August 31, 2006

Why do people use age as a benchmark for what you (can or) can't do?

Why do people use age as a benchmark for what you can't do?

In asking this question I considered that yes when you're older, physically your bones don't regenerate as fast as a kid ( so I can see why adults shouldn't be careless with activities such as sky diving (as an extreme example).

I also get that maturity plays a role too. When it comes to picking up hobbies, most would insist that you should have started at an earlier age (the rational is that as a kid you'd absorb more info, you're still a clean slate ready to be programmed).

Didn't people or society ever factor in the element of the "human will"? You know, the saying "if there's a will there's a way."

My friend who's trying to catch up with the what ifs of her life is finding out how true the adage mentioned above. She always wanted to learn how to play the piano but her parents said she was old already (she asked when she was 11 years old--- according to her parents she should have started at the age of 5). In high school when she was 17 years old and about to graduate she signed up for free piano lessons, in less than three months, she was able to read the notes and play the piano with both her hands.

In college, she decided to take Ballet lessons because she loved to dance. Although she wasn't as flexible as the others, her feet 'turnout" and her balance were pretty good. She also did ice skating lessons. In three days she was able to pass the pre-alpha level 1 (learning how to do swiggles, gliding, and backward skating). Her coach noted that her courage and enthusiasm to learn helped her to achieve her goals.

She is realistic, she's not just going to drop everything to be the next Mozart or the next Michelle Kwan. Her wonderings and musings of the what ifs have been assauged. Now she's just figuring out what she wants to dedicate her time and energy in because if she has the will she can do almost anything.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2006

The Philippines: A Trip Full of Wonder and Learning

Introduction

This summer I did more than just travel to the Philippines to do my Honors Capstone Project. I did immersion learning in order to remember my roots and to reflect on my own personal growth. This trip was more than just site-seeing and spending money. I became familiar with the language, I read Philippine literature, went to museums and libraries, watched the news, attended cultural shows, and traveled throughout the main island Luzon from Laoag in the north down to Ragay in the southeast.

This trip wouldn't be complete without some downtime. I had several to have a balance between work and play (but when you like what you are doing, only a very thin line separates the two). I spent time with my family. We went to the movies and attended fiestas in the province. We had an excursion in Bohol in the Visayan part of the Philippines archipelago. I did a lot of shopping (books, clothes, shoes, and music), and I learned basic ice skating (Pre-Alpha level 1).

But not all is glitz and glamour, outside this academic bubble and privileges, I saw Poverty. There's a big gap between the poor and the rich. There's also a gamut of scandals involving of course the government and other institutions that should be serving the people (not the other way around). There's hope in the people's will to go on and to improve (using humour and entertainment to get through life's hardships). There are citizen patrols all over the Philippines and the world making differences in their fields.

I'm not an expert on any of the implied issues I mentioned above (maybe spending money J/K), but I am a student, who make observations. The upcoming blog entries will be reflections of my experience in the Philippines this summer (2006) from May 17 through Aug. 21. My own privileges limit me from several experiences for example poverty. With my background both in education and in life, I can only hypothesize, speculate, empathize in order to help (take actions) with the situations and problems the best way I can.

Outline

Pop Culture
-Movies
-T.V.
-Fashion
-Music
-Malls (Shopping)
-Food

Cutural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
-Theater
-Film Festival
-Art Exhibits
-Folk Dance

Honors Capstone Project
-National Museum
-National Library of the Philippines
-Department of Tourism
-CCP Archives and Library
-The Metropolitan Museum
-The National Bookstore
-University of Los Banos (UPLB)

Literature (Supplementary Reading Materials)
-Selected works from Contemporary Philippine Literature in English
-A Survival Guide for Visitors in Manila: Never Ever Bite into a Seed of the Lanzones
-Makata sa Cellphone (contemporary poetry in Tagalog)
-Teach Yourself Tagalog
-Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo (translated in English)
-Jessica Zafra's Twisted Flicks, Twisted 1, Twisted 6, and Twisted 7
-Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1
-The Mythology Class (Graphic Novel)
-Biyaheng FX: Round Trips to Pinoy Life
-Introduction in The Folktales
-Tito Alquizola's Return Flight and other essays
-PhilArt Magazine (Vol 1 No. 2 February 2006)
-Authentic Though not Exotic: Essays on Filipino Identity-
John F.R. L. Santos et al's Alamat
-Various Children's Picture Books
-Excerpts from other books related to my project

