“She had not changed much–a little less slender, not so eagerly alive, yet something had gone. He missed it, sitting opposite her, looking thoughtfully into her fine dark eyes. She asked him about the home town, about this and that, in a sober, somewhat meditative tone. He conversed with increasing ease, though with a growing wonder that he should be there at all. He could not take his eyes from her face. What had she lost? Or was the loss his? He felt an impersonal curiosity creeping into his gaze. The girl must have noticed, for her cheek darkened in a blush.
Gently–was it experimentally?–he pressed her hand at parting; but his own felt undisturbed and emotionless. Did she still care? The answer to the question hardly interested him.
The young moon had set, and from the uninviting cot he could see one half of a star-studded sky.
So that was all over.
Why had he obstinately clung to that dream?
So all these years–since when?–he had been seeing the light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed places in the heavens.
An immense sadness as of loss invaded his spirit, a vast homesickness for some immutable refuge of the heart far away where faded gardens bloom again, and where live on in unchanging freshness, the dear, dead loves of vanished youth.”
—-from the first Filipino short story in English, “Dead Stars” by Paz Marquez Benitez
One day, I’ll again wake up knowing and understanding that I spent futile countless hours, dreamed hopeless dreams and thought of you excessively for nothing. I know this story. I am kind of used to it. This is the leitmotif of my life. But even if I am used to it, I am not happy about it. The pain still subsists. I want to see you quietly as I am absent, a distant shadow unnoticed. Though the ending shall unsurprisingly be unhappy, still I want an ending right now.
If my life could easily be edited now, give me pieces of papers and I’ll spend the whole morning writing it. I am not without regrets. I believe that for someone to proudly say that he is without regrets is a fool. I regret not telling you how I feel. How ludicrously I see the brevity of the moments that I have spent with you yet I cling to them so tightly like pure white beach sand. But more grains of sand slipped between my fingers the more I cling unto it. The last remaining memories in my grasp, I let go. The wind whirl them to the hungry sea as the sea waves wash away even my foot prints on its shore.
Let my feeling for you now die in silence yet burst across the universe whose fragments may be lost forever but shall not have been forgotten.
Now with Malta’s approving their own divorce bill leaves only the Philippines and the Vatican City as the last two remaining states without their own divorce bill. But what does it imply? Are we now pressured to rush the two House Bills which are for the legalization of divorce in our country?
But what is divorce anyway? Wikipedia defines divorce as the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties. It has several types but the way I see it, divorce is the termination of marriage without any grounds at all except that you just don’t feel comfortable with your spouse anymore. It is fairly simple; just file your petition to divorce in the court and the next thing you know you’re back in the singles market. Remember Britney Spears and her first marriage? She got married and had it divorced after 55 hours. Such act is an insult to the institution of marriage.
I shall not elaborate it fully but there are three things that you have to know in marital laws in the Philippines: declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, annulment and legal separation. Declaration of absolute nullity of marriage requires that the marriage is void ab initio or void from the start. In short, as if there was no marriage that took place. It’s either the essential (consent and legal capacity) or formal requisites of marriage (marriage certificate, authorized solemnizing officer and marriage ceremony) were not present at all at the time the marriage was contracted. It includes the ever famous, PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. Annulment, on the other hand, usually happens when there is a defect on the consent given by the parties. For example, you married a man who concealed his homosexuality. Your marriage is valid but voidable or valid unless annulled. Remember that the defect must exist already when you get married otherwise, it cannot be a ground for annulment. Legal Separation steps in when the defect happens AFTER marriage. The Family Code enumerates several grounds for Legal Separation and they are the following:
Art. 55. A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds:
(1) Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner;
(2) Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation;
(3) Attempt of respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner, a common child, or a child of the petitioner, to engage in prostitution, or connivance in such corruption or inducement;
(4) Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than six years, even if pardoned;
(5) Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
(6) Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent;
(7) Contracting by the respondent of a subsequent bigamous marriage, whether in the Philippines or abroad;
(8) Sexual infidelity or perversion;
(9) Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner; or
(10) Abandonment of petitioner by respondent without justifiable cause for more than one year.
Take note that Legal Separation IS NOT rescinding the contract of marriage. It only allows couples to separate from their bed and board. It also separates their property and the gains would go to the injured spouse. However, it is even illegal for a woman to revert back after to her old surname because the marriage still exists. The law hopes that eventually the couple would put aside their differences and return to each other arms after a brief separation. They are free to reconcile anytime even after the grant of legal separation.
So why am I not in favor of divorce? It’s pretty simple: to protect the sanctity of marriage. To get into any of these three processes is a rigorous process. There are even counseling sessions involved. There would be people who intervene. It’s long enough to make you contemplate why you got married in the first place. That it is not only the two of you who would get hurt but also your children. Everyone wants a family who would be steadfast strong to protect and support them hence I cannot really blame children who rebel against their parents after the separation. Also, the experience does impact the lives of children from broken families. There are several studies that children who grew up in a household of broken families tend to have unsuccessful marriages too in the future. It would probably start an unhappy cycle of unsuccessful marriages for generations to come. Couples who are breaking up would also feel the pain of their original nuclear family like the disappointment of their parents, the annoyance of their siblings. Also, what about the sharp scrutiny of the public eye and the pain of being talked badly behind your back? Rumors may even spread that you’re actually having incestuous affairs when in fact there is probably none. Again in this scenario, it would be the children who would get hurt the most hearing heartbreaking things about their parents.
Just because everyone is doing it in the world does not make it right. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life (Article 1, Family Code). It’s permanent because it is the establishment of the conjugal and family life which is the core and heart of the society. Is it not when everything crushed in our lives like academics, work and friendship, family remains? What would happen when even family is not there to support us? How dreadful that life can be.
