Mindy's Musings: Spreading the Word

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For weeks now, the Vibal Foundation staff has been touring the Philippines to spread the word about the wonders of WikiPilipinas.org, Filipiniana.net, ThePOC.net, and E-turo.org – the Foundation's websites – and their goal to inspire the Philippine knowledge revolution through reading, writing, learning, and sharing. We are fortunate to have been invited to participate in the "Learning Without Borders Seminar-Workshop Series," a yearly training program sponsored by Vibal Publishing House, Inc. for preschool, elementary, and high school teachers all over the country. The publishing house's authors – all experts in their respective fields – get to meet and train the teachers about the latest strategies, techniques, and developments in their specific areas of education, all to improve the quality of learning the kids are getting.

And since this seminar series is about borderless education, the inclusion of the Vibal Foundation initiatives could not have been more perfect. Especially now that the world has already entered the digital age, learning should no longer be confined within the walls of the school. Teachers must be informed of new ways of communicating and elucidating concepts to students. After all, they should be ahead technology-wise, and not trumped by their students who have, like, four e-mail accounts.

Our first stop was Kidapawan, the laidback city in Cotabato province located at the foot of Mount Apo. There we introduced the websites to teachers, and had a virtual tour of the pages. Afterwards students of Notre Dame were treated to an online writing workshop, where they were taught how to navigate and edit articles, as well as create their own user accounts in WikiPilipinas.org. They were also signed up to the Foundation's social networking site, WikiBarkada. The kids had fun, and were delighted to see their own names on the websites.

Our next presentations in Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City were met with an even warmer reception. Thank you guys for allowing us to share our passion with you! As for the others, wait for us to drop by your hometown! I promise, we'll be there sooner than you think!

Traveling, traveling

Christmas is just around the corner, and most people will want to be in the company of their loved ones come that day. Because of this, expect a lot of traffic in the metro next week, especially on the 23rd and 24th, as many companies will still have their employees come to work on Monday and Tuesday.

Those going to the provinces by plane and boat are lucky, because they won't have to face drivers' road rage and the exhaustion of long overland travel, especially for the ones doing the driving. They will, however, miss out on the chance to bond with their traveling companions and see the pretty Philippine countryside go by.

I love going on road trips. Airplane flights are great, but they're over way too quickly, unless you're going to far-flung places in other continents.

When I was a little girl, my parents would take me on tours around the country on Christmas day every other year. Instead of spending the day at home, we'd take advantage of the lack of traffic on the usually congested roads by having a picnic in Luneta or watching the sunrise in Manila Bay after attending morning mass. Once we even went to Laguna and hiked around Mt. Makiling.

It's fun to watch the scenery go past your window when you travel. You get the feeling that you're actually getting somewhere. Looking at the houses and other buildings at the side of the road helps you get a feel for the town's culture. It's even better if you have a music player on hand, because it's like having your own personal soundtrack.

Once, on our way to visit Mayon Volcano in Bicol, we went past a town that had five funeral parlors side by side on the main road. It was strange and a little sad, because why would they need five places to take care of their dead? Then we passed by a town that had a lot of fruit stands, and one with a lot of bakeries.

One town we visited was having a grand Christmas celebration. The residents gathered in the town plaza, where there was a concert and food concessionaires. There were parols lining the street, and little lights twinkling in the trees.

Everyone danced, ate, listened to the music and had a great time until midnight, when the mayor declared the gathering a success and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

After all the fun that my parents and I had touring, the best part was always the trip home. “Home is where the heart is” may be a tired old cliché, but a true one, indeed.

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You can e-mail your comments, suggestions, and inquiries to mindy@wikipilipinas.org Also, you can visit Mindy’s Blog at WikiPilipinas <www.wikipilipinas.org>.

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