September 28, 2006

SHU shuttles aren't really for students

Can you believe the audicity, only certain shuttles are for students? Specifically for students driving. These shuttles are only to take those students from parking lot to certain buildings. Why can't these shuttles bring students who are walking from a long distance (let's say St. Mary's to Administration building [Admin.])- it's not unreasonable. Or why isn't there a shuttle route for students who take classes in St. Mary's?

This is based on an episode today. On any given ordinary day, I wouldn't mind walking from St. Mary's to Admin in that gradually rising slope, BUT today it was raining: a deluge (the second flood is coming). Happenstance, as I was coming out of St. Mary's, I saw a SHU van pulling in (I thought gee what luck I have). I approached the van, I asked the driver if I can get a ride to Admin. and he said no.

He said I wasn't a student in a parking lot. His van was only for students who are driving and need a ride from a parking lot to the main complex.

This was a shocker. I asked for help, and I was denied.

The van route is not so complex. It's not like the SHU campus is big. How difficult is it for the van driver to drop in front of Admin from St. Mary's? The answer I'll get probably will deal with "protocols." They should consider special cases and circumstances. The irksome thing about this episode was that the van wasn't even full- it was really really bare and empty. I understand if the van was busy, but it wasn't.

SHU shuttles aren't really for all students. They are only for the select and priviliged group who already have cars. The students who walk will always be walking (unless of course they get a ride from nice people). To be fair (even though this is a naive concept), the University should have Shuttle service for both the walking students and for those who park in far away parking places.

They should have Shuttle routes which often travel to St. Mary's (rather than occasionally). Students who are paying the same tuition and are affected in the same University life and its consequences should have the same privileges and rights.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:58 AM | Comments (4)

September 20, 2006

tell me your life...

hello,
tell me your life....
goodbye
until later...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

September 7, 2006

Top 5 things you can't live without when you're in the Philippines

Hello all, today I celebrated Philippine Day (basically I decided to sequester a day this week to put aside my homework from my classes this semester and dedicate it to reminiscing and digesting the wonderful memories of summer).

Never fret I still did some academic stuff. I read some materials on Folktales to help me with my honors project.

here are the top 5 things to bring if out of the blue you decided to go to the Philippines (which are all based from my experience)

1. Umbrella/ hat
2. Insect repellant
3. Sunblock
4. Smaller bills
5. Cellphone (with an open line)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Cellphone

5. Cellphone
Make sure your cellphone can have an open line. Cellphones are great especially if you get lost in a country you're not familiar with. I didn't get lost thank goodness. My aunts gave me great directions so I always found my way.

5. Cellphone
Make sure your cellphone can have an open line. Cellphones are great especially if you get lost in a country you're not familiar with. I didn't get lost thank goodness. My aunts gave me great directions so I always found my way.

Philippine people are in the top 10 when it comes to fast texting and all those text lingos and shortcuts. My cousins and aunts can text a short short story using slang and text lingos.

Since my cell phone wasn't an open line, I ended up borrowing one of my cousin's cellphone (for emergency if I'm really really lost).

Cultural tidbit: The cellphone system is different there. For example, here in America most of us pay monthly for the phone bills (family plan and share minutes). Most of the cellphone industry in the Philippines engendered the carpe diem adage. They mostly provide prepaid services, for example, unlimited texting for two days. They call this "loads" which can come in different peso values (P25- P150 etc.). Texting is cheaper than calling (one text can equal 1 peso while one three minute phone call can amount to 7 pesos). This is why most people in the Philippines use texting for economical reasons.

a Filipino person can have 1 to 3 sim cards each with its own numbers (if you don't frequently use these sim cards, they can expire). The sim cards work like this-- any sim card can receive any incoming calls or messages but you can only respond if you share the same network as the receivng person. For example people with Globe sim cards can only have outgoing calls to Globe members.

It's complicated, I'm just glad that I didn't have to resort to using cellphones as much.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:53 PM | Comments (1)

Smaller $ bills

4. Smaller dollars bills
One of the joys of traveling is exchanging currency. In the Philippines, 1 dollar is estimatedly equal to 50 pesos. You can exchange your money in Baco de Oro or in most department stores (like SM). If one institution doesn't exchange your money then you try the next one. They're pretty quirky and strict with money. I had several episodes with this.

4. Smaller dollars bills
One of the joys of traveling is exchanging currency. In the Philippines, 1 dollar is estimatedly equal to 50 pesos. You can exchange your money in Baco de Oro or in most department stores (like SM). If one institution doesn't exchange your money then you try the next one. They're pretty quirky and strict with money. I had several episodes with this.

