Reflections from Okaka-Okaka, Ang Batang Palaka

6:11:00 AM


Okaka-Okaka, Ang Batang Palaka was written by Rene O. Villanueva and illustrated by Joji Pamintuan. It was originally written in Filipino but it also has a translation in English. This story was about the experiences of a young frog playing with different kinds of animals. The young frog played with cats, rabbits, bats and birds. Although Okaka enjoyed playing with the different animals, he still felt that he was different from them. He felt that he does not belong to these group of animals. He told his parents about his experiences and his little frustrations because he cannot do the things other animals do. 

Okaka played with cats which can run. Obviously since he's a frog, he cannot run cause frogs jump. He then went to rabbits which are adapted to jumping. But the problem was with the diet of rabbits. Rabbits are herbivores, they only eat plants specifically carrots. Frogs are not herbivores, they are insectivores (insect-eaters). He then went to the bats and stayed with them. Okaka tried to hang upside down just like the bats. But he left the bats because he felt dizzy and tired hanging upside down the whole day. Lastly, he tried to play with the birds with beautiful bird calls. The bird sung in chorus "tweet tweet tweet" but Okaka can only sing "kokak kokak kokak". Okaka was no longer frustrated this time. Because even though he cannot sing "tweet tweet tweet", he can still sing "kokak kokak kokak. Okaka told himself that he somehow enjoyed being with the different animals but he was happy being a frog.

Okaka's mother told him that he was different from those animals. There are certain things that they do that Okaka cannot do. But there are also things Okaka can do but the other animals cannot. This is simply because different animals have different morphology and physiology that they used for living and survival. We are all unique in our own ways. Okaka's mother enrolled him in a school for amphibians and reptiles. He felt very happy being surrounded by animals with almost the same morphology, physiology, diet and behavior. They played together in the river and the forest. Okaka got inspired and he studied well in school. Okaka's mother was also happy because he is enjoying being in school.

Lessons that we can get from the story:
1. We do not have to compare ourselves to other people. We do not have to be frustrated because some people are better than us or they can do a lot of things that we can't do. We don't have to be disappointed because they perform better than us in a lot of things. We have to realize that we have our own strengths and weaknesses. There are people who are good in different subjects like English, Math, Science. There are those who excel in sports, in music, in dancing and acting. We have our niche. Instead of being frustrated, let them be an inspiration for us to strive more to be better. 

2. We have to be thankful for the things that we have. In the end of the story, Okaka realized that he loves to be a frog and there are lots of unique things he can do. We have to be contented with the things God gave us. We don't have to be envious. Instead of grumbling about the things that we don't have, let us just praise God for all the things He provided us. Let us always be thankful for all the blessings that we received.

3. Unity in diversity. We can still live in harmony with different people. Although we have different backgrounds, different personalities and different beliefs, we can still live together as long as we understand each other and love one another. We do not have to compare ourselves to each other because we are unique in our own ways. We can be different but complementary. We can exist in synergy.

4. Enjoy life. In this story, Okaka entered a school where his classmates were lizards, crocodiles, chameleons, tortoises and turtles. I guess the lesson that we can get from here is to enjoy friendship with different people. This is especially important for children who will enter the school for the first. It might be a major adjustment for the child to be surrounded by different kids. It might be a challenge for them to mingle and interact with other kids. It's always difficult at the start but the children can adapt and learn how to interact and make friends with their classmates.

5. Lastly, excellence in academics. Okaka excelled in his academics. So as student, let us do our best in school. After all, we can use all of the skills and knowledge once we are already in hospital practicing medicine. 

Personal Reflection:
On a personal note, I can totally relate to the story. The experience in medical school was quite overwhelming. From a class of 9 students during our PhD coursework year to a class of 160 medical students for the MD training. At first, I was a bit pressured because I was surrounded by brilliant and intelligent people. And since I belong the MD-PhD program, I felt the need to really excel in academics because I am a scholar of the government. I dont want to waste the taxes of the Filipino people being spent for my studies. There were times that I studied so hard but my grades were just above passing. I got frustrated to the point that I question myself if I really wanted to be a doctor or if this is really where God wanted me to be. But later on, I learned to handle the pressure. I learned to just enjoy the journey to becoming a medical doctor. Focus on skills and not on grades. After all, the skills and values are more important than grades. But of course, I still have to do well in academics but I always remind myself that my worth and value as a medical student will never depend on the grades that I get.

 It was quite a challenge to interact with a lot of people but I was so thankful because my classmates were very approachable. I gained a lot of friends and companions. I learned and am still learning from them. UPCM Class 2020 was actually a good example of people from different backgrounds existing in synergy. We have different strengths, different weaknesses, different talents, different problems, different beliefs, different perspectives. But what kept us and bound us together was the desire to be a doktor ng bayan. To be a five star physician who will contribute to the progress and development of Philippine healthcare. Together, we will reach that goal. I still do not know everyone in our class. Hopefully I get to know them and be friends with them before the school year ends. It will be super amazing because when I get to know all of them, I will have more than 160 pairs of shoulders to lean on, ears to hear my woes and rants, hands to comfort me when I have problems and also to congratulate me in victory. 2020! Legendary! Thank you for reading.

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