REVIEW: Gerry Francisco’s IBONG ADARNA soars

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When you step out of a show, and you see people euphorically talking about what they have just seen, you feel that you’ve just been in for a treat. When even during intermission, you hear people — especially the young ones – humming an LSS from a ballet show, you know you’ve just seen something different.

You read it right: a Last Song Syndrome after a ballet.

And that’s exactly what Gerardo Francisco’s IBONG ADARNA has in store. And more.

This new, original ballet from Ballet Manila’s Principal Dancer and choreographer surprises audiences with brilliant narrative and magnificent choreography. Here, the Kingdom of Berbania comes with a fresh look and its music is worth a hum, even hours after you’ve seen it.

King Fernando of Berbania catches a deadly disease, which no one in the kingdom could heal. Desperate for a cure, the royal family seeks the advice of their great healer, who tells them of the healing power of the Ibong Adarna – a mythical bird that lives in a tree called Piedras Platas somewhere in the far-off mountains of Tabor. Each of Fernando’s sons set off to catch the Adarna to bring back to their ailing father. But catching it is no easy task. Each of the brothers will need to pass the test that will measure their bravery, character and spirit.

Ballet Manila's August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz
Ballet Manila’s August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz

What’s most exciting in this piece is how Francisco puts the usual corps de ballet to center stage, showcasing a magnificent array of gorgeous synchrony and robust athleticism. In ADARNA, we cheer at dancers who we normally see at the backdrop. Through Francisco’s combinations of classical ballet and Philippine folk dance, we see the magic in this piece pulling together a breathtaking choreography and endless energy; one that I personally haven’t seen yet on a ballet stage.


No wonder, old and young people cheer and go wild after every scene. Like the Adarna, Francisco’s choreography takes off so wonderfully, I silently wished it wouldn’t end.

in Ballet Manila's August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA
Rudy de Dios as Prinsipe Juan in Ballet Manila’s August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz

Otto Hernandez’ stage design presents a fantastical kingdom that is truly its own. Though it slightly veers away from the stereotypical style of Filipino folklores, one cannot deny a glimpse of our own folkloric spirit in its look. Diwa de Leon’s compellingly breathtaking score accompanies the entire piece with varying themes of sorrow, struggle and hope. Worthy to mention, too, is how de Leon managed to put together a piece for the Adarna that is worth humming again and again, even hours after the show.

Theater veteran, Bodjie Pascua, takes the role of the narrator, and he makes his scene glow with his heartfelt narrations. Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde is Donya Valeriana, mother to the tale’s three central character. Here, Macuja-Elizalde maintains her endearing presence as the loving matriarch, guiding and keeping. And Neil Mag-aso’s Haring Fernando is as royal as an archetypal King should be.

Prima Ballerina Ms. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde as Donya Valeriana in Ballet Manila's August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz
Prima Ballerina Ms. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde as Donya Valeriana in Ballet Manila’s August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz

Both Elpidio Magat and Rudolph Capongcol as Prinsipe Pedro and Prinsipe Diego, respectively, flourish with strong performances as the two elderly brothers. While Magat showcases great control, Capongcol sways with remarkable presence.

Anselmo Dictado’s Prinsipe Juan is a sight to see. People familiar with this classical Filipino tale know that Juan is the real hero, and Dictado makes sure that he captures the hearts of his audiences. His light, yet sturdy stance as the youngest Berbania prince establishes a more youthful spirit with a kinder heart. Worthy to note is the part where he journeys to the mountain of Tabor. Even under the Piedras Platas, we feel his desperation and eternal exhaustion. Somewhere, I heard a young audience whispered, “I hope he gets the Ibong Adarna. He’s the kindest of them all.”

Katherine Barkman plays the Ibong Adarna, and she’s vigorously magical. Here, Barkman glides and soars as the mythical bird – brilliant, yet coy. She takes center stage every time the Adarna deals with the brothers, fairly putting each to the test. Barkman owns this new Francisco look for the magical creature: depicting a powerful golden bird to cruel hearts, but a faithful ally for the compassionate.

Gia Macuja as the Singing Ibong Adarna in Ballet Manila's August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz
Gia Macuja as the Singing Ibong Adarna in Ballet Manila’s August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz

Gia Macuja takes the role of the singing Adarna, and boy, how she put us all under her spell! Through de Leon’s compelling score, Macuja captures the show with her spellbinding arias for the Adarna. At first I was bit wary of seeing two Adarna’s on stage (with Barkman dancing, and Macuja singing), but as the show progresses, I soon found myself looking forward to seeing both on stage. Macuja and Barkman’s chemistry is undeniable, and both shine in each Piedras Platas scene.

IBONG ADARNA is packed with archetypal characters, and Francisco makes sure that their essence echoes in his piece. While watching, I can’t help but sigh in silent surrender to the timeless wonder of its tale. Even in its source material’s folkloric simplicity, IBONG ADARNA continually reminds us that kindness, compassion and sincerity can go a long way. That despite all the odds, hope remains and goodness prevails.

Abigail Oliveiro as the Ibong Adarna in Ballet Manila's August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz
Gia Macuja as the Singing Ibong Adarna and Abigail Oliveiro as the Ibong Adarna in Ballet Manila’s August 26 performance of IBONG ADARNA. Photo by Ms. Trixie Dauz

Ballet Manila made the right choice of putting Gerry Francisco at the helm of their most recent production. IBONG ADARNA soars with exceptional talents, gorgeous choreography, breathtaking music, and notable performances from its leads. Seeing this production reminds me of the beauty of Philippine literature and the surprising wonder in our local ballet.

When you leave the Aliw Theater, and you find yourself humming the Adarna song, somehow you’d know that you’ve just seen something extraordinary. Like Prinsipe Juan, you, too, shall be bringing the Ibong Adarna home with you.

And it is a very good thing.

5 Stars out of 5!!!

Photos by: MS. TRIXIE DAUZ

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On Multilingual Education

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On Multilingual Education
On Multilingual Education

– Paper submitted to and presented at the Philippine Normal University’s College of Language, Linguistics and Literature on July 3, 2010


Head of Save the Children UK, Katy Webley said, “education is power and language is the key to accessing that power.” This statement is parallel to what Ricardo Nolasco (2008) presented in “The Prospects of Multilingual Education (MLE) and Literacy in the Philippines.” He stated that through MLE, Filipino learners can develop proficiency, not just in content-area subjects, but also in 2nd language learning. Providing instruction using the national language or the learner’s own dialect can provide meaningful and comprehensible learning experiences.Linguists and other business organizations have conducted studies and concluded claims of its effect to early learners’ comprehension and self-esteem. However, academic institutions, lawmakers and even parents are taking sometime to shift from a system where a second language is used as the medium of instruction (MOI).


