Philippine High School vs Canadian High School Upgrading

Before anything else, let me just say that I’m neither a teacher nor an expert in the education system of both countries. I am a student and this is obviously from my point of view. 

To make things easier, courses (subjects) that I’ve taken in the Philippines will be written as “high school [course]”, for example “high school Bio”. Courses taken in Canada will be written as “[course] upgrading”, for example “Bio upgrading”. 

I graduated high school in the Philippines. We’re one of the last few high school batches that graduated with only 10 years of basic education. As of SY 2011-2012, the Philippines’ Department of Education has started to implement the first phase of k-12. Before k-12, high school was only 4 years which means that even if I already graduated in high school, I’ll still be considered a high school student in Canada because of that missing 2 years. Luckily, I was already done with my first two years of Nursing education and so I didn’t have to go back to a traditional high school. 

When I say traditional high school, I mean going to a high school, prepare for prom and graduate with a toga and cap. I would have spent two years doing Grades 11 and Grade 12. But hey, I actually told myself that would have been better rather than spending money just to get my Grades 11 and 12 courses. 

Academic upgrading is pretty much taking up some high school courses in a college/university for various reasons.(Though a student can also do some upgrading in a high school but s/he’ll be stuck with the high school kids.) Some of the reasons could include:

  • the student needs higher grade than what s/he currently has.
  • higher GPA is needed to get into a program.
  • It’s been years since the student has graduated from high school and s/he needs to take it again for his/her desired program
  • an immigrant where his/her high school qualifications aren’t at par with the Canadian system.
  • Blew up the diploma exam and now has to get better grades (because there’s no diploma exam in upgrading!)

These are some of the reasons of a lot of my classmates in upgrading. I have classmates who just graduated in high school and some who are over 30 years old just figured out what they really wanna do or finally have the time to do what they want.

Back to the topic, what’s the difference between my high school education in the Philippines compared to my high school upgrading courses in Canada? To make things clearer, I’m doing my upgrading in a college (nope, not a university… that’ll be too expensive). I’ll try to compare it using only the courses that I’ve taken namely  Biology (0120&0130/Gr 11&12), Chemistry (0120&0130/Gr 11&12) and English (0130/Gr 12). I took Math (30-1/Gr 12) but I won’t include it since I had four Maths in high school: Elementary and Secondary Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. I feel like it’s sort of unfair to compare just one Math upgrading course to four different Math disciplines. 


Biology was very interesting. I’ve done Bio in second year of high school. I remember memorizing different bacteria, families and parts of a plant. I remember genetics (it was in the 2nd grading and my fave topic until now) and planting corns without fertilizer (we produced tiny corns). One of the highlights of our Bio class was dissecting an earthworm. We were quite disappointed that we didn’t dissect a frog like some schools probably do. Our teacher told us that it wasn’t allowed anymore and we have to just settle with the earthworm (we had a fat, long one). Needless to say, we found soil in the earthworm. 

In Grade 11 Bio, some of our lessons consisted of respiratory and circulatory system. It’s not surprising to me considering that I already did my Anatomy and Physiology course in college before but it’s the fact that we took this in detail. I don’t remember much doing this in high school. We might have but not in enough detail that we have to memorize the parts and functions of the respiratory system or which chamber does oxygenated blood goes. I DID THAT IN COLLEGE!

When I moved on to Grade 12 Bio, we did much more complicated stuff. We did the nervous and endocrine systems. Aside from all these hormones that I have to get familiarize again, we also had to memorize it and know which affects which. Our second experiment is by far the most exciting experiment I’ve done for all of Bio. WE DISSECTED A FETAL PIG. YES! We didn’t do a frog, we had a pig. Apparently, even some high schools do it. They buy off a pig (killed/died humanely) and have us cut it open and look at the different body systems. We were able to identify which one is a pancreas or how squishy it actually is. We also have genetics as one of our topics and thank goodness I still remember Punnet square. But I don’t remember doing a dihybrid cross nor doing a sex-linked trait (might/might not have done it in high school). 


I did English pretty much since I started going to school. Therefore, I didn’t have much problem in my English upgrading. For this course, we barely did anything orally in front of the class. We had 2 or 3 reportings then the rest of our oral grades is just from our seat. Since our class is more focused in writing, we did a lot of essay assignments and made our own poems. We had classes held at a computer lab where our teacher blocked any web browsers to avoid Googling (but thank goodness I have a phone). It was actually my English teacher who caught a lot of my writing mistakes such as tenses and punctuation, something that no one has done yet even after reading some of my essays. 

Compared to my English upgrading, we did a lot of oral practice in my high school English. It was in fourth year high school that I finally started to have less fear on going up front and talk to the crowd because of the various speaking exercises that we did. Even though we’ve been doing declamations and orations since first year high school, it was my fourth year high school teacher who really pushed us to think fast and talk flawlessly (I’m still working on the “flawlessly” part). 

