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SEPTEMBER 2012

Tahilan Trails The Off

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Forever Young Jasmine Caragay

As children, we find joy in reading tales of princesses, kings and queens, dragons and magic, anything that tickles our imagination.We dream about dancing with princes and flying on magic carpets, we picture genies, gypsies, and at such an early age, loathe the evil witches that ruin the protagonist’s adventure. We would always want to get to the best part, where the evil is finally defeated and the curse is lifted from the damsel in distress. Almost all of our wishes are made of fairy-tale endings and fairy dust, and growing up, we were made to believe that ‘happy ever after’ does exist. But as we grew old and learned more about life’s ways, we eventually realize that storybook characters are mere fictions. Our perception of reality shifted from castles and enchanted forests to universities and concrete jungles. We find ourselves picking our future life plans over our seemingly unattainable dream of becoming princes or princesses. And soon enough, the child inside us dies, and the happy ending we have always dreamt of become distorted by the harsh realities of life.

We soon have to accept the fact that these fantasies come and go in our lives, and that they would have to be forgotten and be left in the attic to age and collect dust. Schoolwork and stress replaced the makeshift world we’ve created out of crayons and colored paper. Little do we realize that we were most carefree and content during our age of believing in fairytales. Maybe we haven’t wondered how the most important things in life, like faith and hope, are appreciated during childhood. As Peter Pan says all you need to fly is “faith, trust, and pixie dust”, we could always hold onto the kid inside our hearts and keep believing that soon we would achieve the magical endings we’ve pictured. Though it may not consist of mythical creatures, as long as we have faith in God, good company, and all the love we deserve, our storybook lives will not end with just a “happy ever after”, but with a “happy, content, fulfilled and optimistic life forever and ever”.


ized by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family Life together with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila but prolifers from all over the Philippines, regardless of religion, age or social status, attended the event with their red shirts on, the church’s symbol for martyrdom.

A Firm "NO" Erin Fernandez

“Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” This quote from Edmund Burke inspired me to stand up and join the prolifers last August 4, 2012 at the EDSA Shrine in a prayer rally for the non-passage of the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill), which is masked as the Responsible Parenthood Bill. This event was organ-

UNI V Rome

United by the same principles, we are all saying no to the RH bill because of its intrinsic flaws and its redundancy (in reference to the Magna Carta for Women). We do not need the bill because: (1) our country is not overpopulated; (2) population control will only cause a demographic shift leading to an aging population, which is anti-sustainable growth; (3) contraceptive mentality gives a false sense of security; (4) pregnancy is not a disease to be prevented; and (5) the solution to poverty is not contraception but education.

There are a lot more other reasons why we do not want the bill to be passed but they all lead to the conclusion that the bill is anti-life and anti-Filipino. Upon seeing everyone’s well-founded spirit, I realized that the Philippines’ culture of life is a treasure that we must fight for. The rest of the world may be against us but we have to constantly remind ourselves that morality and truth is not determined by the majority but by the infallible laws of God. With me in the prayer rally are friends from Tahilan who share the same firm stance that RH bill is not needed in the Philippines, therefore we must make our voices heard that the only thing that we need to do with this bill is “IBASURA!”

Angela Marie Cielo

Back in Grade 6, I badly wanted to join a camp, but my parents said no. I guess they thought I was too young to be on my own then, but I thought I was all grown up already (at 12 years old! Haha!). Besides, my friends were going, why couldn’t I? Well, they had a good time at camp, meeting other students, attending leadership workshops, having a “pageant” night, etc. I thought back then I’d missed a lot. But the UNIV experience just last April made me realize there were better things in store.

to the UNIV congress in Rome instead. To my pleasant surprise, they agreed! My friend Ate Mariz and I teamed up to write a paper for the congress. Our paper, entitled “Religious Formation among University Students as a Path to Discovering the Beauty of Truth.” was accepted in the International Congress, what luck!

What followed after was just short of magical: Holy Week with the Holy Father in the seat of Christianity, get-togethers with the Prelate of Opus Dei, sightseeing in the Eternal City. We listened to Instead of a traditional debut last year, I engaging speakers Etsuro Sotoo, Ennio thought of asking my parents if I could go Morricone, and Scott Hahn as they talked

about art, music, and theology, respectively, in the talks during the UNIV congress. Some of us presented our papers in round-table discussions (in English) with delegates from other countries. We also had a cultural night, with performances from the different countries’ delegations. Being part of UNiV 2012 was the best 18th birthday gift I could ever ask for, more than a thousand camps put together. Those two weeks in Italy was a great time for reflection, camaraderie, cultural exposure, and an experience in independence, too. If I could, I would join UNIV over and over again.


