Sunday, April 29, 2007

Another blog

My new (experimental) blog is at =)

I chose Wordpress because I had problems changing the template in Blogger. I'm still getting acquainted with Wordpress. They actually have a lot of nice features... But this is not an endorsement hehehe...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Going commercial

Notice the ad to your right? Yep, I'm going commercial. Is that necessarily bad? :P Well, this just came to my mind when I see the number of visitors I get to this blog each day... :D Yes, I'm very vain, I *do* track my visitors. The title of this blog is very catchy that it lures people to clicking the link in search engines when they search any topic related to nursing... My blog usually pops up among the top sites. I have a catchy name for a blog, but nothing much (or nothing at all) when it comes to contents. Lol.

But I want to improve this blog. I'll try to make it more relevant to nursing. So I'll use a separate blog for stuff not related to nursing.

If you're looking for a great site about nursing in the Philippines (news, articles, exam tips), visit PinoyBSN. They also have loads of NCLEX and other exam questions you can practice answering. Plus, they have Gabbly Chat where you can interact with other nursing students and professionals in the country and abroad.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dreading the dentist

I'll be going to the dentist tomorrow for tooth extraction. Why does it feel like going to your executioner?

Another semester is here

We had our Basic Life Support training this week. It was fun. Finally I know how to do CPR (I wonder why they didn't teach this to us sooner, it being a very important and basic skill).

This summer I'm taking Psychiatric Nursing and COPAR. We'll devote two weeks for each subject. I wonder how we'll do it, especially with Psychia. Two weeks seems like a very, very short time for such a huge subject as Psychia.

We had a lot of casualties last sem. There were many who didn't make it in Pharmacology. Most of them came from those sections who were under a C.I. whose method/style of teaching and giving exams was very, very challenging (or unescessarily difficult?). On the other hand our C.I. proved to us (I think) that Pharmacology need not be very, very difficult, or intimidating. If a C.I. is not intimidating, or if he or she is approachable and is able to clearly, simply but comprehensively discuss the lessons, the students will be able to grasp the subject better.

Our section last sem was dissolved. They distributed us to different sections, so starting this semester I'll have a new set of duty mates. Mag-establish rapport na pud ta; mag-adjust napud with new people, new personalities. But we're supposed to be socially well-rounded, right? I'll miss my old group. It saddens me nga nabungkag mi. I became really close to them. It is with them that I really felt at ease, more than with my previous group mates. I've been with them the longest time -- for almost a year!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI on faith and reason

A good read: Pope Benedict's General Audience today at the Vatican talks a bit about faith and reason.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our catechesis on the Fathers and teachers of the early Church, we now turn to Saint Clement of Alexandria. As head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, Clement promoted a fruitful encounter between the Gospel and the Greek philosophical tradition. For Clement, faith in Christ grants the true knowledge which the ancient philosophers had sought through the use of reason. Faith and reason thus appear as two necessary and complementary “wings” by which the human spirit comes to the knowledge of Christ, the Word of God. Faith itself, as a divine gift, inspires a search for a deeper understanding of God’s revelation. As creatures made in God’s image, we are called to become ever more like him not only through the perfection of our intellect, but also through our growth in the virtues. Freed from our passions, we are drawn to contemplate in love the God who has revealed himself in Christ. By his life and teaching, Clement can serve as a model for all Christians who seek to give an account of their hope (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), and especially for catechists and theologians as they strive to articulate the Christian faith in a disciplined dialogue with the great philosophical tradition.

Grumpy mode

I just saw a story of PBB in the news. I avoid it like the plague, but I was helpless tonight because the folks in our house were watching it.

Everytime I hear a news story about anything from the PBB show, the critic in me always surfaces. I always smirk.

I can only say two things: It's incredible, the things that network people do to lure people to watch their shows; all for the sake of ratings. Pointless and not worth any sensible person's time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bravo, Bayanihan Dance Company!

Here's something to fatten your Filipino heart. Something to be proud of more than Pacquiao's victory last Sunday.

No fanfare to triumphant Bayanihan dance troupe

MANILA, Philippines -- No lavish airport honors awaited the victorious Bayanihan Dance Company, which took plum honors from the World Folk Dance Festival in Spain, when the troupe arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Tuesday on the heels of triumphant boxing champions Manny Pacquiao and Bernabe Concepcion.

The 27-person delegation, including seven musicians and 16 dancers, casually walked with other passengers into the terminal where they were met with sampaguita garlands by Department of Tourism personnel.

The multi-awarded 50-year-old Bayanihan was declared “absolute winner,” or the grand champion of the World Folk Dance Festival’s 22nd competition last Saturday, besting delegations from 50 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The troupe’s entry was an eight-minute dance narrative called “The Voyage for Love and Peace,” which told the tale of star-crossed lovers through several famous Philippine folk dances in the Bayanihan repertoire, including the singkil and the kuntao. They won the nod of the judges from Spain, Australia, Argentina, the Netherlands and Wales.

“We depicted the voyage for love and peace. We weaved the dances together with the story,” said the company’s executive director Suzie Benitez.

“We said we wanted to tell the story of the Philippines, we wanted them to see our culture, but we also wanted to win. And so when they called us the grand champion, we were all feeling so high, and so proud, and the sprinkling of Filipinos who were there were all crying with us,” she said.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Here's a TV program you simply shouldn't miss if you call yourself a Bisaya:

Handurawan (Every Saturday, 9-10:30 PM @ Channel 56)

Haranistas play classic Cebuano music requested by the viewers.

One thing you will immediately notice: they're all old! Yes, and a very precious aspect of our culture will be lost forever with them unless a new breed of artists will take their place.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why do you believe in God?

I am always troubled when I encounter people (online) who are atheists. It troubles me especially if the person is smart, or very intelligent (and people who consider themselves atheists usually are). It troubles me because it poses to me a very great challenge (and one that is very burdensome, too) -- Please defend your religion!


If an atheist would ask me, "Why do you believe in God?" My first answer would probably be, "Because I *know* He exists." Not a very convincing answer for a rationalist, lol.

Then I'd probably say that I don't have all the answers yet (not even the basic answers), that I am just starting on my faith journey, studying my faith, reading up on apologetics and theology. I plan to study all these, little by little, as I go through life. Apologetics and theology are tremendously vast areas of study, and countless really smart and intelligent people are devoting their profession/lives to studying them, and it seems that they can never exhaust the subject; it seems that they can never plumb the depths of God's mystery (Of course, for how can finite beings with limited intellects understand the infinite, the absolute Being?).

What I believe is basically this: We can know God through faith and reason. Reason can point us to God's existence, but it has limits. It is faith which actually helps us to know Him deeply and personally.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bo Sanchez on homeschooling

Do you know that Bo Sanchez advocates homeschooling? Well, now you do. And that's one more thing that's great about him. He speaks what he believes to be true, even if it's highly unconventional, and even radical.

Here's a great article about homeschooling he wrote for the Catholic Filipino Academy: Why More And More Parents Are Sending Their Kids To The Best School In The World: Their Own Home. It's very long, but it's really worth your time.

If you're new to the idea of homeschooling, it will really strike you as very radical. But if you think about it carefully, doesn't it make a lot of sense?

Someday when I'll have kids of my own, I'll homeschool them, too. I've been passionate about the idea since way back in my first course in college. I even wrote an oration piece about it in English class. I didn't actually get to deliver it to the whole class. We were short of time then, so I had to deliver it privately to my teacher, just when the semester was about to end. I felt elated when my teacher said afterwards, "That's a good food for thought".

Compulsory schooling is harmful
and does not foster real education

I wish to propose for your consideration an idea which I’m sure will appear wildly subversive. The idea in question is this: that compulsory education or compulsory schooling does not foster real education, and that it in fact is harmful to our development as human beings.

First, why do I say compulsory schooling does not foster real education?

Several famous and noted men in history – writers, artists, poets, philosophers, even scientists – have in the past spoken against compulsory education. Albert Einstein, the most well-known among them perhaps, once said, "It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by coercion and a sense of duty." Einstein recognized that this "delicate little plant," this fundamental source of a child’s capacity for growing and learning, needed freedom from compulsion and control. He believed that true learning only happens when the child is free from manipulation and compulsion, when she is left to discover and follow her own inner drives. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, two of the greatest writers in American literature, have also spoken against compulsory education in their time. They believed that mass schooling destroys a person’s individuality and his desire to learn. Mark Twain, also a great figure in American literature, once wrote, "I never let schooling interfere with my education." The great poet William Blake expressed his frustration about school in "Songs of Experience." In the poem "The Schoolboy," he wrote:

I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!

But to go to school in a summer morn, -
O it drives all joy away!
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.

Ah then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour;
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning's bower,
Worn through with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring!

George Bernard Shaw, another great writer, said that education is not supposed to be the "filling of a pail," the mere transfer of information from the teacher to the student, but the "lighting of a fire," or the ignition of the child’s interest or curiosity. John Dewey and the psychologist Carl Rogers also each criticized compulsory education, they each envisioned alternatives to the modern methods of schooling. The philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell once wrote, albeit more bluntly, that "Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education." These are just some of the notable men in history who have spoken against compulsory education. There are yet many others, including more contemporary ones.

One such modern thinker, a well-respected author in the field of education, is John Holt. John Holt passed away in the late 80s, but his ideas about education are still very influential today. John Holt is one of the founders of what’s called in America as the "Homeschooling" or "Unschooling" movement. It’s a growing movement of about 2 million families who believe that real education only happens when the child is left to herself, free from compulsion and control, to discover her own true interests and desires. It’s based on the philosophy that true learning only happens when it is self-directed. So children and teenagers who unschool don’t go to school, they just stay at home. They don’t follow a fixed curriculum. They just follow their own interests and desires, do the things they love; they never stop learning. Learning for them becomes indistinguishable with living. John Holt believed that children have the innate desire to learn, that they are naturally curious, that they have a natural desire to know and learn things. If left to themselves, with the trust and support of parents and other adults, if given the time and the resources, children grow up to become better learners and beautiful human beings. However, after a few more years, each child has to go to school, and for the next 16 or 17 years or so, that is to say, for the rest of his or her childhood and teenage years, he/she has to spend a great deal of his/her time, a great many hours, confined inside classrooms, detached from the natural world and real world experience. The child inside the classroom is disciplined and controlled, and as a result, his/her natural drive for learning, his/her inner curiosity, is stifled, and his/her capacity for authentic creativity is curtailed.

What follows in the succeeding years in the child’s life as a student is mere indoctrination. Education is reduced to mere transfer of information from the teacher to the student. The child is treated as a mere receptacle to be filled by information that the school or the teacher deems as important. This concept of education was first introduced by the Brazilian philosopher and educator Paulo Friere. He called this the "Banking" concept of education, wherein students are mere receptacles to be filled by information while the teachers act as the "experts" who deposit information to the passive students. As a result the students learn how to be passive and compliant. Then after they graduate they go out to the larger society and adjust to the present order of things instead of questioning them. They adjust to the unjust conditions of society instead of challenging and working to change them.

So in short, school really teaches passivity, conformity, and mediocrity.

Now, why do I say compulsory education is harmful to our development as human beings?

Well, because it detaches us from the bigger picture of society. It detaches us from direct experience of the real world. It gives us a fragmented view of reality. It teaches us to become passive, compliant automatons in society instead of active participators in its transformation. It teaches us to accept the status quo.

To quote John Nash in the movie "A Beautiful Mind," "Classrooms dull your mind, destroys your potential for authentic creativity."

We should not wonder, then, why, as students, we are usually so mediocre, so dull, so incapable of independent thinking and coming up with original ideas.

Also, we can take a close look at the educational system, particularly the grading system. It compares and classifies people into hierarchies. It teaches conceptions of inferiority and superiority. It teaches the values of competition instead of cooperation.

So far I have only presented the "negative side" of compulsory education. What about the "positive side"? Of course, our schools do produce competent professionals – doctors, nurses, therapists, engineers, architects, and so on. However, according to the nationalist historian Renato Constantino, these professionals are inevitably "compartmentalized" in their view and involvement in society. A compartmentalized worldview and orientation is the product of a compartmentalized kind of education wherein the student is merely fed fragmented reality. Again, this goes back to Friere’s concept of "banking" education. You cannot expect to cultivate the student’s critical faculties by treating him/her merely as a container to be filled by information and "knowledge". These professionals are inevitably only concerned with matters within their particular fields of interests, and not much on the things beyond. For example, most doctors are concerned only with their careers, and most nurses are concerned only about their own private goals, like, as is commonly the case with us, going abroad. They’re not really curious or interested about the bigger picture of society, they don’t really have that sense of involvement in the bigger problems of their community. It’s no surprise that while our schools do produce competent and capable young professionals, there are only very few among them who truly and sincerely care about the country and are sensitive and responsive to its needs.

There’s still so much that I have left unsaid. It is of course entirely up to you to agree or disagree. But you can ask yourself whether, as a student, you really feel free and liberated. Because education is supposed to liberate you and stimulate your curiosity and desire to learn new things and to grow in every aspect as a human being.


Yup, I was pretty charged then. It's funny how I now find myself in the opposite side -- I'm studying nursing and planning to go abroad!

