My Political Science Education

Today, I spent the day reacquainting myself with international relations and political theory because of the recent Malaysian Airlines incident. I spent the afternoon reading up on two geopolitical issues: the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict and the Ukraine-Russia conflict. As with any armed political conflict, civilians are caught in between and unfortunately become collateral damage. For the former, three Israeli teenagers and four Palestinian boys were killed a month apart. For the latter, almost 300 foreign nationals were killed after Ukrainian separatist rebels shot down the plane they were on with a missile. This evening, I found myself looking at Communist propaganda posters after seeing a photo of Communist supporters carrying posters of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.

While most of my college education was devoted to analyzing political theories and discussing international relations, I realized that I never really got around to using the bulk of my education practically.

I had volunteered for, blogged and continue to blog about, worked and continue to work in the other fields which my political science course catered to – Philippine politics and governance, social development and law. I spent about a month learning about and lobbying for the Freedom of Information Bill under a local non-government organization promoting transparency and accountability. I spent a little over a year working for an education-related non-government organization and then three years in a social marketing agency. Now I am working for a law firm and are learning about some intricacies of transactional and litigious legal work as well as matters pertaining to intellectual property and employment.

Now with my realization, I think I must start reading up more about international relations so that none of my education will go to waste and all of it will be put into good use.

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The 2013 Philippine Bar Exam Passers

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the 2013 Philippine Bar Exam Passers!

The names on the list below are the names of people I knew back in high school (batchmates), college (coursemates, blockmates, org mates) and knew through friends who moved on to study law. The names are written exactly the way they were posted on the website:

63. ANGANGCO, Bernadette Marie G
69. ANTONIO, Angela A
147. BAUTISTA, Maria Francesca V
191. BUNAG, Jan Nicklaus S
258. CHATTO, II, Efren Dominique M
363. DIAZ, Rona April D
429. FERMIN, Doreen Grace R
440. FORTEA, Natassia L
571. LAGASCA, Marianne Franchesca Therese S
591. LAURON, Diana Margaret C
596. LAYNO, Ian Abelle P
1065. TEE, Divine Grace C
1089. TORRES, Jose Carlos S

For the full list, please visit this link. According to the Supreme Court, out of 5,293 that took the exam in October 2013, 22.18% or 1,174 examinees passed. Of the topnotchers, 5 came from University of the Philippines Law, 2 came from Ateneo Law, 1 came from San Beda, one from University of Batangas, one from University of Cebu and one from University of San Carlos.

Congratulations to everyone who passed!

A Victory for All Women Athletes and Athletes-to-Be

First off, I want to congratulate the Ateneo de Manila University Women’s Volleyball team for winning their first championship in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Series yesterday afternoon. You have made the university community “happy happy” with your strong golden hearts!

Just to give a rundown, the Lady Eagles beat Adamson University, National University twice and champion titleholder De la Salle University thrice in the semis and then thrice during the finals to win their first ever crown. I admit that I was only able to watch the last finals game and I only learned about their journey from my family who avidly watched their games. I didn’t realize how big the team had become all over the Philippines until I watched yesterday on television. I’m glad I watched and went to the bonfire and celebrate the victories for the university, for students and most importantly for women!

2014-03-15 Bonfire 2

“Heartstrong” is the mantra coined by the Lady Eagles’ Coach Tai that inspired the team and lead them to victory.

For the past eight or nine bonfires, ladies’ teams (as well as other athletic teams) took a backseat to give way to celebrating the Men’s Senior Basketball Team’s Championship in the UAAP. This time, women took the front seat in driving and celebrating a victory for the university. This shows how much the institution has progressed from being conservative and masculine to being liberal and gender-neutral. And this happened in the 40th year anniversary of having women Ateneans!

2014-03-15 Bonfire 10

Team Captain, Series MVP and Finals MVP Alyssa Valdez shared to the community how they felt during Set 3 of Game 3. Women being cheered onstage during the Bonfire! FINALLY!

As a woman and a member of the alumni, it’s really heartwarming and inspiring to see the celebration in front of my eyes. It’s the recognition that I believe many of us have always wanted to see. Their victory is something that would inspire many female teenagers to fulfill their dream of being university or professional women athletes as they have seen that women athletes are accepted, loved and admired by society.

2014-03-15 Bonfire 12

Again, congratulations Lady Eagles.  And congratulations too to the high school and university Judo teams, the Women’s and Men’s Senior Badminton Teams, the Men’s Senior Swimming Team, the Men’s Senior Volleyball Team and Team Glory Be for your respective victories. Keep your hearts strong and continue winning!

Here are the other photos from the bonfire:

Here’s the university community celebrating the lighting of the bonfire and singing the school hymn Song for Mary:

Lessons from University Long After Graduation

Amidst the everyday traffic chaos, the pushing and squeezing in the rail transit stations, the general feeling of frustration brought about poor national governance and corruption and other worries and disappointments came messages of hope from the university I graduated from – messages that I used to hear on a daily basis before that gave me so much optimism, but are rarely heard now, save for the occasional homily given by a Jesuit priest. These are the messages that I’ve longed to hear.

2014-02-19 Women Leaders In the Footsteps of St. Ignatius 1

These messages of hope from this evening’s of testimonials entitled “Women Leaders: In the Footsteps of St. Ignatius” which is part of “40 Years Half the Sky: Celebrating Co-Education in Ateneo de Manila”, a campaign celebrating the presence and contribution of women in the university. Ateneo first opened its doors to women in 1973 and now women slightly outnumber the men. The women spoke about how Ignatian values and spirituality are making an impact on their lives.

2014-02-19 Women Leaders In the Footsteps of St. Ignatius 1

Ateneo President Father Jett Villarin gives the Opening Remarks

The women leaders who spoke were CHED Chairperson Dr. Patricia Licuanan, Filinvest Development Corporation President and CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap ad Rags II Riches Founder and Director Reese Fernandez – Ruiz.

2014-02-19 Women Leaders In the Footsteps of St. Ignatius 3

Dr. Patricia Licuanan, Chair of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED)

Dr. Licuanan shared lessons on balancing one’s career with a rich and relaxed personal life, balancing leadership, the zest for change and courage with management, systems and prudence and being a voice of hope by finding comfort in advocacies and reforms and even afflicting people’s comfort zones.

2014-02-19 Women Leaders In the Footsteps of St. Ignatius 4

Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Filinvest Development Corporation and Filinvest Land Inc. President and CEO

Josephine Gotianun – Yap shared that in business, having a sense of responsibility and vision trumps power. In business you have to set a moral tone which will guide the mission, vision and general operational direction of the company.

2014-02-19 Women Leaders In the Footsteps of St. Ignatius 6

Reese Fernandez Ruiz, President and Co-Founder, Rags2Riches (with Monch, and Dan and Bem in the photo)

Finally, Reese Fernandez – Ruiz shared that being more reflective or in her words – “disturbed” – has helped in her growth as an individual and how it has helped grow her social enterprise, Rags2Riches. Her testimonial actually hit home because I actually went through what she went through. Like her, I prepared a plan on how to be rich and successful and life, and found myself deviating from the plan after encountering prisoners from Bilibid, having an internship in UNICEF, volunteering for a non-government organization, working for another non-government organization and having the heart for development and business. Her questions struck me and her answers pretty much validated the path I’m taking now. Her parting words to the audience were, “Never stop asking ‘Why?'”.

I’ve actually stopped asking myself that after graduation. From my short healthcare stint post-graduation and in my business and development sector career now, I’ve never really asked. I just kept going, and feeling and knowing it’s the right way to go.

On my way home, I found myself asking myself “Why am I doing what I am doing?”.

And after 7 years of exploring the world through healthcare, education, development and marketing, I now have answer.

Thank You Teacher!

(The title of this post is taken from DepEd’s campaigns – GO! Education and Thank You Teacher)

In the last few years, I was blessed to take part in education advocacy. I’m also glad that this government is bent on improving education. And while policy development is important, for me, what is more important is the gratitude expressed to all teachers.

How can we express our gratitude to our teachers?

  1. Recite and take to heart the National Prayer for Teachers:

     

  2. Tweet @DepEd_PH your thank you note for your teachers, with the hashtag #ThankYouTeacher:

    Thank You Teacher! Hashtagging

    Photo taken from the DepEd Philippines Facebook Page

For the teachers I’ve had and I know, thank you for opening my eyes and the eyes of thousands of learners and helping us learn become better citizens of the world. More than any concept or theory that you’ve taught me, the most important lesson I learned was to be human and be understanding and sensitive to others. And I pray this goes on as you continue helping people learn.

Sa inyong lahat, maraming maraming maraming maraming salamat! Salamat sa mga guro, habangbuhay naming aalahanin ang magandang nagawa ninyo para sa amin at para sa mundo.

Maligayang Araw ng Guro sa Buong Mundo!

Happy World Teacher’s Day!

Teachable Moments

For the past few days, I’ve read the term “teachable moment” several times on various articles online. It’s a fairly old concept in education theory but a very new one for me even if I’ve worked for education advocacy projects before. I’m not sure if it’s wholly the same with “learning moment”, but I prefer the term “teachable moment” because it sounds so much wiser and full of hope, at least for me.

“Teachable moment” is a concept that was popularized by Robert Havighurst, a professor, educator and physicist. It refers to those opportunities wherein  learning about something becomes easy.

We have so many “teachable moments” in life, and we should take advantage of those opportunities so we can reflect and learn about life, or help others in doing so.  Some of the best teachable moments I’ve had occurred outside the formal school setting.

This is important for managers and anyone whose means of living involves leading people. A few years back, my bosses  and older workmates took opportunities like meetings and long drives home as teachable moments. As we were about to take our seats for a meeting in a restaurant, one boss taught me the prescribed seating arrangement when going on dates. Another boss told me the importance of having savings early as we discussed my future goals. An older workmate told me that when I marry, my husband and I should consider buying a home first before buying a vehicle, when I hitched with him for a ride home. It has been years since I’ve heard all those, and the lessons stayed with me. I thank all of them for the lessons they taught me.

