Raising kids in the Philippines: Indoctrination or Inspiration?


One of the greatest cultural clashes I have had to deal with in the Philippines is the style of education and parenting here. As I have a young son in elementary school, the style is sometimes troubling.

I wonder if the Philippines is getting what it’s Department of Education pays for. Are students graduating with healthy values and the personal knowledge and skills needed to thrive?

Define values. Define “thrive”.

Can they tell good sex jokes? Sneak around rules with the common man’s form of impunity?

It seems to me that education and parenting go together because the themes are the same, and, to a large extent, it is impossible to separate the two. Schoolroom behavior is a reflection of what parents teach at home, and the home life is a reflection of what is going on in school.

As there is a class divide in the Philippines . . . entitled versus downtrodden, at its most basic level . . . there are also differences between how kids are raised. Kids of the entitled generally get good schools, good teachers, good course content and more opportunity upon graduation. Kids of the downtrodden get overcrowded schools, a wide range of teachers both good and bad, rudimentary (basic) course content leveled down to slower learners, and limited opportunity upon graduation.

The public school system is bogged down in logistics: getting enough classrooms, teachers, and textbooks. Recovering from storms. Getting clean water hooked up. The idealized vision of technology-proficient students carrying tablet computers instead of heavy backpacks of tattered paper texts is only a dream, impossible for the scope of the challenge. This is, after all, a poor nation struggling mightily to keep every kid in school so that they can read and do math and compete for jobs in a demanding world.

Private schools do better. The graduates are better set to compete.

Occasionally, we find exceptions, public school students who work diligently all the way through primary school, reach college and launch themselves to success. Somewhere along the line, they usually have someone special helping. A parent, a teacher, a friend or relative.

How can we get more kids launched onto a path of personal growth and fulfillment?

That is the fundamental question that drives the thinking behind this article.

There are two ways to look at kids. One is the Philippine way, which I will call “Indoctrination”. The other a way I will call “Inspiration”.

Indoctrination is what you receive when you are the 6th of 10 kids and your parents see you as a functional obligation and a resource when you are old enough to provide some labor or income. You are ordered around, disciplined, yelled at, teased, and loved in a severe way. School is like home, a place of demands and routines and labor.

Inspiration is what you receive when you are the 2nd of 3 kids and your parents see you as a joyful obligation and cherished little person to nurture and help to independence and success. You are loved in a giving way, ordered around and taught why, disciplined and told why, yelled at followed by a hug, and laughed with. School is pretty much the same, a place of enlightenment and fun and challenges.

One of the more endearing expressions of love and respect in the Philippines is the “blessing” that is given from a child to an older person. Often the child is admonished to give the blessing, if he or she should fail in her respectful duty.

This form of love is indoctrinated, but genuine. That special respect for older people is often missing from American homes, particularly as the child approaches adulthood. In the Philippines, it lasts a lifetime.

In the American household, the expression of affection is more often from adult to child. Not always. But more often. Respect of elders is expected from children, but it is looser and seldom expressed through a formal rite. It is either earned by the parent or older relative, or it is not.

There are important bonding elements in both expressions, and I am not qualified to judge which is more wholesome.

What I do hear and see in the Philippines is a style of teaching that I have previously cited as “rote”, in which the task is set before the child without explaining why or being concerned about the child’s internal response.

Here’s an example between learning by indoctrination and by inspiration:

Case 1. The student is given a workbook with 5 pages of addition and subtraction exercise, 20 to the page. The student works them with few mistakes, and does that on other subjects as well, and wins “2nd honor” at the end of term. If the child is smart and easily bored, or not so smart and easily tired, he turns to mischief. There is tragedy in either of those two cases.

Case 2. The student is given a workbook with 1 page of addition and subtraction exercises, 20 to the page. If he completes the page with few mistakes, he is given a high five by his teacher and moves on to algebra. At the end of term, he graduates and wins vacation. If he can’t work the first page, he is given a second page to do with his parent’s help. If he does too much of that, he is made to attend summer school rather than vacation at end of term.

In case 1, the emphasis is on dedication to the task. In case 2, the emphasis is on knowing how to do the arithmetic.

In case 1, the reward is public accolade. Or shame if one’s kid is not one of the top 3 honors, or gets a secondary award (one of my wife’s young nieces got an award for “Most Speechless”, because she was totally quiet in the classroom). In case 2, the reward is personal fulfillment.

In case 1, the student learns to do what he is told and ridicule is a part of the social web. In case 2, the student learns to learn and comparison with other kids is minimized. There is less ridicule.

The home environment is not much different. Indoctrination and labor for the downtrodden class, inspiration and learning for the entitled.

“Joe, we aren’t all that way!”

Yes, I know. But I’m feeding back what I see, and what I hear from others, as to general themes for child-raising in the Philippines with special interest in the downtrodden class.

It is hard to change the case 1 methods. The Philippine way is culturally deep. This would not be a problem if the Philippines were excelling in its various institutions and acts, in government, in problem solving, in stability, in productivity, in wealth. But that  is far from he case.

Discuss any of the failings of the Philippines and the conversation invariably leads to shortcomings in education. Two common points of criticism or discussion regarding Philippine education are:

  • Erroneous textbooks
  • Religion in the classroom

Those are worth debating, for sure. Error police rage [Crusader finds 1,300 errors in Grade 10 book] and congressmen rant [Punish publishers of error-filled textbooks – congressman]. Atheists rage [Philippine education: A sector under the grip of religion] and educators complain there is not enough study ABOUT religions (different than study of a religion) [PH education: Allergic to religion?].

These are worthy topics, for sure, but I would argue if the THINKING INFRASTRUCTURE is broken, all these efforts are missing the point. They just don’t matter so very much.

What matters most is:


  • Does the child find joy in learning?
  • Is he curious?
  • Does he enjoy figuring things out?

Or have these essential elements of thinking been pounded out of the child by relentless indoctrination?

Duck 01 pininterest

Painting by indoctrination

Duck 02 Debra Sisson

Painting by inspiration

I remember as a child doing “paint by numbers” projects. One was red, two was green, fill in enough numbered spaces on the canvas and I’d be looking at a duck.

But it was not really a duck.

Okay, Joe. HOW exactly does one teach inspiration?

Good question. Haha. I can tell you are a critical thinker.

There are education experts who can answer the question better than me. I do know how we did it at the laboratory school my kids in the US attended, attached to a local liberal arts college of considerable reputation.

For grades 1 through 3, the teachers did not concern themselves so much with WHAT the kids were learning, but only that they enjoyed discovery. ALL feed back was positive, no matter the speed of the child at picking up an idea. Aways. No two children were doing the same thing at the same time, and the child only competed with himself. Not other kids.

Once the child smiled at his discovery, he  was pointed to the next challenge.

At home, I practice pretty much the same method, always praising my kid’s discoveries . . . so much so that he is always interrupting my blog writing to show off a new piece of knowledge he has picked up from “Big Fish Man Jakob Wagner” or some survivalist show. Or what he discovered at school (a rarity, because his school practices the mundane five pages of arithmetic method, and his big problem is boredom). At home, he is not bored. He is a regular pest for searches on Google to learn something new. He knows most of the dinosaurs and can pronounce them (I cannot), most flags of UN states, the complete NBA roster of teams and standings, and every vicious animal that populates the face of the earth. Yesterday we were working on how bees make honey. His initiative.

