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Teaching in the 21st century

By Lanie C. Rallos When I started teaching at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde more than 10 years ago, my teaching style in mind was that of my former teachers. I particularly adopted the style of one of my favorite teachers in college, the late Roberto “Bobby” Mendoza of the Psychology department of De La Salle University (DLSU). During his lectures, he would use humor to make the concepts more relatable. His classes were entertaining yet educational, whether it was a general education or a major course. I realized, however, that my generation’s learning style is quite different from that of my students.’  If my generation could  keep up with a three-hour class of pure lecture, my students just can’t. They just don’t have an attention span long enough to focus on the subject at hand for three hours. My industry …

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On the brightest night of the year

Photos by JYD From the Latin luna meaning moon we derive the word “lunacy”—moon madness, anyone? At least once during the entire year it is okay to be moony-looney, for if you believe ancient Chinese lore and calendar makers, the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival is supposed to be the brightest night of the year when the moon is at its roundest and fullest. However, in my own experience since the festival attained celebrity status beyond Chinatown, even before the turn of the century, the yearly celebrations held on the eve of the full-moon night have always been blessed by rain. (That’s because September is smack in the middle of the habagat or rainy season, as we know it.) So it was again this year, some rain and the usual abundance of traffic jams in the streets …

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A time for rights

By Rosa Amelia Perez and Joie Cortina Bea* (not her real name), 15, sits in the clinic of a women’s health NGO in Puerto Princesa City, staring at a pregnancy test cassette. She sees two pink lines appear and begins to weep inconsolably for her seemingly disappearing dreams of becoming a flight attendant. One out of 10 Filipinas aged 15 to 19 have already given birth, making the Philippines the only country in the Asia-Pacific where teen pregnancy rates are still rising, according to a study by the United Nations Population Fund. This age group comprises 10 percent of the 100 million-strong population. Do the math: That is at least a million teen moms, which translates into a million children born to a mother (and not unexpectedly, a father) who is most …

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Education makes a difference

By Carla Higham Clarence Gamez graduated with top honors from Ramon Torres Louisiana National High School in Bago City, Negros Occidental. To any parent, this would have signaled the beginning of greater things but for Clarence and her fellow top-ranked student, Lara Felissa, this was not the case. Coming from a small town in Negros Occidental, the expectations of families there was not for their children to finish higher education but rather to find a job that will help put food on the table. Clarence recalls, “’Nung high school ako, ang pangarap ko lang ay maging kasambahay, kasi para sa ’min malaki na yung R3,000 at makakatulong na sa pamilya (When I was in high school, my dream was to be a household help, because the R3,000 monthly salary seemed like such a big amount that would …

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We are not one world

By Manuel Hizon How often do you come across someone who thinks and behaves so exasperatingly different from the way you do that you can’t help saying, “This guy is from another planet!” Maybe he is. It is difficult to understand how polarized people can be—in terms of beliefs, politics, opinions, way of life, even taste—to the extent that individuals cannot live together, and nations go to war, because of serious differences. Given the enormity of the universe, how can so much diversity and adversity exist in one small planet? Maybe some superior alien played a prank on us in the beginning of time. He probably sprayed the nascent earth with humanoidspores collected from different worlds.  And chuckled as he watched earthlings sprouting from the spores, forming tribes of people so disparate they can never …

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From degraded streams to fish habitat

A retired lady professor from University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) who is an environmentalist has developed a practical technique of rehabilitating polluted streams and shallow rivers so that they can become sustainable fish habitats that will be sources of food for communities. The lady is Dr. Macrina T. Zafaralla, emeritus professor of the Institute of Biological Sciences at UP Los Baños. Her technique comes by the forbidding name of Aquatic Macrophyte Biosorption System (AMBS). However, it is very simple in layman’s terms. The AMBS simply involves putting a barrier consisting of bamboo poles across the stream to keep in place the “macrophytes” which are actually either kangkong or water hyacinth. The water plants serve as a filter to the floating solid pollutants while the roots develop into a mat that …

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How do you teach peace in a time of war?

Mindanao has been regarded as the “Land of Promise” because of its vast fertile land and rich natural resources. This promise is largely unrealized as many areas remain poor, with over half of the population living below poverty line, a good percentage of which are in the Autonomous Regions in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The island group has also been through decades of armed conflict, which has claimed countless lives and displaced some 30,000 to 50,000 persons annually. Children and adolescents are among those who have suffered the most, caught in the midst of violence, displacement, poverty, and the loss of loved ones. It is for this reason that civil society groups have taken initiatives in introducing the culture of peace among the children in Mindanao’s conflict-affected communities through the promotion of their own traditional, cultural, and …

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This week in arts & culture

1335Mabini presents “The Apocalypse Project: Urban Harvest,” a solo exhibition by Catherine Sarah Young until Oct.14. The show explores potential futures under climate change through various forms including photographs, sculptures, as well as soap and olfactory artworks crafted from unique saponification and distillation processes developed by the artist. The Apocalypse Project is an interdisciplinary platform that began in 2013 during Young’s art-science residency at the Singapore-ETH Zurich Future Cities Laboratory and has since then been showcased in several cities internationally. Featured in the upcoming exhibition are new pieces from some of Young’s ongoing projects (Climate Change Couture, The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, and the Sewer Soaperie) and are a result of her month-long residency in Medellin, Colombia, held at arts organizations Casa Tres Patios and Platohedro, and supported by Arts …

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The wonderfully versatile banana

A century ago, the lowly banana was considered a rare and exotic delicacy in both the United States and Europe. When the first shipment arrived in the United States from Central America in the early 19th century, crowds gathered at the docks in New York, to view it. Today it is considered the world’s favorite fruit, available anywhere at a reasonable price, and it is consumed by almost every nationality. Second only to milk as a universal staple, the banana today is common to every culture. Americans and Canadians, who consume about one-third of the world’s banana exports, eat 22 pounds of the fruit per person each year. In the United Arab Emirates, they eat 90 pounds of imported bananas per person each year. Usually eaten as is, out of hand, the …

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Mischief managed!

By Anne Frances N. Sangil “So there I was, inside the small theater at the Warner Brothers Leavesden Studios in England, watching the three young actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint talk onscreen about what visitors should expect from the Harry Potter Studio Tour, when quite slowly, the screen went to black, the lights dimmed, and the silver screen went up, and up, and up. . . to reveal, amid the collective gasp of the audience, the impressive doors of the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At that moment I remember looking at my friends Giselle and Abbey, and with great effort (a huge lump of something was already forming in my throat) all I could tell them was, ‘We’re home!’  And that feeling that I had while standing in the middle of the Great Hall, that wondrous excitement, is something that I wish to share with all of you—the magic that …

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