Studies on MLE support Nolasco’s arguments, some of which are even cited in “Prospects.” Common findings are (1) that children need at least 12 years to learn the first language (Tucker, 1994), (2) that premature use of the second language can lead to low achievement in literacy, mathematics and science (Alidou, 2006), and (3) that this form of linguistic engagement motivates students and will make them more likely to succeed academically and is better to learn additional languages (Webley, 2006).


Further, MLE can promote higher self-esteem and a sense of nationalism among learners. Through classroom interactions and activities done in the native language, learners can receive comprehensible instruction and provide meaningful and appropriate feedback through a medium they are most comfortable with. In addition, by using the mother-tongue, students become aware of the significance of their language and culture, as the community demonstrates its worth through high-status activities such as schooling (Benson, 2005).


It is a sad note, however, that in the past years, our lawmakers have denied the conclusive arguments of these studies. Representative Del Mar’s claim that English proficiency as being the key to better opportunities here and abroad, does not agree to what I believe as an educator. Proficiency in the second language is not, and will not be, sufficient to make a worker globally competitive. Other technical knowledge and skills, work-related behaviors and values are also extremely important qualities of global-competitiveness (Bernardo, 2009).


Based on my observations, it is also alarming to note that schools and Filipino parents are choosing education through a dominant, if not a commercial language. Parents and teachers regard their children and students who can effectively express themselves in English, rather than in their own native language. Though it is undeniable that in our present sociological status, where a post-colonial language is deemed superior, and a large chunk of media and jobs gear towards the use of such language, young and old fluent second language speakers are tagged as competitive. However, this mindset eventually pushes our schools to promote the second language as their primary MOI, thus ignoring the importance of MLE to promote a more proactive approach to learning, language development and self-esteem among the minorities.


Cheris Kramarae’s Muted-Group Theory, though gender-based, can still occur in a classroom where a second language is used as a MOI. When students choose not to participate despite their wide range of schema on the subject-matter as brought about by the MOI, they hinder successful interaction and communication in a learning environment.


 Moreover, teaching students in a language they do not understand is a clear violation of Article 30 of United Nation’s Rights of a Child to education in a language they use with their families and communities. Apart from denying the child the right to comprehensible education, this, according to Skuntnabb-Kangas (2006), will further lead to what she calls as Linguistic Genocide. According to her, in other parts of the country, and in the world, most indigenous dialects are spoken. With the claim that most indigenous languages cannot adapt to a post-modern technological world, learning institutions deny the effectiveness of MLE in sustaining and nourishing the learner’s own language/dialect. This post-colonial mindset among our parents and educational institutions are unconsciously “killing” their own dialects and native languages (Skuntnabb-Kangas, 2006). Unless these languages are strengthened through other means of linguistic preservation like education, they will disappear.


 As someone from the BPO industry, it is alarming to note that recruitment teams generally hire only 2 out of 20 applicants a day, due to poor written and/or spoken English skills. Since 2005, recruiting enough staff to fill the seats for new and existing businesses has been an ongoing problem for HR departments in Manila call centers (Lockwood, 2009). From 2006 to 2009, recruitment rates in Manila call centers dropped from 1.5 to 3.73%, with lack of English language competence being cited as the main reason for staff shortages (Greenleaf and Ferrer, 2006; Lockwood, 2009). The BPO Training unit of the Business Process Outsourcing of the Philippines (BPAP) has identified the 1987 Bilingual Policy as the plaintiff for the poor English proficiency of present job seekers and employees (Agawin and Bonaobra, 2008). However, noting that MLE is being regarded as an alternative approach in teaching content-area subjects and a ladderized method in second language learning and acquisition as Webley and Tucker claimed, it is recommended that we explore its efficiency in preparing our future job-seekers for the world of work.


Nolasco’s “Prospects” and other MLE related studies present an argument worthy of our attention. As language, culture, self-identity and self-esteem are inter-connected; we should proactively start promoting multilingual Filipino classrooms that will assist our learners’ comprehension and preserve our native language.






Agawin, O. and Bonaobra, Y. (2008, February 6). Rekindling Old Flames (The University Linkages Program: PeopleSupport’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative). PeopleSupport Post, page 8.


Bernardo, A. (2007). Language in Philippine Education:Rethinking old fallacies, exploring new alternatives amidst globalization. In Language and Globalization – The Politics of Language in the Philippines. Edited by Tupas, R. Quezon City: University of the Philippine Press.


Dumagpi, R. and Gonzales, M. (1997). Reding in the Content-areas. Quezon City, University of the Philippines Press.


Dumatog, R. and Dekker, D. (2003). First Language Education in Lubuagan, Northern Philippines. Retrived from


Greenleaf, R. and Ferrer, J. (2006). English language acquisition and assessment in call center environment. Paper presented at Talking Across the World: English Communication Skills for the ITES Industry Inaugural Conference, Asian Institute of Management, Makati, Philippines, February, 25-26, 2006.


Griffin, E. (2005). A First Look at Communication Theory, New York: McGraw-Hill.


Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino. (2000). The Prospects of Multilingual Education and Literacy in the Philippines. Manila:Nolasco, R. M.


Lockwood, J., Forey, G., and Price, H. (2009). Engish in Philippine call centers and BPO operations: Issues, opportunities and research. In Philippine English – Linguistics and Literary Perspectives. Edited by Bautista, M.L., and Bolton, K. Pasig, Anvil Publishing.


Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child.Retrieved from


Skuntnabb-Kangas, T. (2006). Linguistic Genocide? Children’s right to education in their own language. id21 Insights, 5, page 3.


Thomas, C. (2009) A positively plurilingual world: promoting mother tongue education. Retrieved from


Webley, K. (2006). Mother Tongue First – Children’s right to learn in their own language. id21 Insights, 5, page 1.


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Soriano Writes (Again)

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Noong August 27, 2011, nilathala ang artikulo ni James Soriano sa Manila Bulletin (online). Tahasang tinira ang Wikang ipinagdiriwang ng buwan na ito. Isang diskurso (in English) na binatikos at sinapul ng bonggang-bongga, hindi lang ng mga guro ng Wika, kundi ng iba’t-ibang indibidual sa mga social media networks. 

Ngayon, August 30, 2011, naglathala siya ng bagong artikulo (in Filipino) upang tugunan (o maghugas ng kamay) ang una niyang isinulat.


Wika bilang gunita

August 31, 2011, 12:45am

MANILA, Philippines — Malawak ang diskurso ukol sa wikang Filipino. Sa isang banda, may mga nagsasabing tapos na ang debate, sapagkat humantong na tayo sa punto ng ating kasaysayan na dapat matutunan ito at gamitin bilang pangunahing wika sa pakikipag-ugnayan.

Sa madaling salita, nagwagi na ang wikang Filipino, at ang paggamit ng nasabing wika ang tanda ng pagiging Filipino.

