Category Archives: Social Issues

Nang Biglang Natapos ang 2014

The Politician
The Politician Smile. Naalala ko na tawa ako ng tawa nung una kong nakita ang larawan kong ito. Nung bata ako, pinangarap ko maging politiko. Presidente pa nga ng bansa eh! Pero nung nakita ko ito…naisip ko, parang hindi naman bagay. Haha! Pero hindi pa ako nagsasalita ng tapos. Abangan ang mga susunod na kabanata.

Dahil 2015 na…marami na namang ‘magpaparamdam’ for 2016 Elections. Kaya eto…for the sake of wala lang, nilalatag ko na ang picture ko na malamang nasa 2016 na kalendaryo niyo.

Seriously, no. Wala po akong balak takbuhan na posisyon kahit sa pagiging Tanod. At utang na loob, WAG niyo iboboto sa 2016 ang mga nagpaparamdam na mga taong ganito. Hindi nila mahal talaga ang bayan. Papasok lang sila sa politika dahil at gagawin itong negosyo. Inilagay ko lang ang larawan ito dahil napansin ko lang na never ko pala inilagay ang grad pic ko dito sa Facebook. So sa mga taong naghahanap ng grad pic ko, here you go…

Ang bilis lang. Patapos na ang 2014. Sa totoo lang, wala ako masyadong alala sa taon na ito. Wala eh. Boring talaga. More than half siguro ng taon, nagtatago ako dahil sa Bar. Maliban sa pagtatapos ko ng kurso ko, pagkuha ko ng Bar at pagkakaroon ko ng isang tunay na trabaho, wala na akong maituturing na “highlight” ng taon ko. Boring, ‘no? Kaya naman puro tanong lang ang naiwan sa akin.

Gayunpaman, nagpapasalamat ako sa taon na ito lalong-lalo na sa pamilya ko na binigyan ako ng walang hanggan na suporta; mga kaibigan ko sa pag-intindi na wala akong gaanong magawa sa kanila ngayong taon; sa Pamantasan ng Silangan sa pagtuturo ng lahat ng kinakailangan ko para sa bar; at sa mga katrabaho ko sa Kagawaran ng Repormang Pansakahan sa pagtulong niyo sa akin.

Isa na lang talaga ang hinihiling ko ngayon: hindi na sana muli mangyari ang 2014 sa buhay ko. Ayoko na danasin ang lahat ng sakripisyong iyon. Ayoko na ng pakiramdam na pinuputol ko ang sarili ko sa mundo para lamang sa pag-aaral. Gusto ko na ng pagbabago. Gusto ko na makatulong sa bansa para sa ikabubuti ng sistemang panghustisya. Gusto ko na rin na tumulong ng malaki para sa aking pamilya.

Kaya naman sa lahat ng Bagong Taon, ngayon ako pinakanasasabik. Sana nga lahat ng pagbabago na hinihingi ko ay matupad sa 2015. Hindi na rin ako bumabata. Sa darating na taon ay dalawampu’t pitong taong gulang na ako. Kaya naman parang awa niyo na…isama niyo lagi sa dasal niyo na maipasa ko ang Bar Exams.

Bago ako matapos ay sana, wag lang pansariling bagay ang ihiling natin ngayong taon tulad ng sana magkapera o pumayat. Hilingin natin ang mga bagay na magiging kapaki-pakinabang tayo sa kapwa natin tulad ng sana mas masigasig ako sa pagtatrabaho, mas habaan ko ang pasensya ko sa pamilya ko o sana mas galingan ko sa pag-aaral ko o sana mas maging mabuting Pilipino ako. Ito rin ang taon para laliman natin ang pananampalataya natin sa Maykapal. May nabasa ako na iniisip ng tao na magiging masaya lang siya kung siya ay magiging matagumpay. Pero ayon sa isa pag-aaral sa larangan ng sikolohiya, baligtad raw dapat. Magiging matagumpay lamang ang isang tao kung maligaya siya sa ginagawa niya. Kaya para sa lahat, ipinagdadasal ko ang kaligayahan niyo ngayong taon. Manigong Bagong Taon sa Lahat!

P.S. Hindi ko ito inilagay sa Facebook account ko pero may isa akong resolusyon: na makapagsulat ako ng marami pa sa susunod na taon. Patawarin niyo ako sa hindi pagsulat halos. Maliban sa abala ako ay hindi ko alam kung saan magsisimula pagkatapos ng Bar Exams. Hanggang sa susunod na taon!

What’s the Fuss with #Thinspiration?

I posted this image in my social networking sites with the caption: My realistic #thinspiration, ♥ ;). Good morning, my puffballs! :) Credits goes to Marbee's owner. Follow her in Instagram as @bunnymama
I posted this image in my social networking sites with the caption: My realistic #thinspiration, ♥ ;). Good morning, my puffballs! 🙂
Credits goes to Marbee’s owner. Follow her in Instagram as @bunnymama

Now, I posted that image above in my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter just for laughs. I mean, for the past months, I see my girl friends in those social network accounts posting about their #thinspiration which were composed by the almost unclad Ellen Adarna doing exercise and a bunch of super thin girls with their ribcages saying, “how do you do?” Then I realized on thing: #thinspiration cannot be searched in Instagram and Facebook as well as in another social network, Tumblr.

When I searched ‘thinspiration’ in Google, everything was so clear to me. There are so many images of girls that are so thin they are obviously anorexic with captions such as, “Because the pain of looking in the mirror hurts more than starving” or “Everything looks good on skinny” or the hilarious, “Pizza or hip bones?”

Mind-boggling Choices. Here are the images I've seen in Google/Tumblr. Somebody in 9gag clevery stitched them together.
Mind-boggling Choices. Here are the images I’ve seen in Google/Tumblr. Somebody in 9gag clevery stitched them together.

