Selflessness, Respect and Discipline

Many Filipinos, if not all, get up in the morning*, brave the chaotic morning rush and work almost tirelessly to help themselves and their families have a better life or maintain an already good one. (*timeframe relative to people’s jobs – this also applies to those who go to work in the afternoon, evening, midnight or dawn)

This brand of filial selflessness is something that I really like about our culture. But in the midst of everything, I’ve observed that some of our basic social values seemingly get lost or are deemed insignificant compared to our individual priorities, namely respect for strangers and surroundings, and discipline. Yes, we are highly respectful to our elders and work or school superiors, but not to people we encounter and commute with, nor to the environment.

So many times have I seen people here cutting lines (or allowing friends to cut in line), shoving other people without apologizing, not giving enough space on the train for entering or alighting passengers, not following designated signs and nonchalantly throwing small pieces of trash on the ground unless there is a strict person of authority lurking around and disciplining them. Many of us have been used to such behavior that we already think those things are normal and we don’t “get in line” unless we are told to.

I’ve also experienced really bad displays of customer service that reflect the lack of basic respect and discipline. I’ve waited in line for an hour for a bus without the bus company explaining or apologizing to us for the delay.  This happened twice. I’ve said “excuse me”, or have had to clear my throat just so a couple of sales staff chatting with each other would entertain me. This has happened to me many times.

My question now is why? Why does it seem that many of us can be selfless for our families, friends and other loved ones, and selfish to everyone else?

Is it because of the dog-eat-dog-world mentality that many of us and our elders have that have forced us to care just for ourselves, families and friends, but not for those outside our social circles nor the world around us? Are we really all so angsty and jaded?

Is it because the messages that we only treat masses or services as rituals and we let our spiritual leaders’ messages on respect and discipline fly over our head after we head outside the church?

Is it because our state-sponsored basic education system previously did not cover good morals and right conduct?

Is it because many of us are enjoying the freedoms that democracy bought us, freedoms that were almost absent during the Marcos era?

I am sure that there are psychological and sociological reasons for it.  Yet despite these reasons, I think that this is something that we can still improve on and turn around.

Our country would be so much more fun to be in if we can be a little more selfless, respectful and disciplined towards others.

Advertisements

Lessons from Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda

Almost two weeks ago, Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda visited Metro Manila,  leaving the capital of the Philippines and nearby provinces with memories of strong, howling winds, heavy rains, floods, flying roofs, fallen trees and blackouts. Nothing special, really. Most of us living in the Philippines are used to all those things.

Broken branches and an electric post block a street

A typical sight post-Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda (Photo Source: Lilian Ramos-Yeo/Agnes dela Cruz)

What I find unusual is that despite experiencing a little more than a century of having typhoons and despite having experienced typhoons Ketsana/Ondoy and Haiyan/Yolanda, we haven’t really gotten around to developing a culture of foresight and preparation. I have to give it to Marikina for having warning sirens and for various broadcast networks for having information campaigns, but we’ve been used to having stopgap measures, to having relief drives that reflect our brand of compassion and unity and to waving the banner of the indomitable, “waterproof” Filipino spirit (as I have admittedly posted in my blogs in the past). Strength, unity and compassion are indeed good things, but I think it would be much better if we applied those principles in light of prevention instead of rehabilitation. We as citizens, could be compassionate to our fellow Filipinos by freely sharing our knowledge gained from the government and media about disaster risk mitigation and preparation and in doing so develop a preventive behavior and a more potent kind of strength that will truly unite us and help us stand upright the soonest after the storm.

Making More Filipinos Realize What Earth Hour is About

Earth Hour 2014 just finished a few hours ago.

I started celebrating Earth Hour in 2010 by turning off as much light and electricity in the house as I could, without my family’s help. I would remind them every year about celebrating it until 2012. In 2013, they remembered it without my reminder and voluntarily turned the lights and electricity off. This year I spent it walking around the village with my youngest sibling. I noticed that while many homes participated, a good number also had their lights on.

