Ateneo Papers

Papers that I’ve written in Ateneo.

Entering the Blue Nest: My Freshman College Application Essay

Are there any significant experiences you have had or accomplishments you have realized, that have helped to define you as a person?

In a world filled with vast desire for reign, power, and supremacy, one must stand out from the idle crowd and start the change. One must raise the hand of conversion and begin filling the empty holes and spaces. One must spread the wings of actions and show the earth that the greatest crave should be the longing for love, value, and God.

As the world’s progress upsurges every minute, more and more events continue to pile up to mark a legacy in the book of history. With every tick of the clock, a lot of occasions are changing the earth little by little, may it be good or not. Some brings peace, while most influence a lot to fly with the cast of the unknown, to vanish in an instant. Everything has changed. Everything is constantly evolving.

I have been in this world for almost 16 years now and I’ve been exposed to a lot of things, people, and events. I have seen a lot, witnessed a lot, and joined a lot. Everything differs from one another, none is the same. The thirst for earthly belongings just seems to eradicate every moral from the grounds that every man is standing.

I’ve opened my eyes in this world as a human-android who is always aiming for triumph, gold, and title. Being raised by a family wherein defeat and failure are big NO’s, I’ve been directed to never have bent knees, never collapse on a certain thing, and never allow someone to rise above me. I’ve been targeting everything – medals, praises, attention – throughout my entire life for, as how I see it, it is my road, my path, my destiny.

And so, for almost my entire existence, I was a competitive geek, a humanoid who thinks nothing but honor and glory through conquest and victory, a living model with all shining metal pieces hanging on his neck. I was then smart, intelligent and bright. I was a consistent title holder of the most precious “first honors” from grade one to my junior year in high school. I have reigned in every contest, surpassing every challenger and demolishing every competitor. I gained praises, claps, words of wisdom and acknowledgement, high fives and even high tens if there are such.

The status quo of staying on top had been always a challenge for me. It is not a piece of cake. All eyes were on me, focused on me – watching every move, every step. One mistake would mean a noisy growl of insult plus the fact of receiving ear-splitting sermons and hours of reprimanding. Thus, it is clear that I should commit no error. Yet, I was just a human and it was hard, very very hard.

The gold, victories, and triumphs, after all, were my greatest nemeses in achieving happiness and satisfaction in life. Only then, I realized that I never experienced true bliss in 16 years. These things did not even lift any positive emotion in me. I envy my friends who were all happy, yet no recognitions they contain. I envy the average students who are living a simple life yet managing to flash a meaningful smile every now and then. I was just like an old-fashioned robot – no anything.

I tried to change, but it was never easy to reach the light when you need to be in the dark. Eyes were still on me, still spotting everything. I tried to be like my comrades, humble and meek and know how to smile yet it was no easy crack for I need to be on top. I attempted to turn away from everything I used to do, but no, I can’t do it for it is attached with me forever.

Later then I realized that what and who I need is God. I tried to be faithful, to be devoted, and it worked and still works. “Prayers can move mountains,” thus said my mentor and I finally found out that it is true. I believed. I prayed. I experienced God’s love.

In the end, the awards, recognitions, and appreciations are just decorations in experiencing God’s love. I still continue to reach the top, but now I know that I have the greatest weapon I can carry that will bring me happiness as I receive gold. Today, I know the definition of being a person, and it’s not a matter of winning, but playing the game in the presence of God’s love. Now, I can define myself as a person, and not any alien or bionic person.

“Try not to be a man of success, but rather to be a man of value.” – Albert Einstein.

The Hell Within

Communication in English II | Final Reflection Paper
Ateneo De Manila University
2nd Semester, S.Y. 2010-2011
My deepest thanks to Mr. Ryan Recabar for giving us this assignment.

I know that my entry here in Ateneo is hard-earned not only by me but also, most especially, by my parents. So do my entry in the dorm. The tuition and dorm fees are expensive – very expensive – and my parents need to work very hard to pay for it. My dad is a government agent who earns just enough for us without any extra for luxury. My mom used to work at an insurance company but is now stocked at home. I know…I know that studying here very well live to their saying “igagapang lang namin ang pag-aaral mo.”

Ever since I arrived in Cervini (the name of my dorm here in Ateneo), I expected things won’t turn out good. I knew I won’t live normally as I used to do in the province or even just live “okay” like during out campus seminars and trainings in high school. I was right eventually. Or I was wrong. I expected less.

My life in Cervini is worse than I’ve prepared for. My life in Cervini is a burning furnace. Most people here, sadly, are insensitive and air-heads and very few are disciplined. I know for a fact that I’m surrounded by rich kids who each have five personal maids at home. I also know that they’re educated people. They can’t enter Ateneo if they were not academically excellent after all. But majority of these “educated” and rich people have never experienced the bitter side of life. They’ve never experienced to be poor. They’re self-centered and have everything they want, which is evident with their imported Lacostes, pricey iPhones and multiple Nikes. They all have somebody to clean their rooms, to wash their dishes, and even to fix their beds in the morning.

As a result, Cervini is as dirty as a dump site. Plastics here, Styrofoam there. McDonald’s on one bed, KFC on another.  Not only that. “Battle ships” are always floating in toilet bowls every now and then. Do these people use their yaya(s) even just to flush their wastes? A huge number of people here also don’t know when to zip their mouths and be quiet. One great example is my roommate (who goes by an annoying name that starts with E) who is terribly noisy all the time. He’s selfish, doing whatever he wants even if I, or my other roommates, am studying, sleeping or simply wants silence. He plays DotA (a popular computer game) nonstop with his speakers and mouth in full blast. He has a dirty mouth. Yes, dirty – bad words come and go every five seconds.

One day, I got really pissed with E and plotted a way of pissing and annoying him back. I started to get food from him sometime during the middle of first semester. It lasted for weeks until one of my roommates, who I once caught also getting food from E, reported me to him. I can’t blame myself. You might have done something graver.

That doesn‘t apply to E alone. Almost everyone in this God-forsaken dorm is like that. They just enter our room without knocking and bang the door in full force. They play the guitar at 2 am while I’m sleeping. They shout, they run, they do everything they want at any time without even thinking of others. That’s why I sometimes regret my decision in going to Ateneo even if this university is the dream school of my life. I sometimes tell myself “What if I entered UP instead? At least people there aren’t that ‘rich.’ At least people there are of the same status in life as me.

I miss my old school, my high school and grade school. People there aren’t rich but have concern for each other. People are noisy and fun, but they know when to make noise and not. Not everyone is smart, not everybody can pay tuition but everyone helps each other; is sensitive to the needs of others; is simple; and knows how to flush the toilet.

There are hardly any perceptive people in Cervini. Most of them I can count with one hand. I guess I’m still lucky to have one of them as my roommate despite the series of very unlucky and uncomfortable events that have haunted me for the nine months of stay in the dormitory. Marvin, though not as neat with his things as anyone would want him to be, is the quiet type and the most respectful I could think of in the dorm. I sometimes see myself in him when he just walks out of our room whenever dormers flock in and laugh and shout boisterously instead of arguing with and shouting at them back. He knows when to be funny and when to be serious unlike others who only know “fun.” He even offers me help in some subjects – which is way different from the inconsiderate vast majority of dormers.

Why am I saying all this?

Well, I needed to pay dorm reservation for next school year’s first semester last March 7 due to the scarcity of a place to stay in Katipunan. Yes, I’ll be staying here again for who-knows-how-long. I’ll be in hell again. I tried to plead to my mom and ask if we could look for places once more. But I have really nowhere else to stay. The condominium they’ve been paying for some years now isn’t done yet. What can I do? Nothing. It’s sad to think that my life next school year would be sad again. I could only pray and wish to God that a miracle would happen.

Sometimes, I just wished I never got accepted in this dorm during my freshman application. Sometimes I wish they just kick me out. Sometimes I just want to go to a hotel and stay there. Most of the time, I want to go home.

Yet, Cervini may have been really meant for me. After all, it is just less than hundred steps before my first class. After all, it offers the luxury of waking up at 6:55 in the morning and still not be late for a 7:30 am Chemistry session. Maybe, I’m just too sensitive. Maybe, I’m just used to the tranquility of Bulacan. Or maybe not, too.

I never want to stay in this dorm again but if my parents think it would be for my own good and safety, even if it’s against my will, then I guess I just have to accept and live life. I don’t want to do my projects and assignments in this dorm again but if it is God’s will, even if it’s against my longing for home, then I guess I just have to follow.

Life isn’t easy after all.

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~ This article has been inspired by one of my posts in Daily Scribbles of the same title. You may have observed a switch in topics from the draft and the final paper.

~ On March 13, I and my parents found a place in Katipunan for me to stay at. Well, I won’t be staying in the dorm anymore. No more hell. God is really great.

Ellice

Sining ng Pakikipagtalastasan sa Filipino II | Sanaysay
Ateneo De Manila University
2nd Semester, S.Y. 2010-2011
My deepest thanks to Ms. Glenda Oris for giving us this assignment.

Hindi maikakailang siya ang nagsisilbing bahaghari na nagbibigay-kulay sa bawat araw ng huling halos dalawang taon ng buhay ko. Ang dating kinaiinisan kong prefect of discipline, na binansagan ko pang “bamboo stick” at “megaphone”, noong unang taon sa sekondarya ang ngayo’y tila malambot na unan na paulit-ulit kong nais yakapin at awit na araw-araw kong  gustong marinig. Hindi man ang pinakamagandang nobyang ninais ko, si Ellice ang natatanging babaeng nagpangiti sa akin at nagbigay ng pananabik sa dati kong nakababagot na buhay.

