The pros and cons of dating someone from Pisay

July 20th, 2012

J’s high school friend, Mark, sent me a Facebook message, urging me to write about my experience with dating a Pisay graduate (for anyone not in the know — that’s the Philippine Science High School). He requested it as a reply of sorts to another blog entry, “Date a Pisay girl.”

I had my reservations about writing an entry because it was written in the “Date a girl who reads” template, which in turn was a response to Thought Catalog’s “You should date an illiterate girl.“ Last year, exasperated by the spinoff blog posts, I wrote a spoof entry, “Date a girl who eats,” which became a lot more popular on Tumblr than I had wanted it to be because people didn’t know I wrote it as satire.

Plus, I initially thought our high school backgrounds were irrelevant; I met him at 22 — he was 25 — and we were both at the start of our careers as an editor and a pilot, respectively. I wondered, what would I have to say about being with from Pisay, the ivory tower of Philippine high school education, when I met him almost a decade after?

By the time I met him, he no longer wore thick glasses. He certainly didn’t look like a skinny nerd: he’s built like a jock, barrel-chested with muscular arms. There was little reason for him to show off his arithmetic skill, save for the times he helped out my siblings with their college homework at lightning speed. So what if he went to Pisay?

Then I realized that J’s educational background did matter. Here’s why:

The cons:

1. You’re dating a nerd

You need to accept that you’re seeing someone who is willing to debate — down to minute details — about the sustainability of life on earth after centuries of abandonment just because you watched ‘Wall-E’ together. Believe me, there will be some scientific trash-talking. It dooms you to a life of being kept on your toes during trivia night because his friends know the table of elements by heart. You will not always get their jokes.

2. You will be subjected to extreme scrutiny

You can bet your life that at one point or another, a high school buddy will scan through your Facebook page to pass judgment on your mental capabilities and pop culture references. So should you decide to date someone who attended Pisay at one point or another, you may want to consider deleting that “Math sux” update on your timeline.

3. You will hear about exes

I went to an all-girls Catholic school and dated guys from the all-boys Catholic school beside our campus. Pisay kids, to us, were altogether a different breed: non-secular (“What? You don’t carry a rosary in your pocket?”), overly immersed in math and science, and in their own special way, academically snotty. No one held soirees with Pisay students — they didn’t need soirees, it was a co-ed school. Consider this:

High school hormones + co-ed school = Checkered history of relationships long before you came into the picture.

So if you’re new to the group, be forewarned: There will be moments of awkwardness. Remember that every wedding you go to and every reunion you attend with your date will contain someone he/she’s locked lips with at one point or another.

4. Your future children could possibly be a mild disappointment if they don’t get in

I’m just hazarding a guess, because we’re not talking about children at this point. But if your future children aren’t academically inclined, old people will whisper and blame it on you — yes, you who didn’t go to the exclusive science high school.

The pros:

1. You’re dating a nerd

Even if you’re not mathematically savvy (I’m not — I graduated with two journalism degrees), your boyfriend/girlfriend will be used to being around smart people. I never felt small or stupid around my boyfriend, and even if we occupy entirely different spheres of intelligence, he always holds his own in a debate. Plus, he tolerates my own bouts of literary snootiness (“What, people really think Paolo Coehlo is a good writer?”)

I’ve met men who prefer dating vapid women who don’t challenge them. Chances of that happening with a Pisay grad aren’t impossible, but are considerably smaller.

2. They understand the importance of academic excellence

The academe isn’t everything. I’ve heard that often enough from flunkies who like thinking that schools held them back from reaching their potential. For some people, that’s true, but in many cases, it’s just an excuse. I once dated a musician who wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and was constantly skipping classes or spelling “you’re” as “your.” I was too besotted to care at first, but I gradually couldn’t look past things as time went by. J wasn’t happy with the idea of a long-distance relationship, but knew why I badly wanted to go to Columbia. I spent his 28th birthday working on my J-School application. Not everyone would have been cool with that.

3. It’s easier to be yourself

In my experience, anyway. You don’t have to pretend to be cool and head out for a night on the town when you know your boyfriend/girlfriend is pals with people who enjoy a good night of playing “Magic: The Gathering” and marathon screenings of “Tron.” Chances are, they’ll be more understanding of your addiction to the Game of Thrones series and will not sneer when you turn up in khaleesi’s costume for Halloween.

If your idea of a good Friday night out is squeezing yourself into a dress two sizes too small for you, spending on overpriced drinks, and throwing up cheap vodka at the crack of dawn, run away. The Pisay graduate is not your demographic.



Mango County

July 4th, 2011

I first encountered this poem when I was a high school senior studying under Joel Toledo. He wasn’t nearly as prolific back then—it was ten years ago—but even at 16, I thought that his poetry had a lilting musical quality rimmed with powerful imagery. I hero-worshipped the guy throughout high school and my first couple of years in college, and hung out at the Batcave (a small tunnel where the teachers often smoked during breaktimes) whenever I could upon graduating from high school. I never liked cigarettes, and he often teased me for speaking in Filipino with a colegiala accent, but I willingly held my breath to listen to what he had to say about literature, art, and life in general. He also listened to me rant about school. One time, he set me up with one of his friends, a student taking an M.A. in Creative Writing. We made it through one date.

