Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inauguration 2010

As I await the inauguration of the newly elected Philippine President, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, there is a feeling of both relief and anticipation. Relief because of the reality of a change in the leadership and anticipation because of the unknown future after today. I do not fear this change and this uncertainty in the air. And I know that I, we, must embrace it and put forward our best effort in making this country great again. It is, after all, our responsibility as citizens of this beloved country to make things work rather than sit, sulk and put the blame on others and not ourselves.

I was pleasantly surprised with Noel Cabangon's song and his asking the public and the people on the stage and the grandstand to join him in singing and pledging to become good citizens of the Philippines. Indeed, that is what we need to become and not just by our words but by our actions. I just hope the public and our leaders understood the message, and embrace and live the change that we need for the future of this nation.

Monday, June 21, 2010


While I only went to three schools, I only know of two having hymns. These are the hymns of Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, where I spent my grade school and high school days (11 years), and of the University of the Philippines, where I took my Bachelor's and Master's degree in Civil Engineering (7 years total). Incidentally, I still am with UP but as a faculty member of its College of Engineering. I am not aware of my third school, the Yokohama National University, having a hymn and so I reproduce below the hymns of both LSM and UP:


Let us blend our tongues in praises,
Let the years resound our voices,
Enduring be our fealty
To the school, we love so well.
Though the years our paths may sever,
Sons of Lourdes we’ll ever be,
And with joy thy praises
Sing so proudly, cheering
Alma Mater, hail to thee!
Comrades dear…
Let the song…
Echo clear…

Loud and long!

UP Beloved (Original English Version of the UP Hymn)
U.P. beloved, thou Alma Mater dear
For thee united, our joyful voices hear
Far tho we wander, o'er island yonder
Loyal thy sons we'll ever be
Loyal thy sons we'll ever be.
Echo the watchword, the Red and Green forever.
Give out the password, to the Hall of Brave sons rare.
Sing forth the message, ring out with courage
All hail, thou hope of our dear land,
All hail, thou hope of our dear land.

UP Naming Mahal
U.P. naming mahal, pamantasang hirang
Ang tinig namin, sana'y inyong dinggin
Malayong lupain, amin mang marating
Di rin magbabago ang damdamin
Di rin magbabago ang damdamin.
Luntian at pula, Sagisag magpakailanman
Ating pagdiwang, bulwagan ng dangal
Humayo't itanghal, giting at tapang
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan
Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Old Churches

I've taken a lot of photos during my travels and among my favorite subjects are old churches. However, I've misplaced prints and negatives of older photos taken with my trusty Pentax and Minolta cameras. Most of these older photos may have been lost to typhoon Ondoy and it will take me some time before I can travel to places like Tuguegarao and Vigan though I might have opportunities to shoot Lucban, Tayabas and Cebu soon.

Below are some of the more recent photos I've taken in Iloilo, Bohol and Camarines Sur:

Iloilo province has a treasure trove of old churches including the ones in Miag-ao and Cabatuan. I would like to get newer shots of the churches in Jaro, Molo and Sta. Barbara. These are part of the older photos I took.

Cabatuan, Iloilo (view from the town plaza)

Cabatuan, Iloilo (closer view of main door and tower facade)

Miag-ao, Iloilo (UN World Heritage Site)

Miag-ao, Iloilo (facade)

Bohol is another province with a wealth of culture and I was very impressed with the churches there. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit Dauis (an irony since we stayed in Panglao) and missed time to travel to see the picturesque seaside towns that had, aside from old churches, old lighthouses. Loboc, Albuquerque and Baclayon are among the finest examples of Christian Catholic architecture (is there such a term?) in the Philippines.

Loboc, Bohol (view from plaza)

Loboc, Bohol (perspective)

Albuquerque, Bohol (view from national highway)

Baclayon, Bohol (view from across the highway)

Baclayon, Bohol (main altar)

I went to Naga City, Camarines Sur in early September 2009 to speak before a Civil Engineering student convention for Region 5. I took advantage of my free time by going around the hometown of my father-in-law and familiarizing myself with the city's transportation. A visit to Naga will not be complete if one does not visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Penafrancia.

Naga, Camarines Sur (view from the plaza)

Naga, Camarines Sur (stained glass of dome in the plaza)

The Shrine to Our Lady of Penafrancia is not actually an old church as the one above is a more contemporary structure built to host devotees flocking to the Shrine every year to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady. The old church is still standing and is actually nearby. Naga City is home to a lot of old churches and I look forward to visiting the city in the near future for more photo opportunities.

