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What Screams Christmas: Puto-Bumbong at Bibingka

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NGAYONG buwan ng Disyembre, dalawang letra lang ang sumasagi sa isip ko—ang letrang “P” at “B” (PNoy at Binay, Pasko at bakasyon, Pilipinas at bagyo, proletariat at burgis). Panahon na naman ng kaliwanagan para sa iba’t ibang lugar sa mundo dahil sa magagarbong palamuti na makikita sa paligid at sumisimbulo sa Pasko. Ngunit, bukod dito, may mga salita talagang hindi mawawala sa usapin tungkol sa Pasko—ang Puto-Bumbong at Bibingka.

Bahagi na ng tradisyon ng mga Pilipino ang Simbang Gabi, mula pa noong panahon ng mga Kastila. Kahit ano man ang estado sa buhay, kinagawian na ito ng bawat Pilipino tuwing Pasko.

Kung paguusapan ang Simbang Gabi, hindi maaaring makalimutang banggitin ang sikat na sikat na puto-bumbong at bibingka na laging itinitinda sa labas ng simbahan. Mararamdaman mo ang init na lumalagablab sa labas ng simbahan habang niluluto ang mga kakaning ito. Matatanaw mo ang mga naglalako sa labas na may hawak na pamaypay. Makikita mo ang ngiti sa labi ng bawat taong bumibili dahil sa linamnam nito. Kaya naman tunay na pinipilahan ng mamimili ang dalawang kakanin na ito.

Ayon sa National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), “ang puto bumbong ay nagmula sa kombinasyon ng puto na anumang kakaning gawa sa giniling na bigas. Ang bumbong naman ay buong biyas ng kawayan na ginagawang sisidlan ng puto. Nagmumula ang kulay ng puto-bumbong sa Pirurutong—isang uri ng bigas na malagkit at maitim.”

Ang kulay lila, kasama na rin ang puti at ginto, ay mahalaga sa banal na simbahan tuwing Pasko. Bukod sa kasuotan ng pari, laganap rin ang mga palamuting kulay lila sa paligid ng simbahan. Makikita rin ito sa puto-bumbong—lila ang mismong kakanin, puti para sa niyog, at ginto sa mantikilya.

Tunay na masarap ang dalawang ito, lalo na tuwing pagkatapos ng Banal na Misa at busog ang kaluluwa ng mga tao sa salita ng Diyos. Sunod naman na mapapakinggan ay ang salita ng mga nagtitinda kung saan sila’y nakapuwesto para busugin ang kumakalam na sikmura ng mga nagsimba.

Photo Courtesy of Why’d You Eat That.Wordpress.Com

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Netflix’s Money Heist and its aim to fight for political reform

La Casa de Papel or Money Heist is a Netflix series about a guy called the Professor leading a group of criminals aliased after major cities across the globe to pull off one of the most impossible felonies of all time — robbing the Royal Mint of Spain.

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Photo from Netflix

WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead!

La Casa de Papel or Money Heist is a Netflix series about a guy called the Professor leading a group of criminals aliased after major cities across the globe to pull off one of the most impossible felonies of all time — robbing the Royal Mint of Spain. The show focuses on how the crew masters their plan, down to the very minute details, to ensure that they can execute it impeccably. It is shown how the Professor implements some rules and ensures that the crew abides by it for the operation to run smoothly, or so he believes. With interesting costumes, catchy tunes, and mind-boggling twists in the story, this show will surely get one easily hooked!

The show has been gaining online buzz recently — from an Instagram filter, tweets from excited fans, to teaser trailers all over the web – there is a built hype for the show especially now that the new season’s premiere has dropped on Netflix today. It has been months since the end of the third season, and everybody’s been anticipating the next series of events. Avid viewers of the show are very much eager to know what happened to our favorite crew, with all of us having a bunch of unanswered questions after that cliff-hanger of a finale left our hearts pounding and jaws dropped. Now we can finally sigh in relief because the answer to all of our questions possibly lies in eight 45-minute episodes. 

