Monday, October 29, 2007

Proudly Pinay presents Chin-chin Gutierrez

Proudly Pinay

Chin-chin Gutierrez

PROUDLY PINAY recognizes all the Filipino women who, symbolically, walk their talk in heels and skirts. These are women who have made valuable contribution to society. They are the ones who make us truly proud to be Pinoys.

The first Pinay who makes it to Proudly Pinay is one who chose to take her heels off (now in a literal sense) to be able to advocate for environmental and cultural causes. A celebrated international actress; in fact, one of Asia's finest, beautiful and artistic, let me present to you, Ms. CHIN-CHIN GUTIERREZ.

Sustainable Dreams

Onscreen, Chin-Chin Gutierrez, one of the Philippines’ most celebrated film stars, has recently played a sophisticated villain in a popular national soap opera. In real life, she spends a third of her time campaigning for sustainable development – from warning against climate change to digging holes and composting rubbish – and has been hailed by TIME magazine as a hero for it.

The winner of both ‘best actress’ and ‘best supporting actress’ in the Asian Television awards, among other prizes – and with an extraordinary versatility of roles, including heroines and dramatic leads – she doubles as a leading activist of the Mother Earth Foundation, a Filipino non-governmental organization which has successfully campaigned for a national Clean Air Act and waste legislation. Earlier this year she appeared on the cover of the international news magazine as a ‘hero of Asia’, for ‘using her fame to spread a message often ignored ... that there are natural resources aside from beauty and talent’.

‘I am an actress and I traffic in dreams,’ says the 29-year-old Gutierrez, who broke new ground by playing her first anti-hero in the soap, Habang Kapiling Ka. ‘A dream can be a vision of tomorrow’s reality. I think it is the duty of every citizen of the Earth to dream of a sustainable future for their country.’

She was, in a sense, born into environmental concern. Her father was a botanist. Her paternal grandfather, a pharmacologist, used to walk in the fields in his bare feet, so as not to disturb wildlife. And one of the first modern environmental books – Our Plundered Planet by Fairfield Osborn, published in 1948 – was dedicated by the author to her maternal grandfather, Solomon Arnaldo, an early director of UNESCO’s office in New York.

But it was a typhoon that first sparked her activism. Six years ago she went to a sacred mountain, Mount Banahaw, south of Manila, to research a role before playing the head of a religious sect that lived there. The typhoon delayed the arrival of the television crew and the week she spent there changed her life.

She returned to the mountain again and again – eventually spending every weekend there – to work with the local people, planting trees and cleaning up the rubbish left by tourists, ‘reminding people of the sacredness of the mountain by protecting and restoring its ecological balance’. It became a focus for the Mother Earth Foundation, where she serves as chairperson for projects.

Earlier this year she took part in a UNEP workshop on sustainable development in Bangkok. ‘It really helped me a lot,’ she says. ‘It clarified and strengthened my ideas and beliefs on sustainable development.’ And she draws extensively on UNEP’s GEO3 report for educational work, visiting local communities to explain the concept of ecological footprints.

Global warming

For example she uses facts on the shrinking of the world’s glaciers to introduce climate change. ‘The indicators of climate change tell us that we human beings have no choice but to grow up. The Earth can live another one and a half billion years, but maybe the human species will not survive global warming. We have enough information, but do we have enough will to do what is needed?

‘I dream of the curse of poverty being lifted from the majority of Filipinos. Poverty is the biggest obstacle to sustainable development. The tragedy of environmental deterioration in the Philippines is compounded by the realization that it is the majority of the population that lives below the poverty line that depends on biodiversity for food and shelter. Thus – to adapt a thought by Paul Hawken, one of the writers who has most influenced me – the environmental movement in the Philippines must transform itself from a struggle to save the Earth to a struggle to defend human rights: the right to food, the right to livelihood, the rights to culture, community and self-sufficiency’

Article copied from the United Nations Environment Programme website. Click to see the article:

Photo by Olivier Laude.

More about Chin-Chin on

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Relationship Stock Market

When some ladies from my office's marketing department learned that I am out on the market, I was surprised to see them turn into instant brokers and traders. It's like I just announced that SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has just declared me as a listed company.

Sounds fun when you know that buyers are out for you. But because I do not think that I should be the company with stocks to sell, allow me to take the role of the investor.