(Any normal person would say, “Pizza, duh.”)

I cannot be the spokesperson of both being fit because obviously, I’m overweight or some body-loving warrior because there are days wherein I loathe my body. My weight just yo-yoed for years. I’m just a girl who struggled with weight all her life. I was born chubby. When I was in my preschool days I was sickly, hence, a thin child. My parents got worried and they made me drink a medicine that boosted my appetite. When I was about the age of Ryzza Mae Dizon, I had exactly the same body as she does. When I was in middle school, I grew faster than girls my age that people called me fat. I believed that until after college where I stuffed everything in my mouth not caring what other people think only to realize years later that I wasn’t really fat until before college based on my pictures. In law school, I immediately gained 20 pounds just after two semesters from stress eating. I lost everything when I went to gym for two months and eventually gained everything plus some more as the years go by. I was in my heaviest about a year ago and hit the obesity mark for the first time in my life. Because of my gynaecologist’s advice, I took everything in moderation and today I weighed 20 pounds lighter than the year before.

And yes, I do want to lessen my weight so much more because come on…I’m ageing. I’ll be 26 years old in a month’s time and while those chronic, deadly diseases caused by being overweight have not become a threat yet for me, they might suddenly come knocking on my doorstep soon if I don’t change my lifestyle. But probably I’d concentrate on that after the bar. I’m sorry that I have no heart to post exactly what my weight is today but to give you an idea, my BMI is 27.6.

So, I understand almost every girl’s wish to eat without gaining anything. What I do not understand is why you need to starve yourself for something that cannot be usually seen in normal clothes like hip bones, collar bones…and come on, I have never heard of a man saying, “Hey, I dig that chick. She has gap between her legs!” We, women, are our worst critics. But believing and wanting these things for your body is very unhealthy for you. While obesity kills, these pro-ana or pro-mia (short for pro-anorexic or pro-bulimic) equally does the same thing which is to kill you eventually. I cannot really judge girls who still believe in these pro-ana or pro-mia beliefs. But if you are not loving and accepting yourself for who you are, chances are no one else will. Also, recognize the fact that anorexia and bulimia is not only characterized as an eating disorder but also a mental disorder. With everything that we do, always ask yourself the question, “Why am I doing this?

We all cannot be those women in the glossy pages of the magazines. As a matter of fact, those women cannot be those women they perceive as they are in real life. They are airbrushed heavily and any more imperfections like their body shapes could be resolved by Adobe Photoshop. They aren’t real but you, my reader, are. In life we had no choice to be but one person, ourselves per se. Anything less than that would not make you happy. Somebody would be thinner, prettier, smarter or kinder than you. But nobody in the world is like you.

There is nothing wrong with trying to lose weight. But losing yourself is.

Heart to Heart: My Open Letter to the Single People this Valentine’s Day

LOVE. A simple, one-syllable and four-letter word had a multitude of meanings for all of us. It seems like a word of abstractions yet we could all attest how real and how solid it feels to all of us. We also have many stories about love. There are stories that have some with passion and happy endings. There are stories about getting back together. There are stories with bitterness and pain. There are stories who mistook it for obsession or complete submission.

And then here comes Valentine’s Day.

What actually dreaded me is that after Chinese New Year, single people started posting on how sad and sappy they will be on Valentine’s Day. Others curse that day. Others are just overemphasizing that Valentine’s Day will just be an ordinary date in their calendar. In short, bitterness overloads.

Photo credits from: http://rubyanjel.tumblr.com
Looks familiar?

For the love of God, just stop this.

I understand where the bitterness is coming from. Again you will go on thinking what the hell is wrong with you being so alone amidst the couples whispering sweet nothings, the bouquets and the red hearts on the street. There are questions on whether you are unattractive or not. You would also have that hatred in your past love or how show-off these happy couples are in social media. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to your poor self-esteem.

English writer, John Lyly, famously said these words, “All is fair in love and war.” True, there are some girls who have countless of admirers because of their beauty and there are also some guys which the girls dream about because of how handsome they are. However, that is not love. Probably, it is some sort of sexual appeal or lust. The best love stories do not origin from the most attractive persons. In fact, there are a lot of stories on divorce or annulment of marriages from our celebrities. If having a beautiful face or an attractive body is what you think the key to an everlasting love, then please do think again. Also, I know of someone who is not attractive at all by at least in my country’s standard. He is dark-skinned and a short man. However, he has a fantastic sense of humor and he seemed to be kind to all. Then we discovered that he have six kids from six different women. I can’t really react after hearing that especially because he is my friend.

Then, what is the key to love? I honestly do not know. If it would all boil down to attitude, I really do not understand why men love bitches and women love jerks. If it would boil down to one’s wealth, why do I hear polygamous relationship among the poor? I really do not know what makes one, well, loveable. All I know is that love is the most powerful force in the world. It transcends age, race, religion and anything else under the sun.

Thus, there is no reason to be bitter. I know that in one point of our lives, love will come, as long as we will be true to ourselves and will leave an open heart for it. But in the meantime, can’t we be happy for the people in love? In this great vast world, having someone who will love you for you is a miracle. It is something worth celebrating. And also, just like you, my single friend, they were also once single people, but look how love changes them.

In the meantime, love yourself first. If you cannot do that, what are the chances that someone else will love you first? Engage in activities. Meet new people. Make yourself a better person every single day. And who knows, maybe by April, you will be some love-struck idiot who can’t wait for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

The “Chinita” Problems

I have a problem that should not even be a problem: Ever since I was in college, somebody often greets me “Happy Chinese New Year!”

You would probably reply, “So, what?”

The problem is how do you exactly respond to such question properly?

