Sunday, November 20, 2016

What It Means to be a Scholastican

Recently a supposedly influential person accused my alma mater that it was brainwashing and forcing students to take to the streets to protest the burial of the dictator president at Libingan ng mga Bayani. The post was eventually clarified with a message from one of the school administrators. This does not change the fact that our reputation was smeared already with the accusation.

I spent ten years of my life at St. Scholastica's College (Manila) for my primary and secondary education. It's where I learned all the basics. My values, how I think, how I perceive things, how I act was shaped in that institution. My manager always tells me that he is amazed with my discipline. I always tell him that it's because of the education I got from the nuns.

From my job I learned that we must teach students the following skills: communication, critical thinking, collaboration, analyzing information and problem solving. Why? Because we have to prepare students for their future. They will eventually become part of the work force and will be leading the country. Jobs, situations, issues will always be different so they need to be equipped with proper skills to cope. These were the skills I learned from SSC.

I was in fourth grade when the 1986 EDSA Revolution happened. Classes were suspended a lot of times. One of the activities that was assigned to us during that time was to collect newspaper clippings about what was happening. I remember compiling a thick collection of clippings. My teacher returned it to me and said that I needed to give a reflection for each and every article. I went back home and read each and every article and shared my thoughts at the bottom of each page.

We were always made aware of what was happening in our surroundings. Former President Corazon Aquino being a Scholastican visited our campus before the 1986 snap elections. A circular was sent out before that asking our parents permission to join the school event. We always had an option to join or not. I was selected to be one of the flower girls to welcome Mrs. Aquino to the campus. After the EDSA Revolution we participated also in the campaign for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution. In high school when our teachers did a labor protest we were also very much aware of what was happening. Our field trips were always tied to deeper learning like the time we went to do outreach in Pampanga after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. And being part of the the REC class we also went to Apelo weekly to teach catechism to kids.

Scholasticans have a different kind of education and it's the same for all of its campuses. We were brought up to think critically and plan proper actions after reviewing correct information. Each of us have a different calling. I am in tech for education. I have classmates who are doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, marketing gurus, teachers etc., but each of us put a different stamp to our work because we are guided with the basic principle "Ora et Labora" (Prayer and Work). And you could expect that each of our children will be brought up similarly (you could try debating politics with my son).

So to the children who are being accused of being brainwashed, just stick to what you believe in. I was doing exactly what you are doing now 30 years ago. We all have to come together to ensure that we protect the freedom our parents (your lolos and lolas) fought for.

Thank you St. Scho for shaping me to be the person I am today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Years from now I'm going to look back to the year that was 2016. I would probably remember it as a sad year. The year that we failed ourselves as a Filipino people. The year that my friends from another country failed themselves. It was the year that a lot of decisions upset many people. The year that turned the tide to what we all believe would be worse. 

I have so many questions in my mind. What could have we done? What could I have done? Are there things the majority see that I don't understand? Was I programmed differently because I don't think like the majority? Is there anything I could do to put things in order?

Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" indicated that there are 5 basic human needs - self-actualization, esteem, love/belonging, safety and physiological. We all yearn to have all of it, perhaps in varying degrees. I consider myself lucky because I have what I need and I am content. So why am I so affected with the events happening around me? I could just simply take a step back, live my life the way I want it to be and not care. 

I care because that's how I was brought up by my parents. My Dad always told us that we are alive because we must serve. We are not here to just fend for ourselves. We are here because we each have a mission. And I realized today that inspite of all the bad things happening around us, it doesn't mean we should allow ourselves to be swallowed by the system. 

So a few years from now when I look back at 2016, aside from remembering the bad stuff, I'd like to remember the good things I did and the good things my friends did to turn the tide back towards the sun. 

Kapit lang friends. 
And pray.