Category Archives: philippines

Break glass in case of emergency: For homesickness

Dearest Sacha,

I read your blog and I see two issues that are bothering you: homesickness
and “guilt” for being away from your country.

First, let me say that it is alright to feel homesick – in fact, we would
worry if you never felt the pain of being away. It only means that you miss
us – your family, your home, your cat, our pets, your friends, our weather,
even the places where you hang out. We feel the same sadness and longing for
you because we would prefer to see you everyday, to see you smile, to hear
the excitement in your voice when you tell stories, to be able to tell if
you are sad and to be able to hug you when you are. Which is why Skype is
my preferred way of communicating with you – because I want “to be with you”
as much as possible, even if it means listening to your voice on one
computer and looking at you (webcam) on another. Since our schedules do not
always allow “skyping,” I depend on your blog, and your occasional emails
-too few and too short =( to know what’s happening with you. It’s pain that
we must bear, because we love you and want you to grow and become fulfilled.

But the “guilt” that you feel for being away from your country is
unnecessary grief. As long as you carry your love for your country in your
heart, then there is nothing to grieve for being somewhere else. Think of
the Filipinos who have brought pride to their countrymen – they’re not
necessarily here. Patricia Evangelista won the speaking competition in
London. Lea Salonga made her name in London, New York and Hollywood. Leo
Oracion, Erwin Emata and Ching’s friend, Romy Garduce could not have
conquered Mt. Everest by staying here. In the same manner, Einstein was born
in Germany but his genius flourished in the U.S. The Kennedys were
originally Irish. Your papa’s parents were from China. Pre-historic
Filipinos were migrants from Malay Peninsula and Indonesia. You know what I
am trying to say but you need to say this to yourself every now and then,
especially when some people, or you yourself, make you feel guilty about
being away from your country. Nobody should be limited by the physical
boundaries of one’s country – you need to climb your highest mountains, no
matter where they are. And when you are on top, you plant the Philippine
flag and proclaim to the world that you are a Filipina.

We love you and we are proud of you, and if the pain of loneliness is the
price we have to pay so you can be the best that you can be, then so be it.

Love always,
Mom

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E-Mail from Mama

How to find great developers

Joel Spolsky writes about finding great developers. Internships are a terrific way to scope out a candidate and also get them passionate about your company. Previous blog post about career aside, I do really like IBM and I *am* really curious to see how far we can take social software – and one of the reasons why I’m crazy about that company and all the cool people in it is because I’ve seen it from the inside, thanks to the IBM Toronto Centre for Advanced Studies.

Check out the essay.

More thoughts: One of the things that frustrates me about the
Philippines is that we’ve got this entire chicken-and-egg problem in
the schools. Few companies do on-campus recruitment for challenging
internships, so students don’t get motivation or experience – which is
why few companies bother to do on-campus recruitment or R&D.
Programming competitions help, I guess, and we do still manage to find
a couple of geeks who learn about open source and end up teaching
themselves. Still…

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Bayan Ko

The song “Bayan Ko” never fails to move me, and it is to this song and
other traditional songs that I turn to whenever I feel homesick. I
wish I knew the first stanza better, and I wish I could sing well
enough to help even my non-Tagalog-speaking friends appreciate the
beauty of the song.

Lyrics by Jose Corazon de Jesus, melody by Constancio de Guzman

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas
Lupain ng ginto’t bulaklak
Pag-ibig ang sa kanyang palad
Nag-alay ng ganda’t dilag.
At sa kanyang yumi at ganda
Dayuhan ay nahalina
Bayan ko, binihag ka
Nasadlak sa dusa.

>

Ibon mang may layang lumipad
Kulungin mo at umiiyak
Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag
Ang di magnasang makaalpas!
Pilipinas kong minumutya
Pugad ng luha ko’t dalita
Aking adhika,
Makita kang sakdal laya!

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Why the Philippines? A story that needs to be told

A chance encounter with Daniel Chmielewski at BarCampEarthToronto led to a conversation about the Philippines and an introduction to Kevin Beckford, one of Dan’s friends who is in the Philippines right now. I asked him how he ended up in Cebu, and he said:

I came here from Hong Kong, I was doing a contract there. While there, I
could not help but notice the filipinas in causeway bay. Upon talking to
them, I noticed that they all seemed to really love the philippines. I said:
“What the hell am I doing in Hong Kong, which I am not fond of, when
everyone I meet from this country loves it?” So i came here to cebu and just
lived here… did some offshore contracts for cash and now i’m (weeps)
getting ready to leave. I do work with php/perl/java/groovy ( php as little
as possible ) and some admin things. I am currently hacking drupal code
right now YES NOW because I’m trying to get something working according to
my desire.

I’ll really miss this place though. If I had known it was this good, i
would have targeted here instead of just dropping in for the year. Ah well.
Who knows what the future holds ?

These are stories that need to be told.

E-Mail from Kevin

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A mannequin would be useful

When I have more space, I think a mannequin and some white cloth for a
backdrop would make these totally small-time clothing shoots a lot
more manageable. Shooting myself with a point-and-shoot’s self-timer
is way more work than it should be.

Maybe I should take all of my malongs home this Christmas, borrow a
mannequin from somewhere, and borrow the studio cyclorama so that I’d
have a seamless floor. Would be totally excellent for learning how to
shoot. <laugh> Who knows—I might even get into lights!

I foresee constantly tweaking clothes, and it would be nice to be able
to document that. Totally small-budget. No models, no model releases,
etc. ;) It’s not going to be high fashion or anything like that, but
it will be fun!

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