You have to fill a form, present an i.d., if you're exchanging hundred dollar bills you have to write the code number of the bill. It's diffucult to exchange larger bills (they are suspicious and wary about them). In most cases they fear that it's fake.

One time a lady wouldn't exchange my hundred dollar bill because "it looked too new" or "the water mark is visible when it's not supposed to be" or "the uv scan is not picking up the water mark" or "it's too wrinkly." When this occurred I tried to go to the bank. They used the same excuse with an added advantage. Since my bills were suspected, they gave me the option to open an account, deposit the money and in 8 days withdraw it. This didn't make sense to me, my rational- if my hundred dollar bill wasn't good enough to be exchanged at that moment why was it okay for me to deposit it to an account so later I can use it?

The bankers told me that my suspected bill will go through some scrutiny so if it's fake, they can track me down.

At one point I got desperate and exchanged the twenty dollar bills in my wallet and the cashier didn't even question them (even though they were wrinkled and old). The other hundred bills I had, I gave to my aunt to exchange because she has better luck. Her back up plan was to deposit it in her account and then take it out.

Smaller bills are less of a hassle.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Sunblock

3. Sunblock
It's common sense to bring sunblock to a tropical island. I did bring one, I just didn't use it as often as I should have. My reason was I wasn't outdoor much. I would be in a mall or a relative's house or 6 hours in a bus trying to get to the province. So for the most part I was shaded from the sun (plus I started using hats and umrellas more frequently).

3. Sunblock
It's common sense to bring sunblock to a tropical island. I did bring one, I just didn't use it as often as I should have. My reason was I wasn't outdoor much. I would be in a mall or a relative's house or 6 hours in a bus trying to get to the province. So for the most part I was shaded from the sun (plus I started using hats and umbrellas more frequently).

I aslo didn't consider sunblock much because I have darker skin. It took awhile before I feel the effects of the sun (I'm more careful now). Also most sunblock are sticky, which is bad because it reacts to the humidity.

My sunburn issue happened when I visited Hundred Island, in Pangasinan (it's called a hundred island because the department of tourism decided that 100 is a magic number- in reality there's 123 small islands in this tourist area-- but recently it has been reported that global warming had sunk one of the islands so now there's 122 or 99). The water is cerulean and clear, clouds were in different shapes and puffs- it was beautiful. I snorkeled and I would have tried kayaking as well (even though I haven't tried it before) but Chinese tourists rented all of them.

On our way home, in the boat ride, I felt that I was glowing (not because I was elated and relaxed). I was glowing because my back shoulders got burned-- it was sensitive to the touch- this experience became more memorable...

Always wear sunscreen, especially in tropical beaches....

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

Insect Repellants

2. Insect Repellants
Paradise lost due to mosquitoes, cockroachers and other creepy bugs. The trick is to have several types of insect repellants because once the predatorial insect gets used to the repellant then you're at their mercy.

2. Insect Repellants
Paradise lost due to mosquitoes, cockroachers and other creepy bugs. The trick is to have several types of insect repellants because once the predatorial insect gets used to the repellant then you're at their mercy.

Now I have a better appreciation for mosquito nets. For the first couple of weeks I became the favorite cuisine of mosquitoes and other insects that like to bite people. My aunt said that since I was balikbayan (term meaning 'returning Filipino'), the mosquitoes liked my blood more. This is a weird phenomenon, while my leg received a blitz of bites, my cousin's legs are for the most part flawless (sometimes one or two bites but usually nada).

As the weeks pass, the mosquitoes got tired of my leg so they decided to move in my arms. At one point I was naive to think that if I don't bother them, then they won't bother me (once again wrong). They bit me without any discrimination. So everytime I saw one, I just splattered them. Superstition- one time I killed a fat one, full of blood which exploded like ink blots on my palm, I think it was a queen mosquitoe or head honcho, the next day I found another blitz of bites that ran across my arm. My aunt speculated that the lover or spouse of the mosquito I killed decided to have their revenge on me.

my suggestion bring "off" lotion, they're easy to apply and they come in original unscented and tropical scent. But they only last for four hours however when you're asleep, you wouldn't care much. Also rubbing alcohol stops the itching but be careful, can cause scarring.

The cockroaches in the Philippines are giants because of sun's radiation (this is why I became appreciative of my cousin's cat, Ming. He didn't just kill off the mice, he also terminated the cockroaches). The cockroaches have wings and a regular adult is less than 2 inches long. You can kill them by stepping on them (but that's so disgusting) or throw shoes at them or ask your cousin to do it for you (the important thing is that they're dead). One time I saw a cockroach, and it looked like it was on hydraulics. Rather than the flat look, its hind legs were slightly raised higher than ther front legs- it was walking around.

