of it, maybe I’m a good scientist, I invented a people repellant.

Lawyer – this is one of those that I never gave up hoping to be one until now. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in grade one and until now that I already graduated in college. I even thought that this will start coming to reality after my graduation, but I was wrong. I forgot that poverty can sometimes hinder you in achieving your goal. But my hopes are still high. Who knows, maybe after a year or two, I may enroll myself in a law school. I may be idealistic but I just hate it when people in power are using the law to aggrieve those who are not so well off. I want to defend these people, I want to defend the people of my kind.

Superman – this is impossible right? But I wanted to be one and I even have my superman costume before. Maybe I can’t be superman okay, but I can be Clark Kent right? That is why I took journalism as my course in college. (Now you know) That is why whenever I’m asked why did I took journalism, I always have different answers depending on what comes to my mind at that time. I’m sure I won’t land in any job if I tell my interviewers the truth. But I’m glad I took the course because after all it’s really what I wanted.

There are still lots of occupations that I wanted to have and people I wanted to be but it will be too long to tell. I wished I’d be a fireman, policeman, soldier, machine man, peter pan, cook, baker, plumber and as I said too many to tell but most of them just came in and out of my mind as fast as I change tv channels.


Thursday, August 09, 2007 [ 2:28 PM ]


It’s finally raining. The prolonged dry spell that hit the larger part of Luzon has finally ended and it’s something to be thankful of.
The rain pouring hard today in Metro Manila may sound hassle to most people especially for those who needs to travel. But looking at the big picture this rain may just save us from a greater disaster. At the very least, in case you haven’t noticed or you don’t have much time to spend listening to news, our dams are badly in need of it.

Fore sure we will face again the usual problems of heavy traffic and too much flood but that’s not so surprising anymore. The same way that it is not so unexpected to hear the late announcement of the not-reliable-as-always-tandem of Pagasa and DepEd that there is no suspension of classes in all levels, only to retract it in the middle of the day when all of us are already stranded in the flooded street.
But despite of all that I never really loathed the rain. I always liked the sound of the air drumming the metal roof and the cold mist that hits your face whenever you’re walking on the road. I like the opportunity it gives us to wear our jackets and sweatshirts outside the office or classroom without looking stupid. To top it all, I like the rain for the memories it never failed to remind me whenever it drench the arid land.

The rain reminds me of the day when I used to go home from school soaking wet just because I don’t want to use the pink flower designed umbrella of my mom. It reminds me of the excitement I feel whenever I listen to early morning radio newscast waiting for the announcement of the suspension of classes. It reminds me of the wonderful feeling of waking up in the middle of a rainy Saturday dawn and realizing that you can still sleep for the whole bed weather day. And of course, the rain reminds me of the girl I wished I would someday wake up my morning with.

It was the rain that gave me the chance to spend few precious moments with my school days love interest. It was because of the rain that she was not able to go home and was forced to stay at school until six in the evening (luckily I was there for no reason). It was because of the rain that she was forced to stay under my umbrella for almost an hour. It was also the rain that forced us to have a dinner together in a restaurant. It was the rain that made these things possible and it is also the rain that gives me a free pass to travel back in these times, so why hate it?