We play games all the time. When driving, “Show me something you have never seen before!” Around the house, “Which is stronger, a duck or 1,000 worms?”  That is one of HIS concoctions. Rhyming. Self-created tongue twisters. Different meanings of words that are pronounced the same. Testing, stretching, laughing.

A lot of laughing.

Because at our house, learning is a joyful thing.

That’s the point of this blog.


145 Responses to “Raising kids in the Philippines: Indoctrination or Inspiration?”
  1. Vicara says:

    Two very old-fashioned subjects which have all but dropped out of the modern curriculum in private/public schools: civics and geography.

    If these had been properly taught these last three decades, the country would not be undergoing all the travail and trauma of this most exhausting campaign year. We would not have been so quickly deceived by hollow candidates or manipulated so shamelessly by political operatives and bots and paid trolls and hack news media.

    • Joe America says:

      Those would indeed add a sense of community to the teaching, and presumably the idea of giving of oneself to make a whole nation. The modern social media tend to be “me” centered, as I think about it. Groups often seem a place for “me” to make a mark with witty comments, not give of oneself like a real teammate. I think the idea of public service after high school also might help build that appreciation for a nation that is not meant to be for “me” alone.

      • Vicara says:

        Yes. hiding behind the safety of social media alone won’t cut it. Right now we are evolving into Selfie Nation, coupled with cynicism.

        So many programs supposedly meant to build up the character of the young and orient them towards serving the nation throughout their lives have in the past been corrupt from the start (the Kabataang Barangay of Marcos) or co-opted (the Boy Scouts of Binay).

        Something new has to wipe away all traces of that.

    • “Two very old-fashioned subjects which have all but dropped out of the modern curriculum in private/public schools: civics and geography.”

      You can kill two birds with one stone, Vicara… simply take 2 to 6 individuals out in the hills, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but a map and compass (called Land Navigation),

      you’ll cover civics and geography, in a day. Then repeat. Until you not only know the terrain, but establish camaraderie— there’s a reason why Land Nav is the staple for special ops-type indoctrination.

      • Send kids from schools in the cities, especially private schools, for a week to help in the countryside, while sending those from the countryside into city slums – how about that?

        Leni Robredo’s tsinelas approach applied nationwide to teach national teamwork.

        • I think that’s a good idea. The only caveat is this notion, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage

          Most folks from small towns and rural Philippines, I noticed, had very urban values. So if these rural values, ie. self-reliance, appreciation of nature, community, non-materialistic, etc. are already absent, then sending them to the city will be re-enforcing the wrong side,

          But if your point was so these country bumpkins see the slums and appreciate rural life more, I think that point is better done in the country (I’m not a big fan of reverse psychology, but rural folks seeing urban folks come to appreciate country life—-

          like those Filipino travel blogs you’ve shared, that has a better chance IMHO).

          What’s the tsinelas approach, and is this policy being implemented, and where? How exactly?

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Do what I tell you to do,not what I do.
    The universal value system.


    Ang Maling Ginagawa ng Matanda sa Mata ng Bata ay Tama

    The wrong deeds of the elders becomes right in the eyes of the child.

    We still need good leadership by example and role models.


    in movies that are rated PG.

    the parental guidance goes like this:” quiet:we are watching a movie,that man over there will get mad at you.”

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, bad examples abound, in the senate, in the candidates, in the plundering presidents. Without a reset of values among the entitled, there is not much hope that kids can sort things out properly once they head into the “adult” world.

    • Bert says:

      Actually, Joe, I don’t know where to put this link, for whatever its worth. Sorry to disrupt the topic.

      • Joe America says:

        That’s okay. I can’t seem to disassociate myself from the election, either, although that was the purpose of the blog. To recognize that the world goes on, no matter the political drama.

  3. Bill in Oz says:

    Joe, what are the chances of this being published in Tagalog teachers magazine ? I think it would have a really positive affect there…

  4. Rank says:

    Here’s an update of what two former UP professors have done in Bohol which is more on Case 2.


    I wish I know about this when I was teaching high school years, years ago. But Case 1 was all I knew.

    And I wish there were sites like the Khan Academy when my own children were still young. But you know what, I still refer to Khan when I have trouble with math, hedge funds, etc.


  5. Joe,

    Great article (made me go, hmmmmmmmmmm… a couple of times).

    The only way I know how to connect indoctrination and inspiration is thru perspiration.

    Making the kid sweat, whilst undertaking something difficult by themselves or as part of a team, that’s the best lesson. I think it was Ireneo who said that Filipinos generally don’t like to sweat (hence taking the taxi for 2 blocks than breaking a sweat), because of some class distinction.

    Make sweating cool over there. I learned about winning at school, playing team sports, as well as cross country. I’ve since stopped playing sports, but stuck to cross country. Aside from cross country, I’ve added mountaineering, bouldering, etc. (sports that require two balls). And I’ve come to realize that the taste for winning playing hs sports, is different from true accomplishment—-

    like surviving, climbing a big hurdle, getting thru a very cold night, etc.

    My point about perspiration isn’t just in sports, that’s only the surface, it’s about accomplishment and extending limits and learning your mettle— which is a mix of indoctrination (learned from mentors) and inspiration (dug from w/in yourself).

    You don’t find your mettle in the classroom, you find it outside, Joe.

    How many over there can name wild game, fish, or can name important native plants you can eat or use as medicine? Is there a school that takes kids outside, and indoctrinates them with the laws of nature and inspires them to live?

    I found a recent picture of you, so I know we’re both on the same frequency re Nature as the best teacher,

    Nature is also democratic, so it’s the best way to mix-up the downtrodden and the rich. And the purpose of Education should be,

    Freedom. Then build from that.

    • Yes, and keep the kids away from computers,

      “we may be setting up our children for incomplete, handicapped lives devoid of imagination, creativity and wonder when we hook them onto technology at an early age. We were the last generation to play outside precisely because we didn’t have smartphones and laptops. We learned from movement, hands-on interaction, and we absorbed information through books and socialization with other humans as opposed to a Google search.

      Learning in different ways has helped us become more well-rounded individuals — so, should we be more worried that we are robbing our children of the ability to Snapchat and play “Candy Crush” all day if we don’t hand them a smartphone, or should we more worried that we would be robbing them of a healthier, less dependent development if we do hand them a smartphone? I think Steve Jobs had it right in regard to his kids.

      So the next time you think about how you will raise your kids, you may want to (highly) consider not giving them whatever fancy tech we’ll have while they are growing up. Play outside with them and surround them with nature; they might hate you, but they will absolutely thank you for it later”


      • Joe America says:

        I would object to the idea of “keeping kids away from computers”, because the outside world is full of them and young people need to be able to function in that world without being afraid or ignorant. But for sure, computers/cell phones can be abused and distract from reading or exploring the physical world. But I’ve discovered that if a kid is genuinely curious, he will find both computers and the physical world a blast to explore. Not just candy crush his brain to oblivion.

        • Maybe up to 3rd grade then…

          Steve Jobs was essentially a tinkerer , that carried over when he met Steve Wozniak, and what they were doing was constantly working with their hands, breaking-down stuff and re-purposing, until they changed the idea of personal computers (actually I think the idea came first, so it was more designing it).

