Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry


The very first thing — or I suppose, very first person —  that comes to my mind when I think of geometry is my old Geometry teacher back when I used to go to Bethel International School. I remember him to be easy-going and the class found him hilarious (his sense of humor catered to teenagers, shall we say). We only had him for a year before he became our Physics teacher.

Anyway, posting a picture of him feels a bit like cheating, so I decided with this one instead:

This picture was taken nearly three years ago, way back in April 2010. It was after a very long, very dull rehearsal for the end of school year’s Recognition Ceremony and I can’t really remember why, but my brother and I were hanging around this monument located somewhere in Tacloban City. I took pictures because back then, my camera and I were literally attached at the hip (I’ve had bruises to show for it!).

I have no idea what the statue stands for; I was quite ignorant back then. I still am now, actually, but I’d like to think that my awareness of current events has improved somewhat. After all, I know that Obama has been re-elected as the US president because it said so on Tumblr.

Um, yeah. Okay. Over and out!

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Mang Demi Solar


The world is full of brilliant people.

I am privileged enough to have a family who can afford to put a good roof over my head and most of the time, I seem to forget about that. Just this afternoon I was bemoaning the fact that I cannot go on a shoe shopping spree because I don’t have any spare cash to spend. Looking back now, I can’t believe how petty I was compared to some people living in my home country, the Philippines. Poverty stricken families live in squatter areas, where they stay under tin roofs without all the things I take for granted. Like hygienic indoor plumbing and God-given light.

The video below presents the living conditions of these people, but it has a positive twist — there’s this guy who, using his ingenuity, created a means for which these house where light is hard to reach to have LIGHT. Watch the video. It will blow your mind by how simple his solution is.

Here’s to taking the term “solar power” to  whole new level!

Click here to donate to the Liter of Light charity.

Now This Is Just Ridiculous


Heatwave, anyone?

According to my BBC Weather app (yes, I have one!), it’s 23 degrees Centigrade — that’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, I’m no expert at climate temperatures or anything like that… but isn’t England supposed to be, y’know, cold? I understand that’s it’s summer and apparently we had a very light winter, but I know it shouldn’t be this hot.

I’ve lived in the Philippines and I swear it was never like this. Though, it’s not like my word has any merit on this matter, given that I spent most of my time either in an air-conditioned classroom, an air-conditioned car or an air-conditioned bedroom… See the pattern? This might be a sign saying I ought to invest in a fan.

I should get one of those portable ones that can hang around your neck. That way, I can have carry it around in school and be all like “I’m the boss of this heatwave.”

And the teachers can’t tell me to turn it off because I’m sure it’s against the law somewhere to slowly boil a teenager alive. It would be a cruel and unusual punishment…

Okay, my thoughts have returned to school. Damn. I really should get back to my work — lots to do, so little time. And I have an exam tomorrow. Wish me luck??

Over and out. I hope you guys have a bucket of ice cream — or at the very least just a bucket of ice — to keep you sane.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter


Canterbury Cathedral, taken just yesterday

This is my first winter in England for a long, long time and I am completely a little mesmerised by the complete change of scene. I mean, the foggy breaths, the winter shoes and the skeletal trees? What’s not to love? It’s completely different from what I’d be experiencing if I was back in the Philippines. This time last year, I believe I’d be in my shorts and slippers complaining that the air conditioner was weak.

How times change, eh?

Conflicted


=S The title says it all.

I’m conflicted, people! I honestly don’t know if what I did was right or wrong, and there’s a niggling part of my conscience that just. won’t. go. away.

This is the second time it’s happened. I was walking through town — y’know, minding my own beeswax — when a person approached me and asked for spare change. Now, coming from the Philippines, my experience with people who asked for money in the streets tells me to just ignore and walk away as fast as you can. My grandparents explained to me that it’s illegal to ask for money from strangers, and an ex-teacher of mine explained that if they’re begging you for money, then just give food instead so that the money won’t be spent on drugs or whatever.

But this isn’t the Philippines. England isn’t a third world country, and just looking at the guy who asked me for spare change told me enough that he was not starving for food. It didn’t help that he was seated at the front steps of the church I go to, so a part of me is feeling very conflicted.

Should I have given him the few coins in my purse, or was I correct to have just walked away?

I feel bad, really, because I knew if I were in that situation, I would be madder than mad that the person I approached rebuffed my pleas. It was rude, selfish and greedy. But still, with the etiquette that I grew accustomed with, shouldn’t my behaviour be forgiven?

Well, I have no idea… hence the conflicted feelings spinning inside me.

Oh well. I’m off to do homework…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Image


The path leading to the Underground caves in Palawan. My family and I took a holiday there just this summer and let me tell you, it. was. fun.

Empire Magazine, a Harry Potter Special



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It might sound a little out there, the way I managed to nab this copy of Empire Magazine. The magazine can be bought in England. I live in the Philippines and, if you know your geography well, that is as far away from England as possible. I never left Asia. My mother went to England in June. She came to the Philippines and handed me the magazine, and I was all smiles.

Sounds a bit too much for just a simple magazine, doesn’t it?

But that’s the thing. It’s not just a simple magazine. It’s Harry Potter special. Though I haven’t read it yet (I’ve been busy like a bee), I know that there’s a booklet full of behind the scenes information about the actors Daniel, Emma, Rupert, Bonnie, Tom, James and Oliver, and Evanna.

Yeah — I know, right?! I just had to get a copy. I don’t care what measures I had to take…

… Fortunately, my mother had already schedule a trip to England. My hopes of getting a copy of the magazine weren’t very high, but when she announced that she was going, I was beyond beyond beyond ecstatic. She was going to scout colleges for me, and a little thing such as a magazine would be no trouble for her. So, voilà! Weeks later, I’m hugging my own copy of Empire Magazine.

I have the best mom ever. That is not an exaggeration; it is a fact. If you don’t believe me, then you don’t understand. It’s not just the Harry Potter magazine. It’s about the Doctor Who DVDs (season 4 and 5) as well. It’s about the little key chain she got me, knowing my affinity — or I should say obsession — for them. It’s about accompanying me as I move back to England, where I’ll mostly be independent.

My mom is the best. Beat that.

Pintados Kasadyaan Festival


I’m pretty much ignorant towards the many fiestas and celebrations of Leyte, especially those near where I live. The only reason I know there’s a fiesta coming on is because of the increase of activity in haste to prepare food for the visitors. My grandmother hosts an all-day party every year, especially since my grandfather is the town Mayor.

I’ve heard of the Pintados before, but I never really knew what it was — nor did I think about it much — since I did not live in Tacloban City. Bethel International School, despite its close proximity to the city, does not acknowledge the fiesta other than letting the students who lived in Tacloban to have a free day off, so the event was pretty much ignored by me.

However, this year it’s different. That would be because my grandfather, whom I’ve mentioned was the mayor of the town, had decided to enter the Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals competition.

Kasadyaan is the Visayan term for jollity and merriment. Kasadyaan Festival is where all the festivals from various municipals of Leyte gather in the City of Tacloban for the celebration. Lively dance-drama in various colors takes place with the accompaniment of rhythmic beats of drums and bugle. This festival is very essential to the Leyteños for it strengthens their sense of pride. Every participating municipality escalates a unique storyline to portray their local folklore and legends with pride.

festivalsinthephilippines.com

the dancers taking a break from their rigorous practice

Our town’s festival is called the Tamyok Festival, celebrating the tamyok (fresh river shrimps) that are abundant in the river and thus the townspeople’s way of life.

The dancers, mostly consisting of high school students, practiced really hard to perfection. The band, I’m quite sure, practiced real hard as well. I can’t count the many times I lied in bed awake because they were still playing until past midnight. Though I’m a night owl, the band were my scapegoat when my grandparents asked why I’ve been lacking sleep last week… shh!

But moving on…

According to Wikipedia, the Pintados Festival is “a cultural-religious celebration in Tacloban based on the body-painting traditions of the ancient tattooed pintados warriors. In 1986, the Pintados Foundation, Inc. was formed by the people of Tacloban to organize this festival in honor of Sr. Santo Niño. Years later, it was merged with the Kasadyaan Festival which is always held on June 30.”

The website somewhereintheworldtoday.com further explains:

The Pintados Festival lasts for the whole of June but the festivities peak towards the end of June as over the years it has been combined with the feast day of Señor Santo Niño (June 29th) and the Kasadyaan Festival (June 30th). Highlights include the Leyte Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals, the Pintados Festival Ritual Dance Presentation and the “Pagrayhak” Grand Parade.

Yesterday on June 27th was the culmination of the Pintados festival, I suppose. I’m not quite sure since Pintados, Kasadyaan and Sangyaw (another festival happening tomorrow on the 29th) sound the same to me. I personally blame my ignorance. Anyway, I took as much pictures as I could of the parade, even though we weren’t allowed to continue into the Tacloban City proper due to some conflicts.

the dancers in their costumes, dancing in the parade

my town's designated reyna (queen)

In the competition, my town won 8th place, which is nice since the competition was tough. This was just out first try, and it’s a real blessing that the children’s hard work are being repaid with their win. 8th place might not be much to some people, but at least we placed, right? There were fifteen contenders after all. ^__^


Note: There’s been news that the judges had calculated the scores wrong. Apparently my town, originally in 8th place, is not in 5th. I’m not sure, but my grandparents are insisting that I make that clear. >.<

#27 – A picture of yourself and a family member


Yes, I know. I’ve been neglecting this challenge. But better late than never, eh?

This is a picture of my mom and me deciding which pictures to print out as a hologram souvenir. We were vacationing in Boracay, the best beach ever in my opinion. I think it’s one of the must-see places if any of you vacationers are in the Philippines.

The pictures we were choosing from were the ones when we went helmet diving. If you want to see a picture of it, click this link.

Hair-Pulling and Head-Banging, Second Edition


Here we are: another dose of a frustrated rant, only this time instead of feeling trapped in an island far away from communication, I feel like I’m being pulled in two separate directions — and it’s all me. Nothing to do with other people. Just me.

I’d say I’m too young to make this decision, but I’d be bluffing. I’m not too young — heck, I think it’s about time I take responsibility with my education. So here’s the gist (so far, anyway):

  • It’s been a developing idea for years, ever since my family and I left England, that I would go to college there. The problem? Going to school here in the Philippines means I didn’t take my GCSEs and I really need them, plus my A-Levels, to get into a college in the UK.
  • If I go to school here in June, I’ll be a Senior — and I don’t want to miss out on that. If I go to school in England (on September), I’d have to re-take lessons to catch up and I probably won’t graduate until two years from now.
  • Speaking of graduation, if I hadn’t been enrolled in an international school (US, not UK), I’d be graduating from high school. There was an extra grade added in the elementary years for “transitioning”, though the work load is designed for high school freshmen.
  • For the first time ever since it’s creation four years ago, the Student Council moved its election from the beginning of the school year to the end of the previous one so that “the officers can meet up during the summer and work on various projects.” (Not that I’m against that or anything, but I haven’t been notified of any meetings whatsoever.) Anyway, this means that I’m already the Treasurer for the SY 2011-2012.
  • Taking that two year thing in England, I’d most likely be re-learning the things I already know, seeing as the sophomore curriculum in Bethel International School is the same as any senior curriculum in other schools in the Philippines.
  • But on the up side, I’d be in England with my friends. Only, they’d be moving on to college and i’d be stuck in high school. Can you imagine it? Me, having to take five years worth of lessons — six if you include that extra grade in elementary — before I could be free of high school.

You’d think that after all my complaints and pleas to be able to at least visit England or move back there in the past years, I’d be excited to take this opportunity. But I’m not, and that’s my problem. It wasn’t my number one choice to live here in the Philippines with my grandparents while my mom is on the other side of the world… but I’ve learned to deal with it.

Besides, I’ve grown to like it here. I’ve grown to like Bethel, my peers and especially my classmates. Like I’ve mentioned in this blog’s Student Life section, me and my classmates, we’re like family. If I do decide to move back to England, that would mean settling in with different people whom I know would be different than me — that’s not saying much though, since I’m an oddball even with my friends here. XD

Anyway, whatever my decision, I hope it would be the best one for me. This is my education I’m talking about, and I’d rather choose the option that can help me achieve my goals. Not to sound crass, but in my sixteen years of existence, I’ve spotted a pattern: you move into a new place, you make connections, you begin to settle and then BAM! you have to move away again and then those connections fade.

It’s just a part of life.

There’s on use denying it.

So this is me, pulling my hair out of its roots and banging my head slowly on my desk (or whatever smooth surface I can find). Over and out.