Sunday, August 28, 2011

When it comes to forbidden love between two unlikely people with contradicting destinies, there's only one legendary couple that comes to mind.

Here is my musical tribute to one of the greatest fictional couples to grace television screens all around the world. Buffy Summers, the vampire slayer, and Angel, the vampire with a soul.

I think every Buffy/Angel fan can attest that in these times of teenage vampire-hysteria, no Elena or Stefan nor mopey Bella and sparkly Edward can compete with the original.

The instrumental Close Your Eyes is composed by Christophe Beck and featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2, Episode 22 "Becoming Part 2". In the heart-wrenching scene where the music is featured, Buffy was forced to sacrifice her one true love's life to save the world. Up to this day, the scene is still regarded as one of the most powerful moments of the cult classic's history.

Sheet Music can be found here:

Friday, August 26, 2011

How fitting it is that in this "Buwan ng Wika" we see an article written by an Ateneo de Manila University student and a columnist on Manila Bulletin online about the flaws and inadequacy of the Filipino language. Understandably, the write-up has raised a more than a few eyebrows, but before we lash out the argumentum ad hominems that will sure to follow once this news hit the pinnacle of internet fame, let us first try to fully understand the writer's sentiments and dig out the naked truths behind the crude almost-insults.

"Language, learning, identity, privilege" 
by James Soriano
MANILA, Philippines — English is the language of learning. I’ve known this since before I could go to school. As a toddler, my first study materials were a set of flash cards that my mother used to teach me the English alphabet.  
My mother made home conducive to learning English: all my storybooks and coloring books were in English, and so were the cartoons I watched and the music I listened to. She required me to speak English at home. She even hired tutors to help me learn to read and write in English. 
In school I learned to think in English. We used English to learn about numbers, equations and variables. With it we learned about observation and inference, the moon and the stars, monsoons and photosynthesis. With it we learned about shapes and colors, about meter and rhythm. I learned about God in English, and I prayed to Him in English.  
Filipino, on the other hand, was always the ‘other’ subject — almost a special subject like PE or Home Economics, except that it was graded the same way as Science, Math, Religion, and English. My classmates and I used to complain about Filipino all the time. Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes.  
We used to think learning Filipino was important because it was practical: Filipino was the language of the world outside the classroom. It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”  
These skills were required to survive in the outside world, because we are forced to relate with the tinderas and the manongs and the katulongs of this world. If we wanted to communicate to these people — or otherwise avoid being mugged on the jeepney — we needed to learn Filipino.  
That being said though, I was proud of my proficiency with the language. Filipino was the language I used to speak with my cousins and uncles and grandparents in the province, so I never had much trouble reciting.  
It was the reading and writing that was tedious and difficult. I spoke Filipino, but only when I was in a different world like the streets or the province; it did not come naturally to me. English was more natural; I read, wrote and thought in English. And so, in much of the same way that I learned German later on, I learned Filipino in terms of English. In this way I survived Filipino in high school, albeit with too many sentences that had the preposition ‘ay.’  
It was really only in university that I began to grasp Filipino in terms of language and not just dialect. Filipino was not merely a peculiar variety of language,derived and continuously borrowing from the English and Spanish alphabets; it was its own system, with its own grammar, semantics, sounds, even symbols. 
But more significantly, it was its own way of reading, writing, and thinking. There are ideas and concepts unique to Filipino that can never be translated into another. Try translating bayanihan, tagay, kilig or diskarte.  
Only recently have I begun to grasp Filipino as the language of identity: the language of emotion, experience, and even of learning. And with this comes the realization that I do, in fact, smell worse than a malansang isda. My own language is foreign to me: I speak, think, read and write primarily in English. To borrow the terminology of Fr. Bulatao, I am a split-level Filipino.  
But perhaps this is not so bad in a society of rotten beef and stinking fish. For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streets. It might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.  
It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege. I may be disconnected from my being Filipino, but with a tongue of privilege I will always have my connections.  
So I have my education to thank for making English my mother language.
Source: (Manila Bulletin's copy of the article is not accessible.)
Let's see. First of all, I don't think this is satire. And if it is, then I think it's a badly written one. That said, I think this article is a perfect mix of downright insulting statements and stinging facts.

