How Deep Can You Go?

Information. It is now considered one of the most powerful tools to be known by humankind. With information, it enables companies to market their products in a certain way that the majority of the demographics would be satisfied. In governance, it could aid the government in implementing necessary actions, laws or projects for the betterment of the country. Information is so sacred that before a person could have an account on a certain website, he/she would be informed of the privacy policy and terms & conditions. It is so scared that there are laws which protects people from having their personal information being stolen.

There is a theory called the social penetration theory which states that as relationships develops, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow to a deeper and more intimate one. Information exchange would be from the most public ones to the most personal. It’s analogy is depicted on an onion bulb. When the relationship is rather shallow, only the outer layer of the bulb was being touched ( biographical info was presented). But as the relationship delves deeper, the onion was little by little peeled until it reaches on the insides (personal info like dreams and fears were presented).

To test this theory, we made an activity on which we would approach total strangers and kindly ask them for their personal information, from the basic ones to the more sensitive ones. We headed on the most crowded place we could think of on a Tuesday morning, SM City.  In terms of finding the right subjects, it was quite a challenge since we wanted to ask strangers who are a bit matured like those in their mid-20 and 30s so that it would be easy for us to ask such sensitive questions. Overall, it was a challenging yet exciting activity.

We approached them in a friendly manner and with a smile. When we told them of the activity, most of them was caught off-guard. To get their approval, we told them that we are students from this university and the information that they’ve given would be strictly confidential. In the later, all of them agreed. At first, it was easy for them to relay their biographical info like name, age and the like. As the interview progresses, most of them felt uneasy especially when we asked them about their fantasies and fears in life. Some tried to dismiss the questions, but some were brave enough to answer. There was this group of seafarers who answered us without hesitation up to the point that they talked about their trips all over the world and gave us advise in our studies.

For us, it was a fun activity since we got the opportunity to further enhance our communication skills by approaching complete strangers. We set aside all of our worries and insecurities and stay heads up for the challenge. We knew that some respondents might be uncomfortable through their facial expressions and gestures, so we tried to be polite and considerate as much as possible. There was a time when one of us was hesitant to ask because a certain sensitive question was a taboo from her religion. But she just thought that such information would help her understand this person’s perspective and the sensitive topic as well.

As what stated in the introduction, information is such a sacred matter. Information reveals a person’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Through this activity, we learned how communication shape relationships. Revealing such information holds the person being revealed accountable. Revelation of such information requires trust and respect. When best friends share personal secrets for example reveals that their bond is intense. We must remember we are accountable of the information that we got. We must learn to respect, to treat these information dearly, to never take for granted because it is the very reason why relationships exists.


Glannery Salarza

Jessah Jen Garbino

Kyla Villanueva

Mark Angelo Estil

Reyban Sabordo

Samantha Villacorta

“How to Peel Onions?”

What if a random person asks you about your fantasies in life in the middle of a busy shopping mall? November 22, 2018- A group of college students roam around a certain shopping mall silently observing passersby. Each one waiting for an opportunity to catch the prey. For a simple reason of throwing a random question to a random stranger out of the blue. In that moment, a student approached a group of senior high school students and in an instant burst out with, “Hello! Kamusta?”

This activity was about trying to see how strangers open up to another stranger with low and high context information involved. The activity was done by trying to ask personal information to random people and seeing as to how they react or how they feel about answering the questions. It also enabled us to dig information from various strangers through casual interactions. It’s all about how willing your participants to answer your question and as well as your ability to converse with someone you don’t even now. Three members of the group teamed up and interviewed people within the vicinity of the campus while the two others independently conducted interviews in a shopping mall.

General observations with regard to the conduct of the activity are 1) there were people who declined the interview and there were others who accepted the interview yet not so eager to disclose other needed information, 2) the time of the conduct was quite inappropriate because it was around noon and most people were neither in a hurry or too busy they don’t want to be disturbed, 3) reactions varied from different age groups, 4) the ability to converse properly played a huge part in gathering information. The group, unfortunately, were composed of not-so-sociable or socially awkward members thus it was not an easy task. There were times the interviewer got spaced out of the conversation. However, even with this factor, the activity was successfully carried out. Though there were people who declined the interview, there were also a number who expressed their eagerness to answer the questions.

The first part of the questions was carefully prepared to firstly establish a nice ambiance for the interview. As the questions progressed to quite private and sensitive concerns, reactions of individuals drastically changed. Some were too shy or just afraid to open or disclose their fears in life and even their fantasies. Nevertheless, through making a light and casual environment, the participants felt happy and calm though they expressed reservations through smiling whenever they don’t feel answering the question.

