Friday, February 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Kristel is currently involved in her family business.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Maxine is currently taking up Management Honors at the Atenedo de Manila University. She graduated from Uno High School in 2007.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I want to learn how to speak Bisaya.
This article won the Quintin Yuyitong Award for Best Feature Article in 2001. Camille Dionzon got her medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas and passed the medical board in 2010.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Sometimes I ask myself
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Not many people know what a Unean is.
If you have ever lived in Binondo or spent most of your primary years studying at one of the Chinese-Filipino schools dotting Metro Manila, then you just might have an idea of who Uneans are. If you’re still in the dark, then let me clarify by identifying Uneans as those students who conscientiously attend each class in that small high school on Alvarado Extension, Tondo, Manila. At least, that is what most non-Uneans believe.
In the Chinese-Filipino community, Uno High School has the reputation of having a tough curriculum. People almost always utter your name or the name of your school in hushed, reverent tones. If they try to speak nonchalantly, there still remains a certain inflection in their voices, giving the impression that either you have impressed them with your supposed mental prowess or you have baffled them for wanting to make your life harder by remaining in a school with a rigorous academic environment. Either way, whether you are seen as a well-rounded genius or a misunderstood youth, people expect you to be a trivia master or be extremely proficient in mathematics, English, and Chinese. Consequently, claiming or saying that you study or have studied at Uno has become a challenge to live up to.
I was a Unean for nearly twelve years of my life. I can still remember my apprehension during the first day of school in kindergarten. There were so many new faces, I was extremely shy, and I missed my best friend, Tiffany, from my old school. A curly-haired girl named Stephanie asked me my name, and from that innocent question, we became inseparable for quite a number of years. I can still recall the excitement I would feel every time I would perform in a school program or when I became a cheerleader for the pep squad. I remember too the giddiness of experiencing puppy love and pining for my secret crushes. I won’t forget a lot of things — being constantly summoned to fall in a straight line, being reminded that running was prohibited in the playground, raising money and aiming to top the donations given the previous year for the annual Christmas fund drive, and being wary of the legendary surveillance cameras that stood guard in almost every nook and cranny of the school. Through all these, the challenge to maintain above-average grades was foremost in my mind.
You see, despite the eccentricities associated with being a Unean, I must admit that I wanted to be identified with those qualities. In my young mind, it was better to be regarded different than to be part of the herd. Among my relatives, my sister and I were the only ones sent to study at Uno. Even among the children of my parents’ friends, only a few of them had attempted to matriculate in Uno. My sister and I were not the same as everybody else, and for me, that was the absolute best! It didn’t matter that I had to spend longer hours poring over my books, that I was relatively inexperienced in taking school field trips, or that I almost had no social life outside my school friends and studies. I was determined to be one of the remarkable students that would be graduating from Uno High School.
Imagine my consternation when I reached college and truly realized that I wasn’t as special as I originally thought I was. There were hundreds, even thousands, of others who were better equipped than I was for the university academe. Not only were they smarter than I was, they had also gone on countless field trips, participated in several interscholastic activities, were part of numerous summer camps, and were way more adept in sports than I could ever be. Adding insult to injury, many students outside the Chinese-Filipino community had not even heard of Uno High School. As one fellow Unean would recount later on, a female college classmate had actually insisted that the “Uno” for Uno High School was an acronym for something! It was humbling and frustrating at the same time because it seemed like all the years and effort I put into being the “ideal” Unean was all for nothing.
I had to find a way to cope with college life fast, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before I was keeping up with my fellow geeks. I was far from the best, but at least, I could finally claim that I could hold my own in examinations and presentations. My dream of learning any kind of sports would remain elusive to me, but going to retreats, taking part in immersion programs, and attending alternative classes had at last become the norm for me.
At that time, I thought my innate perverseness triggered my coping mechanisms. However, it would be too presumptuous of me to fully take credit for surviving the unexpected outside the controlled environment of Uno. In hindsight, the time I spent studying at Uno had instilled some intangibles in me, aside from a good academic record. To go through each grade level without failing in Uno is certainly an accomplishment, but to actually thrive in the Unean curriculum means one must have some sort of self-discipline. The yearly fund drives held in school and the free medical services given by the alumni had made me more aware of and compassionate for the people less fortunate than I am. Of course, after spending twelve years believing that we had been strictly monitored through the school cameras, I can honestly say that I’m less inclined to go into mischief (although the urge remains) and tend to think first of how my actions would affect others.
It’s interesting to note that I only understood what being a Unean is after I had graduated from Uno. What I believed to be shortcomings of Uno High School were actually life lessons that have prompted me to constantly seek excellence in my life. I was too caught up in comparing the tangibles with colleagues from other schools that I failed to realize that my formative years were spent on learning how to become a better student and a better person. Self-discipline, compassion, altruism, having a healthy sense of right and wrong, awareness of our effects on the world and people in general — these are some of the most essential things one would need to lead a happy life, and I am proud to say that most Uneans, even if we are relatively few and unknown, are fully equipped with these to live the good life.
Not many people know who Uneans are, but the moment they get to know us, they will certainly never forget us.
When not immersed in books and caffeine, Jacq spends her time working as a French/Chinese translator for a multinational Swiss company (so that she can afford her books and strongly caffeinated coffee). In the rare moments that she's decaffeinated enough to be sane, she makes nearly impossible plans on how to travel the world on less than 200 dollars. She has finally forgiven herself for being a perennial dreamer, but she still can't make up her mind whether she prefers being a rock star or the first female UN Secretary-General.