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4 holiday activities for ‘barkadas’ on a budget

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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.


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