Sunday, September 30, 2012

SM, What Do You Do?

Image Source: Michael A. Bengwayan

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Should Schools Confiscate Cellphones?

Let's face it.  Cell phones are part of our lives.  Sure, they annoy you. They have you working on vacations and the boss can reach you anytime of the day, or night for that matter (heck, I do receive calls at midnight, too! ).  However, once you have a cellphone, it is pretty hard to give it up.  Even if it distracts you.  Even if it annoys you.  Yup, your phone is like your annoying best friend you can never ditch. 

Paula, my 16-year old daughter, went to UB Science High School and although it is a science high school heavy on Latin maxims and phrases like Carpe Diem and verbum sat sapienti (literally meaning "a word is enough for a wise man" or "one word to the wise".  I had to attend a meeting in my daughter's freshman year and I heard the principal say this.  Every student  kept quiet, they literally shut up, after he said this.  It was like magic.  Discipline in high school. So happening. I was amazed.I should say that at home!) and speaking Tagalog and being caught in your uniform in any part of the city even after school would merit a VR (Violation Report), cellphones are allowed as long as you don't use it in class and it is on silent mode.  I think giving her a cellphone helped a lot because we can reach her during times when we have to pick her up from school (Baguio can have violent rainstorms in the afternoon, you know) and she can reach us when she accidentally leaves an important homework at home.

My 14-year old daughter, on the other hand, goes to a Catholic school ran by the ICM sisters, with the same principal for over 30 years now.  I went to the same high school, way back when it was still an all-girl school (with the same principal), and the rules haven't changed much. (The first time I went back to the school when I enrolled my daughter, I thought I was in a time warp.  It looked absolutely the same like it did 25 years ago!)No heavy earrings, no makeup, skirts should be five inches below the knee, your socks should be folded around an inch, you cannot go anywhere else during breaks and lunchtimes and you cannot have a cellphone.

The last rule was pretty hard because the high school is in a part of the city that has heavy traffic.  My daughter always has to be picked up.  We worked into an arrangement of waiting at a certain place to pick her up, which was extremely difficult,because waiting can be annoying if you can't call her and ask what is taking her so long.

Anyway, on her birthday in July, I got her a Samsung Galaxy Pocket which she judiciously took care of, rarely bringing it to school and only on occasions when she was not sure what time she will be dismissed, so she can quickly text us, away from the prying eyes of a teacher. 

On Friday, she brought her cellphone with her.  It was her school's cheering competition and she was not sure what time the school will dismiss the students.  Besides,she has been sick for a week and has not been really feeling well the whole week.  I just literally forced her to go to school because she has already missed a lot of schoolwork when she skipped school for four days on account of her being sick.  I allowed her to bring the cellphone, but to keep it in a safe place on silent mode, telling her to text me if she felt sick.

A little after lunch, she texted me asking if I can pick her up because she was feeling dizzy.  I asked my cousin to pick her up instead.  Problem was, the students were not allowed to go home and should watch the volleyball games first.  My cousin has to go their school office to ask permission to bring my daughter home. The school officer asked my cousin how she knew that my daughter had to go home, and that was when she demanded for my daughter to turn over her phone and to get it back after a week.

Honestly, I knew that my daughter was violating a school policy because she did bring the phone to school even if the school expressly prohibits her to do so.  I think I am partly at fault, too, because I knew she brought the phone to school and didn't remind her of the school policy. Technically, she was probably breaking the rules by texting me, but if she hadn't texted me, I wouldn't have know she was feeling sick and needed to go home.  The school never calls on times like this.  They just ask the student to lie down in the clinic and wait for dismissal time. 

Cellphones can be sources of distractions in a classroom, just like talking and passing notes, but they can also be of great use during emergency situations.  If a student is responsible enough to use the cellphones discreetly outside the classroom, after class (she texted during lunchtime) outside the radar of a teacher or a school officer, should her cellphone be confiscated because the officer learned she used her phone (without her actually catching the student doing the texting.  She just put the pieces together)?

I honestly think this rule should be changed.  Teachers sometimes text in plain view of the students in between classes, and the students react negatively to this.  Allowing the students to bring their cellphones would allow them to learn the consequences of using them responsibly as opposed to using them inappropriately.

So, what do you think? Should schools confiscate cellphones?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coffee Break!

