From Unknown to Mr. Writer: My Junior High Journey

Essay of Felipe Dimaculangan

The speaker was our class adviser. As he called my name, I trodden towards the center of an organized floor and thankfully received the paper attached on a brown envelope. I was in front of hundreds of people, bowed and in my walk across the wide gymnasium, people were applauding and smiles were on the faces of everyone. In my seat, my still eyes were focused on the paper I held. My name and signatures are printed on that completion certificate.

Felipe Dimaculangan is just a simple student when he entered high school. I am naturally silent, mouth is zipped but I assure, loquacious in mind. What I think about something remains in my mind unless someone urges me to tell. Not until I met writing, it brought change in me.

The junior high of my learning journey just got a rapid ride. It was like taking on a ship, cruise on the ups and downs of waves, and this has been the voyage of reality. My elementary diploma had been my ticket to this four-year trip; the waves had always been my challenges, and the sea acted as the swelling knowledge. For four years, Col. Lauro D. Dizon Memorial National High School had been my secondary home. I had been under care of its steadfast educators. And now, I finally left acquiring their love, enthusiasm in teaching, and ingeniousness.

Several hours passed, I stood after all the certificates were bestowed upon the completers. Presenting of honors was up and parents were starting to line themselves with their child. I searched for my mom and I found her aligned from my not-so-long-way-seat. If there was the person to be overwhelmed the most, it was she.

My name was called for the second time on this occasion and I again had gone to the center but now with my mother. It was an honor indeed that aside from being “With Honor,” among more than 800 students, I was also luckily one of the Top 15. The of course most important woman in my life this time, the one who wore medals on me, walked back to the bleacher where their designated seats were, and tears were about to fall.

Taking the first step on high school had nothing easy for me. It is still clear in my mind the first day of our class. Monday and a flag ceremony was about to start yet our classroom was closed and a few of us were there. Not having any of my classmates in elementary was not an issue since I never been so closed to someone. I was sitting on a bench until a charming lady approached us and I knew she was our adviser.

“Ang adhikaing kabataan ay paunlarin. Sa kabutihan ay hubugin… Col. Lauro Dizon Memorial National High School, pangalan mo’y itatanghal,” it was a good feeling the first time I heard this hymn during the morning ceremony. I was actually nervous by the new place, by the thousands of students at the oval ground, and by the fact of knowing no one that time. But the year of freshman ended up with acquainted friends, new laughs, and new way of study.

Schooling is congruent to expenses and that is the continuous and top problem of our family. I neither came from a wealthy one nor a family who can give all of my needs. Even of my regular school allowance, it was truly not enough as I also needed to photocopy lectures or pay the photocopied quiz assessment papers oftentimes. I am not actually complaining but with my 30 pesos allowance budgeted for 10 pesos fare in the morning and I walk home after school, 15 pesos burger for example that was certainly not enough to fulfill a ravenous stomach from hours of studying, then for the remaining five pesos, it was intended to photocopies, project contributions, or to my piggybank whenever lucky. With the hiking price of products and further school expenses, the money I had could not put me in satiation.

Nevertheless, I know that I remain fortunate for what I have. Thirty pesos school allowance was not bad for a student who knows the essence of learning and it was in fact better than nothing. Each money I receive is my mother’s fruit of labor. Sending me to school is enough. Whether I had that 30 pesos in a school day or not, merely education has had utmost importance for years.

My mother and my younger brother give me strength. I have relatives who support my study. I am grateful that there is a teacher who has been known from her nickname “Ma’am Lala,” she purposely provides my school essentials yearly since elementary. It is really a great help for my mom because it lessen the weight on her shoulders. For me to admire the most is my single parent mom who sustain our primary needs. Living in a life like this makes me realize that the burden of the world is not for one person at all. The problem of an individual may be different from the problem of others. It may either be more pressing or simple yet ear-deafening. Problems vary.

Upon introduction for the guest speaker, the noise of crowd was put into halt, and silence aired the place but pleasure remained. We were drowned by achievements and recognitions of Mr. Nico. In his speech, we were entirely stacked in astonishment. He had been part of the campus editorial board, competed in quiz bees and poster-making, he sings, played basketball, and graduated cum laude in a well-known college of the city. As I was listening to his message, I was thrilled of how future will surprise me and my classmates as well. The prospects were battling in my mind of who I will be, how my life will be, and what great changes will there be.

My sophomore year was undoubtedly an “ordered behavior year.” Our adviser was not totally strict but she is like a disciplinarian, she is in fact holistic and systematic. This is the year when we had undergone practicing and so executing the learnt etiquette and proper behavior. I thank our adviser similarly our subject teachers for doing this since we were in a Special Science Class.

Mrs. Rebecca, our Filipino subject teacher, had once assigned us to create a four-stanza poem about Wikang Filipino. I did not assume that she would like my work more than I expected. Her praises and good insights inspired me to do more. I have to admit it, it was the first time someone noticed my writing like that. This is how Mr. Writer commenced.

Spelling bees and quiz bees were the contests I only participated before until I was involved for more written competitions. I started competing in essay, poem writing, and Division Schools Press Conference though I was just immediately pulled to fulfill the sick participant directly at the day of the contest. Yet with no any training on editorial writing, I tried. It was an unfortunate experience but it gave me ideas for more coming press conferences.

Third year went jovial, the total contradiction of the previous year. Our Ms. Adviser was a pleased, light-hearted, and tempered one. Through her handling, we became mature and caring for our classmates. But the joy was just a speck in the vast difficulty that we had in studying. Adding Research on the way, faces were fastened with bunches of papers, heads messed up by lectures, tired hands still continued computing arithmetic or finishing a thousand-word essay.

“Not all rainbows are colorful,” this is how my classmate Kate Celline had once described high school in her feature article, and I agree with it. My first impression about high school is mature, delightful, and exciting but it is rather more of responsibility, hardwork, and ventures. I never regret taking it for it shaped me into a better person.

It was on the tenth part of the program, Oath of Allegiance, when that peculiar feeling begun to embrace my heart. It was so ironic that I wistfully waited our Junior High School Completion Rite for months yet I felt sorrow on this special day. With my right hand raised, I could not hear anything only the oath led that we were repeating.

The program was a fast pace and we were now down to singing the hymn we grasped for four years. Absorbing Dizon High Hymn word by its word had always gladden our minds and our hearts until the last time we sang it. No word could explain what we felt that time because it was a mixed emotion.

Tenth grade was “the year of gags and craziness.” This year was probably the best. The final year for school agreements, reports, thesis, and paperwork. More meet-ups happened to either do a course requirement or to celebrate something triumphant like winning in the Division Science Congress and being an honor student. But behind those laughters and companionship was the longing we assumed as everybody would now stride their own paths.

The batch of 19 students are thankful for the shown kindness, teachings, and being considerate for our excuses. Four years likely happened in a single snap. The first time I entered this place we had called “home” is not yet slackened off my consciousness. And with just my last row of my paddle, I am up for a higher level and that is two years in senior high school. My voyage is not yet over and I still have a long way to go.

“Education is the way out of ignorance, the way out of darkness into glorious right,” from the 2007 Movie The Great Debaters. Dizon High School helped me finding the path of happiness by way of education. Dizon High School had taught me to find the light I am longing on this dark world. April 07, 2017 is a date to remember because it was when I left but I ought to come back with a name.

They say that high school life is the best and unforgettable of all, and I proved it. In high school, I found myself behind my strengths and weaknesses. I found out that writing is what I want and from that, a quotation was formed in my young mind:

“Only if I satisfactorily quench my spiritual thirst to be my highest self and if I have put all the ideas circling my thought into writing, I am ready to face death. For I know that when I lay in death, I have a legacy to leave that will be inculcated to the generations next to me.”


To My Junior High Classmates,

Howdy, classmates! I hope you do well. It was really not my plan to make a written composition about this but more than two months of missing your chit-chats and vile mockeries, it pushed me doing it.

