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Judging an Essay on Gender Equality Mar 29, 2023

Judging an Essay on Gender Equality

Location Google Map: Siquijor Provincial Science High School, Siquijor Poblacion, Siquijor Island, Philippines

Being Judge?
When Siquijor's LTO chief invited me to judge an essay contest by grade 9-10 students about gender equality at the Siquijor Provincial Science High School, I was initially reluctant. Why?

Why I Don't Want to be a Judge
I've judged 3 events in the past and while it's flattering to be invited to play such role, I realized it's not that desirable. Why? Let me count the ways.

  1. Inherent bias - we all come with our own bias. With that, who the hell am I to play God and judge someone based on my subjective view of the world? What right do I have to do that? What if she's actually right while I'm deluded to think I'm right?
  2. Making enemies - in the Philippines, it's always personal. Losers don't generally take their losses objectively. I remember when I judged a tribal dance event in 2013 at Surigao del Norte, I was told that in the past year, the losers brought out their assault rifles and threatened the winners not to show their faces in that event ever. What if they turn their hostility against the judges? The guy you choose to win doesn't become your friend, but everyone else who lost may not like you anymore (not that I care, but who needs that?).
  3. Rigged - when I judged a body-building event in Dumaguete back in 2011, the moderator announced that the winner won by a unanimous decision. But I never voted for that guy! Should I have cried foul? It would be suicide. That contest was probably run by the local mafia. Of course, you don't realize that until it's too late.
  4. Criteria - what if I don't agree with the criteria? I may be forced to choose a winner by virtue of criteria rather than the one I feel should win. Example, this essay contest. I would like to have 'insight' as one of the criteria with a percentage of 30%, instead of having 'grammar' at 20%. I don't think grammar should play a big role in essay contests. Someone with a hollow argument can win if she has perfect grammar compared to someone who pulls deep down on life experience to make her case, but doesn't quite get noun-verb plurality right.
  5. Impossibility of the task - a good example is this essay contest. 13 contestants writing between 1200 to 1500 words. That's nearly 20,000 words we have to read under pressure within a given time frame. At some point, they were beginning to sound alike. My comprehension was impaired as the brain got into cerebral fatigue. How could I judge them fairly when I perhaps only got 20% of what they wrote?

Why did I Accept the Invite?
Good question! In my unique world-view of causation, synchronicities and correlations, my universe is sending me a message: red pill or blue pill? Blue pill means life goes on as usual. Red pill means I'll be pushed out of my comfort zone to experience whatever I want manifested.

How does judging the essay contest manifest my desires? Indirectly. Maybe I meet people who open doors for me. Maybe something unexpected happens along the way...maybe. There are a lot of maybes that won't happen unless I take the red pill.

Again, in my "Yes to Life" paradigm, when life asks me to do something, I don't hesitate and ask why? I ask when and where!

Gender Equality
March being the month for Women's Rights, Siquijor Provincial Science High School celebrated the event by having a gender equality essay contest and a 'puso' (coconut leaves woven to contain rice as it cooks) making contest. I would be one of 4 judges to pick the best essay.

I didn't realize until after the papers were submitted that there was a lot of reading involved - 13 contestants, writing between 1200 to 1500 words. And we were to read all of them, rank them by theme, relevance, grammar, etc., given a short time frame. How could you be fair to everyone in judging their essay when you have to slur the words to make for time, when your comprehension is impaired by virtue of reading something under pressure, when you have to struggle against mental fatigue when the brain is inundated by repeated words mashed-up one after another on every essay...gender equality, double standard, LGBTQ, social injustice, social media, etc?

Judging an Essay on Gender Equality
4 judges, Atty. Dale, Atty. Ace and Jazzy

Ahead of their Time
In fairness, I came away from that contest, an illuminated man. These were just 9-10 graders but they spun their narrative with compelling conviction, passion and pain. Yes, pain! Their English was impeccable, their choice of words was appropriate and their train of thought was coherent. A good number of them were promising writers, journalists and literary contributors.

I had to ask the organizers if these students were the cream of the crop or just a random selection from the gamut - they didn't know as the teachers made the selection.

This is just a perk. This event was attended to by Siquijor's iconic figures - the governor's and congressman's mother and aunt were on the presidential table together with LTO Chief Gerald Dominguez. Jazzy, teacher at Siquijor's State College + contributing writer to several publications was one of the judges. Atty Dale (chief of staff of the governor) and Atty. Ace (who had many titles after his name), were both judges as well. It's always good to know these people because they can influence public policy. I can call their attention to any dis-order that might escape their view. They are young, vibrant and seem to be there to make a difference.

Ending Thoughts
I've always had a strong opinion about gender equality - and I had been attacked by my peers for my views. But it still escapes me how any society can relegate women as not-equals when these genders are clearly 2 sides of one coin - inseparable with their own function in society and family to make things work.

