Definition of a terror high school english teacher

Ah, the great social network connections. Connect with old friends! Connect to make new friends! You can now even get offered a job because if a seeking employer happens to chance upon you on LinkedIn (true).

On Facebook, you get suggested “People You May Know”, right? I opened my account one day and then my eyes suddenly dart to this portion. Right there, the damn system suggests to me one of my most hated teachers in high school. Her subject? English.

I didn’t hate her because she taught english. I hated her because she wasn’t any good at it but feels otherwise. She was what we young boys back-in-the-day used to call as a “terror teacher”. Definition? Not really good at the subject, intimidates students so they think that she is.

As I stare at her smug, smiling face in her profile picture I cannot help but remember my most hated memory of her: I didn’t do her assignment that we compile all the damn simple short stories she keeps handing out to us. Why didn’t I do it? I thought it was stupid. I cannot read those thing properly if I did that. Turned out I was the only one in the class who didn’t do it. She got pissed man.

What was my punishment? She ordered me to make a report, in front of the class, about a  topic she has not yet discussed, which was not in her supposed lesson plan for the term, on a day’s notice. Suffice to say I bombed the presentation and she got a good laugh at my expense (yes, she’s that evil).

I got so riled up about it that I wanted to write her a long message. I wanted to tell her that i was an editor of the official literary publication of our college. That I am currently a credit analyst for a universal bank, and part of my work was to make write-ups about client’s financial statements. That I am soon to become a credit analyst for an international insurance company doing basically the same work, but at a much larger scope. That I relished reporting in college, and presenting things that I have prepared for does not faze me.

I wanted to tell her that through all those, I will never say that she somehow inspired me in any way. But I didn’t send her that long message. I deleted it. Because like it or not, as much as I don’t want to admit it, but she did help me somewhere back in those days of hell. She inspired me to show her and others like her that I am better than what they say of me.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I did somehow get some semblance of revenge from this. I graduated from high school in 2003. She listed in her profile that she last worked in 2003. That was probably the best memory I have of her, she getting booted out of school. Whatever.

Peace 😉

(I do not own the picture).

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Real life movie scenes

 

Or, things that happen to you in a day that you thought could only happen in a movie, or something in TV.

You ever see a scene where a group (like in a big concert crowd) all raucous and excited, very noisy, all of a sudden shuts-up in unison because of shock? Here’s my story.

I was still a kid back then and a member of a huge community called Youth for Christ (the Philippines is a predominantly Christian country by the way) and we were all gathered for a conference. Hundred of teens, high in excitement, and then we’re told that Gary V. was the night’s very special guest. Now Gary V. (or Gary Valenciano) is a big star here. Many popular songs, great performer, and very vocal about his religious beliefs (see why he was the special guest?). Some of his best songs have religious themes.

We get very elated and wait for the night’s festivities to come. A cancer survivor girl belts out some inspirational songs with her still powerful voice. We applaud her but still a frenzy awaiting the very special guest to come to stage is creeping among the ranks. Then the girl goes:

(these were based from what I remember of the time)

“Okay YFC! Are you ready for the next singer?”

(We think it must be Gary V.) (shouts)

“He is a very talented singer!”

(Gary V.’s one hell of singer) (louder shouts)

“He is very religious like all of you!”

(He is definitely religious! It must really be Gary V.) (ground-shaking screams)

“Everybody! Put your hands up for -”

(livid teenagers)

“PIPO LINA!” (no diss on the guy, but…)

Silence. Utter silence. I swear to God, it lasted for at least 5 seconds. Shock. We didn’t know that one. To this day what happened then still gets us to a laughing fit. In the end we got to watch Gary V. live.

Fast forward to a more recent event.

I was stuck waiting for a bus to come. Traffic was held up because of a mass meeting of one of the largest and influential religious groups (Yes, we have a lot of those here in the Philippines) and a lot of us were already irate. Consider this, we were all tired from work and we have been standing close to an hour just waiting for a bus to come.

The streets were relatively devoid of vehicles, just a passing car from someone who actually does not care about the high prices of oil in this country. But then a scooter with two people riding (a guy driving, a girl holding on to him for dear life) traverses the road.

With the popularity of motorcycles and scooter here in the Philippines, some have an actual proper sound system installed. This particular scooter was one example.

