Monday, November 30, 2009

The Myth of Chivalry

Ladies, let's ditch the fairy tales. In the real world, there is no room for damsels in distress. Knights in shining armor are mere characters of glossy books and Harlequin paperbacks. As we all know, Prince Charming is often the smooth operator who runs after his booty prey on modern-day balls called clubbing.

Meanwhile, ladies first is just an empty phrase; a sign that our society has not truly veered away from the rules of machismo. Privilege teaches us to be in denial. But the fact is that women and girls remain second-rate citizens subservient to the demands of the alpha male.

Haven't we thought about why sexily dressed-if not barely clad-women often serve as the main attraction in selling men's products? Think about it. Booze, cigarettes, after shave, car freshener, underpants and the list goes on – what do they have that makes the presence of a woman in their ad a must? Why do events that cater to a male audience always have to be graced by women, still, in the same outfits?

Tell me, do they portray chivalry, if not respect for the ladies?

Back in the time when knighthood was more than just an exercise of formality, women were barred from leaving the sphere of their homes. In the same era, they were being impaled, stoned to death and burned at stake not really because they turned children into cats and planted warts to whoever had wronged them. They just happened to be too sophisticated in the eyes of a society that only knew of helpless maidens and subdued wives. Chivalry, for what it's worth, was unfriendly to Cosmopolitan. Imagine what could happen to Coco Chanel if she lived in those days.

More recent events show that Esmael Mangudadatu's only mistake was when he believed that chivalry is exercised by the knights in the Maguindanaoan fiefdom. I have nothing against him, take note. It is a shame that the Maguindanao Massacre occurred in the midst of the international celebration of ending violence against women.

Our education and good fortune may have opened us doors-where men went first-and broken us some glass ceilings. However, if we refuse to see the nakedness of the truth that greets us in every TVC shown and every rape and wife beating reported, that is, if we take these things as given, then we have not really succeeded at freeing ourselves from the bondage that we have long been in.

Honestly, I would rather carry my huge bags alone, wait in queues standing and go dutch on male-initiated dates than to take such things as they are.

Chivalry remains a myth while violence against women perpetuates.

November 25 marks the anniversary of the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Advocating Women's Rights Through Mulieris (Part 1 of 2)

My advocacy for women's rights can be traced back to my university years at the Ateneo. Back then, men were outnumbered by women who made up 51% of the population (if my memory serves me right). Since these young women had the privilege to study in one of the most prestigious schools in the country, it was assumed that they also had access to healthcare and other top-tier basic services.

However, I was not oblivious of the issues that hound our gender. Date rape, battering, emotional harassment, discrimination and unwanted pregnancy were among the most hush-hush topics that went around in various circles within the campus. I sympathized but I felt helpless.

Ironically, it was my dad who encouraged me to come up with something-an organization or a project-that will respond to the issues I mentioned. At that time, I was taking up Theology 121 during the second semester of SY 2002-2003, where a Vatican document called Mulieris Dignitatem (The Dignity of Women) was a required reading. It was there where I got the organization's name. Mulieris, in Latin, means women.

I started working on the organization's foundation by brainstorming with several batchmates including Colynn de Guzman, a grade school classmate who won Ms. Friendship in Ms. Philippines 2003; Bea Panopio, who is now a well-known jewelry designer; Tanya Ilacad, who I fondly call as "teacher by day, rockstar by night" and several others. Sadly, we were not able to come up with anything concrete and plausible during that school year.

Come 2004, I was referred by Diva Gannaban, who was then The Guidon's Photo Editor, to Rachelle San Pedro. Rache was also a batchmate who was managing another start up org called i-Ateneo. It just took one text message and the rest was history. I have to give credit to Rache for being the driving force of Mulieris, especially when adversities were taking my enthusiasm away.

Anybody who's been a member of an unaccredited org at that time would know what I mean. There are challenges on funding, membership and reservations. I remember having to shell out money from my own allowance for promo materials and tokens of appreciation for earlier speakers. There was also a time when we could not get a reservation in any of the school's lecture rooms so I had to scout for an alternative venue outside the school. On the day itself, Rache and I had to board a karaoke in a tricycle and use several laptops for our slide shows.