Hindi katulad ng karamihan sa mga babaeng lumaki sa Maynila, si Ellice ay simple lamang at tila di dinapuan ng kaunting arte at pagkasosyal sa katawan. Isang simpleng bestida o di kaya’y payak na blusa at pantalon lang ay siguradong babagay na sa payat niyang katawan, na ngayo’y unti-unti nang nagkakakorte, at mahahaba at perpektong mga binti. Hindi na niya kailangan pang magsuot ng “short shorts” upang mapansin ang magaganda niyang binti. Hindi rin siya kailanman nagmemake-up upang mapansin ang hugis-mansanas niyang mukha na may matangos na ilong, mga matang hawig kay Empress Schuck, at nakaaakit na labi na may ngiting parang kay Anne Curtis. Walang imported na pabango ang hihigit sa amoy niyang sobrang nakahahalina.

Taliwas sa kasimplehan niya, si Ellice ay tila mayroong built-in megaphone sa kanyang lalamunan. Maririnig mo ang kanyang normal na boses kahit sampung dipa ang layo mo sa kanya. Ang kanyang sigaw, aabot yata sa Kostka Hall kung manggagaling sa Gonzaga. Nakatutuwa mang isipin, ngunit ang maingay na boses na ito ay ang boses na hinahanap-hanap ko tuwing ako’y nalulumbay at naiinip. Ang boses na ito ang boses na nag-udyok sa akin upang ipahayag ang tunay kong nararamdaman sa ano mang bagay o sino mang tao.

Si Ellice, simple, mabango, ngunit maingay. Siguro, wala talagang nilikhang perpekto ang Diyos. Tanging mga tao lang na may kakayahang buuin ang araw ng isang tao sa isang ngiti lamang.

A Shot to the Stars

Communication in English II | Required Blog Entry
Ateneo De Manila University
2nd Semester, S.Y. 2010-2011
My deepest thanks to Mr. Ryan Recabar for giving us this assignment.

I’ve always been fascinated by guns and the epic awesomeness boost it gives to a person. Look at those Hollywood stars, local actors and even comic book icons for example. How would Bruce Willis look like without a caliber-45 pistol in Die Hard? What would happen to the late Fernando Poe, Jr. in Iyo ang Tondo, Kanya ang Cavite without carrying a handgun? And how would the Punisher punish those unrighteous men without his famous rifles and machine guns?

This interest with guns led me to appreciate a lot of macho and cool  fictional characters. Yet, the one whom I admire most in terms of guns is a nonfiction character who isn’t any Sylvester Stallone or Tom Hanks but has always influenced me in this gun addiction – my dad.

My dad has almost all types, forms, variations (you name it) of guns. There are handguns, that I prefer to call mini-guns, rifles, machine guns, everything. I have no idea how on earth he had managed to collect those firearms all throughout these years. Maybe he working at the National Bureau of Investigation influenced him in his gun-mania. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just really him fulfilling his dreams of carrying the iconic weapon to serve the country and protect his family.

Everywhere, well at least the “everywhere” that I see, my dad goes, he carries a gun. When someone has a gun, no one messes with him. My dad has gun, no one dares to even say a joke.

It would certainly appeal to you by now that my dad is really scary (but he isn’t, he’s a funny man). I can’t blame you. I feel the same way sometimes too. One day, he was carrying a handgun on his left hand and what he calls baby armalite on the right while roaming around our house as if wanting to kill the Joker in his superhero life. I went out to the garage to see and ask him what’s going on. He sort of looked like Jason Statham in Transporter except for that bulging stomach. Suddenly, he raised the handgun and pointed it towards my left foot. I can’t help but close my eyes and have sweat pouring from head to toe. He fired.

I opened my eyes and I saw the puffy clouds and heavenly skies. Oh, am I dead? Wait! I’m still alive. I’m so sure that I’m still alive. I looked towards my left foot and saw a huge bloody rat lying beside the rear tire of our car. It was the rat that had been crawling at the ceiling and disturbing us every night for the past week. I looked at my dad and he just smiled at me, as if saying that I’m stupid. Great.

My dad was also responsible for me learning how to handle guns and use them. I remember that we used to practice shooting when I was in elementary and high school outside our house. He used to line-up cans from a distance and ask me to hit them. It makes him proud when I hit every target successfully and thus ask me to hit some more to improve and become better. However, he would tease me when I missed more than hit. There were times that I join him in firing events with his NBI colleagues to watch and even try shooting.

That was before.

Today, I only see him every weekend since I stay in Ateneo dormitories during weekdays. I barely have time to even chat and speak to him during those days because I use most of the time to study and do papers. How I wish I can do the funny shoot-the-rat moment to him and see what his reaction would be. How I wish I could challenge him to shoot 15 empty cans in 10 seconds at our backyard. How I wish.

It is sad that the distance between me and my father is expanding. I could only wish that one day we could do what we used to do again. And this time I’ll make sure to hit every target and make him prouder. When that time happens, I can even hit the moon and not miss. It would be a shot to the stars.