Angelhouser | A Journal By Angelica Bautista Viloria

Saturday, December 16, 2006

UP Tuition to Increase by 300%

The Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines has already approved the 300% tuition fee hike. Each academic unit will now be worth P1,000 (from the previous P300) in the campuses in Diliman, Manila, and Los Banos. For Baguio, Visayas, and Mindanao, the cost will increase from P200 to P600. Miscellaneous and other fees will also increase accordingly.

Expectedly, the tuition is being increased amidst protests from the student body. According to news reports, the last time the tuition in UP was increased was in 1989. I do remember though, that a few years ago, my officemates were talking (or was it more like complaining?) about the increase in rates for their MBA program at UP Diliman. Or are we just talking about increasing the tuition for undergraduate courses?

In addition to the tuition fee increase, the Socialized Tuition Financial Assistance Program or STFAP will also be revised. Those who cannot afford to even pay the tuition at UP will even receive a stipend of P12,000 per semester. That's a lot! Bottom-line, officials of UP say that only those who have the capability to pay will bear the brunt of the increase in rates. Those who are less affluent (those with a family income of less than P1 million annually?) will pay rates according to their income bracket based on the revised STFAP.

Even with the increase in rates, UP will still be an affordable alternative compared to say Ateneo or De La Salle. Hopefully, the higher rates will allow the university to retain better professors and faculty members; improve facilities; and give support to poor but deserving and bright students.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gold Medals At Last!

If we Filipinos wish to be happy or experience some joyful moments, we should focus on our athletes and artists. In the on-going Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, after several days of waiting, we finally have three gold medals, courtesy of: Antonio Gabica in billiards and Violito Payla and Joan Tipon for boxing. Is Joan really his name? That's what the Philippine Star says.

Seeing our athletes' track record, so far, the Philippines should probably just focus on boxing, billiards, bowling, and taekwondo. Those are the sports where Pinoys have proven that they have what it takes to be world-class.

Forget our politicians. If our athletes bring us joy and pride, Philippine politics just makes life more stressful. Just look at how the Con-Ass (or should it have been Con Us?) attempt unfolded. Just think of how the other countries in Asia view the Philippines after the cancellation of the Asean Summit in Cebu.

I guess we should be thankful that "politics" is not a competitive sport. We would never get the gold.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Manny Pacquiao and the English Language

Last weekend, I got the following text message from a friend:

"Wel, ah, I fil relaxin, On d 1st place, itz nt hard2make my weight. Wel d 1st, ah , i did not speak , gona knock hm, maybe itz bonuz of d God, as of nw, i wl spend d famly n wel celebrate d filipino pipol. ol i say s thanx4 d God, n to ol d pipol around d world 4 boxin. tnx." - Manny Pacquiao. After that quote, the text continues: hoy wag kang 2mawa! national hero ntin yan! =)

First of all, I don't remember if that quote is an accurate one. What I do know, though, is that after the fight, when he was interviewed, his English did sound strange. I actually would have wanted him to speak in Filipino (and just have it translated into English by an interpreter) instead but you have to give him credit for trying to speak a foreign language like English, at the least.

With all his winnings, I guess Manny Pacquiao can afford to hire someone to teach him good English. Sure, with his megabucks, people all over the world will exert effort to understand him or probably won't care about how he speaks English but it will do a lot for him personally. It always help an individual to learn a new skill and to learn it well.

Not all is lost though. On the way home to Gen San after arriving in the Philippines, fresh from his victory over Morales, he was asked about his political plans. His reply in perfect English: "I'm not a politician. I'm a boxer." He got that right -- on both counts.

Hope springs eternal and Manny Pacquiao is the true people's champion. I wonder, when will he champion the English language?

Friday, November 24, 2006

How Much Will It Cost Me to Send My Kid to U.P. 7 to 8 Years From Now?