Student's Portfolio Chesca Guico

The Student’s Portfolio is a series of talks offered for both residents and non-residents of Tahilan. They aim to help college students primarily, but some can also be of help to high schoolers. They mainly focus on understanding what college is like to guide and help us. We learn more about transitioning from high school to college. Some of the topics such as good study habits and good time management, are well-known to us but which we usually forget. The Student’s Portfolio serves to remind us not only to focus but to be efficient as well. I myself have gotten quite a lot of useful tips and information from the different speakers in the many talks we’ve had so far. Judging from my performance in the last term, I think the talks have really helped me in sorting out my learning techniques. Honestly, it takes time to get things like your study habits sorted out, especially if you are being exposed to a new environment, but it all comes together eventually. Aside from helping me academically, the talks also helped me realize that sometimes it’s not all about academics. What we learn can’t just come from our books because we honestly won’t be able to remember and use all these things once we graduate. College isn’t just about getting good grades. It is also about forming who you are as a person as you slowly move to the next big step in your life.

My Hi-5 Journal Mica Malijan

I have been attending the activities of Hi-5 since I was in first year high school. I am currently in my last year in high school and my Hi-5 days will be over in a few months. I would just like to share my experiences in Hi-5 that could possibly attract every high school girl out there.

Aside from all of these things, mentoring is also a regular activity. Having a mentor has helped me become a better person by helping me get through difficulties and achieve life goals. Another is the visit to the poor and the sick which has enabled me to help those who are less privileged through simple chat. This has made me realize One unforgettable activity is a trip to that I am really lucky because I have Bahay Tsinoy in Intramuros where we everything I should be thankful for. learned about the Chinese culture. Another is when we went to Binondo for In Hi-5, high school students are nura food trip. We tried different kinds of tured to grow as holistic women, acChinese food and we even tasted an tivities are designed for girls to grow exotic food which many people are in five aspects: cultural, spiritual, pronot used to eating: frog legs! There was fessional, doctrinal and apostolic. Bealso a time when we went to Palace in ing in Hi-5 can prepare us so we can the Sky in Tagaytay for a pilgrimage confidently face life after high school to Our Lady of Fair Love. The statue and soar high towards are dreams. of our Lady has a unique story which amazes everyone who has been there. These are just a few of the activities that one would not want to miss. Activities like these share one thing in common. That is, there is a doctrine class given fifteen minutes before an activity starts. This aims to increase one’s knowledge about her faith so that she can also live it well.


An Enriching Talk with the Vicar Andrea Contreras

Before the talk with Fr. Carlos Estrada, Vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines and Indonesia, last September 22, I first had to face an organic chemistry exam. While on the way to Tahilan, I thought that, thankfully, with the talk, I will be able to get my mind off the subject and think of other things. But I was greatly mistaken because during the question and answer part, one example Father gave was regarding struggles with our studies or specifically, with a subject. He said that even with the numerous assignments and exams we have, we should never abandon our life of prayer, our conversation with God which gives us perspective; if we are getting below passing marks, we just have to study harder, pray still, and never lose supernatural outlook. Aside from school stuff, the hour-long talk covered many areas like the upcoming Year of Faith, how to improve in doing apostolate, and in overcoming human respect. Listed below are some highlights and important thoughts that I got from the talk. To have miracles, we must do our part. We shouldn’t expect miracles to just come out of nowhere. In the Miracle of the Loaves, as Fr. Estrada had said, Jesus first asked the disciples for the resources they had to be able to feed the multitude. It was only after the disciples presented the five loaves and two fish that Jesus performed the miracle. Learning from that Gospel scene, we can bear in mind that we should also do our very best in every situation, with the resources available to us. During the talk, I may have nodded my head a bit strongly because what Father said was just too relevant. I cannot expect to miraculously be exempted from taking the chemistry finals if I don’t exert effort in really understanding the

various reactions. Studying well and passing the exams each time are then what constitutes the miracle. The internet can be an ally or a foe. This great invention is constantly providing us with many opportunities and possibilities. We can now be in contact with people from the other side of the world with just a few clicks. Information that can contribute to our growth, which before was only available in the libraries or to people who owned encyclopedias, can now be accessed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Despite these benefits, the internet can be very harmful to a person if he does not know how to use it well, if he lets himself be distracted by it, or if he can’t anymore distinguish the true reality. With the prevalent use of social media these past few years, voices not heard before are being recognized now. But one misconception with the use of these media that Fr. Estrada pointed out was slacktivism, or ‘actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement.’ (oxforddictionaries.com) Some say that clicktivism is a more accurate term because people think that by just clicking Share or Join, they have already supported that cause. Although this method does contribute in increasing awareness to more people, it should not be an alternative to doing concrete change. In addition, Vicar called attention to first knowing more about a topic or issue before forming one’s opinions on it. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8.

