Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On Joining the Work Force

Next Monday I shall start working in my grade school alma mater, a lovely lovely school (albeit not a very big one) down South, called Regina Maria Montessori.

Actually, I was considered employed starting mid-April, when the school paid for my taking the two-week intensive Kodaly Summer Course. Yesterday being pay-day, I received my first paycheck, and promptly spent a considerable amount on the following: Starbucks Hazelnut Latte, Starbucks Oreo Cheesecake, a haircut (FINALLY! I've been dying of heat but had promised Mama not to cut my hair til after Univ.Grad, so she could fix it into a nice bun), and two pretty teacher-ish blouses. Haha! So much for not succumbing to the call of materialism. :)

I think I shall do more "succumbing" today, haha, my twin and I are going out with an old friend whom we only get to see twice a year, roughly, and we're going to meet in Serendra! *excited* I've only been to Fully Booked store, and there are so many! Hopefully I can exercise self-restraint and still have enough from my paycheck at the end of the gimmick to tide me over til the next payday.

~ ~ ~

I spent the past few days taking care of my papers for university clearance and getting the necessary documents for joining the work force.

I thought the UP enrollment pila was long.

Until I entered the NSO along East Ave.

And spent a whole afternoon getting my NBI Clearance at QC Hall.

Welcome to the real world, indeed! :)

~ ~ ~

Now I have an inkling of what CW majors (such as my twin) go through in every CW class.

For the first time in my life, I wrote something actually worth reading, something I could be proud of.

And now I know how it feels to have your work lambasted, insulted, spit upon... (see this page).

Oh well. You can't please everyone in the world.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

"A Musical Community"

(I was also asked to post the "other" speech, the one for our college grad. :) I did my best to make it fit in the 3 minutes I was allotted)

            I look upon each familiar face, and am humbled by the knowledge that I speak to future National Artists, conductors of world-famous choirs, teachers who will forever change students’ lives, composers who will forge new pathways in Filipino art music … first-class musicians, all.

            We Music graduates have an edge over those from other colleges. Spending several hours a day practicing is not an amazing feat for us, it is in fact the norm. And a great many of us have already been working even while studying. Hard work, discipline, patience, fortitude, the commitment to excellence as the process of becoming better than what we once were … all are characteristics which we will be needing in the real world, and it is a testament to the fine quality of teachers we have at the College that they have been able to impart those basic “survival” traits to us, their students. As a result of our excellent training, I have no doubt that we shall excel and thrive in whatever environment we shall find ourselves in after graduation.


Our love for music brings us together: this shared passion for Beethoven’s symphonies and Abelardo’s immortal kundimans… this shared longing for the overwhelming sense of history that comes with making the works of the Masters come alive again through our fingers and voices… this shared desire to honor God with the talents He has lent us for our time on earth.


We at the College of Music are said to have a world of our own. We speak a different language and have a unique culture. One of the most beautiful features of this unique CMu Culture is the solid sense of community. We know what it is to work with others. In our chosen field, no one succeeds by virtue of his or her sole merits. The voice major cannot always perform a capella, the composer needs performers, and the conductor needs a choir or ensemble. As one, we celebrate when the Madz bring home yet another trophy. As one, we rejoice when our collegemates get selected for that highly competitive music camp. It is so wonderful to be of help to others and to be helped in return, to be a part of something good and true, and greater than ourselves. This sense of community is one of our college’s greatest strengths.


It is tempting to think of ourselves as a breed apart, as members of an exclusive elite whose works are not appreciated by the masses. But we must not allow ourselves to think that. Author and music professor Harold Best writes: “If musicians assume themselves to be above the community, they end up denying the very reality that has made their way of creating possible. As much as we like to think of ourselves as being original, we must own up to the impossibility of being creatively productive without recognizing our dependence on community.”


We are more fortunate than most. We have been privileged enough to pursue a course in something we love. But doing what one loves and serving others need not be mutually exclusive. Let us widen our circle of community to include our less fortunate countrymen, our future students who as of yet have not been exposed to the beauty of our indigenous tribal music as well as the haunting compositions of great Filipino composers. To those of us who are lucky enough to be able to afford a choice between going abroad and staying in the country, I urge you to consider giving the most productive years of your life to the Filipino community. Leave if you must, to earn enough to keep body and soul together. Go abroad for further studies, and hone your God-given talent to the best of your ability. But when you are able, come back. The country and its people need you. More than ever, our people need our songs. In these increasingly troubled times, they need music to help them forget their troubles, if only for a little while, and to be reminded through our efforts that there is still goodness, beauty and hope to be found in this land.