At that time, I had big dreams of becoming a writer. I was into literature and not journalism (I had yet to reconcile the two), and I probably would have never dreamt that I would be where I am now. I had different dreams back then. He lent me books by Ray Bradbury, whom I still read at every opportunity I get, and volumes of poetry. I spent a lot of time in my freshman year at UP searching for Bradbury’s short stories and novels on the fourth floor of the main library, where novels were kept in dusty shelves. Time passed and I stopped visiting my old high school. I started getting published in a national broadsheet and several magazines when I was a college sophomore. Of course the trappings of the industry—the freebies, the relative fame, knocking cheekbones with power players—got to me. I was 19 years old, a teenager who got lucky with a scrap of talent and some hard work.

I visited him once in the middle of my event-hopping, makeup-hoarding phase. I was once close enough to him to be invited to his wedding, but by then, we didn’t have that much in common anymore. I believed I was through with admiring starving artists, while I’m pretty sure that he thought I had sold my soul back then. “Sayang ka,” he told me.

Read More…



Through a glass, darkly – 10 years later

April 2nd, 2011

This is how excited we were for the prom, even if we pretended it didn't mean that much to us. We passed notes and little booklets about it in the days leading up to the day itself.

It was with a jolt that I realized that today—April 2—was the day that we held our prom 10 years ago. 10 years! I remember the date only because we made such a big deal of the prom back then, even if we didn’t want to admit to to ourselves. The guy I was seeing back then (in the inimitable way that Manila high schoolers ‘kinda’ date someone) projected a ‘the prom is silly and I’m above all this’ attitude about things, but he gave me a white gold necklace and had our prom photos enlarged and framed. Go figure. Of course back then, I was kilig, but looking back, we didn’t really know what we were doing or where we were going. But I will admit that it was a memorable point in high school—going beyond crushes, and really falling in love with someone for the first time. We had been seeing each other in a non-commital way, but the prom started the avalanche that comprised our senior year.

I’m writing this entry sitting on the floor, laptop perched on my knees, while my friends are playing Rock Band. Had you told me back then that I would find myself doing what I’m doing now (the blogging and the Rock Band, that is), I would’ve rolled my eyes. How positively uncool! Maybe at one point I might’ve dreamt that the high school guy and I might’ve ended up together for good; I don’t know. Maybe I never really thought of my future as far as 10 years back then. It’s safe to say that I probably assumed that I would be stable by now, possibly engaged, and with a thriving career. Well, I’m definitely not getting hitched anytime soon. As for my career… Well, we’ll see what happens after grad school. The only thing I have going for myself at the moment is that 16-year-old me would’ve approved of my current job as a magazine editor.

Ten years. Some old classmates are married or engaged; some have children, some have moved abroad. Some are living the lives they imagined back when they were 16; some are doing the exact opposite. Gone are the demure, giggly schoolgirls that we were back then, dressed in jewel-toned gowns and sparkly tiaras, having our first encounters with full makeup and sweaty hand-holding. People talk about careers now, or their kids. Sex is no longer taboo—but when we were 16, if people said you weren’t a virgin anymore, it was one of the biggest insults they could throw your way.

I got home late last night, but when I saw the calendar, I texted an old friend. At 4am. “Just realized prom was exactly 10 years ago! We’re old,” I typed. I just had to tell her, because it wasn’t a mere memory that I wanted to dredge up. It was a checkpoint: what did we have to show for ourselves in those 10 years, and how much had changed?

She replied a couple of hours later, but I was asleep by then: ”Yeah, was thinking of that last week… April 2 diba? I still remember well. Sometimes I miss how simple life was then.”

At a time when I can’t go through one day without worrying about the future, it would be nice to transported to a time when our biggest worries were centered on dates and gowns and tiaras, even for just one night. I wish I could go to the prom again.



No, no, no, NO!

August 25th, 2010

Yes, I know that most fashions are recycled, and that’s it’s inevitable for some old trends to come back. I also know that the ’90s are back with a vengeance. But I didn’t expect one of high school’s silliest trends to be back so soon.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the return of… elephant pants! (“Elepants”)

Store away your skinnies, as these floor-skimming trousers are staples for the Fall 2010 season. I must be getting old because I’m definitely not rushing out to grab myself a pair. When high school ended, I discarded my elephant pants because I realized I looked silly in oversized pants—and they didn’t do any wonders for the figure, either.

But fashion, which constantly manages to revive trends that were considered big mistakes (parachute pants, for one thing), is at it again. Don’t get me wrong—some resuscitated trends look pretty good, but I guess wide-legged jeans are too close to home for me to wear again at the moment. Flared pants, maybe. Menswear trousers, sure. But pants with really wide hems? They just make me think of junior high school, circa 2000-2001.

Katie Holmes wearing pants featuring two '90s trends: the high waist and wide hems

Check out these floor sweepers at the Milan Fashion Week

Maybe if I looked like Kate Moss in them..

So, what do you think of the trend? To wear or not to wear?

(Photos from this website)

(Day 13, 30-Day Blog Challenge)



Old friends, bookends

May 2nd, 2010

I have a photograph / Preserve your memories / They’re all that’s left you

“Old Friends/Bookends,” Simon & Garfunkel

After adding a couple of co-workers, I noted that I had 1,833 friends on Facebook. Some of them are close friends, others are old classmates, and most are acquaintances from the industry I work in. A few others are relatives whom I don’t know but have the same last name as I do. Recently, I read a Tweet from my brother, who was cleaning out his Facebook list. 250 friends deleted, he typed. I thought it was a great idea, but a lot easier to do when you’re a student. In the industry I work in, where so much depends on egos, the simple act of unfriending someone can spell social disaster. Read More…