Words from a Resident

College – what a daunting word, but at the same time exciting. After graduating high school and being accepted in my dream school, I was confronted with a lot of problems, and one of them was finding a closer place to stay. I knew that sooner or later, I must break away from my comfort zone I call my home, and explore the twists and turns of Manila. Tahilan was recommended by a fellow friend of my mother, and we instantly checked it out; perhaps, it was love at first sight and my parents and I all decided that Tahilan is the final choice for a dorm. Four months had passed and a lot of things already happened; college was exhausting, but quite challenging and fun! I met new friends, grew closer with my blockmates, learned new lessons, and committed a lot of mistakes. Tahilan had helped me adjust; there were a lot seminars and conferences, mentoring sessions and stress-relievers. If I were to picture myself if I did not choose Tahilan, I would probably go back to my condominium everyday, welcomed by a clutter-full room and messy tables. I would probably be starved due to unhealthy meal schedules and annoyed by my piling heap of dirty laundry. Indeed, Tahilan lived up to its motto – it is a home away from home. Mika Marco


True Love Pia Barrera

A chance to know about true love was too exciting for me to refuse. So I was thrilled as we headed to attend Real Love Revolution at the World Trade Center to listen to Leah Darrow (America’s Next top model contestant in Season 3) and Chris Stefanick (a Chastity speaker and an awesome guitarist). Chris Stefanick started with entertainment to excite us teens with his own version of videoke (he plays the guitar and picks one from the audience to sing). He did this because he says the Philippines is known for our karaoke.. Tee Hee! It was definitely a good start. He then explained what brought use there was to know about what LOVE really is. He explained it through the Bible because love has always been represented by the cross. He talked about his love life and how much he loves his wife and how

there was always forgiveness in their relationship. Love does not always mean feeling happy but rather, the willingness to stay strong together to face obstacles. He believes that as teens, we do fall at times for what media says about love which is usually sensual. He gave tips on what and why and how to take these media messages. As for Leah Darrow she shared her experience of life in the world of media and the confusion she lived in. It was admirable how she had the courage to talk about her lost innocence and the struggle she had to go through against guilt feeling. Her one consolation is God’s forgiveness.

She spoke about the disillusionment she experienced at realizing the pitfalls of her chosen profession –modelling- which focused too much on a woman’s body, the demand for “perfection” and the deception that happens in order to achieve this, i.e., most fashion pictures are a result of photo shop. Fortunately, Leah had a conversion experience which made her realize that modelling in immodest clothes is not what God wants of her. She walked out of the photo shoot and out of modelling into a whole new world. Helped by a good sacramental confession, she then became an advocate of chastity. She BELIEVES that we can CHANGE because she has and that true love is nothing else but God’s love.

Words from a Resident

Cads @ CDO

Lou Dominique Aguinaldo

It was already some five months after Bagyong Sendong that we went to visit Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City to do a psychosocial processing and medical mission to residents who are still in tents and relocation sites. I was with other university students and doctors from UP Caduceus. The horror I’ve seen and heard from the news and friends’ stories did not sufficiently capture what happened on the night of December 18, 2011. It was when we talked and processed with them what happened before, during and after the typhoon that I realized that the effects of the calamity did not end one or two months after as how the media reported it. Millions worth of livelihood, thousands of houses wiped out and hundreds of people dead were just numbers to me until I heard straight from them that actually three of these hundreds are their

siblings, five are their sons and daughters, mother and father. We were actually prepared for some who might break down, shout out of madness or what have you but we did not experience any of these. There is something in spite of the gravity and difficulty of their situation that still makes them hopeful, grateful and happy. I might not be able to give a perfect image of their situation but at best, this is how I remember it. The relocation area in Iligan City we visited house around 80 families. Each family is given an approximately six square-meter tent which to my eyes is just enough for a single bed and a cabinet. The floor is not even concrete. They have two common bathrooms and comfort rooms and a common area for cooking. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

In Tahilan, we are like a heterogeneous mixture - different elements joined together in one place remaining ourselves. Together with the staff who help all of us develop in holistic manner, we “ates” have certain responsibilities in this effort. Being an ate is a tough job.You have to set a very good example to the younger ones. Also, you have to think of stuff to make the others’ stay memorable and most of the time, it could be tiring. However, it is very heart-warming and fulfilling. When things get done and your efforts pay off, you get the best feeling in the world. You’ll also have this special connection with other dormmates, just like the ones I had when I was Frosh. These are the perks of being an ate. lADY vICENCIO


