The Accounts

The Official Student Publication of University of the Philippines- College of Management, Iloilo City

Isang Daan: Life is a One-Way Street…

by Eloisa Fe J. Lusotan

Perspective I

Once in my life I met Doraemon, he handed me this gadget saying I was most suited…

With the advent of technology and the numerous misfortunes in life, from the trivial bubblegum sticking on your hair to the life-changing bubblegum sticking on your hair, would you not want a time machine to at least fix and straighten your hair?

Time machine, when I traveled to Miag-ao one Wednesday morning clad in the most ungodly costume plus lack of sleep, I felt as if traveling back time. Miag-ao liners do it that way, close your eyes and then you’re out of this world. Along the context of tampering the natural order of things we people are number one, trying to have things as planned, trying to make things possible to our elation.

However, in the ordinary course of our lives we strive to be better, the world is one big set-up, yours and mine, thus the commonplace penchant for a one-click away remedy. We are the stars of our lives, we need to memorize lines—- unfortunately the more complex ones; we have to look our best in our proud eye bags dying to be applauded by an insensitive crowd.

In our pursuit for excellence, to be as perfect as the oblation statue in his built and composure, we try to be as flawless as possible. To our dismay we are all defective robots, we fail exams, we drop subjects, we fail to read instructions… we fall short of expectations.

But what sense does it have being able to get away with everything, to seem to be as flawless as a sculpture? Give me the time machine and I will have that chance to answer the 82 points I missed in an exam, I will extend deadlines and have things going smoothly, I can have 8 hours or more for sleep, I can replay discussions whenever I don’t feel like paying attention, I can give in to every change of thought, I can corrupt your fates and maybe end up with your boyfriends. Like that? That sounds fun!

…but with all the silly things I can think of given the chance to have the time machine, I did not use it, I buried it under the fire tree. Well, I am a defective robot, I do stupid things, but I’d rather live with my 82 points gone, I’d rather run after deadlines than idle my way to everything I want, I’d rather watch from the CM building and behold the sight of interwoven fates– a web of people, of possibilities and of dreams.

Perspective II

Money is the catalyst that makes the automobile run, the body move and the mind work; needless to say it makes the world spin faster. What is for free? The stones are for free but use them for a money generating purpose and your futile stones will cost hundreds. Imagine stones costing hundreds, well, I can just imagine solving the rate at which ripples are formed as a stone is thrown in a still pond; given the radius of the ripples.

As the common phrase “Money does not make the world go round” is becoming obsolete, money becomes encompassing. Well one can breathe as much air as one wants, but what air is there to breathe in? An empty pocket is suffocating; imagine the delay of not having a peso at your disposal, of having to choose between having breakfast and photocopying a 100 page hand-out for an exam the following day.

At times it’s tough, your pride may not taste good but you’d rather swallow it than suffer an empty stomach. One of the best teachings in life perhaps is to humble oneself. “Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in the changing fortunes of time,” Max Ehrman would say in his Desiderata.

Everything under the sun spoils. And so does passion, a lot in this world are faith extinguishers. We just have to keep the flame burning through our defeats and failures, our triumphs and victories. In our 100 years of glory, or in our attempts of achieving one.

I do not have a lot of stones to throw into the still pond, and I was frustrated by that problem in calculus. Once in my life I had a bag full of stones, I threw them in the still pond trying to solve my calculus assignment. Until the time the bag was emptied, the assignment remained unsolved. Only then when I ran out of stones did I begin to see the many people throwing stones in the pond trying to solve their own problems, only then did I stop throwing stones and acted on the real thing.


(2am: If only my calculus teacher would accept this article as my answer to that problem on related rates… sigh.)

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Filed under: Columns, Essay, ,

The Centennial Escape: Debits ’08

by Eloisa Fe J. Lusotan

JPIAns carried on their 5th Debits August 9 this year bringing together in one exhilarating venue pool of talents to spice up the academic arena. With the theme, “Cognition of the Formidable Palindrome of the Academic Profession,” Debits has once again succeeded in building up a neutralizing fun-zone within its bounds.

Competing blocks comprise each year level vying for victory in 13 categories—music, art, literature. Filling the UPV Auditorium with pride, each batch showcased the flipside of scholarly dealings: leaving books aside to enjoy their batchmates’ company strengthening camaraderie and renewing vigor and life.

Winning 1st place in A capella and Essay Writing, Batchoy(‘04) proved themselves a powerful batch in their 2nd streak as the over-all champion. Centennial Batch(’08) was a blast as the 2nd placer bagging the Modern Dance, Vocal solo, Impromptu Dialogo, Filipino Declamation and Oratorical Speech. Singko(’05) came 3rd as the masters of Poetry in Motion, Poem Writing and Poster Making. The day ended with 7up(’07) winning the Tall Tales and Extemporaneous Speech and Eggnog(’06) the Vocal Duet.