Money Heist is one of the most interesting shows of our time since it has a different take on the Heist cinematic genre. The generic formula for films and series in this genre is usually a clever mastermind recruit a group of delinquents with their own respective charms, add a seemingly fool-proof plan into the mix, and voila, you have created a crime film. This show has all of the essential components, but one thing sets them apart from the rest of the other works under the same genre — the group’s ulterior motive, which is evidently not just for personal gain, but for public changes as well. It took the elements of the classic Robin Hood-themed narratives and incorporated it into contemporary societal injustices, which make for an effective series of social enlightenment.

It could be said that the root of these vices is money. Why would an individual dare to stage a heist in the national bank of Spain to win over the sympathy of the masses? The answer lies behind the very reason why they are conducting the robbery. Through the heist, they insinuated the need for redistribution of wealth because of the stark imbalance between the rich and the poor. Besides, they are technically “not stealing” from the bank since they are just producing new bills through the bank’s printers. Additionally, for every bump in the road that the team faces, they still strictly abide by their moral principles to resolve the dilemma. Their means may be questionable, but their goal is quite reasonable.

An essential hallmark of the show is the identical masks the robbers wore in their heists. The Professor made them wear the mask to hide their identities, but his choice of design aims to make a statement. The masks are of Salvador Dalí, a Spanish surrealist artist, whom the protagonists’ philosophies are aligned with. Dalí is a renowned artist, famous for his works and for his protests against society’s capitalistic ideals. The mask symbolizes the people’s resistance to a system that forces them to accept the irrational normalization of social class, which is usually in favor of the elite.

Since the beginning of the show, the song Bella Ciao was heard in varying tempos to denote the highest and lowest points of the storyline. Historically, the song was sung in rallies during the Italian Resistance, with hopes of ending the rule of fascists. The song was actually banned in Northern Italy a few years back and that itself says a lot about its impact. It is still played in modern-day protests, with activists hoping that making a statement and refusing to swallow abysmal ideals dictated by unjust rulers could commence redefinition of unjust societal norms.

With the alarming responses of our own officials towards a national crisis, shows like these ignite our passion to fight for political reform. It empowers us to make a stand against tyranny and to also break free from the oppressive societal standards that the opportunistic upper class sets. Bella ciao!

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10 things you probably have encountered in an online class

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate!

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A decade ago, suspension of classes were a big nuisance especially to the pace of the academic year. This is because we did not really have a platform that was capable of holding more than 20 persons in a call. However, with the advancement of technology, it has paved the way to conduct classes online without the fear of falling behind the schedule.

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate! The following are the 10 things you probably have encountered in an online class.

1.  A dog

Your dog or your blockmate’s dog have probably taken the spotlight in this one. Cue the “aww!”s and the “your dog is so cute!” to inform people there’s a new member in your block.

2. Some bedroom noises

These bedroom noises vary in category. It could be your newborn sibling crying in the background or your sibling groaning as they stretch before they get out of bed. It could also be your neighbour’s feel good music that’s blasting on full volume. (What did you think the noises were going to be?)

3. Your mom’s voice in the background

You’re probably familiar with the sentence, “Anak! Nakalimutan mo nanaman maghugas ng pinggan!”. This is your cue to quickly wash the dishes or to ask your brother or your sister to do it for you. Just don’t forget it the next time.

4. The sound of vehicles driving past your house

It’s 9o’clock in the morning and everyone is still sleeping. Your professor is rambling about the adjusted schedule because of the suspension of classes. Everything was silent until you hear that loud “VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM” that broke that silence you thought you had. A notification. Your blockmate typed, “Kaninong tricycle ‘yun?”.

5. The neighborhood chicken

No one in your house is awake yet to cook breakfast and you’re 10 minutes late to your online class. You’re hungry and sleepy but you are determined you’ll focus on this class you need to catch up on. You sit down with your laptop, head propped by your arm to try to stay awake. Then suddenly, you hear a faint cock-a-doodle-doo from your speaker. A notification. Your professor typed, “Guys, sorry, wag kayo mag-alala. Ipriprito ko na yun mamaya.”.