On its first year, Mulieris was able to come up with several talks conducted by prominent women such as Princess Nemenzo, a pioneer in the movement; Tinay Palabay, then Gabriela's Secretary General; and Icar Castro, Kythe's co-founder and JG Summit Womanity Campaign's 10 Inspiring Women, plus an exposure trip at the Women's Correctional in Mandaluyong. These activities were attended by male and female students.

Of course, our senior and junior officers and active members made everything possible. Patricia Miranda, a debater and writer extraordinaire, crafted our VMO and designed most of our promo materials. Logo included. Quino Reyes, the only guy in the group, shared great perspectives on a lot of issues. Jewel Reyes and Miam Aliwalas, both my barkada, extended support and offered logistical assistance. Andi Lacuesta, another smart woman, made great suggestions for our advocacy. Mitzi Alojipan, a talented artist, shared her compositions for our Women's Month CD and together with her friends, made our launch at the SS Foyer spectacular. Patty Miranda (SY 2005-2006 President), Charvic Reyes, Mavis Jalbuena, Chattie Osdon, Ayn Nepomuceno and many others coordinated very well for the implementation of our most attended talk, Give Way. Our adviser, Ms. Christine Bellen also offered insights and guided us along the way.

Mulieris is something worth remembering. Although it ceased to operate in 2006, I believe that somehow, our concerted efforts has made an impact on the women's movement in the Ateneo.

* * * * *
I dropped by the University Archives when I was in school last week. I found the following articles in The Guidon and decided to scan them and post them here since this is an advocacy blog.

The high-res version of each scanned article can be downloaded from the Flickr site.

Article # 1: On celebrating women's month (March 2004)
My Letter to the Editor
Click here for hi-res view/download.

Article # 2: Organizing empowerment. The cause and struggles of campus-based women’s organizations (September 2005)
Mulieris 2nd Batch Officers were interviewed; I was cited as Founder
Click here for hi-res view/download.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Update on Magna Carta

Based from my blog's statistics, the most viewed post is RA 9710: Magna Carta of Women. It may have been ratified two months ago but still, people and groups continue to contest it.

I was actually pleased to have been cited at Colombian blogger Juliana Rincon's post on Conversations for a Better World. Philippines: A pregnant woman's right to study and work presents views from different ends of the spectrum.

I recommend RA 9710 online researchers to also read it. Thanks!

* * * * *
Update as of 11/30/09:

I just learned from Google that the same post is available in five or more languages. Happy reading!

Dropping the Neckline: Breaking Illusions of 36-C

IT IS A FACT that the desire for big boobs transcends class, race and gender. Women can opt for Belo or some obscure (or even fake) cosmetic surgeons for augmentation. They can be black, white, Puerto Rican, Chinese or Pinay and, still, wish upon the Boob Fairy to make their breasts a cup size higher. Most of all, the desire for big boobs is "felt" by men, women and those who are in between. (I'm sure I do not need to explain why.)

It is frustrating to think that because of too much aesthetic and erotic value being attributed to a woman's breasts, their purpose has been limited to serving 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 exhibits 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. To the women, it is quite basic -- YOUR BREASTS ARE MADE TO NURSE YOUR YOUNG AND NOT YOUR MAN!

Needless to say, women must take good care of their breasts not for the purpose of having something good at the hem of their low necklines. Likewise, men should learn how to tame their cravings by making themselves aware of the risks that women take when they undergo surgical enhancements for the male benefit.


According to Breast Cancer Awareness Group, I Can Serve Foundation, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Filipino women. It ranks third among the leading cause of mortality and morbidity among Filipinos. That is, it is next to infectious and cardiovascular diseases. (So you can worry about it next after a feast of lechon kawali, crispy pata and lechong baka.)

While the disease is mostly diagnosed among women who are 35 to 50 years old, it does not mean that one can never be at risk in her 20s. In fact, 20-something women must conduct a monthly Breast Self Exam (BSE) about a week after her period. By age 30, besides a BSE, women must have a clinical exam every year. By age 40, besides a BSE and a clinical exam, women must have an annual mammography. (I Can Serve)

The thought of mammography can be quite a torture but let us be thankful that we, here in my Multiply, belong to the 40 and below bracket.

Conducting BSE is very simple. BC advocates Dawn Zulueta and Lea Salonga have DVDs in Filipino and English, respectively, that show how to perform the self-exam. Click here to be directed to the site.

Meanwhile, I found this 5-Step BSE when I wrote my Breast Cancer Awareness Month piece last year. You can bookmark the site.

My permission goes to anyone who would like to forward this to their family and friends for advocacy purposes.

First Posted on Blogspot 18 Oct 2007, Second on Multiply 19 Oct 2008
Photo taken from
Statistics and information from:
Parallel Universes - Breast Cancer in the Philippines
I Can Serve Foundation

It wasn't rape rape?

If it wasn't for my sister's prodding, I wouldn't have cared to write a retort to Whoopi Goldberg's sensational "It wasn't rape rape" statement regarding filmmaker Roman Polanski.

So what if he's an artist? So what if his past was rather tragic? And so what if his victim has already forgiven him?

It's simple: the guy was found guilty of breaking the law - read: he raped a 13-year old girl after drugging her when he was 40! To make it worse, he fled to escape prison.

And Whoopi would say that it wasn't rape rape? So what is it? Play rape? Rape play? Duh.

Pro-Polanski folks would say that his punishment is long overdue; that he's old and he's gone through much. He probably had suffered more outside of jail with the indelible stigma of his crime some 30 years ago. But this is going beyond Whoopi's statement.

Next issue please.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's Walk As One

Got this invite from an officemate:

Be one of the 50,000 walkers who will share their story on October 4, 6AM, at any of the participating walk locations (SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds, SM Iloilo, Plaza Burgos (Vigan), Bulacan Provincial Capitol Grounds, Avon Cebu Branch, Avon Legaspi Branch, Avon Cagayan de Oro Branch).

YOU can make a difference in women's lives. YOU can make a stand against the disease .

Monday, September 7, 2009

In light of Chavit and Che

In a typical relationship spat, they say that it takes two to tango.

But how come that in most troubled partnerships, it is the woman who gets the black-and-blues?

The recent controversy involving political figure Chavit Singson and common law wife Che Tiongson is a perfect example of a domestic dispute that has resulted in violence. Save for the personalities involved, it would have been any other violent spat between a couple... with the woman at the losing end.

It is an awful truth that prior to the establishment of RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, police officers would commonly regard wife battering as “away mag-asawa lang” [a lovers' quarrel only].

Away mag-asawa is a fact of life. In as far as couples are concerned, it is normal and to a certain point, even healthy. But violence is not.

Clearly, quarrels are manifestations of power struggles, which occur even in the most fundamental of relationships – like that of a mother and daughter. While, obviously, it is the mother whose role as a parent automatically gives her the power, it is different when the struggle involves two adults with no apparent lines of authority; both with own opinions to insist and own tendencies to express.

Both men and women bear the tendency to hurt another, which is sadly, easily expressed within the close range of the people they live with. This is the worst kind of violence - that, which occurs within the gated four walls we call home.

Yes, it is true that men are also victims of violence. However, most advocacies are focused on women simply because there are more instances of physical aggression inflicted against women. And as Hope Basiao-Abella, chair of the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse, says, “abuses against women persist because they continue to be perceived as the ‘weaker sex’.

The struggle for power implies a quest for triumph and defeat. Less diplomatic persons tend to settle such mere lover's quarrel by means of force. In this case, men have the biological advantage which they use against their partners whose helplessness is worsened by their economic dependence. (Do we hear Che Tiongson here?)

The Magna Carta of Women should put an end to VAW. On top of their male partners, it should liberate marginalized women from the oppressing norms and circumstances that the society has long put them in.

“…where power predominates, there love is lacking.”
- Carl Jung

Read more:
1. Beyond Lipstick and High Heels: A White Ribbon in the Dark

Sunday, August 30, 2009

RA 9710: Magna Carta of Women

Another milestone for Filipino women has been marked as PGMA enacted the Magna Carta of Women last August 14, 2009.

It was a long battle - having been opposed by different groups such as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. As usual, issues on family and life came into play. That it was anti-life and anti-family were proven wrong. The Magna Carta poses no threat to both. Quoting Sen. Jamby Madrigal, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, from

“The bill was crafted to be an effective tool for the further protection and empowerment of women, particularly the marginalized. It is a pro-life, pro- Filipina and pro-family measure. It is not a reproductive rights and same sex marriage bill that rabid religious groups and opponents of the measure have labeled it.”