I’m hardly critical of social movements because of their good intentions. But for all the publicity Earth Hour has earned over the years, and even the country’s placement as top participant in Earth Hour in recent years, proper and clear communication on how Earth Hour helps address issues of global warming and climate change and effective longer term calls-to-action have yet to be realized at least here in the Philippines. Many people know that it’s a way to save a few centavos or pesos from the electric bill, but I think many people don’t see the connection between reduced energy use, global warming and climate change in a simple and clear way. Even if I know the connection because of my growing exposure to environmental issues, I am still finding it a bit difficult to articulate. I also have not seen a widespread campaign both digital and traditional grassroots in nature that teaches people from all walks of life on how to practice energy efficiency.

It’s a great campaign so it would be even more greater to see people use their cause-oriented energies to make it truly more meaningful through practice.

Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair 2014

I visited the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s food exhibit yesterday afternoon with my grandmother to try out new food items. It was my first time to attend a food exhibit so I was very excited.

Entitled Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair 2014: Piling-Piling Pagkaing Pilipino (Famous Pinoy National Food Fair 2014: Well-Chosen Filipino Food), the exhibit is among one of the six exhibits that DTI is planning to hold this 2014 to help promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the domestic market to eventually ease their entrance the global market. The exhibit opened last March 26.

2014 Sikat Pinoy Food Fair 1

There were over 200 booths and we practically spent the whole afternoon checking out almost every stall.

2014 Sikat Pinoy Food Fair 2

I was glad to see a lot of people supporting our local food industry by visiting, trying and buying products. There came a point when we had switch booth lanes to dodge crowds because they were getting so thick, making it hard for us to pass by. That means the DTI achieved its goal of getting domestic support.

2014 Sikat Pinoy Food Fair 3

 

Here are almost all of our purchases:

2014 Sikat Pinoy Food Fair 20

From Left to Right: First Row: Crispy Dilis, Dried Alamang, Chocolate Rice, Malagos 65% Dark Chocolate, Vigan Longganisa, Squash Noodles Second Row: Muscovado Powder, Linupak, Seaweed for cooking, seaweed chips, pineapple jam, carrot chips, veggie chips Third Row: Eng Bee Tin tikoy rolls and custard cake, Aging’s flavored suman, calamansi concentrate and soya milk. Not pictured: Durian ice cream

 

It really pays to support our local food industry because by doing so, we really help each other out and make our gradually brightening economy brighten even more. It’s also a way to know more about food culture and heritage locally and generally. Finally the items produced are a lot more healthier than the commercial variety because of the ingredients used.

Our hands were literally full as we bought two eco-bags full of items, so we couldn’t add more. I really enjoyed my time there so I would like to go back there today so I can purchase more. I’m curious about the deli products from Cagayan de Oro and the dried chiles from Davao. I honestly also want to try the dalandan concentrate, soursop concentrate and carrot concentrate. They could have made the exhibit’s set design better and consistent with the branding though. Also, I hope DTI would be more strategic in its marketing training so I get to see better collaterals on the booths and food items in the coming food fairs. But like I said, my overall experience was great. Congratulations to DTI for doing a good job!

The Sikat Pinoy Food Fair is currently being held at the Megatrade Hall, Megamall B, Ortigas, Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Hope you can all support it especially as today, 30 March is its last day.

Artisans and Advocates Ride High on a Sea of Sustainable Fashion

It’s summer! Time to kick off your shoes and frolic under the sun with Rags2Riches’ S/S ’14-’15 Collection entitled High Seas. Launched today at the Piazza in Privato Hotel, the collection’s nautical styles paired with Rags2Riches’ signature woven designs in red, brown, blue and sea green invoke within us the feeling of relaxing on a cool beach waters under the sun amidst our daily hustle-and-bustle.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Model and online entrepreneur Kelly Misa also collaborated with Rags2Riches to design a few pieces for the High Seas collection. The designs will be sold exclusively through the online shop Pormada.

 

 
R2R High Seas Launch 2
 
 
 

During the launch, ambassadors for sustainable fashion and Rags2Riches highly-revered artisans also relaxed and bonded together in the sunlight-filled Piazza to work together on personalized purses made out of upcycled scrap cloth, canvas and Sharpie pens. It was really heartwarming to see many women come together to support a social business which seeks to sustain their fellow women, the environment, livelihood and Philippine artisanal culture through its products.

 

 
R2R High Seas Launch 4

 

 
An artisan sews together the canvas designed by the ambassador with the woven base she created.

 

 
 
R2R High Seas Launch 6

 

 
 
 

“This is the first time that we’ve done a workshop during the launch,” said Reese Fernandez – Ruiz, founder and director of Rags2Riches. “We wanted the advocates to work with the artisans, so that they can see the artistry that goes into the product,” she added. And to see that come into fruition is “a very fulfilling feeling” for Reese. She and their team are looking forward to having more collaborative activities between their revered artisans and the ambassadors, and even fans and shoppers of Rags2Riches.

 

 
Rags2Riches is the Philippines’ foremost for-profit social enterprise. Their High Seas Collection is available at the Rags2Riches Store in Glorietta 1, Makati, Metro Manila. You may also check their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.
 

 

View more photos from the event here:

 

 
 
Rags2Riches
Store: 3/F, Glorietta 1, Makati, Metro Manila
 
Pormada

Sacrificed Lives and a Culturally-Relevant Discovery

2014 Florida Bus Crash 1

A bittersweet thing that came out of the Florida Bus Crash last Friday, February 7, 2014 is that more people (including me) now know about Whang-Od, the last tattoo artist from Kalinga. She’s 93 years old. Many of the passengers were on that trip to visit her and her tribe.

The Beautiful Whang-Od

The Beautiful Whang-Od. Photo by Jake Versoza.

Prior to the accident, it seems that only tattoo enthusiasts and bonafide adventurers knew about Whang-Od. Now, people know more about her. That’s the good thing. But it also took a fatal accident to get her name more out there. 15 artists had to die to make one artist more known to her own fellow Filipinos. That’s the sad thing.

I read an article and watched a short documentary on Whang-Od  and the traditional tattoo-making method. She makes the tattoo using a couple of wooden sticks, a small nail and sweet potato ink, with no anesthesia. It looks really painful but interesting. I used to want to get a tattoo for vanity reasons, but I like how my bare skin looks now.

Now that more people here in the Philippines know about Whang-Od, I hope more people would take the opportunity to visit the Kalinga tribe and get a tattoo from her. I think those who died in the accident would want us to continue their journey.

I hope that our Philippine government and private bus companies improve road safety drastically here, because we can’t afford this to happen again. We cannot stop adventurers from being adventurers because of such mishaps that could have been prevented through good and strict public transport governance. We have to make sure that our transport system is safe so that people continue living, discovering and savoring our culture.

That way we can start having a lot #morefuninthePhilippines.

Helpful, Healthy and Yummy: Green Pastures

Last night, I had dinner with friends in this place called Green Pastures at the East Wing of Shangri-la Plaza Mall. It’s a relatively new place that has garnered rave reviews because of how good its food is, and that it is an organic farm-to-table restaurant, meaning the food that they serve come from organically-grown plants and free-range raised poultry, cattle, lambs and pigs. It’s the perfect restaurant for people who love healthy food, but do not want to give up meat, like me. And I’m big on supporting businesses that are inherently advocacy-based. Yay for farmers! Yay for Philippine agriculture!

I initially planned to order their octopus-and-bone-marrow fusilli, but since my aunt recommended that I order the 80/20 Wagyu burger, I ordered that instead. I told myself that I will just go back and order the octopus-and-bone-marrow fusilli next time.

Green Pastures' 80/20 Burger

Green Pastures’ 80/20 Burger

The 80/20 Wagyu Burger is composed of 80% Wagyu beef, 20% double smoked organic pancetta (Italian bacon), stratiacella (Italian soft cheese) and buttered brioche (bread). It came with a hefty serving of fries with dip.

I wasn’t too happy with the burger at first since it seemed bland, but it began to taste fuller and better after every bite. I finished the burger fully satisfied, then downed the fries almost completely. The last time I was that satisfied with a new restaurant was last March, after I visited Poco Deli for the first time. Other dishes we ordered were the Carbonara, Duck You!, Ricotta and Headcheese. The dishes ARE a bit pricey, but that I think is okay considering you are helping the country and its farmers through Green Pastures.

2013 was a year of awesome culinary discoveries – from Ying Ying in Binondo, Aria in Bonifacio Global City, Plantation in Makati, to Haru, Poco Deli and Charlie’s Burgers in Barrio Kapitolyo and Spatzle in the East Wing of Shangri-la. So I’m glad that I kicked off 2014 with another awesome culinary discovery. I will definitely come back and find out more about their other dishes. 

Post-Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Thoughts (And Ways You Can Help the Victims)

It has been a week since Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda battered the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines. And by now, it is clear as to how much damage it has created.

I was actually on vacation in the Northern part of the Philippines when it struck. When I got back from vacation, that’s when I thoroughly updated myself on various social media networks. Seeing photos and watching news reports of how Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda reduced buildings and houses into shreds, how it rendered thousands and thousands of people homeless, desperate, sick and hungry and how it reduced a population also by the thousands left me shocked, speechless and unable to write. I had planned on writing this post earlier this week, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Although the Philippines is an archipelago, it is a small one, so everyone knows someone who hailed from or was in Central Visayas at that moment. Filipinos are also scattered all over the world. For this, the story hits home, one way or another.

It is heartbreaking to know that this happened to our country. Year after year, we experience torrential rains and strong typhoons, as well as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions – albeit not as much as the typhoons. But we have never experienced something so strong, and so its psychological and emotional impact are as strong as the winds and rains brought by the typhoon itself.

And for this, we are all doing our best to help each other out. This is why other government units have sent in financial aid and their staff to affected areas to help out.  This is why volunteer registration lists are filled until next week at the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This is why operations at the Ateneo de Manila University grounds are nonstop, twenty-four hours. This is why beyond the aforementioned relief operations, I cannot give more as there have been so many, I can’t remember all of them. Just refer to Rappler for an extensive list of relief operation sites. Apart from that, there are kind individuals who conduct door-to-door relief good donations and delivery operations. They are not affiliated with any group. They just want to help.

And speaking of helping here are other ways that you can help:

For those living outside the Philippines, you may give to reputable nonprofit organization that work or will be working directly for the communities involved. Please click on the name of the organization to know more how you can donate.

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate - NAFCON

Image Source: NAFCON Website

NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns)

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate - Mercy Corps

Image Source: Mercy Corps Facebook

Mercy Corps 

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders 

For those here in the Philippines who wish to donate, kindly refer to this list of ways on how to donate from Rappler.

Here are some more creative ways you can give:

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate - YolandaActionWeekend

Image Source: Pepper PH

Eat and drink in one of your favorite restaurants / bars. Several restaurateurs have come together for #YolandaActionWeekend, wherein participating establishments will donate either 20% of gross sales or 100% net profit to the victims of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Read more about the said campaign on the Pepper PH Website.

Buy styled donated clothing. One of the memories I have from childhood post-Mount Pinatubo-volcanic-eruption was seeing a child on TV walking and wearing a flower girl’s gown in the midst of lahar-torn Pampanga. That image stuck because it seemed bizarre to me that someone would donate something like that. But I learned this happens often. I’ve also personally experienced unloading a bag full of donated clothing including prom gowns, parkas and full office suits.

For this, the Philippine Red Cross, in partnership with stylists and clothing care products Downy and Ariel, have taken these uhm, “pre-loved” clothing, styled them and are putting them up on sale. Each item has a corresponding donation equivalent, like a set of ten hot meals, or a number of tents. For more details visit the campaign website: Aid Couture.

Typhoon Haiyan - Ways to Donate -Makati Medical Center

Or if you don’t want to go out or spend, the best you can do is sign this petition asking Makati Medical Center in Metro Manila to put up a mobile hospital and provide medical care for those in need.

We’re a strong people, so we’ll definitely get back up again. But hopefully after getting up, we would be able not only to stand, nor walk, but be capable enough as a people to run ourselves independently and responsibly, and lead all those who have helped us to look our way and smile at the changes we have made in our government, in our infrastructure, in managing our people and most importantly, in our relationship with the environment.

First Time Poll Watcher

tally sticks

I was blessed to be part of this year’s Barangay Elections as a candidate’s poll watcher.

I’ve been interested in participating in the elections as a poll watcher since I was in college. Unfortunately, all the training sessions were scheduled during school and work hours so I was never actually able to be one until now.

The Barangay is the smallest administrative unit in the Philippines. In English, Barangay means ‘village’. It is governed by a Barangay Captain and a Barangay Council composed of 7 Kagawads, who are assigned to develop and implement projects under various committees. The populations of barangays range from two thousand up to two hundred thousand. Thankfully, we reside is a small barangay, so there weren’t much people. The teachers who assist in the voting and counting, members of the police force and volunteers from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) actually felt relaxed during the voting hours.

The excitement came when voting was closed and vote-counting commenced. Unlike the national elections wherein voting is done manually, but tallied through a machine, both voting and tallying are done manually during Barangay elections. I guess this is because there is a large multitude of Barangays and it would be too costly for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to distribute or ship PCOS machines again, collect the names of candidates, lay them out and print ballots for each of them.

As this was the case, the teachers posted a large tally sheet on a white board (Tally Sheet 1) – with one tally sheet per precinct. The tally sheets had a long box on the left for the candidates’ names, and had boxes to its left for the vote tallies. The boxes were enough to fit five tally lines.

We had three precincts, so there were three counting paper sheets.  Another tally sheet was prepared on a table adjacent to the precinct’s ballot boxes and white board (Tally Sheet 2). Then they listed the names of the candidates down on the tally sheets with a black marker. One teacher was assigned to read the votes, another one was assigned to tally the votes on Tally Sheet 1 and another was assigned to tally the votes on Tally Sheet 2. Prior to the counting, PPCRV and the candidates’ poll watchers were also made to sign documents to validate their participation.

Each poll watcher was required to bring his or her own tally sheet. Before the official tallying began, I wrote down the names of the candidates on my own tally sheets.

The tallying soon started after I wrote all the candidates’ names down. The teacher assigned to read the votes in the precinct I volunteered for read the votes at a fairly steady pace so I was able to count along with them. For each 100 ballots, we tallied the partial results before proceeding onto the next hundred. After about an hour, vote tallying was done and the total for each candidate was written down on the official tally sheets and validating documents were signed. Soon after, the winners were proclaimed.

During the vote tally, voters are free to go to the polling place and watch the process. I wasn’t aware of how many watched the tally until it was over. I was delightfully surprised to see many people there. The Barangay is the smallest unit – and for some – the most useless. But I am thankful that people in our community continue to see its value.

My Poll Watcher I.D.

My Poll Watcher I.D.

I want to thank the COMELEC and DepEd’s teachers for the smooth voting and tallying processes. I would like to especially salute the teachers who were assigned in larger barangays – I am more proud of our public school teachers than ever! With that experience, I hope to participate again as a poll watcher for the coming 2016 elections.

I am very happy to say that the candidate I volunteered for won. As part of the team, I was very nervous, even as I was counting. I could not imagine how that person must have felt! Thank God for the win, now we can all rest and look forward to a new chapter for our community!

Help Bohol and Cebu Rise Again

I’ve been to Cebu twice, and I enjoyed both of my trips there. Knowing how beautiful and culturally-rich Cebu is, what they are going through now makes me feel extra sad.

I’ve never been to Bohol, hence my regret for not having had the chance to visit Chocolate Hills or its churches. And I promise to visit the place as soon as things are in order again.

I, like many Filipinos and people around the world want to help these beautiful islands rise so that we may see them in their splendor once again. Here are ways you can help bring back joy and security to Boholanos and Cebuanos:

For more ways to help, please visit the follow links:

Aboitiz – http://aboitizfoundation.org/AF/index.php?p=2502&type=2&sec=114&aid=11377&pg

Gawad Kalinga – http://gk1world.com/walang-iwanan

Rappler – http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/41461-relief-visayas-earthquake-victims

Renewing Faith, Saving Our Heritage

Today is a Sunday. And I found it apt to look back at the damage caused by the massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake to a natural wonder and fourteen heritage churches because of how much it tells us Filipinos about our heritage and the Catholic faith, which many of us are part of. Pardon if I haven’t posted something on helping the Boholanos and Cebuanos rise, I have another post especially for them.

Before looking at the photos, allow me to enumerate a few of the lessons I learned from this natural calamity:

  1. The earthquake is a call to us Filipinos to appreciate our heritage and the history that comes along with each artifact. It is a call for us to visit our own historical sites before jetting off to other places. We have always thought that the churches would be there, and that “all of them are the same so why bother visiting?” At the end of the day, hills and churches are made of earth, and they will crumble back to it.

  2. The earthquake is a call to our heritage preservation agencies, the Department of Education, Department of Tourism, the private sector and even the UNESCO to support rebuilding these sites and promoting them to the public through education and local tourism. These sites are meant to be appreciated, by Filipinos and non-Filipinos, Catholics and people of other faiths alike.

  3. Lastly, the earthquake is a call to Filipino Catholics to go beyond attending mass in a physical church and performing rituals. While attending mass and performing rituals are meaningful and us Catholics must understand the meaning of performing them (I have yet to dig deeper on this again), our faith is beyond that. The Christian faith is beyond that, and so we are called to not just attend mass at churches but actually attend to Churches – the Christian communities whom God called us to engage with to praise Him and live out The Word and people in general. As these physical churches will be rebuilt, we must also rebuild ourselves outside of the pews, away from the altar, and from within. And I think engaging God’s Word in written form is a great way to start.

Now on to the photos.

Viewing Deck, Chocolate Hills, Bohol via @tokyodrastic

Viewing Deck, Chocolate Hills, Bohol via @tokyodrastic

Chocolate Hills, Bohol via @tokyodrastic

Chocolate Hills, Bohol via @tokyodrastic

Chocolate Hills, Bohol via @harold_geronimo

Chocolate Hills, Bohol via @harold_geronimo

Nuestra Señora de la Luz Parish Church/Church of the Lady of Light, Loon, Bohol

Nuestra Señora de la Luz Parish Church/Church of the Lady of Light, Loon, Bohol via @tonyocruz

Church of St. Peter the Apostle (San Pedro Apostol), Loboc, Bohol

Iglesia de San Pedro Apostol/Church of St. Peter the Apostle, Loboc, Bohol from NHCPHistoricSites

Nuestra Señora de Inmaculada Concepcion de Baclayon/Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Baclayon, Bohol via Wikimedia Commons

Nuestra Señora de Inmaculada Concepcion de Baclayon/Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Baclayon, Bohol via Wikimedia Commons

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción/Church of the Lady of the Assumption, Dauis, Bohol via Wikimedia Commons

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción/Church of the Lady of the Assumption, Dauis, Bohol via Wikimedia Commons

Iglesia de Santa Cruz/Sta. Cruz Church, Maribojoc, Bohol via @jhigzveloso

Iglesia de Santa Cruz/Sta. Cruz Church, Maribojoc, Bohol via @jhigzveloso

St. Isidore the Farmer Church, Tubigon, Bohol via Wikimedia

St. Isidore the Farmer Church, Tubigon, Bohol via Wikimedia

Iglesia de Santissima Trinidad/Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Loay, Bohol via Turning Boholano

Iglesia de Santissima Trinidad/Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Loay, Bohol via Turning Boholano

Iglesia de San Nicholas/Church of St. Nicholas via Wikipedia Commons

Iglesia de San Nicholas/Church of St. Nicholas, Dimiao, Bohol via Wikipedia Commons

Iglesia de San Pablo Apostol/Church of St. Paul, Inabanga, Bohol via Wikipedia

Iglesia de San Pablo Apostol/Church of St. Paul, Inabanga, Bohol via Wikipedia

Basilica del Minore del Sto. Nino/Minor Basilica of the Child Jesus, Cebu City, Cebu via BjornCebuano

Basilica del Minore del Sto. Nino/Minor Basilica of the Child Jesus, Cebu City, Cebu via BjornCebuano

Cebu Metropolitan Church, Cebu City, Cebu

Cebu Metropolitan Church, Cebu City, Cebu via Wikimedia Commons

Iglesia de Sta. Catalina de Alejandria/Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Carcar, Cebu

Iglesia de Sta. Catalina de Alejandria/Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Carcar, Cebu via Kabyahe

UPDATE: Photos of five more churches that were partially or totally damaged by the earthquake:

La Iglesia de San Vicente Ferrer/St. Vincent Ferrer Church, Calape, Bohol

La Iglesia de San Vicente Ferrer/St. Vincent Ferrer Church, Calape, Bohol via CDRImagesFilipinas