With all these victories and more, Debits will always be a much-anticipated event; a JPIAn Tradition exemplifying versatility and full-growth—retain, retain, retain!

Filed under: Debits, ,

Elite Encounter

by Eloisa Fe Lusotan

Inside the auditorium, as I sat surrounded by strangely clothed people, people closely acquainted with their origins, I was shamed for there I was clad in clothes I could not entirely relate myself with. Perhaps, because I am a modern Filipino but I tell you this is not enough. For the root of our non-identification is strongly manifested in the way we clothe ourselves. The way we deem our traditional culture, embracing all that is western and later on, feeling lost in our shoes, never realizing that it is only in the bareness of our foot that we can readily identify with our warm soil.
Listening to the KAPWA lectures, I chilled because the cold of the air conditioner was directed to where I was seated. I transferred seats until I reached the front row where some of my classmates were seated. And by that time everybody went out for lunch break.
During the lunch break I was outside talking to a man chewing something. He was from the Cordillera region, one of the men I saw wearing bahag the other day. He was chewing nga-nga (beetle nut wrapped in mint leaf along with other spices) and so we talked with his mouth red-orange. I cannot successfully relate to you every detail of the conversation but it was more of a grandfather telling tales and a child fascinated by the realities beyond his scope. With that, I did not go in to sit before the lectures, instead I went stall to stall and had small talks with several people. These people, they are once in a lifetime.
With sheer admiration I had a glimpse of a life entirely distinct from what I have (I was with my friends, 3 of us).
There was a tribe from Guimaras in one of the stalls outside the audi, we were buying something from them when out of a sudden I said, “sana umulan ng pera,” the native replied something like, “kung uulan ng pera magkakamatayan ang mga tao;” hearing that I smiled unto myself and sighed contentment. Their men carved designs on crafts made from coconut shells which they sold along with bracelets and various amulets.
With the man from Cordillera, I met Balugtu. Balugtu literally means rainbow, to my surprise there is actually a man named rainbow! (Pardon me I’ve never heard of Rainbow, I only know Jack and Joe.) Mr. Balugtu had several groups performing in and out of the country. He plays that reed instrument; I forgot to ask how it was called though, they were based in Baguio and went wherever there were invitations and sponsorships. There was also Datu Waway Saway; who played that same instrument in his stall, playing a very engaging melody as we were trying to produce the same sound in vain. Imagine, he actually allowed us to blow through the mouthpiece though he knew we did not have money to buy any of the instruments. He was the leader of the Talaandig tribe from Bukidnon, and I realized how reputed he was not until I Googled his name, as he told me when I started with my questions. He showed us how Talaandig men court women through hand gestures and that light flat instrument. We were trying to grasp in words, translating what his delicate gestures showed. Datu Waway dances gracefully, as he said the katutubos are graceful dancers. We were imitating the light movements of his hands when he told us to just look up and imitate the birds. How I wish we simply can, without second thought. We do look up and gaze at birds, but we are more concerned on the altitude of their flight, never on the flapping of their wings. Datu Waway took pictures of us before he went out to eat. I held a 5 thousand peso drum made from cow skin in those photos.
These men are among the many wonderful creatures gathered in the auditorium for that 3-day convention. There were a lot of them and the distinction is black and white. They have a culture and theirs, they apparently live. I assume their respective tribes are among those who fled to the uplands to avoid the first attempt at colonization. Thus, saving what great tradition they have, preserving it for posterity up to this time. Nonetheless, despite their great efforts, a threat is posed; the younger generations are attracted to urban living, to enlightenment no higher than theirs.  Consequently, the natives have started incorporating modern means to record their customs. As was raised in my Lit2 course, to what extent shall they allow technological advances permeate their dealings? There is a major difference between documentation and carrying on of tradition; documentation is quite impersonal, one becomes a spectator rather than a partaker. And then these traditions will have to suffer in documentation alone for they will seem a sort of “once upon a time” thing soon, at the instance of excessive techno-dependency. A love for them keeps these traditions burning, when love is not cultivated, the traditions will be in peril. Certainly love is best cultivated through constant practise; constant practise and love is its cornerstone.
These cultural minorities are the real elites able to keep their legacies from colonial influence. They have a distinct charm; a practical sense of living. Up the mountains where air is fresh, songs are sung. The mind is in its purest state, far from the superficialities of the modern world. Carefree, they just seem so happy with their lives. Well I do not really know but at least I’m sure that when they play their music and when they dance, they are. The absorbing individual rhythms converge into harmony. They travel through different rhythms without contracts or mutual agreements, they just listen and they listen well, perhaps because they are peaceful souls. I wonder if we will be able to do the same. I had a chance to be in that circle where they gathered together to play their music. We called onto Nong Balugtu and he let us play the drum. We were inside the circle, beating the cow-skin drum, this one taller than that which I held in the photos. As we struck the surface with our hands there was fear, fear that we were not going where they were headed, there was fear because we cannot leave our cautious systems to roam around like them. They roamed around; explored beats but still go back to one common factor which binds the rhythm. Nong Balugtu earlier offered me some nga-nga, he also urged me to dance with the circle of dancers inside that bigger circle but then I refused to. How I wish I tried chewing nga-nga and forgot about having my mouth red-orange. How I wish I danced. Now, I can only sigh to that wonderful experience, and swear to myself I will chew nga-nga and I will dance the way they do… someday.