Also, we cannot be hasty on our decisions. I am single but according to all wedded couples I know, there are really days that it is a challenge to be together with the person that they had married. There are disappointments, heartbreaks, illness, misunderstanding and chaos from time to time but that is the essence of the wedding vows that you had uttered in the wedding:
I, ________, take you ________, to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
My teacher in Managerial Economics once told me, that finding the person and falling in love is the easiest in marriage because you just, well, fall. But it is a challenge to keep the vow. But you must. That is not only because of your children and your obligations to them. Or that’s not because you swore to God and its not nice breaking your promises to Him. You do it because of your love for that person that you sometimes take for granted or takes you for granted. No marriage is perfect as there are no relationship in this world is ever perfect. It is continuously challenged to enable it to be stronger and better.
With the approval of divorce, marriage may be likened to an ordinary contract where it is easily rescinded and mutual rights over their properties were returned as if nothing happened. More than the conjugal gains and more than the petty misunderstanding marriages are about responsibilities that you would do your vow wholeheartedly to your spouse, children and society. Divorce teaches one to be irresponsible as it is always easier to let go of one’s responsibilities than to fight for it. However, this irresponsibility or to an extent, cowardice, is never a guarantee for a happy future. In fact there are several people, most especially in the Western world, who would get married for more than four times and still not find happiness with it.
Happiness is not easy to achieve. Happiness means work and not running away. Work for your marriage. Work for your happiness.
***Anyone who wants advice on family law may ask me. However, take my advice on your own risk as I am not yet a lawyer.
This Sunday was one of the very few moments in my life where I saw my father cry.
My father is just any ordinary guy. His emotions are quite transparent but let me qualify. He does not hold back his joy whenever his favorite sports teams win nor does he hold back anger whenever I screw up. Neither does he hold back annoyance especially when it comes to his every day exploit with the human sardine thingy popularly known as MRT.
Nonetheless, it’s different when he is melancholic. He is usually silent. In pain, too, he does not complain. He actually had allergy attack this weekend but he didn’t complain at all. It’s only then when my mother brought him to the hospital wherein he thanked her because he wasn’t feeling well anymore.
What’s up with guys and bottling up their emotions?
Nevertheless, this Thursday morning, I woke up feeling a little strange. When my brother and I went down to eat breakfast, our house helper announced that our Uncle Dodo had passed away.
Well, we showed the initial shocked. But, deep inside, I was kind of pleased when I learned that he passed away. He is now finally in the arms of the Lord without pain. He battled cancer for five years.
Jose Cesar “Dodo/Jo” Capa was a Brigadier General and a member of the Philippine Military Academy Batch 1960. He became my uncle because my father’s eldest sister, Auntie Cristing, was married to him since her early twenties and now she’s nearing seventy years old. Uncle was dependable, clever and seemingly stringent. However, he is very pleasant when it comes to children. He often makes as laugh. He could be a joker too. I recall on how poker face he was when he told me as a young girl of about five or seven years old, that he was as white as I when he was younger. However, he ate squid and he became dark-skinned afterwards. He looked serious that’s why I believed him and I never ate squid for the longest time. (Unfortunately for the squid, when I tasted it again, I was already disgusted with its taste, hence I barely eat anything squid except those occasional calamari).
He loves nature, spicy food and sleeping soundly after eating. He is so strong and tough. He is indestructible —until cancer came into him.
Five years ago, he went on a camping trip with his grandson, Meiji. He accidentally fell and his knee swelled from that trip. He ignored it but after several months it was still hurting and it seemed that it is not at all getting better. He decided to go to a doctor and he found out that the simple lump on his knee is actually malignant. Worst, the cancer cells had spread in his lungs already. The oncologist essentially declared that he has lung cancer. However, it was still a mystery on how he’d actually acquire that awful disease. He did not smoke at all. He wasn’t a drinker either and he was even very fond of sports and exercising. He is the least of all the persons in the world that I’ll ever predict on dying because of lung cancer or any cancer for that matter. Maybe, they told me, that because of his work as a soldier, he got exposed to notorious war chemicals when he was in Germany or Viet Nam. We can never know now.
However, tough guy as he is, he faced the battle of cancer head on.
I don’t think there is really someone really robust when faced with cancer. For five years, no matter how tough he is, I saw him slowly being devoured with cancer. Cancer slowed his walking but that didn’t stop him. He still went to trips and was still an excellent driver. When the typhoon Ondoy flooded their house, he strengthened himself and even drove his family to safety despite the fact that he could not barely walk upright. But after that, he rapidly weakened again. He really cannot support himself anymore so his walker and cane was replaced by a wheelchair.
But we folded that wheelchair way too early than expected. One day, he was just rushed into the hospital and my other uncle, Uncle Ding, who is a very good pulmonologist and was also one of his attending physicians, announced to us painfully that the cancer spread not only to his lungs but also towards his bones and its marrow and has affected parts of his brain. Uncle Ding told us to get ready because at any time, he might say goodbye us permanently.
From that point on, I saw Uncle Dodo like a quick-melting candle. We do not see each other much but every time I see him, something changed in him. The cancer cells on his brain really changed his lucidity. It seems like he’s a different person from time to time. Sometimes he knows me; sometimes he looks at me as if it is the first time that he ever saw me. Sometimes I could still talk to him; sometimes, he does not respond to anyone, his eyes were just staring blankly into nothingness. Sometimes he is extremely quiet; sometimes he is just wailing of the unendurable pain especially on his bones. Sometimes I am talking to an aged, wise man; sometimes I’m talking to a child.
And ultimately, he turned into a child. The strong, feared and integral soldier had become a helpless, feeble and dependent infant. He wet his bed all the time and my auntie, who is also old and weak, would not be able to survive without his personal nurses. Somebody must always check on him not only to clean him up, but to feed him, calm him down if he breaks down and place his diapers properly. I admire my auntie for being devoted to him completely all those times of his suffering. She is also similar to his authoritarian way, barely crying as well. However, she shared to me that she cried when he told her not to fret much on him because, according to him,
“I’m never going to be normal anymore.”
In the end, he could just be seen inside of his room sleeping with oxygen tank on. Doctors advised my auntie not to continue with his chemotherapy anymore because the cancer cells had already spread across his body and it’s only hurting him more because it severely affected his bones. Some medications were just provided to him so that pain may be eased, but of course those medicines won’t cure him anyway. It frightened me a lot when auntie told me,
“Pray for Uncle Dodo so that the Lord may take him peacefully, so that he won’t feel pain any longer.”
How strong my auntie was in trying to accept that she might not see him again, tomorrow or the next days or the next months ahead. What is life and death? I wonder why we, human beings, understand that sometimes death is really the best way for a loved one to escape pain and suffering yet we do anything in order for that person to survive. When is letting go proper? Why do we feel sad when somebody dies when we all know that we will all be succumbed into death someday anyway? I feel all depressed on his passing but I had no words on how to exactly build my own feeling.
May 19, 2011. Uncle Dodo breathed his last. That was about 6 in the morning. He was 74 years old. My cousin, Ate Maricris, told us that the night before was different. His jolly nurse was not himself at that night before and he revealed later that he could see my uncle’s soul roaming around the room. Whether that is truthful or not, my cousin and auntie told us that something strange occurred that week. Both of them felt or heard he was calling for him but of course he wasn’t. He was too weak that he cannot even sit. The bond of a husband to a wife or a father to his daughter is stronger than most of us assumes.
March 20, 2011. I saw uncle in a white casket. He seemed to be alive; the only difference is he is not. I love all kinds of flowers, but on his wake days, I hate seeing all of them. It gives me no comfort rather it depresses me seeing how some of them wilt. It reminded me of the brevity of life and that no matter how beautiful and vibrant a flower is now, it would also wilt.
March 21, 2011. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to reach his necrological service. I was dead tired of my regular nine-hour class. My account on this day was based only on their stories. One of the persons who delivered her speech there was my aunt, Auntie Lou, who is also a sister of my father. She said,
“He was more than a brother-in-law for us. To us, he is also our second father.”
Hearing those words from my mother, who was present during the necrological service, I now understood the tears of my father. I often wondered how Daddy became such an amazing father who grew up with no recall of his father except of his voice. Daddy was only three years old when his father died. My grandfather was the then mayor of our little town in Magalang, Pampanga. He was seeking to be reelected then but he never returned. It was September 16, 1953. Years later, my auntie got married to my uncle who, coincidentally, celebrates his birthday on the same day. Since then, he acted as father-figure to all of my auntie’s five younger siblings. He is commanding yet very supporting.
It’s just now that I’ve realized how important he is to me. It was because of him that I have such a great father.
March 22, 2011. Noon. We said our final goodbyes to him in Libingan ng mga Bayani. It’s quite an experience not only emotionally but culturally. It’s really quite amusing seeing someone from the military given final respects. There are bands and marching from the men in uniform. There were also some gun shots for him and his casket was brought by a carriage. The sun was brightly shining that noon—perhaps it was his way of saying that he’s in a better place and not to worry about him. When friends and family were called, I could not find my father so I went with my mother, sister and brother to look at his body for one last time–poignant moment for all of us. We were shedding tears as we walk back to our chairs and then immediate family was called to view at him one last time. My aunt, my cousins and their children walked in slowly. The sadness drawn on their faces were unbearable even if they had long readied for his passing. I only lost an uncle but I couldn’t help myself from tearing up because of anguish so I just could not presume their agony of loss in losing a husband and a father and a grandfather. I found it amazing that Daddy was with them at that time, quietly grieving as tears slide down his cheeks.
That was a tender moment about Daddy that I could not possibly forget.
We may never see uncle again but perhaps in afterlife he is pleased that he lived a full life. He was a good husband, a doting father, a loving grandfather, a loyal friend and an honorable soldier. I now give my final salute to you, Uncle. You’re now free from earthly, unendurable pain and suffering. It’s time for you to walk in the Kingdom of God happily. You deserve it because of your goodness.
Today, May 21, 2011, the whole world laughed or sighed out of relief that the world did not come to an end. It did not make any sense anyway as Revelation 16:15 says that it would come like a thief. Obviously, now one in this world knows when or where he would be thieved. In talks about end of the world just let go and let God. Only He knows when our time would come and nobody, not even the angels, knows about it. But whatever happens, always be ready to face our end. We’ll all die sooner or later anyway.
Frankly, I did not care much about this day anyway. I have way too much things to do today because of my 9-hour Saturday class. All the subjects are wrapping up today and truthfully, I didn’t study much. My uncle died last Thursday which was more of a relief for me and his immediate family because we couldn’t bear seeing him battle helplessly against cancer. Anyway, life went on for me today and before I knew it, I was already at the bus stop heading for home.
I thought that it would be a very peaceful night so I even attempted to write poetry on the bus. However, I couldn’t do it so. That bus driver was one of the leeches of this society. His driving skills were extraordinary. The feeling was you were sitting down inside the MRT and the tracks were of slithering snakes in the wild. There was a point wherein I was thinking that I might see myself in the next minute being carried on a stretcher because of serious physical injuries no thanks to that driver. And then it struck me—what if the world, or at least my world, would end today?
Perceiving and understanding that you were about to die is actually harder than I thought. There were little things in life that you would begin wondering about like if you die now, how would you returned the books you’ve borrowed. You would then forever wonder how Glee Season 2 would end and if Lauren Alaina wins American Idol next week. Then, you would contemplate on your final examinations next week because you would be curious on how you’d fare on happy-times-turned-spent-on-studying-times instead of maximizing the fun and bum moments this summer. After that you would think on all your friends whom you promised to meet after your exams. The stories and gossips that you were dying to tell them now would all be buried with you in your grave in case you die today. Then you think about your family on how you’ll disappoint and sadden them. You would think about your brother and how he always exclaims on how fat you are but likes lying on your tummy when he has time. You would miss that and miss the moment wherein you’d see him happily announcing you that he passed his college entrance examination. Then you would remember your sister who would also be graduating next year. You feel that you already miss her now because of how dead tired she is every day from on-the-job training because you hardly talk. Subsequently, you would recall your parents. Their dreams for you to have a prosperous and rewarding future as a practicing lawyer would be futile. Your wishes for them like treating them to an out of the country trip would likewise be futile.