Sa kabilang banda, pinag-uusapan pa rin ito, lalo na sa akademya at mga umpukan ng intelektwal. May mga nagtatanong pa rin tungkol sa kalagayan ng wika: sa paggamit ng wikang Filipino bilang “second language” sa wikang Ingles, at sa tensyong rehiyonal na nananatili ukol sa konsepto ng wikang Filipino, sapagkat para sa marami, sadyang magkatumbas ang Tagalog at Filipino.

Subalit ang nakagagambalang katotohanan ay naiiwan ang diskursong ito sa mga palihan at silid-aralan.

Sa palagay ko, malay tayong lahat na may ganitong uri ng diskurso. Nakabaon nga lamang siguro ito sa ating kubling-malay, at hindi binibigyang boses o panahon. Kaya naman ninais kong bigyang-pahayag nang pahapyaw ang diskursong ito sa konteksto ng aking pagpapalaki — sapagkat sa aking karanasan, “English-speaking” pa rin ang ating bayan.

Mahirap sabihing isinasabuhay nang nakararami ang wika bilang tanda ng pagiging Filipino. Mahirap, sapagkat, sa kongkreto, Ingles ang wikang binibigyang pribilehiyo sa ating opisyal na mga gawain. Mahirap, sapagkat maraming katulad kong pinalaki sa wikang Ingles — na nag-aral, natuto, at nag-iisip sa wikang Ingles — na itinuturing bilang suliranin ang kanilang pagiging “split-level Filipino.”

Sa nakaraang artikulo, ninais kong magambala ang mambabasa para basahin ang di-nakasulat. Inimbitahan ko siyang suriin ang kaisahan ng aking tono sa estadong panlipunan na isiniwalat ko. Tinangka kong hamunin ang mismong pag-unawa ng mambabasa sa kondisyon ng ating wika at identidad bilang Filipino. Minarapat kong isiwalat ang kondisyon ng wikang Filipino sa aking mga mata upang maabot ang madla, sapagkat ang kondisyon ng wikang Filipino ay kondisyong pangmadla.

At dahil kondisyon ang aking tinatalakay, kundisyonal o “descriptive” rin ang aking mga pahayag. Hindi ako nagdududang may mga dalubhasang nagsusulat, nagtuturo, at nakikipagtalastasan sa Filipino; ngunit hindi rin natin maikakaila na, sa kabuuan, ang wikang Ingles ang pinipiling gamitin sa mga pamantasan.

Masakit ring sabihin na ang wikang Filipino ay wikang pangkalye. Ngunit may nailabas rin itong diskurso ukol sa relasyon ng wika sa kondisyong panlipunan. Kung pantay-pantay nga ang ating tingin sa bawat isa, bakit nga ba masakit marinig na ang wika natin ay wikang pangkalye? Sa madaling salita: bakit magkatumbas sa ating isipan ang “wikang pangkalye” at “wikang mababang-uri”?

Sa bansang Pransiya, hindi ba’t wikang pangkalye rin ang wikang Pranses? Hindi ba’t ito ang wikang ginagamit ng mga trabahador, ng mga nagproprotesta? Ang pagkakaiba, sa madaliang tingin, ay wika ng lahat ang wikang Pranses. Maituturing talaga ito bilang wikang pambansa.

Hindi ganito ang trato sa wikang Filipino. Ang diskurso ng wika bilang tanda ng pinag-aralan ay halimbawa ng pagkakawatak-watak ng ating lipunan. Filipino ang wika ng mga militanteng nagproprotesta sa harap ng Malacanang, ngunit sa Ingles naman isinulat ang mga batas, executive order, at court order na pinoprotesta nila. Filipino ang wikang ginagamit natin kapag kakuwentuhan ang ating mga kaibigan at kasambahay ukol sa maiinit na isyu ng lipunan, ngunit inuulat ang mga isyung ito sa Ingles na “broadsheet” o pangunahing diyaryo.

Dagdag pa, suriin natin ang estado ng Filipino bilang wikang opisyal; kaakibat ito ng Ingles. Kung isinasalin man ang mga batas natin sa wikang pambansa, kakaunti lamang ang makikita mo sa internet. Laging nasa Ingles ang mga official memorandum, deed of sale at judicial issuances.

Sa madaling salita: kung nakabababa man ang wikang Filipino, hindi ito dahil mas mababa ang Filipino bilang wika, kundi dahil mababa ang tingin natin dito sa ating mismong lipunan. Masakit pakinggan, ngunit ganito natin itinuturing ang wikang “pambansa.”

Pinagtatawanan din natin kapag isinasalin sa Filipino ang mga pelikula’t palabas na banyaga; hindi ko alam kung may susubaybay pa ba sa Gossip Girl kung naka-dub ito sa wikang Filipino. Sa mga bilihan ng aklat, kakaunti na ang mga aklat na isinulat ng mga Filipino, mas kakaunti pa ang talagang nasa Filipino.

Sa ilang paaralan, “Language” pa ang tawag sa asignaturang “English,” samantalang hindi “Wika” ang tawag sa “Filipino.” Dagdag pa, tinuturo ang sipnayan, agham, at “Reading” sa Ingles; kaya siguro mas gusto nating magbasa ng Noli at Fili sa SparkNotes pagtuntong natin sa mataas na paaralan. Nakapagtataka pa rin bang marami pa rin sa atin, mayaman man o hindi, ang nahihirapan pa ring magbasa at magsulat sa Filipino?

Mapapansin sa mga bumabatikos sa akin ang sumusunod na argumento: dapat itaguyod ang wikang Filipino sapagkat isa kang Filipino. Dito, makikita nating nakatali ang ideya ng pagiging Filipino sa paggamit ng wikang Filipino. Kung gayon, ibig sabihin bang ang mga hindi marunong — o tahasang hindi gumagamit — ng wikang Filipino ay hindi na Filipino?

Ang punto ko rito ay dapat din natin pansinin na sa ibang rehiyon, ibang wika ang nangingibabaw. Ang wikang Filipino ay nakabase sa wikang Tagalog, na isa lamang sa napakaraming wikang basehan ng indibidwal na identidad.

Dahil dito, hindi ito tinatanggap ng lahat; may narinig na rin akong kuwento ng kaibigang nag-taxi, na hindi pinansin ng tsuper sapagkat kinausap niya si manong sa wikang Filipino.

Kung gayon, talaga ngang limitado ang ating karanasan: iba ang kondisyon ng wikang pambansa sa labas ng Maynila. Sa kabisera mismo, Ingles pa ang ginagamit ng marami sa nakapag-aral.

Wala akong inambisyon kundi maisulat ang totoong nadarama nang walang takot. Ngayong napag-uusapan ang isyu ng wikang pambansa sa internet at media, naghahanap ako ng masusing tugon mula sa madla; sapagkat, sa palagay ko, walang mas mainam na paraan upang suriin ang gunitang pambansa kundi sa pagdiskurso tungkol sa Filipino bilang bansa sa Buwan ng Wika.



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Here’s the presentation I prepared and used for my report on Prepositions last Saturday.

To view, you first need to BUFFER the presentation (yes, like YouTube). You can do this by clicking the PLAY button.  

But don’t worry, it’s a lot quicker than YouTube.

Once downloaded, you can start browsing through the presentation by clicking the LEFT and RIGHT buttons.

NOTE: this is still a work in progress. Any typographical errors or misspelled words will be evaluated and corrected the soonest possible. Rest assured that proper editing shall be done accordingly.

Please feel free to post your comments, feedback and suggestions at the comments field.

Further, here is what has to say on this are in Grammar:

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Cow’s Milk

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Cow's Milk

Say silk five times.






Now, spell the word silk.



Did you say MILK?







Shouldn’t it be water?


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The Science of Linguistic Hypnosis

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I have been reading Tonya Reiman’s THE YES FACTOR for at least a couple of weeks now. I have started to consider exploring the science of neurolinguistics and its power to influence people.

Actually, after reading the first few chapters, I have experimented some exercises with my friends, and have gained amazing results. They say that they feel more comfortable talking with me, now that I use strategies like priming and anchoring.

It’s a good read. I know I can easily practice more on the techniques, since I am moving toward more interactive functions involving selling and marketing.

Norman showed me a YouTube video (I know, sorry) showcasing the power of neurolinguistics. I was amazed how Derren Brown (an illusionist and mentalist) managed to convince a respondent that he wanted a BMX bike for his birthday.

This video, generally summarizes what The Yes Factor is talking about.

You can watch all the magic by clicking here.

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Naturalism In Education

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Here’s the presentation I prepared and used for my Educ 501 report last Saturday.

The entire presentation is divided into two parts (Naturalism in Education and Agencies/Organizations and Methods).

To view, you first need to BUFFER the presentation (yes, like YouTube). You can do this by clicking the PLAY button.  Don’t worry, it’s a lot quicker than YouTube.

Once downloaded, you can start browsing through the presentation by clicking the LEFT and RIGHT buttons.

NOTE: this is still a work in progress. Any typographical errors or misspelled words will be evaluated and corrected the soonest possible. Rest assured that proper editing shall be done accordingly.

Please don’t hesitate to post your questions or feedback in the COMMENTS section.

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First Day High and Low…and High Again


“Good morning everyone,” pinatong ng teacher namin ang mga gamit n’ya sa lumang desk sa harapan ng klase. “My name is Prof. Bala (real name). My middle name is Cinco (real middle name din). Welcome to Contrastive Analysis. This is a highly theoretical subject for your Master’s Degree. So you better start treating this seriously…”

Napalunok ako.

“…or else, you’ll be getting Five Bullets from me!” sinabi n’yang nakangiti.

Nagtawanan na kaming lahat. Marunong din palang magbiro si Ma’am. Hindi ko siya naging teacher noong college ako sa PNU, pero madalas ko siyang makabungguan. Hindi ako sure kung kilala n’ya ako, pero wala na sa akin ‘un. Ang mahalaga, teacher ko na siya ngayon.

“I have actually retired last year,” she said with matching taas ng kilay. “But I decided to continue on teaching, as long as my feet will allow me.”

Napangiti naman ako. Buti na lang, sa kanya ako napa-enrol.

PNU Graduate School 2nd Sem Enrollment (2010)

Hindi biro ang enrollment namin noong isang linggo. Ilang libong tao ang dumagsa sa PNU, at pumila ng sabay-sabay, tumanga ng sabay-sabay, nagutom ng sabay-sabay at nagreklamo ng sabay-sabay. Nasira kasi ang system gamit sa pag-papa-enlist, kaya na-puno ang mga taong naghihintay hanggang sa umabot ng mahigit isang libo.

Ako, umuwi na lang ako. Alas tres na kasi ng hapon, at nasa dulo pa ko ng pila. Imposible namang umabot pa ko sa assessment ng alas-cinco. Sa mga sumunod na araw na lang ako nag-pa-assess at nagbayad, pero kahit anung late mo, mahaba pa rin ang mga pila.

“Now, for your first writing activity, I’d like you to write something about yourself,” sabi sa amin ni Five Bullets na nakangiti pa rin.

Kumunot ang kilay ko nang hindi ko napipigilan. Ano kami Grade 3?

“Where do we write it Ma’am?” tanong ko.

“Sa palad mo!” sagot agad n’ya. Pero biglang-bawi. “Siempre sa papel! Alangan namang sa palad mo.”

Napanga-nga ako. Witty si Ma’am.

And so we did what we were told. Silently, we pulled our yellow pads and started writing, habang si Ma’am Five Bullets, naupo katabi ng advisee n’ya. Tahimik rin silang nag-uusap habang isa-isang binubuklat ang paper ng bata.

“What a good way to start,” bulong ko kay Rechelle.

“Wag ka nang kumontra.” Nakakalahati na siya. “Kung magfo-focus ka na lang, siguro patapos ka na ngayon.”

“Anung kasunod nito?” Talagang hindi pa nawawala sa isip ko ang tactics ni Ma’am. “What I did last sem break?

“Magsulat ka na nga lang!”

“I just don’t see how this is related to a highly theoretical subject!”

Next subject, Philosophical Foundations of Education. Hindi ko matanggap na kukunin ko na naman ‘to – for the 3rd f*#king time! Pero sige lang. Requirement ‘e.

Pumasok si Prof. Ma-El (hindi totoong pangalan, pero ka-sounds-like). Malaking lalaki, nakasalamin, at konti na lang ang natitirang bangs. Tumayo sa likod ng klase at pinatayo kaming lahat.

“Let’s pray. Glory be to the Father and to the….”

Nakisunod na lang ako. Ilang taon na rin akong hindi nagdasal bago magsimula ang klase. Ang huli ko pa yata ay noong 1997 sa Letran, kung saan halos tapusin ang rosario bago magsimula sa Motivation ang mga teachers.

Pagkaupo namin, nagsimula na agad si Prof Ma-El sa una n’yang tanong.

“What are the 3 operational processes on which the mind works?”

Nakatanga kami. Oo, mga graduate students kami, pero kaya kami nag-aaral ay para malaman ang mga bagay na wala pa sa mga utak namin.

Walang nag-taas ng kamay.

“What is existence? How can you say that you are, if you are?”

Tanga ulit.

Tumanga rin siya.

“How do you know that you know?”

I don’t know. Really.

“You, gentleman,” turo n’ya sa akin. “How do you know that you know?”

“Sir, as far as I know, you still do not know our names. Because you will only know us, especially me – that I am not a gentleman, if you start by getting our class cards with our names on it.”

Tumingin sa akin si Prof. Ma-El. Matagal akong tinitigan. Nagtitingan kami. Siya, expressionless. Ako, nakangiti. Mahirap nang mapag-initan sa unang araw ng klase.

“You know a good point. Sige. Pass your registration forms and class cards, before we begin the science of knowing.”

Oh I don’t wanna know, sabi ng isip ko. As far as I know, gusto ko nang matulog.

Pagkakolekta ni Sir Ma-El ng mga documents namin, bumalik na siya ulit sa diskurso ng pagka-alam.

Dumami ang mga tanong, at humaba ang diskurso. Nawala ka kaming lahat. Lalo na ako. Alas-cinco ng umaga pa’y gising na ‘ko at halos alas-3 na. Antok na antok na ako.

Napunta ang usapan sa “existence.” Kung bakit na-kunekta ni Ma-El ‘un sa “knowing,” ay hindi ko alam.

Sa mga sumunod na oras, nagpalunod na lang ako sa stream of consciousness. Antok na talaga ko. Bigla kong na-miss ang kama ko.

(Read at your own risk)

“Can you Flordeliza, disappear from this room? If I wish to have food on the table, by the flick of the hand, will I get it?…(No sir)…BUT I AM BOSS! Why can’t I not boss the food?….Can this classcard, instantly become an ash? (No sir)…And the process by which it must go through to become an ash, how can it happen? (Silence)…How can these classcards reach it’s maximum ashness?…(Silence ulit) THUS IF I WANT FOOD, then I have to cause the series of processes and changes that will result into having food. That means that I have to cook the food, serve it, and bring it here, and present it here in the table. And you have instant “having.” CAN YOU TEACH A KINDERGARTEN student Quantum Mechanics or Shakespeare Drama? Why? Why?! Because?….(Because they will not appreciate it. It is still beyond their level of knowledge, sir.) The potency of the mind of a child has not reached yet the level of processing these ideas…..AND what do you call, a teacher, who teaches a kindergarden class with Shakespeare drama….? And if I teach that kindergarten with such ideas, whose fault is it….? (The teacher sir….) AND IF I put myself on the other side, and the other side does not follow, whose fault is it….? (The teacher) Why….? Because it is not the nature of the pupils to move to where you are!…..But if you are in front of the mirror and the image in the mirror doesn’t move, whose fault is it…..? (Hahahahahaha! You!)….Of course! THUS, the mind must agree with reality….THUS it is what we call the supremacy of existence. Meaning, reality will not follow the wishes of the mind….It should be your mind or your intellect that should accept reality…..You are thirsty, and there is a liquid there, a bottle of muriatic acid, and you told yourself, that if I drink this bottle of liquid, I will be able to quench my thirst. And you drink it, what will happen…..? (We will die). Of course, because you did not RESPECT reality! THUS REALITY IS NOT SUBJECT TO OUR WHIMS, CAPRICE OR WISHES…OR BELIEFS…..

Unti-unting nawawala ang antok ko.

“…Now, Madam, are you a girl? (Yes sir)…How can you say that you are a girl? (Because my nature is a girl). And what tells you that your nature is a girl…? Hmmmm….? What tells you that your nature is that of a girl and not a boy….? Hmmmm…..? Because you have body parts that shows that you are a girl!”

Natapos ang klase ni Prof. Ma-El na pagod ang isip namin kakaisip kung babae ba kami o lalake. Ako naman, lalong na-confuse sa gender ko.

Pero kahit papano, may isa akong natutunan sa unang klase n’ya. Na hindi talaga pwedeng sumunod ang realidad sa isip mo.

“Sir Orly,” tawag sa akin ni Rita pagkalabas ko sa Quadrangle. “Un palang ipinasulat sa atin ni Ma’am Five Bullets kanina, i-ta-transcribe natin sa I.P.A!

Napanga-nga ako. “Ano? Hindi pa pala tapos ‘un?”

“Ipapasa sa Finals!”


“Well, nautakan ka ni Ma’am!” sagot ni Rechelle. “Ano ka ngayon?”

Napakamot na lang ako sa ulo.

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The First of Fourteen Phases Ends

The First Sem Ends

The first-est of semesters ended today.

I came home exhausted, sleepy and hungry. But it doesn’t matter.

Five months ago, I took a test and tried my luck.

Today I came home, though exhausted, fulfilled.

It was not as difficult as I thought.


There were promises of difficulties in the days to come.

When surrendering is but a common term, and losing is a part of the game

But I’ll cross it, when I get there.

So far, I’m happy.

Thanks guys for giving me the chance!

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Framework for an Intercultural Approach to English Language Teaching in the Call Center

Submitted to Mr. Matthew Nepomuceno on October 2, 2010, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Sociological and Psychological Foundations of Language Teaching.


Interculturalism in Second Language learning has been an interesting area in language instruction. This relatively new approach to language instruction is being explored by various educational sectors in other countries. However, despite the many criticisms, an intercultural approach to second language education has a number of advantages for the learner in the workplace.

Language in the call center industry

The call center industry for one, needs to start exploring the   advantages. In the BPO industry, face-to-face, online and phone interactions with native speakers are the fundamental sources of sustainability and growth.  In the Philippine context, most of the call centers are customer services departments of banks, insurance companies, retail outlets, IT support and travel agencies with head offices in the US, the UK, India and Australia. Through telecommunications, speakers are brought into contact from diverse socio-economic, geographical and ethno-linguistic backgrounds in this globalized workplace. Complex information and services are then negotiated within the constraints of the telephone and computer screens through English.

Challenges in Call Center Communication

Despite our globally acceptable proficiency in the second language, the widening gap in providing excellent customer service is continually being put to question. Further, the quality of communication between BPO employees and foreign clients has decreased from 78% in 2001 to a low 32.9% this year. (Garcia, 2009); thus severely affecting customer and client satisfaction.

That is why language proficiency has been the main focus of the industry and government discussion in a site where English language capacity is seen by many as a key factor for future expansion and sustainability. In the various BPO companies, training managers and course developers have explored other methods in strengthening, not just the employees’ proficiency in the target language, but also develop a sense of awareness of the native speaker’s culture. This way, communication between employees and foreign clients will be much more interactive and successful.

A call for an intercultural approach in teaching English

This is where an intercultural approach in teaching English comes in. In in-house training units, training managers, course developers and trainers must start to explore possibilities in integrating culture awareness in language and product-specific courses. With the goal of attaining Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC), English training courses for the call center should consider integrating linguistic and cultural learnings to facilitate simple casual conversations to highly formal interactions.

Despite the potential of this approach, it should be noted that there has been criticisms on such kinds of integration. Valdes (1990) rebutted the need to combine culture to language teaching, stating that language instruction, in itself, is already a study on the culture of its native speakers.  According to Valdes, exposure to the native speaker’s ethnicity is inevitable whenever learners use the target language in a communicative classroom or environment.

However, by making learners be active analysts and interpreters of cultures (including their own) teachers and trainers help them along the road to independent intercultural analysis and interpretation in a range of situations where they might otherwise be at a loss, and where authoritative guidance in unavailable (Corbett, 2007). Call center employees that have had previous training on culture and communication, once transitioned from training to operations, will be much more adept and skilled in handling customer interactions all by themselves.  This promotes Occupational Primacy (OP), the ultimate goal in an Intercultural approach to L2 instruction. Employees who have started to feel more comfortable in interacting with native speakers tend to be more motivated at work. Further, employees working in a global setting who have attained this stage of enculturation views career success as the highest goal (Parson, 1951).

Moreover, learners have various levels of interactions. Taking away the cultural aspect from language instruction may be more of a disadvantage rather than a plus. For elementary and high school students, who will eventually be using English in a community of Filipino speakers, this may not be as important. However, for adult learners who will be using L2 in interacting with a community or business of native speakers, the need is immediate.

This paper will explore the potential of such approach specifically for speaking and listening. Nunan’s (1990) methodologies on second language learning, together with cross-cultural communication techniques, shall be the supporting aspects that will trigger ICC and promote OP among the target learners. As drafted for English communication trainers in call center training departments, this paper will present a framework that will establish culture awareness through language instruction, for employees, and new-hires that will soon be or are already part of call center operations.


Taking the Intercultural Approach to Second Language Education, as the base, this framework aims to develop Intercultural Communicative Competence or ICC (Corbett, 2007), with Occupational Primacy (Parson, 1951) as the ultimate goal for language learning and application in the workplace. Also, this framework will make use of various communicative classroom techniques and methodologies as proposed by Nunan, (2009) to establish a more learner-centered language experience. As earlier stated, this will be directed to the development of both language and cultural awareness of call center employees, both new-hires and customer-service representatives.

Byram (1997) and Guilherme (2002) ideally view language and culture learning as a way to achieve ICC. The Intercultural Approach to Language Education does not seek to put less importance to the advantages that we have seen in task-based learning or learner-centered syllabuses that promote Communicative Competence (CC). As a matter of fact, it aims to make use of these advantages and enhance the learner’s competencies towards realistic and useful goals. It should be noted, that only a few learners achieve CC in the workplace, but many can achieve valuable skills of observation, explanation and mediation that contribute to ICC.

Culture, Language and Language Learning

In terms of how culture affects language use, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis further establishes the foundations of this framework. The hypothesis’ argues that language as a tool to determine thoughts and ideas of interlocutors are enough to connect language learning to the culture of its native speakers (Whorf, 1956). Having this as a base in concretizing the idea of integrating culture awareness and L2 learning in the call center can ensure the expectations from foreign clients, co-employees and customers.

Types of Interactions

Both types of interactions cover this framework. Interactional and Transactional conversations are present in call center communications. Speaking with co-employees, supervisors and managers may range to informal to formal interactions, thus utilizing interactional talks. On the other hand, conversations with customers and clients are highly transactional. Examples of which are taking orders, providing a steb-by-step process, selling a product, take on a more formal discourse.  This transactional type of talk is message oriented, with specific goals such as buying, selling and instructing.

Speaking & Listening: Two Important Skills in Call Center Communication

The framework mainly focuses only on two macro skills that are essential in call center operations. Generally, Speaking and Listening are the more important skills that call center agents, supervisors and managers need to develop in terms of communication.

Speaking, is the most basic skill one expects from a call center employee. In a voice-supported account, interactions are done over the phone (Lockwood, 2006). Further, an L2 learner may be generally assessed on his/her knowledge of the language through actual performance. Since the framework is designed to establish ICC in the call centers, trainers, and course developers should integrate communicative techniques for this skill to prepare the learners for a higher level of communicative competency.

Listening, on the hand is another skill that should be given equal importance. Considering that this is the most basic macro skill in communication, call center employees will gain more if they work on enhancing their active listening skills. Identifying the customer issue or complain, and problem analysis are just two of the many examples that a customer service representative should develop in order to ensure successful communication with customers. In the classroom, trainers should consider learning tasks that will make the learners exposed to comprehensible input and authentic data to ensure that an intercultural approach is provided.

Integration of Communicative Techniques in an Intercultural Language Learning Environment

Various communicative techniques, as proposed by Nunan (2009) can be used to further strengthen the path to ICC and OP. Without limiting the advances of Communicative Language Learning (CLL), this framework will utilize the available sources and advantages of a more communicative learning environment for the learners.

The 3P Instructional Cycle is a common technique that integrates Audiolingualism and the Communicative Approach. It aims to create a more personalized learning experience, without letting go of language structure and rules. The three Ps stand for presentation, practice, and production. Like other ALM techniques, presentation and practice are done through drills and repeat-after-me techniques. Modeling, on the part of the teacher is essential, as this will provide the learners the correct input. Practice is where the learners will provide robotic feedback for checking and evaluation. The practice stage, however, is what makes 3P Instructional Cycle different from other Behavioral-based techniques. Here, the learners apply the structure in a series of application task. In the 3P Instructional Cycle, errors are present during actual performance, especially if the tasks require the creative and relatively unpredictable use of language. This, according to Nunan, should be seen as a natural part of the learning process. In order to indicate the framework’s primary goal, trainers may explore culturally-related tasks to make the learning experience more specific and focused on the learner’s needs.

With the aim of allowing the learners to participate in a “mock” environment where the target language is used and utilized by both native and L2 speakers, Systematic-Functional Linguistics can be used to further enhance learner development through an intercultural language curriculum. Here, the target language is used to facilitate “interactions” within given situations that are specific to work, account and product. Trainers must provide the contexts for the tasks that will be useful for the employees once they have been endorsed to operations. Providing sample forms that agents normally fill out during interactions with customers can be utilized effectively, as language functions in a call center environment are practiced. Other specific language functions may be asking for necessary information, explaining a process, or providing bad news to a customer. Further, vocabularies, grammar and pragmatics of L2 can be explored, as learners and trainers negotiate its meaning according to the target culture.

Listening requires input. As Krashen (1982) suggests, Comprehensible Input is necessary to ensure that language is acquired progressively at the learner’s own pace. Krashen’s view is also relevant in the call center setting. New terminologies, jargons and language structures are presented to adult learners.  Also, idiomatic expressions that are commonly used during formal or informal interactions with native speakers should be given equal importance, so as not to cause failure in the communication process. Trainers must ensure that through Comprehensible Input, learners will be able to grasp and utilize these newly learned words and structures to assure quality of communication in operations.

Personalized Listening (PL) is another technique that trainers and developers may explore in the creation of an intercultural language course. This learner-centered technique in teaching active listening is focused on providing appropriate texts/materials for the learners that are relevant to the subject matter, and at the same time, of the interest of the learner. PL gives the learner more control over the material, as he/she chooses which text should be used in a specific listening activity. Further, this highly communicative technique explores the possibility of providing extension tasks that take the listening material as a point of departure (Nunan, 2009).  Here, learners can create new texts based on the materials that they have listened to, thus constructing a new dimension to listening exercises. For example, after listening to a sample call, students will be asked to create an interactive scenario between a coach and a coachee, where the coachee will act as the one who did the call.

Utilizing Authentic Data for learning materials is important in a language classroom. Though it is understandable that some materials are account-prescribed or trainer-made, the importance of using realias is undeniable. Nunan points out that exposing learners to authentic texts is important for two reasons. First, non-authentic listening texts differ in certain ways from authentic texts. If trainers are focused on ICC, making use of authentic materials will be much more useful than those that were trainer-made, since these have embedded cultural aspects. Finally, the use of authentic sources triggers more interests from the learners, as the experiences and exposures go beyond the confines of the classroom.

Comparative Studies, such as Contrastive Analyses of L1 and L2 may also be explored occasionally by the trainers and the learners. This technique may be useful in ensuring the knowledge of the differences of the structures and forms of each language. The trainers may also provide culture-related feedback to further explain certain concepts that will help the learner towards ICC.

Upon combining these communicative techniques with the native speakers’ culture, learners will be able to achieve ICC accordingly. Once transitioned to operations, it is expected that proper evaluation of the learner’s performance and quality of communication must be done to assess the effectiveness of the framework. Further, it is expected that learners develop a sense of achievement in their operational tasks in the workplace. Eventually, as the employee further develops his/her intercultural relations during training and actual interface with native speakers, Occupational Primacy is achieved.


Intercultural Communicative Competence is expected among L2 speakers that are directly interacting with native speakers. It is sad to note, that our current standards in learning the L2 has set aside the importance of integrating culture in the study of language. With proper use of communicative techniques and integration of culture awareness, communicative competence takes on a higher form through ICC, something that is more appropriate in interacting with different cultures in a global setting.


Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Corbett J. (2007) An Intercultural Approach to English Language Teaching. Pasig: Anvil Publishing.

Harris, P.R. (1983) Managing Cultural Differences. Texas: Gulf Publishing.

Kearney, E and Kearny, M.A. (1984) The American Way. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Krashen, S. (1987) Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Lockwood, J., Forey, G., and Price, H. (2009). Engish in Philippine call centers and BPO operations: Issues, opportunities and research. In Bautista, M.L., and Bolton, K. (ed.) Philippine English – Linguistics and Literary Perspectives. Pasig: Anvil Publishing.

Nunan D. (2009) Second Language Teaching and Learning. Pasig: Cengage Learning.

Samovar, L. (1982) Intercultural Communication: A Reader. California: Wadsworth Inc.

Segall M. H. (1979) Cross Cultural Psychology (human behavior in a Global Perspective. California: Wadsworth Inc.

Valdes, J.M. (1990) The inevitability of teaching and learning culture in a foreign language course. In B. Harrison (ed.) Culture and the Language Classroom. London: Macmillan.

Whorf, B.L. (1956) Language, Thought and Reality. Cambridge: MIT Press.

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Stephen Krashen’s Hypotheses on Second Language Learning


Here are the presentations that we have prepared for the Krashen discussions this Saturday.

The entire presentation is divided into four (4) parts.

The first presentation (ELT 501) covers the Introduction and the first 3 of the 5 Krahsen Hypotheses on Language Acquisition.

Due to its scope, I have decided to separate the Input (Input Hypothesis and Input Hypothesis for Second Language Learning) and Affective Filter (The Affective Filter Hypothesis) presentations.

To view, you first need to BUFFER the presentation (yes, like YouTube). You can do this by clicking the PLAY button.  Don’t worry, it’s a lot quicker than YouTube.

Once downloaded, you can start browsing through the presentation by clicking the LEFT and RIGHT buttons.

NOTE: this is still a work in progress. Any typographical errors or misspelled words will be evaluated before Saturday. Rest assured that proper editing shall be done accordingly.

Please don’t hesitate to post your questions or feedback in the COMMENTS section.

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Kanina sa Psycholinguistics, nasa usapin pa rin kami ng Critical Period Hypothesis. Ito ‘ung linguistic theory na nagsasabing may “critical period” sa buhay ng tao kung saan super flexible pa ng isip n’ya. Sa mga early stages ng development daw ang period na ito. Kaya naman madaling matuto ang bata ng language kumpara sa matatanda.

Pero hindi lang isip ang flexible. Pati ang brain, flexible din. Flexible in a sense that, it physically transforms in itself basta nasa critical period pa ito.

Here’s one video na ipinapanood sa amin kanina. Halos maiyak ako when I was watching the first few frames. But Jodie Miller’s battle against Rasmussen syndrome was amazing. Her story is a strong evidence that apart from the mind’s flexibility, the brain also has the ability to conform according to it’s very nature.

Pero sabi nga ng Hypothesis, swerte si Jodie, dahil bata siya nang malamang may sakit siya. Kung lampas na siya ng critical period, ‘e wala nang lunas.

Like ko ‘to. Promise.

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Contrastive Analysis of the Cebuano {tan-aw} and the Tagalog {nood}

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Submitted to Mr. Matthew Nepomuceno 09/25/2010

Part 1: Description

Cebuano (L1) is primarily spoken in Cebu, however, variations of this dialect occur in its neighboring provinces such as, Bohol, Western Leyte, Negros Occidental, Biliran islands, Masbate, and Mindanao. Generally known as the Visayan language in other parts of the county, Cebuano is used by natives and settlers in the Visayan region.  In the Philippines, it is relatively easy to identify a speaker of Cebuano whenever there is a sing-song intonation pattern in utterances.

Tagalog (L2), Filipino in its standardized form, is the language primarily spoken by most people in Region IV, including CALABARZON (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and MIMAROPA (Occidental & Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).  Being Malayo-Polenesian in origin, Tagalog are related to other Austronesian languages such as Javanese, Indonesian, and Malay.  As early in 1937, Tagalog was declared as the official language by the country’s Constitution of Biak-na-Bato. Eventually, Manuel L. Quezon, renamed Tagalog as Pilipino and declared it as the Philippines’ national language.

Part 2: Selection

To limit the scope of the analysis, the writers have chosen to discuss the simple aspect of the verb tan-aw in L1 and L2, and present the variations according to three aspects – past, present progressive, and future.


tan-aw (base) nitan-aw (past) nagtan-aw (present progressive) mutan-aw (future)


nood (base)      nanood (past) nanonood (present progressive) manonood (future)

Part 3: Contrast

Upon contrasting the selected verbs in L1 and L2, the writers have identified the following:

  • L1’s {tan-aw}, becomes an entirely new word in L2 {nood}.
  • ni is a set prefix for the past tense in the L1, while na- is the  prefix for the past tense in L2.
  • nag is a prefix for the present progressive aspect in L1, while in L2, na- is retained as a prefix in the progressive aspect, with reduplication of the first syllable of the root.
  • mu- is the set prefix for L1’s future tense, while ma- is the prefix for L2’s form for the future tense, with reduplication of the first syllable of the root.