Having this activity was quite a challenge for us. It was the feeling of being thrown in an island and finding your way back home. One lesson we learned was that, you need to express yourself first. You just can’t easily drag everyone to do your bidding. You need to establish good rapport with your participant in that way you will be able to carry out the interview. Of course, our mental reservations hindered the progress of the activity. There were times we, as interviewers, were even shy to raise those questions. It is hard to approach someone you don’t know and act very friendly and confident although you feel awkward inside. More importantly, we were able to fully grasp the essence of the activity. It is not just about how strangers respond to questions raised by another stranger rather it’s also an assessment in our part regarding our ability to establish good atmosphere and subsequently became effective communicators.

The Interviews

Communication has always been one of the building blocks of life. Without it, life as it is now would not be as progressive. But nonetheless, communication still has its downside. Nowadays, communication with people whom we are not acquainted with beforehand is very tricky with the underlying tone of judgement, awkwardness and lack of intimacy between the two parties.

The activity was to ask strangers in a public place some weird and random but personal questions. The fact that students like us were to ask for interviews is not really new to people in general since it is in this stage of schooling where research papers and other papers require different methods of data-gathering and interviewing people is one of the most common methods. So the first thing we thought about the activity was that it wouldn’t be as hard to do it since we think a lot of people would be willing to set aside some minutes for our “project. they’d help because we know they’d understand what it feels like because somehow we’ve all been there. But then we thought about the details of the activity, and considered it with our circumstance of having two non-Ilongga members of the group. It was going to be in a public place. It was going to be with strangers. Strangers from a place some of our group are still not very familiar of. This becomes somewhat of a significant factor for the two non-Ilonggo members of the group because they are not from here. They speak a different language from the people around here. Even though they’ve been in this place for four months, they can’t assure myself that they’re going to be successful with communicating to Ilonggo strangers already. They thought of the inconvenience it might cause the stranger, to have to adjust to the language they’re going to use (and ofcourse it’s gonna be the lingua franca: filipino), and they’re already the one who’s gonna ask to favor of interviewing them. Even though we know there would still be people willing to help, it made them uncomfortable to just even think of the inconcvenience the favor would be to the strangers they’re gonna have to interview. Plus, the fact that the questions are even just personal and random, they might think that our “project” is just some kind of childish joke. An insignificant paperwork that just completely wasted their timeand effort to answer. Ofcourse, the rest of the team, the ilonggo ones, are willing do the talking, but then again we’re gonna have to do this as a team. They insisted to have a significant contribution. And so, we first thought the activity was gonna be quite difficult to do, mostly because of the unsettling feeling we’ll have with the thought that it might cause such inconvenience to complete strangers.

But we made found a way to make it better. So the place we made our interviews was in SM City Proper, Iloilo City. There were tons of people by that time because it was the middle of the day, it was the biggest mall in Iloilo City, and the fact that it’s almost Christmas time which means people will be around for the christmas promos on shops or for the start of the christmas preparations in their homes and all that. We decided to seperate into pairs, or teams. The plan was we interview seperately so as to save time and double our data gathering method, rather than going all together as a group. We also figured that strangers might be creeped out if a bunch of kids just suddenly approached them for an interview. They might feel cornered and be just forced to answer, which would make them uncomfortable, which would make us uncomfortable. We wanted to avoid inconveniece and uncomfortable settings as much as possible. Also, the data we can gather, the experience that we experience would be more than what we could have if we have gone together as a group. For instance, my team might have a hard time to interview and be humiliated at some point, and the other team might have success with interviewing kids and maybe even have fun. With that, we can have a lesser objective and a more considerably multi-perspective conclusion.

Most of the respondents showed awkwardness and uneasiness throughout the interview, this may simply imply that, people find it uncomfortable or an inconvenience if random and unfamiliar people approaches and asks them random questions.

For the first few parts of the questionnaire, many chose to answer but still find themselves in an awkward position for casually spilling information. As we progress across details and go deeper to their personal details, some of them were hesitant to answer and some chose not to say anything as they felt like it was crossing boundaries.  In most cases of the people that we have interviewed, they were all comfortable in answering the questions at the start if the interrogation. But once we got into the deeper part, they started to feel discomfort and masked it mostly by giggling or like fidgeting in their position. Religion, political views, favourite alcohol and sexual fantasies in life were the questions that the respondents have to think twice before actually answering. As we were interrogating them, these were the questions that we felt the most hesitation from the respondent’s part.

The activity had a significant effect on all members of the group. We found our differences, our strengths and weakness, and our peakpoints and limits to the social skills we have towards strangers. Some of us learned how to have confidence and realized that it was easy to do. Some of us had to really push guts to interview the strangers and yet still have the unsettling moment of causing inconvenience, nevertheless, they realized that the activity wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be.

Group 1:

Jence Servano
Cedric Jamera
Karl Sorenio
Chiara Ricablanca
Ardeth Sinamban