You see, it is true that I have Chinese blood. I think it is obvious with my physical traits: almond eyes, round face,  sallow complexion and thin lips. But to how much am I Chinese, the answer is I don’t know. My grandparents from both side of the family are all mestizos or mixed blooded.

That is why I could say “Thank you very much! Same to you!” However, that would also feel so wrong. The reason: I grew up not practicing any Chinese tradition except eating tikoy or nian gao in Chinese New Year. I think all Filipinos are now doing it now, though. Worst, I do not know of any relative who could actually speak and read Chinese.

However, if I said, “No, I’m not a Chinese.” A part of me feels like I’m lying. It is like I’m denying my Chinese ancestors who probably braved through the stormy seas on the West Philippine Sea from China just to be here. Also, how can I explain my physical Chinese traits? How would I also explain my surname which sounds like a decent from the Chinese.

But of course, my body has some other stories to tell because of my other bloodline coming from Spain. First, I am considered a tall girl in the Philippines. I am only 5’5 but you see, most girls here are only 5’0. Also, my body frame is unusually large if you compare my bone structure to other girls. However, the weird thing about having a large frame is having unproportioned hands and feet. People I know wouldn’t believe that my shoe size is only 7! My face is round but you could also notice how prominent my cheekbones are. I have this wavy hair that has a mind of its own. I colored my hair into creamy, light brown now but my original hair color is chestnut brown, another unusual trait for a Filipina. Also, my eye color is almost in the shade of honey; however, regular Filipinas have black to very dark brown eyes.

So who am I?

I am a Filipina.

I don’t think that we are still living in an era where the true Filipina beauty are solely confined to those ladies who are brown-skinned and large expressive eyes.  The Philippines now are considered one of the biggest melting pots in the world. We can now see people that are seemingly from different parts of the world in our school or neighborhood.

Also, we must not discriminate others. Nobody now has the right to look down on others just because one looks different from the others. We must embrace our uniqueness. We are the colors of the rainbow if only we could be one.

I am indeed happy living in an era where we are having this openness in the subcultures of our society. We no longer have classes during the end of Ramadan to give respect to our Muslim brothers and sisters. And now, we are also in vacation for Chinese New Year for us to join them in their most joyous occasion.

Yes, it doesn’t bother me any more being called Chinese or looking like a foreigner in general. I am like a product of the Philippine history by my mixed genes. I am a Filipina purely under these unique traits. And I’ll forever be proud as one.

So, tikoy, anyone?

Cheong
In Red. My mother used to like some Chinese-inspired clothing like the one I’m wearing above. This was taken some years ago. That top was unfortunately destroyed by the typhoon. It does suit me well or does it? 

Yolanda Aftermath: Where to Go from Here?

When September 26, 2009 happened in my life, I really thought that my world was crushed big time. Residents of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces will never forget that day because that is the day when the typhoon, Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) submerged parts of the Luzon island in the Philippines.

Our house never experienced flood prior to Ondoy. However, that typhoon brought so many rains that it made La Mesa Dam overflow. It overflowed so much that it sank our two-storey house up to my neck in our second floor. It forced my mom, my brother and our house helper to climb the roof of our house. For seven hours they stayed there helplessly. We only rescued them that night. The next day, when we returned to our house, we cannot enter it. Debris of everything, mostly the ruins of the informal settlers, was somehow gathered in front of our house. With the help of our neighbors, we were able to make a tiny passage to our house and when we got in, everything was a mess covered with gunk. The stench was deadly. Almost everything is wet. In fact, it took me a week to wear clothes of my own. For days all I’m wearing was clothes coming from relatives and friends. Everything was ruined and the big questions then were “Can we ever go back to normalcy?” and “Where will we start?

And now, flash forward to November 2013, I really felt guilty that I even questioned God why that Ondoy tragedy happened to us. Yes, a lot of our things were ruined but our house was intact. We also never went hungry. Our money could still buy goods and services of people who helped restoring our house. Electricity was restored in three days. We have relatives nearby who has a house big enough to provide us shelter at night. Some of our electronic gadgets were restored after just cleaning and drying it. In five weeks, our lives somehow returned to normal as we returned living in it. The best part is none of my family members or neighbors were seriously injured or worst, dead.

Thus, even if I am a typhoon victim too, there is just no way to tell those typhoon victims that I know what they are going through and they could make it like we did four years ago. Despite that very misfortunate day, I just fully understood recently how blessed we were then. People in Visayas region who were victimized by the wrath and power by the Super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) truly need our help now. Almost a week has passed but there are hardly any help or relief being given to them. People, especially the Waray-Warays, have lost everything. Some houses were completely swept away. Even sturdy houses and buildings made of concrete were also severely ruined by the typhoon. In footages by the local and international media, I hardly saw a house or a building with roof still in place. All the shops were looted so money at hand is basically worthless. Communication is hardly restored and realistically speaking, I don’t think that electricity would be restored in Tacloban and the rest of Leyte before Christmas. Everyone is just walking like zombies, mindlessly walking around with no destination in mind. Everyone is grieving for a family member or for a friend but they have no energy to put them aside properly. Bodies were left in the streets. Everyone wants to survive and leave their homeland as soon as possible. Basic necessity of shelter, food and water is a luxury in there. It’s almost as if they live in anarchy with hardly having a government to take care of them. That is why how can you tell a typhoon survivor that, “At least you survive” casually knowing that they lost everything they have?

Erased. Practically
Erased. Practically, Yolanda/Haiyan erased big parts of the Visayan region because of its wrath. But we are stronger than any typhoon. We could recover from this.

Meanwhile, here in Metro Manila, where we are barely touched by the clout of Yolanda, we are also not in peace. For instance, in our home ever since that typhoon hit the country, we have no choice but to be glued on our TV and computers for updates. My dad have cousins in Leyte and Ormoc and our house helper hails from Palo, Leyte. While we are sure now that our relatives in Ormoc are safe, we are still not sure with our relatives in Leyte. We heard some news that they somehow survived the typhoon. However, there is absolutely no news yet on what happened with our house help’s family. Two days ago, her brother and niece came to our house to ask for money so that they could travel to Palo and check on what happened in their family there. There is still no news about them as I write this down. People here are still so agitated and cannot concentrate on our daily lives having no news yet on the state of our loved ones.

Wiped Out. This is Tacloban
Wiped Out. This is Tacloban City, the Regional Center for Region VIII or the Eastern Visayas and is considered a highly-urbanized city. Or at least that is what it was a week ago.

Please do help them. In the first place, life is hard in the Visayas region, most especially Leyte, even in ‘normal’ days. My house helper told me that there are days where they only eat rice with rock salt when they do not have money to buy food. Region VIII, where Leyte is included, is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines. That is why most of the families in Leyte have relatives working in capital cities in the Philippines or abroad to make their ends meet. And while people there are used with storms or with hunger, nobody can withstand almost a week without food, water and shelter.

I really don’t know where to begin in their restoration. I cannot even hypothesize on when will they return to their work and the children are attending school again. But we could at least reestablish communication to them and provide them with food, water and proper shelter and also security. We must let them know that reliefs are coming and rehabilitation is on its way. Let us help restore integrity and hope in their selves for them to start again. And please, let us focus on helping them and do not dwell on issues on what Anderson Cooper and Korina Sanchez had said or by adhering too much with I-told-you-so statements from some people or by spreading unconfirmed reports or rumors that would just worsen our situation now.

I know that our Visayan brothers and sisters could rise up again from this catastrophe like what they did twenty-two years ago when they were also stricken by tropical storm, Uring (international name: Thelma) and flashfloods killed thousands of people especially in Ormoc. For now, let us do our part. Our brothers and sisters in Visayas need us more than we know.

help
Help NOW. This is some ways in which you could help the typhoon victims. Please, give as much as you can. (from my favorite on-line news source, Rappler.Com)

(The two images above is taken from Twitter. I was retweeted so numerous time. So if you own the image and you want me to remove the image or give you credit, kindly comment down below. Thank you.)

Ang Pakikibaka Laban sa Pork

Patapos na ang ‘Million People March’ sa Luneta habang isinusulat ko ang artikulong ito. Naging matagumpay nga ba? Ayon sa Twitter, umabot lamang sa mga sisenta mil (60, 000) na katao ang sumali subalit may mga nagsabi na ito ay umabot sa tatlumpu’t limang daang libo (350, 000). Anuman ang numero malayo ito sa isang milyon na inaasahan ng mga tao. Maaring dahil makulimlim ang panahon. O baka pagod lang ang tao dahil sa isang linggong panglilinis ng kanilang kabahayan at komunidad matapos masalanta ng habagat at ng bagyong Maring. O siguro mas maraming naging interesante sa VMA o Video Music Awards ng MTV. Halata naman dahil minsan mas nagte-“trend” pa ito kumpara sa #MillionPeopleMarch.

Sa totoo lang, wala ako doon sa Luneta. Ang mga magulang ko ay hindi ako pinayagan. Totoo na bente-singko anyos na ako at may sarili ng pag-iisip subalit pinapaaral pa rin nila ako ng abogasya. Hanggang hindi ko pa natatapos ang tungkulin ko sa kanila na matapos ko ang kurso ko at kumuha ng bar exam at kumikita na ng sarili kong pera ay wala akong balak suwayin sila sapagkat ginusto koi to at pinagbigyan nila ako kahit hindi na nila responsibilidad na patapusin pa ako ng isa pang kurso. Ngunit, ginawa ko rin ang kakayahan ko para ilabas ang aking mga sentimyento sa Twitter. Oo, ilang oras ako nasa Twitter. Pero nakalulungkot, masyadong maraming tao ang tila nanlalamig sa isyu. Ayaw raw ng PDAF o Priority Development Assistance Fund o mas kilala sa tawag na Pork Barrel pero wala man lang ginagawa. Hindi ko alam kung naiintindihan nila ang PDAF. Hindi ko rin alam kung nanlalamig ba sa isyu dahil namanhid na sa politika. Ang masasabi ko lang ay hindi palusot ang kamangmangan lalo na ngayon na bukas ang informasyon para sa lahat dahil sa Internet. Isa pa, para sa taong nagbabayad ng buwis, hindi ka man lang ba kinikilabutan na binabawasan ka ng lima hanggang tatlumpu’t dalawang porsyento (5-32%) ng suweldo mo. Kahit ba estudyante ka at hindi pa sumesuweldo katulad ko, wala ka pa ring kawala sa buwis. Kahit anong bilhin mo, mapasa kaliit-liitang kendi hanggang sa mga rosas na alay mo sa crush mo, ay sumasailalim ng 12% na Value Added Tax o VAT.

Pero saan nga ba napupunta an gating mga buwis?