Mabuhay ang Kolehiyo, at mabuhay ang musikerong Filipino!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ex Libris Philippines is looking for deserving U.P. students who need financial assistance

Please feel free to forward this message to your family/friends. :)
Good day!
Our NGO, Ex Libris Philippines, has raised some money from our "Opera For A Cause: Don Pasquale" fundraising activity last April 4, 2008 and we're looking for beneficiaries for our scholarship project. We're looking for undergraduate students who need financial assistance to continue their studies at the University of the Philippines, Diliman for the first semester of A.Y. 08-09. We can help by paying for one semester's tuition (old rate: P7,000.00). 
Do you know of any deserving U.P. students of good moral and intellectual standing (preferably no INC's or 5's, with a GWA of 2.00 or higher), who need this scholarship? If you do, please send their contact information and any other pertinent info (e.g. references, mini bio's) to Gabi Francisco (09209470835) or Tata Francisco (09209470861) (or any other Ex Libris Philippines member you know). 
Thank you so much! Please reply if you know someone---anyone---an orgmate, collegemate, friend, or classmate. A UP student who you think is deserving, and who really needs it. Just a name (or several names!) and contact number/s will do---and of course, a few sentences (personal recommendation) will be a great help. Please forward this to your teachers/students, family and friends; perhaps they may know of people who need this scholarship. Thank you so much!
For more information about Ex Libris Philippines, please go to .
For interested applicants, please submit the ff:
   4 pcs. 2x2 OR 1x1 picture
   copy of parents' most recent ITR
   copy of TCG (or a CRS printout of grades)
   biodata/ resume with 3-4 names (with contact info) for references

Monday, April 28, 2008

"A Heroic Life"

            I was asked to post the speech on my blog. Here it is :)

            A HEROIC LIFE 

My fellow Filipinos:
We tread on hallowed ground. We walk in the company of heroes. Within these same corridors and classrooms that have seen better days, we cram for tests, eat fishballs and tapsilog from Rodic’s, grab a few minutes of much needed sleep. However, we are not alone. Hush a while. Listen. Can’t you feel the lingering presence of martyrs and student activists, the intangible yet undeniable left-over vestiges of genius, youthful idealism and passionate patriotism? Past presidents of the country and National Artists who have since passed away – heroes all, in their own right – are with us still.
One national hero who strikes me as being very U.P. is Apolinario Mabini. I’m pretty sure that had U.P. been in existence back then, he would have been one of the first students or professors lecturing here, living up to his title of being “The Brains of the Revolution.”
The Ateneo had Jose Rizal, and had he lived today, we can picture him sitting in a Starbucks café, surrounded by piles of books and typing away furiously at a laptop. Antonio Luna would have fit right in with the future generals at the PMA. It takes little effort to imagine him dressed in fatigues, huffing and puffing as he jogged up an uphill path in the City of Pines. But Apolinario Mabini is purely U.P. Born to a poor family who could barely make both ends meet, this man has been described by Arthur MacArthur as “a highly educated young man who, unfortunately, is paralyzed. He has a classical education, a very flexible, imaginative mind… He is a dreamy man, but has a very firm character and of very high accomplishments. He would undoubtedly be of great use in the future of those islands.”
Apolinario Mabini wrote in his Decalogue:
            “Thou shalt love thy country after God and thy honor and more than thyself: for she is the only Paradise which God has given thee in this life, the only patrimony of thy race, the only inheritance of thy ancestors and the only hope of thy posterity.”
            He goes on to say:
            “Thou shalt strive for the happiness of thy country before thy own, making of her the kingdom of reason, of justice and of labor: for if she be happy, thou, together with thy family, shalt likewise be happy.”
I choose to share Mabini’s words because I feel that this is what UP graduates need to hear. Written over a century ago, his words still ring true today.
From the very first, beginning with the orientation given us as freshmen and expounded upon in our G.E. classes, our egos have been nourished with sayings such as “We are the best of the best, the crème de la crème.” But always, always, accompanied by the reminder to whom we owe our education: to our country and to our people. I imagine that this held true even a century ago, that professors have unceasingly preached this heady blend of flattery and reminder from the first time UP opened its gates to the best and the brightest of Filipino students.
In generations past, it was relatively easier to pick a side. Nationwide issues weren’t as muddied up as they are now, with hundreds of shades of grey to choose from and no longer simply in black and white. It is no wonder that many students are confused when they come here fresh from the province or that conservative high school, only to find themselves in a melting pot of diverse beliefs and dogmas, with each group having its defenders and detractors, forcing them to CHOOSE! And they must choose a side quickly or remain a fence-sitter, a bystander at the fringes of unfolding history.
A lot of us have experienced the pressure to join rallies and boycott classes, or risk being called “indifferent” and “apathetic.” But such censure is neither fair nor complete if in sticking to one’s studies, by faithfully going to class and attending lectures, by fulfilling the mission given to oneself in the meantime, one always keeps in mind that time spent away from one’s studies is the money of one’s less fortunate countrymen gone to waste.
Showing one’s patriotism isn’t limited to the rallying, the battle cries and the marching on the streets. There is a patriotism of a quieter sort, the patriotism I see in my less fortunate classmates who skip meals just so they can have enough fare money to come to class. There is the patriotism of the athlete from the College of Human Kinetics, who comes to training barefooted, not having enough money to purchase a new pair of shoes, so he can do a good job representing the country in a competition abroad. There is patriotism and courage in hundreds of such UP students who fully appreciate the gift they’ve been given and value their education such that they will not let horrendous traffic, nor floods brought about by typhoons, nor incredible distances, nor any lack of resources to prevent them from coming to school. Such dedication and commitment in the face of adversity cannot be called anything else but “heroic.” This is the heroic patriotism demonstrated by the UP isko in courageously going to school, despite any and all the hardships, garnering excellent marks and graduating at the top of one’s class. But patriotism doesn’t end there. Rather, the true test is how we live our lives AFTER we leave the UP.
            One need not look hard nor far for examples of everyday heroism. I see it in our professors, who have forsaken better-paying jobs in order to remain at the UP, mentoring the brightest minds and the brightest beacons of hope for the country. I see it in the brilliant UP grad who goes abroad for higher studies, is given the chance to exchange her visa for a green card, but gives it up to return home so she can spend her most productive years giving back to the country and the people to whom she owes her education. I see it in our parents, who sacrifice greatly so they can pay for the cost of our plates and extra lab fees, sometimes to the point of giving up their dreams so we can have a chance at achieving ours.
In a few minutes, we will be known as UP graduates. We do not have the luxury to choose whether or not to stay in the country, and get paid in paltry pesos when we can be paid the full value of our worth abroad. That choice has already been made for us, and paid for by the blood of our forefathers and the sweat and toil of past generations. From the beginning, our time, and even our very lives, do not belong solely to us. The Filipino people have paid, and paid dearly so we could be educated at the premiere state university. Isn’t it only just that we UP graduates be prepared to do our people the same honor they have shown us?
Like Mabini, others might consider UP graduates paralyzed by circumstance, forced to submit to the tyranny of materialism and the call to migrate abroad in order to have a “better life.”
But, like Mabini, I pray that we learn to rise above the constrictions of fortune, that we do not let the hindrances of our present circumstances dictate the outcome of our future. I pray that, as we leave college and strike out on our own, reaching for our dreams, we do not forget to place our dreams in the setting of home and hearth.
I urge you, fellow graduates and fellow Filipinos, to make this solemn pledge with me to uphold the core values of excellence, leadership and service that UP has instilled in us. Make the commitment, the one I’m swearing to right now, to offer your country and your people, your all… for your country and your people deserve nothing less.
May we all lead heroic lives worthy of the title “Iskolar ng Bayan” conferred on us, and worthy of the name “Filipino.”
(sung) Mabuhay ka, Iskolar ng Bayan…
            Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan!
            A pleasant evening to all.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Precious little time to blog...