The enactment of the Magna Carta is a strong nudge to finally implement, as a strategy, the gender mainstreaming of the country's primary institutions - family, school, workplace and government. Some question the need for such or why it is always the women who benefit from mainstreaming efforts. In response, it must be noted that women are the usual victims of discriminatory practices. Privilege blinds both men and women from seeing this. Plus, these practices that are long entwined with tradition are taken as norms and hence, the apathy.

A case in point: the single parent. Being one actually means having to provide both the economic and nurturing needs of the child. What puts women instead of men at a disadvantage is the fact that they comprise most of the solo parent population. (Only the US Single Parent Statistics was found on the Internet. It says that "in 2006, 5 out of every 6 custodial parents were mothers." The Philippines' should not be any different.)

(Note: Interestingly, the paragraph above was quoted in Conversations for a Better World. Read Philippines: A Pregnant Woman's Right to Study and Work, which is available in about 5 or more languages.)

Sadly, there are very few daycare centers and breastfeeding facilities that cater to children of working single mothers. While yaya or caregiver wages are relatively cheap in the Philippines, hiring one who can be trusted is an entirely different story.

The downloadable version of the Magna Carta, including the fast facts, are available at National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women website.

To close this post, here is a provision of the Magna Carta which, I bet, even the most privileged of women may be able to relate to:

Equal rights in all matters relating to marriage and family relations. The State shall ensure the same rights of women and men to: enter into and leave marriages, freely choose a spouse, decide on the number and spacing of their children, enjoy personal rights including the choice of a profession, own, acquire, and administer their property, and acquire, change, or retain their nationality. It also states that the betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Country Mourns for Cory's Death

From Twitter:
RT @inquirerdotnet Estrada on #Cory: "Today the country has lost a mother. This is a sad day for the Filipino people."--Fe Z (fixes quote)

It is the first of August; a fresh start for a new month.

However, for the Filipino people, it was the end of an era. They were shaken by the news of former President Corazon Aquino's passing at 3:18 am.

While she may be known as a hero's wife -- a woman who perfectly remained calm and a source of hope during her husband Ninoy's struggles under the Marcos dictatorship, Filipinos all over the world will best remember Tita Cory for her own contributions to Philippine democracy and how she has touched lives with her faith. (Click the link to read and listen to Ninoy's poem I Fell In Love with the Same Woman Thrice, which was sung by Jose Mari Chan.)

Joyce recounts her Tita Cory encounter

Six years ago, I was lucky enough to have met the former President when my college org, Kythe, Inc. was granted the People Power People award.

She was exactly how she seemed on TV: unassuming, very motherly and kind... in yellow. Back then, I noted how much she loved Josh, her first grandchild from celebrity daughter Kris Aquino.

"Ay si Josh this. Si Josh that," she'd say.

She left East Avenue Medical Center, where the awarding was held, with a promise to send one of Josh's Little Tykes - if my memory serves me right - to Kythe's center.

More Articles:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Touch a Blogger: Tie a Yellow Ribbon for Cory Aquino

Following the effort of La Kapitana at Barrio Siete, I'm inviting fellow bloggers to join the campaign for former Philippine President Cory Aquino.

It's very simple:
  1. Create an entry entitled: Touch a blogger: Tie a yellow ribbon for Cory Aquino!. A link to this original entry will be appreciated, but is not required.
  2. Post a yellow ribbon in your blog for President Cory Aquino. Whatever form of yellow ribbon that your creative imagination can come up with.
  3. Invite other bloggers to tie a yellow ribbon for Cory.
Cory has been a great source of strength and inspiration to many Filipino women. I hope that bloggers will also say a prayer for her healing as they re-post this.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Unlocking the Case of the Ex

It’s been a while. It was hard at first. But the wounds have been healed as separate lives were lived. However, one day, when they both least expect it, girl meets boy… again.

This is not a fantasy scenario. Time and again, men and women find themselves face-to-face with an ex—often unsure of whether they should be open for re-kindled relationships, ranging from the platonic to the romantic, or not.

