Friday, May 17, 2019

I Passed the Compre!!!!

There are lows in life but they are certainly not always.

I promised ten years ago to never punish myself again by burning the midnight candle and taking another dreadful examination in my life. But I realised this bitter and painful reality that if we want to sharpen our pencil, we must go through the sharpener. Okay.

For the last quarter of the year, I had to maintain a low visibility whether in social media or in real world. I did not tell anyone, especially my colleagues back in my work, that I am taking the Comprehensive Examination. I did not want to entertain the cookie cutter pressure while preparing for the day I thought was my "fall from grace". Besides, I was not sure really and nobody knows how harsh UP could be.

I faithfully did my homework for three months. It was never fun, of course. There were times when my brain got lost in ideas. There were times when I the thought of just quitting was tempting. There were times when I doubted if this journey is still worth pursuing. But at the end of the day, I am thankful because I always found that consolation of a "greater purpose" amidst all struggles and sacrifices.

Today I received the most anticipated result. I am extremely but humbly delighted to share my joy at the moment as months of tears and prayers finally paid off. And what made it extra special is: I got a HIGH PASS rating! As I said, I was honestly okay with "pass" and even "low pass" as long as it would mean continuing the journey. But no "best" is impossible with hardwork coupled with prayers. I just need to remind myself to have faith always.

High Pass!

There are also highs like this moment though certainly not always. But I am firmly resolved that I have reached this stage of the journey fiercely and there are no harder terrains this time that I cannot tackle boldly.

#RoadToDissertation


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Not Giving a Fuck

First, I am warning you for my French in this post amidst your Holy Week reflections.

A turning back and changing heart at Manila Bay.

I think I have reached the point of my life when I realised that I need not to give a fuck to every thing in this world. I do not give a damn if it is my birthday today. I do not give a cuss if you treated me like invisible when we bumped each other somewhere. I do not give a hell if you never thanked me for a favor. I do not give a shit if you were not there when I needed you. 

All people just grow up and learn not to care about petty things. I mean we all have to let go and move on. Life taught me through the years not to give this world a fuck anymore and to just fuck my own. If you happen to read this post, I cow you not to give a fuck, too.


Monday, February 25, 2019

On Any Day Even on 14th February

This is the usual "bed scene" in my room for the past few weeks. I have no date especially last 14th February like it has been. On the other side, I had great time falling in love with the enduring wisdom of Franklin Bobbitt, Ralph Tyler, Elliot Eisner, Murray Print and many other key curriculum people. Besides, of all falls from grace, not acing one of the "biggest" tests of my life lurking just around the corner is something I cannot afford.

Monday, January 14, 2019

All I Want is Still My Deschooled, Reluctant and Unassuming Self

I found this unfinished blog entry I wrote last December entitled "All I Want for Christmas is My Deschooled, Reluctant and Unassuming Self" which I was supposed to publish as my official year ender post. It is new year now but I believe this musing is never too late to translate into actions.

Wishing to be deschooled, reluctant and unassuming, I am NOT the type of person who is about to give up at any rate now. As a matter of fact, I am still in the ball games. Perhaps I just want to lie low a bit and live life simply as it comes.

I want to deschool my self, just learning things out of natural curiosities rather than being pressured to the usual "learn something new" piece of advice. I want to just explore and discover any thing that piques my curiosity most at the moment.

I want to play reluctant. There is nothing wrong with being self assured as a person, but I would rather want now to just observe people and things rather than join the the bandwagons and their hooplas. I want to reserve to my self my thoughts about them and learn out of observing them.

I want to remain unassuming. I want to deal people and mean things just the way they are. I want to be objective with situations and emotions. No assumptions and judgements. Just pure and simple thoughts.

First stop to my "All I want is Still My Deschooled, Reluctant and Unassuming Self" journey:
Traveling alone to Hanoi, Vietnam and learning incidentally about its beautiful chaos.

We all have fair share of being deschooled, reluctant and unassuming once in our lives. I am bringing back mine this time for good.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Faith in Humanity Restored

What I love most about traveling is there is just so much to learn, not only about different cultures, but also about humanity.

One time I was on my way back to Singapore from an all day island hop. I was in the waiting lounge of the ferry terminal and looking confused about which gate for which shipping company. An old Singaporean woman, after probably observing my confusion, came close and asked to check my ticket. She said we would be on the same ferry and assured me. I wanted to stay with her but the seats beside her were occupied, so I sat a few chairs away. When it was time to get aboard to the ferry, passengers stood up in unison and I saw her come my way to ensure that I would go with her.