Depending on where you are in the Philippines, some cockroaches are not shy at all. You know how most insects will wait until it's dark before venturing in the houses of humans. I've encountered cockroaches that walk on broad daylight, some are not even afraid when the lights are turned on (usual reaction for insects are to scurry when new movements are detected- no, not these cockroaches, they'll pretend that they're dead, stay still and hope that the human doesn't see them-- but they're pretty obvious like black oval markings on white marble.

I've become acquainted with house lizards. I used to fear them for their mysteriousness. They'll be lounging on ceilings near flourcent lights and all of a sudden they'll wiggled their way to the other side. I didn't know why they did that, I thought they were just psyching out their human co-habiters. I learned that they did that because they were eating all the mosquitoes flying near the ceiling. They became my protectors and bestfriends. They guarded me from the vampirish bites of the mosquitoes.

LONG LIVE the LIZARDS!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:49 PM | Comments (3)

Umbrellas

1. Umbrella or hat. Cultural thing - umbrella can be used both in sunny days and rainy days. I was reminded of the dual use of umbrellas. This was so because in Pennsylvania I remember, (when I first came here in the U.S.) people would stare at me when I used an umbrella while walking outside during the summer. Being assimilated to Pennsylvanian culture I started not carrying umbrellas around. The weather wasn't so hot either (because of being farther away from the equator).

1. Umbrella or hat. Cultural thing - umbrella can be used both in sunny days and rainy days. I was reminded of the dual use of umbrellas. This was so because in Pennsylvania I remember, (when I first came here in the U.S.) people would stare at me when I used an umbrella while walking outside during the summer. Being assimilated to Pennsylvanian culture I started not carrying umbrellas around. The weather wasn't so hot either (because of being farther away from the equator).

In the Philippines (since it's closer to the equator), the sun is harsher and more intense, it's common to see people walking around with umbrellas. In fact it has become some sort of fashion accesory. People will own several umbrellas in all shapes and sizes. If people are really extreme (and if they have money), they'll have one to match their outfit.

An example of this (but not to the extreme), I saw in my cousin. We were in the market place and she wanted to buy an umbrella (you'd think that the situation would be quick and simple: wrong-o!). She compared prices of the umbrella, and studied the colors (while she did this all I was thinking was just why couldn't she just pick one and get it over with already - my rational - it'll function the same way whether or not it was floral print or plaid design).

When we got home, she told my aunt that she found a bargain (in buying the umbrella). My Aunt studied the umbrella. She studied the thread linings, and commented on the poor quality of today's umbrella.

Wearing a hat makes a difference. I'm not a hat person because I find them irritating and tight (never got used to them because of my puffy hair). Before I decided to wear a hat or a viser, my black hair absorbed all the rays of the Philippine sun, I'd be wearing a helmet of heat, no wonder I got headaches. Then one day I wore a hat (wow what a difference). I didn't get any headaches and my hair isn't as dry (and damaged by the sun).

Cultural tidbit: (disclaimer- interpreting this could be done in several ways, there's implications, historical baggage and all the other stuff- so I'll just say it as bluntly as possible)-- another reason for the hat and umbrella is to protect oneself from getting dark (sure there's also getting overexposed to the sun and skin cancer issues), -- main thing (I think) is so that the person doesn't get dark.

You know how in the U.S. getting a tan is trendy (sign of summer and returning from a vacation). In the Philippines, you don't want to get a tan. You want to be as white and light as possible. It's weird how this concept is being reinforced in the Philippines- this idea goes back to colonial days. The media is also reinforcing this, in all the commercials I've seen I noticed that the actors were light skinned. There's also beauty products that campaign this idea. One slogan said "Reveal the White in You." Another "A Whiter you in seven days. There is a sense of harmony- it's not like the dark-skinned Filipinos are being persecuted. People joke about being dark, lighter whiter skin is the ideal- it gives status and privilege (especially if one aspires to be an entertainer or movie star).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2006

Bi-cultural Identity

the bad side about being bi-cultural is like a child with divorced parents. It's not easy to pick one side. Are you loyal to your nurturing mother or to your providing father?

There's this lingering suspicion from both side. They ask why you haven't chosen a side.

The advantage is adaptability and insights to both culture.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:05 PM | Comments (0)

Difficulty of sharing experiences

sharing expereinces is hard to do:

a.) there's the notion of bragging

b.) there's the so-what factor

c.) there's a sense of change but that only happens to the one who has the experience

d.) things are still the same to those unaffected by the experience

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:01 PM | Comments (0)