          So I guess it depends what the purpose is for using computers. If it’s like that cartoon above (in your article), then that’s probably the wrong approach— though like Rank said about Khan Academy, ie. a parent augmenting his/her tutoring with something online, then that makes more sense.

          But my specific point re computers/kids, is quality time with them. Sure you can surf the web together, but when talking of time and bonding (and teaching life lessons), that’s best done w/out computers. Unless you’re using the computer to build stuff together,

          or say to get ready for a trek into the water or the woods, by first looking up Google map (using satellite and terrain features).

          The reality is that when kids are alone with computers, basically it’s the same as plopping them down in front of the TV—- they’re mouth starts opening and drool slowly, steadily, pours down.

          Use the internet for,

          1). Entertainment

          2). Information

          3). Making Money

          If you’re doing too much of number 1). then you’re doing something wrong, should be the Philippine mantra when it comes to children and computers.

          I would add another,

          4). Meaning

          Find meaning,

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahaha, that picture is classic. I remember when my brother took it with that new flash pan camera he’d scrounged up. We had just returned from hunting raccoons down by the river.

      I think you are misinformed. Filipinos do more sweat work than any peoples I know, forever climbing trees or hauling cement by hand or whacking weeds alongside the road. Sweat is the oil of humanity hereabouts. I do agree that out-of-the box and out of the classroom studies can be enriching. But I’m still working on the infrastructure of mass education.

      • Re sweat, the context was more urban than rural (or the downtrodden, ie. walking vendors, stevedores, manual labor, etc.), where when a Filipino gets to a certain status or position in life, he’s expected not to sweat—- and that same care for status/position is transferred to their progeny,

        • “when a Filipino gets to a certain status or position in life, he’s expected not to sweat”

          My father was NOT happy about my studying computer science, he said it is just a tool.

          His expectation was for me to become a professor like him: “you were made for better”…

          My (German) mother told me about an aunt of mine who had maids take her to the bus stop, carrying a parasol to protect her from the sun – and mind you they were not really rich, they were the children of Atty. Irineo Salazar of BIR, first to study in a peasant family…

          Another aunt of mine woke up our maids at 2 a.m. to make her some NESCAFE… my mother got mad at her – many in the clan got mad at my mother for telling my aunt off… poor girl has to study… OK this was the 1960s/1970s, things were way more feudal then.

        • Joe America says:

          I understand. I suppose, though, that my main concern is the weakness in education among the kids of people who never arrive at that station in life where sweat is not expected.

          • I see where our fundamental difference is now, you’re banking on the downtrodden pulling themselves by their bootstraps, while my presumption all along is to change the middle to high to start thinking of themselves as also a resource for this sweat equity— and sweat as the equalizer.

            Which layer to focus, we can differ.

            But understand that the open sea is free, a trek into the woods is free, making stuff out of repurposed/salvaged materials is free, living off the land is free (if you take from a farm, the rule is 1 or 2 is fine, paying the owner is better, but can be free as well)… all that’s needed is some sweat.

            Rich and poor alike can partake— putting them together on equal footing is value added, plus teaches the high to middle class that there’s no taboo in breaking a sweat.

            Like Vicara mentioned, this can be done thru the Dept. of Education over there, simply re-purpose the ROTC and Boy Scouts, to what they were originally designed to do, teach young Filipinos to exist/thrive meagerly in the wild— right now it’s the introductory path to corruption in the Philippines.

            So simply make it less military, less hierarchical, ie. Boy Scouting over here is done at the neighborhood, or church, not thru schools.

            • Joe America says:

              I suppose there are multiple aspects of education that need to be considered:

              – Classroom knowledge building (history, math, sciences, language)
              – Technology building
              – Psychological roots and values (inspiration to ethics and sacrifice)
              – Community building (sports to civics)
              – Exploration, innovation and soul-building

              • I would prioritize depth of character, of which moral courage falls under, among others.

                I remember growing up, we had a WWII-Korean vet, who was really involved in the neighborhood. One of the first things I learned from him, I think I was in the 4th grade, was how to greet (and size-up) another person,

                a firm handshake, a polite Hello and most importantly, to look him/her in the eyes, not to stare-down but simply to acknowledge, make clear that I am your equal (and you are mine). I’ve carried that lesson every where—- and where ever I can, especially kids, I try to impart that same lesson.

                In the Philippines, as culture goes, when they see someone they perceive as superior, they lower their gaze. I’m not a big fan of the whole snowflake crap they teach over here, but I do think self-respect can be taught, and it’s as easy as a firm handshake, polite Hello and strong eye contact.

                I’m not saying young Filipinos are docile or meek, I’ve seen them stab each other with BBQ sticks and engage in gladiator like rumbles, but when faced with true power… ie. the mayor, a strongman, wealthy baron, sons of tyrants, etc. the tails tuck.

                Moral courage.

                Joe, of the schools you checked out in Cebu which ones came close to your ideals? And how do they compare with each other?

              • Joe America says:

                Religious schools, in the main. 🙂 High on academics and even sports.

  6. chempo says:

    The teachers’ lot is really very restrictive. I don’t know about Philippines, but in my country, they are really constrained in many ways. People think wow teaching is fun, you only work half-days. In reality, they are cramped with lots of work –marking homework, preparing next day’s lessons, admin work required by the Ministry, reports, arranging extra-curricula activities, taking care of some sport activities, or civic club activities etc etc. More importantly, the methodology of teaching as dictated by the Ministry needs to be complied. In short leaving them no room to be innovative or creative, even if they are capable and willing.I know this as I have seen a sister-in-law struggled with her work.

    For the “inspiration” part, I think the individual teachers creativity and innovative approach is essential. But for the constraints mentioned above, this is too much to ask of teachers really. Yet, from my own viewpoint and experience, I feel that teaching can be more profoundly satisfying if the teachers find their own creative and innovative juices instead of rote teaching. I remember having a history teacher who did nothing but reading from text book. To prevent myself from falling asleep in class I skipped her lessons and hid in the library. Came final exam I had no choice but to spot questions and zoomed in on only 20 topics. By miracle all questions came from the topics I selected and I scored a distinction.

    Many years back, our Ed Ministry wanted teachers to be innovative and they came up with some performance scoring system with $ rewards in salary adjustment for those with unique solutions and applications. I saw a business opportunity. I devised something using intranet capabilities that provide teachers with a very unique way to teach, connect to parents, allow students to opportunity for peer critique, and other stuff. Those were early internet days so I though it ought to be interesting to teachers. I practically approached all schools in Spore — I could not even rouse the curiosity of a single school. It was not about cost for I offered free — I found a way to monetise my package. The lesson basically is that it is not easy to sell such ideas to an educational institution of the land where everybody has to conform to established teaching methods.

    Just another short story for the fun of it.
    In my army days we were also trained to be instructors. Each of us hold the class for some specific topics — on combat situations like day quick assaults or ambush etc. For my turn, I created some simple training gadgets to complement the lesson and I scored for innovation and capability to capture attention. Days went by and fellow trainees queued in line to borrow my gadgets and they too scored (because different instructors never knew the others copied my stuff). Of course I destroyed those gadgets in week 2. This is what I meant — if teachers only realise that if they are creative and innovative, the job is so much fun. Thus making learning fun for the kids.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful real-life lessons. Your tale about the boring teacher illustrates that you have the ability to discern what is important. That was actually a skill I developed in college as I spent way too much time on the basketball and volleyball courts to study diligently, but I learned to sift quickly (like before an exam) through notes and text books to identify the really important stuff. Like, cramming. I got good grades. That skill served me well as a business executive (and today as a blogger), because I can go through reams of material and pull out the important matters fairly quickly.

  7. andrewlim8 says:

    sent you an email, Joe.

  8. Some of my key experiences with Philippine education in elementary and high school…

    we were told to memorize the years of the encomienda system in the Philippines. Only recently did I research what it really was and what it meant for people’s lives – this was not explained…

    we were told to memorize names of Igorot and Lumad instruments without any explanations, the teacher’s facial expression and tone of voice said: “don’t ask for any details”. I went to Prof. Maceda of UP College of Music, a recently friend of ours. He showed me a kudyapi (a lute) and an Igorot nose-flute (mischieviously I thought this must be the reason Igorots always pick their noses, stupid Manila prejudices I had) but I remember both until now. Our music teachers did not even show us pictures of the instruments we had the memorize for the tests we had later…

    • Joe America says:

      That would be termed mindless education, I believe.

    • recently deceased friend Prof. Jose Maceda… his collection of native instruments and worldwide instruments was amazing… when we had to learn the names of Chinese instruments he told me the teacher is talking nonsense, mixing the old and new spellings…

      In the old Patricio Mariano version of Noli Me Tangere, the Schiller quote in German before the novel by Dr. Rizal is a total gibberish misprint due to the ones who made the typefaces mistaking the Gothic German “s” for an “f”… so many things lost in translation… the Schiller quote is about only “subalterns and scribes” remaining… Rizal BTW wrote an essay on Philippine education where he described Filipino students as “gramophones”…. rote.

      • I got to visit Rizal’s school/estate just outside of Dapitan (there was a resort in the next bay or lagoon over, where in the owner was known to be a rapist, so the local girls who accompanied us, didn’t wanna go there, LOL!).

        But walking around Rizal’s compound, you get a sense that he was doing an Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters-type undertaking. And guest what, no classrooms!

      • Joe America says:

        Ah my. “gramophones”. That was 120 years ago, and still they are being manufactured. I know there are good people in DepEd, but really . . . 120 years later!!!!

        • Joe,

          I remember in elementary, we were still using Ditto Machines,

          (my 5th grade teacher, went to the same elementary school she taught in, and swore she used the same Ditto Machine in the 60s, LOL!)

          • Joe America says:

            There is nothing like the sweet smell of ditto machine ink in the early morning. I was a teacher’s aid for a time, and I’d put that right up there with tar on the road.

          • karlgarcia says:

            If video killed the radio star,then I blame the photo copier for killing the ditto machine star.

  9. “Two common points of criticism or discussion regarding Philippine education are:
    Erroneous textbooks
    Religion in the classroom”

    Erroneous (and expensive textbooks) can be found here too, Joe— especially in the Bible Belt when it comes to Biology. The only solution for that is to not rely on textbooks, and vigilance (ie. teacher or parents as gate-keepers, keep an eye on ’em).

    As for Religion, the best way to teach religion is to teach more than one (your DFA personnel in India and UP Anthropology/Theology professors should be tasked to study Jainism)…

    — this is what I meant by Meaning above, not lower case ‘m’ meaning, I’m talking about Meaning (ie. the Meaning of Life). If Norway can collect all known seeds from around the world, the Philippines too can be a repository for religions (Meaning is the next frontier, as per Nikola Tesla),

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Years ago when my daughter was about 7 the local Australian primary ( elementary ) schoo introduced voluntary religious education classes : Protestant, Catholic & Jewish. The school asked which one we wanted our daughter to go to. We asked her about it.She said i want to go to one each for a ‘term’ There were three terms in a school year then, so it fitted. The school admin was surprised but Ok with it. She loved the Jewish one best. The following year she said “No I don’t want to go to any of the them” so she had extra free time in the school library.

      • Bill,

        Exactly, kids are pretty smart when it comes to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, or any other crafted story, and once they see behind the curtain, they usually take this approach…

        (then usually the next lesson is tempering skepticism/and cynicism… but that’s better done with experience, not dogma.)

        • karlgarcia says:

          Were you given money by the tooth fairy?I don’t care how many times I get fooled as long as the money comes in and not out.

          • Our mom collected all (close to all) our teeth, it’s in some bank vault somewhere, along with our first shoes, umbilical chords, baby pictures, etc. (and I hope some big inheritance, LOL! )

            So I’m Daan Matuwid when it comes to tooth fairy dole outs. 😉

  10. NHerrera says:

    In the following quote from Albert Einstein, I believe he is being humble of the storehouse of knowledge he has of physics, but declares the important part that inspiration or imagination plays in human affairs.

    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

    How to inspire the youth to hunger for knowledge in synergy with his creative self or imagination is a dream and challenge for us parents and teachers, and yes the politicians of the better kind.

    To add to the thoughts expressed here, it will be great if after using those digital gadgets, the youth-student takes at least a week or two of sabbatical during the summer break. And armed only with the map, compass, notebook and pencil use his imagination and store of knowledge to discover himself and the world around him, including the world of the poor. (That Swiss army knife may be a handy tool too.)

    • Exactly, NHerrera!

      “at least a week or two of sabbatical during the summer break. And armed only with the map, compass, notebook and pencil use his imagination and store of knowledge to discover himself and the world around him, including the world of the poor. (That Swiss army knife may be a handy tool too.)”

      • To this day I have trouble naming plants that I see… inspite of high-level biology education in Philippine Science High School… my mother told me once that in German elementary school they went out to look at the plants and learn their names… what I know to this day pretty well are the chemical details of photosynthesis… because I did a report on that for Biology class in Philippine Science… but I don’t even know the names of the plants in my apartment unless I look at the tags… OK one is a ficus benjamini, nice big plant 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          The ficus tree is amazingly temperamental. If you move them and they don’t like the light, they just drop all their leaves off. I once, in California, had four lovely ficus trees about 10 feet tall that served as a hedge to separate my back yard into two parts. We had a pounding rain one night, the trees got pissed, and threw off all their leaves.

          They grew them back in a few weeks after they had calmed down.

          • NHerrera says:

            Nice to know about the temper of the ficus tree. I have one — still about 8-9 ft tall. I observed though, that so far it has not shed its leaves like the narra trees which we used to have in our old home.

      • NHerrera says:

        @LCpl_X: Indeed for me (old fashioned I suppose) there is nothing like a small paper notebook and a pencil — admittedly of the mechanical kind as a concession to gadgetry — to quickly jot down ideas, orders of the Missus, etc.

    • Joe America says:

      I see you align with LCX, who also thinks physical engagement is important. Him with nature, you with people.

      • NHerrera, Joe, et al.

        I still have a 2004 model flip-phone. So I’m a Luddite— I carry maps, having never relied on GPS. All weather notebook and pencil, I carry everyday.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Trillanes on suspending K to 12.
    He is correct that the public school sysjstem is not ready in terms of class room and equipment.
    One of his proposals was go straight to TESDA.

    my take- when will we ever be ready? Why put to a grinding halt a very promising program?

    Budget-Who has power of the purse?
    Oversight own implementation-Who has oversight powers?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that is my reaction as well. If you don’t accept that there will be hurdles to overcome, no improvement will ever occur.

