Check Your Privilege

I read a post from a man named Asim Qureshi, CEO of Jibble (an employee time clock app):

“Several years ago, I encourage a friend to take more risks in his career. He responded, “I’m supporting my parents, sibling, my wife and kids. I mess up, we’re out in the street.” I didn’t encourage him again. Now, over the years, many have told me that they really respect as I gave up a fantastic career to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. The reality is that it was nothing more than privilege at playunlike many, including my friend, I had the luxury of being able to fail. I also had a wife that encourage me to go for it. Risks aren’t as risky for those that can afford to take them—heroism is often nothing more than the omission of details.”

I would like to add a comment from a man named John David Co on Facebook:

This is just like all those posts saying that the rich work smart while the poor work hard. Most people who cannot take chances and experiment with something new. They are too busy making ends meet to devote time or effort to anything else. For example, who is saying that, for example, Jeff Bezos used to be broke, he wasn’t really broke. He got his parents to invest $250,000 in Amazon when it was starting out. That’s a heck of a safety net, so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t really scared of failing. Those who are blessed or privileged need to stop making it seem like it is other’s people’s choice of fault that they are poor. For some that might be true. But for the vast majority, it is just fortunate that the deck is stacked against them from the very start.”

Honestly, I just strongly agree with everything that they say. My mom is an agent of a popular life investment company. And I just cringe whenever they say things such as “it’s the poor’s fault that they are poort (in literal sense) and it our job to change their minds!!” like some hero complex of the rich. They romanticize their current members “rag to riches” story wherein they did not actually start from “rag”. They have the privilege to save a lot of money just by cutting down to buying their wants and that’s how they got to investing. But a lot of people do not have that kind of privilege. The money that they earn is literally enough for them to make ends meet. Oftentimes, they do not even have the money to buy any of their wants. Hence, they can’t risk putting their money o investing because they literally don’t have any safety net like Jeff Bezos had for Amazon.

Also, there are existing systems that continue to exploit workers. They work hard for eight hours, sometimes dealing with another job, and still, they only make barely enough money to cover the rent, food, and utilities.

I consider myself a privileged one. I would not have the luxury to understand, talk, and be able to write in English if it weren’t for my privilege. I studied in an English-speaking private school in elementary and when I was younger, my dad would buy books for me and my siblings to read. Furthermore, we had the money to install an internet connection in our house and that’s when I had larger resources. I read so much up until now because of that. I moved to a public high school after graduating and that is where I noticed that my classmates cannot easily comprehend instructions written in English (most of our textbooks were in English). Like I previously mentioned, I had the privilege of reading English books when I was younger.

By being aware of my privilege, I became empathetic about their situation and whenever they have problems in understanding, I kindly explain it to them (but honestly, I still have a hard time comprehending a lot of things too so I still need to learn more). My point here is I got a head start because of my privilege. If we understand and became aware that a lot of us are just privileged that is why we got to where we are right now, we would find that the problem is not in the person but in the existing social and political systems that continue to oppress the poor. We would be having more empathetic conversations and continue to improve the world. A reminder that if you do not even think about it then it means you are privileged enough to not even worry about it.

Integrating Nooks Into School Designs

When I was a kid, I love to play under a table. I imagine that the table, where I am under in, is my house. Under the table, I could take on whatever roles I wanted: a mother, chef, teacher, bank teller, and a businesswoman. Together with my peers, we would imagine that the table is either a castle or a mansion. For most kids, they felt the same way but not necessarily under a table. Kids, today, create makeshift tents out of blankets or use a playhouse to execute their role play ideas.

Apparently, architects today had integrated playhouses or little nooks into their school designs.

The new Sandy Hook School has playhouses, or what they call tree houses, in various areas of the school. Jay Brotman, managing partner of Svigals + Partners explained that this is one of their efforts to, “…encourage compassion, prosperity, collaboration, and joy.” These small spaces allow young children to collaborate with each other.

In Japan, AN Kindergarten has little reading nooks shaped like playhouses are at the center of the space. Little nooks are located on the glass balustrades, independently standing on the ground floor, and even under the stairs. They added these features into the design as the architects explained, “In recent years, when children’s physical ability and creativity have been decreased, we expect that they can start improving by setting a variety of playgrounds indoors at different places.

