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Editor’s Note EDITORIAL STAFF A.Y. 2010-2011 1st Semester

Donna Isabelle Fresnido Jefferson Magbanua Editors-in-Chief Ray Adrian Macalalag Managing Editor Mary Leslie Eregia Josefa Maria Castro Josh Von Iron Tondo Associate Editors Andre Karl Faculin Genessa Buenafe James Marthy Esleyer Mia Rose Emboltura Lennon Ponta-oy Senior Writers Febrielyn Tumines Kevin George Barrios Jerson Elmido Darlyn Herradura Staff Writers Nicole Fernan Caminian Staff Artist Kristine Louise Andrade Staff Photographer John Louie Esmaya Circulation Officer Gladys Confesor Moderator The Augustinian Mirror is the official student magazine of the University of San Agustin. It is published once every semester by the USA Publications with editorial office at the 2 nd Floor, Alumni Hall, University of San Agustin, Brgy. San Agustin, Gen. Luna St., 5000 Iloilo City. Comments, suggestions, and contributions may be sent to the Editorial Board through the email address usa.

We’re back in business. After a hiatus of nearly ten years from the College Press (COPRE) Awards, the USA Publications is raring to dip its toes into the pool of press competitions. This eagerness stems not from the desire to prove that we’re exactly where we left off (one of the last batches to join COPRE achieved a grandslam by winning the Best Newspaper and Best Magazine awards, apart from a host of other individual awards). Rather, we want to see how high – and long – we would have to climb in order to reach the top. Just like Soviet Russia after the lifting of Iron Curtain, we at The Augustinian Mirror are blinking back the vertigo that comes with whizzing through the still-foreign terrain of the outside world – of press competitions, that is. Being “hidden” for such a long time, I believe The Augustinian Mirror should return to pulling back the rug and revealing things that were unknown. This is why this issue is all about revelations both amusing and alarming, from the rising hemlines of Augustinian girls to the reasons why battered women are less likely to tell their tales. When something is concealed, it’s either because it’s best if it remains that way or it’s not yet time to remove the blinds. Well, it seems that the blinds were in the way all this time. Ignorance is not always bliss and this issue will tell you why. So here they are, revelations in all shapes and sizes. They’ll still come anyway, even if you close your eyes.

Donna Isabelle Fresnido Editor-in-Chief The Augustinian Mirror



15 8 About the cover



The cover photo shows a smiling young lady with one side of her face pulled down to reveal the same person, only with cuts and bruises. Just like the girl on the cover, secrets would have to come out in the open, sooner or later. The best and the worst of us will always have something to disclose, but to the right person and at the right time. In this issue of The Augustinian Mirror, what was previously hidden will come into the light. We are the right persons and this is the right time.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 Inbox 3 Opinion

15 Arts

30 Environment

5 Trends

20 Sci-Tech

32 Campus Life

12 Cover story

26 Culture and Society

Shame to Fame Of Skirts and Standing Up

Knowing Flaws, Flab and Facial Faults: Where have they gone?

Natural Disasters at Your Doorstep

A Habitable Planet Why Google is not Your Friend 24 Religion Racing Against Time: The Dreaded 2012 Cataclysm

Down the Rabbit Hole High and Low: Fluctuating Hemlines Toil of the Losers: The Dark Side of New Media

Behind Closed Doors: The Untold Tales of Abused Women

Hazing: One-Way Ticket to Brotherhood The Loser Sits Alone

Paglalakbay sa Buhay Tribu Tulay Queen

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 1

Scary CR’s

Tani tinlu-an permi ang CR’s kag dapat may soap, water kag flush. Second, teachers must also be punctual. Lastly, tani magdamo na ang mga food stalls sa cafeteria. Cafeteria Cutie

Matters of Food and Taste

This year damo nag bag-o kag nag dugang nga mga facilities. Mga rooms amat-amat na nga gina kay-o kag may Uniwide wifi na. Tanan nag-improve except sa CR nga amo man gyapon. Wala gyapon kis-a tubig kag iban nga mga ceiling fans wala ga andar. Concerned Citizen

My ate and I are wondering, pwede tama na nga Mcdo? Indi pwede KFC naman? Anti-Red-Haired-Clowns

Ever since my first weeks in USA, I have never come to appreciate the University restrooms. Hygiene is supposed to be essential. When it comes to busy students either drowning in their sweat or dying to pee, a clean and inviting restroom would really help them pamper themselves. Renovation of the University restrooms is terribly needed. Serious about CR’s Guba ang flush sa Mendel girl’s CR sa 2 nd floor. Can some of the school maintenance persons do something about it? Thank you. Best in CR After 1 year of studying at USA, it’s good to know nga nami na ang CR sa Mendel Hall...Tani muna-on na lang tanan nga CR sa school para daw tinlo man tulukon, indi nga daw horror, di bala? Kag wish ko tani kung may events sa school, declare na lng nga wala klase. I mean, what’s the point of celebrating when some are having classes? Nakakadistract... Hellgirl Ok man mga CR, except lang ang lapit sa A7 and A8. Grabi guid na da ang usbong sang ammonia sa boy’s room. Anti-Ammonificators I don’t get it why the girls’ CR sa cafeteria daw haunted. Makawiwi kami ayhan nga tarong? And not enough ang lighting. Princess Cubicle 2 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

The cafeteria is quite revolting to the point wherein some of the food they are selling contains certain organisms or foreign objects that should not be there. Gourmet

Sa mga gapanal-ot sa linya bala sa caf mag -buy food especially sa Waffle Time or Mcdo, kindly change your ways after you read this. Grrr… kay sa dason nga manal-ot kamo, habuyan ta kamo waffle. Waffle Bomb Ang food tani sa cafeteria damu-on man nila variants. Everyday feeling ko same food gihapon. Nakakasawa. Patay Gutom  I think that in order for our school to be better, dapat my strict implementation of the rules and regulations. I really hate it sa cafeteria nga biskan may sign na guid per table to return the trays, nobody is doing it because wala man strict implementation. Gapamantay sa Cafeteria

Wi-fi and Smoking Zones

The school is already cool since there’s wi-fi but the whole campus is not a hot spot pero at least meron. Then I suggest sana that every building may IMC to make the requisition of stuff much easier. Mister Multimedia Abi ko no-smoking zone ang San Ag? Ti nga-a pirme baho sigarilyo ang first floor nga hagdanan sang Alumni? Lihog lang da ah. Ayawan kami kadto sa sagwa mag-yosi dayon pwede man lang gali sa sulod school. Secret Smoker

Si Sir kag Ma’am

Kung gina-snob mo iban nga mga prof ngakig sila. Kung ginasapak mo sila, snob ka man nila. Ma ano na lang ako? Teacher’s Pet

The school is great sa activities but when it comes to teachers, especially sa CBAA (in major subjects pa ha), daw palagpat ang iban maghatag grades. They don’t know how to teach well na nga, pinalagpat pa magbigay ng grades. Do they really compute our grades in the “right” way? Nakapagtataka… Idagdag mo pa ang mga students na major major sa cheating! Tsk tsk… Layla Jones I think the teachers should be given less teaching load para at least they could focus on other areas and thrusts sang University, like research and community service, and they should not be pressured by lots of requirement during the end term. Amanuensis


Grabe ang baha sa tubang Tekno kag Mendel. Kun mag-ulan daw swimming pool ang Pelota. 09285440390 Tani wooden chairs na lang para indi matuktukan and mga uniform sang students. Kada puli ko ya, higko permi akon likod. Tik Tok Tuktok Ang botanical garden gali daw breeding ground na sa mga worm-like creatures. I dunno if they’re caterpillars… and they’re grossing me out. Ms. Botany Unfair guid ya ang “no charging” rule sa Library. Nagiging wi-fi hotspot pa kamo, urot gihapon battery namon. Charge of the Light Brigade Ang Alumni wala na gid na mas dako nga stairs? Matyag ko daw indi ko ya kaigo. Fourth floor pa naman klase ko. Obese Ang atop sang side gate dapat na kayuhon or islan. Kay kung mag-ulan, gatulo. Ang alagyan gabaha. Her

From Shame to Fame The name ‘Philippines’ blazed across global headlines in the span of just one week. In the one hand, we were forced to stare at bloody carnage. In the other, we marveled at a “major major” prominence. The Quirino Grandstand, the place of a new dawn for change as P-Noy was inaugurated as the new president of the Republic of the Philippines, dimmed to dusk as it turned into a war zone. The hostage drama was no action movie, simply a disaster from start to finish: eight Hong Kong tourists ended up dead and political relations between the country and Hong Kong took on a slight strain. The root of the bloodbath was decorated Filipino cop Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza, who was dismissed from the police service due to cases of extortion and alleged involvement in drug-related crimes. Before his dismissal, he was awarded in 1986 by the Philippine National Police as one of the top ten officers of the country. It was said that he hijacked the bus in order to be reinstated as a police officer and reclaim his retirement benefits. The 12-hour standoff is an excruciating slap to the face of the Philippines. First of all, the handling of police unveils its incompetence in responding to crises. As I vigilantly watched over the blow-byblow coverage on television, I can’t help be saddened not only by the fatalities of foreigners but also by the silliness of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of our country. The disgrace brought by this has coined new meanings on the acronym SWAT; to name a few: Sorry We Aren’t Trained; Sugod, Wait, Atras, Tago (Attack, Wait, Retreat, Hide); Sana Wag Ako Tamaan (Hope I don’t get hit); Sobrang Wala Akong Training (I’m very much ill-trained). In spite of the reported rescue plan with trial runs, it is painfully apparent that the police were awfully unprepared. There are many to blame and the media is not exempted. Although the live coverage showed the clear picture of misery which raised our consciousness,

it is believed that this has affected in a way the status of the hostage drama. The arrest of Mendoza’s brother on live TV has agitated the hostage taker, resulting in violent actions. Being the foremost catastrophe that has the stained new Aquino administration, this is a fiasco. The failure to peacefully negotiate and release the captives has made our nation the recipient of anger and fear from across the world. A black alert has been issued by Hong Kong to the Philippines after the hostage crisis. This would cripple our tourism, economy and reputation. Moreover, the fury of Chinese nationals is intensified because of the placing of the RP flag, indicative of a hero’s burial, on Mendoza’s casket. The crisis is even compared to the 9/11 attack in the US, pressuring President Benigno Aquino to solve the diplomatic glitches. For the actions of one man, Filipino expatriates in Hong Kong and throughout the world are mocked and ridiculed by many. A day after the devastating hostage taking, the Philippines stood with pride when Maria Venus Raj grabbed the fifth spot in the Miss Universe pageant. Despite the fact that she did not clinch the title, Raj has left a legacy for our country to the world—the term “major major”. Having entered the semi-finals and the top five after a decade, it is an honor for Filipinos to have one of our own recognized as at par with the most beautiful women in the world. Presently, the words borne out of nervousness have become a trend and an expression among Filipinos. She has indeed uplifted the Philippines to fame. The country may have a long way to go before it can redeem its image. Yet, the mistake done by Rolando Mendoza, Manila’s SWAT team, the PNP, the government and the media do not define the Philippines. Rather, this is a wake up call to shift by rising above adversities, by going from shame to fame. Instead of being a Rolando Mendoza, be a Venus Raj.



“For the actions of one man, Filipino expatriates in Hong Kong and throughout the world are mocked and ridiculed by many.”

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 3

Of Skirts and Standing Up Mindsweeper


“We can always be sexy even if we choose not to expose our flesh.”

4 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

It ’s Monday morning again and I’m running late. As I rushed to Aguirre Hall, I spied ahead of me a female student who sported a skirt so high above the knee that I raised my eyebrows in contempt and murmured, “Wa-ay na guid sang mas lip-ot pa da?” At the same moment, one of the ladies next to me exclaimed, “Grabe ba! Kalip-ot man to sang palda ya man. Dapat wala na to siya ginpasulod”. Sometimes, there really are students who fail to see the importance of wearing one’s school uniform properly. Whenever my mind drifts back to that incident, I can’t help but wonder why some girls want their skirts to be of the micro-mini type. Is it not enough that our legs are exposed when we wear the prescribed knee-length school skirt? Aside from stares that stick like glue, the jaws that drop, and men’s wolf whistles that fill the air, I don’t see any plausible reason why any girl would want to shorten her skirt to the nth degree and be degraded or humiliated by it. It’s not a question of drop-dead figures and physical sexiness but it’s more of decency and wholesomeness. Skirts that more or less expose our “hidden wealth” will not guarantee a sense of selfworth. We are showing disrespect to our school with every shortened length of our prescribed skirt. We can always be sexy even if we do not expose our flesh. In relation to the “exposure of flesh” misconduct that has dragged the University in the ensuing brouhaha should have taught us a lesson. Even thought the person concerned is no longer connected with the University, it is humiliating for all Augustinians, the ladies in particular, to be associated with such a scandal. Isn’t it self-degrading to see your own school uniform, with ID and

cravat to boot, to be part of the “props” in a revolting scene showing the person’s body and soul? We are Augustinians, imbued with the values of St. Augustine and educated enough to know the difference between what is moral and what is not. We should know very well what decency implies in our everyday living. Sadly, the people among us within our own ranks, our very own school “family,” have come to mock our identity as Augustinians, even to the point of making fun of our Alma Mater, making rude remarks before our very beings. Believe it or not, all that transpired because of one revealing skirt. Go figure. Scandalous scenes and skimpy skirts have one thing in common: misguidance. Students may have lost their sense of direction and may have followed a path which they believe is right for them. However, this is not the case. Public scandals can and will never be the answers to the call for a renewed life. On the other hand, it may serve as a wake-up call for us, the youth, to be vigilant and alert for temptations are always lurking in every corner of our turbulent and confused world. Revelation. What is shown. Let us not waste our time revealing, literally or figuratively, what is deemed inappropriate in our society. Instead, let us show others that despite the obstacles that come our way, we remain strong and resilient like the bamboo. Let us show them that we can fly to the realms above like our eagle, St. Augustine. Let us show them that we are persons of noble ideals and character. Oh, and as for you lady reader, you may want to tug that skirt down to knee level. We don’t want any wardrobe malfunctios now, do we?




Nothing screams “get out of the way” better than long hair, black shirts, tattoos and facial piercings. Think of Satanists. Think of garbled growls. Think of all things dark and destructive. But after listening to Dedrick Abad, a representative of this “minority,” you also might want to think again. Dedrick, the bass player for the metal band Mongrel Blood and a BS Computer Science graduate of the University of San Agustin, admits he knows what people think of metalheads, as lovers of metal rock call themselves. “Who wants to hear a band with members that look like drug addicts?” he asks rhetorically.



Loud, loud guitar riffs Metal music, for those unfamiliar with it, is a genre of rock music “traditionally characterized by loud distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, dense bass-anddrum sound, and vigorous vocals” (www. For the untrained ear (just like this writer’s), metal sounds a whole lot like screaming and a mishmash of loud, loud guitar riffs and even louder drumbeats. Unfazed by this reception of metal, Dedrick remains a man on a mission: to spread the good word of metal to all open ears – and this involves wiping away the negative stereotype that plagues metalheads. “Kung makakita ka metalista, abi mo gadulum na dayon ang kalibutan,” wryly smiles Dedrick. Contrary to what the public may think, metal is not all about mindless rebellion and the proven formula of drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. “We try to be good musicians but we do it in a good way. Metal is an outlet. We don’t resort to anything that could harm us.” He added as an afterthought, “I’ve been there.” The rabbit hole goes deeper Coming from someone sporting hippie-long hair and a black shirt with the words “Megadeth” spelled out in bloodred letters, these words might come as a surprise, but it doesn’t end there. “In fact,” adds Dedrick, “the rabbit hole goes deeper.” Just last year, Dedrick co-founded Grindhouse Productions, a local metal organization, in the hopes of gathering likeminded metalheads into one coherent group and escaping the heavy tariff that comes with holding a concert inside The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 5

Life is not all pineapple juice and sunshine. Just be real. 6 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

University grounds. He admitted that the original members “had no talent” and everything started out of fun, but soon the fun was replaced with a burning desire to show the world that they deserve more credit than the label of good-for-nothing ruffians. They may not plant trees, give away slippers to unfortunate children, or hold fundraising activities to support a pet cause, but members of Grindhouse stand by what they love. “We’re not in for the popularity and the credit, We’re in for the love of it. It just so happened that it’s metal. You can’t blame us if our music is tsinelas. They’ve grown accustomed to mediocrity.” Duality of Man But why metal music, with all its dark themes of death, dying and destruction? Why not pang-masa pop? Upbeat reggae? Smooth jazz? Why does it have to be a type of music that sounds like infestation rolled up in a neat little pill? The answer is deceptively simple. As Dedrick says with a knowing smile, “There’s always a dark side. (It’s about) the duality of Man. There is no day without night, no heaven with hell. Metal is a nightmare coming true. And Life? Life is not all pineapple juice and sunshine. Just be real.” In fact, it is with this realness in mind that Grindhouse lifts a middle finger to a music industry whose only business is to “create clones.” “Whatever happened to real music? The music of the 70’s and the 90’s? Now they’re all dime a dozen. You hear one band you hear all the others. What happened to the music of the soul? Nobody speaks it anymore,” sighs Dedrick. It is in the midst of the current music scene that Grindhouse attempts to assert its right to share what it wants

to share. However, “metalheads are never considered musicians. They’re like Jews in wartime Germany.” Dedrick points out that the core of Grindhouse is not only about the love of metal but also of respect for others that are unlike them. “I love jazz and I appreciate pop so don’t underestimate what we’re trying to do. Can you at least give us a chance?” Bulletproof (?) The music scene’s reception of metal is not the only worry of Grindhouse. Like a monastery that accepts only those of pure intentions, so does Grindhouse informally assess the sincerity of potential members. Dedrick laughs, “In order to be metal, you don’t have to act metal. Besides, if you get into metal just for posing, you’d get into trouble. They always think we are astig, quote and quote.” Bombay, another Grindhouse member, pipes up, “Parang bulletproof daw yung metalista.” “A black shirt, long hair and chains do not make a metalhead. Ever since Kapatiran IV (one of Grindhouse’ yearly concerts), it’s like everybody wants to be part of Grindhouse biskan hapaw-hapaw lang. Kung nagkadto ka sa metal concert just to ‘be’ metal, then thank you for the money but that’s not metal,” Dedrick stresses. Making a stand towards an apathetic music industry and kids out to ride the astig bandwagon may seem like a tough burden, but Grindhouse is still shredding that guitar in the face of it all. “We’re fighting for a cause we’ll never win, but it’s fine as long as we die trying,” declares Dedrick. “That lone guy headbanging in the corner is enough for me.” Photo credit: Grindhouse Productions

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 7

High and Low:

Fluctuating Hemlines By JOSEFA MARIA CASTRO

One lazy morning, as I was scribbling on the unused pages of my new notebook in class, I noticed a decent-looking student glide across the hallway. She was relatively pretty enough to have caught the attention of a few of my male classmates. Just as she walked past the door, I felt my jaw drop. Her skirt was about a ruler’s length above her knees. My classmates and even my teacher noticed how disproportionate her school uniform was. By-the-book I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has seen these students sashaying around the campus. They may not be that numerous, but I know you’ve seen one or two girls who’ve probably mistaken their store-bought miniskirts as their school 8 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

uniform. What’s interesting about these girls is that they have matching stiletto heels to go along with the skirt. That you can’t help but wonder if they’ve formed some sort of secret convention where they all decided to pair up the two items replacing the original Cuban shoes and knee-length plaid skirts as prescribed in the Student Manual. What I still don’t seem to understand is why these girls are so compelled to expose much of their skin without fear of being negatively criticized. They don’t seem to get a hint of the attention that they’ve been gathering (or do they?) and are simply ignorant of the fact that they are also dragging along with them into the “controversy” all oter girls wearing the same plaid print. Choosing what to wear from your

closet may not seem like much of a big deal, but when you are made to wear the prescribed uniform, altering it would mean your defiance and nonconformity to the regulations set by the school. Dress to ex(im)press While I admit that I am an advocate of self-expression through fashion, I feel that there is a need to draw the fine line between mere self-expression and a major campus scene. I believe in the saying, “You are what you wear.” Through the years, many things have been identified as factors for the students’ behavior. For one, the media has never really been an advocate of conformity to the norms and conservative lifestyles. It tends to counter the accepted standards of behavior by sensationalizing nonconformist acts and behavior and apparently approving them. Society demands us to keep up with the times and go for whatever’s trendy; failing to do would label us as social outcasts. Darwin was right Have you ever noticed how there is an inversely proportional relationship between the length of a girls’ skirt and the height of her heels? The theory states: the shorter the skirt, the higher the heels. Throughout the years, there has been an evolution of trends. Back then, heel-length skirts worn with flats were all the rage until the skirts became shorter and the heels became higher. This is why today we are all witnesses to the fully-evolved female trend in fashion.

On a larger scale This isn’t simply a matter of modified school uniforms. In general, fashion is highly dependent on one’s personality. How we dress is how we want to be perceived by the entire world. Something as simple as covering-up our cuts and bruises by the use of our clothing could reveal so much about our personality. It means that we tend to give so much of our time and effort to put our best foot forward and show the world our most pristine selves, even if it means showing them a false image. Time to take action This has been a raging issue for quite a few years now but we don’t really see the Administration making a move on stopping, if not preventing this from happening in future school years. There is the prescribed length for the skirt, yes, but implementation is really, really lax, as evidenced by the sororities wearing micro-minis. If Augustinian girls continue wearing these kinds of uniforms and are left to do this as freely as they please, what would that tell other schools about us? Is this really the image we want to be known for? Think about it this way: the higher the hemline of your skirt, the lower the respect you earn Going back to the story of the mystery girl I saw outside our classroom, I wasn’t really that shocked when I saw her approaching her friends wearing even shorter skirts. It seems that girls of with same skirt length do flock together. The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 9

Toil of the Losers: The Dark It is shortly past ten in the evening and I squint at the brightly hued Yahoo page. My fingers work their way on the keys F-A-C-E-B-O-O-K-.-C-O-M as if they have their own minds. A moment ago, I awoke to an MMS asking me to check on my Facebook account. Now, here I am mindlessly heeding the invitation and browsing my home page droopily. The dominance of blue and white makes everything look

10 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

less important—everything but the red-tainted envelop icon on the top left of the page. I move the pointer over the icon and click. The name Niko Rosales appears on the screen; his message contains the subject “Ex-sem DOTA reunion.” I feel a tingle in my stomach. Niko was once a fellow aspirant in the seminary and now lives in Mako, Davao. Like me, Niko was not born to become a priest.

I click once more. The message turns out to be an invitation to meet at Garena, an online server where gamers can meet and challenge each other in different role playing games; among which is DOTA or “Defense of the Ancients.” The message was sent to eight other ex-seminarian friends scattered all over the Philippines and abroad. This is going to be fun, I thought, thanks to New Media.

Side of New Media For those who don’t know, New Media is the amalgamation of all traditional media technologies. It encapsulates broadcast, print, audio-visual, advertising, interactive games, telecommunications, the internet and other information media. It is dynamic, interactive and democratic. It revolutionized our lives. The list could go on for miles if I enumerate the advantages of New Media. Also, that would be too obvious since everyone knows how New Media made life easy for all of us. What isn’t easy, however, are the negative consequences it entails. Let’s talk negative. “New Media is the number one thief of time,” wrote Forrest Berry in his article, Dangers of the New Media. According to him, a large number of college students devote much of their time to the internet, most of them spending twelve or more hours a week, without knowing when to stop. Self-control seemed to have been lost these days. Valuable time is lost whenever when we spend too much of it on social networking sites “cyberstalking” someone, changing our status shout-outs, or plainly waiting for new updates from our online friends to arrive. Of course, there is pleasure in it but at what point do we stop? Manuel L. Quezon III, in his closing address at the 5 th Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism said that what most people do with their online time is entertain themselves. “People are looking for things that amuse.” The most popular items searched online are music videos: 73%, movie trailers: 26%, comedy: 26%, TV shows: 17%, entertainments news: 16%, cartoons: 15% and sports clips: 15%. Searching has grown to become the dominant online activity. The growing preference for entertainment has blurred the line between news and controversy, discourse and gossip, fact and fiction. Now we suffer the mainstream media response of “give-theaudience-what-they-want” approach. Television stations have knee-jerked at the thought of losing audience to

entertainment and so they changed the rules of the game. It may seem clandestine but such is evident in the death of intelligent programs such as Debate with Mare at Pare, hosted by Winnie Monsod and Oscar Orbos, and the birth of programs such as Showbiz News Ngayon which is hosted by Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino (now replaced by Bianca Gonzales). “Once we start replacing investigative journalism with celebrity scandals and reality TV train wrecks, we are, in a very real sense, giving away the keys to an informed public and a strong democracy,” wrote Anthony Mora in his article The Dangers of the New Media Landscape. Surely, we cannot put things like the marriage of Robin Padilla and Mariel Rodriguez at par with issues on how the media conducted itself during the August 23rd hostage taking but it seems that networks are trying to do so. This phenomenon brings more responsibility on our shoulders when it comes to straining information fed to us. And so we toil. New media increases freedom but presents dangers. Digital Media for one offers citizens greater freedom of information, but entails the dangers of manipulated information. “The internet has opened up extraordinar y new possibilities for the widespread, damaging and sometimes dangerous manipulation of information which is difficult if not impossible to stem,” said Timothy Balding, CEO of the World Association of Newspapers in an article published in This phenomenon places a heavy responsibility on professional journalists to maintain high standards of fact-checking, honesty and objectivity. This brings us to one of Jaron Lanier’s views on the emerging dangers of New Media. According to him, one of those which imperil the benefits of News Media is the danger of cybernetic totalism—a behavior unleashed by online life which


views technology as a kind of “Great Revelation,” where people are no longer critical of the information they get from the internet. Lanier’s view brings to mind the idea of the impending danger that our society and democracy might soon be thrown into a vortex of confusion. New Media in general brings to us the dangers of digital isolation, social fragmentation and manipulated information. It brings the danger that soon we might find ourselves in the confines of our lonely rooms, never to leave for a walk, visit, work, shop, exercise or make love (as Bill Henderson, director of the Lead Pencil Club, puts it). It endangers us of an illdefined society, culture and democracy. There is no denying that New Media is a great tool of modernization. Yet it is a gift and a curse, a virtue and a vice, an ailment and a remedy. It is a double-edged sword that we use to survive natural selection. It is a technology we can enjoy and must endure. To end, allow me to borrow a few words from Anthony Mora. Perhaps the dangers of New Media may not seem our problem as of now, but at least be warned: “It is not media’s challenge alone.   It is ours.   If…  the media fails to uncover stories of corruption both in government and  the private sector, we become  the biggest losers.” Photo credits: uploads/2009/09/

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 11


12 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

She didn’t see the scissors coming. Only when they crashed against the side of her face did Lisa* dimly think of how cold they were, how hard. Her husband dropped the scissors and abruptly returned to bed as if nothing happened. Come tomorrow, they would play the same charade of sweet smiles and “oh-I-just-slipped-on-thebathroom-floor” as a ready answer for the bruises. Nothing did happen. All that had been in the past. Now, Lisa is separated from her husband and she is not sorry. Lisa is just one of the women finally breaking out of the shell of societal repression to tell their tales of violence against women (VAW). However, a greater number of battered women are left in the shadows, struggling to mouth the words of their stories. In an age where the emancipated woman is more than just a dream and a specific law (RA 9262, or the Anti Violence against Women and Children Act of 2004) is made to address the concerns of battered women, why are there still women afraid of coming out? Usapang mag-asawa There are a lot of reasons, according to Rosario Asong, the coordinator of the Regional Gender Resource Center. “It’s shame for the family. It’s an old notion that (wife battering is a) family affair. Even if they are hammering at each other, it’s the family’s own concern.” In a collectivistic society where one tiny pebble could create huge ripples, hesitating to meddle in domestic squabbles

– no matter how violent – is generally seen as understandable. “Usapang mag-asawa iyan” is the usual excuse. What’s worse is that even the woman accepts this. According to the Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), “Women believe they should keep silent about wife-beating because it is their role to maintain peace and harmony at home at all costs.” Another reason, Asong says, is that children always come into the picture. “Dalahig ang mga bata. Kung kis-a gani mismo ang asawa ang ma bail out sa bana kay gusto sang mga bata nga kompleto ang pamilya. “ Besides, “mapuli ka man gihapon sa balay kag maatubang mo siya.” As Lisa adds, “Fear is always the dominant emotion of the woman – fear of losing her husband, the father of her children.” ‘Not approachable’ Also, it really is difficult to end an intimate relationship. “He has his good side,” says Lisa of her husband. Adds Asong, “Women always hope, ‘Basi mag-ayo ni siya’.” Other women are financially dependent on their husbands, and this makes the chains of abuse almost indestructible. Although she has a profession to cling to, Lisa stayed on longer than she should because of difficulty in supporting their two boys herself. The attitude of police officers is another hindrance. “Some officers of the women’s desk are not approachable,” expressed Asong. PO2 Jo An Bolivar, an

investigator of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WPCD) of Iloilo City, has this to say: “The personnel now are different from before. Being investigators, we serve the clients in the best wy we can. If there are still complaints, then we can’t please everybpdy. And although it’s easy to condemn some police officers who may be insensitive, Bolivar expressed,“Tungod sa agrabio, the victims want to imprison the perpretrator immediately, something which does not follow protocol. We have to refuse to do what they want so we come off as negative because we can’t please them.” As for her co-investigators, Bolivar adds, “Indi mo sila mabasol. Bag-o pa lang nila na tubang ang amo na nga mga case. As of now, most of the staff are fresh graduates in need of straining in handling VAW cases. They should have a basic orientation before they start duty. After all, we handle sensitive matter.” What is saddening is that some women don’t even realize that there are now laws to protect them. “Even if there is a law, we don’t exercise our rights,” lamented Asong. “In the rural areas, women are not aware that there are already laws to protect them. There’s not enough dissemination…. We need a support group especially at the barangay level.” All ages, income, brackets, and sectors The myriad of reasons bogging down the woman can only result in entrenching more firmly the culture of battering. It seems that this is one danger that chooses

The Untold Tales of Abused Women * not her real name The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 13

no woman in particular. As expressed by Kababaihan Laban sa Karahasan Foundation (KALAKASAN) and the Philippine Commission of Women (PCW), battered women come from all ages, income, brackets, and sectors. Based on cases handled by anti-VAW agencies WCC, KALAKASAN and Lihok-Pilipina, battered women are usually found in the 19-15 bracket. 80 percent have children, and one-third are high school graduates. A significant number are married to police or military officials while the rest are married to doctors, company executives, clerks, schoolteachers, dock hands, and jobless men. Although most battered women come from middle class or poor families, we cannot compare these figures with those who come from upper class backgrounds. According to PCW, “Women from the upper class are less likely to use women’s shelters or public hospitals and report their cases to the police, so that they have remained largely invisible in present research.” Still, PO2 Bolivar remains optimistic that the rates of upper class women reporting battery are rising. “Magpati ka sa indi, may clients kami nga dalagko nga tawo.” Mid-air Although Lisa can’t exactly be classified as a “prominent”

“Battered women come from all ages, income brackets, and sectors.”

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person, she crossed her fingers and prayed to God when she filed a blotter report about her husband. “‘Indi na guid ko magliwat sakit sa imo,’ he said. Then he repeated the violence after two weeks. If I won’t take action, until when will I suffer? Mahulat lang ko until the day I’ll lose consciousness? I have to save myself!” frets Lisa. “Basi mapatay pa ko ya,” she added. When she returned home, they had another quarrel – but there was no more violence. “Just as he lifted his fist to punch me, I told him that I already filed a report on him so if anything happens to me, the police already have a suspect,” shares Lisa. The hand stopped mid-air. Since then, Lisa has been sharing custody with her husband for her two sons. Being a battered wife is definitely not included in her list of options for the future. “Once respect disappears in a marriage, how will you keep the relationship going?” muses Lisa. Too late VAW is a problem – a deadly one. “It’s a cycle of violence until it’s too late,” warns Asong. Lisa proved that it’s not too late. Perhaps it’s time that those in the shadows could speak up and tell the world that yes, something did happen behind closed doors.


Have you ever heard of Paul? No, he’s not a person. Paul is actually an octopus who predicted the outcome of the FIFA World Cup 2010, the most watched sporting event in the entire world. He also managed to predict correctly the results of all the other games in the World Cup. During the FIFA World Cup finals, the octopus was presented with two boxes filled with food. The flag of The Netherlands was placed on top of one box, while the flag of Spain was on the other box. Paul chose the box with Spain’s flag on it, and, a few hours later, Spain emerged as the champion of the FIFA World Cup 2010. If an octopus can do it, then humans can probably predict the future, too. Since man first walked this earth, human nature has instilled within us a yearning to learn about the future. Wouldn’t it be cool to know what’s about to happen, to know what the future holds? Imagine winning the lottery because you know the numbers that will appear, or knowing that your teacher will get sick so you need not go to the classroom and wait for hours, or, at the very least, predicting accurately the questions that will be asked in the exams? Now, won’t predictions come handy? As tempting as it sounds, the ability to foretell the future may at times be scary as well. Aside from the fact that life will no longer be surprising, it is always painful to know about one’s death. Let us take for example the six famous musicians who predicted their own deaths. Of course, everyone has to die, but living up to your prediction is kind of bizarre. Ever heard of the rapper Tupac Shakur? A verse in his song, Niggas Done Changed, nailed it for him. “I’ve been shot and murdered/ Can tell you how it happened word for word/ But best believe niggas gon’ get what they deserve,” he rapped. Two months

before the song was released, Tupac was shot and murdered, just like he said. The shooting happened on the strip in Vegas after a Mike Tyson fight and, obviously, at a time like that, not many people were around, so nobody saw the shooter. The case remains unsolved. Next is the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Have you ever put a curse on somebody? The band’s song, The Smell, is like that — a prediction that worked as a curse. According to stories, the song was written to express lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant’s disappointment with the lifestyle lead and rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington was leading. Rossington’s drug and alcohol problems had started to affect the band negatively. In the ironically-titled album, Street Survivors, Zant growled the ominous lyrics: “Say you’ll be alright come tomorrow/ But tomorrow might not be here for you/ Angel of darkness upon you/ The smell of death surrounds you.” Just three days after the album release, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in a forest near Gillsburg, Misissippi with, ironically, only Rossington as survivor. If that isn’t enough, try looking for the original album cover and you’ll find the band of seven on fire. Tomorrow must have not been there for them during that time. Jeff Buckley was another musician who predicted his own death. He might not be famous in these shores, but, during the nineties, he was considered a promising young musician in the United States. Buckley’s father was also a musician who walked out on him and his mother. Apparently, the experience inspired him to pen the song Dream Brother. The song contained the following lyrics: “The dark angel he is shuffling in/ Don’t be like the one who left behind his name/ Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over.” Less than three years after the release of Dream Brother, Buckley died by drowning, asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over. The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 15

John Lennon is probably the most famous musician on this list. The former Beatles member recorded the song “Borrowed Time” after a fiveyear exile from the music industry. Lennon was inspired to write the song after a neardeath experience while sailing to Bermuda through a fierce storm, and the song contains the line: “Living on borrowed time, without a thought for tomorrow.” Four years after he recorded the song, Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman. His borrowed time had obviously run out. Before rising to superstardom in 1965, Jimi Hendrix recorded the song The Ballad of Jimi. The song talks about a guy, also named Jimi, who was going to die in five years, and contains the following unfortunate lyrics: “Many things he would try, for

he knew soon he’d die/ Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone/ His memory still lives on/ Five years, this he said/ He’s not gone, he’s just dead.” Why the guy in the song is named Jimi still remains a mystery. About five years after the song was recorded, Hendrix died - by choking on his own vomit. But then, predictions are not always that creepy. There are others whose works of art foretold of the glorious future and the things it would entail. These predictions are different from the ones told by fortunetellers in carnivals and fairs which require tarot cards and crystal balls. For one, there are the works of Jules Verne who told of space, air, and underwater travel before navigable aircraft, submarines and means of space travel were invented. Ve r n e , a c c o r d i n g t o

16 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

Wikipedia, made “accurate anticipations of modern times” in his novels. His novel, Paris in the 20th Century, told of modern conveniences such us air conditioning, automobiles, electricity, television and even the Internet. Another example is his From the Earth to the Moon which not only told of a “space gun” (his own version of a rocket) but of the launching of three astronauts to space—an account that is strangely similar to the Apollo Program. But strange didn’t just stop there. In the novel, the rocket was launched from “Tampa Town,” the name of which is similar to Tampa, Florida which is approximately 130 miles from NASA’s actual launching site of the Apollo 13. In his other works, Verne predicted the inventions of helicopters, jukeboxes and other later devices. He also

predicted the underwater hydrothermal vents which were discovered only years after he wrote of them. Whether creepy or amazing, predictions never fail to add a little spice to everyday lives. However, not knowing what’s going to happen in the future can help people become more adventurous. Who knows? Predictions might actually turn out wrong. Photo credits: ZU5XZF3tunQ/S60QREuT4VI/ AAAAAAAAAoA/aebL3rUL4nk/s1600/ wp-content/uploads/2006/11/ wiki_image/6/6d/ pic200/drp200/p230/

“Of course, everyone has to die, but living up to your prediction is kind of bizarre.�

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 17

Flaws, Flab and Facial Faults: Where have they gone? By JOSEFA MARIA CASTRO and RAY ADRIAN MACALALAG

“Gosh… my… oh! Is that a pimple?” Angelica screamed her lungs out while browsing through her photos uploaded by her friend on a social networking site. She gasped at the huge blemish on her right cheek. She untagged herself and downloaded the photo with the thought that she could be able to edit it herself on her laptop. As beauty-conscious as she is, Angelica is not the only one who believes in the powers of photo editing. Seen as the solution to our imperfect problem of imperfect pictures, photo editing seems to be all the rage these days. With just a few clicks and drags of the mouse, we can be whoever we want to be. Believe it or


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not, perfection is within reach, if only in a photograph. But what about the saying, “A picture paints a thousand words”? Will it still hold true even if that picture is so manipulated, so retouched that what’s in the photo is light years away from the real thing? A picture is supposed to show who you are, not who you want to be. But with the advent of photo editing, we conceal our true selves and build up a perfect persona in the eyes of other people. Long before, photo editing started a “cosmetic” revolution, it was made available only to those who could afford it, such as advertising, fashion, and film-making companies. But, as the technological


advancements of mankind have evolved so rapidly, anyone who has a computer can easily edit his or her photos in the comfort of their own home. People can hide their true selves – flaws, flab and facial faults – from the cyber world. Photo editing applications differ in their functions and sources. The simple applications would only allow you to do basic types of editing such as removing red eyes, blemishes, scars and other imperfections. The more complex applications allow you to change your body size, adjust your smile, and even change your background. Although many applications are installed in a computer, some photo editing applications are now


easily accessed or even downloaded from the internet. People fascinated by the capabilities of these applications are growing in number. Statistics show that one of the popular websites that offer photo editing applications,, is visited by about 1.6 million users every day. Photoshop, a photo editing software application by Adobe, is used by millions – 42 percent use the genuine software and amazingly, the remaining 58 percent of the users own pirated copies. As their numbers grow, more people could then hide who they are and show what they want to be – paradoxically adding to the imperfections they have since to pass yourself off as perfect is to ignore the truth of your limitations. Now, thanks to these free sites, you can alter the darkness of your skin, the depth of your eye bags, the bulge of your


tummy. You can whiten your teeth that have yellowed from too much nicotine, smoothen wrinkles, reduce the shininess of your oily face. And, in Angelica’s case, erase that annoying pimple that will lead only to ten Facebook likes, not the twenty that she hoped. Angelica eagerly removed that blemish on her face with a few simple swipes of her mouse. She was able to smudge it out, making her skin look smoother and more radiant. She then moved on to adjusting the photo’s lighting and did all sorts of tweaking until she was fully satisfied. As she uploaded the edited photo, she then begged her friend to delete the original one. We can be someone else once in a while in the “Photoshop world”, but isn’t it that we are only fooling not only other people but, more importantly, ourselves? Photo editing is not meant to be abused. It is an application made for the sole

purpose of improving and enhancing photo qualities, not making up fake and too ambitious ones. Face it (no pun intended), editing photos will not make a person look more beautiful in real life, which is why most social networking sites can be deceitful. A person you thought looked stunning on the internet can turn out to be a halfpint wannabe in real life. Editing photos is like going to an expensive dermatologist, without the price tag. We should be able to look at ourselves confidently in the mirror every morning and not feel bad about what we were given. It’s a simple matter of accepting who we are, and who we will never be. Photo credits: h t t p : / / w w w. to p s o c i a l i te. co m / w p - co n te n t / uploads/2008/02/

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 19

A Habitable Planet By Darlyn Herradura

For many years, mankind has dreamed about finding and inhabiting a planet even slightly similar to Earth, starting anew and pioneering a brand-new civilization. The said planet has been the subject of numerous rumors, books, and films. Hopes of finding the habitable planet have been fed not only by human imagination, but by astronomers as well. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States government agency responsible for aeronautics and aerospace research, has a space observatory known as the Kepler Mission whose sole purpose is to discover earth-like planets in other solar systems. Gliese 581d could just be the planet we’re looking for. A team of European astronomers, led by Stephane Udry, a known “planet hunter”, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, discovered it on April 23, 2007, using the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARP) spectrograph in La Silla, Chile. HARP is an instrument that disperses radiation into an electromagnetic spectrum, and starts mapping it. In plain English, it means using the spectrograph is like throwing a ball into the dark and hoping it will hit something. The planet was found in a solar system twenty light years away from Earth, orbiting a red dwarf star named Gliese 581, which is smaller and cooler than our Earth’s own sun. Astronomers initially believed that Gliese 581d was too far from its host star, making it too cold to support life. However, in 2009, astronomer Michel Mayor, also from the University of Geneva, and his colleagues discovered that Gliese 581d orbits its host star, Gliese 581, in 66.8 days. This discovery showed that Gliese 581d was nearer to the star than originally estimated, and that it was located in the so-called habitable zone. 20 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

In short, Gliese 581d’s distance from the Gliese 581 is just perfect. If it were a little closer to the star, the water on its surface would boil, but, if it were a little father, the water on the planet would freeze. Its location makes it possible for the planet’s water and climate to support life. According to Stephen Udry, Gliese 581d is the first serious ocean planet candidate. Estimates show that it’s ten times more massive than Earth, and some scientists believe that it could be a “water world” with most of its surface covered by a large, deep ocean. However, here’s one jarring factor that sets Gliese 581d apart from earth: it’s tidally locked. When a planet is tidally locked to its host star, one side of it always faces the star. Therefore, one side of Gliese 581 d is always in darkness while the other never experiences it. Efforts have already been made to contact any planet in the Gliese 581 solar system that might have life. In October 2008, Bebo, a social networking site not unlike Facebook, spearheaded a movement named A Message from Earth. The project beamed a high-powered digital signal toward Gliese 581 using Ukraine’s RT-70 radar telescope. The signal was a digital time capsule that contained 501 messages from Bebo users and celebrities. Among the messages were pictures of political figures like George Bush, Barrack Obama, and Hilary Clinton, and landmarks like the London Eye and Edinburgh Castle. It was estimated that the signal will reach Gliese 581 by the year 2029, and the latest possible response, if any, will be received on 2049. Gliese 581d might support life, be ten times larger than earth, and be beautiful in a strange, alluring way. It could even be populated by beings infinitely more intelligent than human beings, but it’s still safe to say, there’s no place like home. Photo credits: hires/2009/

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 21



is not Your Friend By DARLYN HERRADURA

A college student hears over the radio the lyrics of a song he’s unfamiliar with. He keeps thinking about the song, and soon ends up searching for its title on the Internet using phrases he remembers from the song as search words. His first destination is most likely com. The young sophomore girl suddenly remembers the boy she had a crush on two years ago. She wonders how he’s doing, and decides to look him up on the Internet. The search engine she uses? Still Google, of course. Google ( is arguably the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, it has already become a popular term in pop culture, and is used for the most mundane of purposes. If you want to find out if your crush has a blog, why kangaroos have pouches, or how a refrigerator works, what do you do? You google it. However, Google is proving to be a double-edged sword. Yes, it gives you a vast amount of information at your disposal. It leads you to a thousand websites useful for your schoolwork, personal life, or perhaps for nefarious purposes you don’t want other people to know about, but at what cost? What most Google users don’t know is that it records everything, including the search terms you use, the date and time of your search, and your Internet 22 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

Protocol (IP) Address which is like your computer’s address online. For example, when you look up Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamia, Google records it and knows that those two searches come from your computer. It’s clearly stated in Google’s official Privacy Policy: Log information – When you access Google services, our servers automatically record information that your browser sends whenever you visit a website. These server logs may include information such as your web request, Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser. Google also provides a free web-based email service commonly known as G-mail or Google Mail. Unfortunately, G-mail stores all the e-mails its users send and receive, even the deleted ones. It even saves the emails that users receive from other webbased email providers like Yahoo!Mail and Lycos Mail - private conversations, professions of love, backstabbing and perhaps even death threats. Google Mail saves it all. This is also stated in their Privacy Policy: User communications – When you send email or other communications to Google, we may retain those communications in order to process your inquiries, respond to your requests and improve our services. Most users are already familiar with

Google Maps, an application that allows you to find businesses, view maps, and even get driving directions. When used from a cell phone, Google may receive information about your location. Through the signals a cell phone sends, Google can even get your cell ID, a unique number assigned to your cell phone which can also pinpoint your location. Here’s Google’s stipulation regarding “Location Data” in their Privacy Policy: Location data – Google offers location-enabled services, such as Google Maps for mobile. If you use those services, Google may receive information about your actual location (such as GPS signals sent by a mobile device) or information that can be used to approximate a location (such as a cell ID). In 2007, a study led by Prof. Hermann Maurer, the chairman of the Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media in Austria’s Graz University, claimed that Google is turning into Big Brother, a character from George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four who knows everything about the people in his state. To more than a small extent, Prof. Hermann Maurer is correct. Google knows what you’re thinking through search terms. It knows where you are through your IP Address and Google Maps. It even knows and stores who you’re communicating with through Google Mail. All three combined is simply a privacy time bomb waiting for the appropriate moment to explode.

Artwork by Jerson Elmido

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 23



Imagine yourself standing on a deserted road, watching in sheer horror as the skyscrapers across the lot gradually crumble into pieces, balls of fire rain down from the heavens, and giant waves engulf the earth amidst the roars and flashes of thunder and lightning. Although this looks like a scene straight out of the disaster movie Armageddon, it seems that movies are only a precursor of natural disasters that show no sign of ceasing. Is there really a grain of truth to these onscreen warnings? Will catastrophes as bad as the ones predicted in the Book of Revelations ever come true? Will we live to see doomsday? And what’s with the year 2012 anyway? Opposing Views Doomsday, or a doomsday event, is used to refer to alleged realistic dangers from natural or man-made causes and is also known as a hypothetical occurrence which has an exceptionally destructive effect on the human race. Due to new age predictions, the year 2012 has become a subject of speculation and with that, two opposing views have sprung forth, one of which is based on the realms of science and another on religion. Science Supposes Though not likely to happen any time soon, five major science-based scenarios were presented by scientific experts, first of which is the false vacuum collapse. It states that everything exists in a framework of an overinflated balloon. A “pin”, activated by a particular accelerator, would deflate the vacuum and everything will be disassembled down to the atomic level without us knowing it. You can’t see a black hole, but you can feel it coming. This phenomenon refers to the Black Hole Collision, the second science-based scenario which causes the planets to be gobbled up or to fly out of 24 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

their orbits. This collision is visible to the naked eye because the space around it gets so warped that things behind the black hole would look either stretched or doubled. Another theory that scientists came up with is the Big Rip which predicts that basically, there will be a force that will push not only the universe but also the atoms apart. Everything will pretty much dissolve into a cloud of particles, which will then dissolve. It is said that if this force will speed up again, we will have a few moments to feel like we are getting larger before fizzling into the rest of the cosmos. There will be a significant gravitational impact on Earth with consequences such as production of atmospheric dust that would block solar energy and cause “nuclear winter”. Considered to be the last among the major scientific theories, Gamma Ray Bursts are caused by the death throes of large stars in the neighborhood or collisions of neutron stars, which are essentially the cores of large stars that have not collapsed into black holes. One especially deadly hypothesized source is the hypernova, produced when a hypergiant star explodes then collapses, sending vast amounts of radiation sweeping across hundreds or thousands of light years of space. God Speaks From the Catholic Church’s point of view, however, all things will come to pass but no one can really tell, let alone predict, when this final day is going to happen. The most important thing is that we are ready anytime. “I don’t believe in the doomsday prophecies because I believe in the Bible. No one can tell when the final day is,” says Fr. Antonio P. Reyes, Diocesan Priest of the Parish of San Jose Obrero, Fundidor, Molo.

As stated in the Book of Revelations, the prelude of doomsday is manifested by climate change, strife, dry spells, or destruction of material or temporal things. According to Fr. Reyes, however, the wrath of nature nowadays may not necessarily signify the end of the world. “These can only be manifestations or a reminder that we are abusing Mother Earth. These may not indicate the end of the world but might be consequences of our wrongdoings,” Fr. Reyes expressed. Two important theological concepts are to be remembered when the last judgment occurs. First is the Christian fulfillment of the final epiphany of the Παρουσια (parousia, or the second coming of Christ) followed by eschatology which refers to death, purgatory, hell and heaven. As the Bible says, destruction will reign everywhere when the end of the world happens. All people will appear with their bodies before the judgment seat of God to render an account of their own deeds (Rom 14:10-12). Why 2012? Long before Western man reached the peaks of development, the Mayans, a flourishing civilization in Mesoamerica noted for their distinct culture in the fields of language, art, architecture, mathematics and astronomy, have become known for their credibility in possessing a very unique understanding of cycles of the solar system, most of which have to do with the 2012 predictions. Believed to have started in c. 2000 BC, the Mayans have devised the so-called “Mayan Long Count Calendar” which commenced on the 11th of August 3114 BC. This calendar is believed to end on Dec. 21, 2012, the end-date of a 5,125year-long cycle. A New Age interpretation of this transition speculates that the year 2012 may mark the beginning of a new

“…The sun became black as a mourning dress, and the whole moon turned blood-red, and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like dry figs falling from a fig tree shaken by a hurricane…” -Rev 6: 12-14

era, or the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Circumstances envisioned for the earth’s cataclysmic ending include the earth’s collision with a passing planet, a geomagnetic reversal, or even the arrival of the next solar maximum.

Artwork by Jerson Elmido

Les Prophète Among the recognized seers of the millennium, no one is more revered than Nostradamus, or Michel de Nostradame, a French apothecarian who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. From predicting some of the numerous events in the world’s history like the Great Fire of London up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Nostradamus is indeed worthy to be called “The Great Man of Yesterday Who Saw Tomorrow”. One of Nostradamus’ many quatrains speak about the plausible incidents that may likely occur during the world’s end. One such forecast is the “Doomsday Comet”, which would be visible to earth for seven days and trigger global destruction. He also spoke of tidal waves said to be 10,000 ft. high which would hit Greece, or a region near it. Then and there again, we may prove Nostradamus wrong because he was just a man and prone to errors. Science and faith are two concepts which are usually taken

together when in fact, they are not. Science is a product of man’s religion while faith is another thing. They may be found on two opposite sides of the pole yet they still complement each other, no matter what. As mere humans, we should “think outside the box” and prepare for the inevitable. This dreaded catastrophic ending of our world may not happen in 2012 after all. Who knows? After reading this article you may find yourself being pelted upon by balls of fire as the planet slowly disintegrates right before your very eyes. Brace yourselves for the end is near! Sources: Personal interview with Fr. Antonio P. Reyes, Diocesan Priest

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 25

Buhay Tribu By MIA Rose Emboltura and JAMES marthy esleyer

Alas dos na ng hapon, hindi pa rin namin alam kung hanggang saan kami kayang dalhin ng aming mga paa. Makikita pa kaya namin ang aming hinahanap? Ano nga ba iyon? Naguguluhan at nagkanda ligawligaw man sa kagubatang hindi namin alam kung may hangganan, nagpatuloy kami sa paglalakad. Andoon kami sa isang baranggay na kung tawagin ay Jayubo, bayan ng Lambunao. Sa isang kakatuwang pagpupulong namin sa Pub, sumagi ang nagliliparan naming mga utak sa sinasabing lugar na kasalukuyang pinamamahayan pa raw ng isang tribo, ang Tribu Batu. Sa paglalarawan sa amin ni Kapitan Fortunato Larroza, may ilan sa kanila na kahit sa pag-unlad ng teknolohiya ay nananatili pa rin sa makalumang pamumuhay. Nakadamit tulad ng mga sinaunang tribu, may mga gamit na malayo kung ikukumpara sa atin ngayon at may sariling ritwal at paniniwala at mga pananaw sa mga bagay-bagay na iba sa atin dito sa lungsod. Dyaheng Biyahe Sinugod namin ang sinasabing lugar sa tulong ng ilang kaibigan at sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga pulis sa bayan ng Lambunao. Nakipagsiksikan din kami sa dyip tulad ng sitwasyon ng mga isda sa lata ng sardinas. Ang dyip ang lata, kami naman ang mga nagkakagulong panis na sardinas. Ang sauce? Syempre, ang perpektong timpla ng katas ng malapit nang mabulok na isda at kung anu-ano pang pinamalengke ng mga tao, tumatalsik na sipon at laway at samu’t saring maasim, maalat at malagkit na pawis ng katabi ay damang-dama namin. Nakakadiri na nakakatawang pagmasdan ang aming naging sitwasyon. Humigit kumulang isang oras ang sakay namin sa dyip, hindi na nga namin kinailangang magpolbo ni Tinay (ang aming photographer) dahil sa kapal ng alikabok na dumikit sa aming mga mukha. Mayamaya’y 26 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

nagulat kami nang tumambad sa amin ang isang paaralang nagngangalang… WALANG ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Ang gulo! Wala raw pero may nakatirik namang paaralan. Napangiti na lamang kami. Hindi dahil Walang ang nakasulat na ibig sabihin ay wala silang paaralan. Ang salitang Walang ay pangalan ng isang baranggay bago pa ang lugar na ito. Kadalasan nga’y nginingitian na lamang ng mga taga rito ang mga panahon na may kasiyahan sa kanilang lugar. Akalain mo ba namang ang nakaimprenta sa bandera ay, Walang Religious Fiesta, Walang Chapel at iba pa. Kasama nila Maghahapon na, bandang alas tres, nadatnan namin mula sa napakahabang paglalakad ang isang umpok ng mga kabahayan. Nasa paanan na kami ng bundok na pinanahanan ng ilang sinasabing kasapi ng tribu. May isang matanda at mangilan-ngilang mga batang nakatingin lang sa amin. Pansamantalang natigil ang pagbabayo nila ng palay na isasaing pa raw nila para sa hapunan. Hindi ang mga tulad nila ang inaasahan naming madatnan. Nakadamit na sila tulad ng sa atin. May mga gamit na tulad ng radyo subalit ang mga alaga nilang hayop ay katulad pa rin ng mga inaalagaan nilang hayop noon. Ang nakakamangha sa lahat ay sumasali pala sila sa lotto! Kitang-kita sa mga mukha nila ang paghanga sa aming dalang kamera. Nababasa namin ang samu’t saring mga tanong at pagkamangha sa kanilang ngiti at pag-uunahang makita ang kanilang mukha sa digital camera. Mababaw kung titingnan ngunit kaakibat nito ang realisasyong marunong silang magpahalaga sa kahit sa isang simpleng bagay. Nasuklian naman ang pagod namin sa napakainit na pagtanggap sa amin ng mga tagarito. Halos lahat ng bahay na aming pinuntahan ay naghahanap ng maiaalok sa amin. Malugod ang pagtanggap ng mga tao kahit pa sabihing estranghero kami

sa lugar. Binibigyan nila kami ng kanilang mga panahon upang matugunan ang aming kailangan. Pamumuhay malayo sa kabihasnan Sa isang mama na aming nakasama, naikwento niya ang kanilang pang-arawaraw na gawain. Kung hindi man panahon ng pagtatanim ng palay, karamihan sa kanila ay nagtatanim ng saging, mais at iba pang mga gulay. Minsan lamang silang nagtatanim ng palay sa mabundok na lugar. Maswerte na ang araw na nakakaulam sila ng karne o isda. Mayroon din naman silang eskwelahan para sa kanilang mga anak. Nagtitiis nga lang daw sa “isang oras” na paglalakad. Isang oras?! Ang masama ay kung tag-ulan, tinatamad na lamang silang pumasok. Dalawang taon pa nga lamang daw mula ngayon na nagkaroon ng misa sa kanilang lugar. Nakita namin sa kanilang ermita na gawa sa kawayan at ilang pirasong yero ang kadalangan ng pagbisita ng represenante Niya dito. Karamihan sa mag-asawa ay hindi ganap na kasal at may mga batang hindi pa nabibinyagan. Binukot Sa ganitong sitwasyon, nasabik kaming makita ng sinasabi nilang binukot. Sila ang mga dalagang itinago mula sa paningin ng nakararami, hindi pinapayagang maiapak ang mga paa sa lupa, hindi pinapasikatan ng araw, walang ginagawa kundi ang mga gawaing bahay, pananahi, at pagluluto bilang paghahanda sa buhay pag-aasawa. Ayon sa mga sabi-sabi’y, dati raw, ang ginagampanan nilang tungkulin ay kagaya

ng sa isang babaylan na nagsasagawa ng mga sinaunang ritwal ng pagsamba sa mga anito.Sa mga pagkakataong may dumayong tao, kaagad silang nagtatago, nahihiya at nakasilip lamang sa butas para makita kung sino man ito. Walang kamuwang-muwang sa mga nangyayari sa labas ng bahay. At kung dumating ang panahong may gustong “bumili” sa kanila katumbas ang isang kalabaw ay saka lamang sila makakalabas ng bahay ngunit kailangaing manirahan kasama ang “bumili” sa kanila bilang pag-aari nito. H indi lamang pala babae ang binubukot. Nadiskubre naming mayroon ding lalake. Katulad ng sa babae, hindi siya pinapayagang lumabas ng bahay, umapak sa lupa o tumulong sa gawaing bukid. Bagkus, siya ang tagabayo ng palay na isasaing. Sa pagkakalarawan sa amin, may matikas din itong pangangatawan, maputi, at ganap na lalaki kung titingnan. Isang kalabaw din ang kaniyang katumbas sa gustong magmay-ari sa kanya. Simula pagkaluwal ay tinutukoy na ng mga matatandang kasapi ng tribu kung ang sanggol ay magiging binukot o hindi kaya kahit na wala pang kamuwang-muwang sa mundo, ang bata ay nakatali na sa matandang kaugalian ng tribu at simula sa araw ng pakakapili sa kanya ay may kapalaran ng nakalatag at nakatadhana niyang tahakin. Ito ang kultura at kaugaliang kinasanayan ng tribu at kailanmay hindi mababali ng modernisasyon sapagkat ang kaugaliang ito ay siya na ring nagmistulang bigkis at tatak ng isang tribu. Magpahanggang ngayon, ang mga binukot ay nananatiling