      • I have been through MRT-style projects in my professional life…

        All of them have suceeded in the end… the few Filipinos I was with in my early professional life roasted me for much less than the hurdles I went through in big international projects.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    No,do not take away computers from kids,or else I can’t say.

      • karlgarcia says:

        • The lawyer of a terrorist suspect (November Paris attacks) described his client, a young Arab migrant who had everything, as a “typical representative of the Grand Theft Auto generation who thinks of life as a videogame, with the intelligence of an empty ashtray”.

          Too much gaming, Internet and even this here can cause a certain disjoint with reality. Those who grew up with less contact to reality may truly get unhinged as a result – think of the BPO workers supporting Duterte, who might know killing only from “Counterstrike”.

    • It was a big surprise for me to get into oral exams at university level in Germany… two hours one-on-one with German professors, the kind that look you in the eye which is disconcerting for someone who grew up in the Philippines… and ask all sorts of questions.

      Not rote memorization – questions that really probe whether you have understood the subject matter. In fact some co-students told me, if you don’t know a fact say so, but then in the next phase prove whether you can combine the facts to put things together properly. Still my fear of the oral exams in university delayed the first half of my studies – the first oral exam I took in Germany was for the baccalaureate in K-13 there – for my English minor subject, well as an English-spokening Pinoy I had a superiority complex which helped, but in German university that English-snob (c) MRP attitude was useless as the oral exams were in German… and the rote-based training had to be upgraded to real understanding.

      What did help was that I had had Grade 11-13 in Germany… even if my ex-classmates from Pisay mocked me for going to a “overextended high school, that must be very boring”… the recitation in the social science subjects (German especially literature, Earth Science where I loved the agricultural and natural resources maps, Social Science my still unthinking and leftist viewpoints a la Bayan Muna just annoyed my teacher but his Constitution stuff stuck) where it was about not memorizing, but thinking and defending one’s OWN opinion logically. The postwar education system that was geared towards producing real citizens.

      We were allowed to use calculators in Math exams, and even have a book of formulas next to our tests. It was more about solving problems than remembering all the stuff.

      Geometry and algebra was more about logically going from axioms to lemmata to theorems. My math teacher in the beginning had to keep me from jumping to conclusions – another Pinoy weakness we see so often in today’s political discussions. True learning…

  13. karlgarcia says:

    “when a Filipino gets to a certain status or position in life, he’s expected not to sweat”

    Then Edison was wrong.

    • LOL! But how much percentage was actually Tesla’s? hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

      • karlgarcia says:

        So who gets credit for the gramophone, Edison or Tesla? Truman wouldn’t care.

        • The own input truly counts more… both Walden Bello and Prof. Heydarian are modern leftists similar to RHiro and Micha in thinking… but have their own interpretations added.

          Many Filipino intellectuals stick to what they have learned in college and just repeat it as if it was cathechism… even that would be unfair to Catholic teaching, as Manong Sonny has shown me how much depth it can have. My prejudice towards Catholic teaching was shaped by how many Filipinos treat it – as dogma. But then again, many educated Filipinos even secular ones are dogmatists – whether they call themselves leftists, nationalists, neoliberals. Just like most Pinoy bands abroad just cover international hits and don’t dare interpret them differently… Martin Nievera and Bayang Magiliw, anyone?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Here is my own input.I don’t think Heydarian has leftist leanings.
            The national historical commission might be the one to complain on Nievera’s rendition.
            The singing contests here want you to own the song.Good for contests,not for the anthem.

          • sonny says:

            “… that would be unfair to Catholic teaching, as Manong Sonny has shown me how much depth it can have.”

            I can live with this, PiE. 🙂 Thanks.

  14. One of the things I fondly remember from Grade 11-13 German K-13 was “Flurbereinigung” – the consolidation of small landholdings and parcels done especially during the 1960s for efficiency. Maps like these were our staple, including historical maps showing the crops grown…


    Also maps on municipal development – zoning, road widening, commercial spaces… I doubt that most Filipino mayors would be able to measure up to those three years of minor subject training.

  15. uht says:

    I spent my high school years in a private school here n the Philippines, yet they still had shortcomings in terms of education, in hindsight. One was that it was a common practice for fresh graduates to apply for positions at our school, so we ended up with two or three patient veterans, and a lot of short-tempered new teachers. It was not a very good combination.

    Another one has been mentioned here a lot, but one that needs to be repeated over and over: the lack of attention given to history and/or geography. My teachers gave a lot of memorization work to us. I still kind of blame it for our situation with the elections right now. Fortunately I’ve had the time and opportunity to see the world and learn better now I’m in college. I thank God for that.

    On another note, the next government should probably enforce the teaching of the history of the Marcos regime and its context/aftermath as a standalone subject the way they do with Rizal’s life and works…..

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, to the Marcos history, context and leftover results.

    • I was surprised when I chose “Earth Science” as a subject in German K-13 (there was a complex scheme by which I could mix and match with some required stuff) – it turned out to be way more than geography I expected, memorizing capitals and looking at maps…

      Yes we did look at maps… maps of agriculture, maps of cities as they developed over time, maps of oil fields and their capacity, maps of industrial zones, maps of migration patterns.

      It was like real-life SimCity in a way… exam questions were for example to show us before-after maps… the questions were like this: “what can be seen on the map and what conclusions do you draw from it” – that was training in analyzing data and information…

      • uht says:

        A map of the Manila slums as they developed over time should’ve been included in the basic training of our mayors, now I come to think of it….along with maps of migration patterns to Manila over time. Maybe then we can find out a solution to the general congestion here 🙂

  16. Grace Lim Reyes says:

    My husband and I chose to homeschool our son. He’s never been to a “regular” school and has been taught at home. We are both degree holders and I used to teach in college. If we would want our son to grow the way we think is right, we should not assign that responsibility to others. We also want our time together as a family 24/7 until he is old enough to say he can make it on his own. We prepare him to become independent someday. Unlike other parents, we don’t expect our son to take care of us in old age. It is our responsibility to prepare for that. Our son has his life to live and look forward to.

    Some people may find it odd we did not enroll him in a private or public school, but we feel that homeschool is the best way that we could impart values and traditions that may not be feasible in a crowded classroom of 50 kids. He gets to explore all he wants, including going to museums and travel with us (without the need to make excuse letters and taking him out of his class) anytime we want. Our life is not as regimented as most people’s, and we believe that it’s the best option for him to grow into a mature, responsible, and productive citizen.

    • NHerrera says:

      Grace Lim Reyes:

      If you will permit my comment:

      I am glad that you have the time and resources to do that. And I assume from your note that your son likes the arrangement and having a grand time to gain knowledge through this arrangement. But if you will allow me, before he becomes independent, you said:

      We also want our time together as a family 24/7 until he is old enough to say he can make it on his own. We prepare him to become independent someday. Unlike other parents, we don’t expect our son to take care of us in old age. It is our responsibility to prepare for that. Our son has his life to live and look forward to.

      My little apprehension about the arrangement is not that you are not giving him a good grounding on curricula and good habits and instilling values — I assume you are doing that well. But it is something like putting a cocoon around your son for an extended period akin to not having him bruised and that he may be rudely shocked when the time comes for exposure to the “real” world out there. I of course do not know the details of the arrangement. Perhaps if you can comment on my unfounded apprehension for your and your son’s sake?

