Monday, October 27, 2008

Sembreak Day Two

walang silbi sa bahay
kundi bumabad sa telepono
o kaya'y kasama ng buong barkada
nakatambay sa may kanto

In this case, I spent the day in front of Ace, as usual. And since I am certified weekend mall rat, I had dinner with best friends at Trinoma. Teni just came back from Palawan last Friday and it had been almost a month ago since the last time we saw each other. Markitotz who seems to be busy also with his work and his crunchyroll addiction decided to cancel his appointments for the day.

Dinner at Conti's and coffee at CBTL made our day.

Sembreak Day One

dear kim kamustang bakasyon mo
ako heto pa rin nababato
bad trip talagan t'tong Meralco
bakit brownout pa rin dito

October 25 is the official start of my semestral break. Even though it is a Saturday, I still included it in my official 9-day-vacation version 2.0 for 2008.
I just can’t wait for my version 3.0 vacation for this year —Christmas break!


Rom woke me up with an SMS asking me to prepare a costume for the Halloween party I’m supposed to attend later that night. Because of that exasperating SMS, I was not able to return to dreamland that early Saturday morn. Instead, I stressed out myself the entire morning thinking of what to wear for the affair. I am very thankful to my plurkmates who were very creative in giving advices about what to wear for the party. Here are some of their awesome suggestions:
  • nothing (yeah right, Pen, I’m sure you’ll enjoy that!)
  • my everyday attire coz it’s horror enough (I know that already Dean, since obviously, am a horror teacher. Bwahahaha!)
  • bahag (g-string) - good thing I don’t own one (Thank you very much Yaya Eloisa for the wonderful suggestion.)

In the end, I decided to come as myself. No make-ups; no costumes. Just me, myself and I.

Am telling you, it worked! They let me in!
However, they excluded me from the Best in Costume Award coz they thought I was too authentic for that award!


Prior to the Halloween party, the Professionals Group of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees (GRLA) held their organizational meeting at the Gerry Roxas Foundation Office at the Aurora Towers. An election of the governing body of GRLAs was held in order to have an interim Executive Committee that will function for six (6) months or until their successors are elected and qualified on a meeting called for the purpose of establishing a permanent structure of the organization.

In case you are a recipient of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award, either still studying or a professional already, please leave a comment here or visit the Gerry Roxas Foundation’s website.


While waiting for the Halloween party to start, I dropped by the Lomo exhibit at Cubao Expo which Denxa, a college friend, participated. I was amazed that the analog cameras we used to capture our fond memories back then are now considered as vintage.

While at the exhibit, I asked Denxa a stupid question, "May nagdedevelop pa ba ngayon ng mga film ng analog cameras?" She answered, “sa Florophoto,” with a matching raised eyebrows.

Here are some of Denxa’s friend’s pix during the event at Cubao X. LOL. (Too many reference points!)


To cap off my stay at Cubao that day, we watched the LFS of HSM3 at Gayway, I mean, Gateway.

Duh. I can’t even spell out HSM3. Of all the showing movies that night, they decided to watch the gayest movie of the year. Well, am just too scared that my students would found out that I watched that movie on the second day it was shown in Manila. Worst, I was able to watch it even before they had seen it. Yikes!

To be fair enough, I was really amazed by the technicalities of the movie. From costumes, production design, cinematography, sound, to choreography, it was fantabulous! (Fantastic and fabulous combined.) It’s rare that I appreciate a musical, so this one is an exception.

Even so, the plot was sooooooo cheesy, am too hypocrite to reminisce those mushy days. Charantia, anyone?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why should the 2008 THES-QS world university rankings not be taken seriously?

For an alumnus of a national university —the University of the Philippines (UP), it is not that easy to accept the fact that the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) outranked UP in the 2008 university rankings recently released by the Times Higher Education Supplement and Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS). ADMU rose from 451 ranking to 254 while UP landed to 276 from last year’s 398.

Two other local universities made it to the rankings. Quoting blackshama on his Filipino Voices article On university ranking: views from both sides of Katipunan Road:

De La Salle is at 415th and our only ancient university, the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas is at 470th.”

As early as July 2007, UP announced already its refusal to participate in the said survey because the THES-QS could not explain where it got the figures on which UP’s rank was based in the year 2006.

The UP Newsletter article entitled Only two RP universities made it to the world’s 500 best; but must the rankings be taken seriously? written by Alicor L. Panao continued:

“In response to UP’s objection, however, Quacquarelli Symonds research assistant Saad Shabbir simply wrote back that if it did not receive the information by the deadline then it would be 'forced to use last year’s data or some form of average.'”

Just last Friday, October 17, UP announced again in its website that it did not participate in the THES-QS university rankings and President Emerlinda R. Roman did not even receive any invitation to be a part of it.

To give you an overview of how the THES-QS came up with ranking of the top universities of the world, here are the six indicators they used:

  • 40% - Academic Peer Review - Composite score drawn from peer review survey (which is divided into five subject areas). 6,354 responses in 2008.
  • 10% - Employer Review - Score based on responses to employer survey. 2,339 responses in 2008.
  • 20% - Faculty Student Ratio - Score based on student faculty ratio
  • 20% - Citations per Faculty - Score based on research performance factored against the size of the research body
  • 5% - International Faculty - Score based on proportion of international faculty
  • 5% - International Students - Score based on proportion of international students

Apparently, if you don’t submit proper documentation in the abovementioned criteria, old data will do for the THES-QS researchers. Sounds rational enough, isn’t it? Okay, not really, am just being sarcastic.

To boot, Wikipedia’s THES-QS World University Rankings article offered several other criticisms about the said survey including too much emphasis on peer review, errors have also been reported on the faculty-student ratio used in the ranking, the pool of responses is heavily weighted in favor of academic ‘peers’ from nations where the Times is well-known, the results have been highly volatile for other universities, and others.

Panao’s article in the UP Newsletter also offered flaws in the THES-QS survey in other higher education institutions in many countries just like what happened in Duke University whose rank rose drastically in 2005 when it was listed to have 6,244 faculty members. It turned out that this figure was actually the number of undergraduate students enrolled at Duke in the fall of 2005.

ADMU’s official comment in the 2007 THES-QS World University Rankings questioned the criteria used in the survey as not congruent to a Catholic school’s mission and vision. Hence, the results became their benchmarks to strive more “to grow in excellence and in linkages with peer institutions internationally… and continue to be the formation of a next generation of leaders who will not only be the best in their chosen professions, but who will place this excellence at the service of others.”

True to a fact, they deserve congratulations for emerging first among Philippine schools included in the ranking.

However, I just don’t get the basic idea in a certain part of the article Rankings and caution by Ramon Miguel Samson posted in the ADMU website saying:

“Self-professed experts would have provided their own analyses of the rankings, ranging from intelligent and pragmatic examinations of the methodology, to delusional theories that are on the same level of saying “nobody called us,” which all make reference to karma or some other supernatural cause.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The torrent is finally over, as far as I believe.

And guess what? The Urban gurU is back. Back from exactly 55 days of hiatus.

Let me start my excuse letter from these events that deserves a post:

  • August 25 – Gerry Roxas Foundation Anniversary Launching
  • August 30 – Eraserheads Reunion Concert
  • September 6 – PSYSC Science Olympiad National Eliminations
  • September 7 – UAAP Cheerdance Competition
  • September 19 – Ipo Dam Tree Planting
  • September 20 – Math-Sci-a-Ka
  • September 21 – 2008 Philippine Blog Awards
  • September 27 – PSYSC Science Olympiad National Finals
  • September 28 - surprised visit to the ER!

Regardless of how long this list would be, am still thankful that September is finally over.

*plays Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends as background music*

Over the past five years, it had been my busiest month of the year. But this year, it had never been as painful as it was also. Sigh. Thank God it’s finally over.

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

pix by poloy


"When someone suddenly
shuts down something
and tells the world
that he will never
do that thing again,
never ever surmise."