buhay sa masukal at liblib na kabundukan ng Lambunao, gaya ng mga tribung nagaalab ang puso upang mapanatiling buhay ang kanilang matandang kaugalian. Tribu…? Tribu. Ang karaniwang makikitang kahulugan ng salitang ito sa diksyunaryo ay tawag sa mga grupo ng mga taong nagmula sa iisang ninuno o angkan na may magkakaparehong mga paniniwala, kaugalian, trabaho at kultura. Ngunit kung ating itatanong sa isang binatilyong makakasalubong sa daan, agad nilang isasagot sa iyo’y, “Ah! Sila’y mga taong bundok.” Ito ang karaniwang konsepto ng mga tao kapag naririnig ang salitang tribu, mga taong nahuhuli sa pag-unlad ng sibilisasyon, mga taong bundok o ‘di kaya’y grupong etniko na wala pang bahid ng modernisasyon. Pero, sa ito na ang makabagong mundo, hindi lamang tayo ang may karapatang malasap ang kaginhawahan ng modernisasyon, sila ma’y humahabol na, kahit paunti-unti, sa mabilis na pagbabago ng panahon, nagsusumikap na makapag-aral at makatapos. Dahil kahit nga naman naturingang taga bukid, iniisip pa rin nilang hindi sila dapat mangapa sa dilim at kahit kaunti’y masilayan nila ang liwanag ng kaginhawahan na dulot ng modernisasyo at pag-unlad ng sibilisasyon. Ito ang makabagong mundo at kasabay ng pag-inog nito ay ang paghabol ng tribu sa matuling pagbabago. Photo credits:

“Isang kalabaw din ang kaniyang katumbas sa gustong magmayari sa kanya.”

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 27


For the nth time, the teacher asked for her birth certificate… She stood still, dumbstruck. Words refused to come out of her mouth. Empty as her thoughts, Joy gazed through the eyes of her savior, seeking for a response. That was really a good coincidence. Someone is going to clear her off from the issue of her birth certificate... Someone is going to put an end to her void state whenever she’s being asked of the same query… Someone is going to fight for her right as a legitimate citizen of the Philippines, moreover, for her education. And that someone was her father – Tatay Uldarico, her savior. Tatay Uldarico explained to the teacher all those circumstances which resulted in Joy’s not having a birth certificate. From the fact that they were enduring a boatlife, come-what-may situation, to the separation from his former wife, to his bitter experiences as a single parent, he poured them all out. It was as if those words of pure truth became the light of awakening that softened the teacher’s heart. She offered to adopt Joy… Without her birth certificate, Joy’s identity as a legitimate child is questioned. Moreover, her access to education becomes limited - up to the time when no school would accept her anymore without her birth certificate. This is also why she, an 11-year-old girl, is still in second grade at Montes I Elementary School. Despite the fact that Joy resides in an abandoned boat, she still persisted in pursuing her studies. In a place where

28 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

darkness envelops the surroundings and the humming of mosquitoes plays the sonata of the evening, the light from her Tito JR’s chargeable lamp becomes the only comfort she enjoys while she burns the midnight oil studying her lessons. Yet, such a lamp doesn’t last long… She has no choice when the batteries run out, so she resorts again to the ubiquitous candle with its flickering flame. Through its faint glow, she continues to pore over her worn books and extract parcels of knowledge useful for her educational journey. Tulay Queen, the abandoned boat, has become their asylum – the only haven for their tired bodies and weary souls. Before it became a refuge for them, the boat had been a cargo vessel owned by a Muslim whom they knew as Ahab. Unfortunately, the boat was taken out because it was used as transportation in illegal logging activities. For six years since 2004, Joy and Tatay Uldarico have stayed and lived in such a “house”, together with her father’s live-in partner who is the boat caretaker, and four others who are Tatay Uldarico’s friends. In this group, Joy is the only child. Her world is far different from that of others her age. She wants to play but she has no playmates, unless her two siblings in Lapaz come over for a visit. She has become exposed to a situation in which she must endure the harsh realities of growing up as one of the “boat people.” Her life is not an ordinary one. Other children her age live in a home with four walls intact and a roof to shield them from

the harsh weather. They sleep in comfortable beds and eat enough food. Compared to them, Joy has got it bad. Her father’s income as a kargador is not enough to nourish her. She curls herself to sleep in the cold and dank interior of the boat. Its dilapidated state is no match for the force of the elements especially when it rains. Their life on the banks of the Iloilo River in the neighborhood of Brgy. ArsenalAduana has been harsh, to say the least. There was a time when they were accused of robbery by their neighbors, judged unfairly by those glowering eyes just because they live in a dilapidated boat. In fact, they were the ones who were victims – they lost their chickens. The ill-treatment they got from their neighbors is just one of the many sore spots in their “boat existence.” Yet, they

strive hard to overcome them and to survive. “Nahuya ako mangayo ka bulig hay daw law-ay man nga dako lawas ko tapos mangayongayo lang ako. Kag isa pa, manan ko nga masarangan ko magubra para sa amon sang bata ko,” Tatay Uldarico said. Joy grew up in her father’s principle: to be independent. She learned to work things out by herself and not to rely on others. Through this upbringing, she is being trained for survival – for the achievement of her dreams. At her early age, Joy has already grasped the consequences of poverty. With such consciousness, she dreamt… Her greatest ambition in life is to be a nurse and becoming one is her way of helping those in the same situation as she is and uplifting their status. Moreover, it is her

way of reuniting her broken family. With her dreams as her motivator, Joy continues studying even without parental supervision and pressure. Her education could be on the verge of ending without the birth certificate but despite that issue, she has never stopped believing… in pursuing her studies and her dreams… The boat has become the cocoon for her metamorphosis. It has also served as an anvil upon which her dreams of a bright future are forged. Tatay Uldarico refused the teacher’s offer to adopt Joy, despite her many promises, including an authentic birth certificate. Joy knew her father would not allow that. Again, she looked in her father’s eyes. In those warm, limpid pools, she saw his immense love for her. She was enveloped completely

in such a profound emotion that she felt the powerful bond that connects their souls. She is, indeed, a very important part of her father’s existence. It is because of her that his world continues to revolve. She smiled. She knows that Uldarico Caña, her savior and king, is the right person to nurture her, protect her and love her. Moreover, Tulay Queen is the one and only niche where she truly belongs – where virtues and values are taught and caught, a perfect setting to shape her dreams and prepare her for a bigger, bolder world. For some, boats are simply vessels which transport people and goods from one place to another. But for Joy, Tulay Queen is, and will always be, her bridge towards a royal life where she is Queen. This boat is home.

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 29

Natural Disasters at Your Doorstep By GENESSA BUENAFE

Pressure comes in many forms, be it an exam, a first date, or a job interview. With the pressure comes the innate human tendency to cope with the burdens on our shoulders. Another way – albeit an extreme one – of picturing humans under pressure is when a landslide suddenly happens, when a sink hole suddenly shows up, when a tank-full of flood water visits you in your living room and when a twister greets you “hello” from your window. As we pack our essentials to evacuate from our disasterdestroyed homes, as the government frantically finds a way to rescue victims of calamities, and as we realize there is really a need to organize things ahead of time, it’s then we know that the dead end may come faster than we thought. Boundless blows Because of the Philippine’s geographic location and geotectonic setting, it’s prone to almost all types of disasters. Anything can happen in our country, even in Western Visayas, and we must be aware and prepared when it strikes. Still, in some instances, danger strikes suddenly and the least we do is watch our backs. It was June 21, 2008 when Typhoon Frank hit Western Visayas causing massive flooding and landslide, an ideal example of mismanagement and unpreparedness that made the name “Frank” one to remember 30 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

– in a bad way. In response to this appalling incident, private sectors responsible for rescue and local units did what they can through the facilities provided by the government to aid the victims. Despite their efforts, 315 lives were taken in just days. It’s not only here in Iloilo that threatening floods can happen. Maybe, some other time around, it wouldn’t be floods knocking on our doors but landslides, hurricanes, sink holes and tsunamis and we wouldn’t expect them all. Truly, we are all vulnerable and some irresponsible people know that, too. Big three Even in the intense attention given to environmental disasters, there are still loop holes due to factors that remain hidden from our knowledge. Here are three reasons why disaster mismanagement occurs: The budget is given to incompetent hands From the PhP 2 billion Calamity Fund for 2010, only PhP 59 million remains. Through the newly elected President Noynoy Aquino the calamity fund was replenished with the addition of PhP 1.75 billion this year, according to the Department of Budget and Management

(DBM). Where does this go in case of unwanted disasters? As defined in Republic Act 8185 of 1996, the Calamity Fund is the annual lump sum appropriation required of local government units equivalent to 5% of the estimated income derived from regular sources to be set aside for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and other works or services in connection with calamities which may occur during the budget year. This amount of money will be distributed to LGU’s in places where calamities hit. A percentage of the Calamity Fund will not be totally allocated alone for relief operations. It is clear that we live in a corrupt country. This includes any form of corruption some ‘wise’ official has been doing for a very long time. Difficult access to officials and funds Authorized personnel undertaking the responsibilities of some environmental

awareness institutions are occasionally difficult to access. This is a fact for various Local Government Units (LGU’s) in the province of Iloilo. Yes, there are persons willing to help alright but, where are they? Examples are cases in rural communities. Officials authorized for disaster preparedness committees can only be seen when the disaster is already there. They emerge in different activities of the government, participate actively in meetings and trainings, but they can’t be accessed by common people that has the potential to report and to spread information in the community. Furthermore, in view of RA 8185 of 1996, the budget will remain untouched unless it will be used for rehabilitation, reconstruction and post actions after a calamity strikes. No wonder we’re unprepared. The calamity fund can only be used for the restoration and rescue operations only after the calamity had run its course. Political ties The next question goes to, who gives out the funds? The distribution of funds to communities depends upon the officials. The social welfare of these leaders affects the way they give out the money. This can also be seen in situations when friends share what they have, but not to their enemies. It is a continuous habit of the people in the government to give out money to people or communities who supported them in elections. These officials can restrain or give out large amounts of money without considering the real need of the public for a calamity fund. Some officials even pretend that they’re nowhere

to be found to avoid facing rivals when they’re already in office. It does happen even here in Iloilo. Some LGU’s may still implement that way of running an organization and as the election for barangay officials opens its doors, the power of the people can finally choose the competent leaders that knows what’s right for the people their governing. Lessons learned If all of us could just be aware of our current situation and the power we have as citizens of our town and our country, the risk of panicking in the face of danger in the middle of a calamity can be astonishingly reduced. We might find ourselves saving our own lives and also the lives of others. Through responsible leaders that can manage disaster awareness and also disaster preparedness, sooner or later the community and even the entire government will build up the same objective. Families will be ready as well as our rescue centers with enough supply in their hands. All it takes is one step at a time to increase our chances of saving our own lives when nature strikes. Let’s not wait for the actual disasters to ring our doorbells before we prepare ourselves of what is about to come. So the next time when a disaster does ring our doorbell, we will be ready with an umbrella in one hand, a bag of essentials on the other and a heart full of hope. Photo credits:

