Sept 15, 2017
Judging a Student Debate at the University of Bohol
Location: University of Bohol, Tagbilaran (city), Bohol (province), Philippines
I received an unexpected email from Dean Kins from the University of Bohol, 'Do you want to be judge in a university debate?' Hmmm, I've judged a body building contest, beauty pageant and a street dance before, but a university debate? Sure!
I was one of three judges - the lone outsider. Atty. Kins was also a judge together with Atty. Jun Amora who was once faculty of the university. The organizer was Atty. Mehul, another faculty. I was in the company of lawyers! In person, they seem much nicer than the lawyer jokes I hear about :) I had a great rapport with all of them.
I sat on 3 debates - use of tablets vs. books in schools, death penalty and mandatory drug testing of students in schools. These are hotly contested items and the teams presented compelling arguments.
Conceptual Merits vs Reality vs Tear Jerkers
In some cases, I felt the arguments were about oranges vs apples - idealized concepts vs historical track record vs the grim reality. e.g. - one team might present the logical merits of the death penalty as a crime deterrent and even back it up with statistical data. But the other team could argue that introducing the death penalty is a slippery slope given the 13,000 deaths (and counting) of the current war against drugs. If the death count is still climbing, then the death penalty isn't working as a crime deterrent! But then again, you can also resort to pulling-out the tear-jerking stuff for emotional persuasion and maybe win the day.
How difficult would it be for a debater to have a personal conviction about an issue he/she now has to debate against? You could be a staunch defender of right to life but tasked to defend the death penalty! It could be a crisis of conscience defending a position you are vehemently against.
As a judge, it is difficult to judge a debate about touchy issues specially if you already have your own personal bias about it. How do you empty your vessel to judge the arguments through their lenses and without your bias getting in the way?
Judging a student debate at the University of Bohol gave me a glimpse of a past life in the academe when I was still a teacher in UP Diliman. I enjoy being at the fringes of such learning institutions - but not at ground zero where I have to deal with its bureaucracy and politics.
Feeling the verve and passion of the students give me optimism that the future remains bright for this country despite being in dire straits given the political Zeitgeist.
Next stop: Coastal Cleanup with Plastic Free Bohol
University of Bohol Blogs
- Yoga for 60+ Students at the University of Bohol Oct 4, 2017
- Talk on Philosophy and Spirituality to 11th Graders at the University of Bohol Sep 27, 2017
- Judging a Student Debate at the University of Bohol Sept 15, 2017
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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