Read in the newspapers that students in the University of the Philippines (U.P.) are protesting moves by U.P. administration to increase tuition fees and miscellaneous fees by a little over 300%. This means that the cost of an academic unit will go from P300 to P1,000 at a campus like Diliman.

Ages ago, I remember that my first year tuition at U.P. Diliman was at about P600+ per semester for a full load. On the year that I graduated, it was at about P1,100 so that was P2,200 for a full year! Assuming that we take the high end (which is my tuition, on my last year), my parents spent a whopping (?) P8,800 for my whole degree. This was before the socialized tuition fee scheme came into effect. Lucky for them.

News reports now say that the cost per semester, with the proposed increase, will move from P6,000 to P18,000 -- that makes it P36,000 per year! We can understand why the students are up in arms but compared to other schools, even the better elementary or high schools today, that does not even cover half a year.

That's why my favorite writer Conrado de Quiros once wrote that U.P. is arguably the best university in the Philippines, inarguably the cheapest.

Still, it is a state university, and at the rate that government has been providing services for me in the other areas of my life, am secretly wishing that the increases in U.P. tuition will not be so high in the coming years. I am hoping that both my kids will get into U.P. when it is time to go to college so they can get a good education and I won't even have to spend as much than if they were to go to Ateneo or De la Salle.

Anyway, we'll see how this turns out. You have to hand it to the U.P. students for trying to keep the fees and tuition where they are today. I guess, they don't want the song "U.P. Naming Mahal" to take on an entirely different meaning.

Am reminded of a story about my dad who went to the market just yesterday. He bought some fresh prawns for dinner and since it isn't his habit to haggle (he says the vendors only make a little money), one of the other buyers said: "Tumawad naman ho kayo. Siguro kayo kaya niyong bumili dahil mayaman kayo. E kami hindi." (Please haggle. You can probably afford to buy because you are rich. We are not rich.)

Well, my dad got a few pesos off his purchase and I don't know if the other buyer also got to buy at a lower price. Bottom-line, we are always looking for the best value for our money these days. We understand where the university is coming from -- it has its financial needs and it does want to retain its better teachers and improve the quality of education. The students, and the parents, on the other hand, would also like to try to get the best education at the least price. Is there any other university in the Philippines where you can get that?

We'll know in the coming days which side will blink. At least we know that in the marketplace, the U.P. students will feel right at home. (Come to think of it, my dad is also from U.P.) =)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

If Manny Pacquiao Were Your Child, What Would You Ask For?

After Manny Pacquiao won over Erik Morales last Sunday, there were several features on television about him. In one program, his mother, Manang Dionisia, says: "Bigyan mo naman ako ng sasakyan, kahit isa lang." (Translation: Please give me a vehicle. Just one.) This prompts, Korina Sanchez, one of the well-known broadcasters this side of the world to say: "Ay, kahit tatlo pa." (You can even ask for three.)

Manny Pacquiao then replies by asking who will drive the car. Give your mother a car, with a driver to boot?

Pacquiao won millions of dollars in his last bout but only a few days after, we read in the papers that he lost thousands of dollars while gambling. Pacquiao should hire a good financial manager to ensure that his earnings will be put to good use. I hope he does not go the way of other boxers who were popular then but nowhere to be found today.

Anyway, on to our daydreaming exercise. A friend of mine said if Pacquiao were family, he would ask for P10 million and put this in the bank and live off its interest. The money would still belong to the Pacman. It's just with my friend for investing and safekeeping.

As for me, what would I ask for? I would ask for a house and lot in a well-appointed subdivision; a trip around the world; and P20 million so I could live off the interest too. I bet Manny Pacquiao is glad that Manang Dionisia is his mom and that I am in no way related to him and you don't need to be anywhere near Las Vegas to figure that out.

Well, we wish the Pambansang Kamao (National Fist) the best. May he put his money to good use and in the future, may we hear about him supporting a worthy cause that will help the needy. To whom much is given, much is expected.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hello, Blogger Beta!

It's my first time here in Blogspot. Let's see how things go...