Memoir of CampSur

Abeth Agna

Fun, faith, friendship. These three things sum up for me what the CampSur is. Here is a chronicle: DAY 1: Arrival/ Lunch at DAY 2: Leading Leaders DAY 3: Medical Mission in Biggs/ Mass at Basilica/ Seminar at University of Buhi Bonfire Saint Anthony Buhi is more or less an hour After an eventful journey for During the preparations, what away from our lodging. We all of us, we settled down to really impressed me was the were worried at first because a sumptuous lunch at Biggs GO-attitude of the girls, a our transportation came late, Diner. We had a chance to get strong spirit of volunteerism. but the energy and the cheerback our bearings at Mrs. Bue- Inspired by this, I also volun- fulness of the girls prevailed. naflor’s farm house, a beauti- teered to be the facilitator in Upon arrival, we had to cross ful place which makes you one of the workshops even a hanging bridge to get to the close to nature. though the novelty scared me. site (exciting!) where the docThe main task that day was I was not that confident but tors and the LGU-Buhi copreparation for the Leading armed with prayer, everything ordinators had already began Leaders Seminar next day. turned out fine. Somehow, it work. We also immediately boosted my confidence to do divided tasks. Some were assomething I never did before. signed to the pharmacy while most of us gave public health DAY 5: Excursion Day @ lecture. Mika and Gab even CWC, @Hotspring DAY 6: Meditation, Confes- presented a short play about hair care! Excursion day! Wakeboard- sion, Mass, Albay Tour Day ing and Wakeskating at CamSur Water Complex (CWC). In the morning, Fr. Ryan gave We toured the vicinity and a mediation revolving around DAY 7: Farewell Bula/ Medwatched professionals and lit- the topic of service. He high- ical Mission II and Dental tle kids as well enjoy wake- lighted that we should serve Mission/ Farewell Girls! boarding. with gladness, expecting nothWe then attended mass in ing in return. After all, “we Lindlsey, Ella and Keziah sang a church in Naga City. As for cannot be sad saints.” Just the Way You Are as fareour lunch, we had our meals In the afternoon, we went well tribute to Tita Natti, Ate at Biggs Diner and had taken to Albay, lucky enough to see Esther, and Ate Gemma who pictures with the diner’s en- Mayon Volcano in its full im- cooked delicious food and asdorser and Tita Nie-Nie, the age. Gab, Linds, and Ness sisted us in the kitchen when it owner. Next stop, we took tried the zipline and hanging was our turn to do the chores. a swim in the springs found bridge adventure. Gab’s uncle They made Pecuaria in Bula a uphill. There were different then treated us with halo-halo home away from home. pools with varying tempera- to cap the day. tures! Months have passed but I can still recall this wonderful learning and experience I will treasure forever. I am thankful to have this opportunity to be with new people. Though we differ, we accepted each other, and worked in harmony. I hope that we will have the chance to get together again. To our benefactors who supported the needs

DAY 4: Painting and Catechism Day We prepared to paint the chapel of the barangay. Sayre was in-charge of paint mixing. Tita Nie-Nie’s grandchildren also joined us for this activity. Ness’ joy at this painting also made a deep impression on me. But my favorite activity that day was teaching catechism to the kids. Again, I felt an initial fear, but thanks to His grace, everything went well. Words came flowing as I gave the lesson. The kids were also very attentive. Gab joined me at the latter part and asked one of the kids to sing for us!

of the groups, thank you! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve. Above all, thanks to Him for enlisting me to be there. Really, that week is a fruitful and amazing! And I am truly grateful for the faith, friendship, and fun I have gained.


cont. from page 5

Cads @ CDO

We saw kids running around without slippers, coughing and sneezing badly. We were actually the first group with doctors who visited their site. They’ve lost their houses, jobs and relatives with an uncertain promise of new houses from the government. From the point of view of Glose, a foreign student who was with usthese are more than enough to put people down all the way. But the positive manner and disposition with which these people narrated to us their problems, plans, how they are praying, working and moving on for a better condition for their family and community made her learn and appreciate the resilience of the Filipinos. From these experiences, I also had a new insight on our motto- To be wise and serve. It would seem like ‘being wise’ should always come before service, because really, how could we give what we do not have, right? But sometimes however hard we train and study, we still feel afraid and not confident enough that we could actually be of help. Precisely these are the nothings and the minimums we brought with us to CDO. But after our dealings with them, I realized that

what we say and give are secondary to how our mere presence and effort to be there and to listen to them have helped them. Nike’s Just do it explains it better. And really, we came to CDO with a minimum knowledge on psychosocial processing, medicine, some relief goods and a big desire to be of help but we went home with the fulfillment and happiness of being helped and of help. These people really taught us a lot of things that hopefully will remain with us forever.

UP Caduceus is a non-profit, non-stock, university-based organization comprised of students and young professionals in the medical or paramedical field. Caduceus aims to provide a venue by which these students and professionals can offer their talents and energies to the service of the public through forums, outreach programs and fundraising activities.

Words from a Resident I’m the eldest of four sisters and I stay in this dorm which houses girls who are younger than me so how does it feel being an ate? It’s a hard task but I persevere not because I have to but because I want to share the things that I have learned while growing up: wisdom gained through experience, talents developed from constant practice, care and love experienced Sharing is fun and exciting because I see the people improve. A simple exchange of ideas, jokes and laughter makes it more enjoyable. Best of all, I also learn from them. At times though, I’m tempted to let go of the responsibilities and opt to be indifferent; but I find I can’t stop. Focusing on the task gives self-fulfillment. An ate should be herself while being open to changes along the way which will greatly help her in dealing with other people. In sum being an ate is fun, challenging and enjoyable! Tiara Valderrama

staff box Berna Balon Pia Barrera Dominique Chio Ariel Mae Cleofe Cecile Dungog Francesca May Guico

documentation committee

Anabelle Laureola

layout

Abeth Agna Lou Dominique Aguinaldo Pia Barera Jasmine Caragay Angela Marie Cielo Andrea Contreras Erin Fernandez Chesca Guico Mica Malijan Mika Marco MariAnne Montiel

contributors


cont. from page 4

An Enriching Talk with the Vicar

Sharing of UP-PGH stories. I was all ears, and everyone in the room must have been also, when Ate Lou Aguinaldo was sharing to Vicar about Caduceus’ (a university-wide organization in UPM) activities and narrating a specific event during our free breakfast where a man refused to get another piece of bread so that other people may have it. It is in these stories that we see the innate goodness each person has. I was also amazed with the happenings in the pediatrics ward that Dr. Iris Buenaventura shared about the mortality rate decreasing among the patients whose beds a junior resident of hers pasted on St. Josemaria’s prayer card.

That a family even wrote a letter of of faith.” (www.usccb.org) thanks and sharing that they are now It was the first time that I praying it always was even more heart- heard of Dora del Hoyo and her story warming. was truly inspiring. From her life, we can confidently say that it is possible for Fr. Estrada’s invitation to partici- all people— a student, a home worker, pate actively in the Year of Faith a professional— to live holy lives bestarting this October and sharing cause that is what God has called us to of Dora del Hoyo’s life. Vicar stated be. that the purpose of the Year of Faith is for the New Evangelization to take The talk with Fr. Estrada was an enplace. “The New Evangelization calls each riching experience which I hope more of us to deepen our faith...calls all Catho- people can be part of. Although I was lics to be evangelized and then go forth to not able to ask any questions, I realized evangelize. In a special way, the New Evan- that those which were asked are also the gelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the questions that I had in my subconscious. Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis Looking forward to next year’s talk!

Words from a Resident One of the things I realized during my first four months in college is that it isn’t like high school where you can hope to get good grades without putting much effort into it because the lessons, although they were already tackled in high school, are more complex because they come to you in much more depth and detail. I’ve also come to realize that the limitations you lived by in high school or in your old school don’t exist anymore in college. You shouldn’t just limit yourself to something you’re familiar with because trying new things, especially if you’re in a new environment, will teach you more about yourself. In Tahilan, I’ve grown to appreciate the more ‘formal’ talks we have in Tahilan like kapihan at talakayan, the general assembly or the get-togethers. These talks not only helped me in detoxifying but also in bonding with my dorm mates, helping me get to know them better and make my stay in Tahilan a memorable one. The hospitality of the people in Tahilan and the friendliness and eagerness of my dorm mates definitely helped me adjust better to life in a dorm and in coping with the changes in college. One of the things I value the most about Tahilan is that it helped me maintain a connection with God through the daily visits to the sacrament and the vigils the night before the first Friday of every month. If I wasn’t staying in Tahilan I would also not have the good fortune of having to eat delicious meals with company I enjoy! My new friends and the food are definitely two other things I value the most in Tahilan. MariAnne Montiel


Trails 2012