Hey, it’s our faces on the newspaper!

Talk about excitement and shock! My fellow campus journ, Bellie, texted me two weeks ago asking if she could use the pictures I uploaded on Facebook of LSPCon ’12 for her article in Manila Bulletin. I said why not — it would be my greatest pleasure. A few days ago, I woke up to her text message saying that her article had been published in the campus section of the daily newspaper. I wasn’t exactly sure what photo she used, although I thought, most likely, it was of the speakers we had during the event — such as the prominent ones like Boy Abunda. Interested to read her writings and curious to see which picture was included, I headed to Mini-Stop to grab a copy. Much to my dismay, there were no copies anymore (as it was late afternoon already). But I was very fortunate to have gotten a copy for free (eh, not really!) at a store a hundred steps away.

As I took a glance of the paper, I was like, NO WAY.


Whooooooooooooa, our faces. On the national newspaper!

I was shocked. What I envisioned was a dark, candid, grainy picture of a resource speaker standing by the podium, with weird facial expressions and all. But no, it was our faces — it was us!

Bellie said that I would be given credits for the picture. Well, that was the one I was actually looking forward to — caption-caption, photo by Maita. Oh! Yeah, why not? I think that reading my name (rather than seeing my face, honestly) on a broadsheet would be the coolest thing ever. Well, it turned out there wasn’t any (eh, I’m not even a prominent figure to even begin with). But, hey, MB, a picture’s still a picture, right? 😀

Here’s the picture on Facebook:

You know the feeling that same picture’s found on the SD card of your camera and now it’s printed… on the national paper? Now I have something to tease them with! Ohhh, Raissa, YO’ FAMOUUUUUUUUS! Heh, I kid. We’re not… that shallow. Haha!

The title of the article was “My first press con” dated Friday, May 18, 2012.

Thank you, Bellie, for a good read! And thank you, Copo, for giving us so many opportunities! Another school year is heading on its way (well, sadly)… let’s do this!

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Pro-Life Forum

My fellow campus journalists and I, along with the debate team, attended a Pro-Life Forum this week sponsored by Youth United for the Philippines (YUP!) at the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation in Muntinlupa City. I was really looking forward to the forum since it was my first time to attend one.

So many schools and institutions attended. I didn’t expect the event to be this big. Aside from the legislators who spoke, a couple of personalities were present too. If you know me, you know how mababaw I am when it comes to celebrities, politicans, etc. Starstruck!

Ms. Christine Jacob-Sandejas hosted the event. Since we were a bit far from the stage, we couldn’t see them well. As the emcee started talking, sabi ko, “Parang familiar yung boses niya… sa Full Time Moms ko siya naririnig.” Siya nga! Another person to add to the list of celebrities I’ve seen!

Christine Jacob and Chris Tiu

As Ms. Christine was introducing the person to announce the names of the speakers, she said something like, “He just came from the SEA Games.” Sabi ko sa sarili ko, “Chris Tiu…?” Haha, random. Then she said, “…basketball!” HAHA! Wild guess! Hiyawan ang mga tao! Ako rin. I am now a fan of him because we both like 周杰伦 (Jay Chou)! Hehehe. After that, I was looking for him to take a closer picture. He probably left at once.

Supposedly 9 legislators were to speak, though only six of them came. I was looking forward to hearing Lucy Torres talk but she wasn’t able to catch up.

Group picture with Ms. Christine Jacob. She’s super nice!

Another group picture! Rep. Aliah Dimaporo is really pretty and articulate. She was nice enough to answer a couple of questions our fellow campus journ asked. Her outfit was awesome, by the way.

After the seminar, we went out and had *ehem* Starbucks. Hahahaha.

I had no idea what to get. I got iced green tea latte. Should I have gotten a frappe?

Every time I look at the picture, I couldn’t stop laughing because of the spelling of my name. I can imagine pronouncing it, emphasis on the “th” sound. Lol.

One question that struck me: How will it improve live if it prevents life?

Personally, there was more to just attending the forum. I was able to see celebrities (haha!). Joke. Aside from gaining awareness and knowledge on this issue, I had a great time doing something fulfilling with my schoolmates and friends, who also attended.

To end, here’s the cutest music video I have ever watched. Shameless plugging of Mandopop. 我爱大嘴巴!