And eventually you would think about yourself.
Twenty-three years and thirteen days. It was such a long time for me yet my existence is nothing mere like a match spark on the span of Earth’s existence. Did I really prove anything on this world?
I want more time and I need more time.
In those moments that you feel like dying, you would see that not much excitement had happened in your life. You were born and then you lived like an infant then a toddler child. After that, you see yourself as a four-year old fetched by the school bus driver to a nearby school from your newly-built house. Since I was four, I never looked back. I studied pre-school, elementary, high school, college and now I’m in law school. Nonetheless, not much had changed. Your parents are still pretty much the same when you were four and now that you’re twenty-three. They are consistent on protecting you and asking ninety-percent of time about school.
What am I doing?
Eventually, I’d thought of my ultimate dream. I’m guessing that you’re thinking that I want to be one of the well-known lawyer or a judge or pretty much a rich person. Those choices are partly true. However, what I want to be really in the future is to become a very good mother.
Hence my lawyering plan is just a part of my master plan on being a very good mother someday. I want to be an independent superwoman who is pretty much respected in the society, an advocate for change yet at home I could just be myself with my children. I want to raise them with values, help them do their home works or maybe have fun doing stuffs with them in the kitchen. Of course, I’ll be a wonderful wife first to their father whom I’ll support and love in every single way possible. I would love him enough for me to have great sex with only him every day. I’ll probably be more inspired doing things I love more on this world because of him but once we have our children, he has to bear with me on loving them more than I love him. I want my children to be proud of me and always be thankful to have me as their mother.
I just love children. Their laughter is water to my soul. Actually, I really want to become a preschool teacher now weren’t it because of the time constraints of law school. If ever my first plan on having a family of my own won’t materialize on the future, I’ll probably open a foundation for children—perhaps those children who are cancer-stricken. I’ll also devote my life as a family lawyer. I’ll find children on orphanage their rightful parents who would love to adopt them and have free arbitration sessions with couples who have children so that they won’t push themselves to annulment as the children would be the ones severely hurt. I just can’t bear seeing broken families. It breaks my heart, too.
It amazes me how that tough ride with that bus driver made me come up with an idea on how I would continue forth in life. Now that I learned how to die, I want to live more. 😀
You are likened to the full moon
In rainy and moonless night in the city
The yellow lamp-posts and car lights
Make me still crave for your glow and mystery.
My life is proper, isn’t not?
I live justly and could see truth clearly
But truly, I am incomplete, my dear
Your stillness thieved my soul completely.
On happy days, I want to share with you
But on melancholy, I seek for your strength
You’re the bitterness of warm caramel
And my hidden waterfall of tears’ depth.
I walk by everyday hoping that
It’s a day nearer of seeing you again
Your shadowy figure I see everyday, but
I want to hold you as solid as this pen.
How much yearnings can a woman’s heart
Endure yet kept hidden only in prayer?
Only God knows this—does He listen?
Unknown hope makes my day a little merrier.
The most difficult thing in the world
Is your nightmare is longer than dream
Reality is harder because you aren’t there
In slumber, it is warmer—the sunbeam.
I must be a fool searching for full moon
In summer rain and thick, gray city
Yes, I’m seeking you in an absurd world
But I cling to it—our fates are still mystery.
—21:42, May 18, 2011
The traffic was so bad this rainy evening that I could literally write well on the bus. I haven’t written a full poem in three months. I tried but it’s really hard to finish for I am always lost for words in poetry. I know I still lack the technique in this form of writing but I wish I could give poetry time.
Needless to say, I am madly in love with the rain. Thunders and lightnings included. 🙂
Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) or now known as “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.”It’s really not easy defending this bill especially if a lot of Filipinos are looking at children running around Metro Manila looking shabbily clothed, uneducated and uncared for by their parents. I do understand where the pro-RH Bill people are coming from because I had once been very vocal in supporting this bill. It’s really heartbreaking seeing children with seemingly no future because their parents cannot provide them what they need—proper education, at least three meals a day, and even play time because some were know working in the streets in a tender age of three years old. But would RH Bill really help them?
I would say it again and again: No, it won’t and I oppose it not merely on my faith.
Firstly, it would cost us reportedly, P5 BILLION A YEAR. What can P5 BILLION do? A lot, most especially for the existing Filipinos now. It would mean roads, bridges and perhaps a new light rail system. It could also mean subsidy for businesses and economic growth and employment. It could also mean more classrooms, books and teachers for the poor elementary children who are sardine inside (or sometimes even outside room, under the tree) the classrooms, not knowing if they are really picking up something from their lessons. However, this brings me to the question that what would exactly P5 BILLION PESOS do for RH Bill? Don’t you think that it’s too much for the government to spend even if they are going to supply ALL fertile and poor couples in the Philippines, condoms and pills for the whole year? To set aside that money makes me think that it would go somewhere else like the pockets of our “honorable” Solons or government officials.
The more than 90 million Filipinos is the excuse of our government officials on why a country booming of natural resources is poor. I will have to say this again: we are not. It’s just that about 40% of our resources are shared by the upper 10% of the population. This is not a case of overpopulation but unequal distribution of wealth. Corruption is without a doubt the poison of the Philippine society. Didn’t most Filipinos express their lament over corruption when they elected Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino as President a year ago because of his slogan, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”?
As an economist, it has been stressed by our professors back in college that there is no correlation on population and poverty rate. In fact, the richest nations in the world have biggest population like the United States and Japan. Emerging nations like China and India are also booming with population. Labor is an important arm of business. We are blessed with labor and what the government just needs to do is continually open opportunities and employment to all especially the 7% who are unemployed in our country. I think these things have more right to be discussed in Congress rather than the useless RH Bill.
Secondly, I do not understand why RH Bill is all about being pro-choice. Whoever says that we, people who are against the RH Bill, are against choice? In fact, as a follower of Christianity like the 92.5% of the entire Philippine population, I believe in freewill. This freewill may be based on the Christian religion but it is also impliedly protected by Article 3-The Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution.
Hence, you and your spouse can always choose whatever means that you would like for your family. Really. But from what are you really choosing from? Well, the bill provides for nothing but Birth Control Measures which may be potentially be harmful to health, more on this later. However, could you really call this provision as pro-choice for couples?
Sec. 28 (2) of The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011:
Prohibited Acts. – The following acts are prohibited:
a) Any health care service provider, whether public or private, who shall:
2.) Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents and/or other family members are the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrators as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or court, no prior parental consent shall be necessary (emphasis supplied by author)
Why would the State allow such provision? I cannot comprehend it especially when they had opened the provisions of the Family Code (Executive Order 207) with:
Article 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.
How would you protect marriage if the consent of the spouse is not required if the other spouse wants ligation or vasectomy? This provision would really cause domestic disagreements and even a ground for annulment. It is very possible that a spouse may feel offended knowing that the other spouse had vasectomy or ligation without the former’s consent. It’s not up to one couple to decide how many children they would want into marriage. It’s a two-way process. Also, wouldn’t this act be considered as fraudulent? This would result into a marriage with no trust, an unhappy marriage. Worst, this may lead to extrajudicial separation. As we all know, the State considers marriage as sacred because it affects not only the couples but their original nuclear family and outstandingly, their children. Is giving a choice that may be considered unhelpful or injurious to others can be considered as a real choice? Is something stemming out from pure selfishness considered as choice?
The RH Bill gives an illusion that married couples would have “safe sex” if they use all these birth control measures but clearly, with the symptoms and none of those measures have 100% chance that pregnancy would be prevented, the doctors discovered through thorough research would not call this “safe”. In any case, the women are the most affected with all the side effects of the use of these birth control measures. Again, I ask, why would the State agree with a Bill that would heightened the health risk of its women?
Despite of this, there is absolutely NOTHING preventing one from accessing the birth control measures that the RH Bill emphasized as “choices”. They are readily available in the market, especially the condoms. A minor could buy a handful of that in convenience stores like Mini-Stop or 7/11. But why do we need to make it into a law? By all means, avail of the birth control measures. It’s available and you have freedom to do so. Hence, RH Bill would be superfluous under our current laws.
Thirdly, I believe that proper education is the real solid foundation needed by our nation to be the backbone of our country’s development that would be sustainable. This leads us now to yet other controversial provisions on sex education:
SEC. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education
Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School using life-skills and other approaches. Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall commence at the start of the school year immediately following one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act to allow the training of concerned teachers. The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (DOH) shall formulate the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education curriculum. Such curriculum shall be common to both public and private schools, out of school youth, and enrollees in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) based on, but not limited to, the following, the psycho-social and the physical wellbeing, the demography and reproductive health, and the legal aspects of reproductive health.
Age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education shall be integrated in all relevant subjects and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics:
“(a) Values formation;
“(b) Knowledge and skills in self protection against discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, and teen pregnancy;
“(c) Physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents;
“(d) Children’s and women’s rights;
“(e) Fertility awareness;
“(f) STI, HIV and AIDS;
“(g) Population and development;
“(h) Responsible relationship;
“(i) Family planning methods;
‘(j) Proscription and hazards of abortion;
“(k) Gender and development; and
“(l) Responsible parenthood.
The DepEd, CHED, DSWD, TESDA, and DOH shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching reproductive health education to their children.
Parents shall exercise the option of not allowing their minor children to attend classes pertaining to Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education. (emphasis supplied by author)
I agree much on what the legislators wants the people to learn about sex. I studied in a non-sectarian elementary and high school. I have to agree that at Fifth Grade, topics on sexuality must first start. I think that most of us girls had our first menstrual period at this age which in due course made significant changes in the body. The boys also had significant changes in their bodies too. Their voice began to deepen and they started outgrowing us girls. Their hormones also began to have their curiosity on sex as the gossip on various boys bringing pornography materials to school started to be rampant. For this reason, this is the perfect time to be guided on these a number of changes that we are encountering both physically and mentally. I laud my teachers in home economics then who even separated our class from the boys (who had their own class but with a male teacher) when we had our topic on puberty. We were able to direct our questions to our teacher without fear or embarrassment as we are all girls in our class. I think all schools must follow the same and this must be repeated every year so the youth would remember these in mind and heart.
It’s proper to know our body first and what it’s function because it would lead us to the wonderful fact that perhaps someday, a girl would be a mother and her body is preparing her for that and the boys would be fathers and his strong body is meant to work for the sake of that child who would be continue forth with our generation. That is the essential aspect that must be emphasized to the youth beginning at puberty—that sex is for procreation and that you are a human being which differs from animals because of dignity and that enables you to think and not have sex to anyone at any time.
In addition, I call our teachers to teach children budgeting to underscore that marriage life and parenthood comes not only with responsibility but with a price tag to make it work. I also want them to let the children learn to value their youth and that there is no need to rush or be pressured on marrying early. Lastly, I want our youth to be taught to dream and hold on to that dream in order to make it a reality. If they hold onto their dream, they would be more focused on their studies or craft which would make their inquisitiveness on other aspects like sex significantly lower. Also, a good education could lead them to doors of opportunity that may in time help their family alleviate from their current pecuniary status. In brief, I agree with the educational plan of the framers of RH Bill about sexual education.
However, it’s a whole different story when it comes to I and J.
In Letter I, the youth would be taught to use the birth control measures in class. However, how would the curriculum be? This provision would also be dangerous for our society in the long run. First, the RH Bill’s aim is to give all information about birth control measures for “married couples” only. It is deadly if it is also taught to the very curious youth in school who may want to try these measures within themselves. Wouldn’t that be a cause to premarital sex or worse, teenage pregnancy or spread of sexually transmitted disease eventually among our youth?