I have been craving for this special ensaymada for like, three weeks now!!! Picture doesn't do justice to how it tastes so good. I know, I know. I am really hoping the gods of South Beach Diet won't read this. I hope Sir Mike won't get mad at me (hehe). His cafe is the SBD provider here in Baguio, but ironically is also the creator of these yummy SBD enemies (hehe). (And oh, I received a box of mooncakes from his brother, too. Do they come sugar free?) Now, for the perfect coffee...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adam Levine is the newest Bench Model

I know.  I loved the '80s and '90s boy bands.  I absolutely loved the New Kids on the Block (I have all their tapes-there were no CDs yet,  they were expensive, plus I had one CD, "Step by Step" ,which my brother got me  when he was a software trainee in Japan), Backstreet Boys,Westlife, and Maroon 5 (and hey, could I consider River Maya and Eraserheads as boybands?).

Adam and Maroon 5's songs made young girls' hormones go wild and do crazy things, like throw err, delicate stuff, at him during concerts. You can't get enough of him at that sold-out Over-Exposed World Tour a few nights ago in Manila.  You love him on The Voice.  Soon, you will love to see him on an Edsa Billboard!

Bench, a local clothing brand, announced earlier this month that Adam will be their latest endorser!!! Drive carefully!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Building Links

Your website traffic does not depend on how flashy or cool-looking your website should be.With millions of blogs out there, competing for visibility in a search engine results’ pages is definitely fierce. Making it to page five won’t cut it.  You definitely have to be on at least page one. If you are not, you are in big trouble. You must act fast. You must work on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

 Knowledge in SEO helps in making you visible in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Along with it, link building is used.Link building happens when you build useful inbound links to your website.These links will lead your website to land a higher rank in the major search engines, driving traffic to your site.A perfect way to begin link building is by getting help from a link building services provider. A good provider should be able to make your page rank increase within a month and they should be able to assure you that the link are relevant and result-oriented.

So, it all boils down to your choice.  Do you want a  flashy website or a website that’s on page 1?

Unbelievable: Five Amazing Things Your Body Can Do!

Tapping into the wonders of the human body! People who wanted to make it to the Guinness Book ofWorld Records may be capable of mind-boggling, but sometimes stupid human tricks, but then I bet you didn't know your body is capable of these too: Unbelievable: Five Amazing Things Your Body Can Do!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Raising Children Who Think for Themselves

Adrian discovering Math through baking

Our modern world is marked with extreme competition.  Developing your child's independent thinking will equip him with the necessary skills to face this.  More of this on Raising Children Who Think for Themselves

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Happy Sweet Sixteenth, Paula!

Sixteen years ago, God gave you as my special gift.  Happy Birthday, baby!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

"Conlephlasma Enigma":Enigmatic Insect discovered in the Philippines

Photo from  BBC Nature
The Philippines' fourth highest mountain,  Mount Halcon has always been known to host a biologically diverse wildlife. Apparently, deep in Mount Halcon's rainforest, an incredibly unusual stick insect has been discovered.  It is wingless, with a greenish blue head and an orange body.  Unlike other insects, this "enigmatic" insect, appropriately named "Conlephlasma Enigma", is living on the ground.  And oh, don't ever mess with it.  It gives off a foul-smelling spray to keep off predators. Read more about it here!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Teenage Love (or be Derek's New Anna)

Adolescence is a very conflicting stage.  It is a stage of transition from being a child to an adult with so many physical, emotional, psychological changes, and confusing feelings.  This is the time when your young boy, who used to totally hate all girls, would start dressing up, acting cool, and making a rap song for a girl and upload it on you tube (Whatever happened to secret love letters?) 

Here's Derek declaring his love for Anna (I love you, Anna Banana!)

Only to be rejected...
See, everything's supposed to be a secret!  Now, everybody knows that Anna is singing "Derek, forget it already, I don't like you so much!"

That must be really tough, having the whole world know that the girl you like, the one you made a song for, the one that made you look like a dork, does not even like you.

Heartbroken, but with full family support, Derek realizes that in teenage world, you do get rejected.  Only problem is that in a virtual world, everybody would know you got rejected.

I felt so bad for Derek.  If I were hisr mom, I would be heartbroken too.  Feelings during this age are so complicated, sometimes, so intense that adolescents may get scarred for life.  So, move on, Derek, maybe you will soon find your new Anna...I know somebody with a purer soul than her, just that she is my daughter and I won't like you to meet her lol.  But some readers here and on my facebook may be your next Anna! For all you future Annas out there,  just go to  All you have to do is submit a video entry on why you should be Derek's New Anna.  If you win, you be part of the next PLDT  myDSL commercial,plus you will take home a Samsung Ultrabook! 

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Join BC Bloggers!

I am a total newbie to this whole blogging thing.  I am still stuck with the idea that blogs are supposed to be personal, a kind of a super-private diary, which you still guard with two sets of locks and key.  The na├»ve blogger in me never thought you should be exchanging links, networking, making friends in a virtual world!  I have always thought blogging is a solitary thing.  Something you do to put brilliant (!) thoughts on the web so you won’t forget it and if somebody is reading your thoughts in web format, would credit those brilliant thoughts to you. 