Let me tell you a story. When I was a kid, I was also barraged with the English language. My parents spoke to me in English, read to me books in English and later on I learned to write in English. I am not kidding when I say I cannot write a passable paragraph in completely grammatically correct Tagalog. I would struggle with our composition writing in Filipino in high school yet the words just flow through me when it was in English. 

Now, almost everything that I write on the Internet is in English, including blog posts, articles, status updates, tweets and comments. I also aced my IELTS exam with two 9s and an 8.5 over-all band score (9 is the highest possible score). 

Am I proud of having a decent command of the English language? Yes. Do I think lowly or make fun of people who can't string two English words together? Sometimes, that I will admit. Do I think of the Filipino language as the dialect of the poor and the unlearned? Definitely, NOT!

Filipino was a chore, like washing the dishes; it was not the language of learning. It was the language we used to speak to the people who washed our dishes.   
It was the language of the streets: it was how you spoke to the tindera when you went to the tindahan, what you used to tell your katulong that you had an utos, and how you texted manong when you needed “sundo na.”  

This, my friends, is the language of the rich, with the American accent and the posh cadence with pieces of Tagalog words thrown in between sentences. It's the "Let's make baka, don't be takot" kind of vernacular only heard from the elite. I've had the unenviable chance to actually hear this peculiar language with my own ears a few years back. I always thought the impressions I've heard from other people were just exaggerations, but it was real.

The erroneous thing about these paragraphs is labeling the Filipino language as the language of the streets just because it is the common people who mostly use it. But what about the timeless literature written in this beautiful language? Or the OPM songs that still holds boundless power with their burning lyrics and melody?

Filipino was not merely a peculiar variety of language,derived and continuously borrowing from the English and Spanish alphabets; it was its own system, with its own grammar, semantics, sounds, even symbols. 

Halfway through the article, I thought we're finally getting through the heart of the piece. That after whipping our dialect to pieces, he would then rebuild it again with patriotic messages that would make the language shine with beauty and grace. But then he followed it up with sentences that I think were both the best and the worst of the piece.

For while Filipino may be the language of identity, it is the language of the streetsIt might have the capacity to be the language of learning, but it is not the language of the learned.  
It is neither the language of the classroom and the laboratory, nor the language of the boardroom, the court room, or the operating room. It is not the language of privilege.

Although I do not agree with the writer's sentiments that Filipino is the language of the streets, I do concur that it is, somehow, the language of the learned. 

"Ako Mismo" Photo by Yjanas
Now the painful part. My dear countrymen, let us admit it. How many subjects in the classroom are taught in Filipino? How many subpoenas and legal documents are written in Filipino? How about in the hospital or in any facets of the medical field? How do you translate Caesarian Section to Filipino anyway? What about Engineering terms? Chemistry? Math? Heck, even our educated senators in the senate were arguing recently on the use of the Filipino language during the RH Bill interpellation.

Before we charge at James Soriano with pitchforks and smoking ears while simultaneously proudly baring the patriotic stance, let us first look at the world around us. 

How many public signs in the metro can you spot written in Filipino? What about restaurant menus? Instruction manuals? If you call somebody using your cellphone and you could not contact them or inquire for your load balance, what language is the message in? If Google was set by default in Tagalog, can you actually find your way around without getting confused?

Lastly, how far can you go without speaking a single non-Filipino word in a day?

My point is this. The author may have carelessly labelled Filipino as the language of the streets and the unlearned but we, ourselves, have degraded the language into something undecipherable. Something that would have trouble standing on its own without foreign help. 

Globalization plans, proliferation of call centers training agents to have fake accents, the mentality that English equals Intelligence, Jejemon and text messaging culture have ripped off the glory from our national language. 

Though the article may have the tone and the content to rub people the wrong way, it delivers a semblance of truth most citizens would not dare swallow. I guess until we learn to open our eyes to the facts and do something about it, our own language would still continue on being the second best and indefinite.

And so will our identity.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Information on methods and procedure of payment of application fee of the Nursing & Midwifery Council specifically for those living outside Europe.