Filed under: Essay

Ride On

by Eloisa Fe Lusotan

Life is a road of jeepneys and cars; of strangers walking by construction works along asphalt pavements. Life is a road and a fly-over which may take you high for sometime. Life is no more than intersections, u-turns and traffic violations. Life is an overpass overlooking the streets. Life is the sidewalk for which each one is living his own life, indifferent to the world around. Life is all the fancies we embrace along the way; the significant realities swept like dust as we go hastily, things streaming before our eyes.
Life is the vehicles which seldom bump one another afraid to be hurt; life is the noise and the music. Life is the bumping of two trucks where the other topples down, where people are hurt, some grateful. Life is the stopping of the engine while you’re on your way. The going down of passengers, the empty seats, the unpaid rides which for the sake of living one ignores hoping things will get better. Life is the sunrises and sunsets which one spends lying down trying to make sense of experiences—endless. Of your waking up to experience more that you somehow find for yourself what you are unconsciously looking for. Life is the stagnant flow intended to make you see something which you somehow fail to see. Life is a predetermined destination with unknown routes and unexpected hitch hikes. Life is the flat tires, the relentless driving towards something which is yet to be unraveled once you are there. Life is a familiar voice calling out your name, a stranger passing by which you only recognize once out of sight. Life is losing your way and losses along it. Life is a road day and night, life is a jeepney ride—you always decide where you go.

Filed under: Essay

Cien

by Eloisa Fe Lusotan
What makes 2008 special for UP is the centenary, and what’s so special with the centenary is its pick pocketing power. Celebrations are best anticipated when it is known that the celebrant’s whims are indulged. And what do you expect with an elite’s 100th year of “excellence”?
2008 has been proclaimed the “UP Centennial Year,” with all the grandiose to match the prestige of the University. Shirts imprinted with 100 (how you wish, as imprinted, it costs only that much); circulation of commemorative hundred peso bills with the oblation image as approved by the Central Bank; kwentong peyups, centennial lectures; fund raisings; UP Centennial Gawad Likhaan; UP centennial song to replace the overused “happy birthday;” and publicity among the 101 ways to celebrate the centenary—a mix of the significant and the plain posh.
Tracing back to the establishment of the University in 1908, with all the transitions and struggles tantamount to a decade of upholding excellence alongside institutional autonomy, UP deserves more than fancy salutations. Dare say, UP symbolisms’ decay is concealed with hollow merrymakings.
I am an Iskolar ng Bayan, as justified in the Wikipedia, I am called such due to the minimal cost of my well founded education, minimal that is that it will take an outsider to provide that justification. The University is a subsidized institution but its students are still to share the insufficiency, never mind the implications.
I recall, when I first got here I sought help from a guidance counsellor regarding my first loan application, as I was relating my problem she asked, “If your parents are jobless, why did they send you here?”  I answered silence. Sheer candour, they should have posted it outside: squeeze out money from your desiccated pockets, the University needs it. I should have known.
The Oblation, the naked man his arms outstretched and face pointing upwards, as a Centennial Trivia would say, is inspired by the second stanza of Rizal’s MI Ultimo Adios showing reference to selfless dedication and service to the nation. But who among us knows what the second stanza of the Mi Ultimo reads? If you do, I bet you only know.
For a hundred years now, the University of the Philippines has served a deep well of avant-garde. Honing brilliant minds, UP is a brand that is becoming more expensive through time, keeping a century-old legacy of high standards, who would not buy UP? UP is a status quo, a UP insignia simply spells leverage. However, rather than being cloaked in the trappings of its prestige are we really living the so-called tradition of excellence?
Nothing is watertight, UP upon reaching its 100th year, apparently needs refurbishments. And this should not be overlooked, UP is not a supernatural entity, it is a world constantly evolving with its pitfalls and triumphs. UP is not merely an institution, it is a major player outside its walls if ever it has walls to limit its scope. UP has relentless dynamism as brilliant minds bring UP tradition. UP is everywhere and we would not want to witness the truth of its excellence deteriorating to a nostalgic myth.
Much for a centennial tribute, all I have in my pocket is a hundred-peso bill minus the UP Oblation symbol, my dinner for tonight, my breakfast for tomorrow, and all other things a cien can afford.

Filed under: Essay

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