I may not be the great part of your junior high journey but I know that I had contributed something meaningful even a pinch. For four years, undeniably, I was the student likely unseen because of my quietness. There were times you thought I was absent. Whether I was in class or not, your noises and laughs would remain the atmosphere. Why? Because generally, we were exuberantly joyful.

We were the class which had always been remarked for noise, messy classroom, and lofty excuses. Regarding that we were only 19, every classroom we accomodated often turned into whole turmoil. Despite our distinctive identification to a more serious Special Science Class, we have our unbroken fellowship and the character of facing each other’s problem together that we can be proud of. More importantly, we never forgot our duty of being SSC students. We never gave up on any academic competitions and in each fight, we did our best. After all, we carried the name of our school for good and tried to pull Dizon High up.

The world is now full of desolate men, slackening values, sweltering hate, and not enough love. I wish that none of you will be poisoned by the influential world we are into. Proceed working for your dreams bringing the goodness we learned from a high school we had once lived in.

Ten years from now, many changes will be there for sure. I may forget some of your names in a lifetime but the memories we had will remain. I hope you good for senior high school.

Thank you for everything! You guys gave directions as I wander to life.

A temporary fairwell for us all.

Sincerely Yours,
Mr. Writer


Ang Kasalukuyang Kalagayan ng Pilipinong Pagkakakilanlan

Sanaysay ni Felipe Dimaculangan

Higit isang siglo na ang nakalilipas nang matagumpay na nakamit ng Pilipinas ang matagal na panahong inaasam na kasarinlan. Nakangangatngat sa puso ang libong mga nangamatay at ang kailangan pang pagdanak ng dugo upang mapagwagian ang mithiing ipinaglaban. Wala na ngang dayuhang sumasakop sa bansa ngunit sa bubot ko pang isipan, nahihinuha nitong patuloy pa ring nagdurusa ang ating bayan. “Ang kolonyal na kaisipan at hindi mapag-isang wika’t pagkatao,” ito ang nakapanlulumong katotohanan na bumabalot sa ating pagkakakilanlan.

Mahal kong mga mambabasa, palagi nating ipinangangalandakan ang pagiging malaya natin ngayon ngunit kung bibigyang kilatis, gaano ba natin ito pinahahalagahan at ang hapis ng ating nakaraan?

Malinaw na tuwing buwan ng Agosto lang maugong at nangunguna ang ating maka-Pilipinong damdamin. Bilang isa sa mga sumasabak sa mga kumpetisyong pampaaralan, hindi ko maikakaila ang husay at angking talino ng mga kapwa kong manunulat. Karaniwan sa larangan ng pagsulat ang paggamit ng talinhaga at ng mabubulaklak na pananalita. Ito ang paraan upang mapahanga ang inampalang babasa ng katha. Pagkilala at parangal ang katumbas nito kapag makukuha ng sulatin ang loob ng hurado. Subalit sa tulad kong tipikal na mag-aaral din lang, nasisiyasat kong hanggang sa pagsuka na lang ng kani-kaniyang panulat ang paanyayang pagpapayabong ng ating pagkatao at ng Wikang Filipino.

Hindi aasahang sa lalim ng pananalita ng kanilang sanaysay, tula, o sa anumang kumpetisyon sa pagsulat, isa rin sila sa karaniwang kabataan ngayong “Taglish” ang wikang ginagamit sa pakikipagtalastasan. Mayroon namang ilan na pinaiiksi ang mga salita, at ginagamit ang malaki at maliit na titik sa maling pagkakataon tuwing magpapadala ng text message at magpopost sa social networking site.

Sa larangan naman ng bigkasan, mabuting halimbawa ang balagtasan. Isa ito sa mga yaman ng sarili nating panitikan. Kaabang-abang ang patimpalak na ito sapagkat talaga namang pinaghahandaan. Katunayan, may mga pagkakataon pa ngang nakakapanindig-balahibo ang labanan nito dahil sa husay ng mga makata. Idagdag pa ang napakagandang piyesa na puno ng mapanghamong linya ng mga nagsisipagtunggali.