It is said that maintaining friendships between two former lovers can only mean two things: either they are still in love with each other or are just carrying on the good sex. Can this be a general truth? How platonic can relationships with an ex really be? Are the typical 20 to 30-somethings open to second chances? If so, how likely is it for a second chance to work out?

The following attempts to unlock the Case of the Ex have been derived and concluded from a series of casual interviews over lunch, cocktails and online correspondences with a handful of Filipino men and women as young as 24 to as old as 37.

The interviews all seem to indicate a common truth: a purely platonic relationship with someone whom one had been physically or emotionally intimate with is impossible. There will always be a desire or a tendency to re-live memories and repeat old habits, even when both parties are already involved with their new partners. It is only out of ethical reasons that such desires and tendencies are not acted upon. (And ethics die in the spirit of alcohol or one single touch at the “wrong” place.) For “friendship” to properly work under this set up, and without anyone ending up hurt because of concealed expectations, activities must not be regularly carried on to become routines, while special treatments should no longer be encouraged. Likewise, there should no longer be displays of affection of any kind. An ex in this setting and an ordinary friend must be dealt with similarly. In the end, when one is really over an ex, the only sure way to be friends in a purely platonic level is through being civil–the hi and hello, I’m fine and so are you, bye and see you whenever type. No touching. And certainly no more beyond that.

Now, small breakups do occur in most relationships. Some may take just a day while others may extend even to a couple of months. No guideline or formula can really determine what makes a boyfriend or a girlfriend an official ex. It is a case-to-case thing and only the parties involved can tell when it is finally the end.

The respondents are mostly open to the idea of reviving a closed relationship; one even claiming that the heart is not selective: when it is really open, it grants access to all–regardless if an ex or not. However, the following factors seem to play a crucial role in deciding for another try:
  1. the reason and manner of the breakup
  2. the length of time apart
  3. the current status of both parties
It is usually hard to make a badly ended relationship work again. There are many who would not consider getting back with an ex who made a grave mistake, believing that lessons learned should be used to prevent history from repeating itself.

Meanwhile, there seems to be no wound that time cannot heal. Time gives room for people to accept and forgive. When both are achieved by the parties involved during their period of separation, then it becomes possible to start anew.

Lastly, of course, current conditions should be considered. Are the two parties still single and unattached? Are they both living in the same city or at least, in areas that do not require a country code or a plane ride to keep communication lines open? Usually, serious considerations on these items are made prior to reviving a relationship with an ex. Cheating, however, may happen when one or both parties are already involved with another.

It takes effort to make things work in serious second chances. Things are easier when they remain trivial or when they downgrade from serious to trivial. There is a risk, however, of one being hurt as expectations cannot be avoided once old passions are re-kindled. It will entirely have to depend on who is brave enough to face the risk… or who is stupid enough to make the same mistake all over again.

I would like to thank the following persons for their experiences and insights that led to the completion of this write-up: Mr. Anonymous, Mr. Ex, CTR, Mrs. Cullen, Mr. “Outsider,” Ms. Fireness and MFV.

16 November 2008

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sacredness of Life

A painting exhibit for the benefit of the the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Research for Women and Unicef.

Features the works of Dr. Nannete Yatco, Julius Legaspi, Dr. Rolando Talag, Ernie Garcia, Mian Sta. Cruz, Antonio Pelobello, Lorenz Yatco and Ms. Puchette Escano.

Cocktails on July 17, 6 pm, at the FPOP Office, Hemady Street, New Manila, Quezon City.

Exhibit runs from July 17 to August 4, 2009.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Meet the Brazilian (Waxing) v.2

Updated from: Meet the Brazilian (2007)

This is beyond fashionably late for summer. But for reasons other than bikini bottoms, I am posting an updated version of one of the most viewed entries in my old Blogspot, Life in High Heels and Miniskirts.

A few days ago, some friends have approached me for advice on Brazilian waxing. It was then that I thought about excavating Meet the Brazilian. I figured it needs a lot of updating and so here goes Meet the Brazilian version 2.

I remember how different things were about six or seven years ago. Products and services were fewer compared to the smorgasbord that now greets us in every salon. Women were also more uptight. So with society being as judgmental as always, back then, Brazilian waxing was a sure taboo.

These days, more and more women seem to have loosened up that society has to fast forward itself when it comes to aesthetics. Why am I even surprised that Lay Bare waxing salons are popping out of every part of Metro Manila like mushrooms?

