The Ilocano Educator: celebrating one year of advocating for educational reform

Nothing in this world is more fulfilling and empowering than advocating for educational reform.

The maxim above refers to the prime need for us to finally break free from the shackles of old-world thinking and traditional yet now-unacceptable practices, policies, and belief systems in Philippine education. Education cannot move forward as long as backward thinking exists.

We cannot deny that PNB (politics, nepotism, and bureaucracy) exist hand-in-hand with inefficiency, inequality, and incompetency across most agencies, including the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED). To top it all, teachers are overwork yet underpaid and students are bearing the brunt of an obsolete educational system that needs overhauling and even restomodding just like a vintage car that needs to blend with the times yet stand out for its peerless elegance and much-envied heritage.

Why did I decide to have a column of my own, focusing on educational issues?
I admit that when I was just starting out as a teacher, I had selfish motives. One of them was that I wanted to be the best teacher, not realizing until later on that being the best does not count always. Another selfish motive I had was to outsmart and outdo my peers, but I was wrong because what matter the most were building friendships and nurturing relationships. I also wanted to earn an MA and a doctorate degree just to satisfy my very pompous and rapacious ego and to make up for my failures, but again, I was wrong because I finally decided to pursue further studies to improve my craft, broaden my expertise, and to keep abreast of the developments in my field.

My decision to start writing my own column stemmed from several rejections I had experiencedfrom several publications. Because I was reeling from the rejections I received, I courageously decided to do something to make my dream of writing a column. By serendipity, I came across The Ilocos Sentinel and decided to contact Mr. Excel Guiang, who gladly accepted my proposal to have a column.

The first time I got published as a columnist was on June 7, 2020. My article was on educating our learners on acceptance and respect for diversity, which eventually morphed into a seminar-workshop which I facilitate up to this day.

Since then, I have been more passionate in writing about educational issues and I have also decided to dabble into writing for The Ilocos Sentinel, which I will do up to the day I die (and I will make sure that I have all my faculties running smoothly and my mind pouring with ideas unceasingly).

What have I learned from writing for The Ilocos Sentinel?

First, I have learned to become more voracious in reading about educational issues and just about anything related to education. I made sure to cross-reference and saw to it that news on education is balanced. Frankly, I do give a hoot about the source because there are some media outfits that are not only biased but also veering towards a tone of anarchy and repulsiveness. Though I have no love lost for Liling and Popoy, I still see the good in them and perhaps, in time, we would be not only civil but also bosom buddies whom I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Second, I have made so many friends (Mr. Excel Guiang included, of course) ever since I started writing my column articles. Most of these friends are teachers like me and I have never looked back ever since.

Third, I have become an educational reform advocate because apart from writing for my own column, I have been hosting a radio show for teachers for six years now. I am proud to say that I am walking my talk and I am relentless in my pursuit of educational reform, at least in the Philippines.
Do not get me wrong, but I am not quixotic. I just happen to have found a higher purpose for living, and that is advocating for educational reform in the Philippines.

Happy anniversary to my column! I am thankful that despite the pandemic, I am able to share my viewpoints about our educational system!

I dedicate this column of mine to all my fellow teachers and to all students (including my own students, past and present). I love you all!

If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to or to and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email.