Thursday, June 22, 2006

Photography Naman

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I'm getting myself used to color pencils which I plan to use when I come back and cover the Subic rape case. Another passion is photography. This one, of me, hehehhe, vain me with a little manipulation on the color.

Piktyur Piktyur

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Jorge, Obel and Me at a Lucban resort Monday.

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I was once like these students who are members of the staff of "The Coconut." Taught them newswriting for two days since yesterday. Tomorrow, it's a Friday so I asked some students to play the guitar. We're going to have some serious fun. Hehehehe.

Anyway, today was a little tiring than yesterday. Never been this exhausted the past couple of days. Taugh them the basic concepts in newswriting and certain structures that they can follow in writing the news.

I was worried they'd be bored to death by the lecture but was surprised and delighted to find out they were interested and were actually participating in the discussion.

Yesterday, through the diagnostics test, I found out that they have very little knowledge about newswriting. This was totally expected, half of the "class" were new third year students while the other half were fourth year students who had a year's experience in the craft. The third year students were learning from scratch so to speak.

But after a while, and after a heavy dose of concepts and tips, they were getting the drift. I asked them to group themselves and as though they were the board of the paper, come up with a news story of their choice with the headline and the lead.

In the critique (they were the ones, critiquing a group's output), I was relieved to find out that at least they knew what areas of the news story should be improved o what was good in te story.

The lecture was a good three hour session, thankfully, no one walked out because of information overload. Hehehehe. Tomorrow is going to be fun I hope.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Teaching and then Some

Two days of drinking and a day (and two more of teaching), I think with these, the two-week "mandatory vacation" as T.P. puts it might be too short.

Monday I went to a resort in Lucban with George and Obel for some updating. Of course, that wasn't without drinking hehehehe. Afterwards, we ate at a local pizza station which serves gourmet pizza, "Ground Zero".

Yesterday, I met up with a high school bestfriend, Mervin, and drank 'til the wee hours of the morning. I thought I felt my kidney ached from so much alcohol, hehehhehe.

Today was the heaviest day, by heavy I mean, work-wise. My former advisers at the high school paper where I served as an editor in my third and fourth years were happy to hear I was "vacationing". So they seized the chance to get me to teach the new hirees of the paper. I was just happy to oblige.

I thought I would be teaching some 10 or 12 students. That was my idea of how big the staff was for a high school paper. I wrote a diagnostics test to determine the level of awareness of the students as far as newswriting was concerned. It's a three-page document with six items that would introduce them to the concept of leads, headlines, straight news, featurized news, inverted pyramid style and the pyramid style, and of course, newswriting.

Before I went to my former high school I asked Ms. Vinnie, one of my former adviser, how many copies I would need for how many students.

"53," she replied.

"Are you serious? Dalawang section na ng students 'yun," I told her jokingly.

She was. When I went there, I was an hour late for my "training/seminar." A roomful of students had been there since 5:30. I thought I was scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

On the board, "Welcome back, Kuya Joseph," were written.

It was indeed a homecoming. After almost 10 years, I was back to my former newspaper. The first ever serious experience at journalism.

Tomorrow, I will be teaching them the basics of newswriting. Hopefully, after this, one or two souls will be inspired to pursue journalism as a course and being a journalist as a way of life.

It was said, that the worth of a man's life is not measured by wealth, or fame, or connections. The measure of one's life, is the number of people who you managed to touch, inspire, guide.

I am a product of those who have touched my life, former schoolpaper advisers, former professors at U.P., kindred souls who in some way were sent for me to guide me in my path.

When they beckon, I will not hesitate to heed their call.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


It is becoming a trend that a shift occurs at this period. In 2003, I climbed Mt. Pulag, a personal feat that signalled a paradigm shift. Walking back to the office, I remember then, after I had come from the trip, I felt like a different person. During that period, I was transferred to the day shift and handled special reports until I was entrusted with the justice beat.

That time of the year, has come again. This time, I will attempt to disappear. It would be nice to pause, to halt, to stop. Or to take a breather, a break, a hiatus.

I will be gone for two weeks, two weeks that could offer me a myriad of possibilities and an opportunity to try the impossibilities. I can take a chance if I want to, risk if I can. Or I can evade, escape, hide. Whatever, I shall welcome it with glee, as though it is a natural, logical consequence, not of the act that caused this, or the overall plan of the One who sees.

I will miss writing stories. But I will, this time, enrich my personal story with new memories. I shall miss the sketches I do for the trial I am covering. But this time will give me an opportunity to assess a bigger picture which is my life.

"Enjoy the (imposed) break," someone has said.

"Don't take this negatively," someone advised.

I will and I'm not. Don't worry. I am at this point in my life where even I, have noticed is several steps from where I used to be. True, I'm a different person now. "Reformed" was the word used. I agree.