      • Grace Lim Reyes says:

        In this arrangement, we get to choose what he should and he should not learn. Maybe when he is older, he will discover for himself why we chose to have his early education in this manner. Unlike other children, he is exposed early to the essential things to survive, such as doing house chores, going to markets in different places (he appreciates how one market in one place is so different from another i.e., Market in Baguio that sells dog meat. When he asked, we educate him why there is dog meat on sale and enlighten him about the culture of the North and so on). We also taught him money sense, especially when we go to these markets or shop for groceries. We taught him to love books early. As a result, he tends to choose to browse in a bookstore, than whine about getting the latest toys.

        As for the curricula, we follow K-12 and that of the school where he is enrolled (the school has both regular and homeschooled students). The school has activities for both regular and homeschooled kids, which allow my son to interact with other kids. Homeschooling is like regular school, just without the hassle of waking up early, staying up too late because of too much school work, and so on. In this arrangement, the child learns at his own pace.

        Homeschooling is not new, but only a few parents consider this option because of their work and time.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks Grace Lim Reyes.

          Unlike other children, he is exposed early to the essential things to survive, such as doing house chores, going to markets in different places (he appreciates how one market in one place is so different from another … We also taught him money sense, especially when we go to these markets or shop for groceries. We taught him to love books early. As a result, he tends to choose to browse in a bookstore, than whine about getting the latest toys.

          That is the information I was looking for. No apprehension on my part anymore. Hurray for your son, yourself and husband!

    • Joe America says:

      I admire your dedication, to carry that off, Grace. I’m sure your son will be strong of character and knowledge, with that kind of personalized schooling.

      • Proximity is also a curse… some of the most lascivious girls I knew, mostly East Asians, came from proximity—- they never left they’re parents side, so when they finally were free, they went crazy. There’s a lesson there, I’m sure.

    • Bert says:

      “We also want our time together as a family 24/7 until he is old enough to say he can make it on his own.”

      No offense meant but that’s the most selfish statement I have ever heard from a mother on bringing up a son. I doubt the son can grow up independent in such a close environment. I would like very much to be proven wrong on this.

      I wish Grace the best though, and her son also.

      • Grace Lim Reyes says:

        Mr. Bert,

        If you were a parent in today’s pervasive and materialistic society, wouldn’t you do something to avoid your son/daughter becoming like one of our narcissistic youths today? The problem with our youth today is that they are left on their own because their parents have to work abroad or work all day.

        I taught in college previously and most of my students were sort of orphaned because both parents were away. Family time is non-existent for these children. Hence, our desire for 24/7 family time is a goal as long as our material resources and health allow.

        • Bert says:

          Then, Grace, I sincerely wish all your material resources and health last forever and that’s coming from my heart.

    • Over here, because of confidence lost in our public school system, homeschooling is quite the rage.

      But I notice there’s two types of parents opting for homeschooling,

      1). Those who genuinely think they can do better than the public schools, or any organized effort for that matter,


      2). Those who are either born-again Christians, fundamentalist religious-types, who think their kids should only read the Bible (or the Qur’an, Torah, or L. Ron Hubbard’s books) and spend time with like minds.

      The 2nd of course is a form of child abuse.

      I think you belong to the 1st, Grace, so my question is what resources are available to you, by of the gov’t, NGOs/church groups, or online, like Khan Academy? Some of the smartest kids I met were homeschooled.

      Oh yeah, there is a

      3). Parents of mentally ill or autistic kids (there seems to be more and more of them each year), who have no choice but to homeschool.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I had two autistic brothers and for a few years they went to school for special needs,they were also home schooled,but not by my parents but by tutors.

        Homeschooling is a choice that I got to respect but I do not agree with.If computers and gadgets and the rest of technology changed the way children play. Homeschooling definitely can not give you that choice to play with other children.

        • karl,

          If you don’t mind me asking, whatever became of your brothers?

          I mentioned autism because I just recently saw a documentary about how Silicon Valley is now recruiting people in the autistic “spectrum”. Basically, the point was that these autistics will never learn to play with others, because they are on a different wavelength—- and

          that is their value to society.

          The other phenomenon out of Silicon Valley and the tech industry as a whole are https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic s (if you’ve watched “Limitless” and “Lucy”, that’s basically it, only Hollywoodized)

          While the normal (smart) kids in Silicon Valley are trying to increase their brainpower, the autistics naturally think different, w/out trying. They’ll never learn to interact like others, so there’s a liaison service available (run by high functioning autistics, or Aspies).

          To your concern about playing with other children, IMHO if you’re an autistic, that stuff’s already over-rated, unnecessary— the value is in the ability to think different. So we shouldn’t attempt to hammer a square peg into a circular opening.

          Autistics are perfectly fine operating without society, but their safety is in our hands, so we adjust to them, not them to us— follow the Silicon Valley model.

          That’s for autistics, as for regular homeschooled kids,

          Grace is correct, many times the homeschooled kids end up being better adjusted, since they are playing with other homeschooled kids. Public schools here, especially in the cities, look more like prep-academies for prisons.

          When your choice is having to go thru metal detectors, vs. homeschoolers taking trips to Nat’l Parks or meeting up in a playground… I’d take that anytime. I’d say better socialization is available to homeschoolers (just be wary of cults 😉 ).

          • karlgarcia says:

            They are gone now.
            One had a photographic memory he wrote everything he read on a wall once.the other no extordinary talent,but I miss them both.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Correct put loners together, they would still be loners.may sariling mundo or they have their own world.schooling did not work for them.

              • So sorry to hear that, karl.

                That show about Silicon Valley and autistics, I saw, claimed that easily 80% of software engineers were somewhere in the autistic spectrum—- most actually are diagnosed Asperger’s, which I guess is at the shallowest end.

                I don’t really know much about autism, but from the news, experts say it’s on the rise— related I guess to ADHD, except autism is more inward.

                You think your brothers would’ve faired well in Silicon Valley?

                What’s so hopeful about that documentary was the whole notion of tapping into another mode of thought. I could totally see the application of visual or abductive thinking in the military and strategic think tank setting.

                Over here, most autistics are sheltered at home, or if they do send them off to work, they work in Goodwill or Wal-Mart, two establishments that also contract with the state prison system, for their work-release program (absolute genius! 😥 /sarcasm ).

                I think there’s a reason why more and more autistics are born today (kinda like when you smoke mango trees over there, to get more flowers… nature’s way of responding to calamities, real or not 😉 —- I’m glad we’re just now tapping into autistics’ minds),

              • karlgarcia says:

                We were not able to tap their potential.Autism was not yet fully understood then,I think everyone is just being educated about it.

              • “We were not able to tap their potential.”

                Hopefully, we’ve learned, karl.

                sonny might know this book, I know Catholic seminaries (schools) are big fans of this book. But when thinking about autism, very apt.

                (Grace, have your son check out that youtube video, and the book too, it’s online, just Google)

              • sonny says:

                @ LC
                re: flatland

                became aware of flatland through readings/video about Math, from points to locus of points and lines, to surfaces to figures generated by rotation of a surface, etc ad infinitum.