As leaders, you can take meetings and activities like conventions, symposia and project activations as opportunities to share lessons to your team. You can also take certain moments like the ones I shared above to share other non-work yet useful lessons in life.

Couples should also view certain experiences like big arguments or external challenges (such as a family or work-related problem, or even something as trivial as getting lost in the parking lot) as teachable moments to make themselves wiser and their relationships stronger.

This is most important for parents and elder siblings out there, who double as mentors to their kin. Kids are inquisitive, so parents and elder siblings can take the moment and enlighten them even on  issues like sex and sexuality, war and conflicts, crimes and safety using age-appropriate language.

Thanks for sharing your time with me by reading my post! How about you? Is there any particular teachable moment you can remember that you would want to share?

The New Compañeros and Compañeras

The 2011 bar exam results were released yesterday, at 2:00 PM. After much anticipation, I was delighted to know that many, many of my friends passed! To all of you new compañeros and compañeras, congratulations and good luck on your careers in the legal and judicial landscape!

Here are the names of some of my high school (batch 2003) and university (batch 2007) batchmates whom I know who passed:

31 . ABU, Christine Joy A.
115 . ANDRES, Diane Angeli S.
121 . ANGELES, Enrico Errol D.
152 . ARCILLA, Broderick C.
157 . AREVALO, Ma. Donna V.
235 . BALOIS, Edgardo Roman Manuel C.
237 . BALUYOT, Jose Marie M.
283 . BELLO, Diana Lyn B.
294 . BERNABE, III, Ricardo P.
478 . CORDON, Francesse Joy J.
531 . DAVID, Maria Samantha V.
558 . DE LA CUESTA, Joseph Roman D.
655 . DUHAYLONGSOD, Jose Maria B.
715 . EUSTAQUIO, Ma. Anna Katrina C.
745 . FLORES, Sienna A.
789 . GARCIA, Fatima C.
797 . GARCIA, III, Placido O.
845 . GREGORIO, Joseph Alenn R.
902 . ILAGAN, Miguel Narciso A.
973 . LAMARCA, Justine Anne L.
1044 . LO, Vicente Carlos S.
1084 . MABAGOS, JR., Roberto D.
1123 . MALLILLIN, Victor Paul E.
1243 . MORAL, Christina Alma M.
1314 . OMPOC, Javin Dominic G.
1400 . PAULINO, Lex A.
1422 . PEÑA, Charisse B.
1573 . ROSALES, Maria Luisa Isabel L.
1736 . TAMAYAO, Katrina Bianca T.
1813 . UY, Jean Marie L.
1890 . YANO, Julius A.
1905 . ZABLAN, Miguel Antonio G.

The Philippine K+12 Educational System (Part 1)

If there’s one thing that I’ve given my absolute support for in this current government, it’s this – the Philippine K+12 Educational System. Initial reactions from education technocrats to civic society organizations and finally the public, have been negative as there has been focus on how much it will impact parents and students financially and also on the lack of good facilities and quality instructors.

Before anything else, let me give a background on the details of the K+12. It’s a system designed for the primary, basic and secondary in both public and private schools, with one year (K) for primary which is currently voluntary, seven years (grades 1 – 6) for basic, four years (grades 7-10) for junior secondary school and three years (grades 11-12 ) for senior secondary school. It features an improved curriculum with focus on Filipino and Mother Languages in the first grade, depending on where the schools are located. Tech-Voc classes are also another feature, and they will be provided by TESDA. Lessons taught in general subjects in college will also be included.

What the K+12 aims is for better, more prepared students for tertiary education and work. It is a long-term investment. Students already receive the necessary knowledge as the system already includes tech-voc and comprehensive courses in English, Filipino, Science and Mathematics, even Physical Education. Tertiary education would be optional. Students can opt to work immediately or pursue studies in college or the university with more quality knowledge as tertiary education would be focused on major subjects. For those who choose to work immediately, they are deemed eligible as they have already received the comprehensive necessary knowledge in the general subjects. For those who opt to go to college or university, they are not only eligible, they are also free to learn only what they have to know via their majors.

What it aims for is a community of young citizens ready to take on whatever at the right age with the right mindsets. What will be spent by the government, the parents and the students will bring back greater returns – a wider set of useful stock knowledge, better jobs, better salaries and work ethic. Let me repeat, better jobs and better salaries. Again, better jobs and better salaries. For parents and students who are educating their children or are studying in the public school system reading this, think of this – you or your child can  knowledge that’s similar to that being offered in the private schools at much, much lower costs (because the government will be funding the schooling itself unlike in the private schools where you have to pay large tuition fees) and that will afford you a better professional life. To illustrate, a 12 year education inclusive of grade school, high school and college could afford someone a salesperson job in a department store. A 12 year education inclusive of grade school and high school could afford you the same job in a better setting, say as a salesperson/stylist in a high-end boutique. That saves a lot of money as no or less money would be spent for college. For parents and students who are educating their children or are studying in the private school system reading this, think of this – you’re just getting more worth for your money.


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