Friday, December 21, 2012

Need more time to sink in

I still find it hard to believe that my high school friend Kim passed away. It was all very sudden. Her passing felt unreal. When I heard the news about her being in a coma, my instinct told me that she would survive the ordeal. I believed that she would. But she never did.


I received a notification on my high school's Facebook page asking for prayers. Kim was in a coma Saturday due to ruptured aneurysm and low blood pressure. The hospital she stayed in didn't have the proper equipment for better treatment. She couldn't be delivered to a better hospital because her condition was unstable. Family and friends started posting messages on her Facebook wall, telling her to wake up. All these people were posting messages on her wall post, praying for her, asking for prayers, and telling her to wake up. But she never did.


My friend posted in our high school section's Facebook page that she passed away on Dec. 12, 2012, at 7 a.m. Reading it the first time felt unreal, like it was all a dream. But I knew he would never lie or joke about it. I just couldn't accept the truth. We all couldn't. It was all too soon.


When she was in a coma up until her burial, I checked Facebook everyday to read updates. I relied on photos to see who visited her at her viewing. I look her up on Facebook and read wall posts from her family and friends. Nadine, one of my high school friends, posted this touching poem that was in one of the mass cards. Reading her wall posts and this poem would make anyone cry. 

I'm Free

Don't grieve for me for now I'm free.
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard him call.
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow:
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full I've savored much,
Good times, good friends, a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all to brief,
 Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, he set me free.

author unknown

Monday, December 17, 2012

Who am I?

How do you write a personal brand? This was the assignment in my Advertising class. I found it hard to write because I had to think of the audience first and at the same time be honest about myself. When I wrote my personal brand, I was honest and sincere in answering the questions. 

Everything on this blog is a glimpse of the real me. And because I started this blog in July 2009 and I have 104 posts (this is the 105th post! Yay~!), the personal brand is sort of like a summary of the real me. But this is the longer version because I had to cut some parts in the assignment. Here it is:

What are the things that make you different from others? What could be said about you that cannot be said about someone else? 
I am different because of my life experiences. I lived the first 19 years of my life in the Philippines. This was where I built relationships with my family and friends—people that shaped me to be the person I am today. The things I saw, heard, read, and touched influenced me as a person. 
The values I learned and acquired as a Filipino are stored deeply in me because they keep me grounded. They remind me to be the person I want to be. I also surround myself with people who remind me of my values and beliefs. I would never say this out loud, but my family has always been my biggest strength. I grew up in a conservative and family-oriented household, so just being around them reminds me of my roots, my dreams, and values. 
I may be far from my longtime friends, but they're the people I grew up with, and they're the people who remind me of my younger self. And when they remind me of my younger self and the old days, I think about the dreams of the younger me. Here in Canada, I met new people who helped me be a better person. 
The people I met and the experiences I had makes me different from others because they help me realize my values and dreams. 

What do I stand for? What do I value? 
"Lora Quitane" stands for loyalty, honesty, and hard work. I always believe that hard work pays off. If I don't have the strength to do something, I have faith that I can do it—either with hard work or luck. 

What is your vision? 
I don't aspire to be well known or famous. It doesn't matter to me if people don’t know me when they see me on the streets—I prefer to be anonymous and a stranger. I don’t like being in the limelight. I would rather be on the sidelines and do my job. 
I prefer to put my work on the spotlight than me. If I have a project, I will make that project well known because I believe it’s the project that should be recognized. I would rather the project be more famous than me. 
“Lora Quitane” aspires to be a brand that creates projects that ensue talk and publicity. It is the work that matters—not the brand. 
What is your story? 
I left my home country, the Philippines, after living there for 19 years. The country where I was born, the country where I grew up, and the country that made me the person I am today. 
I left my family, relatives, and friends for a new and better life. These people were a significant part of my life. I had to leave not because it was the only choice—I had to leave because it was the best choice. 
I left the Philippines—the place I knew well—to live in Canada—a place I am not familiar with. I had to learn a new history and culture but at the same time I had to preserve the history and culture as a Filipino. 
My life experiences shaped me to be the person I am today. The significant people in my life keep me grounded. They remind me to be the person I aspire to be. 
“Lora Quitane” would not be “Lora Quitane” if it weren't for the people she met and the experiences she experienced. It was because of her history and the people around her that shaped the story of “Lora Quitane”.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

For my high school friend

This blog post is for my high school friend, Kim, who passed away Dec. 12, 2012, Wednesday at 7 a.m. (Philippine time). I posted this so she'll have another identity on the Internet aside from her Facebook account (and whatever other accounts she had). 

I rarely kept in touch with her since I left the Philippines five years ago. Or maybe more. However, she was a good friend back in high school. High school for me was one of the best times of my life. Even though we weren't close, she was still an important person to me.

Rest in peace, Kim. And I'll surely visit you when I visit the Philippines. Thanks for the great memories. 


Prayer - Kapatid

click on video for source

Kapatid was a Filipino rock band whose main vocalist, Karl Roy, passed away March this year. 

Note: "kapatid" literally means "sibling" in English, but it is often used as "brother" and/or "sister".

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A memory in a shell

"If you could have a memory of anything, real or not, what would it be?"
"A fake memory?"

Shell is Wong Fu Productions' most visually beautiful short that they have ever made. Written and directed by Wesley Chan, one of the three people behind Wong Fu Productions, an independent production company that makes short films, music videos, and vlogs on YouTube. Their YouTube channel has more than a million subscribers. Their most popular short, Strangers, Again, has more than 11 million views.

I watched most of their videos, but I think Shell is their most beautiful short. Some may not like the dialogue, theme, or actors, but one has to admit that it's really beautiful.

Why do I love this short?