Part 4: Diagnosis – Prediction

Upon review of the above contrasting descriptions between L1‘s {tan-aw} and L2’s {nood}, the writers have drafted the following predictions according to Prator’s (1967) 6 Levels of Difficulty.

Level  0 (Transfer).No difficulties in terms of Filipino vowels and consonant sounds. Both verbs, along with their tense variations, have sounds that are present almost in every dialect in the Philippines. Further, both L1 and L2 have three different forms for the three aspects of the verb.

Level 1 (Coalescence).{tan-aw} which has a number of meaning in L1 (e.i. to see, to watch, to peek, etc.), becomes {nood} which only means ‘to watch’ in L2.

Level 2 (Underdifferentiation). Prefixes in L2 such as ni- (past), nag- (present progressive), and mu- (future) are given new forms in L2 through na-(past and present progressive), and ma- (future).

Level 3 (Reinterpretation). Reduplication of the first syllable of the root in the present progressive form in L2 does not exist in its entirety in L1.

Level  4 (Overdifferentiation). Proper recognition of appropriate L2 prefixes and infix in past, present progressive and future that are not present in L1.

Level 5 (Split). L1’s {tan-aw} takes on a new form in L2 as {nood}.

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Dearest Noy

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Makinig ka.

Noon ang sabi mo, kami ang boss mo. Nang magsalita ka noon, bago ka pa manumpa, pinangako mong wala nang magiging corrupt at sakim.

Naniwala naman kami sa’yo agad. Ang sabi namin, ikaw na nga siguro ang sagot sa mga kalokohang ginawa ni Arroyo.

Pero kahapon, habang naglalakad ako sa PNU, ilang daang banners at posters ang nakita ko na kinukundena ka na. Mantakin mo: hindi pa umiinit ang puwet mo sa Malacanang, ilang protesta na ang namumuo laban sa’yo.

Hindi ako aktibista, pero kahit papano’y marunong akong makinig at mag-matyag. Sa mga nakita at nabasa ko kahapon sa iskwelahan, ay masasabi kong may gagawin kang hindi naayon sa integridad at kalidad ng mga State Universities natin.

Sinabi mo kamakailan lang na: “the government aims to gradually reduce subsidy to State Colleges and Universities (SCU) to push them toward becoming self sufficient and financially independent.”

Hindi yun nakakatuwa a?

May mga kaklase ako noon na tanging tatlong piling ng nilagang saba ang baon araw araw. Ang iba naman ay dala hanggang Maynila ang mga kunot na kamay at paa dahil sa pagtulong sa pagsasaka sa bukid. Hindi nila ininda ang pagpunta at pag-aaral sa PNU dahil noo’y napaka-baba ng matrikula.

Bago pa man ako natapos sa UP at PNU noon ay naisip ko, na ang mga State Universities ay isa sa mga sagot sa kinabukasan ng mga walang walang.

Nakatapos ako sa PNU noon na tanging Php 350 lang ang binabayaran ko kada enrollment at may subsidy pa ang mga kaklase kong hirap sa pagpasok. Ngayon, karamihan ng mga dati kong kaklase ay nasa pagtuturo na, habang ang ilan naman sa amin ay nasa iba’t-ibang industriya.

Noong 2002, dahil sa isang budget cut, itinaas ni Arroyo ang tuition ng PNU. Hindi man kami apektado (dahil 4th years na kami), na-biktima naman nito ang mga nasa unang taon. Mula Php 350, naging Php 2,800 ang matrikula ng mga bagong pasok. Hindi nakinig ang Malacanang sa hinaing ng mga ka-iskwela ko. Tinuloy ang 500% Tuition Fee Increase, nang walang ka anu-ano.

Ngayon, may Budget Cut ka na naman daw para sa mga State Colleges and Universities. Sa mga nabasa at narinig ko kahapon sa iskwelahan, mukhang malalaking porsyento ng educational budget ang balak mong kaltasin.

  • Philippine Normal University (91 M or 23.59%)
  • University of the Philippines (1.39 B or 20.11%)
  • University of Southern Philippines (88.81 M or 18.82%)
  • Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (31.65 M or 15.99%)

Sa pagkaka-alam ko, ito na ang pinaka-mataas ng kaltas ng pondo para sa SCUs sa mga nagdaang taon.

Akala ko ba’y kailangan mo ng mga mahuhusay na guro? Akala ko ba’y kulang ang mga guro sa mga paaralan mo ngayon? Bakit sa mga nakita ko’y PNU pa yata ang may pinaka-malaking kaltas.  Ito ba ang daan na matuwid? O, baluktot lang ang pag-iisip mo ngayon?

Becoming a self sufficient and financially independent college or university ‘ba ka’mo? Anung gusto mong mangyari sa amin? Maging pribado? Hindi pwede! Center of Excellence ang PNU! Pano na kami kapag napasukan ng negosyo at capitalismo ang ngayo’y pinangangalagaang integridad at kalidad ng mga PNU graduates at faculty?

Higit sa lahat, paano na ang mga walang mapang-matrikula? Paano na ang pag-asa at kinabukasan ng mga wala at hirap?

Dahil dito’y magkakaroon ng Walkout sa PNU bukas. Kasama ang kalahatan ng mga guro’t mag-aaral. Sa September 24 nama’y may Mass Walkout ang lahat ng mga public schools at SCUs sa buong Pilipinas.

Hindi ako naniniwala sa mga welga, demonstrasyon at walkouts. Kahit papano’y naniniwala pa rin ako sa maayos na usapan.

Pero kung sa tingin nila’y isa ito sa mga hakbang para marinig mo sila, sasama ako at makikisigaw kahit naka-upo lang ako sa workstation ko.

Nakakalungkot, dahil noo’y halos isigaw ko ang pangalan mo para naman maibalik ang tiwala ng tao sa Malacanang. Ang iyong ama at ina ang naging sandalan ng aking mga magulang noong iniligtas nila tayo sa kahayupang ginawa ng mga Marcos. Hindi man iniahon ni Cory ang bansa noo’y, kahit papano ay nabigyan ng pag-asa ang Pilipinas. Pero sa ginagawa mo ngayon, dala marahil ng baluktot na pag-iisip, ay unti-unti akong napapahiya sa naging desisyon kong suportahan ka noon.

Hindi lang ang pagsugpo sa mga wang-wang at kotong ang sagot sa kahirapan. Hindi ba dapat ay kailangang bigyan din ng halaga ang Edukasyon?

Makinig ka.


PNU – Graduate Student

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