My first encounter with Brazilian waxing was not at all easy. I may have given birth via normal spontaneous delivery but still, the mere thought of exposing myself to another person gives me the jitters.

Aside from that, the whole process was excruciatingly painful for me. Take note that taking Ponstan an hour before the procedure is the only means to feel less pain. Unlike in giving birth, there are no anesthesias that numb the senses nor sedatives that will make one just sleep through the entire process.

I'll charge my courage to sheer vanity. I made it through an entire hour of waxing and plucking with a bit of screaming only because I had a clear scenario in mind: I had to wear a white bikini to the beach in three days. God knows how unforgiving people could be when it comes to gross imperfections.

My reason shifted to hygiene when I realized that keeping myself bald down there made wiping after urinating easier. I was also less prone to itching and infection.

From then on, I booked myself for a Brazilian every 2 to 3 (or even up to 6) months. Hair can grow in just three weeks but the growth is slow and the hair, soft. Shaving, although painless and easy, definitely cannot match the comfort of maintaining a Brazilian. Besides, I have already gotten used to the pain.

Here are some tips and trivia for those who would like to try getting a Brazilian for the first time:
  1. Shy of "opening up" to the aesthetician? Just think of her as someone who's pretty much like a gynecologist. As a pro, seeing naked women is a part of her daily routine. She's probably seen hundreds. So...
  2. if thinking about self-waxing instead, I'm afraid it's not possible.
  3. Trim the hair to about 1-2 cms. It lessens the pain.
  4. Taking Ponstan or Advil an hour before the appointment is an advice I'd heard and read about but never actually came to try. (Do watch out if you have allergies.)
  5. Brazilian waxing ranges from Php 450 to 1,000, depending on the procedure and the salon. Cold wax (honey wax) is the cheapest.
  6. Men can also avail of the service.
  7. Contrary to popular belief among the “virgins,” it doesn't take a single peel to remove all the hair down there. It takes a lot, if not a couple!
  8. Waxing ladies normally begin at the area near the navel and ends at the part near the anus.
  9. Sometimes, plucking is necessary to remove the remaining hair.
  10. Hot wax procedures are less painful than those that use cold wax, at least, in my experience.
  11. The best procedure is called clean and easy. Hot wax is spread on an area and removed – together with the hair – with a piece of cloth. This is the fastest, cleanest and easiest method I've ever tried. Opt for this if you prefer the one time, big time ouch. (Brazilian Bare at Rustan's Tower, Makati and Neo Spa at Fort use this procedure.)
  12. Never ever ask the waxing lady to stop after she has spread the wax. Cooled wax is harder to remove and there, you said it, more painful.
  13. Do bring stress balls or anything that can be grasped. Lay Bare's helped me stifle my screams.
  14. The salon should use disposables and put antiseptic cream / liquid on the area waxed after the procedure.
  15. Bring a feminine wash and an extra underwear just in case the salon does not have them.
  16. But do not wash your feminine area for at least 12 hours after the procedure. Moi, I make it overnight.
I shall post a review of Manila's waxing salons very soon.
In the meantime, happy waxing! :D

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stun Guns and Self-Defense

Among the most thoughtful first gifts I've ever received from a boyfriend is a stun gun. He thought that since I used to be always out and on the go, having one will keep me safe when he's not around.

But I was too scared of bold electric charges to even put the gadget in my bag. It remained tucked in a box of keepsakes for years.

However, if there's anything else that stuns without use, it's gotta be fright. I keep on hearing stories about helpless women being attacked by thieves and sexual offenders. In fact, last week, the events have literally come closer to home - my second home that is. An officemate is said to have been held up just behind our office building.

So I made a bit of Googling and found A lot of techniques, gadgets and safety/preventive measures can be found in the site. You guys might want to visit.

Click here to read Stun Guns! Is it for you? at

Photo Credit:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Voyeurism as a Breach of Trust

It has always been around but these days, voyeurism is just one hot topic that arouses the interest of every Filipino. Many are reacting. Gabriela steps in. And even the Senate takes the case on its hand.

Setting aside the fact that the hype on Hayden Kho is creating a tabloid out of the Philippine politics, we have to grasp the issue in bite sizes to be able to come up with real solutions. Judgment is necessary. Solutions, however, are preventive.