My boss has just proclaimed herself as Financial Advisor. She began issuing assignments to her apprentices--some licensed stock brokers and seasonal market traders, to ensure that I will invest on the best, most promising and most profitable companies.

So the listed companies. Who makes it there?

Well, since I'm the one who's investing, I believe that I have the right to make my demands even more demanding. Hmm... How about an all-in-one package? Maybe someone similar to the Amex Peso Platinum--the best card for luxurious shopping, travelling and dining (dare not disagree, I was in the industry) or someone who's like your mid-range 3-in-1 instant coffee--comes with creamer and sugar?

The rule of the thumb: you have to be a risk taker.

Have I been a risk taker? Most of the time, yes. But I always had room for dark thoughts. I have indeed ruined possibilities for good investments because of fear and great amounts of suspicion. Oh crap, am I such a lousy risk taker?

The thing is, I have millions in myself. I am not pertaining to a fat bank account. But I am referring to all the intangible stuff I have. You know, like a well-kept body, a fairly sensible mind, a good heart and lots of good lovin' (kapal but so what?). But will I invest these millions over someone who's not a certainty?

My index works but sigh, fails most of the time. I've made a lot of negative return on investments. The profitable ones barely make it to half the acquisition price. Now, if I'll compute all the losses I've made in the past 5 years... Oh honey, give me some ice. I am having a headache!

Surges of happiness, kilig moments, selos and buckets full of tears are all part of being a stock player. One can profit, lose or well, just have a break-even. In the stock market, you can't say that it's not about the results but how you played the game. No. The stock market is very much result-oriented. It's about playing the game right to achieve the results you want.

I do hope for a bull market for 2008 since I have THREE (3) friends who have announced their wedding dates for the said year. But I do not think I am ready to join the married women's club yet. I just have so much to do in my single blessedness.

The relationship stock market sounds fun when you can afford to lose. However, for someone like me who has other priorities to consider, it's no longer as exciting as it was when I was young and childless.

Note: I am not into stock trading so forgive me for the misconceptions. I just thought it's fun to write about the parallelisms of the market to dating.

Blast from the Past: Women Making Cigars

Title: Women making cigars, Manila, 1920-1930
Date: 1920-1930
American colonial period / Philippines / Manila / Alhambra factory
Tobacco: Cigars, three women making cigars, Alhambra factory, Manila.
Adult / Female / Laborer / Tobacco industry / Laborers / Cigars
Call Number:
Is Part Of:
Wisconsin Philippines Image Collection National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Philippines Image Collection 350- Bureau of Insular Affairs SouthEast Asian images & Texts
U.S. National Archives
McCoy, Alfred W.: University of Wisconsin--Madison. Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
Local Identifier:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Life Giving Breast

Author's Note: For my featured post this October, I wish to enlighten everyone about their basic asset: the breast. Big or small, it's about the purpose it serves.

A fact that you can confirm from your guy friends:

most men fantasize about having a girlfriend with 34-C sized (if not 36-D) breasts.

A fact that you can confirm from your girl friends:

most women wish their boobs are at least a cup size higher.

The desire for bigger breasts is present among both genders. Men want big boobs for their sexual cravings. Why else would they want them? (If it's because they wish to have one, then we're talking of a different gender already.) Of course, they want to conquer and fondle a bigger territory! Women, on the other hand, yearn for bigger boobs not only for them to feel good about themselves but also to satisfy their partners' cravings.

It is a rather sad note that because of too much aesthetic and erotic value being attributed to a woman's breasts, their purpose has been limited to serve the male libido. It is evident in pornography and every other product that is targeted towards the male market like magazines, booze, cigarettes and cars. Promotions of these products always include big-busted women in cleavage-baring outfits gracing print ads, TVCs or shows where they work as promo girls.
Most of us seem to have forgotten the breast's biological purpose or in other words, its life-giving purpose. God created our breasts so our babies will have a source of nourishment. While breastfeeding campaigns have become more abundant nowadays, it is still undeniable that most women, especially those who are working, do not have the patience to nurse their young.

(I shall have a separate entry for breastfeeding but for now, let me just focus on another breast-related topic.)