Furthermore, despite my gender paradigm, I found myself insufficient with the issues because I have always seen them from a man's perspective. But reading the essays of these vocal 15-year-olds gave me a glimpse of how women see the issues from their lenses. As I said, I came out of that event, an illuminated man.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Vigil for the Ghost Ship of Siquijor Traveling

Vigil for the Ghost Ship of Siquijor

(March 31, 2023) The Ghost Ship of Siquijor has been around for generations that locals no longer mind it. Apparently, 2 ships appear between 11pm to 2am, undetected by radar and unchasable by fishermen, that somehow merge together and disappear...more »»

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Siquijor Poblacion Info
  1. Resorts - there are beach resorts in Siquijor Poblacion but the popular resort destination is San Juan.
  2. Transport - from Siquijor Poblacion, jeep, tricycle and motorcycle rides are available. There are local jeeps that ply the couter-clockwise route to San Juan and end up in Lazi. From Lazi, another jeep takes the continuing counter-clockwise route to Maria, ending up in Larena. Between Larena and Siquijor, only tricycles are available. Tricycles charge between PHP 20-40 until San Juan Poblacion. Tricycles and motorcycles can be contracted privately at higher fees.
  3. Siquijor Port - Siquijor Poblacion is the capital of Siquijor Island. It has the Siquijor Port which is the port of most inter-island ferries plying the Siquijor route. The other port is Larena Port.

More on Siquijor Island:

Siquijor Island Local Info

Jeeps - there are only 2 routes for jeeps within Siquijor Island - and they are rare. Most people have their own motorcycle transport.

  1. Siquijor Port to Lazi - last trip leaves at 3pm from station near market
  2. Lazi to Siquijor Port - jeeps depart from the Lazi Port area. 5 jeeps, the last trip at 12:30 pm. Lazi to San Juan, P50.
  3. Larena Port to Lazi - jeeps are unpredictable. As of this writing, there is only 1 jeep plying the Larena-Lazi route. This jeep leaves Larena for Lazi at 9:50am. After that, no more jeep. You'll have to take a tricycle to Siquijor Pob for jeeps going to Lazi
  4. Lazi to Larena Port - 6am (daily) and 9 am (M-Th)

Food - these were suggested by a local to me

  1. Lechon manok & liempo - roasted pork belly and chicken at Joel's in Siquijor Poblacion. I've tried this myself...yummy, even if the chicken was no longer hot
  2. Bibingka - sweetened rice cake by Fidy's Bibingka (P30) in Sawang, Maria. I've come back for this and I buy for other people as well as 'pasalubong' - they love this
  3. Siopao - at the Rosita store near Thrifty (P25) in Siquijor Poblacion
  4. Peanut butter - by Rene. Just ask around in Siquijor Poblacion. It's popular
  5. Torta - sweet cakish bread at the Thrifty story in Siquijor Poblacion
Siquijor Island Map
Siquijor - Dumaguete Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
  1. Montenegro Lines - at Siquijor Port, P234.00/pax, P169/bicycle, 7:30am/10:00am/2:00pm/4:30pm

  2. Montenegro Lines, Siquijor to Dumaguete

  3. Aleson Shipping - at Siquijor Port, 6 am and 6 pm daily, 1:30 pm M-Sat, Regular P200.00/pax, Aircon P250.00/pax

  4. Aleson Shipping, Dumaguete to Siquijor

  5. Ocean Jet - 40 mins,at Siquijor Port, 0919.066.5964,,, 6:00am/6:00pm, P350/pax (tourist/open air), P580/pax (business class)

    Ocean Jet

Siquijor - Tagbilaran - Cebu City Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)

En route to Cebu City, the ferries usually make a stop-over to Tagbilaran (Bohol) to pick-up more passengers or unload.

  1. Ocean Jet - 2 hours, 8:20am, at Siquijor Port
    To Tagbilaran: P800/tourist & open air, P1200/business class
    To Cebu: ?
  2. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port,
    To Tagbilaran: T-Th-Sun, P475/standard, 7pm, 3 hours, PHP?
    To Cebu: T-Th-Sun, 7pm, 7 hours, PHP 650

Siquijor - Plaridel Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
  1. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, T-Th-Sun, 2:00 am, 5 hours, PHP?

Siquijor - Cebu (Liloan) - Cebu City BUS Trip (as of Jan 2023)

There is only one bus plying this route - Sugbo Urban. Tourist class coach, a/c, comfortable, Sun-Fri (these dates keep changing). P420 for bus, P275 for ferry to Liloan. Larena Port around 5 am, makes a clockwise roundtrip around Siquijor Island - Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi (stops at Lazi market for breakfast and leaves 6:50 am), San Juan, Siquijor (arrives 8am, P50 from Lazi to Siquijor Poblacion) and catches the 1pm ferry at Larena Port (Sundays at 3 pm) for Liloan, Cebu and resumes its land route. Arrives Cebu City (South Bus Terminal) 10 pm.

Sugbo Urban is the cheapest and most convenient way because it goes around the island (clockwise) along the circumferential road, passing through - Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, San Juan, Siquijor...and back to Larena where it takes the ferry at 1 pm. This saves you the hassle and high transport cost of a tricycle. Besides, it's a long trip from the other side of the island to be taking by tricycle.

Sugbo Urban

Sugbo Urban

Suggested Destinations After Siquijor Island

These are the nearest popular destinations from Siquijor by boat

  1. Bohol - Bohol is an island northeast Siquijor. Tourist attractions are Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Monkey, Loboc River Cruise, Beaches of Panglao, whale sharks (recent offering), freediving (recent offering)
  2. Cebu - Cebu City is the usual gateway into the Visayas. But in Cebu Island itself, there are many offerings - Whale Sharks of Oslob, sardine run at Moalboal,Thresher Shark of Malapascua
  3. Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.
  4. Dumaguete - Dumaguete is a small charming progressive coastal town in Negros Oriental. Cafe and restaurants line the famous Boulevard Boardwalk. Tourist attractions include Japanese Shrine, Casaroro Falls, snorkeling along the southern coastline (Dauin, Masaplod Norte, etc), Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
  5. Plaridel (Misamis Occidental, Mindanao) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.


Siquijor Blogs
Siquijor Island
  1. Sep Snapshots: Fisherman, Granny, Pedicure, Big Fish, Garbage September 1-30, 2023
  2. Together Forever Sep 11, 2023
  3. The Cigarette Talk Sep 1, 2023
  4. Siquijor Star Meditation Center Aug 31, 2023
  5. The Lost Dogs of Siquijor Aug 27, 2023
  6. Moving to a Bungalow! Aug 22, 2023
  7. Aug Chronicles: CDO produce August 31, 2023
  8. Aug Snapshots: Pan de Sal, Palpitate, Taho, Tuna, Pineapple August 1-31, 2023
  9. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  10. July Chronicles July 31, 2023
  11. July Snapshots July 1-31, 2023
  12. Learning Cebuano: July July 1-31, 2023
  13. June Chronicles June 31, 2023
  14. June Snapshots June 1-31, 2023
  15. Learning Cebuano: June June 1-31, 2023
  16. May Chronicles May 31, 2023
  17. May Snapshots May 1-31, 2023
  18. Learning Cebuano May 1-31, 2023
  19. In Search of a Cool Climate May 25, 2023
  20. The 64 km Bike Ride May 16, 2023
  21. Lazi Fiesta May 15, 2023
  22. The Boulevard Opening May 5, 2023
  23. April Snapshots April 1-30, 2023
  24. Learning Cebuano...Again! April 1-30, 2023
  25. Kris Visits Siquijor Mar 17 - Apr 15, 2023
  26. Exploring Siquijor with Marky Mar 25 - Apr 11, 2023
  27. Siquijor Healing Festival April 5-8, 2023
  28. The Talk at United Church of Christ April 2, 2023
  29. Mar Snapshots Mar 1-31, 2023
  30. Vigil for the Ghost Ship of Siquijor March 31, 2023
  31. Judging an Essay on Gender Equality Mar 29, 2023
  32. The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police Mar 20, 2023
  33. Finally Acquiring the Motorbike Mar 18, 2023
  34. Bitcoin Blunder Mar 15, 2023
  35. Maria's Unsung Beaches Mar 11, 2023
  36. Lagaan Falls Mar 9, 2023
  37. Tibhong Spring Water Source Mar 8, 2023
  38. Bolo-Bolo Natural Spring Mar 2, 2023
  39. Reasons to Get a Wife March 1, 2023
  40. Feb Snapshots Feb 28, 2023
  41. Camagung-Ong Natural Spring Feb 28, 2023
  42. Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023
  43. Manifesting a Motorbike from Thin Air? Feb 18, 2023
  44. The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
  45. Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
  46. Locong Falls Feb 9, 2023
  47. Inguinal Hernia? Goodbye ABS! Feb 4, 2023
  48. Jan Snapshots Dec 31, 2022
  49. In Search of Tubod Cold Spring Jan 27, 2023
  50. 1:4:2:3 Nadi Shodana Jan 26, 2023
  51. Lazi's Boulevard Jan 22, 2023
  52. Lazi: A Monthly Stay Jan 21, 2023
  53. 7 Days in Maria, Siquijor Jan 14-21, 2023
  54. Capilay Spring Jan 17, 2023
  55. Siquijor: In Search of Resonance Jan 9-14, 2023
  56. Riding Around Siquijor's 86km Coastal Road Apr 3, 2012
  57. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  58. Jovee and Missy's Excellent Adventure Nov 6-7, 2010
  59. Freediving in Siquijor's Marine Sancturaries Apr 23-24, 2010
  60. Island Tour of Siquijor Apr 22, 2010
  61. Kram's Siquijor Wedding Apr 21, 2010

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