Payment Information 
By Cheque
If you have a UK bank account, make your cheque payable to the NMC, mark "Account payee only" (if not already printed on the cheque) and write your name, address and NMC application number on the reverse. Do not post-date cheques as we are unable to accept them. 
By Bankers Draft
Make the draft payable to the NMC, and write your name, address and NMC application number on the reverse 
IF you have a credit or debit card you may pay by contacting our advice centre on 020 7333 9333 and paying the required fee over the phone.
Source: NMC Application Pack 1 

Using a IDD capable landline or a cellphone (if prepaid, make sure it has sufficient load) dial 00 44 20 7333 9333. A recorded voice will answer stating that payment of fees can now be made online via NMC's website. If you still want to pay via phone, then stay on the line. 

Payment by credit or debit card via phone:

Make sure to have your PRN number and credit card details ready. If using borrowed card, the owner of the card will be the one asked to supply the card information.

Payment by credit or debit card online: (easier)

Go to their online payments page: , enter requested information and you're done. A confirmation email / receipt will be sent to the email address that you have provided. 

NMC Pack 1

Nursing & Midwifery Council
23 Portland Place, London W1B 1PZ
NMC Call Center: 0207 333 6600

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mideo Cruz's artwork at the CCP has incited the latest war between the wrinkled perspective of the conservative Catholic church and the new-age mentality of a secularism and freedom. 

It seems like, these days, the CBCP is against any kind of liberty may it be of choice or expression. But then, what can we expect from people who live their lives stringently following a book written thousands of years ago and thinks of their own opinion as the voice of a higher being?

Many people were insulted, to the point of throwing threats of eternal damnation and even committing vandalism. Honestly, I would like to think that God was more disappointed with these kind of actions than the artwork itself.

Because, if you come to think of it, God is an all-knowing omnipotent being who created the entire universe. Why would he care about some tiny mortal speck in the galaxy who happened to "deface" what humans believe is his image?

For the record, I think the art is tasteless albeit courageous in its own way in trying to paint a picture of our society. It could be presented with less disturbing aesthetics, I think, but then who am I to dictate what an artist should and should not do?

I would understand the rage and the need for censorship if the artwork was publicly displayed in EDSA like those billboards of half-naked beautiful people. I would actually agree for it to be taken down if that were the case. The difference between EDSA and the CCP is that the former is a public place, where thousands of people pass without restrictions, including innocent children and unsuspecting pedestrians while the latter is... well, can you remember the last time you went to the CCP to look at artwork?

The point is this, people who went to the CCP and had the chance to set their eyes on the controversial images know what they were in for. This is precisely the reason for ratings in movies, so that one would enter the theater expecting to see or not to see explicit material.

The freedom of expression of holding the exhibit inside the confines of the CCP cannot be compared to the erroneous freedom of a man who wants to run naked in the middle of Intramuros. Let us remember, the exhibit is not some scandalous commotion in the middle of Quiapo that would rob people of their right to worship in peace without seeing disturbing material on their way to the confessional booths. It is actually tucked inside the haven of an artists' center and available only to those who are willing to see it. 

This is precisely what I see wrong in CBCP's almighty appeal to close down the CCP. One person's freedom ends where another person's freedom begins. Mideo Cruz has the freedom to create artworks such as these and I have the freedom to view it with my own eyes or not. Where is the evil in that?

And since we're on the topic of "blasphemous" material that would bring forth God's wrath and Satan's incinerating tongues of everlasting flame, I think I found more "insulting" material on YouTube. 

CBCP, I dare you to sue and the creators of these videos. They've certainly insulted this country's fine sensitivities with regards to the pious image of our dear Jesus Christ, far more than a crucifix with condom or a penis ashtray could, don't you think?

10. Songbird (Santana)
Episode: Rumors

There's something about Santana's voice that is just breathtaking in this rendition of an old, almost never-before-heard song that this generation certainly doesn't know. Her heartfelt performance and superb tone just brings me chills.

9. Thriller / Heads Will Roll (New Directions)
Episode: The Sue Sylvester Shuffle

I didn't really like this episode because not only did the plot felt forced but it was obvious that everything was written so it could wrap itself up to the climax of this performance. That said, it was still a great and energetic glee version of a decade's anthem.

8. Last Christmas (Rachel and Finn)
Episode: A Very Glee Christmas 

As much as I find the whole Rachel and Finn love arc quite boring and devoid of any kind of chemistry, this holiday duet brings fond memories of Christmas trees, food and presents every time I hear it play. Also, I love how the intro just screams Glee.

7. Get It Right (Rachel Berry)
Episode: Original Song

Of all the original tunes Glee managed to create, I think this one was the best.