Una sa lahat ano ba ang PDAF o Pork Barrel? Bali isa itong alokasyon ng pera sa bawat kongresista at senador upang mapondohan ang mga proyekto sa kanilang distrito. Sa unang tingin, parang maganda naman ang layunin ng PDAF subalit ito ay discretionary o nasa kongresista o senador ang pagpapasya kung saan mapupunta ang pondo. Parang wala uling mali sa litrato no? Ano ngayon kung nasa kanila pagpapasya nila ito? Ang malaking problema ay hindi na ito inuulat pa o sinisyasat ng Commission on Audit o COA. Kaya naman kahit saan puwede nila ilaan ang pera. Yung ibang kongresista nga, gumawa ng sarili nilang “foundation” at doon inilalalaan ang pera. Malay ba natin kung may natutulungan nga ang foundation na yun o kung tunay bang umiiral ang foundation na iyon. Yung iba namang tao tulad ni Janet Lim-Napoles ay nakaisip ng paraan para makakuha ng pera mula dito. Gumagawa sila ng kung anu-anong organisasyon na kunwari ay mga samahan para makatulong sa mahihirap, pero wala naman palang ganoong organisasyon. Saan napupunta ang pera? Sabi ng mga nakakakilala sa pamilya Napoles, hindi naman talaga sila mayaman kundi biglang yaman nga lang. Kaya naman pepuwedeng napunta dito sa ika-21 kaarawan ng kanilang anak:

Isa pang problema sa PDAF ay kontrolado ito ng Pangulo. Malamang, hindi yun magbibigay sa kanyang kaalyado. Kaya naman tignan mo, nung nanalo si Pangulong Aquino sa pagkapangulo, agad-agad nanumpa ang mga kongresista at senador sa partido niyang Liberal. Kinalimutan ang lumang partido nila na Lakas-NUCD dahil hindi kaalyado ng dating Pangulong Arroyo ang nanalo. Siyempre, paano sila makakakuha ng parte nila sa PDAF kung hindi sila kakampi sa nakaupo? Ika nga sa Ingles, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Malinaw na malinaw na kailangan ng Pangulo at ng pinagsamang kongresista at senador ang isa’t isa. Kailangan ng Pangulo ang suporta ng ating mga mambabatas para masuportahan siya sa lahat ng batas na nais niyang mapatupad. Isa pa, protektado pa siya sa distabilisasyon. Paano nga ba siya matatanggal sa posisyon o mai-“impeach” kung hindi ito uubra sa kamara? Sa kabilang banda, ang PDAF ang bumubuhay sa ating mga mambabatas. Bakit sa tingin niyo ay nagpapatayan pa ang mga kandidato para makaupo sa puwesto? Dahil ba ito sa sobrang pagmamahal at sobrang dedikasyon sa pagsisilbi sa gobyerno? Ikwento mo yan sa lelong mong sumakabilang-buhay na.

Aminin na natin na walang kapararakan ang sistemang ganito. Ang resulta nito ay alinman sa dalawa: binubulsa ang pera ng mga mamamayan ng ating mga mambabatas o ng mangilan-ngilan na tao o mga walang kakwenta-kwentang proyekto tulad ng pagbabati ng “Kung Hei Fat Choi” o sandamakmak na waiting shed o paggiba ng kalsadang nasa mabuti namang kondisyon. Wag na tayong magtaka sa ganyang mga proyekto sapagkat mga mambabatas naman talaga sila na ang tunay na trabaho ay paggawa ng batas. Wala naman sila talagang kapangyarihan o alam para ipatupad at gamitin sa pondo ng bayan. Ang masakit pa, hinding-hindi na magkakaroon ng kalinawan sa gitna ng Pangulo at mga mambabatas. Hanggang may PDAF, patuloy na pagtatakpan nila ang baho ng isa’t isa. At dahil walang accountability and transparency sa ating kasalukuyang gobyerno, nasisigurado pa ba natin na tayo ay nabubuhay sa isang bansang demokratiko?

Subalit, tinitiyak ko na hindi dito nagtatapos ang laban sa PDAF or Pork Barrel. Naniniwala ako na nagbukas ito ng kamalayan upang magpatuloy ang laban sa isa sa puno’t dulo ng kabulukan ng ating sistema. Walang masama sa pagbabayad ng buwis. Bilang mamamayan ng Pilipinas, katungkulan pa nga natin magbayad ng buwis. Pero kailanman ay nakalakip dito na may karapatan na ang iilang tao para nakawan tayo. Marami pa tayong pangunahing pangangailangan tulad ng efektibong edukasyon, matitibay na tulay, makabago at sapat na armas para protektahan ang ating kapuluan na hindi man lang matugunan. Kaya naman wag tayo tumigil sa pag kalampag sa ating gobyerno. Karapatan nating makuha ang tunay na para sa atin. Wag tayong tumigil at patuloy na magalit sa kabulukan na ito. Ika nga kay Dylan Thomas, isang manunulat na Amerikano, sa kanyang kathang, Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

dd
Makibaka wag Magbaboy. Ito ang “tagline” ng karamihan ng mga anti-PDAF. Pero sa totoo lang, hindi naman marapat na ikumpara ang mga magnanakaw sa ating kaban sa kawawang baboy. Higit na mas mababa sila doon.

Beyond the Gay Archetype: A Review on My Husband’s Lover

There are so many types of loving in the world. The unconditional. The vengeful. The remorseful. The unrequited. But what everyone is talking about now is the most controversial one—the gay love.

If you are living in the Philippines, surely you have heard about the much-talked about drama of GMA 7, My Husband’s Lover. It is the first television soap from the Philippines which explores homosexual love. And it is not just any homosexual love but a homosexual love entangled as an extramarital affair. Homosexuality is taboo in our country mostly because of the strong influence of religion (both Christianity and Islam) in society. Anyway, this is the summary of the story. Lally (Carla Abellana), a poor but determined college girl, was impregnated with her boyfriend, Vincent (Tom Rodriguez). Vincent promised to marry her which she agrees. After all, Vincent is the kindest man ever and not to mention his good looks and money. Unknown to her, Vincent is actually a gay man who is still in love with his ex-boyfriend, Eric (Dennis Trillo), who eventually returned to his life after his marriage with Lally. Eventually, they secretly became a couple again. Ten years later, Lally suddenly had that powerful, women-only, sixth sense that her husband is actually cheating on her. And last night, on the show’s 24th episode, she confirmed it. She caught her husband making out with his “friend” Eric in the latter’s condo.

So what now? I was a bit shocked that Lally discovered Vincent’s skeleton in Eric’s closet only at the 24th episode. I thought that the writers will prolong this hide-and-seek game of Lally, Vincent and Eric to prolong the show. I mean that’s how ABS CBN murdered, I mean tactically present, their noon drama, “Be Careful With My Heart”. Will the drama focus now on WWLD or “What Will Lally Do?” Will she keep her husband’s secret for the sake of their marriage and their children as well as her pride because in a way, she is boasting to everyone that she is “very lucky” to have a husband like Eric? Then again, will she choose separation from him? Assuming she will separate from him, will this start the happily ever after of Vincent and Eric? Or will the drama intensify by adding some more shocking twists like an “agreement” between Lally and Eric that they will “share” Vincent?

Well, there are many more struggles that a closeted gay man that could be answered in the show. For example, how will Eric make the people near to him understand his homosexuality most especially his retired military man dad? And how can a middle-aged man with children who acts like a perfect husband and father “come out” suddenly? What could happen with his marriage to a woman who thought he was straight all along? (The Philippines is devoid of divorce laws. However, this type of marriage is annullable under the Philippine law, by the way.)

Kudos to GMA 7 for coming up with this drama. It is refreshing because it is novel and very well-written and beautifully acted by the cast. I mean come on; we are getting tired with the haciendas, the children separated from their parents for years, the rich man and poor woman love story, the poor and ugly women who gets plastic surgery in the end anyway, the recycled fantaserye and the like. Also, the timing of this is impeccable. I believe that this was even talked about more when weeks after this launch, twin victories were obtained by American LGBT community. This again sparks the talks on the possibility of having homosexual marriage between Filipinos.

I just want to say that hands down to the acting prowess of Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez. I can’t choose who the better actor between them is. Both are deserving of an award. You are also going to love the chemistry between their characters that drives the viewers wild. I used to hate Carla Abellana’s acting especially when she started in Rosalinda where she gave a stony version in of Mexican actress Thalia’s beloved character. She greatly improved from there and she could act with her eyes at times. But I must point out that the weakness of the drama is probably Lally’s over-narrating the scenes sometimes. I hate how she states the obvious. Nonetheless, this was gradually lessened. Also, you got to love the side characters, too. I particularly love Sol (Chandra Romero), Eric’s supportive yet logical mother. She loves and accepts her son into bits. However, she cannot accept his relationship with a married man. Other notable characters are Danny (Kevin Santos), Eric’s best friend who often provide comic relief, and David (Victor Basa), who is Vincent’s ex-boyfriend who loves him still. By the way, it is interesting to take note that Vincent, Eric, Danny and David do not play your archetypical gays who are flamboyant, cross-dressers, speaking in bekimon, Madonna fans and salon people. They all act and dress like straight men. They play basketball. Heck, Vincent is even a mechanical engineer. All of them are good looking and you could practically hear women sigh every night saying, “kung bading talaga ito, SAYANG!” I believe this step of GMA in making them as such is a huge step for society to view homosexuals in another light. I love how this show depicted homosexuals in a more realistic fashion.

The main problem of GMA in this drama is how they will conclude this. Usually, with forbidden love such as this, the protagonist and/or his lover will die and it will be hinted that their love will continue in afterlife. I guess this is not a good conclusion as a lot of people here still believe homosexuality is actually a sin. Another possible ending is that Vincent and Eric will break up for good and Vincent will “man up” for the sake of Lally and their children. This is another weak conclusion because if they do this, I could imagine a lot of loyal viewers about to smash their televisions or yanking their hair off because of annoyance. What’s the point in watching the whole thing for several months late at night if everything would return to the status quo? Well, maybe they will break up and Eric will probably end up happy with another gay man who will accept him for who he is (like Danny or David, perhaps?). Then again, it would still be very bland. I believe the people are more interested in seeing the conclusion of Vincent’s character because he is closeted rather than the free character of Eric. Lastly, maybe Lally will let go for her love for Vincent and Vincent and Eric will spend the rest of their lives together. Now this is the conclusion that could spell out a difference for everyone. But if the writers of GMA choose this path, I could imagine protests from everyone, especially the religious groups. Many will misinterpret this as encouraging homosexual relationships. Then again bad publicity is still publicity.

Then again, like everyone else and CBCP, I will just wait and see.

Image is from http://entervrexworld.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/gma-network-launches-another-groundbreaking-series-via-my-husbands-lover/
My Husband’s Lover: Who Will Win in the End?

Partial Truths

 “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;  but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.

—1 Corinthians 13:9-10

One of the funniest yet worst feelings is when you go on-line to relax yourself but ‘lo and behold, you were instead stressed of all the envy you felt after seeing the images of friends in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

It is easy to feel sorry about yourself after seeing how well your friends are doing once you login to your social network accounts. While you find that nothing remotely interesting is happening in your life for months or perhaps years, you see your friends marrying the love of their lives, eating in the most expensive restaurants, watching the latest Iron Man film in IMAX 3D theatre, attending the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and obtaining the same afterwards and going places like the beaches because it’s summertime in the Philippines or even Paris. Believe it or not, all these events appeared in my social networks in a span of a week.

And what am I doing? Let us just say, our house helper just arrived from her two-week vacation yesterday. Guess who took over almost all her job?

When I saw all of these things on-line a year ago, I probably feel sorry about myself again for having a very “boring” life. But I came to mature and realize one of the most basic natures of every human being: We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves. First of all, it is no secret how many people, especially girls, who Photoshop their images before posting it as their profile pictures in the social networking sites. I saw some of my Facebook friends who are so blemish-free in their profile pictures that they hardly resemble such pictures in real life. I never altered my pictures but I am guilty in a way that there are times where I take about ten shots just to have that perfect profile picture. Sometimes, I even go beyond ten. This is a fact that I can never be proud of myself. The point is, if we choose carefully or even alter our profile pictures, most certainly we do the same of our posts in our social networking sites.