On my other trips, I have experienced such simple but wonderful acts of kindness many times either that Thai who does not speak the international language but gestured to take me picture after seeing I was alone; a Macanese who translated what I wanted to say to the vendor in the market; a Malaysian who helped me book a bus ticket during a peak day; a Chinese who was off to work but took time to accompany just to ensure that I reach my destination; a group of Japanese teens who offered free hugs in the street; an old Indonesian couple who were too kind to treat me like their grandchild; or any body who made the world a little brighter by just giving a smile.

Strange but these experiences made me feel inspired that there is still hope in humanity... that we are never too old, too poor, too stranger to be good to others.

I will definitely love more of you, world!




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Falling in Love with George Town, Malaysia

I feel brave and creative after my recent side trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, Penang, Malaysia. It is not popular for many travellers to hop to this underrated colonial village. Maybe also because I am just one of those few weird culture junkies who love old structures and is willing to endure long, long distance travels and searches just to see an old grandeur! 

It was morning of the next day when I arrived in George Town after twelve hours of bus ride crossing the borders between Singapore and Malaysia. I did not catch some good sleep while seated in the bus the whole time but I felt my adrenaline rushed as I saw and heard the bustle of the old town coming near! I just heard my inner self scream: I am finally in George Town!

I have read about the famous street arts scattered around the old city, but my original interest really was exploring the old structures that wonderfully make up the city. However, after some strolls, I did not expect that these old structures are not as old as I expected. They sure are every where but most of them were built only as recent as 1930s, much like those old buildings in Singapore.

I know that comparing Vigan and George Town is useless like comparing apple and orange because each of them is uniquely beautiful by the virtue of their own cultures and histories. But since I have been both to these quaint colonial cities, I am indulging myself to placing them side by side for some good reasons.

I can say that Vigan gives that wonderful vibe of a classical colonial charm. The horse drawn carriages, cobbled stone paths and gleaming street lamps simply add elegance and vibrance to Vigan. George Town, on the other hand, is a colourful blend. One can see Bhuddism, Hinduism, Muslim and Christian influences in the style of its houses and other structures. 

I must agree though that what makes both charming is its people. Everyone I rubbed elbows in George Town was just welcoming. The moment I arrived in George Town, the lady who drove me to my hotel was very helpful. She even helped me buy ticket back to KL. The man I asked in the street was also very informative. He guided me which museum to go. I saw sunshine in every nook I go as people were just smiling.


Meet my new Malaysian friends!

But perhaps the most exciting activity indeed in George Town is art hunting. And mind you these art pieces adorning the streets and alleys of the city are no ordinary paintings. These murals were installed in 2012 by a Lithuanian artist with the help of Penang government council. What makes the paintings unconventional for pretty amazing reason is the fact that selected parts of the art pieces are real objects – some props set up against the wooden door, window or wall!

Some of my favorite art pieces aside from the Brother and Sister on a Swing featured in the picture above are: Little Children on a Bicycle, The Real Bruce Lee Would Never Do This, Boy in the Bike, Reaching Up, Children Playing Basketball, I Want Pau, Skippy Comes to Penang, and a lot more! If you are interested to check my own trail of musings to these artistic objects, kindly visit my album here.

I must confess that, after side tripping to George Town, I fell deeply in love not only with its rich culture, but also with the creativity and tenacity of its people. There are a few cities in the word that maintains its old character as much as George Town does. It continues to reinvent itself but without altering its old self. On a more retrospective thought, I can only hope that George Town is much like we to our old selves.

Terima kasih for the wonderful experience, George Town! This is not the last visit surely, I vow!


Saturday, September 22, 2018

There is Something about Sunset that He Likes


A beautiful sunset taken in Central Java, Indonesia.

Papers are waiting for him - journal critiques, desk reviews, annotated bibliographies, research proposals, and data analyses. No dramas.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Twist in My Indonesian Trip: Tracing the Malay Roots of Philippines

How can I thank "words" for giving our minds and hearts the expression of thoughts and emotions? And for reconnecting our heritage?

