Friday, June 22, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 6

On the 6th day of our stay in Kabankalan City, I’d like to say that I’m getting used to living in this place – but that would be a big fat lie. In any case, Southland Inn is much, much better than Zaycoland in my honest opinion. We woke up earlier than usual having learned our lesson from the day before. I had the same breakfast of bacon, eggs and rice, and so did my mother. The difference is that this time, we had ample time to finish it.

After we were done, my mother took it upon herself to march straight into the CPSU vehicle and make a point… or something. Well, in all honesty, I’m pretty sure it was done in the spirit of petty revenge, but that’s how we roll~
As usual, we got off at the Arts and Sciences building at about 7:30 and after a short wait, the students all filed into the room by about 8:00 AM. Classes began with a short Zumba session again. This time, there was a demo teaching class performed by Miss C. who discussed how to write an illustrative essay in a very technical manner. Naturally, it was a competent presentation considering that everyone in the class is an educator after all.

After that, it was time for lunch, but I decided to skip it and stay inside of the classroom. This is because I discovered something a bit alarming. The raw footage for the video advocacy project hadn’t been compiled yet.

Time To Grind

Having worked on a tight self-imposed schedule with Visual Novels before, I just knew that there wouldn’t be enough time to compile the video – especially since no one in the class had any actual experience with video editing. With that, I took it upon myself to streamline the project and do the video editing myself. My laptop is an old Acer D732Z. At 2.0 ghz, 2 gb of ram and sporting a 2nd-3rd generation intel HD onboard gpu, it certainly was no powerhouse, which is why I downloaded VSDC the night before. I’d dabbled in the software a bit and I knew that it could run even on older systems like mine. Fortunately, Ms. C brought her HDD with all the raw footage. I spent lunch break taking out bits and pieces of footage from the waterfalls and splicing them together into a semi-coherent video. Rendering would take about 30 minutes, so I had to work against the clock. 

The worst part is that I wasn’t very familiar with VSDC since I use Camtasia Studio to do my video editing on my home desktop. I actually started to appreciate the power of VSDC a lot more after this experience.

In any case, what I did was to completely remove the sound from the raw footage and unfortunately for the students, I had to remove almost the entire plot of their skit. The video itself now just consisted of some really amazing shots of waterfalls and then some text messages spliced in-between. After that, I added in some music from Aquaria which was really fitting for the waterfalls and then used VSDC’s built-in “ripples effect.”

The new hotel has a nice little artificial grotto at the lobby.

By the time everyone returned from lunch, I’d had a somewhat passable advocacy video ready. I also took the time to write some impromptu prose about Mag-Aso falls which I planned to have different people from the class voice in turn. I mostly just took inspiration from the opening narrations of Aquaria.

VSDC To The Rescue

When my mother returned, she had a better idea and had them do the recording as a group via choral recitation. (She is a coach for verse choir, impromptu speaking, declamation, oration, and other similar contests) After that, the icing on the cake was to have one of the students, a Ms. H, who is a professional-level singer sing a local environmental song called “Kapaligiran.” Unfortunately, the recording hardware of my laptop just couldn’t capture her voice very well, so we just went with inserting the actual song ripped from youtube into the video.

Finally, I showed everyone the preview of the video and they found it quite impressive – of course, they did spot the fact that I’d somehow inadvertently spliced in some of the bloopers into the video. It looked ok, but it did kind of ruin the immersion. With that said, it would take 30-40 minutes to render the video, so I suggested that we just run with the bloopers since we were running out of time. It was about 4:30 when the video had finally been rendered and it looked ok. Everyone was pretty impressed with what I was able to do in that short span of time, but personally, I still wasn’t satisfied with it.

With that said, with everything out of the way, Ms. C entertained everyone with her powerful singing voice by plugging her laptop into the TV monitor and audio system and belting out several religious and sentimental songs which she played via a karaoke program on her laptop.

By 6:30, it was dismissal time again and time for dinner at Mt. Balio Hall. Then it was time for the  30-minute drive back to our hotel, Southland Inn. We stopped by CityMall again, so I took the time to buy some snacks for later.

A Little Bit Of Polish

Back in the hotel room, after getting all my work done (in record time because it was much more comfortable to have wifi in the room), I went over the video advocacy project again and after a quick google search, I managed to figure out how to edit them out via VSDC. So yes, I was using VSDC all this time without even knowing how to cut out certain parts of a video.

With that aside, everything was smooth sailing from there. The final day would be tomorrow and this time, there would be no pressure. Some of the students were actually having their comprehensive exams for their PHDs tomorrow as well, so not everyone would be able to make it. Fortunately, they would be graded based on their blogs and on the advocacy video.

Random Thoughts

As I lay on my bed contemplating all the things that had happened over the past week, it got me to thinking about Kabankalan City and how far away it is from the next highly urbanized city of Bacolod. There didn't seem to be any airports in the area, and I dunno, maybe there's a seaport or something? I was just thinking about how, despite the lack of any big shopping malls, 24-hour coffee shops or any of the hangout places that I'm used to in Iloilo City, the people of Kabankalan actually have access to pretty much the same level of technology that we do. Fiber optic broadband, tablets, high-end cellphones, PCs, cars, car service centers. 

Also, the facilities in the hotels and malls are fairly high-tech as well. Keycard system, modern elevators, etc. So it just got me wondering -- how do they transport all this technology as well as the things needed to these things functioning properly here? As far as I knew so far, the only way in and out of Kabankalan City would be by car -- and the nearest airport is a 2.5 hour drive away. I guess this is actually pretty normal in other places in the world? I have no idea, I'm naive about these things admittedly -- logistics and stuff. Still, it was some nice food for thought and it brought me back to the heyday of RTS games like Age of Empires, Starcraft, and Battle Realms and how you'd need resources to advance your technological level in games like these.

Thoughts like these pervaded my head as I eventually drifted off to sleep. See you for the final day!

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