I shall drink and get merry. In this kind of job that I chose, a pause is a halt that refreshes. And renews.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Independence Day

Loneliness is an addiction.

The early dawn was awakened by the news of your arrival. "We saw P. last week," Philip told me, matter of factly, unaware of its impact.

"Oh yeah?" I said, trying to feign disinterest.

I tried to immerse in the music blaring in the bar.

"Where? And when?" I finally turned to Philip. I couldn't help myself.

"Last Tuesday, at Starbucks. With his boyfriend I think," he answered.

"How did he look like?" I asked.

"The same," Philip said.

"How about his boyfriend?"

"I couldn't remember how he looked like. He's that forgettable," Philip said.

Does it matter if P.'s boy is ugly. Truth of the matter is that he's with him now.

Does it matter, conversely, who P.'s with at this point?

None of this matter.

It's been a year since I sent him the independence day email. In it, I attached a photo of the burning teddy bear I had given December 2003.

One year, thence, I am still colonized by my past which is my master.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Your Birthdate: October 17
You tend to find yourself lucky - both in business and in life.And while being wealthy is nice, you enjoy sharing your abundance with others.You put your luck to good use: you are very ambitious and goal oriented.Often times, you get over excited and take on more than you can manage.
Your strength: Your ability to make your own luck
Your weakness: Thinking you can do it all
Your power color: Bronze
Your power symbol: Half Moon
Your power month: August
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Garbage In Garbage Out

I'm at Nelson's place where he's sorting out his old stuff for his upcoming garage sale. Norah Jones' is complementing this weekend chill-out.

Going back to the subject of garage sales, I can't help but wish purging (it's the second time I used the word this week ehehhehe) emotional baggages was that easy: an old t-shirt from a previous coverage flies into the carton box; an short-sleeved polo that looks outdated joins the future ex-properties.

There was even an old, and I mean old framed photo of his ex (can't tell who for privacy considerations). "You shouldn't sell this, you should BURN it!," I admonished him.

"I'm selling the frame for fifty bucks," he said.

And just like that, all that the pictures represented before amounted to nothing. Or maybe, P50 pesos.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


One way to "solve" a problem is to look away.

Department of Education Officer-in-Charge Fe Hidalgo shouldn't "feel sorry for herself" (as she had said) for divulging the reality that there is classroom shortage (I wonder if we lack teachers, too. Oh I bet we do).

I am a product of the public school system. I am a graduate of Quezon National High School and I saw for myself, back in 1992 until 1996 that there's a shortage (aside from classrooms, books). My classmates and I were a bit lucky, and also those in the "higher" section, because we were provided with rooms and there were only around 30-45 students per classroom. But just the same, that would not erase the fact that most of the other students didn't have classrooms. And even our section was not spared from holding some of our classes in the school's grandstand. And the pergola.

Both my parents are teachers and I could tell it wasn't easy teaching students under the shade of trees. Focus was a problem. And for the teachers, it was quite stressful because they had to speak in a louder voice and all.

I remember my father being exasperated about the disinterest in education of some of his students. He was handling the lower section and he wouldn't simply buy the reasoning that education wouldn't mean a thing to their lives. So why study?

But I guess you really can't blame the students if they'd rather work early and skip school. Work gives the instant bread. Add to that the school environment. I don't know how you could convince students to study hard and focus on the lessons while they're nearly drenched in rain (Kara David had a report last week about a school where students bring umbrellas inside their classrooms because the roof was leaking) or toasted under the sun.

I got a chance to interview Ms. Hidalgo today at the Palace after the roundtable discussion at the Kalayaan Hall with the President herself. I would have wanted to tell her that she should have stood her ground. She's from the Dep-Ed and at that time the President accosted her for revealing the classroom shortage, she should have said that was simply the reality. She has the authority to speak on the subject anyway.

Turning a blind eye to the problem, won't make it go away.

It's called delusion.


"He marked a shift," I told Ruth about what had happened in Lucena with U.

"I think I'm ready," I was surprised as much as she was that I said it.

I was ready to risk it again. Only that time I knew it wasn't a game. U's married now and I can't have him. But I was fine with it.

I was merely rehearsing.

Rehearsing again how to abandon my fears and spiral into that wonderful feeling of loving someone and being loved back.

In the process I was purging all of P's memories. I'm no longer his. And I shall love again, like I loved him.

It was like him cradling me. Sometimes, I would wrap my arms around his waist while we were seating. Gently, I would kiss his neck and he would lean. I would meet his cheeks with the softest kisses.

I was merely rehearsing.

But epiphany dawned on me. I know I am ready.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ten Years After

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Fireworks light up the sky and the Quezon Provincial Capitol in Lucena City during the run-up to the town fiesta.

Went back to Lucena for a get-together reunion with my batchmates. It's a good thing it coincided with the town fiesta. Here are some photos of my friends over there. :)

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