I must confess though that I am a Hispanist. I have leaning on associating Filipino towards Spanish - architecture, language, music, fashion, cuisine. When it comes to language, just think about Filipino words related to kitchen items, clothing articles, school materials, family names, technical jargons, and even curses! Chance would be they are mostly Spanish loan words. 

But my recent trip mainly to Indonesia with side stop in Malaysia and another sojourn in Brunei illuminated my cultural understanding. It was a trip not only to the ancient Borobudur Temple or the majestic Sultan Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque but to the distant and almost forgotten connection between Philippines and the Malay world.



I disclaim to be a linguist as I have long abandoned my undergraduate discipline, but my personal observations of languages - Filipino and Bahasa Indonesia - led this reflection that Spanish may have clothed us or named us, but the Filipino soul will always be Malay in core.

One would feel at least at home in Indonesia reading and hearing familiar words virtually in every nook and cranny of Indonesia. A friend later informed me that a study did identify at least 300 related Filipino and Indonesian words. This statistics, I believe, could be higher. Based on my personal encounters, here are some of those words I amusingly discovered.

Filipino and Indonesian words with the same words and meanings:

right - Fil. kanan; Indo. kanan
child - Fil. anak; Indo. anak
sky - Fil. langit; Indo. langit
white - Fil. puti; Indo. puti
cheap - Fil. mura; Indo. mura
sickness - Fil. sakit; Indo. sakit
eye - Fil. mata; Indo. mata

Filipino and Indonesian words with slight variations but with the same meanings:

push - Fil. tulak; Indo. tolak
open - Fil. bukas; Indo. buka
stone - Fil. bato; Indo. batu
kitten - Fil. kuting; Indo. kuching
year - Fil. taon; Indo. tahun
enter - Fil. pasok; Indo. masuk
door - Fil. pinto; Indo. pintu

Filipino and Indonesian words that are false friends, the same words but different meanings:

bunga - Fil. fruit; Indo. flower
manok - Fil. chicken; Indo. bird
halaman - Fil. plants; Indo. park

Because I also speak Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Ilocano, I discovered these some interesting words same or similar to Indonesian:

street - Ceb. dalan; Indo. jalan
wall - Hil. dingding; Indo. dingding
food - Iloc. makan; Indo. makan

I recall there were instances when we proudly counted in Filipino much to the delight of our Indonesian friends! They told us that we could learn Indonesian in a month and survive in Indonesia!

On a more retrospective side, I wonder how Philippines has grown apart and differently in many aspects with its cousins from the rest of Malay archipelago. But thanks to these wonderful words as they serve as immortal evidences to our Malay heritage connection.

Terima kasih, Indonesia!


Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Law of Chaos and Order

I am usually the type of bloke who can juggle things between work and study. Within our clique of graduate students, I am usually the tough heart who can endure pressure and loneliness typically experienced. So, when somebody in the group commented that I seemed to be behaving uncharacteristically withdrawn lately, I was hit big time. 

I must admit that, after trying to be strong for quite some time, I am slowly being consumed by some chaos inside that I cannot pinpoint. I wonder if I am guilty telling a friend about a sensitive secret, stressed by my organizational responsibilities, worried about the heavy courses I will take next semester, or just missing my family and friends back home.

Whatever causes this inner chaos, I am consoling my self with this law of nature: Chaos leads to order. If things are in chaos right now, then order is yet to come.


What do you see? Puddles or flowers?
Okay, maybe I just needed to take time noticing the flowers around.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Goodbye, Turbulent Twenties! Hello, Tumultuous Thirties!

I am celebrating my birthday today for two more special reasons:

For one, it's time to kiss goodbye to the twenties, the so called turbulent period of life. As I look back, I can't help but smile in contentment with what has been my journey for the past ten years. It should be very significant for many events. 

It was when I graduated in college and passed the LET - all with flying colors! I immediately got my first teaching work and went to pursue graduate studies. I further went to serve public school, and finally MSU, my ultimate goal.

Of course, it is not without bitter experiences. As I went between the transition periods of my career exploration, I experienced pressures socially, emotionally and mentally. It was when I thought my credentials were useless and I was left behind by my peers in many personal and professional aspects.

The twenties was also the time when I had my first taste of a romantic relationship. I also became "Tito Mike" to my pretty nieces! I started finding my niche in the field of education as a curriculum enthusiast and a budding researcher.

But it was also the stage when life tore my heart into smithereens. So, I experienced the first cut, a real break up. My parents had to separate for good. I had to balance work commitments and bigger roles for a maturing person.

