Latest Stories

4 holiday activities for ‘barkadas’ on a budget


Before putting the last semester or trimester to a close, you and your friends endured sleepless nights, getting by on caffeine  in your bloodstream.

You all endeavored through requirements and extracurricular commitments so numerous and spaced so dangerously close together, they put a round of Jenga to shame.

This Christmas break, students from Aparri to Zamboanga are prepping to recharge for another three months of academics. Before you count down the days until the next long vacation, 2bU presents new things to try and more reasons to anticipate this coming ho-ho-holiday reprieve.

1. Craft messages of affirmation for one another.

It’s tradition in high schools, and in some colleges as well, to write palancas or recollection letters for friends about to embark on a retreat. In these heartfelt notes, the sender often writes inside jokes, lists the endearing characteristics of their friend the receiver, and expresses his/her gratitude for the latter’s friendship.

But the practice of writing palancas need not be limited to a certain medium, or even to a certain phase in one’s life. This Christmas, make a video palanca for the girls and boys who have stuck with you through the highs and lows of growing up.

How is it different from a written one? While a recollection letter can be stored in a box or folder, a video file can be replicated and saved in a hard drive or online storage drive.

What’s more, a video preserves your look and voice for posterity, compared to a written palanca that’s more susceptible to the elements and to negligence.

And the best part? A video palanca will remain playback-friendly even after decades, and can be played for an instant pick-me-upper even if you and your best buds are miles apart.

Support system


2. Be each other’s teacher.

If you think friendship is only about having fun together and having a solid support system, think again. A good chunk is also about learning from each other and growing together, physically and otherwise.

No matter how similar your backgrounds may be, everyone in your group has an expertise that the rest can benefit from. Turn your holiday sleep-overs into crash courses on practical skills or subjects, with hands-on learning activities minus the rote classroom setup.

For instance, the disciplined busy bee can share tips on time management. The mommy of the barkada can give a cooking demo. Always wanted to learn Photoshop or differentiate between Manet, Monet and Van Gogh? Let the resident artist show you how.

The aspiring director can teach simple cinematography or video editing, and the ardent bookworm can share the literary highlights of Hugo’s “Les Miserables” before the barkada catches it in theaters this January.

The possibilities are endless, since there are as many things to learn as there people who are passionate enough to share their know-how—and the barkada is as good a starting point as any for fun (and free!) self-improvement lessons.

3. Go back (or forward) in time, onscreen and off.

No one ever said growing up was easy. And when the going gets tough, the want—nay, need—to break out is especially strong. Apart from books and one’s own imagination, the next best passport to a far-away land or time is a laptop or a TV screen—and a healthy amount of DVDs and torrents to feed it.

Before schoolwork sends us all back to school’s loving  arms, gather everyone for a theme movie or TV series marathon and escape to a setting of your choice. Up the ante by dressing in character for the occasion and serving food reminiscent of the theme. Think cotton candy for Disney; burgers or hotdog buns with chili for adrenaline-pumping action films; Mik-Mik and Stik-O for ’90s movies.

4. Karaoke!

Why is one’s singing ability like a number? Because both can either be real or imaginary. This rings especially true in videoke-crazy Philippines, where young fingers learn to grasp a microphone before they can properly wield a pen.

Over the break, essay one or a combination of the following roles: the karaoke session organizer; the wallflower forever flipping through a dog-eared song list (but never actually getting up to sing); the mic hog; the chamba-lang-pero-naka-99-points crooner; or the distressed neighbor kept sleepless until the wee hours, lamenting your fate over social media.

No need to rent out a KTV room or troop to the mall—someone’s living room or den would be just as conducive to your karaoke fix. Regardless of your preferred role in the hierarchy of videoke tripping, gather your barkada this Christmas as you croon over the 1.0s (or the 4.0s) that got away in semesters past.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Barkada , Holiday Activities , Lifestyle

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme