Thursday, June 7, 2012

McDo's Big N Tasty

       We don't cook much beef at home. Beef is served at our table once a month, at the most. The family gets our red meat fix from fastfood burgers. We can't decide what we love more, Jollibee cheeseburger with its Langhap Sarap formula and cheese as we know it (maalat). Or the juicier Mcdo cheeseburger. 

       Yes, we know they are not healthy. But they taste so good. So what the heck! Paminsan-minsan lang naman. Sa isang raw. Hehehehe. (Joke!)

       On the road home, we pass by a McDonalds so when we're hungry and in need of pantawid-gutom, we pass by McDo Drive-Thru for some burgers, as such was the case last Wednesday night. We were ready to order our usual when the husband chanced upon the poster for McDo Big N Tasty.

      We asked the McDo staff what Big N Tasty was. We were told that it was just like a quarter pounder but with vegetables and tomotoes. Abe decided to give it a try while I ordered my usual cheeseburger. 

      I took a bite of Abe's order and it was so good, tastes much better than a quarter pounder. And it's not just because of the vegetables. The patty has a hickory smoked flavor giving the McDo Big N Tasty a distinct mark on one's mouth. 

         This is how the burger looks in real life : 

I like them sloppy!

      The burger sells for 120PHP ala carte and 145PHP with regular fries and drinks. Not bad at all because the burger's taste can compete with charbroiled burgers sold at twice that cost. 

      Last night, we were back at McDonalds. This time , we got two Big N Tasty burgers. Yum. Yum.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sineng Pambansa

      I love going to the movies but I admit, I am not exactly an Indie Film fanatic.  I have only watched two Filipino indie films - Ploning and Zombadings. Though I loved them both, the opportunity to watch indie films in a cinema in Davao does not come by often. And you all know that I don't get to watch my own DVDs or channels at home. I have two toddlers who own the remote and the dvd player. 

   This year, I may get to watch a lot of indie films because they are invading Davao cinemas. The Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival, as organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, will be in my beloved Davao City from June 29 to July 3, 2012.   The film festival is a joint undertaking of the FDCP and the City Government (we have a real cool Mayor).

   The film festival will be the culmination of the first National Film Competition and the finalists will be shown in the cinemas of the four participating malls: SM City Davao, Abreeza, NCCC and Gaisano Mall. These malls will be showing the films at a reasonable price of 50PHP to allow the greatest number of moviegoers to watch these high-quality films created by young Filipino filmmakers. 

     Highlighting the Opening Night on June 29 will be the special screening of excerpts from the latest film of Cannes Best Director Brillante Mendoza, Thy Womb, shot on location in Tawi-tawi. The movie stars Nora Aunor. 

     The festival will feature 17 films in three categories : Full Feature, Full Length Documentary and Short Animated. Twelve are competing in Full Feature. Three in Full Length Documentary. Two in Short Animated. 

         After reading the synopsis of the films as given in their press kit, I want to make time to watch some of the films. 

          I will watch these three films because they are about Muslims ... admittedly in the local cinema scene, they are a rarity. Too bad my boys are too young for the cinemas. 

by F. Alfad
IN BANGKA HA UT SIN DUWAH SAPAH" or "THE BOAT BETWEEN TWO RIVERS," a story inspired by an episode of Wish Ko Lang entitled "Nanay Langoy" which is about a mother, MARYAM (Sue Prado) who swims from one end of the river to the other using a makeshift bangka made out of banana stalks just to put her two kids, ABDEL (Jermaine Patrick Ulgasan) and AMIR (Malik Bunyi) to school. Problem arises when at the other side of the river, government military forces are holding camp while on the other side of the river are where the extremist Muslim rebels are holed up. What happens when these two forces clash? Will the mother still be able to give her kids a good education?
by N. Benito-Zacaria
The story is about Amir Solaiman, a doctor, a father and a husband. On one of his medical missions, he got reunited with an old family friend and a distant relative, Hadji Usman. Amir paid the old man’s family a visit for old time’s sake and was crushed to see their condition. It is a Maranao tradition to always help relatives which is evident in their clannish nature.
Life drastically changed when the old man died. Amir, being the last person he spoke to has to honor the death wish. He was bequeathed to marry Samira – Hadji Usman’s only daughter. Torn by the responsibility of respecting an elder’s death wish, Amir sought permission from his wife and advice from a Shariah counsel. Samira, agreed to marrying Amir after learning that the 1st wife, Nadja, consented to the marriage. Little did Nadja know that her decision will greatly affect her children and the dynamics of their once happy family. Much to Amir’s dismay, he thought he could provide justice to both wives and children.
Polygamy in Islam is allowed but it’s not always encouraged.
by G. Mangansakan
 One morning, residents of a rural village are horrified when the sun rises in the West. According to Islamic belief, this phenomenon signals the Apocalypse or Qiyamah. As folks react differently to the situation, a family reconciles with its own dark past as the village confronts its own share of secrets and myths. Then a tragedy strikes when a young woman is raped and her brother brutally murdered as he tries to avenge her. Steep in superstition, the villagers attribute these to the Devil himself.
          I don't really like documentaries but this one is tickling my fancy. If I still have the time, I would also want to watch this one. 

by D. Samarista
    Taguri: The Kites of Sulu is a documentary that will attempt to unveil the “Orang Suluk” (People of the Way), their way of life and perseverance amidst the landscape of bias and negative perception, through the exploration of this Kite culture, its processes, stories and myths and the personalities to be encountered. For what kind of people would develop and nurture the only remaining kite culture in the Philippine islands, and remain true to their traditions and spirituality through centuries of war and struggle, first against colonial powers and finally, against a gov- ernment whose values and systems which at the least appear to be at odds with their way of life

      The next one in my personal list is based on the book of the same title written by my College professor Macario Tiu. 

by O. Bantayan

Tambara is an adaptation of Macario Tiu’s Balyan, the 2005 1st Place winner for Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Short Story Bisaya Division. 
The story revolves around Lando, an elementary teacher who doesn’t believe in myths and asserts his modern sensibilities, and Datu Pikong, a tribal shaman who uses an imaginary cellphone to reach Apo Sandawa when someone wants to get healed from an ailment.
Lando, being educated, has ceased to acknowledge the tribal beliefs and practices of the Indigenous Peoples. He accuses Datu Pikong of capitalizing on the superstitious belief of the townsfolk and is furious when he sees the shaman take offerings from the people.
Swept by his fury, Lando destroys the tambara (an altar for the deities) when he found it under a Balete tree. Unknowingly, Lando angered many diwatas who want to take his wife and baby as punishment for what he has done. Lando was forced to face circumstances which pushed him to desperately resort to the Balyan only to realize that not everything in this world can be spelled solely with the human knowledge.

      There are also two animated films featured in the roster of finalist. I love how Filipino animators are now making Filipino animated movies. 

by Del Prado, Evangelista & Saporsantos

by B. Piluden

       I hope the organizers will release the Screening Schedule for the festival. There's none in their press kit. Let us support the indie film industry and take time to watch these films by young, independent filmmakers. 

Coffee Diaries

       I am a coffee-person. I need to have a cup of coffee in the morning before my brain could function. When I was pregnant the first time and had to stop drinking coffee, I had withdrawal symptoms. Everytime the office staff would brew a new batch, the smell would permeate our office and I'd go into shivers. True that. 

      I preferred brewed over instant. But I transferred divisions and no one would do the brewing for me so I had to make do with instant. I bet our Legal Assistants, who made the coffee at my previous assignment,  never knew I missed them so much. 

When we were still dating, my husband got me this coffee-maker for the house.   

           I used to drink only Nescafe. Not the 3-in-1 variety because I could never be satisfied with one pack for a cup of coffee. One full teaspoon of coffee, one teaspoon of cream and two teaspoons of sugar. Then, my husband discovered Nescafe Brown and Creamy and I took a liking to it. 

         I also fancy Gourmet Coffee. I am a mocchaccino aficionado. I love Bru Gre because its a Davao-based coffee shop. I often go to Fagioli because of its proximity to the office. But I won't deny that Starbucks would have to take the top spot for this category. 

        Gourmet coffee tastes like heaven but its quite pricey. Good thing I discovered Kopiccino from Kopiko. It's a cappuccino that comes in an instant pack. Gourmet coffee at an affordable price. The suggested retail price is 8PHP. A pack of 30 would set you back 200PHP so that's around 6.60PHP. Murang-mura. 


          If someone would brew me a cup, I'd still take brewed over instant. But for those days when instant coffee would have to do, then I'd go for Nescafe Brown and Creamy or Kopiccino. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

K to 12

      This schoolyear, the Dep-Ed will be implementing the K-12 educational system for the Philippines. K-12 means Kindergarten plus 12 years of basic education, to include 6 years of primary education, 4 years of junior high school and 2 years of senior high school. 

        As a teenager growing up in the world of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield in Sweet Valley High, I secretly wished there were junior and senior high schools in the Philippines. And though I thought it would be odd to be in a class where your classmates are younger than you, I secretly envied the high school transferees who came from Ateneo de Manila or  Miriam in Quezon City because they were able to experience seventh grade. The idea of 7th grade, junior and senior high schools were novel and attractive to my then naive self. Parang ang sosyal lang!

           I have been curious about this K-12 system as my eldest is turning five this July and I want to make sure that he enters into the level most suitable for his age. 

