Juan Mariano Magdaraog


Walking the knife’s edge day by day.

Portfolio Entries

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2 comments on “Juan Mariano Magdaraog

  1. The student generally followed the guidelines provided for commenting on the map and composing the essays. Some map entries did not contain write-ups and/or accompanying information (it’s either that or I cannot access the write-up from the URL provided by the student). Because of this, the student relied on the map content to ascertain the objective/s of these map entries. However, some maps did contain write-ups and captions that explain the map’s objective which the student failed to provide in some of the essays. The student decided to provide map objective based on his perception of what the objectives are given the contents of the map. I felt that it affected the student’s appraisal on whether or not such intended objective was fulfilled or not, and comments by which the map can be improved given the non-fulfillment of the intended objective. The student could’ve at least mentioned the map’s objective based on the caption and moved on to explain what the perceived objectives are based on the map content.

    The student fulfilled expectations based on his interests which include creative writing. The essays are beautifully written. Even if I have no interest on the general theme of the portfolio (which by the way I have) I would have still read the entries. The entries were easy to understand. I am just afraid that the student might have overdone himself. On a limited space such as this, choice has to be made between form and content. Too much focus on form might sacrifice substance. Furthermore, artistic expression threads on a very thin line between being beautiful and being annoying. In my opinion though, he has done a good job in balancing form and substance. He has included enough information and made it interesting. If I were him however, I would have included more. The student also did a good job in using creativity on the titles. I am aware of some debate on creative versus informative titles. Some might say that titles should give the reader full expectation on what to read. On this criterion, I felt that the titles the student used did not fully reflect the information contained on most of the entries. That being said, it is my opinion that in this type of undertaking the author needs to create interest first, as such, the choice of titles were great.

    I opted to put my comments on the “choice of maps” and “substance and relevance” together for I initially questioned the student’s choice of maps. Although most of the maps chosen were very interesting, one or a couple has questionable relevance. I felt that those maps were just chosen to fill the required number of map entries. However, reading the whole portfolio, apart from the generally political and cultural geography theme, the student tries to exhaustively cover how cartography in general, and “maps” in particular, has been or are being used. From the “stand-alone” maps to those maps that clearly needs an accompanying document or write-up to be fully understood; from thematic to “caricature” maps; from very useful to those with questionable usefulness; and many other ranges of criteria. Finally, other comments in the portfolio included standard critique such as choice of color, font size, etc.

    I have to commend the student in making an extra effort in conveying information in a very creative way. Good Job!

    • Thank you for taking time to assess my output, sir!

      I believe my ineffectiveness with regard to providing information on the maps critiqued and their respective objectives comes down to my bad habits of procrastination and cramming. I did not give myself time to properly check my links and my data, and the result is as you have stated.

      The writing style and the choice of titles stems from me wanting to have a little fun with the essays, and I am happy that they were seen to be interesting. The titles saw an inordinate amount of time and effort to them, but then again I believe that it is important that they generate as much attention and interest as possible. I admit that I do have a tendency to overdo things and ramble in my writing, leading to questionably long sentences and an occasionally ostentatious choice of words, as I have incidentally just demonstrated again. I also admit that they were also used to compensate for and distract from any shortage of content. That too was a result of my eleventh-hour critique production.

      The choice of maps boils down to:
      1. Wanting to find the spiffiest maps possible.
      2. Selecting maps that aren’t likely to be picked by my classmates (which I found out actually did take place)
      and
      3. A general polite interest in the histories and affairs of nations and their peoples.

      My knowledge with respect to 3 may not be deep, but it is broad, and I tried to relate what I’ve learned about politics and society with the maps I found and the intentions of the cartographer as I perceived them. The beer map really is an outlier and I just wanted to get my sixth map in, so there it is.

      Once again, I thank you for your time. Your points were well thought out and revealed dimensions of this exercise that I had overlooked or failed to learn. I will do my best to make the most of the insights you have imparted to me.

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