In both English courses though, we had to make a final written output. For my high school English, I had to a term paper and successfully defend it to graduate (my topic was about conformity). For my English upgrading, we had to make an essay about a foundation or philanthropist “who makes the world a better place” (my essay was about Gawad Kalinga). 


I did Chemistry in 3rd year high school. I remember answering “Dihydrogen monoxide” for H20 and our teacher said it was wrong because it’s just supposed to be water. I asked this question in my Grade 12 chem teacher and she said it’s “sort of” acceptable but not much actually uses it. 

The one experiment that I can remember from my high school chemistry was titration. We had this burette and flasks and fancy chemicals that we’ve barely used. We were so excited to titrate and was disappointed one titration after another as we kept on overshooting our solution. Actually, this is the only experiment I remember. Probably because some aren’t as memorable as this one. A lot of my high school Chem lessons came back to me as I do my upgrading. But maybe because we only had one Chem course in high school that almost half of the lessons that I learned in Chem upgrading is new. 

In Grade 11 Chem, we learned how to name compounds, something that I also learned in high school Chem. The first few lessons were a breeze, actually… Grade 11 Chem was fine. A lot of the lessons were not new to me except for some like identifying the nonpolar/polar compounds and stoichiometry problems. I was able to get good marks in this course because I feel like a lot of these were review. In addition, we also did cool experiments which included titration! This time, I was able to get the perfect peach colour that we want. There were also a lot of boiling and dangerous chemicals that were able to handle. I felt like a mini scientist!

Grade 12 Chem is different though. Lesson started off easy, enthalpy change then moved on to more stoichiometry questions then voltaic/electrolytic cells then organic chem stuff (of course there are some more lessons in between). The experiments includes some corrosive materials and lots of boiling. At one point, I BROKE A MERCURY THERMOMETER! I was so scared and nervous because I thought my teacher would scold me. But she didn’t! And I asked her if I have to pay for it and she told me not to worry because it was an accident. They only charge those who were obviously playing. Phew! I remember breaking a cover slip in high school Bio and I had to replace it.

The coolest thing that we did though was making Nylon 6,6. I felt like a little kid while mixing the chemicals and trying to pull out some strands. A few days ago, I was browsing through our lab manual for Grade 11 Chem when the last page included making soap. MAKING SOAP! I’ve made soap before, IN COLLEGE! And here it’s in the Grade 11 course. 

The biggest thing that’s very different in my Philippine high school experience compared to my Canadian upgrading is of course the language. However, being taught in English isn’t really new to me. My high school see to it that our subjects are more or less taught in English (except if the teacher is struggling already ^_^). This is one of the reasons why I was able to adjust fairly well in the new educational environment. 


Korean Words I’ve Picked Up from K-Dramas and K-Songs

I’ve watched Korean Dramas and listened to the K-pop since I was in high school. Years later, I still do. Since I’ve done it for such a long time, I’m bound to pick-up some random Korean words. It actually surprises me when I use it in daily conversations.

  • Daebak (awesome) – I use this a lot when I watch variety shows and something amazing happens. I don’t use this much in daily convos though but I use it when I talk to myself.
  • Jinja/chincha (really?!) – this one I use almost everyday especially if I’m spacing out and uninterested in whatever someone’s telling me.
  • Jeongmal/cheongmal (really) – this is the really inreally like you. I use this a lot when I watch Korean shows and just unconsciously say it. Sometimes when I’m frustrated, I also say it. It’s a very versatile word ^_^
  • Aish~ – it’s an expression that you say especially when you’re frustrated. I use this a lot that it became natural to me. (though I much more use “Ayyyyyyyy” *Filipino*)
  • Yeppuda (beautiful/pretty) – I say it when I say something pretty or cute (more like Kyeopta).
  • Andwae~ (no way) – I picked this up recently because of Lee Kwang Soo. He always says it that I actually start saying this everytime I see something bad happening in Running Man.

I know a lot of non-Koreans fans like me who are using “Yah!” in their vocabulary. I never picked this up though. We have a way of calling which is “Hoy!” or “Oy!” which is easier and faster for me to pronounce. (I’m lazy that way)

Why Kang Gary is DAEBAK~~

I’ve been watching random episodes of Running Man for a few weeks now. The first episode that I watched was the Episode 84 (Big Bang vs. Running Man) then Episode 85 (Big Bang vs. Running man 2). After these two episodes, I already lost count of how many episodes I’ve already watched. I watch it at home or at school. Whenever I watch it at school, I can’t help but laugh at all the antics that the members and guests are doing. My friend told me once that she likes looking at me while watching an episode because I look so happy.