Simply put, the Internet is an avenue of partial truths. We get to decide what people see and what they don’t. Yes, one may seem very blissful of marrying the love of her life but what we don’t know is deep inside she only married the man because she was impregnated by him and she is currently unemployed and has no means to support her baby. Yes, a person may be seen eating with friends in an expensive restaurant but we do not know how he starved for several weeks just to meet with his friends’ expectations that he could actually afford such place. Yes, one may have watched the latest movie in IMAX, but she only did so in order to escape her abusive father temporarily who beats her up and her mother whenever he gets drunk. Yes, one may appear to buy all the latest gadgets and thingamajigs but would one be crazy enough to post his credit card statement of account which he only pays the interests for years?

The infamous Greek philosopher, Plato, once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” We all have our own crosses that we bear and do not burden ourselves further with envy with the partialities our friends posts in the Internet. Also, we must ask ourselves if we do really know these people that we really follow or observe. Personally, I have more than 800 friends in Facebook and I could say that I really know and care only about 50 persons there. The rest are high school batch mates (almost all are my friends and we are almost 400 students in our batch), friends from gym (I lasted only for four months and I do not really contact anyone from them), distant relatives who added me (my surname “Ayuyao” is a very rare surname), old classmates and friends from college and my first law school (majority of them I do not talk to anymore), some are my old teachers or professors (who I admire and I just added so that I could still get some bits and pieces of their wisdom whenever I feel lost), some friends of friends who I met only once in my life, and some people in my current school now (we added to have groups to share files, make announcements and ask for help in some matters). There is no point comparing ourselves with these people. Reality bites that even your closest friends before move on, have a life of their own and live a life separate from yours. There is a point when you do not really know them anymore except of the life they tried projecting to everyone by their posts in the Internet. And since we hardly know them anymore, what is the point of comparing our lives with strangers?

Sure, we cannot say adios anymore to the Internet at present. For many of us, the Internet became not just a luxury but a necessity. The Internet inspires, teaches and connects us. But do not use it to compare your life to another person. Instead of comparing, start living your own life.  Life has a fair share of surprises for all of us. The only way to do find it is by logging out of your computers every once in a while.

ddd
Unplug. Take a break from all the social networking dramas. Start running and living your life.

‘Perfecting’ Oneself: Beauty and Madness

We all have imperfections. I am the best example of a perfectly imperfect person from head to toe. I battled insecurities from the way I look especially my nose, being overweight, acne and bruises and scars due to clumsiness. When I was in high school, it was so bad that I could not look at myself in the mirror and I feel nauseated just seeing any of my pictures. I saw myself as a very ugly person that I thought I was cursed.

Nonetheless, I eventually accepted my flaws. I learned to wear better clothes. I understood the purpose of skincare. I found joy in applying makeup. Actually, I only learned these things for roughly a year now. Regardless of that, I now laugh at my imperfections because I fully accepted them together with my good qualities. It makes me who I am. I am no longer a prisoner of my imperfections.

In less than two weeks, I’ll turn 25 years old. I feel old but at the same time, I feel blessed that I was born earlier in this world. These days, people are so obsessed with what they look like that there are some teenagers asking their parents for plastic surgery as graduation gift. When my brother graduated high school last year, one of his batch mates had undergone plastic surgery before they graduated. Now, it is understandable that such act of going through knife at a very young age is shocking to sub-urban Fairview, Quezon City, Philippines. But in South Korea, it is really very normal for girls to have cosmetic surgery after high school graduation. People there are so obsessed with ‘perfecting themselves’. As proof, kindly examine the image below:

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At first glance, they seem to be a picture of a woman who just wears different hair and clothes. However, believe it or not, they are the contestants of the upcoming Miss Korea 2013. Notice the same small face, refined but soft eyes, impeccable nose and thin lips. The ratio of the distance of the features is so noticeable. Yes, they had undergone plastic surgery according to my source although it is uncertain if all of them went through it. Their similarities are probably not an accident because that face portrays what a “perfect” woman is for the South Koreans.

Yes, I must admit how pretty they all look. If God had made me choose my physical appearance, especially my facial features, I would have really considered this look for myself. If I were born this pretty, I’d take no hesitation and join a beauty contest. But what good is a beauty contest if all contestants look so similar that they look like clones of each other? If everyone on earth looks the same, who could be called beautiful?

If there’s anything I learn in looking at that picture, I realized that “perfection” can really be boring.

Plastic surgery is an ethical issue that is so sensitive to touch. We are born with our own bodies and graced with freewill, we could do anything we want with it. How we treat, dress and accessorize shows our attitude, our feelings and our self-expression to the world. Perhaps, altering parts of our body is also part of our freewill. However, did it occur to you that you are beautiful enough?

I know none of us remember the day we were born. I’m glad I couldn’t. When I was born almost twenty-five years ago, it was a beautiful Sunday morning. Most importantly, it was Mother’s Day. However, before my mother went emotional because of meeting her firstborn a little bit late in her life, she was bothered by my aunts’ nasty comments.

Naku, Angelo…mapapagastos ka niyan. Sapad na sapad ang ilong ng anak mo!

(“Oh no, Angelo [my dad]…you are going to spend so much money [on your daughter]. Her nose is so flat!”)

