23 August 2007

Hiccup happens...

THERE are times when totally unrelated events conspire to put one in silent crisis mode -- when one must pause while everybody else goes on with life. The last seven days were one of those times.

It started when I stumbled on this post by Manolo, which generated more than 400 comments, including a number of Bikolanos both here and abroad. Among others, the debate centered on Nick Joaquin's piece entitled "A Heritage of Smallness." If you haven't done so, it's a good read, and a thought-provoking one.

And to balance things off, be sure to read through the debate between benign0 -- who apparently has made putting down Filipinos his vocation -- on the one hand, and people like Abe Margallo, Manuel Buencamino, cvj, The Cat, Shaman of Malilipot, and Devilsadvc8 on the other. The 400+ comments will strain your eyes, but they will be worth the effort.

Then one day, my wife's former co-teacher at Sabang High School -- where she taught for about five years before joining Cam High in 2003 or so -- dropped by. In the course of their conversation, she mentioned that two of their colleagues will soon be leaving for abroad, one bringing her entire family, to teach. Her aunt, a tenured librarian in a leading university, is also following suit.

It reminded me of the city government's past two EDP heads who are now both in Singapore, and my wife's co-teachers -- one coached science quiz prize-winning students at Cam High, the other a fellow math teacher who earlier moved from Naga City Science to teach at the Regional Science High School in Ligao -- who recently visited them two years after migrating to the US.

Suddenly, the phenomenon of thousands of Pinoys voting with their feet and leaving the country has acquired a face, very familiar ones at that.

Then, I was reminded of the general membership meeting of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry I attended about two weeks back. One of their guest is Magno Conag III, a young instructor at the Ateneo de Naga University, who spoke about a quandary facing their cutting-edge 3-D animation course: without local employment opportunities, the school is ending up as mere producer of valuable human resources that end up moving elsewhere, in Manila or abroad, because the opportunities are simply there and not here.

Conag attended the meet to invite local businessmen to an event they are organizing at the Ateneo de Naga on August 31, from 4-6 pm, to find ways of addressing the problem.

Together, these happenings make one ask: Is staying on still worth it? By choosing to work at the level of a small city like Naga, far from where the action is, are we and can we still make a difference?

These questions persisted for most of the week, up until last Monday's holiday break when my wife and daughters joined visiting kins from Oas, Albay for a fishing excursion in Binanuaanan, Pili. My two sons and I, busy with our own preoccupations, failed to join them. But all throughout, I totally tuned out from blogging, contenting myself with lurking around blogs I follow and surfing the net to read the news.

Last Tuesday, while preparing for work and our kids for school, I noticed that our Grandview community remained the same. Yes, some people and families I used to see have moved on, but most have remained. The vitality of the community -- the fusion of a low-cost housing project whose takers are better-off economically and a bigger group of urban poor
settlers -- has remained essentially the same. Our community school -- where three of my kids go to -- remains full of vibrant young voices reciting in unison when asked to by their teachers.

Then yesterday, the Ateneo de Naga Social Science Research Center presented a baseline survey commissioned by the Bicol Urban Poor Colloquium and PHILSSA, a World Bank-funded project. The results were mixed, especially in regard to the poverty picture: on the one hand, the income-based measures were mostly aligned with the 2000 NSCB local poverty study (around 20% are below poverty line); on the other, majority of city residents (around 60%) considered themselves poor using the self-rated methodology popularized by the SWS.

But one statistic, I think, stood out: 2 of every 3 respondents are still optimistic about the future, expecting the quality of their life to improve within the next three years.

To cut this story short, I was encouraged to blog again, starting with my Vox Bikol column for the week. And for sure, I am attending that Ateneo digital animation meet-up on the 31st. Hiccups do happen, but life -- and the opportunity to think and dream big even if they come in tingi sizes -- goes on.

9 comments:

sparks said...

"ctrl +" will ease the eyestrain. :)

judgedre said...

Very intelligent blog! link taka po.
www.animobikolano.blogspot.com

DevilsAdvc8 said...

yes, that particular blog post of Manolo sure drew a whole slew of comments that was THE "shiznitz" of blogging. totally engaging and enlightening.

tnx for including me in the list of posters to read on that particular topic.

btw, how can i get on Planet Naga's blog lists? i've tried sending the email to planet@naga.gov.ph but no go. hope u know someone who can include me on that list, tnx.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi Sparks, Adrian: Haven't tried that. But linked you both as well:)

Devils: Forwarded your concern to Ansel, one of our EDP managers. I hope to see your blog at Planet Naga.

DevilsAdvc8 said...

tnx. magsusulat pa naman ako tungkol sa recent hiring ng bagong call center na itatayo dito, thru the help of Gov. LRAY and another topic on the recent accident sa Ragay highway.

Anonymous said...

Willy,

Worry no more. If what i've read in a local business newspaper a couple of years ago is correct, a Digital Animation Company is going to set up shop in Naga City mismo, to accomodate those graduates of Ateneo. The Animation Industry is going to need about 10,000 animators globally (I'm not so sure about the figures, but it's ball park I think). India , Vietnam, South Korea, cannot supply that much, so Naga has a fighting chance. If we can come up with a in-you-face animation film, coupled with a lot of hype, I don't see any reason why Naga City cannot be put on the map as the Digital Animation Capital of the Far East. All we have to do, is to recruit all those Uragon faculty to teach here and share their wizardry to young Bicolanos. Preferably, Bicolano faculties also who has the track record in the creative arts. But how do we lure them to come to Naga City, and spend some of their time here ? We have to figure this out.

Porfirio R.

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