Out of all the 7 members, it’s Kang Gary that I always look forward to watch. Everytime I look at the comments, there would always be comments about Kang Gary being awesome and badass. As I watch more and more episode, I realize that I want to meet someone like Kang Gary.


Dude’s got 8-degree belt in Taekwondo and Hapkido, graduated in bodyguard school and was an AMATEUR BOXER for 10 years! And I still kept on wondering why he doesn’t have a six-pack. Anyways, this guy can easily defeat the members in the nametag tearing (YES INCLUDING KIM JONG GOOK) if he’ll gonna use his skill. But since he’s not allowed to do use any violence, we’ll just let the other members win. Also, Gil (of Leessang) said that Gary has never been in a (probably street)) fight ever since he’s meet him. AND THAT PROBABLY WAS A LONG TIME AGO.

HE’S AN AWESOME RAPPER (and lyricist, musician)

Waaaay before he was known as the “Random Mr. Capable”, Gary is first known as a member of Leessang, a hiphop group. Before I watched Running Man, I already know who Gary was because he’s sometimes appears on Allkpop. However, I never read any of the news related to him because I didn’t listen to their songs. However, as in a lot of RM episodes, they would usually play some Leessang songs and the one that really made me search about their songs is “The Girl Who Can’t Break Up and the Boy Who Can’t Leave” (Leesang ft. Jung In). The first time I heard it, I fell inlove with the song as well as Gary’s rapping and Gil’s husky voice. Gary sounded like he was feeling the rap and was full of emotions. DAE~BAK~


Aside from being the “Random Mr. Capable”, Gary is also the other half of the Monday Couple (alongside Song Ji Hyo). I’m always amazed by how fast Gary can think of cheesy and sweet things to say to Ji Hyo. This leads to a point where people are often wondering on whether or not they were real. BUT JINJA! DATE ALREADY! Anyway, it’s his fast wit and perfect timing when it comes to flirting that made the Monday Couple possible in the first place.

Since Gary is also a lyricist, it’s already a given that he’s pretty damn fast in spurting out cheesy words. However, he’s not much of a talker whenever they’re all together standing and sometimes even overshadowed by Haha.


He won the first and second Best of the Best match on which he won a trip to Europe on his second win. Even though he’s considered as the “Random Mr. Capable”, he\s actually very capable of doing things especially by himself. He has a simple way of approaching things which in turn becomes advantageous to him. He thinks and decides fast, add to that his speed and strength, he is certainly worthy of his titles.



In Korea, Gary can be considered “ugly”. You’ll often hear it from the members themselves, from him and some other guests. The standard for handsomeness in Korea are the k-pop idols and “flower boy” actors as well as some actors such as Kim Won Bin. Gary has a “typical” South Korean male-face and that makes him a subject to teasing when it comes to physical appearance. However, GARY IS CHARMING. Yes, I’m saying this again, HE IS CHARMING. The way he raps, so awesome and the way he talks, so manly. Everytime he carries out a mission and starts to get serious, I can’t help but squeal so damn hard. He may not have the best face (nor the nicest body) but dude got the personality and the charm.

If by chance Kang Gary can read this, DO YOUR BEST IN ALL OF YOUR MISSIONS! and please tell Yoo Jae Suk hi ^_^

My Questions for the Running Man Cast and Crew

*questions are added everytime I’m curious about something*

  • How many glasses did Yoo Jae Suk and Ji Suk Jin break?
  • What’s the total number of the caps/hat worn on the show?
  • What was the most serious injury did any of the members have? (aside from Kim Jong Kook’s existing back problems)
  • Can we have a taekwondo match between Kim Jong Kook and Kang Gary?
  • Did Kang Gary ever ask Song Ji Hyo out (off-cam) ? *this is sort of none of my business but I’m dying to knoooow*
  • Will we see Jae Suk’s wife, Suk Jin’s wife and Haha’s wife in any episode soon?
  • Will there be an episode where the mission is to not bully Lee Kwang Soo in any way?
  • How much gold does Ji Hyo currently have?
  • How did you cast Ji Hyo? *I love her (I always root for her)*
  • Will Song Jong Ki be coming back again?
  • Can you make Kim Jong Kook eat unhealthy foods for one day? *as his mission. pleasseee.*
  • Can you make a theme song for Running Man?
  • How much do you spend per episode? Considering that you guys film in big buildings and travel everywhere.
  • HOW ATHLETIC ARE THE CAMERA MEN? *they run along with a running man/woman while carrying a camera*
  • Can you make am episode where it’s the members vs staff? There was one with the writers but I want something where the staff are actively playing.
  • Do Ji Hyo and Gary flirt off-camera?
  • How many jackets were ever made for the show?
  • How many nametags were made for the show?
  • What do you do with all the mud after the games?