Anyway, the main reason why I thought of writing an article on BREASTS is because it is October. Aside from October, being the month of Holy Rosary, it is also the BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

It is a must that I inform you, my dear sisters, about this dreaded disease because as the word association suggests, it is the leading cause of death among Filipino women. In fact, as some of you might have heard or read, cancer ranks third among the mortality and morbidity rates of Filipinos. (It comes next to infectious and cardiovascular diseases.)

In Asia, the Philippines has the highest reported incidence rates of breast cancer: 47.7% among 100,000 females. This rate is even larger than the rates in Eastern European countries.
While 86% percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer belong in the 35 to 50 year-old age group, it does not mean that you, being young, pretty and carefree, can take this for granted. The fact is, YOU MIGHT STILL HAVE BREAST CANCER IF NOT NOW, AS PART OF THE REMAINING 14%, THEN PROBABLY YOU ARE AT RISK IN THE FUTURE.

Early detection leads the best way to cure breast cancer. So have yourself checked annually or administer your Breast Self-Exam.

I got this 5-Step Breast Self-Exam from Here it is:

Give life. Save a life. Forward this to your friends. Awareness helps countless women to give the best to their babies and also to combat breast cancer.

VIEW: Breast Cancer in the Philippines by Dr. Emer
VIEW: Keep Abreast (WACOAL Pink Ribbon Campaign) 2007
VIEW: Breast Care Info by I Can Serve Foundation
Breast image taken from

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Courtship in the Time of SMS: A Piso Investment

Courtship through the decades:

70s: Visiting Victor regularly visits the girls house with varying gifts of flowers, fruits and delicacies (live chickens included).
80s: Telebabad Tom calls the girl's house every night for a 2 to 3-hour chit-chat. Occassional butting ins from party line may ruin Telebabad Tim's timing for asking the girl out.
90s: Pager PJ covers his mouth as he dictates the word "I love you" to a pager operator while a queue waiting for the pay phone is behind him

And now, we have Texting Tim. You catch his fancy one gimmick night at let's say, Warehouse. He asks for your number and the next day, he'll send you a message to let you know that well, he is interested. His thoughtfulness is manifested by his piso-a-day investments, checking on you by sending you messages like "gawa mo?", "sup?" or "musta?".

Sometimes Texting Tim's thoughtfulness may become an invitation for a casual get-together by sending you "gmk?". If you're out, it's likely that Tim's going to drop by and officially meet your girl friends. A more formal Texting Tim may ask you out by sending you a message like "wanna watch a movie on Friday?" or "r u free 4 coffee tonight?" But the worse that Texting Tim can ever text you is "stl up?" because most of the time, if Texting Tim is not looking for a late night confidante, he is looking for a late night booty call.

We have seen how courtship has changed over the decades. Our lolas and moms were courted differently which explains why they demand more from our guys. Most of the time, they even expect to be courted as well. Of course, we cannot blame them for thinking that way. They were raised by a different set of norms and moreover, they consumed adolescence in the absence of SMS, IM, e-mails and iMax cinemas. (The latter explains why it's a crime for them when they find out that we have went to the movies alone with a boyfriend.)

Hi-tech courtship is convenient. For one, it is so easy to be connected. One can easily check how someone is doing just by texting. Dates can be easily re-set and cancelled with just one short message. Avoiding someone takes very little effort through hitting the silent or reject button everytime the persistent manliligaw calls.

While it is good that torpes will finally find it easier to make a move, the real issue on courtship in time of text is, are we willing to sell ourselves cheap?

Most of us--even the fairest of us all, have met guys who are market traders when it comes to dating and courtships. Babaratin ka until you finally give in. For them, they wish to maximize their profits by exerting very little (but safe) efforts to get what they want from you. They are among the many Piso Investors who find texting as the only way to your heart or to your pants (ehem!).

But you know, it's up to you. If you are going to give a good Return on Investment for guys like Texting Tim, then you have to be sure that it is not a boyfriend you're after for. Otherwise, it's best to just let them lose their money.

The False Teachings of Cinderella

Author's Note: For this entry, I am referring to the version of Cinderella that was popularized by Disney. I thought about writing this after watching Repertory's Cinderella musical with the pre-school kids of the foundation where I work for.

I feel bad that Cinderella was written for the kids.

Okay, okay. I sound like a fairy tale's wicked step mother for writing this down. But please, allow me to share my thoughts about the fairy tale that most of us loved as kids.

Fairy tales are among the most influential tools that shape the way we see the world. As a little girl, I thought that Cinderella's tale was sweet. But as I grew older, I realized it was silly and as a result, I wanted to blame the fairy tale for all my love-related misfortunes as a teenager.

I dislike the way Cinderella teaches kids about love at first sight. In the old times, men attend balls for them to meet brides-to be. But now at this age of wild bars, suave moves and cheesy pick up lines, the tale of Cinderella can mislead so many young girls into thinking that the men they meet at bars are up for serious relationships. (Hmm... So now you can relate, huh?)

Aside from this, Cinderella, among other fairy tales, stereotypes step mothers and step sisters. Nowadays, they are not a rarity. As a result of divorce and single parenthood, they exist in more homes than one can imagine. So I don't think it's best that kids, with their bright, young minds, think of a step mother or sister as someone who's out to oppress kids.

What is even more dislikeable about the tale of Cinderella is the part when Cinderella's misery is ended by marrying Prince Charming. It is silly to teach kids that marriage is the answer to their woes. Because it just isn't. Marriage can even lead to more agonies if it is not done for the right reasons.

Cinderella was oppressed yet, she followed the orders of her step mom. It is again, good that the fairytale teaches the value of obedience. But it is awfully wrong to teach children blind obedience to the point that they become doormats. It is time that kids are taught about their rights and the presence of agencies like DSWD because as we know, many children suffer from domestic violence.

I just think that Cinderella needs to be updated. This story may be a good basis for understanding yesterday's social situation. However, since fairy tales are the most influential pieces of literature made for kids, it might be better to create wise and proactive heroines similar to Mulan and Anastacia.

On the other hand, Cinderella must be enjoyed as a myth and as a children's fairy tale. It shows that good things can happen to people with good hearts. It teaches us to dream and to hope. Because if we're good, then boppity-bippity-bop, our wishes may come true.

Breaking the Booze and Women Go Together Notion

For the typical, chauvinistic Juan, the good times cannot be complete without booze and women. It is evident in the kind of TVCs being aired in the country.

The scenario is always the same: a group of men is having a round of drinks in a bar when all of a sudden, a sexily dressed woman enters the bar and gets everyone's attention. Who could ever forget the Sabado nights commercial that popularized Ina Raymundo in the 90s? Kris Aquino broke her stereotype by getting a bit bolder and sexier in a commercial for the same company that featured Ina Raymundo. Two summers ago, we laugh at the luck that some losers got over having a bottle of liquor slip from their grip. Bilog nga naman talaga ang mundo. They had the time of their lives when centerfold beauties partied with them. The most recent one is that of Katrina Hallili, being a show-stopper as she drives through the crowd in a motorcycle and charms the men among them.

There is always an element of surprise. And it is these women made to portray the "hot chick" image which cause the surprise and hence, bring life to the party. Oops, wait. Maybe I should say bring more life to a party that is already in its full swing.

Now, how about those commercials which are downright provocative? White Castle commercials are famous for its white horse carrying on its back the country's sexiest celebrities like Nanette Medved, Anjanette Abayari and Roxanne Guinoo in a red two-piece bikini. Currently, they have launched a nationwide search for the next White Castle girl.

The Search for the Next White Castle Model is a competition of women who not only have the looks but also the talent and the brains. It is sad that these women's worth are belittled by this senseless campaign. Why would these women need to be talented and intelligent when they will just be models who will adorn White Castle Whiskey's calendars and be nothing but mere sex objects to men. Oh, tell me they don't. Tell me they are works of art. If they are, why can't we have a Search for the Next White Castle Macho?

Emperador and Generoso brandy deserve an acknowledgement for moving out of the box by showing commercials with different themes. Emperador Brandy shows Eddie Gutierrez with his sons who all toast for "sa totoong tagumpay," stressing that the handsome patriarch has taught the values of sipag, tiyaga and determinasyon. Meanwhile, Generoso Brandy print ads show a group of friends having wholesome fun by social drinking. A couple of years ago, one of my favorite TVCs was that of a barkada's reunion where the women were anticipating for the arrival of their best-looking guy friend. Apparently, to their surprise, that friend turned out to have made a commitment to celibacy.