Flower Kindergarten by Jungmin Nam
Flower Kindergarten | © Kyungsub Shin

Flower Kindergarten in Seoul, South Korea has a similar play den under the stairs. Architect Jungmin Nam, head of OA Lab (the studio that designed that school), said that “The stair itself becomes a playground. The space created below and above the stair is utilized as a children’s play den at children’s scale.”

Aside from being a place where collaborative play and learning can thrive, playhouses or little nooks are where children can do free play. Free play is an act where anyone who plays will not be intervened by an authoritative figure.

Why are playhouses and even as simple as makeshift tents out of blankets are loved by kids

From the book, Raising Curious, Creative, Confident Kids: The Pestalozzi Experiment in Child-Based Education, principal and author Rebeca Wild wrote,

“Playhouse provides a place for secret games and undisturbed conversations in an atmosphere of privacy.”

She explained further why playhouses are important,

“In such a prepared environment that offers many stimulating attractions but excludes the possibility of any pressure exercised by adults, it becomes surprisingly clear that each and every child, provided that it has no severe disturbances owing to disrespectful or inattentive treatment, possesses a clear inner direction or guiding force, as it were. This is what leads the child in its choice of activities [free play], makes it possible for the child to find its own rhythm and allows the child to achieve a new balance with each new activity, if permitted to– follow this inner directive force, the child is able to act and react as a self-confident, happy, and helpful human being, despite its tender age and to enjoy each day to the fullest.”

Lastly, “Even at only three or four years of age, many have lost confidence in their own inner direction as a result of the constant intervention and know-it-all behavior of the adults who love them. Some may not even had the complete love and attention of their parents when they came into the world. The purpose of which is to enable them to have basic truth and confidence in life itself.

Playhouses provide children an opportunity to do their own choice of activities without being intervened by an adult. In little reading nooks, children can read and even talk about the book that they are reading to their peers without being conscious of an authoritative figure (if they were in a library). They could even role-play the books that they read, using the little nooks as their backdrop.

What if young students aren’t given an environment where they can play freely?

Author and psychologist Peter Gray wrote in an article entitled The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It,

“By increasing the amount of time spent in school, expanding homework, harping constantly on the importance of scoring high on school tests, banning children from public spaces unless accompanied by an adult, and replacing free play with adult-led sports and lessons, we have created a world in which children are almost always in the presence of a supervisor, who is ready to intervene, protect, and prevent them from practicing courage, independence, and all the rest that children practice best with peers, away from adults.  I have argued elsewhere (Gray, 2011, and here) that this is why we see record levels of anxietydepressionsuicide, and feelings of powerlessness among adolescents and young adults today.

In conclusion, rather than writing little nooks or playhouses must be integrated into school designs, designing spaces where children can play without an intervening adult, and a space that has a lot of affordances (ways for it to be used) are a must. Designing spaces where kids can grow holistically is an investment for a better world tomorrow.



Frearson, A. (2016, February). Flower Kindergarten by Jungmin Nam features curvy classrooms and colourful corridors. Retrieved from Dezeen:

Gray, P. (2016, October 31). The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It. Retrieved from Psychology Today:

Wild, R. (2000). Raising Curious, Creative, Confident Kids: The Pestalozzi Experiment in Child-based Education. Shambhala.

Winston, A. (2016, March). Hibino Sekkei and Youji no Shiro’s kindergarten features house-shaped reading nooks. Retrieved from Dezeen:

Yalcinkaya, G. (2017, October). New Sandy Hook school is designed to “prevent unwanted intrusions of any kind”. Retrieved from Dezeen:


Why Do We Love Being In Nature?

We, Filipinos, are currently facing various issues right now aside from the pandemic. This carrd contains information, actionables, and organizations where you can donate to help. Thank you very much!

selective photo of a girl holding bubbles
© Leo Rivas | Unsplash

James Corner, a landscape architect, told designer Ingrid Fetell Lee that landscape is more about how we feel, “It’s a whole host of things that will never show up in a photograph. Plants. Scents. Colors. The effects of light and shadow. Water. The sounds of water. Ambient humidity. Texture. Temperature. The effects of mist. The concentration of weather effects and atmospheres… These things are not obvious but they are very powerful and they bring joy.” Ingrid Fetell Lee added, “Being in nature liberates our senses.”

Reading the above statements from the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness created an AHA! moment in my brain. So that is why we love being in nature or be surrounded by nature because it is a sensory-rich environment.

In a TED talk entitled Designing for the Five Senses, designer Jinsop Lee used to ask himself “why is sex is so damn good?“. He found the answer when he used the 5-senses graph.

The perfect experience would be a 10•10•10•10•10. Doing sex uses all of the senses hence, it is considered a pleasurable experience.

I started to look for other examples and concluded why eating, swimming, and traveling are enjoyable experiences for almost everyone– because we actively use our five senses when doing these activities. The same goes when being in nature. These activities lead to sensorial richness which is vital to healthy neural development.

Reversible Destiny Lofts, an amazing architectural work designed with the belief that we can prevent death if we constantly engage in a stimulating environment. In these lofts, corners are curved, floors have lumps everywhere and they are never flat, and bright, vivid colors everywhere. Architect Arakawa and poet Madeline Gins, designers of Reversible Destiny Lofts, believed that the comfort given by modem buildings lead us to an early death. Without enough activity for all of our senses, they push us to a stupor and causing us to say goodbye to the world at an early age.

Reversible Destiny Lofts is an extreme example of sensorial richness but there are still tons of ways wherein we can feed our deprived-senses. Like I mentioned eating, just look at mukbang blogs on YouTube. They eat really well plus, they sound well. When I’m eating noodles, I make slurping sounds to add up to my eating experience.

Designer Ingrid Lee writes, “A sparse environment acts as an anesthetic, numbing our senses and emotions. The abundance of aesthetic does the opposite. It wakes the senses up. It brings us to life.”



Lee, I. F. (2018). Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. Little, Brown Spark.

TED. (2013, August 6). Design for All 5 Senses [Video]. YouTube.


Documentary: Chasing Corals

This post is originally posted last June 2019 from my previous domain.

What an eye-opening documentary. I think this is about 2-3 years in the making and it should be given a lot of praises. While I was watching this, I could feel the marine biologists’ and all the people who are behind this documentary, the dedication and their urgency to decline the rapid death of the world’s corals.

Coral is an animal made of polyps. These polyps are the building blocks of corals and they are the ones who photosynthesizes inside the coral. For short, coral uses asexual reproduction.

Since 2015, marine biologists are seeing the corals turning white. This stage of a coral is called Coral Bleaching. Due to the fact that a lot of CO2 are getting into our atmosphere, tons of heat are trapped in the same area as where CO2 is, which makes the Earth a lot more hotter. The oceans, then absorbing 93% of the heat. Thus, making Earth’s surface less hotter. If the ocean did not absorbed this heat, the average surface temp would be about 50ºC.

Since the oceans is getting warmer, corals doesn’t have the ability to adapt to this environment, they just die. Their first stage of death is Coral Bleaching. There is anothere stage wherein corals are flourescing. They are producing a chemical sunscreen that protect themselves from the heat. Marine biologists describe it as a way of corals to get ‘attention’. They want us to be aware of what’s happening to them. Corals are considered dead when it has a fuzzy microalgae, which is caused by the RTN (Rapid Tissue Narcosis).

The divers used manual timelapse for 2 months in order to capture the degradation of corals.

Corals can live forever and ever as long as their environment allows them to. Corals are important for a lot of reasons. They produce breakwater that’s protecting us from cyclones and big waves. Protaglandin and Bryostatin, both are drugs that fight cancer, comes from sea fans and coral rhizomes, respectively. They also serve as a home to a lot of marine animals.