Bagaman nakapagpapataas ng damdaming makabayan, babalik silang muli sa pagiging ordinaryong kabataang hirati lamang sa mapanlinlang at kahali-halinang impluwensiya ng mundo at teknolohiya. Paghubad ng magagarang baro’t saya, hanggang muwestra at pagbato ng makabuluhang taludtod na lamang ang mga paksang kanilang inilatag.

Ano ang nangyayari lakandiwa, lakambini, mga mambibigkas matapos kayong salubungin ng mga palakpak, matapos ninyong iharap ang inyong panig, matapos itong suriin at pagpasyahan? Iyon bang nakikipagsabayan o marahil nangunguna pa sa ingay na likha ng mga mag-aaral tuwing uwian na waring nakikipagbalagtasan pa rin?

Bukod sa pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika, aminin man o hindi, malinaw na konklusyon din para sa maraming kabataang Pilipino ngayon na malawak na pinag-uusapan at teknolohiyang salig na mga produkto ni Uncle Sam ang higit nilang kinahuhumalingan sa halip na mga tradisyonal at produkto ng kalikasang likha ng lipi ni Juan.

Lumalapit na rin ang loob ng maraming kabataan sa wikang Ingles. Unti-unting napapalitan ang kanilang magandang impresyon sa sariling panitikang hitik sa kulay at mga aral sa buhay ng paimbabaw na kasanayan at mataas na pagtingin sa banyaga.

Sa musika na may malaking bahagi rin sa ating pagkakakilanlan, sinong mag-aakalang matapos ang ilang taong kasikatan ng Original Pilipino Music (OPM) sa kamay ng ating mga maniningning na mang-aawit, tila pinagwaswasan ito ng mga kantang Ingles at ng umiinit ngayong KPop Music?

Sinong hindi magdadalang-poot sa mga gayong kabuktutan?

Marapat siguro na itanong ito, nakikilala pa ba ninyo ang tunay na Pilipino? Sa makabagong panahon, lubha ang lagitik ng lason ng kolonyalismo sa isip ng bawat mamamayan.

Ang pagmamahal sa bayan? Marahil hindi nga nauunawaan ng karamihan. Palasak na ang mga linyang tulad ng “pagmamahal, pagpapayabong, at pagpapayaman sa Wikang Filipino at sa ating kalinangan.” Mga giliw kong kababayan, pakatandaan nating walang silbi ang anumang hikayat na sa saltik lang ng dila magaling.

Isang sipi mula sa nobelang El Filibusterismo ni Jose Rizal ang nagsasabing, “Nagpapadala kayo sa maiinam na pangungusap. Isang kahangalan ang pagpapatayo ng Akademya ng Wikang Kastila. Nabubulag kayo sa maningning na kapangyarihang namamayagpag. Marapat pa nga kayong magpakasasa sa kagalakan sapagkat hindi tulad sa ibang maraming bansa, pinagkakaitan kayo ng pagkakataong aralin ang kanilang kustomiya. Ito ang bayan mong sinilangan. Ito ang nagbigay sa iyo ng buhay, ng pagkatuto, at ng kasaganaan.” Sa katulad na paraan, huwag nating isipin kailanman na ang hustong pagpapatangay sa malakas na impluwensiya ng globalisasyon ang tunay nating pag-usbong. Bagkus na hilahin tayo nito paitaas, tiyak na hahaltakin tayo nito paputik.

Gapos pa tayo ngayon ng kahangalan. Ni hindi tayo makalaya sa kaalipinan sapagkat mismong tayo ang nagpapasiil dito. Huwag nating hayaang magmaliw ang ganap na sariling atin. May kakayahan tayong umunlad sa sarili nating pamamaraan. Pakaisipin na kung magpapatuloy ang kasalukuyang daloy ng ating pagkakakilanlan sa mga susunod na lahi sa atin, ang sumbat, “sino na nga ba tayo?” Ang ating kultura, tradisyon, wika, at mga produkto ang bumubuo sa tanikalang siyang nagbibigkis sa ating pagka-Pilipino!