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Page Turner: Trese, Manila after dark

 AUTHORS Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo gives us a glimpse of what it could be like if all the things our lolos and lolas believed are actually true.

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     AUTHORS Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo gives us a glimpse of what it could be like if all the things our lolos and lolas believed are actually true. That the aswang are real, that the tikbalang are running our businesses, and all those creatures and monsters we think that are just myths are actually living with us.

     Trese tells the story of Alexandra Trese. Sworn to protect Manila like her father and grandfather, she is a detective taking on cases relating and involving supernatural elements. Alongside her mysterious partner Kambal, she deals with supernatural threats in Manila before they victimize more citizens. You name it, she could deal with it—all in time for a drink at Diabolical and a good night’s sleep.

     Some would describe Trese as a horror-slash-crime comic series. An award-winning komiks, having won the 2009 Philippines National Book Awards for Best Graphic Literature with its third book, Trese: Mass Murders won again last 2011 for the same award for its fourth book, Trese: Last Seen After Midnight. However, despite its supernatural elements, Trese is more than just that.

     Trese takes us into the journey of ghosts and creatures of the night, through conspiracies and hidden histories, superstitions and mystical objects – things that are somehow part of our lives that we don’t usually deal with but, as the story also reveals, the very things that might actually save us.

     There is a timeless quality that makes Trese appealing to all of its readers, and perhaps because this is the closest version of supernatural noir we have. But there is the flair and grace in Alexandra Trese that drives her to adventures and make readers jump from one case to the next. Trese gives this sudden rush of adrenaline readers do not always get from comics, especially graphic novels that usually span only a few hundred pages. Even if you turn this into a book, readers would still be left breathless.

     Although there is a visible formula with every case, each of them is so creatively crafted with such ingenious artistry and skill, that the dark side of Manila it features carves itself off the pages. The first eight cases found in the first two books (Murder on Balete Drive and Unreported Murders) are standalone stories, each has its own case in its own time, detailing what seems to be the protagonist’s daily life. The third book (Mass Murders) gives more of Alexandra Trese’s past while answering questions the first few cases left. The fourth and fifth book (Last Seen After Midnight and Midnight Tribunal) went back on the formulaic cases, but well-crafted stories the same, featuring new enemies and allies.

     Tan and Baldisimo expresses so well the fear in the unseen by letting their readers know the things their eyes only see are only the things they are supposed to see, not the things that are actually there. A reader is always left in the scene that makes him ask himself, “Is Manila what it really is?”

     So, think carefully. You never know if that street you had a distinct irking to actually houses a gathering of the aswang. That looming building that seemed to take ages to finish could be lair to the tikbalang. The same pair of girls you see dancing in the bar might be diwatas, and you might just have elementals lurking about. Who knows, that necklace you just got may well be an anting-anting, and your professor might be actually making sense of things. But whenever you see a ghost right at the corner of your eye, pray it is not up to something bad. Not unless you have Trese on speed-dial.

By Rhenn Anthony S. Taguiam

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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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