With that rollercoaster experience, destiny plucked me from the comforts of home and sent me away to UP where now I am serenely growing up... in the tested standards of this premier institution... in the balancing struggle between theory and practice... in the sacrifice of personal love for a greater passion.

For another reason to that effect, I am also entering today to a new chapter of my life - the tumultuous period of thirties! I don't know what life holds ahead for my future but two things are I am sure for my self: I trust for the best and I just want to savor things as they come...


My birthday wishes - for every one.

Thank you for your delightful wishes and great trust!


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Living Like A Shadow: An Inward Journey

I have been experimenting myself how to travel differently. This May break, instead of heading outside my comforts, I wanted to have more of an inward journey. At the last minute right after I aced all my school requirements, I decided to go back home in Mindanao, but this time I wanted a more low key vacation. It was not I was hiding for someone or something; I just wanted to take rest from all "mandatory calls" of friendships and works.


I got my shades on like I am rocking Barbados all night!

Some insightful thoughts at this point:

  • It is not always about my journey. The world cannot care less about my own joy, success, worries or frustrations, so I just watch it go on its own course.
  • Some best moments are best shared with closest people. Having "unannounced" vacation gave myself a slack to spend more meaningful conversations and moments with my intimate circle.
  • While I was assuredly feeling that I am home, I felt more than happy to be just a shadow amidst the busy crowd and the pulse of this city. I window shopped any where I wanted or sipped coffee alone in a corner.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Japan Spring: A Celebration of Things Old and New

A celebration of things old and new - this is the insight that made a significant mark to my mind soon after my Japan trip for eleven days. I think that it is an appropriate phrase for a sojourn to heritage places -  a symbol for things old; for a journey on spring time - a symbol for things new.

One of the most exciting part of our trip was seeing the famous cherry blossoms or sakura, especially when we are about two weeks late from the blooming season. Luckily and delightfully, we found some last cherry trees that bore flowers abundantly - pink, white and green. Every time we found one, our company swarmed around these natural beauties and take many photographs. 

I have not lived in Japan long enough, but I think that when cherry trees bloom, they are the most beautiful on earth. And when they do, they only bloom so for a certain short period. As what some romantic poets have celebrated on spring, cherry blossom is the best reminder that life is wonderful but only momentary.

Celebration of spring!

I also appreciate how Japanese people are passionate about for their culture. Japan is a testament that a country can go forward to progress without disregarding culture. Going to some of their cities, we found their ancient castles, temples and other historical landmarks exceptionally well preserved. One could see how love is written all over these old structures.

One time, we visited the quaint Kintai Bridge. I was touched about the past story behind the old bridge. I learned that locals once built protective structure around the bridge to save it from the raging typhoon one time. However, the bridge did not survive; locals tearfully watched the it get washed away by the great flood. But in a short span of time, the locals amazingly rebuilt the bridge piece by piece as a remembrance to the old heritage.

Japanese culture is also famous for the origami, the ancient art of paper folding. Japanese children learn origami early at the lap of their mothers. While some people may think it is just a plain paper folding, it actually reflects the ingenuity and aesthetics of Japanese culture. This is a unique art of living – a reminder of patience, resilience and discipline - values which are written and reflected all over Japan. 

This art forms a part of Japanese curriculum. Aside from integrating a uniquely Japanese trademark to their education, I am amazed how actually paper folding does cognitive advantages for learners. Aside from developing fine motor skills, origami is a pictorial learning through repeatable actions, and by transforming a flat piece of paper into a three dimensional crane, it is also a cognitive stimulation of spatial reasoning. Now, I wonder not why Japanese are very good in mathematics and science!

While they have proved their world leadership when it comes to technology and economy, I am amazed as well to know that they have maintained their communion with nature. I think that Japanese people are one of the few most passionate people about living with nature as we all are from nature and forever interconnected to nature.

Visiting some cities, I marveled at how organized are the spaces. Just a few kilometers from the urban center, one would feel like being transported to a completely different place because the outer villages still maintain their rural vibes. Trees are well taken cared and animals, like deer, turtle and bird, live in harmony with people.

This article is not enough to vicariously contain all the wonderful memories I gained but personally, Japan will always be a special place in the world being a perfect blend of heritage and progress... of environment and culture... of old and new....

Sayonara, Japan! Until I see you again!