Good ol' Wikipedia defines voyeurism as:
"the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other activity usually considered to be of a private nature"

If we will be human enough to look at this definition as some stark reality, we have to ask ourselves whether this is normal or not. If not, what do childhood and early imagoes have to do with one's compulsive effort to videotape acts that occur in private places? And in which cases do we classify the voyeur as an offender?

(Since the first question is far too complex for a blogger to discuss, allow me to delve on the latter instead.)

Sad to say, existing Philippine laws do not have any sanctions on the recording of sexual activities; on the other hand, some countries have laws that explicitly declare the act as deviant and even criminal in cases when there is no consent from the other party involved.

Given the said limitation, we can only think about the Hayden Kho scandal as an ethical offense--particularly because it is a breach of trust.

Sex and everything else leading to it are basically like relationship contracts. Such contracts are made and entered into with the binding force of trust. Without the other's knowledge and consent, videotaping obviously violates this trust. An act that is done in the bedroom should not find itself replayed on public media.

Moreover, the act should not be passed on from the hands of men and women for reasons due to entertainment, money-making, and even just sheer curiosity. At the end of the day, circulating the videos can be just as damaging as the real offense.

The worst part of all these scandals lie on the fact that most, if not all, of the victims are women.

Private Shows and Voyeurism... What's New?

Hayden Kho makes it to the headlines again. But really, what's new?

Ever since file sharing websites and Blue Tooth technologies have become accessible to all, the whole world has seen the worst of what should just take place inside the bedroom. Everyday, normal people become instant superstars with beginnings traced from the humble sidewalks of Quiapo. Recent times also prove that there is no longer a need for hi-tech equipment, super talent and editing skills to produce a blockbuster hit. Any three-minute private clip shot by a simple camera phone can be viewed and downloaded by a thousand times in just a matter of hours.

Such indie productions grace the growing galleries of every voyeur's laptop. They zip it. Hide it. Then they think they're safe.

But girlfriends should be wiser than safe.

- - -

Not all lawmakers, given their preferences, are oblivious to the atrocities that occur in the Internet. Buhay party-list representative Irwin Tieng, for example, has long filed a bill that seeks to criminalize the recording of private acts. But issues such as Cha-Cha and whatnot are more prioritized in the House. Not really complaining but thanks to Hayden, the others must now see the urgency of passing the bill.

- - -

It is not just about the act for we have seen and heard worse. It is more about the innocent women falling prey to Hayden's fetish. In the first place, if the video was not at all recorded, there will never be all these pa-flash, pa-download and who's-at-fault talks.

Secondly, whoever has spread the video must face the same punishment as Hayden. Putting ourselves in Hayden's shoes must give us some sense that he must have recorded the videos for personal consumption. Or that, at least, publicizing the videos is not among his plans. Whoever leaked the video to the you-know must be well aware that it is not just Hayden who will be shamed. More than anyone else, it is the unsuspecting women whose reputations are forever tarnished.

Likewise, the public must be discouraged from spreading the scandals further by making the mere possession and distribution of private videos illegal. For whether we like to admit it or not, we will not go into such lengths to get a copy of the scandal if not for the purpose of entertainment. We, of course, know the best way to show our sympathies. [Yes, I've seen the videos... - J.i.H]

The issue should not limit us to Hayden and Katrina. A lot of nameless others had their right to privacy violated by either voyeurism or just plain cruelty. It's about time that we learn that what happens in the bedroom, stays in the bedroom.

- - -

For me, however, the better one-liner is:

Kids, don't try this at home.:p

05/21/2009 with updates made on 05/25/2009

Debbie Co for Ensembles

Carmina sports a Debbie Co for Ensembles

Fusing Manila's celebrated young designer Debbie Co with a brand that's known for corporate wear results into fab working females!


Debbie Co for Ensembles collection available at Alabang Town Center, Eastwood Citywalk 2, Festival Supermall, Glorietta, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Galleria, SM Bicutan, SM Megamall, Trinoma, Chimes Davao.

Suffer for beauty, oh bitchy one

Across borders and throughout centuries, women's relationship with beauty is that of an S&M.

Back in our school days, we have read about tribal women who chisel their teeth, pierce their nipples, drill big holes on their ears and put huge tattoos all over their bodies. In the Victorian era, women endured breathlessness and pain in the middle section in order to attain the hourglass figure that corsettes gave. A thousand years ago and until the early 1900s, in China, women suffered the excruciatingly difficult process of breaking and binding the foot; a lifelong tremendous effort for beauty.

These days, women still suffer, though in less absurd ways. We spend hours in the gym motivated by the "no pain, no gain" mantra just so we can achieve the look or the feeling that we want. We lie on the derma's beds, which are actually beds of roses and thorns, as we stifle the screams of pain from the pricking and inserting of needles used in procedures to eliminate flaws or even change the way we look. In more simple events, many of us go for toners with the astringent effect or tend to sacrifice comfort for style like enduring the pain from dancing all night in sexy stilettos. And in some ways, we also have to repress the pain that our affinity for beauty causes to our pockets.

Speaking in terms of sex and bitchhood, I say that the quest for beauty is similar to losing one's virginity. Along the lines of pricking, waxing and threading; it always really hurts on the first time. But since it made you look and feel good, the saying that "once you pop, you can't stop" applies. It goes on to the point that you finally find yourself addicted to pain--living through and loving it; knowing that glory awaits the brave ones.

For hundreds and thousands of years, women have suffered in the name of beauty. While we maintain that to look good is our primary motivation, we leave in the shadows the reasons behind our sadomasochistic approach to beauty. Okay, we want to feel good about ourselves. But why? Can we not feel good even without having to go through such process?

I believe that the raison d'etre lies on the lines of acceptance. In an article on the Lotus Foot, I found this
:"The driving force behind this desire was complex: it had to do with marriage;
it had to do with sex; it had to do with status; it had to do with beauty; it
had to do with duty." (Footwear Fetish - An Erotic Tradition,

These days, it is not just fair for women to blame men for their sufferings. The quest for beauty has something to do with acceptance from the opposite sex or from persons within the ranks found in the social circles where we find ourselves in. It may be to appease the wants of a domineering mother; the conditions of a meticulous lover; the observant eyes of a discriminating social butterfly; or the requirements of a tyrannical boss. Beauty just seems to be a social requirement--where the requirement varies from one social circle to another.Vicky Belo, a world-renowned cosmetic doctor, has been capitalizing on these social requirements to encourage more women to be valiant about addressing their aesthetic insufficiencies. I do not intend to give her any negative associations for this because what she says is basically true!

I remember learning in my Theology class on Marriage and Sexuality that even the late Pope John Paul II says that love starts with attraction. And how in the world can a man single out a female in a room full of them without his own requirement?

In jobs, priority is usually given to the applicant who looks more charming--assuming that all applicants have the same credentials. The same goes with women in sales-oriented careers. The initial requirement is always a good and pleasing personality (which I think is really a good and pleasing appearance). Only after she meets this, will she get the honchos to listen to what she has to present.

Feminists have been successful with attacking the footbinding tradition in China and so are those who fought against other seemingly obscure practices like the stretching of mouths and sculpturing of teeth. But still, there are new traditions to contest and since most of them have become ironically acceptable, we leave them the media and the catwalks for their battlefields.

The "enemy" in the first place is not the men in general but rather, the social constructions made by men and women alike.

Note: The title was fed by a man who does not wish to be named. Published online on 22 Nov 2007.

About This Blog

It's still quite a challenge to be a woman.

We might have broken through glass ceilings and earned our well-deserved recognition in most societies. However, many issues continue to plague us.

There's the big gender divide when it comes to relationships. Stereotypes. Double standard. Cervical cancer. Breast lumps. Osteoporosis. Lower back aches. Feminine itching. Solo parenthood.

Moving on to the lighter stuff, women have to make decisions on seemingly superficial but nonetheless crucial matters. Like, what dress to wear, what sunblock to use, hot wax or cold wax, and the list goes on.

As one can see, being a woman is to be both a Jack and a Jill of all trades. It requires us a great deal of awareness. It takes a no-frills appreciation of the self to beget respect. Most importantly, it asks us to look after the others.

This blog is made out of an effort to organize a clutter of ideas that has accumulated over the past years. This aims to empower women and at the same time, give valuable pieces of information to men.

Happy reading!