Sight-Seeing
-Manila
-Hundred Islands
-Great Valley Mountain Hiking
-Tagbilaran (Bohol)
-Laoag
-Bagui City

Philippine Tidbits
-Top Five
-Urban Wildlife
-Facts/trivia
-Hospitality
-Transportation
-Mingling
-Language

A Philippine Reality: Not All that glitters is gold
-Poverty
-High Unemployment
-Power abuse
-Colonial mentality
-Class Division
-Economy (money)

News/Current Events
-Da Vinci Code movie
-Impeachment
-Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
-Weather
-Mt. Mayon Volcano
-Terror Alert

Me
-Family
-Being: A Fil-Am with a Pinoy Heart and an American Spirit

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:23 AM | Comments (4)

August 22, 2006

Culture Shock

Hola everybody!

I've landed back on American soil and wow, I'm either culturally shock at the obvious difference or I'm missing Philippines (P.I.) already...

I drove today to the Ardmore area (I still remember how to drive after a three month hiatus).... I'm actually driving rather than riding Philippine public transportation which may consist of tricycles, jeepneys, bikes, buses or FXs,

the traffic here is minimal,

the cars are not lane hopping and zigzagging like crazies- I'm not worrying about being "held up" for my borrowed cell phone, I don't see people walking on non-existent sidewalks (aka on the road with the vehicles)

the roads are wide and fixed

I'm finding speaking English weird (I'm finding myself not saying the right tense or missing articles). My pronunciation has stressed vowels everywhere. My F sounds had become P sounds and v became b. just as I'm getting used to 'dipthongs' before I left for P.I., now I'm starting from level one again...I feel shy when speaking English, it's like when I utter an English sentence the volume of my voice hits the nadir (pits of the Pacific abyss)...

the unpredictability of the weather is gone, eating taho is no longer possible, "makulit" JB et al. are at distant shores...

hopefully all are aware of the terror alert and liquid bombs... they were enforcing it, I went to at least three personal check-in place at the three airports I entered, I shouldn't have worn a belt because I had to remove it for every checkpoint, my baggage went to several x-ray machines... in Japan a guard personally checked through my hand carry full of "pasulobong (gifts)," I had to recheck my baggage once in Detriot for my transfer flight to Philly.. the weirdest thing I did was go through this stall-like scanner that shot burst of air, which came down on me from head to toe...

the only somewhat rude incident that occured to me happened when an airport official in the claiming area asked if I can read English, I said Yes. He circled the word 'food' and pointed to my pastries. I didn't declare them because the column included articles I didn't have (which were fruit, vegetables, seeds, live animals, plants etc.) I thought if I circled one thing from the list I would be implicated for the other things as well... so I was directed to follow the green arrow where a nicer officer learned of the details of my rationalization....

another incident was when an officer asked me what kind of gifts I brought home. I said toys (without thinking), and he immediately asked what kind of toys. I said dolls, stuff toys, and other souvenirs like magnets and keychains. Then the crux of his paranoia was revealed. He asked me if I had any toy guns, then jet-lagged me with minimalized brain functioning realized the whole terror alert (dah)... I felt safe either way, and I just bared with the meticulousness of it all

the world we live in?...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:04 AM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2006

5 more days until departure

In five days, I'll be leaving the Philippines, who knows when I'll come back here in PI....

Lots of reflections and stories to share, soon to come but right now, time is limited because I'm using the internet in per hour basis...

It has been eventful and awesome... it's sort of sad to reflect now because I'm still here and "saying goodbye is hard to do," ... summer has to end...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:35 PM | Comments (4)