#WalangPasok: Let’s Celebrate Death and Devastation


typhoon Haiyan

Nothing gets students to read current events faster than a #WalangPasok announcement. Now that school and typhoon season is back, we’ll definitely be seeing that more often. Admittedly, I also desire for breaks every once in a while… we all do, but the thing is, is it really worth celebrating about?

typhoon Haiyan

Photo source: International Business Times

“Yes! May mga mawawalan ng bahay ngayon!”

Statistically, the most common reason for the declaration of a class suspension is because of a typhoon. For most of us city folk, the experience is terrible. Hours upon hours of traffic pile-up, traversing the ever growing Lake Daang Hari, ruined umbrellas and outfits, and so on. About a few hours or up to a day of our lives is ruined. Imagine what happens to those outside of the cities, particularly those provinces lying on the typhoon belt. You don’t even have to imagine, you can see for yourself on the news… assuming you’d stay for awhile after waiting for the class suspension announcement.

mass gravetyphoon Haiyan

People lose their homes. Farmers’ crops – their sole source of livelihood, die out. Families are torn apart in evacuations. Entire families vanish underneath the raging storm surge. People who manage to survive are left scarred – physically and emotionally. Yet, during all the years of my study, I could count with one hand the number of people who actually cared to even bother with the disaster that is happening outside of the city limits. All the while watching the celebrations unfold on twitter.

Daniel Cabrera

Photo source: Joyce Torrefranca

“Ang saya! Wala na naman akong matututunan!”

On a few occasions, we do get breaks from classes due to reasons ranging from city holidays to transport strikes. “Nobody’s dying, nobody’s losing anything, why should I care?” Here’s the thing. More often than not, a lot of private schools in metro manila don’t often conduct make-up classes for days missed within the year. Love it or hate it, school is a necessity for each and everyone of us. Schools give us the opportunity to learn skills that are prerequisites for us to be productive members of society. In whatever shape or form, even technical-vocational schools provide the necessary skills training just to give its students an opportunity to be self-sufficient. School enables us to delve deeper into the reasons for mankind’s failures in the past. Had we not learned anything from history, we’d probably still consider non-Caucasians as sub-humans. School is often among the first areas we are taught how to interact with our fellow specie. Just imagine had we not learned to respect our own differences.

BACK TO SCHOOL. Overcrowding in schools is a phenomenon common in over-populated areas such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao. File photo by Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA

Photo source: Dennis M. Sabangan

If none of those reasons get to you, then at least think of the people who support your education. Be it your parents, siblings, relatives, or anyone else who has at the very least put a bit of thought or effort into making sure you receive something as a form of education. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you saw your blood, sweat, and tears, gone. Simply, gone. A forty hour work week, gone. A lifetime of monetary savings, gone. Just once, try to see from somebody else’s own perspective.

Screengrab source: CNN

Like a broken record, you’ve probably heard your parents say something along the lines of “hindi mo ba nakikita kung gaano ka ka-swerte?” More than looking at someone else’s misfortune in order to justify coming to school, I believe we should look at it from another perspective. “Anak, tingnan mo sila, kung mag-aaral ka, mapapaganda mo ang mundo nila.” This is how we should think about education and the less fortunate. School gives us a qualification and a higher probability of gaining employment or setting up a mean for being self-sufficient. With the opportunity we have at hand, do you really want to waste it?

Image result for classroom

Image source: iStock

As with every perspective, there will always be more than one. We must also acknowledge that our school system is flawed. There is a reason why many students enjoy time off from it – myself included. One of the main reasons is that school has failed to live up to its purpose. With a curriculum that attempts to cram more and more information into the minds of infinitely unique individuals separated by an arbitrary number known as age, what can you expect? There are students who may have developed differently and are being forced to learn something that is yet to be acceptable for his or her own cognitive ability. Students who want to pursue further knowledge into a certain subject are forced to remain within the constraints of a set curriculum. For a lot of private schools, students end up as nothing but a mere statistic on their balance sheets. Some that do succeed, are set apart as an advertising tool. Now it’s not even a question of why, but rather how are we not moving away from all of this?

All of these leave us in a sad state of humanity. Celebrating the downfall of others. Apathy for those who labor. Relying on a system decades due for an overhaul, and expecting it to work. Do we even have the right to consider ourselves human at this point?


International Business Times


The Guardian


Cemeteries are Worth More Than Bill Gates

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“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” 

You’ve probably already heard this quote; and to this day it holds true. However, despite death’s inevitability, not a lot of people think about it nor plan for it. No, I am not about to sell you a life insurance plan. I will tell you, however, that it is for this reason that I can honestly say that cemeteries are worth more than Bill Gates’ riches combined.

One Filipino dies ever hour because of kidney failure. End-stage renal disease currently only has two methods of treatment. Firstly, there is dialysis. However, despite advances in medical technology, most patients never see a return to their normal lives. Furthermore, because of its high cost and physical demands, some patients end up spiraling down depression. The more effective treatment is through organ transplantation. This, however, also has its own issues. According to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, there are over 7,000 patients in the Philippines who are in need of a kidney transplant. This statistic only accounts for those on waiting lists and doesn’t yet account for those who have not sought treatment for end-stage renal disease.

We currently have a shortage of donors. It takes great amounts of courage and generosity if you’d want to donate one of your kidneys. Furthermore, while living on a single kidney is possible, its not without its challenges. It imposes a dietary limit we have to adhere to, lifestyle changes to cope with lesser renal capacity, and more. In essence, we need both our kidneys. However, what if we ask the question: do we really need them…after death? Nearly 500,000 Filipinos died in 2011 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. They estimate that around 1,300 of us die each day. Despite death being inevitable for every single one of us, I doubt that more than a few of us realize the opportunity that awaits us. We fail to see the chance to give someone else a second life upon the end of ours; that is through being an organ donor.

It may be because of different reasons. We may have simply overlooked the option, may not know about it well enough, or may even have some apprehensions about being an organ donor. Here’s a brief of what you should know about it. Prior to your death, you will have full control over which organs you wish to donate, and all of your decisions shall be honored with the utmost respect upon your death. This can be done through an organ donor card or through the option presented on the back of all Philippine driver’s licenses. If you choose not to be a donor, that choice shall be honored as well. Being an organ donor does not mean that once you fall ill or experience an accident, you will not be treated anymore and will have your organs harvested asap. You will get the same, full medical care as that of a non-donor. Only upon the meeting of all criteria to merit a clinical death will your body be assessed for possible transplant procedure. Once successful, you would have given another soul not only a new kidney, but also a new chance to live their life once again. You will have the opportunity to give someone a new breath of life – literally. And you may even give someone the opportunity to see for the first time in their entire life – to see the beauty this world has to offer, and to finally see every single person that as loved them in their life.

Talking about death may not really be the best subject in the world, but the beautiful irony of it is that it presents the opportunity of starting a new life. It is inevitable, why not take the task and make a difference!

For more information regarding organ transplant, visit the National Kidney and Transplant Institute website or contact them through their trunkline – 924-3601 to 19.


National Kidney and Transplant Institute

Philippine Council for Health Research and Development

The Philippine Star