Commercials like these show that the good times can happen without all that machismo involving cleavage-baring women. The Emperador Brandy might be a bit macho but I appreciate it for depicting good father and sons bond rather than a father teaching his sons how to dominate their women.

Commercials, in as much as they depict realities, also have the power to shape perceptions. The media has become an avenue for change that involve ways of thinking and living. Most of the time, the change is aimed to respond to trends and issues that we currently face.
It is good that companies are learning how to become socially responsible. I hope that media, being a powerful tool that shape minds, will be used more adequately to portray wholesome ways to have fun and at the same time, improve the society's perception of women.

MEET THE BRAZILIAN--My Brave Encounters with Waxing Down There

As a woman, I am quite ordinary but unconventional. I have used tampons when everyone else thought it was a sin to use them. I am a single mother and I do not keep it a secret. And well, just recently, I got acquainted with the Brazilian.

Brazilian waxing may have gained popularity from bikini-clad models and beach demi-goddesses, however, there are still those who are not open to it. Women who have themselves waxed down there are labeled as wild, sexually-active and even perverted. While these labels may be true to some extent, still, I beg to disagree.

I had my first encounter with the Brazilian before I went to Boracay this summer. It was not because I was looking forward to one night stands and make out partners in the island paradise, but it was purely because I did not want any of my pubes to peep through my white bikini. Though I considered shaving and trimming, I still went for the excruciatingly painful process of Brazilian waxing. And the reason? I tried shaving before but I got bumps and cuts and it became so itchy when the hair grew once again.

I was supposed to have it done with a friend. However, since I just left my job then, I hardly had time to leave home. And so, I went to the nearest mall and had my first Brazilian waxing alone at Let’s Face It. I was asked to wash myself first. Then I went back to the private room and laid down with my eyes wide shut! The process at Let’s Face It was very hygienic. Everything was sanitized and they used disposables. The lady trimmed my hair first then okay, the waxing began. Starting at the uppermost part of me, she spread hot wax and then peeled them by hand as soon as the wax cooled. Since it was extremely painful, she told me that I can still opt for the classic bikini waxing. However, I did not go for it since it forfeits my purpose. There will still be pubes that may peep through my bikini. Since I made that decision, well, there’s no turning back. The whole waxing came with so many “ahhs,” “ouches,” and whatnots but the good thing was I survived them after about an hour. I felt so brave and happy after shelling out 600 something bucks for the waxing.

By the way, a tip for first timers, never ever delay the peeling once the wax has been spread. Otherwise, it’s going to cause you more pain that may be quite unbearable.

My next encounter was at Neo Spa in the Fort. It was more expensive at around a thousand bucks. But I was so happy with the ambiance and the service that I did not mind it all. Since it was a spa, I was able to shower first. I was given a disposable panty so I felt even more hygienic. I got a back massage and afterwards, the waxing began. It was more bearable this time. But still, I let out around 15 variations of screams—some of them sounded so weird. The lady who worked on me was really good. She used the clean and easy wax procedure—one where she had to use a cloth to peel the wax off with the hair. It could’ve been less painful and less stressful if I did not make the hair grow so much. Well, that’s another lesson learned.

Learning well from previous experience, I decided to have myself waxed at Lay Bare at the 5th level of Rustan’s Tower in Makati. It was just a small salon and I was surprised that they did not have a washroom. I had to make a wild dash to the nearby washroom and good thing was I bring a bottle of feminine wash with me all the time. They were less hygienic. They did not even spray or wipe sanitizer on me before they started. But everything else was disposable and I was quite happy because the process took only around 30 minutes without any “ahhs” nor “ouches.” And I must say that the waxing covered more parts that the other two so I am pretty much more hairless. I paid P755 but I am not so sure about coming back because of the fact that they did not have any wash area.

Based from my Brazilian experience, I have learned that the first time really do hurt. If you wish to maintain it, less hair means less pain. So trim or book yourself another appointment while there is not much hair yet.

I am quite obsessed about being hairless since I find it more hygienic. It’s easy to wipe myself clean after peeing at a public washroom and I am less susceptible to feminine itching. It’s quite a thrill too. You know, like having a secret which nobody else knows. While some may do it because their boyfriends or husbands like it, I do it for hygiene.

To each her own. Or as my good friend Rachelle says, your body, your rules.