Iglesia de San Miguel Arcangel/Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Clarin, Bohol

Iglesia de San Miguel Arcangel/Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Clarin, Bohol via Bohol Info

Santo Niño Parish Church, Cortes, Bohol via@ CDRImageFilipinas

Santo Niño Parish Church, Cortes, Bohol via CDRImageFilipinas

Cathedral of St. Joseph the Worker, Tagbilaran, Bohol

Cathedral of St. Joseph the Worker, Tagbilaran, Bohol via Libotero

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Santo Rosario/Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Lila, Bohol via CDRImageFilipinas

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Santo Rosario/Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Lila, Bohol via CDRImageFilipinas

Megan Young’s Success a Chance for Filipinos to Break Free from Xenocentrism

Photo taken from the official Megan Young Facebook Page

Photo taken from the official Megan Young Facebook Page

Though belated, I want to greet our very own Megan Young a big congratulations for winning the Miss World 2013 crown last September 28, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia! She, by far, is the most successful product of a locally-produced reality show. She started as one of the competitors in season 2 of the celebrity search “Starstruck” on GMA Network. I really thought that she would make it big back then, even if she finished off as an Avenger. Again, CONGRATULATIONS MEGAN YOUNG!

As with anyone who achieves worldwide success, Megan has already earned herself a bunch of critics, including a woman named Devina Dediva, who got attacked by Filipinos in the cyberworld. If you haven’t noticed yet, then I’ve to say that Filipinos don’t take criticism well, be it in the form of a joke, or a serious comment. Rather than ignore or meaningfully engage, many of us choose the low road and react defensively, complete with racist remarks, demands for public apology and calls to the government to declare certain public figures persona non grata. Many have publicly apologized. A personality has been declared persona non grata. And now Dediva has been fired from her job because of comments she had made.

This collective display of oversensitivity seems to be working, but it doesn’t mean it’s right. As the world is becoming more open because of social media, we Filipinos are called to be more mindful of our reactions, and engage when needed. It’s something that we have to learn to do, even if would take time. Megan Young’s success is an opportunity for us to begin doing this. If as a people we view racially-discriminatory remarks as unjust, shouldn’t we be applying it not just to us, but to everyone else?

Million People March at Ayala

Million People March 2

Right now, there is a discussion on the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP), prompted by Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s “revelation” about lawmakers who received money after voting to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Malacanang defended the allocation of such money, saying that they were released under what is called the Disbursement Allocation Program. While this “revelation” is significant as it shows the government’s larger system of spoils, this also seems like a blatant diversion to the PDAF scam. Estrada aimed to divert people’s attention away from the PDAF scam and his friends Bong Revilla, Johnny Enrile and Janet Lim Napoles, by making known the DAP scam. But it’s not making him look better, because he was also involved in it. He has placed himself in so much hot water, that he will come out deep-fried.

Anyway, why I am putting this issue again to the fore? Because for the nth time, I would want our government to know that we ARE watching and NOT stopping. I want people to not forget. The Philippine panopticon is working better and clearer upside down, contrast to the way its windows were fogged because of ultra-low temperature air-conditioning when it was standing upright. Our lawmakers used to not mind us the middle class – they couldn’t see through the fog that covered them and their corrupt ways. Now that they can see us, they are minding us, fearing and trying to hide from us.

The next rally that we will be having will be tomorrow, October 4, 2013, in Ayala Avenue, in Makati, from 5:30 pm onwards. It’s the second Million People March. Makati is the biggest business district Metro Manila, so I expect to see employees and big business leaders gather to listen to the concrete calls to action that will be laid out. In all of the Philippines’ people power history, this might be the most unromanticized one, and most productive just yet because it will have objective follow-throughs, not bent on exacting revenge on anyone, but real change in the system. Just like any business proposal that has been approved, the anti-PDAF movement will finally have a to-do list in order to reach its goals.

This is a good political exercise, because it shows the people’s propensity now to engage, not just with civil society groups, but private individuals who want change. It’s something monumental, and because of this, I hope all of us who can, would join.

Viewing the World with Me

  • 11,335 pairs of eyes

Archives

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected
Rating for aisadelacruz.wordpress.com