In Letter J, when I first read the RH Bill, I did not exactly understand what the conservatives and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is clamoring about because I put emphasis on reading the measures and read nothing about abortion as one of the “choices” in RH Bill. But if it is not in the choices, why would there be a need to study it? If the RH Bill supporters claim that they, too, are against abortion because of the word “proscription” or “banning”, then what are the words management of post-abortion complications for which is also under the same bill in Sec. 3 (J) of the same bill? In layman’s language it’s as if you’re telling the children that yes, abortion is banned but in case the “choices” or birth control measures did not work for you, you may want to try abortion as well because we’ll also teach you how you would manage the complications that you will be facing AFTER you committed abortion. This is a very, very dangerous provision. It would be the root of possible legalization of abortion in the Philippines. And even if abortion would never be legalized, if the idea of abortion was instilled in the minds of the youth, a number of them would probably resort to illegal abortion clinics and illegal abortion would even be more widespread. I stress again that it’s a crime under our Revised Penal Code under Articles 256-259. But would this be still in the future?
Truth be told, that I am not completely Anti-RH Bill especially when it comes to Maternal Health Care but then again, this could be solidified in another bill. But, RH Bill in conclusion, I am against RH Bill because it directs persons to be irresponsible for their action on family planning because of reliance to carcinogenic pills, defective intrauterine devices among others. These wrongs obviously do not make the RH Bill right no matter how good the intention of the framers may be. These short-term solutions are not only health-risk to woman but in the end, it would weaken the society. What this country need are long-term solutions like employment, lowering of cost of doing business, distribution of land and modern farming techniques to farmers and classrooms and teachers for our youth. There are way too many issues that need to be addressed. I challenge everyone to read, research and understand the RH Bill. Do not reply merely on what you see.
I sometimes wonder why good things happen to bad people and good people—well, seems to be always unlucky. For someone who is studying law, that could be considered as injustice. It’s always hard seeing other people succeeding when they cheated and you did all your best virtuously but still nothing happened. It seemed that for a moment, God turned deaf ear to you.
I found it pretty strange that when I was a child, I easily understood the story of “The Prodigal Son”. My pure and uncorrupted mind understood love and forgiveness then. I initially did not understand why the first brother was not happy at all with his younger brother’s return. I mean, I have a sister and a brother which are both younger than me. We all fought with each other fiercely but after a while, we forgive each other without saying sorry and continue playing after as if nothing happened. Probably that’s because that how much we really love each other. But as I grow older in the real world, I’ve realized that I became one of the embodiments of the older brother. I tried hard being good almost all the time which was extremely difficult but some people seemed to be more rewarded than me. And then this line from the bible already made sense to me:
But he answered his father, “Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.“
– Luke 15:29-30
Yes, God…why is that so? And now, why does feeling happy for another person’s success is not as easy as it was? I breathed deeply and said to myself. “I’m really sorry for questioning You. How dare me question you when you’re God.”
And then it dawned to me—the older brother was also faulted. I am faulted.
Yesterday, in my Legal Profession class, my professor, Atty. Jeremy Gatdula, who was one of the most intelligent people that I know, asked the class: “Do you know what one word character you must possess in order for you to be called a true Christian?”
Majority of my classmates were Christians save for two or three followers of Islam at the back. We gave him answer such as “Loving”, “Charitable”, and “Prayerful” among others. He said that we were close to that. When nobody gave him the correct answer, he said:
I was like—“What?” All these years, I thought that becoming a true Christian means to suffer a lot in this world and just have a deep faith in Him. After all, there would be heaven after this. As proof, Isaiah 50:6-7 says:
“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”
But was I happy doing it all these years? Frankly, no.
I am the type of person who does not really fight back. I seem to be loud and opinionated but I’m not a fighter at all. No wonder I could easily be targeted by bullies since I was a young girl. As my friend, Angela, tells me in Facebook when I asked her to give me a sort of testimonial like in good old Friendster, a line there says: “The truth is, I would never pegged her to become a lawyer. She is such asoftie.” In addition to that, I’m such a worrier. A very big one.
Am I really a good Christian? Or was I just lying on that fact to myself for several years?
Then I was awakened by the fact that I was lying to myself—or at least partially. There is no doubt that I have faith in God. But it was bleak, weak and it easily crack. An unanswered prayer sometimes makes me whine like a little girl whose parents refused to buy her a doll from the toy store. But that is not maturity. That is not really faith. Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation. I realized that I forgot to trust God a lot in my journey that’s why I am feeling miserable at times.
Why are true believers of Christianity cheerful? Actually, the first persons who noticed the cheerfulness of Christians are the Romans. I really revere the early Christian saints and followers. They know that they are going to be persecuted any time but still, they followed God. Saint Peter even slept well the night before he was crucified upside down.
Matthew 6:26 says:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
This implies that what He is asking to you is faith—a trusting, believing, eternal, unshaken and worry-free faith. He provides. He answers. He wants you to enjoy every moment of your life and live at the present and dwell not on the future or past. He wants you to believe that whatever you are doing is according to His plan. To be cheerful means you gave up everything to Him. Your heart must no longer feel troubled the moment you give your faith to him.
It’s easy to say that, “I have faith in God.” However, it’s a different story when you try combating your troubled heart because you cannot trust Him completely. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the every day injustice especially if you are awfully intelligent, exceptionally skilled, and emotionally strong. You’re pretty confident that you are in control with your life and you deserve more than you are already having. Eventually, you shifted from having faith in God to having faith solely on yourself. That’s when the ultra ego of yours emerges. Unknowingly, you start now praying to yourself and not to God. You tell yourself, “I can do this. I am better than those other people who deceive others while I am all good. I do not do that. I do not need to do that because I am talented, skilled and intelligent. Besides that, I am even charming and charismatic. People cannot resist me.” Consequently, you would soon realize that you alone cannot face the problem alone. That’s understandable, you’re only human and that’s precisely why you still need a God to walk with you in every step of your life. However, instead of going back to God and asking Him for forgiveness for neglecting Him as center of His life and asking for strength to successfully overcoming the challenges that you are facing, some people begin their litany, not of prayers, but of complaints of all the hardship that he or she suffered in this crazy world. Blaming God seemed easier than praying to him. Pride often makes our relationship not only with God but with other people ugly.