This past month, when I decided I am going to blog on a whim (no particular niche, no intended audience), I was surprised that I need to follow and be followed.  It was a total learning experience (and I am still learning).  I met very friendly, helpful and interesting people in this virtual world.  I joined a forum where we follow each other’s blogs, but I suddenly realized that these bloggers are younger than I am, and their interests are different than mine.  I am, first of all, a mom, and although make-up and clothes and “cam-whoring” continue to fascinate me (although I rarely take pictures of myself anymore, especially if it included my tummy part! Just headshots, please!), I felt I was not part of their world.  Hey, I am a mommy.  I need to hang out with selfless, wonderful, amazing (ehem…) women who think like me! That was when I saw this BCBloggers badge on one mom blogger’s site.  It was interesting to find out that there is in full virtual reality a community of mommies who follow each other seriously and not just for the sake of increasing one’s page views or something.  I took a peep atmost of these member blogs and realized they have the same storyline as mine!!!  I asked Paula, BC Blogger mommy, to include me in the community earlier this month, but I didn’t have the guts to immediately sign up  and be a member, because I am still so new, with no brilliant posts or something.  I did have the BC Bloggers badge, though. But, hey, I am taking the plunge now. My blog may be just a month old, virtually a baby, but I hope I will be meeting wonderful people in this community.

I can’t wait to be a full-fledged member of BC Bloggers.  I am already in touch with one of its members, Aileen of I Heart Good Health and Miss Aileen A, and it is pure joy knowing her!  I hope I will be meeting more like her at BC Bloggers.

You, too, could be a part of this wonderful community.  All you need to do is follow this link and sign up! BC_BLOGGERS

Waylaid Friday

Office Rant: 

Does it bother you when a co-worker starts to follow you up on some unfinished business outside the office? I know, right? (hey, do i say this a lot???) Totally. Annoying. You are in the middle of the mall deciding if you should get that cute red jacket and really wondering if it would fit you and if it would look nice on you, and this person you work with, who thinks she is higher than you or something, but has the same rank as you have, would quietly go beside you and would say, in a voice very audible (read: "Hello, I am commanding your friend here!") to your friend slash co-worker shopping beside you, that your report is due the next day or week or whatever! Come on, girl, do I look like I am working here???I am shopping, like you are, ok??? This happened to me a lot of times, maybe because I do field work, which means they barely see me in the office, but hey, there should be clear-cut rules on how to follow up pending reports, like calling, maybe, at official hours, for goodness. The reason why I am ranting about this is I just became a witness to this in a public vehicle with hub hours ago. Everybody was tired from the hike (hey, who ever thought of planting trees in a mountain watershed in the middle of the rainy season???), with rubber shoes and denims full of mud, when this girl, who happens to have an office at a higher floor which made her think that people on the ground floor are lower than her, duh, followed up Hub who was seated beside me, on a report. I mean, hey, you can ask some other time, girl. Not on a public vehicle stuffed with muddy people. 

More Office Rant: Tree planting at Busol Watershed is a noble idea. You gather all the government employees of the entire City of Baguio, assign them a piece of land in a designated Cordillera Mountain, and let them plant ten ipil-ipil or pine seedlings each. That would be very good PR to a city who recently was a witness to a corporation who promised to plant a thousand seedlings in exchange for the trees they would cut in the center of the city to give way to a parking lot. I am also very open, totally warm and fuzzy over the idea, because I, myself, am totally in love with plants and trees and anything green (In fact, when I was a kid, I would plant grass, yup, grass, all over our walkway.  Heck, they are so easy to grow!). I even intended to smuggle a couple of tree seedlings and plant them in my backyard. Yup, that was the plan. Go there at Busol watershed, take beautiful pictures for Redgage (except that I lost my stupid memory card), and love, love nature. Reality check!!! The DENR obviously loves our collecting agency so much, that they designated our tree-planting area in the middle of nowhere, which made us trek through zigzaggy muddy foot paths, climb slippery stones with no plant to hold on to, except over-grown grass. The trek was like around a half-hour, obviously, it seemed longer to an old fogey like me (never mind that I am a self-proclaimed treadmill fiend, doing about four to six kilometers a day). A great way to enjoy nature, really (not!). I guess I have to give up my dream of keeping in touch with nature. I am meant to just look from afar where there is solid, unmuddy ground and observe people getting their nails dirty planting ipil ipil trees. Besides, who ever thought of planting trees in the middle of the rainy season anyway???

Be that as it may, I did feel better later that I am doing my part in keeping my side of the earth a beautiful place...

 And here is my badge: