#IbaNaman — A Catalog of Alternate TALAB Class Names

Humor, it has been said time and again, is so deeply ingrained in Filipino culture that not rarely does it take on an escapist function in a bleak situation. It is particularly enjoyable when assayed by college students, whose jokes are often infused with intellect of a level not seen yet on adolescents, and not much anymore on people past their twenties. In 2012, for example, the University of the Philippines decided to incorporate an essay portion in its entrance examination for college applicants, spawning the culturally-savvy #RejectedUPCATEssayQuestions.

This year sees a similar trend, albeit more briefly, as students from Ateneo de Manila University took to social media last Wednesday to reimagine the school’s upcoming event called Talakayang Alay sa Bayan (TALAB), or Discussions for the Nation.

While older Ateneo alumni waxed nostalgic about the school’s societal timeliness, students and other graduates mashed current events with cultural memes to produce alternate classes that, for all their humor, are mostly in the spirit of the event.

  • Pare, pulis ako: A discourse on the PNP 
  • Get rich, quick!: or how my father cheated an entire country, a talk by Bong Bong Marcos 
  • Works at The Krusty Krab: The Fight Against Contractualization 
  • Rape Is Wrong: How To Keep Bananas In Their Pajamas 
  • DTF: Deconstructing The Fuckboy 

  • “Edi sa puso mo :)” A Symposium on Work Environment in the Philippines 
  • Beat Energy Gap: The Role of Sustainable Energy in Ensuring the Continued Development of a Nation 
  • Beat the Energy Gap: A Talk By James Reid on the Opportunities for the Semiconductor Industry in the Philippines 
  • Don’t Delete That Tweet: How To Handle Tweeting a Major Erratum in an Important Announcement 
  • “Bigyan ng Jacket ‘Yan!”: A Talk on Allocation of Resources by Willie Revillame 
  • Bigyan ng Jacket: Global Warming and Cold Days in February 
  • LF: Gays and Tagging Your Friends: A Sensitivity Workshop on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression 

  • Human Experimentation and On-Campus Conspiracy Theories: a study tour of PIPAC 
  • VILLAGE ‘TO: An introduction to infrastructure and urban planning 
  • Traffic as a State of Mind: Forum on Traffic and Congestion by Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade 
  • My Political Color is Brown: Skin Care Regimen by Mocha Uson 
  • Ni Hao: Breaking the Great Wall by Kim Chiu, Xian Lim and the Cast of Mano Po 7 sponsored by Kowloon House 
  • Deal or No Deal? Investment and Financial Literacy with Kris Aquino sponsored by Sun Life Financial 
  • Kiss It Better: Mastering The Perfect Momol by Chokoleit 
  • Ingat: Basic First Aid and Wellness by John Lloyd Cruz 
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya? Improving Your Memory with Charo Santos-Concio sponsored by Memo Plus Gold 

  • Dream, Believe, Survive: The Secret to Idealism by Yasmien Kurdi and Rainier Castillo 
  • I’m Drunk I Love You: Drunk Text Prevention by Maja Salvador and Paulo Avelino 
  • Homaygahd May Pamili: A Course on Family Planning 
  • How Far I’ll Go: How to get to BEL from CTC in 10 minutes 
  • Not A Journalist: Blogging and Expanding Your Social Media Influence by Margaux “Mocha” Uson 
  • Stranger Flings: How to Make Paasa by Lahat Ng Lalaki Na Nanggago Sa Akin 
  • Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat: Improving Your Personal Image and Branding by Daniel Padilla 

  • From Amoy Pawis to Amor Powers: A Deconstruction of the Self-Made Filipina 
  • Work, Work, Work, Work, Work: A Career Talk and Job Fair by Rihanna sponsored by Jobstreet Philippines 
  • Sa Luzon, Sa Visayas, At Sa Mindanao: The Consequences of Regionalism by Willie Revillame 
  • Special Topics in Philippine History: A Trip to Intramuros by Dora the Explorer and Drew Arellano 
  • How Far I’ll Go: Basic Navigation and Orienteering by Moana in cooperation with Waze and Google Maps 
  • Philippine Advertising: Breaking the Consumers’ Hearts and Gaining Revenue The Next Day by McCann World Group sponsored by Jollibee 
  • How To Get Away With Murder: An Analysis and Discussion of Project Tokhang by Rodrigo Duterte 

  • Hataw Na! Contemporary Streetdance with Gary Valenciano and G Force sponsored by Star Magic 
  • How To Get Away With Plagiarism: A Seminar by Tito Sotto 
  • Pills, No Reservations, and Dasal Lang Talaga: A Lecture on Health Care, Politics, and Theology with Alma Moreno
  • “Mahal Kita, Pero Bibigwasan Kita”: Relationship Counseling and Anger Management Workshop by Baron Geisler
  • Charotisms: The Philosophy of Ethyl Booba 
  • Walang Alarm, Walang Anything, Tumayo Talaga Ako: A Workshop on Instinctive Motherhood by Kris Aquino

  • Salamat Apo: How To Be A Marcos Apologist by Lea Salonga sponsored by the Government of Ilocos Norte 
  • My Pamily, My Family: The Importance of Filial Piety in Philippine Society by Janina San Miguel 
  • Thoroughbred High Horses: Basic Equestrianism by [NAME REDACTED] sponsored by Ateneo Trade 
  • The Mutative Nature of Communicative Spaces: The Case of Top Gear Philippines’ Facebook Page
  • Galawang Hokage: A Self-Defense Workshop Against Sexual Harassment 
  • MGA DILAWAN KAYO: A Lecture on Art History by Mocha Uson 
  • Reporting About The Banana Tree Of Evil: Fake Notes and Fake News 

  • #RapBeh: Trends on Revenge Sex Videos and the Psychology of Blackmail 
  • Seks or Chokoleyts: A Crash Course on the Commodification of Romance by Boy Abunda 
  • Help Beat Energy Gap: A Motivational Forum by James Reid 
  • “Bileyj ‘to!”: The Economics of Space of Subdivisions and Gated Communities with Jhepoy Dizon 
  • The DILF Culture in Philippine Context by Ian Veneracion, Doug Kramer and Richard Yap 
  • Charot: Avoiding Hostility in Social Media Discourse by Ethel Booba
  • Bongbong Marcos and The Art of Moving On 

(More ideas here.)

In what may be an over-reading of the matter, however: by choosing to view the sociopolitical matters they do from a humorous lens, Ateneans fall into the trap of consenting to the same issues and institutions they are looking to subvert. One might even say that however funny the class names, they indicate the economic and cultural limitations of the minds that conceived them, especially regarding what is construed as alay sa bayan (for the nation). Then again, since the current situation of the country is already ridiculous, going along with the humor might be the only way to make better sense of things and keep from going insane from civilian powerlessness.

All kidding aside, the real TALAB 2017 has yet to take place as of this writing, some of the alternate class names still do make sense — and not all Ateneans are sheltered or financially complacent. With any luck, when the event does take place on February 21, the discourse on this scale might just be the push that students (and some speakers) need to be more invested in the future of our topsy-turvy nation.