It's lovely to look at. The dichotomy between "reality" and "fiction" is contrasted by the use of colours. In the "reality", the colours are all dark and blue, and the setting is in an enclosed room, as if their actions are limited. In "fiction", the lovely warm colours represent the dream or the man's made-up memory. The characters are outside too, which means that they are free to do what they want. 

I love sunset shots. I'm being biased here, but I think sunset shots are hard to shoot because one has to find the perfect angle to get that perfect light. 

The background music fits the scenes. Soothing and relaxing. Talented Jesse Chui and George Shaw. 

I didn't like Mimi Chao's acting the first time I watched this short, but after watching it again (and again), I have grown fond of her. Chris Dinh's voice is perfect for this role especially when he says the last line. I also like the little details in his acting in the "fiction" scene--when he averts his eyes and gulps because of nervousness. 

Say anything you want about the script, but I think it's very deep and profound. 

Lastly? Because it's a Wong Fu short.


"What if we had a chance to remember things that we never actually experienced?"

"What good is it if it didn't happen? No one would believe it."

"You'd believe it. It's about the feeling, that's what matters."


Visit the blog for full commentary and behind the scenes footage here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I speak Tagalog!

I'm one of those Filipinos who speak Tagalog and English. 

Growing up, I never thought that bilingualism was a privilege. I've been communicating in Tagalog and English since I was a child, so switching between the two languages was normal for me. I never thought that I could use this skill when I came here to Canada. 

Living in Winnipeg, I have never thought that Tagalog is the fastest-growing language in Canada. I always think that Filipinos are just everywhere I go around the city. It never occurred to me that Tagalog will become one of the most-spoken languages in the country.

I read this news Wednesday on Twitter (it's amazing how I get news from Twitter first than other media outlets). My initial reaction? Indifferent. Disinterested. I'm still trying to figure out why I don't care too much about this news. I don't mind that Tagalog is on the list of fastest-growing language in the 2011 Census from Statistics Canada. I don't mind it either if it's not on the list. It doesn't really matter to me. 

To some Filipinos, this may make them feel proud. And I understand why they would feel that way. They feel proud because anything Filipino-related is recognized in Canada--not just in the Philippines, but in Canada. A foreign country. And Filipinos can get patriotic too. Ever heard of Manny Pacquiao? Yeah, that's another story.

As for me, it's not too much of a big deal. It doesn't really make me proud like what some Filipinos feel. But I'm not ashamed that I speak this language. 

What matters to me though is that even though Tagalog is one of the commonly-spoken languages in Canada, Filipinos should still learn the English language to adapt in this country and respect the culture. 

On a side note, I think I'll start posting blog posts about languages from now on. 


Mackrael, Kim. "Tagalog fastest-growing language in Canada, data show." The Globe and Mail. Oct. 24, 2012.

"Bilingualism growing, but not in French and English." CBC News. Oct. 24, 2012.

Simons, Paula. "No matter the language spoken, aspirations remain the same." Edmonton Journal. Oct. 25, 2012.

Sanders, Carol. "Can you say that in Tagalog?" The Winnipeg Free Press. Oct. 25, 2012.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Social Media in Parties

It's common that people at a party pull out their cellphones to text or call someone when they're bored. But in today's world, most people don't just use their phones to do those two things. Some of them check their phones for Facebook, Twitter, or use other social media apps.

But sometimes, when the party is really engaging and everyone is talking to each other and having fun, there's no need to check the most recent newsfeed on Facebook or post a Tweet.  

That's exactly what I felt when I went to two parties last night. In the first party I went to, my friend brought a game of charades. And of course, just like any party, there was alcohol. Sure, I checked my phone sometimes. But I didn't get to the point that I didn't talk to anyone and sat in the corner. I talked to them instead. After that, I went to my cousin's place who was celebrating his birthday. When I got there most of them were already drunk; but because it's been a while since I've seen them, I spent some time with them. I pulled out my phone once in a while, but it was only to check the time. 

While I was at these two parties, I could've pulled out my phone and posted a drunk status, drunk tweet, or send drunk texts. But I didn't. Instead of doing these things to incorporate social media in my life, there are times when one doesn't need to post a drunk tweet because one has to. And I just mentioned in my last post that we have to be responsible in what we communicate because employers look up their potential employees on Facebook or Twitter. So if one posts a drunk Tweet or Facebook status that might ruin one's chances to get a job, it would be a horrible feeling when reality kicks in.

And yes, I'm taking responsibility for this post--it's also because I want to let everyone know that I had fun spending some time with some of the best people in the world--the people who keep me sane as I live my life as a first-year Creative Communications student at Red River College.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Winter? What winter?

Having lived in a tropical country for nineteen years and moving to a cold country is a change for me. I was so used to the usual 20 to 25 C during the rainy season from June to February and 30 to 35 C weather during the hot summer months from March to May. It's also very humid in the city too. This was what I was used to before I arrived here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I touched snow for the first time when I arrived here on December 2007. I was excited. I played in the snow like a child. 

Now, I still complain about the weather. At least I'm not the only one. But sometimes I try to appreciate the winter here in Winnipeg because that's the only way I don't get depressed. It's good to see the good little things in life because it brings a smile to our faces. So here are the things that I think about when the dreaded winter comes.

Be grateful. Even if it's -40 C and there's a blizzard or a storm, be thankful that you survived this weather your whole life in Winnipeg (either you were born, grew up, or moved here). There are some places in the world that live in conditions with harsher weathers, where people don't survive a landslide or typhoon, so we should be grateful that we're able to survive the winter months without hibernating. 

Appreciate winter. Don't you just love looking at the snowflakes? They have different shapes and sizes and whenever they fall on the ground or on trees and accumulate over time they're beautiful to look at.

Celebrations. Whether it's Christmas, New Year's, Orthodox Christmas and New Year's, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, or whatever you're celebrating during the winter months (like your birthday), have fun and be glad that you're given another year to celebrate it.