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Dark Secret

I have another dark secret to reveal: I never really liked wearing jewelries especially gemstones until that trip abroad.

 Cambodia is a shopping mecca of authentic gemstones, not to mention that almost everything can be bought at cheap price. I wonder why my colleagues went back and forth to jewelry shops and buy gemstones. Until one time I decided to pay attention.

They look eternal. They seem magical. They have traveled all the way from the deep layers of the earth. They seem to hold clues to the gods. They are petrified, beautiful and enduring.

And that time, enchanted for the first time, I bought three black gemstones. I have always clung to a simple fashion rule of wearing black accessories and frills. Hence, my shoes are black, my wrist watches are black, my bags are black, my belts are black. And now, my gemstones are black.



As my classmate said, certain stones have properties and energies. Wearing gemstones as talisman in the ancient times for particular purposes has really basis, not just as faith.

According to this site, this precious black piece is a protective stone worn when facing adversaries in battles of conflicts of all kinds. It can help one be the master of his destiny and strengthen confidence. It provides support in difficult times and centers energy in times of mental or physical stress. It also offers the gift of wise decisions.

I have actually worn my necklace with onyx stone today again as I went to school. Whether the stone itself or some psychological placebo effect gives me protection, I just like the thought that I found the man's new best friend. Oh, by the way it's not diamond definitely; it's onyx.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Beginning to Believe Myself Again

I may not have told you but I certainly feel guilty and at the same time insecured with one of my classes this semester. The reasons? Oh, I got a bunch of very articulate classmates and my course adviser is a seasoned Harvard graduate, and I feel I am not giving it all my best in the class.

Because of this bug, as preparation for our oral report, I read to death some books for a week. And because we were only given fifteen minutes for the oral presentation, I had to condense all the important concepts with ten slides to contain the most important concepts to beat the allotted time! And then had to get acquainted with the deep concepts with their jargons that bordered to the classical psychology.

When I presented, I brought with my hands my security blanket, my "codigo", that contains it all. But when I began talking, I never needed to take a peep into the note and my thoughts just came out my mouth smoothly. At the end of the presentations, I was given the highest score. I cannot believe that I read over and over again the positive comments in our score sheet.

We also have critique papers every month. We already had four critique papers in the course and I never got the chance to be called as highest scorer, which quietly frustrated me. I usually critique the research organization of the article then its epistemic conceptualization. Although I got brownie points, there were times when I doubted myself if I am making sense with what I write because I never get the highest.

The last two journal articles we had to critique were obviously as difficult as pulling out an impacted molar. I swear when I say I had to read them each for about ten times. The one was about cognitive task strategies in problem solving with neurological brain records. The statistical tools used were very complex that I had to study other sources. The other article was about relationship of language skills to comprehension and how these interrelationships are affected by the writing systems. The difficult part was understanding the peculiar nature of Chinese in terms of its writing system.

For the past critique papers, I challenged myself silently to top the class. When the last critique paper was to be returned, I got the highest score - a perfect one. Our course adviser especially mentioned that she admired my illustration of the variables in the diagram as a cognitive guide in understanding the research article. Other than that, I especially feel that my advantage also is my critique on the statistical tools of the study because I am quite familiar with meta analysis.

Results not for bragging but for appreciation.

I don't want to sound one big braggart, and I doubt and ask myself: Am I just one lucky dog for these? But a part of me convinces me that other than sheer luck, it must have been determination, effort and time. So, without guilt and insecurity, this is me... beginning to believe myself again.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Nuggets of Wisdom from "The Mirror Has Two Faces" Film

Photo credits to http://www.imdb.com.
It is seldom that I write about a movie because the matter of fact is I am not really a movie bum. But I guess this wisdom from a movie clip I happened to watch somewhere recently is worth sharing. It is from the film entitled The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) starring Barbara Streisand as a teacher and the protagonist.

At the conclusion of her lesson on love, this conversation happened:

Barbara: So the final question is: Why do people want to fall in love when it can have such a short run and be so painful?

Student 1: Propagation of the species?

Student 2: We need to connect with somebody?

Student 3: Are we culturally preconditioned?

Barbara: Good, but too intellectual for me. l think it is because, as some of you may already know… while it does last, it feels fucking great.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Story of Puddles and Rainbows

I CAN MOVE ON... I still remember those famous last words in the final good bye I told you. A puddle of tears welled in my eyes because I knew that time that my once happy world would never be the same again.