As the duo, moving very cautiously despite the relatively open road, was about to pass us group of stranded commuters, the driver decides to crank the volume on his sound system. It was also in time for the start of a new song and it blares out Marry Your Daughter by the McKnights. The way the girl was holding on to her guy, the slow speed of their ride, and the fact that nothing else can be seen on the road drew our utmost attention to the two. It was like watching a TV commercial for a scooter. That lessened our burden during that night.

Or when I was as senior in High School. During a trip for our CAT class (military training, a requirement here in the Philippines). We were playing paintball clad in our military inspired uniforms. We were in our base, and our company’s CO was giving orders to me and some other cadets. Then, boom! (or more like splat!). A thick, pink (yep not even red) liquid covers the left side of his face. That was Saving Private Ryan-esque. One minute he was barking out orders, the next he’s gone (to the holding zone for those “killed” in battle).

Those events may sound corny to some but they really entertained me. A break from the everyday rigors of life.

(Again, I do not own the picture in this post).

Peace 😉

The Potato Chip and the Tall Man

I am not really complaining, just thought it was sort of funny and ironic.

One faithful night, I was watching Mega Factories (I think) in National Geographic and this episode was featuring the Frito Lays factory during the fourth of July crunch. They showed how those delectable potato chips are made from the selection of prime potatoes, peeling, cutting, frying, seasoning and packing.

I was impressed by the efficiency of their factory line. I was also drawn to how meticulous their system is to providing just the best chips for the American people. Somewhere during the process, a machine selects chips that have been fried and have some dark spots in it takes it out of the line to prevent it from being packed. The supervisor that was facilitating the tour of the factory picks up a potato chip, round and without any burnt marks, and declares it “a perfect potato chip.” Wow.

This past week, during my hiatus from work, I bought some Lays potato chips for me to consume preferably while watching TV. I open a bag, dig in to the luscious chips, and about the fifth chip I pick from the bag has a burn mark on it. I immediately remember the what I watched in National Geographic about how these are supposed to have been picked out of the line. Needless to say I finished the whole bag (they are still the best commercial potato chips) and saw quite a number of chips with burn marks.

I live in the Philippines. I bought that bag of Chips here in the Philippines. That bag was marked Export . So it seems that what was not acceptable to be sold to Americans (probably to prevent having to throw some otherwise perfect potato chips) were packed for export to other countries. Like the Philippines.

So being the informative fellow that I am, I tell this story to my colleague at work. She responds with “Baliktad eh no? Pag nag-export tayo yung pinakamaganda lang.” (It’s different from us, right? When we export we only send the best quality products.)

What’s funny and ironic about this is that here in the Philippines, when we say export quality (such as mangoes, pineapples, tuna and what-not) are the best of the bunch, picked meticulously in-line with the foreigners preferences. I commend the American thinking that only the best be given to their people while also commend the Philippine attitude of only giving the best quality to other people.

Come to think of it, this can be traced to the Philippines’ affinity to the American culture, that things Imported from them is good for us. Hey, it’s business.

This can be also viewed in terms of Sports. The world’s best basketball league, features stalwarts such as 3-time NBA MVP Lebron James and 2010 FIBA World Basketball MVP Kevin Durant no name a few. But they also have the best players of other countries such as Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Ricky Rubio, and Yi Jianlian (hell even Hamed Haddadi of Iran). Only the best can play in the USA.

But what do all of us do? Players from the USA that weren’t quite good enough to play in the NBA travel overseas because they know that foreign teams would still be ecstatic to have them play for their teams. Some are even naturalized so they can play for that country’s national team. The Philippines is one such country. We have a Marcus Douthit. Former draft pick by the Lakers, decided to Play in Europe, was once again courted by the Lakers but was cut. He played in the D-League and Foreign countries and had a fairly decent if not good career. Now he is an integral part of the Philippines Mens Basketball team.

Every year, the country’s professional basketball league the PBA adds imports to beef-up the rosters of teams and add some flair into the league. This past conference, it was highlighted by the two best imports Denzel Bowles (named best import but has not played in the NBA yet) and Donell Harvey (who was signed by different NBA teams but never really played any significant minutes).

I don’t hate America. I just find it funny that we Filipinos generally embrace the American culture so much that we forget that mostly what we get from them are things (or players) they deemed not good enough for their standards. Be it the Lays potato chips or Marcus Douthit.

I do not own any of the pictures in this post.

Peace 😉

Eating lunch with one hand?!

Fast food for break fast. Fast food for lunch. And this really was fast food. I was in the store for 3 minutes tops, that was even during lunch time (props for efficiency).

It’s supposed to be bad for you. I know it’s bad for me. But what can I do? I have to eat but I don’t have the luxury of waiting about 30 minutes for my food to be prepared and cooked properly.

Fastfoods appeal to us since we live in a fast-paced world right now. I make reports that have to dig deep into a potential client’s character, capacity, capital, collateral, and condition (the age old 5 c’s of credit) and am expected to bang the report out in at least 2-3 days. Don’t get me started about how these clients demand the approval of their loans from the marketing units.

Thus fast food restaurants (especially those that sell fares that one can eat with one hand) are very viable. In the Philippines the most popular are McDonald’s (Ray Kroc’s multinational legacy) and Jollibee (Tony Tan Caktiong’s conglomorate that some say is the Filipino version of McDonald’s). Yep, we love them burgers.

What I’m eating now for lunch is Jollibee’s hash brown burger. A burger pattie sandwiched between 2 pieces of baked (mind you) hash browns and cheese. It’s bit salty and oily (dreading the saturated fat counter). But it’s filling, and it was given to me fast.

You’re not you when you’re hungry, as the Snickers tag line goes. So for the sake of filling our stomachs with food, we now prefer scrunched burgers over plated hot food. But right now I have to finish my “burger” and get back to work.

(Pardon the position of the picture, still not good at writing here with my BlackBerry)

Peace 😉

I see buildings

My week-long hiatus from work is over. I am back here in front of my office computer, once again performing my duties as an employee of one of the largest banks in the Philippines.

I got to see the buildings dotting the skyline of the major financial district in this country. I once again experienced the traffic that I have to endure everyday going to work. I get to be with my officemates again. Bottomline, vacation’s over and it’s back to reality.

A week of taking care of my cute Dachshund, doing household chores, late night romps with friends not yet subjected to the “rat race” (yep).

But hey, I don’t feel that bad. I can still do something with my blog and view it. I got my BlackBerry to thank for that (and a relatively cheap unlimited data plan). I’m gonna get to see the awesome mall near the office. Hell, I’ll get to sample different food here.

Going back to work is not so bad after all. Oh yeah, I got lots of backlog to finish. Sigh.

Peace 😉

I don’t like to travel

I don’t like to travel.

Okay, let me rephrase that. I don’t like to travel just for the sake of travelling. You know, going to a place just so you can take pictures and post them in Facebook for all to see or just so you can be able to key in on conversations about Boracay, Puerto Galera, Hong Kong, Singapore and so on. If I’m gonna travel, I don’t care if it’s not a very big tourist destination. I’m more interested in what I’m gonna learn from that travel.

My favorite places that I have gone to so far is Corregidor Island. It’s got amazing views, lush greenery but you don’t go here just to soak up some sun in a beach full of people (actually, the beaches here are very rocky). You go here because of the history.

Being a key defensive fortress for Filipino and American forces during World War 2, the island is surrounded by various heavy guns and barracks which were relatively left to what they looked like after all the bombing during the war.

I love seeing these mammoth guns up close some as big as cars, some the scale of buses. The scars on the metal from shrapnel seems eerie yet beautiful. Bunkers near these that are black and very scary excite me. Tales of ghosts add intrigue.

 

Ruins of buildings left as they were during and after the war seems to travel you back to those years. You imagine what it would have felt like when all bedlam was going down. War movies set in the WW2 seem very real all of a sudden.

 

I have been here twice, and still long to come back some more. No amazing beach, no major hotels nor bars/restaurants, but plenty of history and pleasant views.

I haven’t been out of my country of the Philippines yet. Part of it is that I do not want to use up my money for expensive travel but another part is that I want to get to know more about my country. There are so many places I haven’t gone too, I haven’t been to Mindanao.

It’s okay to have a trip just for relaxation of fun. Swimming during the hot season is nice. But going to Boracay because the beach is one of the best in the world and that it’s very popular among people is not a reason I would use to travel.

I will be attending graduate school in a University located within the walls of Intramuros. Apart from the great MBA program in a relatively smaller price, the prospect of gazing at those old stone walls every time I go to school was a winning perk for me.

 

This fascination for the old world Philippines also made the god-awfully long land trip (14 hours) to Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte seem lighter (and having my lovely girlfriend with me as well) since we got to visit Paoay Church (amazing, breath-taking) and the preserved village, Vigan, in Ilocos Sur (remarkable).

Some people’s passion is to get to places. That’s cool. But not for me. If I’m gonna be pulled from the ease and bustle of Metro Manila, then I better really love that trip.

(Again, I do not own any of the pictures. Peace ;))