Thursday, June 22, 2006


Started teaching again in UP Diliman. And things feel different.

First of all, its the crowds. The college of engineering has more people in it than the whole campus of UP Baguio. Endless hordes of students lining up during enlistment. A friend of mine back in Baguio once complained of an enlistment queue that lasted 20 minutes. The other day I was in line for two bloody hours on a hot humid afternoon at the cashier's office.

Yes, the temperature too. It does not help that the hottest temperature in Baguio is the coldest temperature in Diliman (though it does get a bit humid in Baguio). Its a good thing I'm a compsci teacher, spending most of my time inside air-conditioned labs. And Im really happy with the office they assigned to me, its small and quiet and cool and most of the time there's no one else here but me.

Commuting too, I've been dead tired lately. Just crash on the bed and sleep although I havent been doing that much work yet. Walking to school is really so nice.

Teaching all new subjects. This semester I'm teaching Competitive Programming, Intro to Programming (for non-CS students) and (gasp) Algorithms. I've been involved in competition programming since 1995 (even been a coach once) but this is the first time that I actually have to give a grade. I like teaching Intro to Programming, but i feel a bit less motivated to teach students whom I won't get to see again. And finally, I've never been a theory teacher.

And I don't know my students. If you're just three faculty members, you handle a third of the student population. You get to see the same students in different subjects, and for several years. I guess I'll miss that about UP Baguio, you could see students as they grow over the years, and feel their triumph as they graduate.

But a week ago I went and visited Baguio to get a few papers. I had wanted to freshen up so bad when I got there and almost began walking towards my apartment when it hit me: I no longer lived in Baguio anymore.

At my old computer desk, I could just close my eyes and imagine that I had classes and that I had work to do, but after I got my papers I was just surfing, just killing time. I felt totally useless. It was nice visiting friends too, but I had to go over the painful process of having to say goodbye to them again. And lastly, after a late night movie, the walk to the bus station is the same as the walk to my old apartment. And you know that its different. It really was different.

I dont belong in baguio anymore. Im just a tourist, same as everyone else. I wont get to see Minesview after a storm, hearing the howling winds raging across the valley atthe abandoned tourist spot (who in their right minds would visit Baguio during a storm?!?). I cant stay there more than a day unless I shell out money for hotels (really shell out money). Last of all I wont get to work at our labs again, there's so many things that I can still do there, but at least Im happy Im leaving it in capable hands.

Manila is my reality now. The crowds, the heat, the humidity, the new subjects, the new students, they're all part of my new life now, either I accept them, or i just move back (which I wont). So I guess this is the last time I'll be comparing Manila to Baguio, I've probably been irritating people (Im really sorry. ^_^;;; )