Family and friends. Just think about the people you spend with everyday. Be it your parents, siblings, partner, close friends, or roommates that eventually turned into friends, you can always talk to them if you need a pick-me-up after getting off the bus and walking home through a blizzard. A simple "How are you?" will make you warm inside after standing in the cold when that bus didn't come. Or a smile in their faces would change your mood. 

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving or the long weekend, let's spend time with our family and friends and not dread about winter. I guess it's alright to dread it because I do too, but not to the point that you'll get really depressed. It's important to be grateful and appreciate the little things that life brings. Winter is not worth your time to get depressed and hibernate--there are far better things you can spend your time on and the weather is not one of them.

While I'm on a roll, I want to share another activity that makes me happy: listening to music. Whenever I'm depressed (either because of the weather or that I have to get up early in the morning), I listen to these songs because they wake me up and puts a smile on my face. It doesn't hurt that I like these bands too.

"Sunshine" by Bamboo

"Good day" by Barbie's Cradle
In another version, she sings "Today's the day" instead of Nescafe. 

"These days" by Bamboo

"Sunburn" by Sandwich

"Summertime" by Moonpools and Caterpillars

All artists featured are Filipino bands and based in the Philippines, except for Moonpools and Caterpillars who were based in California. These are just a few of the artists that I listen to whenever I get up on a cold, dark winter morning. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Analysing a text like an essay

I love watching Youtube videos. It's even better when I watch Youtube videos of my favourite Youtubers, particularly WongFu Productions. I watched one of their videos titled "Textreme" a while ago, and I found it very realistic because this shows how we respond to texts we get from people we are interested in. Watch the video below to find out:

I won't deny that I do this sometimes, but I consider some circumstances on why I analyse a text before I send it. And besides, it's not like the person who will receive my text has no other things to do or doesn't have a life to live so he or she would rather wait for my text. Because we shouldn't rely on our cellphones too much.
On the other hand, sometimes we do need to think carefully of our texts especially if we're sending it to a superior at work or employer. So we don't text them like we're texting our closest friends. 

At the end of the day, it's all about being responsible on how one communicates--be it in text, call, social networking sites, the rest of the internet world, or in real life. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Adapting to discourses

   A former alcoholic leaving rehab for the first time, after spending one year being away from his family and friends. He is terrified of what others will think of him. What will people think when they see him? How will people react if he's talking to them and he mentions his experience? He doesn't know how to adjust and return to the person he used to be.


   I was reading an article for my Composition Studies class back in spring this year when I came across this sentence that was salient to me.

Acquiring the ability to function in a dominant discourse need not mean that one must reject one's home identity and values, for discourses are not static, but are shaped, however reluctantly, by those who participate within them and by the form of their participation (1318).
   This sentence was very relevant to me because I can relate to it based on my experience. If I apply it to my life, the dominant discourse that I am functioning in now is this foreign land and culture that is becoming a comfortable zone. Just because I live in this place and culture doesn't mean that I should forget my identity and values. The discourses I learned while growing up in the Philippines and the new discourses I am learning here in Canada are both not static. These discourses are shaped on how I participate in them.

    For example, if I compare the 19-year-old me when I first arrived here to the present me, I would say that I've grown. I've grown a lot. I became a better person. I became more open-minded, and I have gained more confidence compared to the shy, quiet, and soft-spoken 19-year-old me. Four years ago, my routine was school, work, and home. Now, it's school, work, home, friends, and more friends. I have met different people over the years and I'm glad that I still see some of them now. Despite getting used to my "new" life here, I still want to maintain the values I learned and acquired when I was growing up in my former country because they keep me grounded.


    A student transferring from university to college. A military person coming home to his or her homeland after living in a war-stricken country. A toddler adjusting in a day care after living at home with parents. Losing a loved one you have lived with for so long, that it's difficult for you to adjust without this person. 


         Delpit, Lisa. "The Politics of Teaching Literate Discourse." The Norton Book of Composition Studies, Ed. Susan Miller. 2009.

Friday, September 14, 2012

K-pop and hip hop

Big Bang in the old days from left to right: TOP, Seungri, Taeyang, Daesung, and G-Dragon

   I never imagined that K-pop would become this big. When I was introduced to the genre three years ago, I wasn't interested in it all. However, K-pop is such a strong force that made me listen to it again and again. Take PSY (싸이) who sang the famous Gangnam Style (강남 스타을). Big Bang (빅뱅) and 2NE1 (투애니원) became my favourite groups, and they're the only ones I really liked. There must be something about their talent agency, because Big Bang (빅뱅), 2NE1 (투애니원) , and PSY (싸이) are all in the same agency, YG Entertainment.

Big Bang Alive Album Promotional Poster

 2NE1 photo

   These artists are very popular in South Korea. Idol groups (or K-pop groups) are the most popular because they look good, sing, and dance. PSY, who's real name is Park Jae Sang (박재상), is also a rapper. He was already familiar to me because I see him when I watch YG Family interviews, but I never noticed him until I listened and watched his Gangnam Style (강남 스타을) music video. I'm not surprised if it has more than 160 million views because it's really a catchy song. Here's a live performance of the song at the Summer Stand Live Concert:

    I still don't know yet whether I'll get tired of listening to this song or not. I don't listen to it everyday, but the song and dance routine are so catchy that I find myself listening and watching it once a week. To anyone who is introduced to k-pop for the first time, PSY is a good example. After PSY, you can start exploring the different idol groups. And because I'm biased, listen to Big Bang and 2NE1 first (but more on Big Bang). After listening to these artists, you can then begin expanding and pick your idols. You can try these artists: Se7en, Super Junior, Wonder Girls, and Girls Generation. There are a lot more idol bands out there (and I mean a lot), but since I'm not familiar with them you can just visit allkpop for your K-pop idol needs. 