But still I remember the days when we first exchanged words and smiled at each other. I remember when we ate together and watched movie together. I remember your surprises. I remember when we held hands as we walked down that empty road on a sunset. I remember the late evenings we talked over the phone about sweet nothings.

But not all people stay, not all stories end happily ever after. That day when we parted ways, I walked away and kissed the first man I bumped into. Okay, lying aside, I actually slept with the memory of you and woke up with the memory of you. I went to the park and looked for you. No, it was actually you that I saw in all their faces. I drank much, talked much, and laughed much. And when I got home, I cried rivers.

But one day I woke up without the memories of you. I retrieved one but it looked as delicate as the soft edges of an old photograph. I still saw your face and your smile, but they did not cut my heart the way they did then. I looked at the mirror, took a flight of stairs, and I passed by the places we went together, but they did not make my heart break again. After all, they were just places.

But here I am writing about you once more. But instead of writing a perfect metaphor about your eyes or an abstract attribution about how your love used to hold my heart, I am writing this piece to deliver eulogy to a memory that is very soon to be placed in its proper place... away where it will not hurt anymore... to the catacombs of the past.

I CAN MOVE ON... I still remember those famous last words in the final good bye I told you. A puddle of tears welled in my eyes, but this time I know, as the saying goes, there is a rainbow always after the rain.


A beautiful promise. I captured this rainbow two years ago.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Spasibo, Daddy Vygotsky!

I am sure that such terms as Scaffolding, and of course, the Zone of Proximal Development, will not be missed in discussions of contributions of Lev Vygotsky in educational psychology. But other than those widely popular concepts attributed to him, how much do we know his concepts further?

I was mystified - and am still mystified until today - with the enduring concepts of brilliant psychologists in history like Lev Vygotsky. I used to teach a topic of him a few years back, but my past knowledge about his ideas pale in shame this time as I digested these books for my course requirements:


Vygotsky and more, anyone?

For that shameful reason, allow my notes get into this online space as I share to you some, just some, of the extended concepts I learned. Take note of the capitalized words as I am either introducing them or discussing them with some twist as Lev Vygotsky was "weird" indeed in his ideas.

One of the most quoted statement of Vygotsky has been the GENERAL GENETIC LAW OF CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT which states that “any function in the child’s cultural development appears twice or on two planes… it appears first between people as an intermental category, and then within the child as an intramental category.” Though this statement appears to be simple, it actually opens a can of worms I need to tediously study. It elaborates the social and individual planes where cognitive development occurs. It touches the two major concepts of internalization process and appropriation process.

The most important and perhaps the most popular of his psychological discovery is the ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT. Instead of discussing it, I focused mainly on what people do not usually know. While recognizing that a child can accomplish more with scaffold, it was claimed that the potential of the child – even with help – is limited. This makes sense though. I believe ZPD is one of the most misunderstood concept of Vygotsky. Many parents believe that children can do so much with ZPD to the point that they push children to learn what is beyond their range or level. I pity these children who had to suffer the pressure early. We must educate parents.

The analysis of Vygotsky about PLAY is also interesting than most common that we know about it. Though he wrote so little on the topic, it is more evocative than definitive. My interest in this portion was piqued around the paradoxes about play. I am taking liberty to quote him once from the books about these paradoxes: “In one sense a child at play is free to determine his own actions. But in another sense this is an illusory freedom, for his actions are in fact subordinated to meanings of things, and he acts accordingly.” Alright, freedom but no freedom! 

We can merrily express "spasibo" or thanks the Russian way to Lev Vygotsky for the concepts of Scaffolding and of course, the Zone of Proximal Development, and all the rest. It is good to explore farther than the horizon our eyes can view although a synthesis like this post would not be enough capture the entirety of his bright ideas. And other than that, synthesizing bright ideas is never an easy task. 

For now, going back to the reality of life, wish me the best of luck on my oral report on this topic. This is funny but I feel nervous just thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Getting Older - and Wiser - in a Smaller World

They say that as you get older, you prefer to keep a few friends and live a low key presence. Oh well, if that is the case, I must be getting older lately. 
But I am actually still young and a foolish on my own.
If you are my friend who used to know my personal daily ramblings in the social media in the late years, you probably wonder why I ever had to publicly known deleting strangers in my social media account or not replying to your message. Your coming to this hidden space should answer some of your musings, but which I doubt not even actually one or two of you would know since there are no regular lurkers in this blog. 