On the Philippines Not “Fashion Forward”

Forgive me if I am bringing up this issue as this was something being talked about on the blogosphere early this month (and suddenly disappearing into thin air, just like any other “controversy” or what).

On the Philippines not fashion forward, as said by the fashion blogger, Tricia Gosingtian

Here’s my opinion regarding the issue.

Roam around the streets of Manila and its surrounding cities and you would see majority of the people dressed simply. A shirt and a pair of jeans and you’re good to go. We cannot deny that many of us do not really prioritize fashion, but there is nothing wrong with it, is there? Some of the reasons why are because:

We are a conservative people. It’s something instilled in our culture.

We face so many problems each day, and what about the clothes we would wear tomorrow? There are more things to prioritize. We think of more practical things. A lot of us worry about what our families would eat the following day. Oil price hike, fare hike, tuition fee increase -just to name a few.

Black Boots 15
Boots when riding the jeep? Probably not. Image by Ayanami_No03 via Flickr

We live in a country that lies above the equator so our weather doesn’t really permit us to dress in a fashionable way to the extent that we would be wearing faux fur jackets and stylish, foxy boots, because we would look absolutely ridiculous, needless to say. (Okay, I was probably exaggerating on that.) Well, unless you want to stand out in the crowd and drown in your own sweat.

You would be looked at in a “different” way since you have a different fashion statement from the majority, like the fashion blogger. She dressed atypically from the rest of the crowd, which is probably why she rose to popularity and was known -her style being different from the typical. It was also probably also how she carried those type of clothes. Like what I said in the aforementioned paragraph, if you would wear faux fur jackets and boots (and you happen to be riding the jeepney), more likely, people would look at you from head to toe with one brow raised and think how eccentric and queer you are. “Ano ba ‘yan, sasakay lang ng jeep, naka-boots pa!”

On the other hand, in Filipino culture, we always take pride and be proud of someone who represents our country and race, especially if he or she makes it in the international limelight and scene. Instead of promoting the Philippines in a positive light, she somehow degraded it — well, as she said on her apology, she was just being “completely honest” -that’s where the Filipino “pride” should have come in.

Well, come to think of it — she wasn’t a a Philippine representative mismo. Hence, the Filipino pride again.

What enraged the people may be when she said, “…so, like when I post photos there, like, I get lots of attention from it coz, like, people are not used to that kind of fashion…”

A lot of readers who commented on her apology mentioned how she self-glorified herself, how selfless and conceited she was merely thinking about herself, where in fact she mentioned the Philippines.

Being an internet celebrity she is, she just experienced something inevitable that almost every celebrity goes through -criticism. As I’ve mentioned, this issue was all over the blogosphere (and Twittersphere) and after a couple of days, it just suddenly disappeared into thin air, like a firework -so big but when it disintegrates, it’s as if nothing happened.

It was her choice of words, I guess.

Now, let’s open our eyes to more socially relevant issues, shall we?

Stereotype: Nerd

Everybody gets stereotyped.

Agree or disagree, it is actually true. Even you do. Nobody gets excluded from it -even the popular people and those well-liked also get labeled.

I’ve always been stereotyped as a nerd (or a geek) since forever. When people ask me if I am, well, I am unsure of what to say. When I was younger, when people labeled me as one, honestly, I really felt bad and took it offensively. That was before.

Maybe because physically, I wear eyeglasses, the more now that I wear black thick-rimmed ones (or what they call “geek chic” or “emo” -wow, another stereotype!) I’m also short and not athletic at all. And I always tie my hair in a ponytail. I’m not saying that being short or tying your hair makes you a nerd though. These are just some of the things that make me physically distinct from “typical” people, I guess.

More than the physical, well, maybe I do act like a nerd. You would see me browse my book in-between periods when there would be a test; take notes even if there are Powerpoints (which are the notes I’m actually copying) posted online; being a useless player in our team for P.E. “Hey, look, it’s the ball! Why didn’t you even hit it?! IT WAS ONE FOOT AWAY FROM YOU!

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about nerds. (Source)

“The stereotypical nerd is intelligent but socially and physically awkward.”

Well, I’m not intelligent, but yes, I do agree that I am physically awkward! Socially awkward -I’d have to say that I’m in between.

In film and television depictions, nerds are disproportionately white males with very large glasses, braces, severe acne and pants highly lifted up.

I have glasses, but not the ones with really large lenses. I do not have braces. I have acne -bacne. I do not wear pants highly lifted up either.

“…rejecting slang that “cool” white children use.”

Yes, I completely agree. And speaking to my fellow countrymen who conform to the norms of the society, mind you.

“They typically appear either to lack confidence… with the result that they become frequent objects of scorn, ridicule, bullying, and social isolation.”

Do I lack confidence? Maybe. Am I a frequent object of the aforementioned? Not really. I don’t know, maybe.

“Some nerds show a pronounced interest in subjects which others tend to find dull or boring…”

Emphasis on this. I like the society, current events, politics (basically social sciences) and the media. My peers find these topics absolutely dull, needless to say. You have your mainstream music, your Grammy-award musical series; and where writing on a wall is not considered vandalism. To each his own.

“…or just simply too complex and difficult to comprehend…”

“Maita, you want to change the world, right? How the heck do you even do that?!” (I don’t know how to either, but I’ll try.)

“Maita, how do you even know the coding scheme (geographical location) of plate numbers?”

“Maita, how do you know these deep Tagalog words?” (Kachichas -deep ‘yon?)

“…or overly mature for their age…”

An adult asked me once, “Government? Public service? You’re that young and those are what you actually think of?”

“Maita, you think too much. You’re too deep.”

And, physically speaking… (off-topic)

Relative: Maita, what grade are you in?
Maita: First year.
Relative: College?

I accept the fact that I look old mature.

Even my friends label me as a nerd. Once, we played Taboo, and the word my teammate and I had to guess was “geek”. Guess what they said? Maita. That was the first word they said.

Stereotypes give wrong impressions too. A close friend said, “I thought that you were a silent nerd, but when I got to know you more, you were totally different and undeniably better than my opinion.” (Aww! I love you.) Basically, stereotypes are derogatory and shouldn’t be a “basis” to make assumptions of a person.

As I’ve said earlier, when I was younger, I felt offended when people called me one, because my impression of a nerd was no friends, the library as a second home, a study-study-study-i-have-no-life sort of person.

But somehow, growing up, I came to realize that being labeled as a nerd isn’t so bad after all -compared to being labeled as a b**ch, slut or even a**hole, is it? It doesn’t really give a negative connotation compared to the ones I mentioned. I try to see it as a compliment -labeling me as a nerd probably implies that I fulfill my duties as a student, I study well and get good grades. Some of them are maybe jealous or what (but I don’t like using that word) so they take out all their frustration and feel one step higher by calling me a nerd. If you are labeled as a nerd, people think you’re smart -better than seeing you as an airhead. More than that, people will more likely look up to you.

After all, stereotypes are only impressions and a generalization.

So, yes, maybe I am a nerd.

Things We Can Do For Our Country

I remember reading a book by Alex Lacson named “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” a few months ago. Out of the twelve little things, I am proud to say that I follow or practice at least six of them (well, some rules concern jobs, taxes and the like so I think I’m exempted from them as of now!) If you know me well, you know how “nationalistic” and proud I am to be a Filipino -how high my hopes are for this country; how I want to make a difference in the Philippines and the world; how I want to do this and that for the society. I was somewhat inspired by the book and decided to write my own version. I am writing this in a teenager’s perspective though. I won’t be mentioning things such as taxes, employment, defensive driving -those sort of things. Besides, I might be saying things I don’t even completely understand.

1. Watch local T.V. shows.

And that goes to being fans of Filipino celebrities as well! I wouldn’t deny that colonial mentality is still so evident in our society. It wouldn’t hurt to watch a telenovela, telebabad or teleserye, would it? Personally, I’ve been an avid fan of local dramas since forever and it’s really fun to keep track of a series. Since the setting’s in the Philippines, we can somehow relate to them and not feel so bad about ourselves watching a show of highbrow society living in the posh NYC, with all those designer outfits and clothes. Oh, and Filipino movies aren’t so bad after all. They’re actually nakakakilig, have humor we can genuinely laugh at, family-oriented and a good watch with friends or family. They’re also a good time passer if you see it that way.