      • Grace Lim Reyes says:

        I used to teach so we create our own lesson plans based on K-12 and the school curriculum. i do my own research on what should be taught and not taught to kids. Meaning, topics should be age appropriate. I think some are prejudiced about homeschooling because they don’t understand the value of it. To each his own, and homeschooling is my choice without the baggage (religion blah…) excuse me… I abhor organized religion and does not belong to any cult.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I respect your choice,I suppose you have cyber nanny software,or cctv if not,I suggest watch him while watching youtube or doing facebook and twitter or just surfing the net.

          • Grace Lim Reyes says:

            @karlgarcia. Surprisingly, my son is curious, but won’t go into territories without asking first. I don’t allow him Facebook or Twitter yet until he understands the responsibility of using the platform to express his thoughts and ideas.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Great.Actually I like the idea of homeschooling for show biz people,but I think it is more on self study on their part,but maybe their parents make time for them like you do for your child.

        • I think you’re on the right track, Grace,

          are you promoting homeschooling in the Philippines or are there parents/groups who do? Over here, in California, homeschoolers use social media to augment the socializing component of their curriculum, ie. hikes, the park, sports, road trips, dances, parties, etc. with other homeschoolers—- so the homeschooling community is much vibrant than public and private schools.

          Education is basically crowd sourced (since most who’ve opted for homeschooling aren’t educators, they rely with online resources and others who have backgrounds in teaching, theory, etc.), there’s also an AirBnB/Uber quality to the movement, I noticed—- when they hook up to do road-trips, staying in other homeschoolers’ homes, etc.

          My only worry about this movement over here as vibrant as it is, is the notion of Civics—- can individuals promote the idea of patriotism/nationalism, community building, etc. better than the state? What I know so far is that many homeschoolers, still actually do the “I pledge allegiance to the flag” routine (but more to symbolically begin the lessons of the day).

          I’d like to see more studies on this, but so far, I’m very optimistic of homeschooling as a challenge to brick & mortar, institutionalized learning— it’s definitely causing school teachers pause, and re-thinking their strategy (and that’s always a good thing).

          Ask your son, what this means,

          • then, connect to this notion of time…

            Professor Norman: But if humans are not the unit of measure, and the world isn’t governed by mathematical laws, what governs all that?

            Lucy: Film a car speeding down the road. Speed up the image infinitely, then the car disappears. So what proof do we have of its existence? Time gives legitimacy to its existence. Time is the only true unit of measure. It gives proof to the existence of matter. Without time, we don’t exist.

          • Grace Lim Reyes says:

            @LCpl_X. Homeschooling has been around here in the Philippines for some time. Some Philippine schools offer them (Angelicum in Sto.Domingo, Quezon City, UPLB Open University for college and post-graduate to name a few). There are some qualifications required before you can homeschool. Parents must be degree holders. Otherwise, the school will advise you to hire a tutor. Parents of homeschoolers do get together to share notes and help each other. On our end, the student is expected to present a topic of his choice among his peers (including non-homeschoolers). Fieldtrips are also organized among homeschoolers like in regular schools.

            Yes, I still require my son to memorize the National Anthem, Panatang Makabayan (which he already did). I also helped him to understand Lincoln’s “Four scores and seven years ago…” as well as the inaugural speech of Manuel L. Quezon. Homeschooling actually gives us the flexibility to choose how our child should learn and learn right. Our school has early finance education for kids (to teach them money sense) as well.

            As a parent of a homeschooler, I need to be several steps ahead in order to answer any question the child will have. I need to research, read, and analyze information, which otherwise parents would take for granted and leave the task to teachers in school. A homeschooler parent must love to learn and teach and read insatiably.

            • Grace,

              You represent a very optimistic, but very small sliver of Filipinos, self-reliant and taking initiative instead of just relying on institutions and gov’t, or even social norms (ie. school is where kids learn).

              Do you think you can write a blog or even a series on homeschooling, for those others who may not have the same confidence or resource as you, or just to promote homeschooling in the Philippines as a viable substitute to public and even private or religious school over there.

              I’ve been hounding Joe to write a blog about how a parent in the Philippines instills not only values but depth of character over there. How do you do this, Grace? Give details in the article.

              Joe’s best buds with Roxas and the Aquinos— hell maybe you can get in touch with Bam Aquino, and collaborate on DIY education as well as Negosyo Centers.

              For example, this business started out simply as a father trying to do DIY science experiments with his kids, https://geekdad.com/ (it started out as a blog), now they are selling supplies and promoting science experiments and projects globally.

              I think there is opportunity in what you’re doing, not only for profit, but to get Filipinos to start thinking well.

              I hope you write an article, Grace.

              • Grace Lim Reyes says:

                @LCpl_X. Thank you for your suggestion, but let me muster enough courage to write one. I do write for a living but mostly academic papers and as a ghostwriter. I think my effort will pale with the experts who post their articles here…:-)

              • karlgarcia says:

                I also encourage you writing an article Grace.It took time before I mustered enough courage for my first article,and I am just an amateur non credentialed writer (that is if I can call myself a writer) unlike you who has the credentials.When you are ready,we will welcome further discussion on homeschooling and other topics you might share.

              • Grace,

                I wrote 3 articles (though most of my writing/participation is in the commentary), I’m by no means an ‘expert’ (at any of the articles I’ve written of)— but the act of writing made me understand better, plus engagement in the comment threads.

                So please don’t think you have to be an ‘expert’ to write.

                Though I think you, with your 10 yr old, diligently pursuing education by homeschooling (plus your credentials) by default makes you an ‘expert’ (that’s the best definition of ‘expert’ that I know— actually doing it).

                But if you have the time, please write an article or two (or a series) about homeschooling in the Philippines,

                you’ll not only encourage other parents over there who are probably considering homeschooling but daunted, and/or you’ll get your ideas across to people like Korina or Mar or

                Bam Aquino who can do something about it. My point is what youre doing is crucial and should be shared. Please do. 🙂

                Joe also has an elementary age son, so I’m sure he’ll be more than interested.

    • karlgarcia says:

      fear of bad influence like doing crazy dares of jumping in the pasig river never to come to shore alive.Doing petty crimes like snatching,hold ups,throwing rocks and other street crimes.
      you no longer distinguish between schooled and those out of school because even the one’s who to school do the crime.
      so some parents motivation maybe by what they see as good parenting by home schooling,where nobody bullies their kid except them and social media.

  17. cha says:

    I’m the second of five kids and was born and bred in the Philippines. So yes, I suppose a lot of what I learned as a kid came from a long history of indoctrination. Caring and looking after the younger ones, setting a fine example as the older sister, sharing equally and willingly with the whole brood, and so on…every Filipino child of my generation and the generation before us would have grown up absorbing these same lessons about family relationships. And I am not the one to complain about that. I love what my siblings and I have had and still have in our relationships with each other to this day.

    But I also received my fair share of support and encouragement to achieve and excel from an early age; both from my own family and the schools that I went to. Perhaps I could, should have had more but given the limitations and constraints of the time, I still turned out alright. (I certainly hope so.)

    My point is that, most Filipino children to this day would probably have had and still have a little bit of both indoctrination and inspiration dished out to them in their growing up years. What really spells the difference, I think, is the breadth and depth of experience and understanding of ourselves, our environment, community, and just the world in general that we are able to able to absorb and grasp along the way. In my case, books and all sorts of reading materials were my infinite source of knowledge early on. To others (as mentioned in earlier comments) , actually experiencing and exploring the world outside their own homes and classrooms served as their introduction to different fields of academic endeavours. Still some might mention mentors and role models who shaped their views or started them on the path to knowledge or new ways of thinking. (Like this certain blogger called Joeam who gets quoted a lot nowadays, whose articles keep getting posted and recommended for reading in many a social media forum; some saying he helped them understand certain issues better and so on and so forth.)