6. Start Me Up / Livin' On A Prayer (New Directions)
Episode: Never Been Kissed

Just kick ass. 'Nuff said.

5. Toxic (New Directions)
Episode: Britney / Brittany

It is in these kind of moments when I appreciate the covers Glee does to previously popular tunes. Remaking pink and fluffy pop song into something that could pass up as Jazz (complete with an equally awesome choreography) reminds me that not all remakes are complete waste of talent.

4. I Feel Pretty / Unpretty (Rachel and Quinn)
Episode: Born This Way

Of all the mash-ups Glee has done in its two seasons, this, I think is the best and the one most people can relate to. 

3. Teenage Dream (Warblers)
Episode: Never Been Kissed

Darren Criss a.k.a. Harry freakin' Potter. Having to explain the sheer epicness of this song is insulting.

2. Rolling in the Deep (Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James)
Episode: Prom Queen

Adele song + a capella + Lea Michelle + Jonathan Groff  = Too beautiful for words.

1. Born This Way (New Directions)
Episode: Born This Way

I loved this video because of the message it brings to the world. I think the t-shirt labels are fantastic idea. Now, if only we could have local celebrities do a number like this, I think the world will be a less judgmental and more confident place.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I cannot believe I actually had the nerve to pass this write-up to my Psychiatric Nursing clinical instructor back in 4th year college almost 3 years ago. I cannot even remember what was the actual instruction of the assignment or what the essay was supposed to be about although I do recall having to write about something connected with the various theories of Psychology, whether if about the works of Freud or Erikson or even Maslow. Either way, it seems like I was feeling hostile towards formal writing the day so this was what came out. 

Intimacy vs. Isolation (Erik Erikson)
A friend of mine asked me, quite randomly, what, for me, the reason for loving is. Why do we love? Why do you love him? Why do you love her? What are the things that he/she does to make you do so? What do we really get from loving when, most of the time, we receive much less than what we actually give? 
I know quite a lot of people who can’t wait to love. Can’t wait to fall in love. Let’s face it, most people think of the word love is directly associated with the ever-so-popular boy/girl relationship (can now be boy/boy or girl/girl, whichever you prefer), me included. So let’s delve on that. 
Putting aside the lackluster best-friends-forever-relationships and the often tear-stained familial attachments, let’s nose-dive into the more chaotic details of love. The “I-would-die-for-you” love. The “can’t-wait-to-see/hug/kiss/coitus-you-mwah-mwah” kind of affection. It’s messy, it’s crazy and most people end up more hurt and depressed than they ever felt after the brief mischievous glimpse of happiness. Then why do we do it? More so, why do we want it? Why do we so desperately need it? 
If you’re Sigmund Freud, you would probably say that it’s all because of sex and pleasure. A whole lot of pleasure. It’s all about the genitalia, baby, and it needs all the attention that it can get. If you’re Erik Erickson, however, you would say that having a fulfilling intimate relationship with another human being other than your forever loyal family and your ever so trustworthy friends is your developmental task at that point in time. Accomplish your tasks or else you’ll end up emotionally scarred and fixated for all eternity. *shakes head* 
If you’re like some, let’s say, liberated people I know, you plunge into relationships because you want experience. You want to know what it’s like when Tom Cruise whispered “You complete me.” to Renee Zallwegger, how it feels like to be kissed in the rain and make hot love in an abandoned cabin with the fogged up windows and the rising music like Noah Calhoun and that perpetually confused girl in The Notebook. Or perhaps, you just want to have somebody to display to your friends and to the world. Being “taken” is a social status after all. 
If you’re like me… well, things are much simpler. 
Because even though love sometimes can hurt more than it can make you happy, it can drain all of your remaining energy and rationality, it could leave you miserable and suicidal and in desperate need for anti-depressants (worst comes to worst anti-psychotics and a trip to your nearest mental institution), you cannot deny that at least a moment in time, you felt that indescribable feeling of pure floating-in-the-air kind of bliss, that out-of-this-world sensation of being with the one you love. It may only last for a few hours or mere seconds but that doesn't diminish its value. And the memory will be forever embedded in us for the rest of our lives. 
All in all, as my favorite fictional professor put it: 
 “Why do people want to fall in love when it can have such a short run and be so painful? I think it's because, as some of you may already know ... While it does last, it feels fucking great.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I cannot believe that a Facebook chat message from a Harry Potter fan friend that I have is what led the way to this awesome night of magic and Internet hysteria. See, I've been busy the whole week and have accepted my fate as a mere Muggle who would enter the pearly gates of in October along with everyone else. 