The past week has been crazy. If I had known things would get THIS hectic, I would  have taken the Kodaly Summer Course for audit instead. When they called it an "intensive 10-day course," they really meant it! Here's our schedule:

8:00 -- 9:30: Musicianship: My solfege/ dictation skills are so rusty! The shame, the shame... though I'm learning heaps from our excellent Hungarian professor, Dr. Laszlo Nemes. What a great musician, and an even greater soul! We ADORE him.

He starts us off everyday sightreading Gregorian chant pieces, written in ancient church modes (they were composed long before absolute tuning and the major/minor scales were developed, you see).

Then he gives us exercises in solfege, deciphering harmonies, part-work (he'll give you a piece of music and ask you to play the melody on the piano, then sing the same melody WHILE playing the piano... only you have to come in singing one measure AFTER, so you're doing it in canon with your piano playing ... AAAAAA!! Talk about splitting the brain in half! Or he'll give you a three-part chorale and ask you to sing the middle line while playing the top and bottom parts on the piano.), and some dictation and harmonic analysis thrown in.

9:30 -- 9:45: Break (This is barely enough time to go to the loo and get a sip of water from the canteen)

9:45 -- 11:15: Methods, where we are taught very specific steps on how to design our lesson plans and teach effectively.

11:15 -- 12:15: Chorus Class, my favorite time of the day. :) His knowledge of choral rehearsal technique is amazing! Even our warm-ups have a bit of theory in application thrown in.

12:15 -- 1:15: Lunch

1:15 -- 2:15: Elective (we had Philippine Music under Ma'am Franco the first week, I understand next week we have Recorder Class)

2:15 -- 3:15: Conducting: My classmates in the advanced conducting class are mostly experienced conductors (Ate Joyce was a Conducting MAJOR), so inexperienced I stick out like a sore thumb. Still, I'm learning a lot :) No symphonies for me in the near future, though, that's for sure.