Big Bang performing "Fantastic Baby" at SBS Inkigayo and being their playful selves

2NE1 performing "I Love You" at SBS Inkigayo
YG Entertainment

    I'm not too familiar with the Korean hip hop scene either.  Big Bang does hip hop too, but not every song. I only know two hip hop artists, and they are Epik High (에픽하이) and LeeSsang (리쌍). I can't remember how I was introduced to Epik High; I think it was because I used to spend a lot of my free time listening to Korean artists on youtube and Epik High was on one of the recommended videos. I don't really listen to them, although they do have good songs. Here's Map the Soul (Worldwide version)

    As for LeeSsang, my friend Borj introduced me to this hip hop duo months ago, but I never got into them. Probably because my friend didn't show me this song until my other friend showed it to me:

   Though Epik High and LeeSsang are both good hip hop groups, I prefer LeeSsang's songs (Don't worry Tablo I'll always have a soft spot for you ^__^).

    If this is your first time listening to k-pop and Korean hip hop and you don't understand Korean (or 한글) and would like to appreciate the song better by understanding and knowing what the words mean, you can look them up (or Google them). There are a lot of fansubbers online, and they're wonderful fans who are willing to translate Korean, Japanese, or Chinese songs for us who don't speak these languages. Just like Gangnam Style, I was able to appreciate it more after I googled the translated english lyrics. Same with Big Bang, 2NE1, and LeeSsang. So to anyone who's new to k-pop and hip hop, good luck! There are so many choices out there. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

tweet, tweet

   I told myself a year ago that I'll never set up a Twitter account. I knew that would never happen of course, because I *sort of* knew that I was accepted in the Creative Communications program at Red River College and a Twitter account is required for all students.

   So now I have a twitter account. I posted my first tweet and started following the people I want to follow. Let's see what happens.

I got this photo here~!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome (back)!

   So for my Public Relations class I have to put away my anonymity and show my face to the world. Since I started this blog, I've always been professional in my posts that's why I decided to stick to this blog until the end instead of setting up a new one which would be another account for me to keep track of.

   When I first set up this blog back in July 2009, I was in my early 20s; my older sister influenced me to start a blog because she also started one in January (but she doesn't update it anymore--she only posted like a couple of posts and that was it. Her excuse was that she didn't have "time" and blogging wasn't for her. Meh. Excuses.). I think what inspired me to keep writing and updating this blog was Dramabeans, a blog about Korean dramas. I've always loved watching Asian dramas and films, and when I realized that I could write about them, I thought, why not set up my blog so I can write about them? So don't be surprised if you find me randomly posting about Asian dramas because those shows keep me sane. I used to watch American tv shows when I was in the Philippines, but when Meteor Garden was shown on Philippine tv for the first time in 2003, that got me into Asian dramas that ranges from Taiwanese (which I rarely watch), Japanese, Korean, Chinese (mostly films), to Thai (mostly films too). But don't worry, these are not the only shows I watch. I also watch period dramas, and that comprise mostly of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell's novel adaptations. Downton Abbey is next on my list, but I just don't have the time to watch the series right now. And lastly, I used to write recaps about Detective Conan (and if I have the time, I'll write about them). I like animes, and I've been watching them since I was young so I'm familiar with animes like Dragon Ball, Yuyu Hakusho, Ranma 1/2 (my favourite anime of all time), Fushigi Yuugi, Fruits Basket, Hana Yori Dango, Naruto, One Piece, Flame of Recca, and other animes that I can't remember at the top of my head.

   But when I don't write about my "addictions" (as what I call them), I write about myself. No, I don't write about how amazing I am (ha!), or what I had for breakfast this morning, or what my typical weekend is like. I never write about those. I'd rather just keep those thoughts to myself and never share them on Facebook or Twitter. I value my privacy, that's why when I started this blog my user name was "luraaa" and my old profile pictures here were either an anime character or my shadow. But I changed my user name to my real one (i.e., Lora) because... well, I don't really know why I did that last year. I think it was because I wanted my audience to know who I am so they'll know that I'm not a troll? Anyway, I can't remember the story behind it so let's change the topic.

   Whenever I talk about myself, I talk about my experiences and thoughts as an immigrant. I was 19 years old when I left my entire life and moved to a new place to live permanently. I didn't have a choice; my parents made us move here even though in Western standards I was already an adult and I could make my own decisions. But I didn't, and I let my parents decide my future for me. It was a decision I didn't regret, and I would never blame my parents for making me move here to Canada. I was forced to make a lot of sacrifices, but it's alright. I'm still in the process of transitioning, but a few years have already passed and I've built a few relationships here that are comparable to my old relationships back home.

   And that's exactly why my blog is named Homecoming. The Philippines was my home--it still is, it's just that my feelings about this country are changing as I spend more time and live my life in my new home--here in Canada. But even though I consider Canada my new home, there will always be a part of me that will go back to the place where my life started--and how I became the person I am today--my native homeland, my first, former and forever home, the Philippines. A place that will always welcome me despite my love-hate relationship with it.

   I guess it's time to continue being professional and more personal as I relaunch my blog and change it to a professional blog named Lora's Homecoming

Oceanarium Park in Manila: my cousins, siblings, and I went here when we visited the Philippines in summer of 2010. 

Oceanarium Park

 Balanan Lake, Negros Oriental: a lake on a mountain

Taal Lake, Tagaytay City: Taal Volcano on a lake
   With sights and places like this, who wouldn't want to go back? I haven't even explored the underground caves, blue seas, and hundred islands in the Philippines yet, that's why I'm definitely going back there. 

© photo credits: the first three were taken by my brother Kervy and I took the fourth. All pictures were taken during our 2010 summer vacation

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day High!

   More like second day actually. It's the second day of my life as a college student, and I'm still trying to absorb all the information my instructors tell the class. There are a lot of stuff to learn and lots of early morning classes, but hopefully I'll be able to get the hang of this schedule and adjust to it by next week. All I need is one cup of coffee every morning and I'm good to go (for the morning. It's a different case in the afternoon.). I try to lessen my caffeine intake because I know it's bad for me, but now that I'm required to get up early for my classes, I need it everyday. Unlike in university where I only drink coffee during exams or the end of term, I have to drink coffee everyday in college. It's still the beginning of term so I'm still able to manage my time with sleep, school, work, personal life, social life, and extra curricular activities. Wait until everything gets crazy in the next three or four months. I'll be like a walking zombie suriving on caffeine and sugar. Just like what I was like when my friends and I went to Alberta and BC (which will be told another time).

   So bear with me as I update this blog again as a part of my course requirement. I still have drafts to post especially the anime and drama recaps, but I don't think I can fit these in my current schedule. So maybe next time. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm a college student~!

   So I came home last week from a trip to see the Canadian Rockies and because of it, I lived in fantasy for the next couple of days until I had to go back to reality last weekend. And when I did go back to reality, I was shocked.

   I'm now a college student. I can now access the student portals and email. I have a timetable of my course schedule for the term. I want to cry and laugh at the same time because it still feels surreal. I'm not a university student anymore. Technically, I'm still a university student because I'm in a Joint Degree Program, but in the next two academic years, I'll be a college student. Unless there are spring courses available at the university, then I can go back to being a university student. But... a college student. I know it's only been two years that I went to university, but I'm already used to the campus that I find it hard to let go. And when I saw the college's library, I first thought about going to the university library instead of the college's because I already have a spot in the university library. And I know this wouldn't make sense to some people (that is, the fact that I'm only going to college instead of university) but there are people that find it hard to let go of something especially if he or she finds have become accustomed to the place and afraid of change. Change is inevitable, I've heard it so many times, but now, this is something that I don't want to let go yet.

   Now that I have two weeks left, I have to get ready. No more Asian dramas, manga, anime, fiction books, and summer trips. I'm back to the real world. T.T

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get Your Fringe On~

   This should be addressed to me actually. I've been a Winnipegger for four and a half years, and I still haven't seen a Fringe show until Friday last week *hides from Fringers*. I know, I know, it's my fault. However, I've gone to the Fringe on Friday and saw a show for the first time and I loved it. I'm glad that my friends and I decided to watch a comedy instead of another genre because I might not have enjoyed it much if there's too much crying or drama in show.

   So while my friends and I were walking at the Exchange District and waiting for the show, people were handing out handouts and leaflets of their show. These are just some of the shows during the festival. So if you know there's a fringe event in your area, you can catch some of these shows by googling "fringe festival" and you'll see the dates of this wonderful and fun event (or if you're a Winnipegger, just go to the Exchange District.).

   Spending $10 on Friday night's show was definitely worth it. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival runs from July 18th to July 29th. These are some of the shows playing during the Winnipeg Fringe:

Monday, July 9, 2012

This takes up most of my time these days,

And I can't help but let it control my life. At least during the weekends. I make it sure that I watch the raw episodes on Saturdays and Sundays at noon or early in the afternoon and rewatch the subbed episodes late at night. Or if I liked the episode, I would watch it again in a better resolution. A Gentleman's Dignity (신사의 품격) is Kim Eun-sook's latest drama offering. Her last hit drama, Secret Garden (시크릿 가든), starring Ha Ji-won and Hyun Bin, wasn't the best for me despite the actors' stellar performances. I'm not saying 신 품 is better though. It took the series three or four episodes (?) for the main couple to get together and Colin's father plot to unveil. Episode 14 is the beginning of the melodrama genre of show, so I expect the succeeding episodes to have lots of crying, angst, and noble idiocy. I'm relieved that Colin's side story picked up; but I'm not really interested in his story because it's an overused cliche in Kdramaland. I'd rather see other story lines pick up, like Yi-soo's student Dong-hyub and Min-sook and Jung-rok's story.

   It's not the best drama. It's fluff. It's full of fillers. I still have no idea what's going to happen to all the characters. But I care what happens to them, so that's why I'm sticking until the end. And besides, I've already seen 14 episodes (not just once); would I really drop show and watch another one (or live in the real world)? No thank you. I've spent almost 15 hours to drop it now. Even though show is senseless, I still like it because it relaxes me after a long day. If you want to critique, analyse, or dissect a show, go watch another drama, preferably a mystery or crime genre.

   I don't know if the pictures and screen caps are considered spoilers, so I'm warning you just in case. But the real warning is that I posted lots of pictures from show--some may be NSFW, but don't worry, this is a Korean drama airing in one of the major broadcasters so the scenes are still kid-friendly. And again, there are lots of pictures. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Immigrant's Answer

   So I've been skimming, scanning, and reading articles from The Globe and Mail's "The Immigrant Answer" special feature and here's what I thought: I am happy and disappointed at the same time.

   Happy that the Chinese and East Indians have decided to go back to their home countries since their respective countries are booming. But where does that leave the Filipinos? I don't think today's situation in the Philippines would make me want to move back there, and I am sure that some Filipinos I know think this way too. Granted, I rarely read news about the Philippines that I barely know the state of the economy and politics, but I can see that in its current state there is no way that would make me want to live there--even if my relatives and friends live there. 

   That was my initial reaction after reading a few articles on The Globe and Mail "Our Time to Lead" special feature. If someone thinks I'm too pessimistic and that I should give the Philippines a chance, I would rather see the change happening now than delaying it. So I'll wait. I can wait. I want to see the Philippines change. But at the state it is now, I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon. Should I cross my fingers then?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I try to be philosophical sometimes

   I may not know what I want to do in life after graduation, but I know exactly what I don't want to be as a person. 

   It's interesting to listen to people and observe them. How this person always wants to be the centre of attention. How this person wants be the gossipmonger of the group, making sure that she knows the scoop first before everyone else does. How this person likes teasing others, making fun of his or her flaws for her own benefit, so that people will think that she's funny. How this person cannot buy her own lunch unless someone goes with her. How this person persuades someone to buy a frappuccino even though he or she does not want to. How this person suddenly springs up a new topic about herself while the persons around her are conversing to divert their attention and listen to her. How this person always, always talks about herself even though the receiver of the conversation is not interested in hearing that information. 

   How this person is proud to have never asked anything from her sisters to put her children into college. How she doesn't want to share her money to a relative with reduced circumstances. How she does not feel for her relatives who live in a worse situation than hers. How she does not feel fortunate that she has been given a chance to live comfortably than others.

   Their words and actions are shaped by their own worlds and experiences so even if I disagree with them most of the time, I will not succumb to their own beliefs because I know I have mine. So seeing them from my point of view and experiences, I am glad because I know what I don't want to be (and try never to be) like them. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Far better things

    On the upside, this gives me hope that I have a chance to follow my dreams. That my dreams will come true if I believe and persevere. That there are plenty of opportunities ahead of me. That I can be the person that I want to be or that I've always wanted to be. And that makes me glad and excited and scared all at the same time.

   The downside is that it tells me that what I had before were nothing compared to what I will have in the future. That the people who were a huge part of my life whom I've left behind are now memories--because I will meet new people better than the old friends I knew and grew up with. That what I learned before were nothing to what I will learn in the future (and in the present. Because I am loving my university courses and my life now. Even though it's tough. Ehem. Moving on.). That the chances I was given before were mere opportunities because I will be given a better chance in time. The last two ideas I can bear. But with regards to people, I don't think I'm able to compare the people I met before to the people I met today and assert that the people I know today are much better than the people I knew before. Because that's not true.

   However, it may not be true today, but it can change in the future.

   But hey, my history is what makes me the individual I am today. And history is the past, present, and the future. So whoever I meet will be a part of my history that will make up my individual self. And when the time comes that someone asks me to compare all the people I know, then I can answer that question. But for now, I'll stand on my belief: That the people I know in my past are far better than the people I know today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Relying on Technology for Communication

   I came across this article from The New York Times written by Sherry Turkle, titled "The Flight from Conversation". She talks about how people have become dependent on technology that they use these devices for communication. Instead of talking to people, i.e., living and breathing entities, people in today's world prefer to talk to devices. In fact, some people (according to the article) want Apple to make Siri more intelligent so that he or she can confide to the app--the way that a person talks to another person. Don't you find that scary? Because I do. And that's exactly what I fear with this Siri app. It's like people prefer speaking to an app instead of talking to his or her friends. Or confiding his or her deepest secrets to an app that does not breathe. I guess this is one of the reasons why I don't have an iPhone because I find it too overrated--that, and I don't have the financial capability to pay for its monthly phone bill. If I get a cell phone though, I would try not to rely on it too much. Okay, to be honest, I'm afraid that I will become too dependent on my technological devices--that I would rather use them than spend time with friends. That I'd rather be alone playing my iPod on my ears or reading an article on my netbook than talking with friends.

   I try to be less dependent, even though I know that my efforts are not enough because I still use my iPod everyday. There is never a night on a weekday that I use my laptop. Heck, I spend less time curled up in a corner and reading a book because my laptop is always in front of me. I even use my iPod while eating (shudders). Which is why I plan to spend more time reading books (either paperback or hardcover) than on the Internet. I plan to spend more time with family and friends than with my laptop. I plan to spend more time with myself on times I need peace. 

   That said, I still want to try to be less dependent of these communication devices. The irony of this post though is that I'm using a blog to express what I think instead of discussing this article with someone. Ugh. I hate myself. I really should move and do something about this. Something like ending this post. Not the blog, but the post. I've fallen in love with my blog that I don't think I'll be able to give it up.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Homecoming Part III: When the day comes

   I can't remember how many times I've asked my mom this question: When can I go to the Philippines again? I went to the Philippines in the summer of 2010 because it was my sister's wedding, an important event in our family's lives. It is almost two years since I went there, and sometimes I wonder when this day will come again.

   Just to clarify, I don't use the phrases "go home" or "go back", such as, 'When can I go home again?' or 'When can I go back to the Philippines again?'. Nope. I try to refrain from using these phrases because I don't want to call my former home country my home when I already have a new home. Here. Canada is my new home now, so I might as well learn this new country and culture. Easy for me to say, but very difficult to execute. Especially if one is surrounded with people (or communities) of the same ethnic culture.

   Of course I want to go to the Philippines again someday. Just not now. Not this time. First of all, I don't have the financial capability to buy a plane ticket to another country just because I feel like it. What can I do? I'm a student. I'm poor. So instead of saving up for a trip to the Philippines, I'd rather save up a few hundred dollars for a trip around the country. "Explore the Philippines first before you explore other countries.", some hardcore nationalists or conservatives in the Philippines might say. Yeah, okay. As if it's that easy to save and just buy a plane ticket. Not to mention the travel expenses. And the extra expenses for dining out, treating family and friends, going out with friends and buying them gifts (or pasalubong), and giving away money to families like a bank machine... Okay, I'm diverting to another topic, and this is one topic I'd rather talk in another post due to the broadness and complexity of it.

   So for now, I am enjoying the present. A vacation in the Philippines, that might happen in three or four years. As much as I would love to go there this year, I can't. I have to be practical. Even if it means not going to the Philippines for a long time (but not really long. Because I might not be able to take it. I still want to go there before I hit 30. Maybe after graduation I might go there. If I have enough money.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Paralysed and depressed

   There is nothing depressing about this post. Nothing. I promise.