The paradox, “We often hurt the ones we love,” apply here. We love God but we sometimes forget about Him. We take Him for granted. We live life without remembering our vow of love to Him. That’s why at times we are tested. These are the times when we feel that He is not listening to us. These are the times when dreams do not come true, nothing goes right and you feel useless because your life is a mess. There is no direction at sight. Deplorable and melancholic memories kept repeating on your head like a broken record. When this point of my life happened some months ago, I went to the church and cried without knowing when I’ll stop. I did not ask God why anymore, I just want to cry and cry over and over again to Him. In my silence, both my mouth and mind, that’s when I felt He understood me. An inner peace settled in my heart knowing that He acknowledges my efforts and that is all that matters. I’m home that I found Him again. He was never gone, but I was. Though I thought that I followed His commandments, I wandered away from Him believing that I could face problems alone.
Cheerfulness did not happen at once. It began with telling everyone that I was okay though I still doubt a lot about my competencies. Standing again after a bad fall was harder than I thought. The fall made my soul crippled. Every new step made me wail a bit because of pain. I sometimes have this mini-falls after that big bad one along the way. But God was patiently with me. For some reasons, last semester, something comes up whenever I am not ready for a recitation. When I didn’t study enough, I’m surprised that the some concepts that I studied actually made it into our examinations. Could this be explained by coincidence and logic? I answer in the negative. There were way too much perfect timings. Also, whenever I feel lonely, I suddenly see myself talking to a missed friend either on-line or better yet, offline.
Cheerfulness means being happy on what you have now without worrying if you’ll be happy again tomorrow. It means laughing to yourself at your blunders. Cheerfulness is sharing poignant experiences to a friend and promising that you’ll pray for each other. It means being glad that you have a home to go to even if you had a bad day at school. Cheerfulness means waiting on a long line and befriending people who are also waiting. Cheerfulness means being struck in traffic with no signs what time are you going to arrive home and receiving a text message that someone is waiting for you to come back. Cheerfulness is when you worked for something and somebody appreciated it. It means that you walk on sunshine and dance on the rain.
Cheerfulness is what the big brother of the prodigal son felt after he realized without impurity in his heart that his brother had returned.
Cheerfulness is following God wholeheartedly and lastly, cheerfulness is multiplying it to your own reader. 🙂
Yes, today is my 23rd birthday. I am now starting to understand why some adults aren’t as hyped as I expected them to whenever their birthday occurs. It’s another candle on the cake. It’s another year closer to grave. It’s another year to start becoming hopeful again.
It’s another year of same routine for me—school and home all over again.
Hence, I decided NOT to talk about me today.
I’m strong, I’m sure, I’m in control, a lady with a plan. Believing that life is a neat little package I hold in my hand. I’ve got it together, they call me ‘the girl who knows just what to say and do’ Still I fumble and fall, run into the wall, ’cause when it comes to you, I’m just another woman in love.
—-excerpt from the song, “Just Another Woman in Love” by Anne Murray. This is her favorite song in the karaoke. I think those lines from the song is a clear overview on who she really is.
Twenty-three years ago exactly from today, it was also a Sunday. It was also Mother’s Day. It was no different probably from today, except that Manny Pacquiao does not have a match then. It was five minutes until seven in the morning. Finally, after three seemingly endless days of having premature labor her work was successfully finished. She was almost thirty-three years old then, she’s no longer young. From exhaustion, she fell into a deep slumber. Thus, she wasn’t the first one who first saw the shadow of her firstborn. She wasn’t even the first one who heard the babe cry to the world that it was alive. But at that moment her life was changed forever.
She now understands why such day like Mother’s Day exists.
It wasn’t an easy task for her. Nobody would ever tell me that motherhood is easy. Three years after my birth, she gave birth to another daughter. Five years later, when nobody is expecting her to have a child anymore, she gave birth to a son. She is a modern career woman. She is a Certified Public Accountant and even earned her Master’s in Business Administration even if she did not come from a rich family. She’s lucky enough to have parents who did their best in order to supplant her and her five other siblings their respective college degrees.
She is not the perfect mother. But who is? Her homemaking skills may still need some more practice but she is intelligent and hardworking. She knows exactly how to budget her money without the feel that she is really budgeting. She is probably one of the world’s corniest people but she laughs a lot. You would just fall in love with her laugh over and over again. She rage at times which I found the most annoying trait of her, but often that is because she loves us all so much and as I grow older, I found out that sometimes love is devoid of reasons and sometimes we hurt the people we love thinking that it is the best in them.
This is clearly the stage in my life wherein I realized that the reasons why I disliked you at times because are because I disliked myself. However, it is evident that every single day, our similitude in our behavior, beliefs and actions became more substantial in me. Of course we have differences like I am more expressive than you with my feelings. I dislike some of the foods you like. I wouldn’t eat kiamoy to save my life. I wouldn’t understand too what’s up with you and buying bags all the time. But whether you like it or not, I would become like you. Now that I realized it, I become more confident and happy about myself. It would be an honor to be like you. We are corny, crazy, hotheaded at times but we are both self-sacrificing for the sake of our family. Nothing comes first before family. We are both trusting in God. We like going on to many places. We always order what is new on the menu. We are both mababaw ang kaligayahan. We are crazy. For example, we are very mad at Gio now for screwing up but later we are hugging and kissing him like crazy while calling him all the pet names in the world. We both like talking about our friends even if we sometimes have no idea on who exactly are we talking about. We always have room for dessert even if we are already too full to move. We love fruits. We love accessories. We love learning.
We just love each other so much.