I’d like also to acknowledge the divers efforts in this film. The timelapse film that they made are not functioning well during that time therefore they opted to do a manual timelapse. Every day for 2 months they dive in the same areas. They describe it as depressing. They are seeing it die before their own eyes and they could not do something about it with only themselves. The world needs to know this that’s why they did that. Truly, they did capture corals dying. I’m astounded by how fast corals die. They have only been there for 2 months and argh. Look at the pictures above, it’s those photos that they showed to the public during the International Coral Reef Symposium.

These documentary gave me a thought that humans are not the only species in the world. We have to take care of one another. And in every decision, you have to make a choice. I started doing simple ways on how to save the environment like upcycling used papers by turning them into notebooks, upcycling old newspapers and turning them into paper bags, etc. I’m seeking more ways on how to save the environment in a simple way.

If anyone is interested to know how they can improve the overall conditiom of our environment, kindly check out Thank you!

Is It Bad To Be ‘Jack of All Trades’?

This post is originally posted last June 2019 from my previous domain.

When I was a kid, I kept hearing the phrase, ‘jack of all trades master of none’, which means a person has a lot of skills yet has no mastery on any of it. As soon as I knew the meaning of that phrase, I immediately told myself that, “I cannot be jack of all trades.” Because grownups around me keep telling me to not be. Without even knowing why can’t I?

Until recently, I came by the book entitled The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance by Friederike Fabritius, MS, and Hans W. Hagemann, PhD.

In Chapter 6: Foster Learning, scientists conducted a study to exhibit the brain’s remarkable capacity for change. The participants are bus drivers and taxi drivers in London. The drivers of both vehicles had their brains scanned. Two years later, scientists were suprised by what they found out.

With each cabdriver, the posterior hippocampus, a region associated with spatial learning, had increased in size, while the bus drivers showed no similar change. – Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann.

In other words, a positive change in the brain of the cabdrivers has occured due to their constant route change. On the other hand, scientists concluded that because they travel the same roads every day, bus drivers’ brain remained the same. The change that happened in the taxi drivers brain is called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity can physically change the structure of your brain, increasing the size of particular regions and the speed with which those regions communicate with each other – Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann.

The cognitive region of the brain is called gray matter. Basically, it handles all our thinking, memory, etc. It’s the computer of the brain. While white matter makes the connections between regions.

People who acquire a variety of new skills—everything from juggling to meditating to ballroom dancing—show an increase in white matter as they become steadily more proficient. In other words, the ease and speed with which the brain’s key regions communicate gets better and better.

This is the reason why taxi drivers’ white matter increased in size. The brain is getting expanded as it takes up new information.

As University of Hamburg’s Arne May, told New Scientist, “It suggests that learning a skill is more important than exercising what you are good at already—the brain wants to be puzzled and learn something new.”

Going back, it seems that being ‘jack of all trades’ is good for the brain. You can learn how to play piano even if you don’t want to be a musician or be Mozart-like good. You can learn it because you wanted to hear beautiful melodies whenever you are tired. You can try to learn the things that you are interested in without even having a big reason like to “save the world”. It can just be as simple as, “I want to learn this.”

Maybe by trying out things outside your forte, you may discover ideas that could be fuse in the things that you already know. You never know which ideas would have a great impact if you dont put them into practice.

Lastly, I researched that the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ is an incomplete one. The complete version of it is: Jack of all trades, master of none is better than master of one.

This post is originally posted last June 2019 on my previous domain.

Thoughts on Itaewon Class

[If you have not watched Itaewon Class yet, I recommend for you to watch it first before reading this. If you have, then read this and share your thoughts as well.]

I learned through my community- how important it is to have a sharing activity every after watching a movie together. What the person shares after watching the movie reveals a lot about who they are.


The reason why I loved Itaewon Class is that no character is perfect. Every leading character has undergo a character development (all great except for Jang Geun-won, who got more courageously bad). The one who went through a great character development was Jo Yiseo. During the first part of the drama, she spoke about the high possibility of her becoming a psychopath, which somehow justified her unethical actions and judgements, but through listening to their stories and learning how to treat people around her, not as objects in which she could use but as humans that should be listened to, loved, and cared for. She began to improve slowly.

The character who I feel for the most is Soo Ah. Soo Ah is the definition of strong and independent woman. It is really hard to do things that you do not love and to even work for the Chairman Jang, the person who became the primary reason why it took so long to give justice to Mr. Park’s death. For more than 10 years, she worked for Jangga Pub to repay for the money that Mr. Park gave for her to study in college. And when Yiseo went to Soo Ah’s restaurant and told her that she and Saeroyi is dating, Soo Ah was neither shocked nor even sad about it (ofc she knew that they will eventually date), she genuinely told her to take care of him. We stan a strong independent woman. Also, she truly knows what friends are for. Even though she worked for Jangga Pub, she never let Saeroyi down. Honestly I am so happy that she is now doing something what she truly wanted.

My favorite scene is when Ma Hyun Yi walked in the set of The Best Pub and the look of pride on Saeroyi’s face. I repeat, he was not shocked. He was proud. Saeroyi’s right, why would Hyunyi run away when she had not even done anything wrong? and Hyunyi does not have to prove herself to other people. But ofc being Hyunyi, she got up and continue to the competition even though she still did not feel great. Hyunyi continued to compete not because she had to prove something, but for the people who are counting on her. Noticed how in the whole scene Saeroyi neither looked down nor looked anywhere else. Like indirectly saying, “I do not care what all of you think about Hyunyi. I know her and I do not need your opinions.”

Ma Hyun-Yi’s line, “I worked at the best pub in Korea..” triggered a lot of thoughts in my head. I immediately remembered the One Piece crew, how they tell all pirates and marines that they encounter that, Luffy will become the Pirate King. They believed more than anyone else that Luffy will be the Pirate King, similar to the Danbam Pub crew, they believe that they work at the best pub in Korea. In order to achieve your dream, get people who believe in your dream.

One of the practical ways that you could take in the show is how Saeroyi indulge in resources about Jang Dae Hee. Even though they had opposing values, Saeroyi respected him so much. He studied his ways on how to operate a restaurant and how to cook, and turn those into something better, something Saeroyi style.

Moreover, the poem stated in the drama is so good to be left unnoticed and unshared. The poem is in Korean but translated ofc

I’m a rock.
Go ahead and sear me.
I won’t budge an inch
because I’m a rock.
Go ahead and beat me up.
I’m a solid rock.
Go ahead and leave me in the darkness.
I’m a rock that will shine all alone.
I don’t break, I don’t burn,
nor do I decay, as I go
against nature’s way.
I survived.
I’m a diamond.

Saeroyi has left a lot of notable lines that made an impact to me and here they are:

“I want to live a life where I don’t have to be penalized for sticking to my convictions.”

“Studying? Doing physical labor or going deep-sea fishing? I’ll do all of them one by one. I’ll do what is necessary. Don’t judge my worth! This is only the beginning of my life!”

“Life may seem repetitive. But no one really knows what could happen tomorrow.”

I recommend Itaewon Class for everyone. It shows you that life is very very unpredictable and you had to be comfortable with uncertainty. For this day, you might be worrying about getting to a university but the next day, you might become a manager of a restaurant! Or you might be studying today in a university you do not feel to be in but tomorrow you might get an acceptance letter to the university you had always wanted to be in (this is me lol I hope I will get in). Itaewon Class is close to what reality is and I think that is what makes it loved by a lot of people (even to non-KDrama fans).

What do you think are the reasons why many students dislike mathematics?

[Due to the pandemic, we took our final exam in Calculus via Google Classroom. The exam is a mixed of problems and essay questions. One of the essay questions is, What do you think are the reasons why many students dislike Mathematics?. And this is my answer.]

First, because ever since we are kids, most adults have led us to believe that mathematics is hard. Yes, everything is hard. However, our minds are powerful that whatever we think of translates to our actions. That is why, most kids, until they are adults, believe this idea that, “Mathematics is hard. So, I would not put an effort into it.” 

Second, I observed that most students who dislike mathematics, do not want mathematics because they do not have basic foundation in math. I have seen blocmates and classmates in highschool who wants to like math but they just cannot understand it that they opted to disliking it. I concluded that they just did not have a proper foundation to be able to understand the current lesson but if given a chance to retake earlier math lessons, they would be able to love it and keep up with the current lessons.

Lastly, I think it also falls on primary school educators, kids do not grew up hating math, I think that it all starts on how they are taught with math during their elementary years. If somehow, elementary school teachers failed to teach foundational concepts of math to students, they would grew up thinking that they just are not ‘intelligent’ and would just dislike math. On the other side, it may also be a lack of effort from the student’s side, yes, they lack resources, but practicing everyday is still a progress in understanding math.

Would You Support Humane Prison Design In Your Own Country? Why or Why Not?

Well, why not? I am absolutely shocked that there is even a word or words, “Humane Prison” because I believe that in general, prisons must be humane because humans live there. Its devastating to see how people  go to prison as a punishment for their crimes and not as a way of rehabilitating their lives.


Stated in the Section 2 of the Revised IRR of RA 10575 aka The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, “It is the policy of the State to promote the general welfare and safeguard the basic rights of every prisoner incarcerated in our national penitentiary by promoting and ensuring their reformation and social reintegration creating an environment conducive to rehabilitation and compliant with the UNSMRTP.” Now as stated, the prison should be “an environment conducive to rehabilitation”. Look at our prisons, I have not been there but seeing how our prisons are packed with people more than its maximum population, that is not an environment conducive to rehabilitation.


There are people who says that this type of environment for prisoners could enable them more to commit crimes in order to live there. But data says otherwise. Norway has the most ‘humane prisons’ in the world (I really hate writing the word humane prisons but I will be patient as I think of what word/s I could replace it with) and yet, they also have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the whole world at 20%. People underestimate the feeling of losing liberty because they have not even been to one. This is what I call, Influencing People Through Design. I believe that designers could influence how people live through designing their experience.


Gudrun Molden, the architect of Halden Prison (considered as the most ‘humane prison’), said, “Its so important to have a human behaviour towards people, so they are not so angry.” She spoke the truth- the truth about how are prisons are currently designed; the prisons are not built with love for humans nor even empathy.


Also, I don’t think building ‘humane’ prisons are even a waste of money at all. Its an investment for the country. Each and every single citizen is important and its important for everyone to be given a chance. And like whats mentioned in RA10575, what they need is an “environment conducive to rehabilitation’.


Once we start taking care of every single citizen in our country, may it be PWDs, homeless people, people from all kinds of jobs, kids, adults, senior citizens, and crime offendora, by designing inclusive and ‘humane’ places. Then, we could see change. Being imprisoned is the punishment- the architecture doesn’t have to be.


Zombies (2018) Afterthoughts

What is the scene that I thought about the most?

This scene.

This scene is very important to me. First, because I grew up watching teledramas that whenever the main character has a deep secret, the antagonist puts the protagonist in a situation wherein he/she would embarrass the protagonist in front of so many people.

In Zombies, the ‘deep secret’ is Addison’s white ‘freakish’ hair that is different from the usual. In the beginning, her cousin, Buck, threatens her that if she continues to befriend with zombies, the Seabrook community would know about her secret.

In there, I kind of got a thought that maybe in the middle, there will be a scene wherein probably Buck would take her wig off or some accident will happen that will result in having her wig off and then ultimately, showing to the public what her secret is.


Near the end, Addison was the one who took her wig off. YEAH this girl is tired of being something she is not and she wants people to accept that there are people different from them in terms of appearance, etc (i.e the zombies and her) but that does not mean that they are any less human.

Honestly, that scene was so powerful because it was Addison who chose to show people who she really is and not like forced to do it (because her secret is revealed) and I would like to thank the script maker and the director for this- for letting Addison be humane. It sends a message to anyone, to not be afraid to be different, be proud of it, be proud that you are you. Also, I would like to say sorry for my unkind thoughts about Bucky. He’s egoistic and self-centered but that does not make him super bad enough to do the things I expected him to do at the beginning.

After that, the people started boo-ing her and I think that that is life. Some people do not accept you immediately ad some really do not but it’s okay. Most people will understand.

Also, this film also states the situation uring segregation wherein they are treated as a lesser human but the kaizen approach of Zed makes the film really great. Small steps lead to big leaps! And it all worked out.