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Excelsior! The true hero who does not need to wear a cape

Stan Lee may not have been able to fly or lift buildings, but he was blessed with the superpower to make us believe that we can be our own heroes.

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Artwork by Kaye Iral

A LEGEND IS BORN.

To stan something is “[to look up to it] and that you genuinely watch or truly love their content”, according to Urban Dictionary. In line with this colloquialism, as fans of comic book readers and movie-goers alike, it would not be far off to say that we all stan Stan Lee and the tremendous impact his creation has made to our culture today.

This article offers a tribute to a very strong contemporary legend, to who we can credit decades of entertainment, fantasy, and full-unadulterated enjoyment.

When Marvel first hit the presses (though it wasn’t called Marvel yet at that time) with their Captain America #1,  the world was introduced to the concept of superheroes, and what could arguably be one of the largest movements in media in history. Who could have then imagined, that just after more than fifty years, that single Captain America issue would branch out into more than tens of thousands of other stories, notable works would of course include the solo-runs for Iron Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, Thor, and the like.

Stanley Martin Lieber, born December 28th, 1922 in Manhattan, New York, dreamed of nothing less than to work in the industry he would be famous for today. Known now as the Comic Book Legend and Pop Culture Creator, from this endeavor would result the hundreds of superheroes we know today, of which the Avengers and the X-Men are only a small part of.

Marvel Comics, originally started out as Timely Publications, of which Stanley Lieber, or as we know him better as Stan Lee, was a crucial part of. Established in the 1940’s, the comic publication would soon usher in the Golden Age of Comics, from which the modern heroes we find today would be created.

WHY IT MATTERS.

To newer and more recent fans of Marvel’s cinematic works, Stan Lee’s fame is only attributed to the old man he plays that appears in every single Marvel movie ever made.

But the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would not be possible if it were not built upon a vast and colorful universe that spanned decades in the making in that old man’s original masterwork: Marvel comics.

If you’re not a hardcore fan (or a casual or simply not a fan at all ), then perhaps Stan Lee’s passing would not hit you as hard as it should.

But we should not be deterred! For it was from his interview with Playboy Magazine that he said, “You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ It’s on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.” Indeed, nothing lasts forever, even Lee. But what will continue on is the wondrous world he created, and all of the heroic characters that reside in it.

It’s important to note, throughout all this, that Lee was never alone. He may have been the mastermind behind the stories we love, but the rest of the ensemble can’t have functioned by his powers alone. It was through his collaboration with other artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, both of whom really helped the company flourish during the Silver Age of Comics, around the 1950’s to 1970’s.

LEE AND HIS CREATION IS CULTURALLY ICONIC.

I can speak for more than myself when I say that Stan Lee’s works as they were originally depicted in the comics and as some were given a cinematic adaptation were key pieces of our childhood, well into our adolescence and until now.

The Comic Book Legend truly left an iconic piece of work that has grown and expanded over the more than half-century since its inception; and we can say it’s iconic because we can mention the name Spiderman and those around us will almost always immediately know we’re talking about Peter Parker, and not a mutant hybrid half-spider half-man. We can mention any names of the marvel superheroes out of context and people would just know about them. Stan Lee’s characters have inarguably become household names.

Of course this doesn’t even come close to the amount of detail and worldbuilding that has truly highlighted the scope of the universe that Stan Lee has created. It is not right to say that Stan Lee is solely responsible for all of Marvel Comics, as he was simply but also the most important first step, first domino, first push. Everything else quickly followed suit.

It is hard to imagine how different the world would be if the Avengers or the X-Men never existed. Of course, we are referring to works of fiction, but the concepts and stories have been ingrained so effectively into the nooks and crannies of our culture and society that we just can’t help but imagine that they are real, and that in itself is a great tribute to someone who devoted all his life creating comic content.

Personally as a fan, I see both the MCU and the Comics not only as very creative sources of inspiration and entertainment, but also as the ever-changing medium through which different artists and authors send a message. A message that although spoken now through a different voice and written with a different pen, all originated with that first stroke of ink that Stan Lee himself wrote on the first piece of paper when he was just starting out. That is to say, he may no longer be with us, but the essence of his work will continue to persist, no matter who is behind the visuals for the comic, or is directing the movie.

It’s thanks to Stan Lee’s devotion and passion to his craft that he was able to give the world countless tales and mishaps of the many superheroes we know and love today. And we know and love them especially because they are superheroes: they are role-models who stand up for justice and fight for what’s right; perhaps more so than Stan Lee could have ever imagined, they became the creative source and inspiration for countless children all around the world.

But yet, fans and non-fans alike feel the world’s loss of a great icon: an icon who brought us more than a hundred diverse, unique, and very creative heroes, situated in a world built and cultivated over the longest time: and now time will continue on without him. It couldn’t have been done without him, but we have to see it through without him.

So here’s to Stan Lee. He may not have been able to fly or lift buildings, but he was blessed with the superpower to reach out to people by the millions, over many generations to come. He will surely be remembered as the one and only Comic Book Legend.

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‘Yoko’ by Eraserheads is Relevant Now, More Than Ever

This is how the iconic 90s Filipino rock band Eraserheads described their experience with the Citizens’ Military Training program through ‘Yoko’ back in the days.

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Photo taken from Bandwagon | Edited by Daffy Bara

After 17 years of mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program being rescinded, Congress is now fast-tracking the passage of a bill that would make the program a requisite again, at least for grades 11 and 12.

It has since been answered by condemnation and protests from student and youth groups, especially from Thomasian students whose fellow Thomasian Mark Welson Chua suffered from its abuses for simply ratting out the corruption inside the UST ROTC system.

With President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent Senate Bill No. 2232 on Monday, July 3, requiring senior high school students to undergo the ROTC program, ‘Yoko’ by Eraserheads captured today’s youth’s sentiment against the bill’s passage making it relevant now, more than ever.

Behind the song

 

“Nasayang ang maghapon, ano ang napala?
Basura sa utak, sunburn sa batok at noo
Nagmamartsang parang gago sa ilalim ng araw
Baril na kahoy pinapaikot-ikot parang langaw”

 

Seems familiar? This is how the first verse of the 1995 hit ‘Yoko’ went as the iconic 90s Filipino rock band Eraserheads described through the song their experiences in the Citizens’ Military Training (CMT) program back in the days.

Written by drummer/vocalist Raymund Marasigan and performed by Eraserheads, ‘Yoko’ or a Filipino slang for ‘Ayaw ko’ meaning ‘I don’t want’ talks about contempt for “unnecessary and routinely outdoor activities, blind obedience, false sense of nationalism, and abuse” inside then-CMT (a.k.a. ROTC) program, a college counterpart of the infamous Citizens’ Army Training (CAT) program in high school.

Released as part of Cutterpillow in 1995, ‘Yoko’ was said to have contributed to the call to abolish the ROTC program back in the 2000s as students’ clamor pressure Congress through demonstrations and parliamentary struggle.

Cutterpillow, the band’s third studio album, is still one of the biggest selling album in OPM history. It sold more than 400,000 copies (the record turned Gold on the day of its release, and Platinum on its first week). It was the fastest selling album in the 90s era.

Eraserheads is known to have introduced classic songs such as “Huling El Bimbo”, “Overdrive”, “Kaliwete”, and “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” in the OPM arena.

Now that ROTC is making a comeback, let’s make sure that they hear our calls, if not in the streets, through songs of Filipino band legends they’re definitely into.

You can listen to the full song on Spotify.

 

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8 Apps that will kick start your university life

Still struggling to keep track of your deadlines? Check out these 8 apps that can help “Marie Kondo” your student life in order.

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Let’s admit it–it’s either too bulky to bring around or too hassle to maintain your favorite bullet journal or planner, especially if you’re a student whose time is consumed by the horrible metro traffic. But with only our smartphones in our hands, it is much easier to track and manage your study schedules and to do lists.

As we’re about to face again the looming deadlines, don’t forget to equip yourself with these apps to help you kickstart your semester.

Google Calendar can help you keep track of your events. Giving you the option to view your personalized calendar in daily, weekly or monthly spread, you can easily see your schedule with just one glance. You don’t need to worry about forgetting a single thing because users can set an alarm to remind them at various intervals.

   

Unlike the first one on the list, Ike is more comprehensive in classifying your goals. The app is designed after the Eisenhower Matrix which categorizes each task based on the importance, urgency, and aspect in life that you want to improve on. With the four categories, Focus, Goals, Fit In, or Important, you can easily set your agenda

All of us have been victimized by the “pahinga lang ako ng 5 minutes” because the next thing you know, you’re endlessly scrolling through memes for the last three hours.

This app utilizes the Pomodoro technique where you will use a timer to break down work into intervals with short breaks. With the help of Forest, tracking productivity is at the fingertips of the user. The user can decide how much time he/she wants to be focus. And to motivate you more, for every completed task, a tree will sprout in your forest.  However, if the user gets distracted by notification and leave the app, the plant will immediately die.

For those who travel from their hometown all the way to the University, turn your wasted time being stuck in traffic to a productive study session in your phone. Quizlet allows the user to assess their knowledge and retention of user through flash cards where the front contains the term and in the back is its definition. Various quiz types such as written, matching type, multiple choice, and true or false questions are also featured in this app.

Ace that paper that you’re about to write with Grammarly Keyboard. This app can detect grammatical errors from spelling to punctuations, while you’re typing! This nifty app can be used in various applications such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter or anywhere you need to type on.

It is disappointing to say but daily student life would never be complete without spending hours of traffic congestion in España–and it would be a much burden if you have a group paper to pass but guess what? You’re still stuck there.

But thanks to this old trusty pal, Google Docs, you can write that paper even with just your mobile phone. Your progress will be safely stored in the Cloud and your group mates can easily track your revisions.

Truth be told, Thomasians can never run out of places to eat–but after all that endless munching, our stomachs’ next stop is to find that perfect bathroom. BGPOP and Central Lab is the place to be, but when we’re out of our comfort places, San Bidet? is here to save the day. This app will guide you to the nearest toilet with that sweet bidet.

For someone who did not grow up in Metro Manila, getting to a specific location could be a struggle (not to mention if you are kind who does not have a sense of direction swear it could be trouble.) But with the sakay.ph app, just enter your destination and ta-da you will see the comprehensive information on how can you reach your destination whether it is via jeepney, bus or train. It also provides how long it would trip would take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 New Year’s Eve traditions that only Filipinos can understand

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Art by Jessica Lopez

It is truly in the heart of Filipino tradition to celebrate New Year with an extra level of effort and extravagance. From the endless varieties of food set on our tables, to the myriad gatherings of family and friends, up to the ear-splitting explosion of firecrackers and fireworks that trail the night sky, we definitely know how to party hard.

But this celebration would never be complete without the bizarre yet unique traditions that most Pinoy households take part in just to ensure good fortune for the coming year.

 

  1. Round fruits = ka-ching!

Who can miss that basket of round fruits your mother set at the center of your dining table? Beware though, trying to steal a fruit or two may bring you misfortune in the form of an angry mother.

In both Filipino and Chinese traditions, circles are symbols for prosperity. Because of this, Filipinos generally decorate their dining tables with varieties of round fruits such as oranges, grapes, watermelons, apples and many more.

  1. The family that eats sticky rice together, stays forever

Biko, puto, tikoy and the like are staple food for any Filipino feast, especially during Christmas season and  New Year’s Eve. But aside from it being commonly served in celebrations, sticky rice or kakanin symbolizes a sweeter and stronger bond between family members.

  1.  Noodles for a longer life

Noodles are also a staple food we usually see during our New Year’s feast. This tradition of eating noodles during Media Noche, which is said to be adopted by the early Filipinos from the Chinese, is thought to bring good health, longevity, and good fortune for the next year.

  1. No chicken and fish dishes during Media Noche

According to elders, serving chicken and fish dishes during the midnight dinner entails bad fortune for the next year. For most Pinoys, avoiding chicken and fish prevents them from being situated in the adage – “isang kahig, isang tuka”, which means that one will earn just enough for a meal and nothing more.

 

  1. Coins inside the pocket

Another thing that Filipinos do to attract money is keeping coins inside their pockets and shaking it when the midnight falls. Another thing which surely every child anticipates is the “money shower”. You might remember the times when your parents carried a handful or bagful of coins in their hands and sprinkled it onto the floor in every corner of your house which you and your siblings would snatch from afterwards. Both traditions are intended to bring wealth, and symbolize the continuous flow of money into one’s household.

 

  1.  Jumping in the hopes of putting on a few more inches

No one would probably want to miss out on a chance of adding a few inches to their height, especially if all it takes are few jumps when midnight strikes.

Every year, you always see children jumping (and even a few college students) as high as they can with excitement plastered on their faces. This jumping-during-midnight is mostly  done by little kids, though, there are still adults who might feel the need to do it. Those who practice jumping are believed to grow taller over the course of the year.

 

  1.  Wearing clothes with polka dots

As with the belief that round fruits will bring prosperity, so will dressing in clothes with polka dot patterns. Usually seen on children more than adults, the polka dots are said to resemble coins, and thus stand for good fortune.

Maybe we can try add polka dots to our daily wardrobe and somehow un~broke~ ourselves.

 

  1. Ear-splitting firecrackers and firework displays

Celebrating New Year wouldn’t be thrilling without the presence of loud booms and cracks of various fireworks in the sky and on the streets. Setting off fireworks is believed to drive away evil spirits, ensuring that they’re nowhere near people’s homes as they usher in the new year. Consequently, the streets during New Year’s Eve often come close to feeling like the middle of a warzone, but that’s never gotten in the way of any Filipino’s celebrations. Just be careful on those firecrackers though, you might need those complete set of fingers in the future.

Filipinos truly know how to welcome the New Year in their own way. Although some may appear strange, it just make every occasion even more exciting and memorable.

 

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