Finally, you must watch this video: Sir Ken Robinson on TED Talks. "In this talk, he makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I received this simple message in my inbox:

"You are a human being. Your chromosomes and DNA make you a unique
person. There's no need to copy someone else's personality. Just
discover yourself." (Anonymous)

I'm just struck by the profundity of that message. It's so simple, yet so profound.

This message resonated with me at least because I just realized that I actually spend most of my waking time trying to copy someone else's personality, or at least try to behave in a way that lives up to the expectations of those around me. When I'm around people, I find that I always, unconsciously, check myself and think about the people in my life who I highly respect and try to ask myself how would that person behave under the same circumstance that I am in. As a result, I try to act the way that person I imagine would act under similar circumstances. It's a very stifling habit. That insight is so liberating!


I'm in Makati right now. Wow! I never imagined Makati is this beautiful. The skyscrapers, the well-groomed and organized streets, the malls, and especially Greenbelt... I feel like I'm in another country. This is my only second time here, my first was more than a decade ago, and so much has changed.

We visited two hospitals this afternoon. An uncle of mine is being admitted in Makati Med because he met an accident while at home. An aunt is right now undergoing D&C in PolyMed because she has polyps in her uterus and ovary. Both hospitals look really decent.

Outside Makati, though, the traffic is awful. Buses are everywhere. The streets are teeming with people. All sorts of billboards compete for your attention. And I've never seen so many overpasses and skywalks!

I'm having a hard time communicating in Tagalog, so I'm just speaking less and listening most of the time.

Early tomorrow morning we leave for Baguio...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Off to Baguio

We'll be taking the first flight to Manila tomorrow. I'm already so tired, yet I'm still here in front of the PC, saving episodes of A Tale of Two Cities from the BBC radio (I just can't resist the BBC's radio dramas). Yesterday we started our completion duty in the DR at St. Anthony's in Basak. Our shift was 6-2, but we extended till 9PM because there were two patients who were already in active labor. And today, we again reported at 6 AM. We assisted two deliveries plus a caesarean section. (I'm really relieved that I'm almost complete with the required number of DR cases, and I'm hopeful that before our last two-day duty on the 13th and 14th we'll all be complete with the requirements; though I feel guilty that the other half of our group will be left behind [they weren't able to join us]).

I'm still not certain what audiobook I should bring for the trip. I have Religious/Catholic lectures (which I've downloaded from -- a mind-blowing site with the sheer quantity and quality of its audio resources), a good thing to listen to for the Holy week. But what else? I'm thinking, I may want to listen to Pride and Prejudice again. Or this fascinating lecture - A Way With Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion (A TMS course, which you can also find in that, again, awesome, awesome site, Wordhaven).

I'll bring along my copy of Signet Classic's The Complete C. S. Lewis. I bought it last week. Medyo mahal, pero it's actually already a bargain since it contains seven of C. S. Lewis' classic books on apologetics (the most popular being Mere Christianity). I've listened to an audiobook of the latter, but I didn't understand it at all. I'm blaming the reader. Something about his reading style that gets me (too "snobbish" sounding, and with a repetitive and bland tone; sort of like a robot with a human touch). If you buy each book separately, and it's hard to find copies of them in our bookstores here in Cebu, it will cost you a fortune because each book is priced for around 500-600 pesos. I think Mere Christianity is better read than listened to.

I much prefer stories than lectures. I have a very short attention span for lectures. Stories are much more interesting. So I'll probably go for stories. Or, more stories than lectures. Tolstoy?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sonic boomed!

Urbandub's performance last Friday was awesome (as usual).

The venue was a bit small. Club Royale Concourse is actually a small bar. There was not too many people, probably because the event was not much advertised.

When my brother and I entered the place the first thing that I felt was awkwardness, because it seems like most people there knew everybody else, except us hehehe. The place had the feel of, um, intimacy, because we were too close to the artists. Too close that, at one moment, John Dinopol of Urbandub stood right behind me watching the show. And Lalay Lim sat right across us together with her group of friends. It was surreal.

The other bands were great, too. Of course, there were the Ambassadors, but there were others less well known and relatively new to the scene: Pelican Steet, Still, and The Line Divides. Faspitch was supposed to play, but their set was cancelled when one of the members (probably the drummer) met an accident that night.

Needless to say, we came out of the place needing "ear repair", and a little bit tipsy because of the free red horse.

Reveal the Remedy:

Quiet Poetic:

Safety in Numbers:


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