But fate has a different plan for this night, thankfully.

Anyway, I was too psyched at first that I forgot to print screen the question but I do remember it being:

Number of chapters in Half-Blood Prince multiplied by 14.

It's easy enough to answer so I won't give it away here.

For the record, I now love this country's time zone. I've been hearing news about teens and children lacking sleep, and basically a life, in America because the clues get released in the godforsaken hours of the day. Here, (at least today) it's mundanely not-so-late at night and people just happen to be naturally online after a long day's work/school.

I feel torn between loving and severely disliking the not-being-able-to-create-own-username system they have in Pottermore. I mean, I do understand the reason for such (so that people won't go 'round creating sexually explicit names like HotLeatherPantsDraco321 especially since kids will be around), but sometimes, there really aren't enough good choices in the list that you end up settling for less.

But really, MidnightStar? Sounds more like Twilight to me. (Other choices were worse.)

So after waiting for roughly an hour for the email with the confirmation link to arrive, I finally got to this page:

So there's really nothing there yet for us newly registered fans to gawk at. We will still be waiting for another welcome email to arrive which will more or less hand us the coveted keys for the magical online Wizarding World.

As much as I had my doubts in the idea at first (I would rather JKR write another book than dabble with more Internet hype) I'm slowly leaning towards it. I mean, I do love the fandom and have immersed myself in it for roughly the better part of my early teens and some sites like and have had their own wonderful culture that would probably be wrecked by this online giant, I do love what's happening now.

That fans all over the world are being united by this one goal of getting into a virtual magical world, sharing ideas and answers, talking about and anticipating dates just like before. I think it's a wonderful idea to keep the excitement alive, a sensation that many feared was gone forever after the release of the final movie. It makes me happy to see print screens of acceptance letters on Facebook and Tumblr. I rejoice in the jubilation of others.

Because contrary to what non-fans have been expecting, Harry Potter and JK Rowling's world is still alive and kicking. And if Voldemort had 7 Horcruxes to keep him alive, significant and tethered to this world, Harry Potter has millions inside each and every one of us fans.

And yes, that is an evil analogy, but I rest my case.

Just this week, in the middle of the chaos of class suspensions and flooded streets, a viral video rocked the Internet and became a massive topic in social networking sites. 

A midst the PAGASA updates and CHED bashing, one name floated above the river of tweets recently: Christopher Lao.

Apparently, GMA 7 have timely covered a man who have miscalculated the depth of flood waters in a street in Metro Manila and have decided to, like those scenes in the movies with slow motion contemplation and Eye of the Tiger-ish theme songs, just go for it.

I personally found the video quite funny, his comments a bit egotistical, yes, but understandable. He was stressed after having unintentionally transformed his vehicle into a boat. It was a trying moment and not a lot of people would have had their wits with them after almost drowning in chest deep flood. At to that a nosy reporter who was right at his face the second he stepped out of the vehicle.

I however, do not understand the hate, the ridicule and the utmost animosity that have been in the feeds lately. The comments one YouTube channels are just plain mean and the various parody pages that have sprouted like mushrooms on Facebook are full of contempt and mockery.

Why the extreme hostility over someone who just happened to have said the wrong things in the wrong place at the wrong time? It's not like he insulted each and every one of our mothers or sculpted an image of Jesus with a penis on his face (CBCP was overacting, freedom of expression should exist in our society but that's another story).

I feel like in this decade of one-click sharing and unstoppable viral videos, things and situations can be extremely taken out of proportion and turned into this massive unseen monster that could ruin lives and reputations. Some people blame GMA7 for mishandling the story and maybe they did but, in my opinion, that's not the meat of the problem.

I may be an idealist here, but I frown upon the citizens of the Internet who have expressed their unrestrained and rather unfounded hatred for someone whom they've never met and never spoken to. Being funny is one thing, but harassing a person with the use of demeaning comments and below the belt insults are just plain rude and uncivilized.

The question is, if you were in the same position as Christopher Lao was, would you have reacted any better?

(Photos taken from Google Images)
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