I hope that someday, I would become a mother too. I am not sure if I’ll ever be as great parent as you were to Le-Anne, Gio and I to my future children but I would teach them the things you taught us—-how to love unconditionally, to be trusting with your friend but more so in your own family, to put education first and fun later, to always have a sense of responsibility in all your actions and to always be humble upon God. I love you so much. Every day, I thank God for having you as my mother. You are one of my life’s biggest blessings. I know that I did give you headaches in the past which I am greatly remorseful and sorry. I hope you have more fond and happy memories of me than those negative ones. I do hope that you did not regret having me as your daughter. Thank you for choosing to take care of me endlessly since that Mother’s Day of 1988. Thank you for being brave enough to face the responsibility as a mother. Thank you for being our family’s Wonder Woman. I hope that someday I’ll make you and Daddy very, very proud of me.
I now understand why there is such thing as Mother’s Day. Actually, every single day is Mother’s Day. Once a mother decides to be a mother to her child, she never halts from that point on. Even if she’s far away or in vacation or in workplace, her heart would always be with her children. When she eats, she’ll worry if her children are eating well. When she sleeps alone, she would wonder if they are sleeping well. When she is in grocery, she is budgeting not to buy the things she wants for her to buy ice cream which her children would love. Mothers are the world’s greatest hero for me. Everyone would surely claim that they have the best mother in the world. But for the most part of the year, we take them for grated. Some avoid talking or hearing them out. Some would just not care. Perhaps, Mother’s Day is specially made for us to think and reflect on all the goodness that our mother had shown or sacrificed for us. It is the time to thank them and say sorry to them. Maybe she deserves hugs and kisses as well.
Thank God for mothers. I wouldn’t imagine what life would have been without them. Thank God that He gave me, Professor Olivia Custidio-Ayuyao as my mother. I wouldn’t say that she is the best mom. “Best” sounds too cheesy and unnatural for me. But definitely she is a good mom—the one you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.
Today, I reaffirmed my geekiness to the world by registering my 10,000th tweet.
Yes, you read it right, 10,000th. Ten-thousandth.
I do not know whether to be proud or embarrassed about it. I’m proud to have finally reached that high number in a way because it’s really rare for anyone to have a tweet as numerous as that not unless you’re a media news feed or a bot. But I’m embarrassed in a way that people might think that either I share information about me so much blab about myself that I lose that much essential mystery in me or I retweet too much information or quotes that are pretty much useless. Either way, I am nothing but your everyday flooder on their walls.
Now, I made some calculations on how exactly did I reach 10,000 tweets. First, my twitter is not really new. I created it one boring Monday morning. My twitter’s birthday is July, 27, 2009, therefore it is almost two years old. Second, there are 645 days between July 27, 2009 and today, May 3, 2011. Hence, 10,000 tweets divided by 645 days would give 15.5 tweets per day on the average. This brings me to my third point, Is 15.5 tweets too much?
I started slow on twitter. I tweet just about ten tweets a week. I really do not have many friends on twitter and I’m not really into Hollywood stars who are famous on twitter. It wasn’t famous at the time I made my account in the Philippines. Everyone knows but one social networking site—Facebook. I admit that I am also addicted to Facebook. Everything is there—commenting to posts, chatting with friends and playing games. Probably, there was a time wherein I thought that that the world only needed two websites to survive—Facebook and Wikipedia. But time comes along when you are now exhausted with a thing. I sometimes can’t breathe with Facebook. I wanted to express something but I couldn’t, fearing what my relatives or other people would comment or think. I also got tired with people asking me to like photos for contests on various fan pages. I got tired of playing games which takes forever to load. I got tired that whenever I post any love quote as status message, people takes it seriously. Yes, in short, I just got tired.
That’s when I became took seriously my twitter account. I am amazed how information was passed through one person to the rest of the world in a wink of my eyes. You could feel on real-time how is Manny Pacquiao doing just by reading tweets by people who are lucky enough to actually be there and watch him live. You wouldn’t believe how much you have learned in current events, life and love by reading ideas that are all under 140 characters or less. You are happy that by the way of retweeting, you are able to help the international community by passing on information to your followers and passing it to their own followers. You are able to sympathize and emphasized to anyone in the world by celebrating with them on their joy and comforting them on times of chaos or natural calamity.
Twitter had transformed us into international citizens.
But, I must admit that initially I struggled in twitter. A chatterbox like me would indeed have difficulty on expressing ourselves in 140 characters or less. That’s when I shortened my initial twitter username: ‘empressmaica’ to simply ‘maica_’ so I can say more things when I reply on a significant tweet to me. I also sounded more aggressive or cruel at times because words which ‘soften’ what I want to say is deleted if I express things which are beyond 140-characters. For example, there’s a line which says, “I kind of hate what she is wearing because it seems like she is not suited for it,” would become, “I hate what she is wearing. She is not suited for it.” It made me, and some other tweeps, more straightforward. That may be a bad thing, especially if you’re a Filipino. Filipinos are not culture-wise ready for criticism and find straightforwardness vulgar…or at least at the moment. No wonder how much twitter wars had occurred in our local show business because of that.
Another thing which boosted the number of my tweeps is my interaction with my friends who are also fond of twitter. Gone are the days wherein I have ka-text. I have now people who are my ka-tweet. Recently, I have around 10 to as much as about 70 mentions a day. Really. However, before, I only get 10 mentions a month and some are even from bot accounts.
I really am sorry to be a flooder at times at twitter especially when I get so hyped over events or with my feelings. But that is just the way I am—easily passionate and enflamed with what I feel at the moment. But as always Twitter gives you a choice whether to follow someone or not. You know exactly what to do. Nevertheless, you could always be sure of one thing. Twitter is one of the reflections of my soul. My complexities, my wishes, my feelings and my opinions are stored in one box untidily.
My soul, on the other hand, grows, learns and yearns everyday. And that means, ceteris paribus, more tweets from me would go on your way, my dear, poor follower.
With all things have said, would you still want to come and follow me? I certainly hope so. 😀