   The earth is now in the spring equinox so snow won't be coming until late fall and there won't be another cold and depressing winter until mid-November or December. Or maybe it might snow before April ends. One will never know. This is Canada afterall. But just because I'm talking about paralysis and depression don't mean that I'm paralysed and depressed. Far from it actually. But I'm not saying that I'm happy right now, at this moment, because I'm not, and that's an entirely different story, but I am happy today. Of my present disposition in life.

   I was reading an old blog post titled "Paralysis" about this Filipino woman I met on the bus. She told me she missed the shopping malls and Filipino foods. On my mind, I don't blame her. But I was surprised when she told me she has lived in Canada longer than me. And the reason why she missed the Filipino culture was because she didn't like this new culture that she's living in. I find that disappointing, because I think (and as I wrote on the post) that one should learn the cultures of a new country--especially if he or she is permanently living in the said country. I'm not saying that one should completely forget about his or her culture, but he or she should make an effort to accept a new culture into his or her life. I don't want to judge the woman because I don't have the right to judge her. However, with her manner of speaking it sounded like she didn't want to assimilate into a new culture.

   I guess this denial of accepting a new culture is part of an immigrant's experience, where he or she has trouble accepting the reality of living in another country. It is difficult to deny one's culture and learn a new one. This process makes one have a dual self, living two identities at the same time. It takes one to immediately transition from one self to another self in order to adapt to the environment and surroundings. I don't know how it goes for other people, but this is exactly what it's like for me.

    Keeping up with two cultures is difficult especially in today's technology where I have access to the Internet and I can chat or talk to my friends in the Philippines. But to be honest, I don't do it often. I used to do it a lot, like, everyday. I used to check my Facebook everyday and check my friends' Facebook updates everyday if they held parties or reunions. But that is so 2009 (because they had the reunion in 2009. heh.). Nowadays, I rarely check my friends on Facebook for two reasons: one, I don't have all the time in the world to spend looking up for their profiles everyday when I have other things to do on the virtual world and in the real world. Second, the more I see them, the more parties and reunions I miss, the more they have fun with their lives, I get jealous. There it is. I admit it. And I just digressed. But this example from my life is one of the reasons why a person denies a new culture. Why he or she does not want to learn a new culture because he or she does not want to miss out on what his or her friends are doing in their home country. I hope I don't sound cynical but I am sure no one checks my Facebook everyday (because I rarely update it) the same way I used to check it everyday. Unless someone really wants to know what's going on in my life, they'll make an effort to chat with me the same way I'll chat with them. Anyway, this is becoming too personal (and I don't mean to attack anyone) so I better stop. The point is, one reason why I used to be paralysed and depressed is because I close myself to new possibilities instead of branching out in this new country. So I tried to change. And it helped, quite a bit, because I can now see a change in myself (like rarely checking Facebook). I don't deny that I miss them, because I do. I miss them a lot. I miss my old friends. But that's it. That's where it ends. I already have a new life. I should just be happy that I have a whole new life ahead of me, new challenges that await me, new people who would like to meet me (I hope), and new places that I can't wait to travel. There is no use bringing up the past because I'm already living in the present for my future. 

    So one solution for an immigrant to not be depressed? Open up to a whole new life and accept the reality of it all. Difficult as it is, the learning experience is worth it. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Looking Back

   Now that I think about it, I haven't really written a post about the day when I left the Philippines. It all seemed like a blur now, particularly that day when I traveled probably because of jetlag or culture shock.

   I left the Philippines on December 2007. I was a teenager then; I wasn't that young but I wasn't too old either. Everything was a rush because our visas arrived unexpectedly so we immediately bought December plane tickets in October. I didn't have time to meet all my friends for the last time. I only told a few people too, because I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. And my close friends knew this would eventually happen so they were not really surprised (I think). As for most people, like my high school classmates and friends, they didn't expect it.

   Within the four years that I have been living here in Canada, I want to think that I've accomplished many things. I learned more than I never expected to learn--especially at the university. I became more responsible. If the 19-year-old me would look at the present me, she would think, "You have grown a lot, Lora. You have changed." I want to think that I have changed for the better; although some of my friends think that I have lost my pride and nationalism due to my harsh criticisms when I was in the Philippines in July and August 2010. But what could I do? I was only telling the truth; all those criticisms were based on my observations. But of course they would never believe me. They might had thought that I completely changed. That I became more Canadian than a Filipino. I can't really blame them if they thought that way because they have never lived in another country before. Sure, some of them might had gone to Canada or the US for a vacation but that was it. A vacation does not last 2 years. It does not last 4 years. Once a person lives in a new place, he or she begins to adapt to the new culture because he or she is an immigrant. He or she, like me, is a person from another country. So if I visit the US and stay for 3 months, I would still not be able to fully assimilate myself into the culture. I'm not saying though that an immigrant should assimilate his or herself into the new culture. It takes time, and it also varies in every person. Even though sometimes I feel like I have fully immersed myself into the culture, there are times when I still cannot relate to what other people are talking about. I think it will never go away. But if a Filipino of my age starts talking about the cartoons in the 90s, then I can relate because I grew up in that culture. But now, I can say that I know less of the Philippine pop culture as I learn more of the Canadian culture.

   Start all over again. Then look back after a few years. What have I accomplished in the last four years? How did my perspectives and ideologies changed over the past four years? Would I want to go back and start all over again?