    And so this brings me to my other point : while there is much the Philippine educational system still has to sort out and improve on, we are all teachers and educators in one way or another – to our own families and communities (social, religious, civic, and virtual). We can all help change mindsets, cause disruption and challenge the old ways, get others excited about the wealth of knowledge and information out there with a click of the mouse, or by pounding on our keyboards, and even just a simple question or new information passed on to a friend, a young relative or colleague, or even a group of strangers in a social media discussion thread we chance upon.

    And so to the many in The Society and Joeam himself who here teach and out there in the real world, thank you for all that you impart. Thank you for teaching and inspiring. One blog, one discussion thread, one comment at a time.

    • Joe America says:

      Two words ring out so loudly: “understanding ourselves”. If people understood themselves a little better, they would not be going to extremes to rationalize why Duterte is still a good choice, but simply change their minds based on the new information that has been pouring in during recent weeks. ALL decision making would be more straightforward and healthy and productive.

      Thank you for adding to the lessons, and inspiration, one article, one discussion thread, one comment at a time.

      • cha says:

        Yes, we’re not a very introspective people it seems. But in the last two weeks interacting online with many other Filipinos speaking up online through The Silent Majority page, those who do reject Duterte’s brand of leadership are indeed the ones the are able to reflect on the inconsistencies between what Duterte is offering and their own values and beliefs. But what struck me more actually is how this line of introspective insight cuts across all social classes. From accounts of those who have gone out campaigning for Roxas and Robredo on a one to one basis, it seems the ordinary taxi driver, market vendor etc. actually have a better sense about what is happening around them and more openness to consider the possibility that their initial impressions, judgments about certain people and events may in fact, have been wrong.

  18. Your definition of indoctrination pretty much sums up what I’ve experienced during my formative years. But luckily, I was able to expose myself to a number of people from different backgrounds thus helping me get away from that kind of environment. (Mostly thanks to the internet for opening lots of doors.) And coming from a middle class background, being surrounded by people mostly concerned with ‘personal status’, most perspectives around me treat learning as a means for an end rather than a means for itself. So the other perspectives I think was a huge help for developing my own perspective? But how does one develop perspective anyways?

    From my experience, outside intervention and influence is very important, most especially during the formative years. As a generalized ramble, people are usually fixated on what is always around them and that can cause them to see only those things. From mediocrity of the lower class, normalcy of the middle class, to elitism of the higher class, most people are usually locked into the perspectives of their own respective peers and classes. Though they may view the other classes from time to time, it is very seldom eye to eye. It is usually only viewed from one’s own lense and seldom from the other’s. There is some kind of disconnect which is very apparent and for me, this indicates that there is a severe lack of perspectives and I find that to be very depressing. But still, there does come a time when a person stumbles upon a new perspective by himself and that can usually cause them to appreciate and develop their own perspective much more. However, most people usually find themselves in a hostile environment, which either actively or passively dimisses perspectives other than its own, so it usually becomes a losing battle. Given this, outside intervention will be very critical for a perspective’s survival. Sadly, it seems to be unavailable for many people so most usually don’t survive. =(

    • Joe America says:

      Very enlightening reading. It came to me some time ago that we all carry our own ignorances about, and in any given situation, we can be operating in a world we simply know nothing about. Like electing a president. The share of people who truly comprehend what the job is about, who have been a boss of complex departments, who have information that others do not, who are accountable for outcomes which news media or the general population cares little about . . . very small. Yet we all strut as if we knew all there was to know, and could do the job ourselves, better than the guy who has it.

      Step one for everyone ought to be to know the limits of our own knowledge, and then seek to fill in the important information if we are expected to make a decision. That awareness seems missing in many, so we deal with closed minds that must justify themselves rather than be forthright. Ignorance is only bad if we fail to accept that we own a lot of it, or, in accepting that, refuse to work to get smarter.

      • @Joe America, don’t worry. I still haven’t really decided who to fully support yet. =)

        As how one should decide with as much information as he can, one can also choose to make a decision and reevaluate a little later so that one can take into account new incoming information. I am still waiting for that and it does seem to be near.

        Nevertheless, the current issues now surrounding the candidate concerned does seem to be a deal breaker for everyone. Why? Well, if the allegations do turn out to be true then he is not actually what he claims to be. Thus, no support for him then. But if it does turn out to be false, well, doesn’t that say a lot about his opponents who all jumped in on the issue? And I’m guessing he’ll turn the tables again to his advantage? Talk about manipulative as hell, but in a smart way. But I can’t really blame him for resorting to such measures given the nature of the political landscape in this country.


        “Responding to calls from Sen. Antonio Trillanes and presidential candidates Manuel Roxas III, Grace Poe Llamanzares and Jejomar Binay, Duterte said he was willing to open his bank records even for the last 20 years if the four would also do the same.

        “Gawin na niyang 20 years! Anak ng p***! Basta abrehan nila ‘yung kanila. All transactions in the past,” Duterte said in a rally in Sorsogon City yesterday, April 30.

        (I could make it 20 years! Son of a bitch! But they should open their accounts. All transactions in the past.)


        Duterte said he was baiting Trillanes to a trap when he said he has “a little less than P211 million.”

        “I opened the account, it’s only P17, 000. Kasi ako sabi… Less than P211 million, nilaro ko siya para mag-execute ng affidavit. Para ma-ganoon ko siya – perjury!” Duterte was quoted by the media as saying.”


        Abangan sa May 2?

  19. NHerrera says:


    I am not a math major; I am an engineer. Whatever math I had was part of an engineering curriculum. But I got to love math because of a singular experience I had in High School. (Back then plane geometry and algebra were taught in High School.) I had a teacher who inspired. He taught plane euclidean geometry and algebra . From the first, notions of logic aside from the specific subject and from the second useful “advanced arithmetic” he called algebra. What a difference a good teacher makes. A great mathematician he was not — I may say in retrospect; but an inspiring teacher of his subject he was.

    I sense that the rather slow non-digital world of the 1950s — the mainly paper and pencil/pen world — and the decades around that period were the fertile setting for teachers who knew what is meant to being a teacher.

    • Joe America says:

      I was inspired by a girl in the third grade who enjoyed arithmetic, and I, her. Well, we’d chase each other during recess and talk about Elvis Presley and other consequential matters. Then in sixth grade she grew up fast and left me in the dust for an older boy. Math never deserted me like that. 🙂 🙂

      • NHerrera says:

        Hahaha. Math is there like Wil’s loyal dogs. And yep, consequential matters like Elvis; you should have stuck to conversing arithmetic. Once Elvis gets into the picture she is gone — the other boy must be better at shaking his legs than poor you.


        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Hmm. When things are back to normal, I shall interview Joe on his lost love. It’s back to love stories for me when the smoke clears. As one commenter said, I am not a good political writer, better for romance. Best compliment ever.

  20. Bill in Oz says:

    Enquirer, Section C1 has a big article about the K12 program & why it is needed…By Rex Venard Bacara..It is an excellent article Joe and supports what you have said in this post.

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