I hope to find photos of old churches in Rizal and Laguna including those in Baras, Binangonan, Morong and Paete. Perhaps I will be featuring more of these in succeeding posts.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Upgrading computers

I pleaded with the Clairvoyant to purchase a new notebook while she was in the US. It was a nice opportunity to upgrade knowing that the new processors were out and notebook prices in the US are generally significantly lower than prices here or in neighboring countries like Singapore, China and Japan, even after factoring academic discounts. The prices of computers in the Philippines are quite expensive and prohibitive to many who would prefer the standard notebooks from the netbooks that have enjoyed popularity due to their being less expensive than their "conventional" counterparts.

Previous to her US trip, I already did my homework canvassing computer prices in Singapore and Manila. I also consulted the online stores for notebooks that would be suitable for my work and preferences. We (it wasn't difficult to convince the Clairvoyant) finally decided to go for a Macbook. Given the favorable exchange rates and the low prices in the US, it wasn't difficult to also go for the Macbook Pro. And so it was that the Clairvoyant traveled and made the purchase that would usher in a new era of computers, at least in our small world.

So here I am now, copying my files to the Macbook Pro and enjoying each moment and each file copied to my folder in our new computer. That "enjoyment" is of course an exaggeration given that I generally don't enjoy migrating files from an old computer to a new one. It's tedious, time-consuming for one to transfer files while knowing that there are other more important things to accomplish. I did state "our" when referring to the new computer because it will be a shared asset, the Clairvoyant already declaring the Macbook reserved for her Saturday lectures at law school. In my case, I'll probably have custody of the notebook during the rest of the week and be able to wield its power in my own lectures as well as presentations in conferences and seminars.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Re-energizing leave

A few years ago, the UP System circulated a memo from its president announcing to administrators that they may take their re-energizing leave provided that it will be availed of during the summer break. It was assumed that at this time of the academic year there would be less activities regardless of the nature of the administrator's work.

The term administrator applies to a variety of positions and responsibilities depending on the nature of the post. The President and the Chancellor are administrators along with their respective VPs and VCs, who also have varying responsibilities (e.g., the VC for Student Affairs obviously has a different job description compared to the VC for Community Affairs). There are also the Deans of UP units who preside and manage the academic units like the Colleges and Schools. There are also the Institute and Center Directors, and Department Chairs, some of whom handle units with research and/or extension as their primary thrusts.

Load credits vary with Presidents, VPs, Chancellors, VCs, and Deans having 12 unit administrative loads that allow them to not handle courses during their terms considering that the full load for faculty members is 12 units. Usually though, they still teach a course or two depending on the needs of their mother units thereby incurring overloads. And usually too, these are graduate courses that are supposed to have less students are thereby assumed to require less work.

Directors and Chairs usually are given 6 unit administrative load credits. Thus, it is common for these to have 6 more units usually allocated for teaching. There is a one to one correspondence in the number of units of a subject to the teaching load. A Director or Chair may handle 2 typical 3-unit subjects during a semester and it is common to have overloads from additional 1 or 2 subjects. The load credits do not reflect research or extension work being undertaken by the administrator and makes declared workloads misleading and to some extent, unfair to the person.

The purpose of re-energizing leaves is to allow administrators to have a break. That break is usually a vacation that provides the administrator a breather from the pressures of work. It allows one to reflect on the more important things in life. Health and family, as one saying goes, is more important than anything else especially work. Stress from work has been cited as a leading cause of health problems and has been well documented as a major element for hypertension, heart problems and other ailments brought about by the weakening of our defenses. Once you're broken, it is just too costly to recover and it is just not worth it.

Last year, I took advantage of my re-energizing leave to vacation in Panglao Island in Bohol. It was a return after 13 years when I first visited the province. Just like in 1996, I decided to stay at the Bohol Beach Club. This year, we took advantage of a wedding invitation to vacation in Gen. Santos in South Cotabato, and Sarangani where the wedding took place. The trips were indeed re-energizing and the Clairvoyant and I had a great time. Perhaps next year we'll explore another part of the Philippines. Among those in the shortlist are Misibis Bay in Legazpi, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and maybe Boracay. We wouldn't mind though if we take another trip to Bohol as the province promises a lot more to explore and enjoy.