9 years, 9 months, 9 days ago

April 9, 2011 – July 25, 2012

This is the third installment of the throwback series on this blogpost starting from April 2011 to July 2012. Interestingly, this will showcase how the distant past influences the present time. This also emphasized the personal development I underwent as influenced by the situation in the world and my surrounding. Today December 17, 2020 is the ninth anniversary of the Typhoon Washi or Sendong.

What was happening in the world?

Hosni Mubarak has been ousted but protests continue. Meanwhile, protests in Syria  and Libya escalate.  Libya's leader Gaddafi was killed. This is part of the Arab Spring affecting several countries. Al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden was killed during an American military operation in Pakistan. While, in China pursues a crackdown on dissent over labour camps, as Chinese economy grew faster and faster. China continues political pressure in Inner Mongolia and Tibet, as Dalai Lama relinquishes his political and administrative powers. Cambodia and Thailand clash on borders, while tensions between China with Japan and Southeast Asian nations rises on territorial waters. Drug wars between cartels in Mexico kills ruthlessly tens of people. Likewise, tensions arise in the Korean peninsula as North Korea threatens its southern neighbor with nuclear weapons. While Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew resigns from the cabinet after 52 years.

In Europe, bank crisis continues as Icelanders vote for referendum on compensation deal, as well Spain's unemployment rose to a 14-year high. The debt crisis results in massive protest demonstrations in Europe, as US struggles in debt ceiling crisis. France implements a law banning burqa and niqab. The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in United Kingdom took place, while preparations for the London 2012 Summer Olympics continues, and Queen Elizabeth II celebrated Diamond Jubilee, became the longest-reigning British monarch, and eventually visited Ireland, the first after Irish independence. Boris Johnson was reelected as the Mayor of London. Scottish National Party dominates over Labour Party, promising a referendum on independence. News on phone hacking rose in Britain, affecting top politicians in the country, while riots in London injures dozens of policemen. Meanwhile, Portugal and Ireland got bailout loan packages. An explosion in Oslo, Norway and gun shooting killed 77 individuals, which was linked to a right-wing anti-Muslim Norwegian extremist Anders Breivik. Social democrats won the Danish parliamentary election, making Helle Thorning-Schmidt as the first female prime minister of the country. While Swedish Crown Princess Victoria gives birth to Princess Estelle, the second in line to the throne.

Following the Fukushima nuclear accidents, the governing party in Japan lost seats in local elections, as a sign of distrust over handling the nuclear accident, increasing unemployment, and looming economic recession. Japan thereafter shutdown all its nuclear reactors. Meanwhile, the aftermath of earthquake in New Zealand extends. Volcanic eruption in Iceland disrupts air traffic in Europe again. Dozens killed in Germany after an E.coli outbreak. Famine and drought continue to ravage horn of Africa. Europe experiences extreme winter conditions, while floodwaters threatened Thai capital Bangkok. Warmest temperature in South Pole was recorded at negative 12.3 degrees Celsius. Outbreak of Hand, foot and mouth disease kills hundreds in Vietnam. Dutch scientists warned a potential worldwide pandemic, after the discovery of mutated strain of H5N1. Chaos ensued as some believed 2012 as the end of the world, based on the Mayan calendar.

South Sudan was admitted to the United Nations and African Union as member. Russia joins the World Trade Organization. Pacific Island nations Samoa and Tokelau skips December 30, 2011 as east to west of the International Date Line. Mexican investor Carlos Slim became the richest man in the world, surpassing Bill Gates. United States condemns Wikileaks release on Guantanamo Bay prisoner. Mitt Romney announces plans to seek nomination for Republican Party as the President of United States against the incumbent Barack Obama. Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London movements commenced as a fight against inequality and social injustice, spreading to major cities in United States as well. Silvio Berlusconi resigns as Italian Prime minister to make way of an emergency government. While North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Il died, while his son Kim- Jong-un was named his successor.

World Health Organization recognizes chronic illness as the leading cause in the world. Studies concluded that chocolate maybe good for the heart, while other a research indicated anti-retroviral drugs reduce spread of HIV to uninfected partners by 96%. Truvada has been recommended as the first anti-HIV drug. Meanwhile, Zurich, Switzerland rejects ban on assisted suicide. Nepal bans smoking in public places. Pope Benedict XVI tweets for the first time. Pope John Paul II was beatified, while The Church of Scotland allows gay men and lesbians as ministers. New York and more American states legalized same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the United Nation projects that the world population surpasses seven billion. Microsoft purchases Skype, while Google launches Google Music and Google Plus and buys Motorola. On the other hand, Facebook changes its interface with its timeline feature, goes public in the Stock Market, and buys Instagram. Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple, while Tim Cook took over the position. Apple launches sales record-breaking smartphone iPhone 4s. Elton Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched unmanned spacecraft aboard. The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show was recorded, while Lady Gaga releases her successful Born This Way album. Whitney Houston dies at the age of 48.

What was happening in the Philippines?

Former President Arroyo was arrested due to electoral sabotage and was later released from hospital arrest on bail. Meanwhile Pimentel was proclaimed the new senator after  Zubiri resigned his position. Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached on the House of Representatives and the Senate. Typhoon Washi, known locally as Sendong killed almost 1,500 people. The Moro National Liberation Front declared the Independence of Bangsamoro Land including Sulu, Mindanao, Palawan and Malaysian territory Sabah. An 6.9 magnitude earthquake hits Central provinces Negros and Cebu. A diplomatic standoff between China and the Philippine Navy on the disputed Scarborough Shoal, while the United Nations approved Philippine territorial claim to Benham Rise on the east coast of the island Luzon.

What was happening to me?

Just like the previous phase, I was working almost everyday during this phase. I was moving around more than I used to. I was still teaching in the university and another private educational institution. However, now I added another nursing school as my workplace. Literally, I was working from 9 in the morning to 9 in the evening, with almost nonstop lecture discussions. I was gaining more efficiency at work. I needed less preparations as I managed to master the discussions by heart. I was utilizing less Powerpoint presentations, as I was using the old-fashioned way of teaching more efficient in facilitating learning.

However, conflict of interests between all my employers made things more difficult for me. I was withstanding criticisms left and right. No one can stop me, as there is nothing that impedes me to working as such. I was earning more, but I was also assuming more responsibilities at home. I learned to budget. I had my first travel outside the Philippines – to Hongkong. I was literally left financially empty-handed after that poorly planned trip. However, the most unforgettable experience I had during this time is my experience with Typhoon Washi or Sendong. The students I was teaching were hit, just hours before they took their nursing licensure examinations. It was life-changing in my part. My views on the Catholic Church, priests and institutions changed drastically. From there, I changed from an obedient Catholic young employee to a person who knows what he definitely wants and will work for it.

Three words to describe that period

Change. Enlightenment. Perseverance.

The change I was undergoing was unprecedented. I was gaining grounds in my career, while the world is changing tremendously as well. I was changing from within as well, especially spritually. I was beginning to ask myself on the meaning of life, and the necessity and authority of religion. I never really got complete answers to my questions, but I was certainly moving towards something. I was changing gradually.

I was enlightened about the reality of the world. I was working every day, and learning the challenges in life. Life was not as easy as I thought. I realized nothing could really prepare one from real life, even education, even our parents and family could barely help us when we ourselves are confronted with the difficulties. We rely on ourselves, and guided by the learnings we got from the past, and our surroundings. 

I persevered. I worked like as if tomorrow does not exist. I was on the brink of exhaustion, but giving up was far from my imagination. I was going to work, accomplishing and gaining recognition. No one could stop me, not even those who are very critical to me. I was afraid, but I did not stop. 

What has I learned?

This phase is perhaps the one of the most life-changing one. I was molding my future in this life phase. I could say that most of the things that shaped me today, stemmed from that time. The work morale, the skepticism on religion, emphasis on efficiency, and gradually knowing my weaknesses with no one knowing. Just like me, the Philippines is changing from within, and having some difficulties of knowing where should it stand in the international scene, whether it will be hard in stance against China or not. In the same way, the Philippines weathered calamities which has challenged both the resilience of the Filipino people, and the preparedness of Philippine institutions. 

Likewise, the world is experiencing bouts of unexpected changes. Norway, the place where I am working and living now has experienced its deadliest terror attacks. That single day has made repercussions that had effects both on immigration laws and political landscape in the country. Those changes had a significant effects on how I lived and struggled in the first years of my stay in Norway. x Moreover, changes has been made after Fukushima nuclear accident as some European countries has completely veered away from nuclear energy. Climate change topics have become more relevant today, even in the year of the pandemic. Nine years ago, I started to travel, and in contrast today, everything has changed after several years of non-stop travel due to the pandemic. Surprisingly, the world has somehow not learned from the pandemic of H5N1 virus, as currently, Covid-19 has affected all countries in the world, without the prospect of a vaccine as of this time of writing. Furthermore, at the time of the pandemic, the rise of social media giants Facebook, Apple and Google has been unstoppable as most people are prohibited to out from their homes.


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