   I'd rather not. I've had my ups and downs during the four years, but looking back, I prefer not to be paralysed and would rather look into the future. A bright and unpredictable future.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Technology and Me, A History: Part III

   I was reading Candace Spigelman's Personally Speaking: Experience as Evidence in Academic Discourse where in chapter three she talks about the construction of one's experiences in narrative writing. She argues that we, the storytelling humans (as Walter Fisher argues on the Narrative Paradigm), cannot capture the "real and actual" events in our lives based on contemporary theory (62). What we can do is "reconstruct" this memory, to experience these events into text and not the truth (63). I wrote my Technology Narrative paper before I read Spigelman's book so when I was reading the book I agreed on this argument, and the chapter on "Constructing Experience". As I mentioned in part two of this Technology Narrative series, I remembered bits and pieces of my childhood stories due to pictures or remnants of memories in my brain. I don't remember all my childhood memories, and if given the chance I would like to go back to see how I lived as a child, but not change anything. But let's not talk about it here, because my early experiences with technology is only a part of my childhood.

   I talked about the first technological tools I used, the pen and paper, in the second part of the series. This series is actually a four-part narrative series, the third part about the technological devices from my childhood at home, and the last part would be my technological narrative in school (from grade school up to high school.).

   Remember, I was born in the Philippines. I grew up in the Philippines. So the young me in the story is someone who grew up in the Philippines who had no idea (then) that she was migrating to another country (and culture). My parents taught us to not have everything we wanted. This taught me to value what I have, to not waste it, and to not fix something that is not broken. Despite not having everything I wanted as a child, looking back, I am glad that my mother did not buy me all the toys in the toy store. Instead, she bought books. Sure, we had toys, but not a lot. And I was fine with that. I was a happy kid growing up in the 90s.

   As I mentioned in my technology narrative paper, music is a significant influence to my life so it was no wonder that we have a music system at home. My mom told me we used to have a record player because my dad had his vinyl records kept. So growing up, I used any musical technological device. There was a tape player in the van too whenever we go on road trips and long drives. When relatives visit, the adults watched concerts (on VHS tapes) while the children played outside. On Sundays when there were no classes and it was cleaning day, my mom would turn on the radio. I remember during second grade where I used to watch Disney films on our VHS player after I got home from school in the afternoon. I first asked my mom how to set it up and when I learned how to do it myself, I watched films by myself because I didn't want to interrupt my parents who were busy with work (we had a home-based business). So at the age of 8 I was able to watch films by myself. I didn't just watch films or listen to music when I was growing up though.

   My two older brothers played the Family computer a lot while I watched them. I didn't play a lot; one, I had to fight over my two brothers, and two, I wasn't really interested. I preferred watching them play even though I could finish one stage of Super Mario or Battle City. My brother also played the GameBoy, and as usual, I would only watch him. If I did use the GameBoy, I think it was only for easier games. Whenever we visit my cousins, I would also watch them play Resident Evil on the PlayStation. 

Nokia 1011 - quite close to the first cell phone we had and this looks much worse. 

Nokia 3210 - a better phone than the 5110 but worse than 3310. 

Nokia 5110 with its interchangeable covers. I never really liked this phone; I don't know why. 

Nokia 3310 released in 2000. 

   Our household had a fair amount of communication devices that I used as a child. Because we had a home-based business, a telephone was necessary. I think it was in the mid to late 90s that I was introduced to cell phones. The first cell phone I held on my hands was a Nokia phone. It was a huge and heavy phone, but based on the time it was released, it was perfect. I'm not sure what the model name was, but the phone looked like Nokia 1011 but aesthetically better. There were other cell phone brands that emerged in the late 90s. Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and Philips were some of the brands, but Nokia was more popular. The Nokia 5110 and 3210 were the classic Nokia phones that were really popular before 2000. But after the clock stroke a new millenium, there was another popular cell phone that emerged: the Nokia 3310. This was the most popular and widely-used by most Filipinos; everywhere you go, almost everyone used this phone. I started high school in 2001, and a few of my classmates had cell phones better than the 3310. The Nokia 3310 was just a basic cell phone: it has a call and text message feature but it had better games and ring tones than 5110 and 3210. But after the 3310, everything changed. Again. 

   By the time I was in my third year in high school (equivalent to Grade 11 in Canada), most cell phones had these features: camera, video, built-in music player, polyphonic and monophonic ring tones, coloured wallpapers, and different sizes and shapes of phones. By fourth year, everyone in class had cell phones. Cell phones became a regular accessory because everyone had it. I was so used to seeing cell phones when I was 15 years old so sometimes I'm not fascinated with cell phones anymore unless these phones are made in Japan or South Korea.

    I've always thought that North America is still far behind the technologies in Japan and South Korea. Especially Japan. I maybe biased because I've always wanted to go to Japan. Or maybe because I grew up in a place where technology seemed to change as soon as I get used to one device. Take the BlackBerry and iPhone, for example. I'm not excited to own these cell phones, and I don't see myself buying one soon. First, because I don't need it. Second, I'm not interested. And alright, the third reason is that I don't have a budget for an iPhone plan that's more expensive than my monthly bus pass. Seriously, I don't see myself owning an iPhone in the near future. I know that I will eventually use a Smartphone, but not an iPhone. Even though I don't buy the latest cell phone in the market, I keep myself updated. And right now, the phone that I really like is the Samsung Galaxy SII or the Sony Ericsson Xperia. And yes, I just said that I prefer Asian-brand cell phones. Although I don't mind a Nokia phone in the future which depends on circumstances.

Spigelman, Candace. Personally Speaking: Experience as Evidence in Academic Discourse. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2004. Print.

            If you want to see the old Nokia cell phone models, here's a link: GSM Arena Nokia cell phones. On page 6, I can count in my fingers the number of cell phones that I had never seen before I graduated from high school. So this gives you an idea that I was a witness (sort of) of the cell phone history (or timeline) and why I'm not too interested in getting a Smartphone right now. You could look at page 5, and again, I've seen most of these phones before I turned 16.