6. A comfort room break

The waterworks are on duty today but you’re unsure if your strict professor would allow you to go to the comfort room to release whatever your body needs to let go of. It’s funny how we still have to ask even when comfort is at our disposal a few steps away. Imagine what it’s like for your blockmate who often needs the toilet. 

7. Your younger sibling who keeps on crying

If it’s not your mom, it’s most likely your younger brother or sister who’s making the noise. You should probably check on them right now though. I assume they need something or someone.

8. The teleserye your lola is watching

It’s 10 in the morning and you are in your living room. Suddenly, your lola picks up the television remote control to watch her favourite teleserye. She hands you the remote control to raise the volume higher. Don’t worry. It’ll just be an hour of your time everyday. Just wear your earphones. It’ll be over soon!

9. Your blockmate who’s often M.I.A.

Better call them now. You definitely don’t want them to miss another class.

10. Conversations that are best kept on Messenger

It’s best to keep your block’s conversations in another messaging app. I know you know what I mean. 

We all have different practices in our face-to-face class as well as in online classes. However, in the midst of the distances from our second home – our school – let us not forget the reason why we do this: to learn and to later on serve our country. 

Lastly, use your time productively and don’t forget to wake up your blockmate!

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Ilaw ng Tahanan, Sagisag ng Lansangan: Rage Against Feminine Archetypes

Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A natural beauty, she was. Daisy-fresh. Frail and delicate, with her small frame and timid silence. Her hair constantly smelled of vanilla, and she had a smile that came with her almost effortless grace. She is painfully soft-spoken. Her cheeks resembled that of the skin of a peach—supple, smooth, tinging coral. And above all that she had eyes that could lure you in. It was almost as if she knew the kind of beauty she held, but not enough to be flaunting it.

Here is an example of a misrepresented woman as shown by the ideal woman trope. In literature, we see her as Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby; in film, Summer from 500 Days of Summer. Women in fiction, yes, but still prototypes of the ideal woman, told from the account of a man, that sooner or later, serve to cater to the male gaze.

This is the feminine archetype, contemporarily known as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl or the Femme Fatale: the idea that a woman, in all her precious glory, should be of natural, flawless beauty—none of that cake on the face, none of those fillers and such. She should be modest, otherwise if she is vulgar she is an embarrassment. She should attend to her husband like a real woman, whatever that is supposed to mean, because it is her responsibility to do so. She should be dainty! If she must fix herself up she must do so without going overboard. 

But this is relevant… exactly how?

These templates of the ‘perfect woman’ teaches young girls and the children who may come to identify as girls, beyond reasonable standards to live up to, furthermore decentering from their freedom of expression and identity. Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

This continues to be a challenge for contemporary feminists as it has been for their predecessors. Years upon years of uprisings and nth wave feminism movements helped established the New Woman, who, on this day and age, in contrast to the feminine archetype, is no longer soft-spoken, doe-eyed, or motherly—but resisting, self-sustaining, and non-conforming. She is tenacious, and is unafraid to bring her revolution to the streets, like all other female activists that preceded, but the objective is not to discredit them.

This is to introduce an entirely new breadth of feminists who willingly engage in activism in and out of the streets, who challenge the still-in-existence feminine archetype, who fight against those who continue to disparage women, and most importantly, to empower those who need empowering. Women and their eagerness to champion equal rights have prevailed even in social media platforms—a brand new kind of solidarity that cuts through the one-dimensionality of the digital world, which is now without limitation in addressing a variety of sociopolitical issues.

The feminine archetype is but a small part of a bigger issue that continues to misrepresent women as charming, frail, and subordinate—much like in movies and literature—which in turn contributes to, and may even elevate to a great deal of oppression and abuse. Once we value other women as much as we do those in our lives, once we acknowledge that some women might not even be female at birth, and that some may not even appear to be women, we perpetuate intersectionality and a mindset that more often than not, empowerment is more important than power.

 

Happy Women’s month to the cis-females, the transwomen, those who identify as women, women of color, female activists, women who were rape and sexual abuse victims, women who are victims of social injustices, comfort women, and all the other women in the world.

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