2. Listen to OPM (Original Filipino Music).

I read an article in the newspaper about how our music industry’s dying due to lack of support and many other things. As for me, well, I’m not a music person but I do like Filipino songs (such as Bugoy’s Muli, Regine Velasquez’s Araw Gabi, Rico Blanco’s Antukin, Gloc 9’s Upuan, Itchyworm’s Beer, Kundiman such as Dahil Sa’yo and a lot more). There are a lot of OPM songs that are a part of my childhood; when my brothers and I used to watch the Myx Daily Top 10 Countdown a few years ago. Some do have a significant meaning to me, like how I remember something, be it happy or sad, when I hear these familiar tunes. It saddens me how we are actually more familiar with foreign singers, songs, or bands. And no, listening to OPM doesn’t make you “baduy”!

3. Watch the news.

This I have to emphasize, maybe. “Oh, you know the politician who recently committed suicide in front of his mother’s grave?” Well, maybe, some of you know him, while some of you wonder with blank faces, up to today, asking yourself, “Sino ba yun?” Is it actually embarrassing not knowing about the things happening today? If you ask me, well, it is. Open your mind. It is a good thing for all of us to be aware of the reality of things. Step out of your comfort zone. Like what my teacher said, “This generation is too selfish. All what you care about are yourselves, Facebook, Twitter, Glee, and your iPhone!”

It’s not about, “Oh, I don’t give a crap about politics… really.” You are a part of the society, so at least know what you’re part of. Be aware and don’t be ignorant! Doesn’t it feel good to be knowledgeable and aware?

4. Speak in Filipino.

Ito yata yung dapat bigyang diin sa lahat ng nakasulat dito. I may be biased with this though. It’s really, really, really sad that a lot of people speak English more than our mother tongue. Think of it this way: Imagine a Japanese living in Japan, speaking English much better than Japanese, and can’t even pronounce words and construct sentences correctly. That’s what we have to change in ourselves! People say, “What… Filipino… it’s SO hard to understand!” Nothing will be ever hard if we at least try. I can’t really blame them, maybe because they simply grew up speaking in English in their homes.

And I don’t get how some people are actually “proud” to say that they’re not good at the language; how they think they’re “sosyal” if they don’t speak the language. Ewan ko ba, bakit, sa tingin nila, mas mataas sila kumpara sa lahat? Feeling superior?

6. Support local products.

There are a lot of products made in the Philippines -be it in the clothing or food industry. I love Mang Inasal. I love scramble. I love Papemelroti. I love Oishi Beer Match Cracklings. I love Mang Tomas. I love Roller Coaster!
Buying local products strengthens the economy of our country as well. Support “Made in the Philippines” products. Oh, did you know that Bayo is a local clothing line?

7. Throw your trash properly.

Helping the environment is also helping our country as well. One of the biggest problems our country is facing is trash piling and piling up in the landfills. Follow the 3 R’s! Avoid using plastic. If I’m not mistaken, a single plastic takes 1000 years to decay. When I go out, I have this foldable bag inside my bag where I place the things I buy. In this way, plastic isn’t consumed.

Also, in school, I bring a water jug instead of having to buy water bottles everyday. I get to save P15 per day, at the same time, less plastic bottles are used! And speaking of the environment, let’s lessen pollution. Ride a bicycle. It’s the funnest and easiest way to exercise if you’re a dope in sports like me, by the way.

8. Don’t smoke.

As written above, I’m writing this on a teenager’s point-of-view. Suddenly I write about… smoking? Well! Smoking doesn’t give you anything good in return, at the same time, it harms people’s health and harms the environment too. Do you think “risking” others is “worth it”? Think about it.

9. Speak positively about the country itself.

Despite all the negativity going on in our country and the rampant corruption in the government, we should speak positively. Be proud of the people that make the country. Especially when we talk to foreigners. Tell them about the things we as a country can be proud of. I’m not saying we should hide the bad stuff though!

10. Travel the Philippines.

Before traveling the world, travel the Philippines first, whether in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, or downtown Manila. Traveling is not necessarily going to the usual vacation destinations. Go to malls you’ve never been to, churches for Visita Iglesia or have a walking food tour in Intramuros or Binondo.

11. Know our culture.

We have so many things in our culture that we could be proud of! Don’t forget your po’s and opo’s. Read about the happenings of EDSA People Power. Even if you’re not a sports fan, watch Manny Pacquiao. It’s the enjoyment of watching, pride of one’s race and the cheering with family and friends on a Sunday lunch that would matter maybe.

12. Be PROUD!

Of course, be proud of being a Filipino! There are a million reasons to be thankful that we are Filipinos. T.G.I.F.! (Thank God I’m Filipino!)