Wow. Epic welcome. Like, hello…that my first day on this freaking earth! Growing up, I didn’t like my facial features so much but I have this incredible hate for my nose. It is so large and looks flat because of the bulbous tip. When get colds, it looks even more ridiculous because it looks like a tomato due to redness. It is so annoying because the nose is the most conspicuous part of your face because it sits amidst of your face. I really considered having plastic surgery before. I thought that it would be better if I made it look like my mother’s nose because she has this subtle, pointy nose. But now that I’m all grown up, I fully accept the shape of my nose. Actually, I believe that it made my face so distinguishable that people easily recalls what I look like. I now embrace it as part of my uniqueness.

Plastic surgery is becoming more and more prevalent in the world. In fact, before in my country, it is a big scandal when actors and actresses go under the knife. But nowadays, they even explicitly express their gratitude on national television their cosmetic surgeon like Dr. Vicky Belo or Dr. Manny Calayan, who are some of the famous cosmetic surgeons here. I guess in most parts of the world, plastic surgery is really becoming more and more acceptable. Also, in various parts of the world, media and society dictates what is beautiful. In Korea and other parts of Asia, it’s about softening features and putting emphasis on the ratio of the distance of the facial features. In the western world, it’s all about exaggerating on what you have. Girls there want bigger boobs, sharper butts and have those big, luscious Angelina Jolie lips. Truly, what is beautiful in the east is not necessarily what is beautiful in the west. So who is beautiful then?

The problem I see in plastic surgery is once you ‘perfect’ a part of your body, you will go on and ‘perfect’ the other parts. Over and over you can see imperfection on yourself and try to alter those flaws. In the end, you will never be contented on what you have and if you are not contented in life, chances are you will never be truly happy.

I will not judge you if you still chose to undergo cosmetic surgery. It is your body and life anyway. But one piece of unsolicited advice that I could share with you is this: Do not let media, society or other people make you believe that you are not beautiful. After all, the perception of beauty always changes overtime. For example, see those paintings made during the Renaissance period. Do you see girls who have this sought-after hourglass figure in any of the paintings? No. Well, during that time, curvier women are thought to be more beautiful. Just look at the famous “Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli. In our modern day standards, that woman posing as Venus would probably be called as ‘fat’ by some people. Also, someday, when the world forgets about Angelina Jolie, women who tried copying her lips would probably look ludicrous. Like fashion, the perceptions of what is beautiful come and go. The bottom line is, accept yourself. In the first place, if you do not love yourself it reflects to the world. If you do not love yourself, chances are the world will not love you back. Do not focus much on what you don’t have. After all, the truth remains that you can never be perfect no matter how much surgeries you have. Feel blessed because you’re unique. Focus more on what is eternal like kindness rather that which comes and goes.

You are beautiful. Do not just believe in that. Know that.

The Ayuyao Monday-Happiness Paradigm

“Do you like Mondays?”

It is really annoying whenever I wake up on a Monday. Often time, the first thing I do in the morning is checking my phones for text messages and my Facebook (I have to activate it again for academic purposes), Twitter and Instagram accounts. I’ve noticed that some persons, especially on Twitter and Facebook, would complain on one thing: It’s Monday again and I hate it.

Personally, I do not have a favorite day. I love every day. I love waking up in the morning grateful of whatever I have and at the same time, unsure of what new things I will learn today or who will I have new conversations with. One person commented that my life is boring going to school and house all my life. But hey, I chose this life. I want to become a lawyer and this is the only way I’m working towards it. Nonetheless, I love how every once in a while, I meet up with my friends from high school and relieve our happy and sappy moments as teenager. I love it when I suddenly meet a friend I haven’t seen in a long while. I love that sometimes, I am forced to watch a movie to keep my little brother happy. I enjoy my shopping days with my mother. I like talking secretly with my secret amidst a boring class. I like it when the whole family goes grocery shopping on weekends. I love when my classmates and I share dreams together. I like learning. I guess it is really a blessing that I easily get happy with the little things life offers me.

But I don’t really get it why people complain much on Mondays. Life is not about having all fun and games. Life is not only about partying. Life is not dozing off on weekends. Life is mostly about work because by working we are able to fulfill our purpose in life. With our work, we are able to serve others. It is our opportunity to help, to inspire and to make the difference that you always wanted. To the people who are like me in your early to mid-twenties, remember that roughly ten years ago, our elementary or high school teachers told us that question, “What do you want to be ten years from now?” Yes, this time, you’re living your vision as a child or teenager. Is it very much near to what you perceive your life to be?

I guess I could say now that the happiest people in the world are those who could say, “I love Mondays!” These people are compassionate and are very much driven to their career path. They grow tired but could hardly feel it because they really like what they are doing. They still emanate that certain glow which is so noticeable even if they have eye bags because of lack of sleep. And at home, they are still very much energized that they are still very much eager to share how their day went with their family or loved ones.

Therefore, I am telling you. If you hate your job, quit it. Find another one that could really bring out your talent and skill. Find that one you could excel in and would make you feel that you’re always doing the right thing. If you don’t like to take further studies anymore, take a break first next semester and think that it is the right course for you. You may want to take another field. Do not live the lives dictated to you. We are young and we have the energy. We are too young to feel so old, bitter and weary in this world because we are not liking what we are doing.  This is the perfect time to find who we really are, our purpose and our aspiration. It is not an easy road ahead but if you like what you are doing, what is difficulty?

Monday is always associated with new beginnings. Nothing is ever easy when you are beginning something. However, with new beginning is the start of something you have always wanted. Why don’t you take a shot to your new dream this beautiful Monday?

Happy Monday. This Monday is also the 17th Birthday of my baby brother, Gio. Greet him a happy birthday! :)
Happy Monday. This Monday is also the 17th Birthday of my baby brother, Gio. I love him because he is a perfect example of what happiness is. He like what he is doing. And although he is busy and an academic achiever in Engineering school, he always makes time for me and you will never see him stressed. He always inspires me! Greet him a happy birthday! 🙂