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 31

It’s every teenager’s dream and every parent’s nightmare. * not his real name 32 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

Hazing: One-Way Ticket to Brotherhood By FEBRIELYN TUMINES

His ebony eyes he got from his mother; his dusky skin, from his father. Handsome as he was in life, he looks handsomer in death. Stunned, the father stood mutely at his son’s side. He’s a man, but he can’t help tears from flowing, if only just for this moment. Even then, those rare tears can’t bring back the son he has lost. This is just a peek into the common scenario of teenagers dying from hazing. It may sound familiar, because it might have happened to your cousin, your brother, the best friend of your acquaintance, or someone else whose face looks familiar but whose name you can’t remember. They are common characters in your everyday life, but are lost to the world, going on an unknown journey through a pricey ticket called hazing. It’s every teenager’s dream and every parent’s nightmare. He was carried away by eager curiosity, whetted by the promises of deep and lifelong friendship, perfectly delivered in a “brotherly talk”, underneath which lurks a hideous motive that is never talked about but will be unleashed – leaving a bloody trail of wasted lives and broken dreams. “It was heartless,” moaned one mother who lost her only child, an 18-year old son, to hazing. There were no classes that fateful Friday, but James* insisted on going back to school for an acquaintance party.

She grew worried as night gave way to day without her son returning. When he finally did come home, he limped across the room and collapsed on a chair. His broken legs were purple in some areas, blue in others. All she did was cry her heart out as James confessed that he had been initiated into a fraternity. The bruises glared at the mother, taunting her with the secrets her son had kept from her until now. He cried out in pain, prompting her to rush him to the hospital. That was the last time she ever saw him alive. The next day, James passed away due to internal bleeding. The punctured lungs and swollen internal organs had taken their toll. Now, all she ever wanted is justice for her son. But can the wheels of justice grind fast enough to save the other sons out there? Recently, it has been noted that most incidents of death from hazing happen at the college level. R.A. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law, was passed to regulate and provide penalties for hazing and other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and organizations. Still, hazing persists and students are still involved, either as the beaters or, sadly, the beaten. Brotherhood is a beautiful

concept. It has long been adopted by organizations as an ideal to be upheld, be it by the Masons or our very own katipuneros. Nowadays, however, loyalty to one’s “brothers” is proven by how long and how much one can take the pain inflicted upon him because it’s a measure of how far he can go to sacrifice for his “brothers” and the group itself. For some teenagers, joining a fraternity is the most convenient alternative solution to their problems. They often see themselves as weaklings who need other people to pull them out of the shadows. And most of the time, help isn’t available at home or in the family. It’s just so sad to note that in some homes, it’s very difficult to start a simple conversation. Teenagers often complain, “My family doesn’t understand me but I belong here” or worse,” My family feeds me, gives me allowance, and provides me a bed to rest but I’ve never felt true happiness until I joined the fraternity.” So they find “happiness” in some people, that is, their “brods” in a fraternity, who they think feel the same way, too. When they finally realize that the glitz of fraternity-style brotherhood is more blinding than enlightening, more misleading than guiding, it’s usually too late to break free.

They have plunged into one of the world’s dangerous carnival rides. Once they’re in, there’s no turning back. “Once a member, always a member,” they would say. No matter how suffocating the system is, you can never quit. It’s a system that James always dreamt of, a system that promised all the laughter and camaraderie, a sense of belongingness. He was wrong. Everything was a deception. It was the same system that destroyed his name, his principles, his life. It doesn’t matter how hard the paddle is or how excruciating the pain is as the paddle whacks the flesh, as long as, in a

teenager‘s mind, every whack assures him of belongingness, promises him happiness, and shows him the path to a “bright future in brotherhood”. Every beating that breaks his veins and every punch that spills his guts do not matter, as long as his heart bellows a creed of being wanted and needed. It’s more than just leprosy or a craving. The teenager is so desperate and he’s willing to pay any price. Just name it.

Artwork by Jerson Elmido

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 33


Looking at the cubicle door in the girls’ room, I read the markings on it and I was astonished to learn that the door was talking to me! Yes, that rectangular piece of wood was talking to me. Showing its concern, it asked me if I was done doing my business and then wished me ‘good luck.’ In the seventeen years of my existence, I have never seen such a vandalized restroom until I laid eyes on that cubicle door. I was caught in the grip of the markings in the comfort room just behind the CPA Review Room on the ground floor of Aguirre Hall. Going into that comfort room, I felt like that girl who was strangled by a monster-doll in the movie Doll Master. That’s how creepy it was... or maybe, it was just me. But one thing’s for sure: it was not a place for a freaked-out girl like me. Disturbing markings, drawings and cellphone numbers desperate for a ‘cute guy text mate’ and ‘@#*’mates, were everywhere. Knowing that it was the girl’s restroom, it was obvious that it wasn’t a place for hunting ‘cute guys’. Guys don’t go in the girls’ restrooms, right? Or do they? In comparison to the other comfort rooms in school such as those in Urdaneta and Mendel Halls, the restrooms in Aguirre Hall seem to have been left out of “The Race for the Most AestheticallyPleasing Little Girls’ Rooms.” Seeing the state of the comfort rooms in each building in the University reveals that not all our comfort rooms are well-maintained. Here’s a quick rundown: Aguirre C.R. – This one’s branded as the “Ledi’s C.R.” It’s the biggest proof we’re in a water crisis and the world is doomed to suffer from El Niño. You’ve probably mistaken it for the Chemistry Lab because the strong smell of ammonia lingers in the air. Moreover, if you must choose to enter and use any one of the cubicles, you will be assaulted by a puke-inducing display of “ammonia” liquids ranging from the lightest yellow to the darkest shade of orange - not to mention some reddish hues in between. With this available color palette inside the Ledi’s C.R., an artist could make a living making autumn-themed paintings, that is, if he didn’t gag first and subsequently die from the horrible smell. Rada C.R. – The country is tormented by dengue cases and hospitals are flooded with dengue victims in alarming rates. The connection between Rada Hall’s comfort rooms and dengue is best explained by the stagnant water. I wonder how many mosquito eggs have been laid in those big drums of water, sometimes left untouched and uncovered. Many times, I thought I could hear those wiggling wrigglers singing, “La,la,la, I’m home!” Another minus point for Rada Hall C.R.’s is that some girls are not good basketball players. They can’t even shoot those sanitary pads straight into the basket. Maybe they’re closing their eyes when they throw their used pads because they can’t fight the sight any longer. Gamboa C.R. – Let’s put it this way: if there’s a beauty pageant 34 The Augustinian Mirror October 2010

for C.R.’s, this will surely garner the special award for “Flawless Comfort Room of the Year.” The walls are amazingly vandal-free. No “freestyle” and “aspiring” writers have passed by and used the C.R. to advertise their cellphone numbers, to rant about their messed-up love affairs, to psycho-analyze their emotional brutality experiences, or to show the world the little talent they have in inane poetry. Blanco C.R. – It’s so amazing. This one’s the “most popular” or shall we say, the “campus sweetheart.” It’s every girl’s favorite. It’s the most visited and the most “tourist-friendly” because girls from different departments go there and use it. The mirrors are so big that you can even see your whole figure. The best thing about it is that it’s just meters away from the gym, so that you have easy access to it in case you need to change into your P.E. uniform. Unfortunately, it is also the most susceptible to “abuse”. When all those girl “tourists” comb their hair, they leave an unbelievable amount of hair strands on the floor, entangled like pancit canton on a Chowking plate. Mendel C.R. - Well, the mirror says it’s the fairest of them all! Call it “The Freshly-Showered and Powdered Girl-NextDoor” since it underwent a total makeover just this year. From the ugliest duckling, it turned into the most beautiful swan among all the C.Rs in the University. Once, it used to be a total wreck with those broken mirrors and markings on the walls, like pimples popping out of grimy skin. Now, the caramel-tinted and well-ventilated cubicles make a girl feel like she’s in an SM City restroom. Fabulous! In our anxious state of eliminating our bodily wastes, surely we would want a clean and pleasant room in which to do our “business” and not some place that actually reflects the waste itself. Really. There’s a reason why the “C” in “C.R.” stands for “comfort.” Of all kinds of calling, the call of nature is the hardest to resist. Many times, though, there are monsters lurking in the C.R.’s which keep on freaking us out, monsters like displaced sanitary pads, tangled hairball, graphic graffiti, crumpled tissues, floating “debris”… the whole scary lot. We’re not losers and we don’t deserve this stink. We have been given an array of choices of receptacles in which to deposit our wastes, both physiological and psychological, so we must use them properly and responsibly. The maintenance, though, is another story. Thus, we’re calling on the “ghost-busting” authorities concerned to exert more constant and diligent effort to drive away the “elementals” in the little girls’ rooms. In the meantime, girls, to avoid being scared again, just keep away from ammonia-smelling CR’s and “talking” cubicle doors. Photo credit:

The Augustinian Mirror October 2010 35

Artwork by Jerson Elmido

The Augustinian Mirror, October 2010  

The Official Student Magazine of the University of San Agustin

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