Many times there came some point in my life when I just want to cut myself a slack from all these things in the social world. I do not know if this feeling is just mine but whenever I read trivialities, stresses and disappointments in the social media, I feel so trivial, stressed and disappointed, too. Apparently negative vibes attract negative reactions, and I cannot afford to mind these things around at this time. I want to have undivided attention pinned instead on worthy and essential things. 

Sometimes also I imagine making myself scarce to the prying eyes of the public for the whole year like nobody would know how my school semester ended or where in the world am I spending my holidays. I need some silence about myself. I want to keep away from the buzz of social circuit. I desire a serene escape that people would likely wonder that I am alone and away until they will be used to my unseen existence like nothing. And they, too, would go on with their respective businesses of living. 

I may sound like cutting ties, burning bridges, or shooing away people - whatever you call that. Well, I am not. This is just my own way of keeping a smaller world that is manageable, which in the process should put people in the right corners. Well, that includes filtering messages, unfollowing some people, and deactivating other social media accounts. As my rule in keeping a house simply reminds: Keep things - and people - in proper places. 

A small world should be big enough for a man who is getting older - and I hope to say - a man who is getting wiser.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

My Macau and HK Sojourn

No, I have not finally decided to convert this online space into a practical travel weblog after I got hooked on trips abroad recently; there are just too many online travel blogs which I thankfully used as my travel guide. Therefore, don't expect me to share about my favorite places in this post. I still want to keep this space sound personally and hopefully more reflective. What brought this writing into introspection are my personal insights as I went in this journey.

Anyway, every friend back home and each stranger I met abroad always find this trip surprising as I traveled solo. Yes, I traveled SOLO and abroad! And take note, these are Chinese territories where English is scarce both in print and spoken. As a matter of fact, I experienced some locals shooing me away like a fly once they hear me speak. Thankfully there is a huge presence of Filipino workers in these territories I could ask help when finally lost.

It takes balance between the elements of preparation and excitement. Of course, as preparation, I had to research all these better ways to visit the tourist destinations, but the detours actually led to more wonders and surprises. I must tell you that I did not accomplish all my trip plans right; the rest were mistakes, but definitely great! It reminds me that is important that we lay the cards of our desire open but still we must be receptive to grander plans above.

This trip also changed my perspective in a way  that not every one who wanders is lost but is actually found. Others may think about it as just some fancy thoughts they hear from showbiz people. But hey, I am serious!  I think that I learned about myself better in the emotional aspect such as the realization that I can be happy with wonderful thoughts alone. It was the first time I felt genuinely happy because I found and learned a better aspect of myself through this travel.

Reflecting on this whole trip, I realize much as other people said that it was very brave of myself to ever travel alone in these distant and foreign places. Indeed, gone are the nights as a kid when I had to fight the monsters under my bed and in my head. I realized I have grown up that I can wrestle with the real challenges in life. I felt as though no valleys and aches can stop my dreams, are there? This should inspire more outward sojourns in the future.


Serene and contented. Pictures taken at Hong Kong Disneyland
and Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral in Macau. 

At the end of this trip, I can only thank God for the traveling mercy and for all the learned things. Travels, indeed, are teachers that impress valuable lessons meaningfully.


Monday, January 15, 2018

The Black Butterflies

And truth must be told... I decided to give it a try...  I got tattoo etched on my left wrist last December 30. 



At least to me, it was one of the hardest decisions I made to consider the profession that I am in. I expect some stern eye brows would ask: And why butterflies? 

A butterfly symbolizes serene transformation.  I feel like I have gone through and still going through many changes at this period of my life; some wonderful and others outrageous. But in all these changes, I have willingly surrendered and experienced for the better, just like the butterfly in its stages of metamorphosis.

And I remember freedom as the needle kissed the surface of my skin. It was pain that I allowed to kiss my soul, too. I endured the prize, not consequence, of such freedom! I proved to myself that I can stand to my decisions and that no pain that I cannot endure out there. 

I know that in the code that I pledged allegiance, I am bound to show decency including in how I appear physically. But who must define what is decent and not? I am a human with the right to self expression and I remain resolute to such right as long as I do not harm others. 

Let the butterflies fly....

And truth must be told... I have not one but three tattoos ... The other two are mine to keep and your nosy minds to figure out where.