         Aliq's preschool accepted him for Kindergarten even if he still hasn't turned 5 in June. Each school has it's own criteria. Ateneo is very strict. A child has to be 6 by June for them to be admitted to Grade 1. I called my Grade School of choice and we were informed that Aliq's age may be admitted for Grade 1, come June 2013, if an opening comes up. Being in the waitlist for the SY 2013 sucks.

          Two new features of the K-12 educational system are the mandatory kindergarten and mother tongue based multilingual education. 

        Kindergarten is now a mandatory pre-requisite for Grade 1. With the enactment of Republic Act No. 10157 last January 2012, Kindergarten is now made universally available in the public educational system. Libreng preschool. 

          The mother-tongue shall be the medium of instruction from Kindergarten to Grade 3. From Grade 4 onwards, the medium of instruction will be English and Filipino. Mother tongue is described by Merriam - Webster as "one's native language". According to Dep Ed, it includes Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, and Chabacano. What about Davaoeno? Or Davao's brand of Bisaya ?

           Here are some of  the Frequently Asked Questions on K-12 and their Answers as culled from the government's website

When will the K to 12 program be implemented?
  • Universal kindergarten started in SY 2011–2012.
  • The new curriculum for grade 1 and grade 7 (high school year 1) will be implemented in SY 2012–2013 and will progress in the succeeding school years.
  • Grade 11 (HS year 5) will be introduced in SY 2016–2017 and grade 12 (HS year 6) in SY 2017–2018.
  • The first batch of students to go through K to 12 will graduate in March 2018.
Where will the additional two years be added?
  • The two years will be added after the four-year high school program. This will be called senior high school.
Why are we implementing 12 years of basic education and not 11 years?
  • A 12-year program is found to be the adequate period for learning under basic education and is a requirement for recognition of professionals abroad (i.e., the Bologna and Washington Accords).
  • Other countries like Singapore have 11 years of compulsory education, but have 12 to 14 years of preuniversity education depending on the track.
Will this address the dropout problem?
  • The decongested curriculum will allow mastery of competencies and enable students to better cope with the lessons. This should partly address those who drop out because they cannot cope with schoolwork.
  • The curriculum will be learner-centered, enriched, and responsive to local needs. It will also allow students to choose electives/specializations that suit their interest. This should partly address those who drop out because of lack of personal interest in the curriculum offered.
  • DepEd will also continue to offer programs such as home schooling for elementary students and the dropout reduction program for high schools. These programs address the learning needs of marginalized students and learners at risk of dropping out.
Why is the K to 12 program better than the current program?
  • K to 12 offers a more balanced approach to learning that will enable children to acquire and master lifelong learning skills (as against a congested curriculum) for the 21st century.
  • The current program crams a 12-year curriculum into ten years, making it difficult for students to master the competencies.
  • It will help in freeing parents of the burden of having to spend for college just to make their children employable.
  • A student who completes K to 12 will be equipped with skills, competencies, and recognized certificates equivalent to a two-year college degree.
What would be the assurance that K to 12 graduates will be employed?
  • DepEd has entered into an agreement with business organizations and local and foreign chambers of commerce and industries that graduates of K to 12 will be considered for employment.
  • There will be a matching of competency requirements and standards so that 12-year basic education graduates will have the necessary skills needed by the labor market.
How will K to 12 help in ensuring employment for our graduates?
  • The K to 12 basic education curriculum will be sufficient to prepare students for work.
  • The curriculum will enable students to acquire Certificates of Competency (COCs) and National Certifications (NCs). This will be in accordance to TESDA training regulations. This will allow graduates to have middle-level skills and will offer them better opportunities to be gainfully employed or become entrepreneurs.
  • There will be a school–industry partnership for technical–vocational tracks to allow students to gain work experience while studying and offer the opportunity to be absorbed by the companies.
How will the K to 12 program help working students (college level)?
  • DepEd is in collaboration with CHED to provide more opportunities for working students to attend classes.
  • DepEd is working with the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure that jobs will be available to K to 12 graduates and that consideration will be given to working students.
How will the K to 12 program help students intending to pursue higher education?
  • The K to 12 basic education curriculum will be in accordance with the College Readiness Standards from CHED, which sets the skills and competencies needed of K to 12 graduates who wish to pursue higher education.
  • CHED will download its general education subjects to K to 12, ensuring mastery of core competencies for K to 12 graduates. This may lead to a reduction in the number of years of college courses, resulting to a decrease in educational expenses of households.
Is K to 12 required for private schools as well? Will the same implementation timeline apply to private schools?
  • Since private schools follow the DepEd curriculum, they will also be implementing the 12-year basic education program, but the implementation plan will differ. This will be discussed with the representatives of the private schools.
  • Private schools are active participants in developing the K to 12 Program.
  • Note that a number of private schools offer at least 12 years of basic education: two years of kindergarten, six or seven years of elementary, and four years of high school.
How will the college and technical–vocational courses be adjusted due to the K to 12 curriculum? Will adjustments be made in time for the first graduates of K to 12?
  • TESDA will download some of its basic technical competencies, and CHED will transfer the general education subjects to basic education.
  • CHED will be releasing its updated College Readiness Standards, which will be the basis for the competencies in grades 11 and 12 (HS years 5 and 6).
  • These activities will be completed before SY 2016–2017.
What will happen to the curriculum? What subjects will be added and removed?
  • There will be a continuum from kinder to grade 12 (HS year 6), and to technical and higher education.
  • The current curriculum will be decongested to allow mastery of learning.
  • In grades 11 and 12 (HS years 5 and 6), core subjects like Math, Science, and English will be strengthened. Specializations in students’ areas of interest will also be offered.
  • Right now, a technical working group has formulated the new curriculum framework, standards, and competencies for K to 12. Experts from CHED, TESDA, and other stakeholders are part of this working group. After this, the changes in terms of subjects added, removed, and enhanced will be clearer.
What specializations will be offered in senior high school?
  • The specializations to be offered include academics, middle-level skills development, sports and arts, and entrepreneurship. In general, specializations will either be college preparatory, immediate work/career readiness, or a combination of both.
  • Specializations will also be guided by local needs and conditions. For example, schools serving farming or fishing communities will offer agriculture- or fishery-related specializations. Schools located in manufacturing zones will have technical courses relevant to the sector, and so will schools in the vicinity of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. Science high schools will continue to provide higher degrees of science competencies, as well as the arts.
What will happen to special schools such as science high schools, high schools for the arts, trade schools, etc.?
  • These schools will remain special schools with enriched curriculum for grades 7 to 12 (HS years 1 to 6).
What will happen to multigrade teaching?
  • Multigrade teaching will continue using the K to 12 curriculum.
ALS age requirement is only 16 years old for the HS equivalency test. Will this change to 18? Students might want to turn to ALS if they can save two years of formal school education costs.
  • The ALS is based on the existing ten-year basic education curriculum. When the new 12-year curriculum will be in place, ALS will likewise be revised.
Is kindergarten a prerequisite for entering grade 1?
  • Yes. Republic Act No. 10157, or the Kindergarten Education Act, institutionalizes kindergarten as part of the basic education system and is compulsory for admission to grade 1.
Is there an overlap between the day care program of the LGUs and DepEd kindergarten?
  • There is no overlap. Day care centers of the LGUs take care of children aged 4 and below, whereas the DepEd kindergarten program is for five-year-old children.
Should schools now prepare permanent records for kindergarten students?
  • Yes. Although the assessment on readiness skills of students in kindergarten is not academically driven, a good measure of the child’s ability to cope with formal schooling is needed for future learning interventions.
When will the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) be implemented?
  • The MTB-MLE program will be implemented nationwide this coming June, in SY 2012–2013.
  • Nine hundred twenty-one schools, including those for children of indigenous people, have piloted the MTB-MLE. The implementation of MTB-MLE will benefit from the experience of these 921 schools.
  • Twelve mother tongue languages shall be offered as a learning area and utilized as a language of instruction starting SY 2012–2013. These are Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, and Chabacano.
Which mother tongue will be used in multicultural areas?
  • The lingua franca in the area shall be used as the medium of instruction.
  • The principle of MTB-MLE is to use the language that learners are most comfortable and familiar with.
How will teachers be prepared for the K to 12 Program?
  • Teachers will be given sufficient in-service training to implement this program. The preservice training for aspiring teachers will also be modified to conform to the requirements of the program.
  • Training of national trainers for grades 1 to 7 will be on April 23–29, 2012.
  • Training of grades 1 and 7 teachers will be conducted at the regional and division levels for the whole month of May 2012.
How about the additional cost to parents?
  • Grades 11 and 12 (HS years 5 and 6) will be offered for free in public schools.
  • K to 12 graduates will have higher earning potential as they will be more competent and skilled.
  • As a result in the K to 12 Program, CHED is exploring the possibility of decreasing the number of years of certain courses in college.
  • K to 12 graduates will have national certification from TESDA, which will enable them to have higher employment opportunities.
How much will the K to 12 Program cost the government?
  • The House-approved budget for 2012 is P238.8 billion, including P2.4 billion for kinder. For 2016, the introduction of grade 11 (HS year 5) has a preliminary estimated cost of P38 billion, assuming all costs are borne by the government (Medium-Term Spending Plan for Basic Education, 2011).
  • DepEd is targeting to involve other stakeholders to generate additional financial resources.
Will the K to 12 Program be applicable in ARMM? What will happen to the Madrasah curriculum in ARMM?
  • The K to 12 curriculum will be flexible enough to accommodate local conditions and culture in Mindanao. The Madrasah curriculum is a component of the K to 12 Program.