3:15 -- 4:30: Materials for the 1st week (where we learned 50 songs and games), and next week we have Practicum (we'll do peer teaching. Lesson planning, here we come!)

I feel so frustrated because I am unable to focus on the requirements of the course (daily assignments and even tests to prepare for!), thanks to grad.requirements (our college graduation is on the 24th, our university graduation on the 27th). The past several days saw me running to and fro, here there and everywhere. I still don't know when I'll find the time to do my clearance... probably after graduation na. *sigh*

Petty ranting aside, I am very grateful and humbled by the events of the past week. Blessings upon blessings!! Truth be told, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, by His boundless generosity. And I am also very much pressured, hehe, but I am confident that He will help me get through the difficult week ahead.

      "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ?
       Who is like you—
       majestic in holiness,
       awesome in glory,
       working wonders?"

The sunflowers are in bloom. :)

Monna Innominata

An Excerpt from Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets

by Christina Georgina Rossetti



"Trust me, I have not earned your dear rebuke,
I love, as you would have me, God the most.
Would lose not him, but you, must one be lost,
Nor with Lot's wife cast back a faithless look
Unready to forego what I forsook.
This say I, having counted up the cost;
This, though 't be the feeblest of God's host,
The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with his crook,
Yet, while I love my God the most, I deem
That I can never love you over much:
I love Him more, so let me love you too;
Yea, as I apprehend it, love is such
I cannot love you if I love not Him,
I cannot love Him if I love not you."



Monday, April 14, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I feel...

Like a midget among giants.

~ ~ ~

Food for thought:

"Love is dependent on the lover, not the object of love. If the beloved rejects that love, this does not negate the fact that one does. There is an independence of love from the object; one's love doesn't depend upon attractiveness, response or reciprocity."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

In impetus, illic est libertas (My Brother's Blog)

I have 5 days of summer break...

Er... 4 days if you don't count today.

Amazing! I actually have time to kill bwahahahaha...

Thank you to all who came to help out / watch the fundraiser of Ex Libris Philippines last night: the 2nd show of our opera DON PASQUALE!! Special thank you's MUST go to Tata, PM-extraordinaire, Ogot, assistant PM-not-any-less-extraordinary, and also orgmates Richard, Christian, Nerie, Judie, Venice and Nicole, and Sangkil-mate Leo. The production was a success because of them.

Don Pasquale has been such a huge part of my life. To give you an idea, the first thing I thought of when I woke up today was: "What time did we set today's rehearsal for, again?" Hahaha!

When my brain started functioning, and it hit me that we would NEVER have rehearsals for DP again, I was overcome with a mixture of relief/ joy/ and a great deal of sadness as well.

I will miss:

* the late-night rehearsals... which were always fun no matter how tough things got because of the wonderful people I was working with

* the food! usually Rodic's tapsilog which had to be wolfed down at a highly accelerated rate while waiting for my turn to be blocked

* the adrenaline rush of running around doing production related chores

* going to Camp Suki for costumes, and getting lost in the New Manila/ Tomas Morato area

* agonizing over the darn programmes which are rather complicated to format if you're not a techie

* props-making (yes! Thanks to DP, I've realized I have a possible career in screen making!)

* being a flirt. Haha! Norina was such a hard character to play, because she's very different from the REAL me. It took the whole semester, basically, to get her in my system, and she'll always be a part of me.

I'll admit, it was rather fun to wear pretty dresses for a change, though I never really got the hang of wearing my 2-inch high step-ins, and up until the 2nd show I was struggling not to trip while sashaying this way and that. It was an uphill battle to overcome my reservations so I could be all touchy-feely with the male characters, but I learned to put everything away and just focus on getting the job done. And so I held hands, kissed cheeks, draped myself all over and even sat on the laps of my male friends... all in the name of theater, of course. YES I FEEL SO ACCOMPLISHED!!!! I did all those things... while singing Italian! ;)

Aside from doing a couple of chores like returning props, costumes, and having gowns laundered, I will spend the next few days catching up on my reading, paying off my sleep debt, and taking care of clearance. Which reminds me, I need to have everything done by Wednesday because I will be attending MuEd workshops/seminars everyday, from 8 til 4 p.m., til the end of the month.

And beyond graduation?

I'll finally know what it feels like to have a regular paycheck, and have extra money for my little luxuries (usually books and a Starbucks hazelnut latte on VERY special occasions...). Yay!

Knowing that my summer "break" is so short somehow makes it all the more precious.

It's still not hitting me that I'll be leaving UP for good.

I think it will come in one big emotional tidal wave come grad day... I'll probably be an emotional wreck, haha!

Heh! I'm in too chirpy a mood to think sad thoughts, so I'll sign off for now and play on our newly-tuned piano. And maybe watch a DVD. And finish that book I've been reading for weeks now.

*sighs in contentment*

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog