Friday, December 16, 2011

Postscripts from the Acquittal

December 14, 2011 marked the anniversary of Hubert Webb's freedom. That is, after spending more than 15 years in prison for a crime he clearly did not do.

I have learned much from studying the case and the dynamics that surrounded it--no matter how unpretty they were. But more than anything else, the best lesson taught to me by my curious quest is the primacy of logic over punishment, and of truth over communal belief. Justice would have been never served for the Vizconde women without opening ourselves to facts and moreso, if we reproach the wrong men for the sake of putting several someones on the receiving end of punishment. Sadly, up to this day, the case remains unsolved. (Read more at The Blind Lady in World of Womanity.)

When the Supreme Court decision was read on TV last year, I was reeling from the shock of an epinephrine shot during a week-long hospital confinement. It was not at all a very pleasant experience yet, the news somehow made me forget about my ordeal, considering the far more bigger battles fought by everyone who believed in Hubert's innocence (and by the man himself). Some of us had been condemned for stating the facts and even the innocent ones were brought into a virtual word fight.

That everyone includes my friends at the Justice for Hubert Webb group who I came to know, quite accidentally, as part of my quest.

* * *
In celebration of the the first anniversary of his acquittal, Hubert held a Thanksgiving Mass last Wedenesday in Parañaque City. Family and friends attended, including his fellow acquitted, Pyke Fernandez, and former legal counsels, Former Senator Rene Saguisag and Atty, Vitaliano Aguirre.

The group with former senators Freddie Webb and Rene Saguisag,  Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre, and Hubert's brothers, Fritz and Mike.

The group with the Webb brothers--Mike, Fritz, Hubert and Jason.

Photo shows Pyke and Hubert.

* * *
"The duty of the prosecution is not merely to secure a conviction, but to secure a just conviction."
-- Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Serreno

* Credits to Alma Go for the pictures.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

On Women and the Workplace: The Need for Breastfeeding Centers (Part 1)

Being a working mom is a tough act. Unlike most freelance jobs, being one is, in essence, handling two full-time jobs at the same time, which entail extreme flexibility, lots of multi-tasking, and 24/7 availability.

But how do working moms manage, considering that the demands of the household do not pause from 9 to 5 and resume thereafter? Is the typical workplace in the Philippines friendly to mothers who breastfeed and bear the burden of losing a much-needed nanny?

So I ran a quick survey on one of my Facebook group's wall and subsequently, received some interesting answers.

Some of these answers include the following:
  • a day care unit for our children
  • a vendo machine for napkin, tissue, etc. 
  • [if it] offers additional sick leaves for dysmenorrhea days
  • a "breastfeeding room" with deep freezer or ref where breastfeeding working mommies can privately pump and store breast milk

Section 22 of RA 9710, known as the Magna Carta of Women, impels the State to provide--
support services that will enable women to balance their family obligations and work responsibilities including, but not limited to, the establishment of day care centers and breastfeeding stations at the workplace, and providing maternity leave pursuant to the Labor Code and other pertinent laws.
In conversations with former and current women employees of some government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) such as the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Social Security System, I learned that day care centers catering to the children of their employees were established from way, way back. In addition, in one of my trips to another GOCC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, I saw that a breastfeeding center for lactating moms is set up right beside their infirmary.

The Case for Breastfeeding

While it is good to note that the government walks its talk, notwithstanding the fact that the said centers were built prior to the ratification of the Magna Carta, the private sector still has a long way to go in providing similar services. Optimistically, June Isis Evasco writes about the increasing support for breastfeeding in the workplace in an article published on Evasco lists down the names of companies/organizations providing lactation facilities here.

Said initiatives should actually be replicated in other offices, following the provision stipulated in RA 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Act of 2009, which mandates all government, non-government agencies, institutions, and establishments to put up "lactation stations" that are compliant with the standards set by the Department of Health. Additionally, the law provides rewards to abiding companies with tax incentives that can be up to twice the cost of the station.

Some organizations may be exempted though, in instances when the establishment of a breastfeeding center is simply not feasible, like when there are only a few female employees and when the office space is simply limited. But this does not mean that nursing moms can no longer express milk during office hours. In fact, employers are obliged by the Expanded Breastfeeding Act to grant their nursing employees "lactation periods" of not less than 40 minutes per eight-hour work day, on top of the lunch and coffee breaks already being provided.

To learn more about  Your Breastfeeding Rights, click here.

To be continued...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2011

A lot of pink, sexy loungerie worn by the angels on the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, radiating waves of inspiration for us women to take care of our bodies well.

Angels go boombadoomboomboom with Nicki Minaj.

Lovers on the catwalk: Maroon 5's Adam Levine holds and kisses girlfriend, Anne Vyalitsyna, while she sashays on the catwalk. Now, that's a hot number.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Run for Posi+ive Lives

The Department of Health recently reported yet another set of alarming statistics on HIV infections in the Philippines. Read: 253 more HIV/AIDS cases in September. Ninety-five percent of these cases were males--mostly in the 20 to 29 age group and in the National Capital Region. (But ladies, this does NOT mean we're safe!)

HIV just gets closer and closer to home.

As such, no activity is as timely as the Run for Posi+ive Lives--the country's first ever run for HIV and AIDS, which will be held at the CCP Complex, Pasay City on December 10, 2011, Sunday, at 5:00 am.

The run aims to eliminate ZERO new infections, ZERO AIDS-related deaths, as well as ZERO discrimination for persons living with HIV.


* * *




  • Philippine NGO Support Program, Inc.(PHANSuP)

4F VD&S Building, 59-B Panay Ave., Quezon City 1103 Philippines
Tel (+632) 332-1914


#2118 Level 2, Trinoma
EDSA Corner North Ave., Quezon City
Tel. (+632) 900-6952


#256 Level 2, Glorietta 4
Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel. (+632) 752-7084


2ND Level, Alimall
Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
Tel. (+632) 421-9561 / 56


2nd Level, Rockwell, Makati City
Tel. (+632) 898-1297


University Health Service
University of the Philippines,
Diliman, Quezon City
Look for: Grace Santos
Tel. (+632) 981-8500 loc. 2709


Department of Health Compound,
Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Tel. (+632) 809-7599 / 807-2628
Look for Ms. Elizabeth Navo

18-Day Campaign to End VAW

Sharing this post from Facebook:

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the national machinery for the advancement of women under the Office of the President, together with the Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women (IACVAWC) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) will once again lead the observance of the 18-day Campaign to End VAW from November 25 to December 12, 2011. The 2011 Campaign shall highlight the Philippines as a country where stakeholders are united to Stop VAW Now. As such, the Philippines is part of the worldwide campaign of the UN Secretary General dubbed as “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign.” Through UNiTE, the entire UN system, the government, civil society, women’s organizations, male advocates against VAW, young people, media and the private sector will join forces to raise public awareness, increase political will and resources, and strengthen partnerships in stopping VAW.

In this regard, we would like to know if your organization or networks are doing related activities in observance of the 18 Day campaign to end VAW. We appreciate if you could provide us information of the said activities. Please help disseminate info to your friends and contacts. I can be reach through my email: or 09173239227. Thank You.

World of Womanity is cooking up something--will keep you posted.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stop, Look and Feel: Doing Your Breast Self-Exam Right

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Do you know that "breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide," notwithstanding the fact that it is also one of the major causes of death among women globally? In the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique Ona cited  the 12,262 new breast cancer cases with 4,371 deaths in 2010. Moreover, he revealed the health department's latest findings, which state that three out of 100 women in the country are likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime. (A woman's risk of developing the cancer increases with age.) Sadly, breast cancer survival rates in the Philippines is one of the world's lowest at below 40 percent compared to developed countries which have achieved 80 to 90 percent survival rates.

The thing is, breast cancer is a curable disease . . . when detected, treated and managed early. Beginning in your 20s, you should already be taking conscious efforts to protect yourself. The Breast Self-Exam (BSE) is a widely recommended method of ensuring early detection among women. It is easy to perform, aside from being free and having no known side effects.

So this is how you go about your BSE:

Count seven to 10 days after your first day of menstruation when your breasts are no longer tender. This is the best time to perform your BSE. (For women who no longer menstruate, determine a fixed day for your monthly BSE, e.g. every 18th day.)


If this is your first time to do BSE, then take this as an opportunity to get to know your breasts. Stand in front of a mirror and take note of the shape and size of your breasts, the color and shape of your nipples, and so on. Get to know your breasts through these four simple steps: 1) with your arms at your sides; 2) with your arms overhead; 3) with your hands pressed firmly on hips; and 4) while bending forward. Soon, you would have to compare this first thorough look at your breasts with your next inspections. You have to take note of any changes, including the retraction/inversion/pulling in of nipples, any bloody or colorless nipple discharge, persistent lumps, and dimpling of the skin.


You may perform this BSE method while lying down and/or in the shower. Women with fuller bosoms are advised to go for the first option.

While Lying Down

To examine your right breast, simply follow these steps:

  1. Place a pillow under your right shoulder.
  2. Put your right hand under your head.
  3. Check the entire breast area with the finger pads of your left hand.
  4. Use small circles and follow an up-and-down pattern.
  5. Use light, medium, and firm pressure over each area of the breast.
  6. Feel the breast with the surfaces of the second, third, and fourth fingers, moving systematically and using small, circular motions from the nipple to the outer margins.
  7. Gently squeeze the nipple for any discharge.
For your left breast, repeat these steps using your right hand.

While in the Shower

It is said that many women discover masses on their breasts while in the shower. These steps should be easy to administer.
  1. Raise your right arm.
  2. With soapy hands and fingers flat, check your right breast.
  3. Use the same small circles and up-and-down pattern described earlier.
Repeat on the left breast.

Should you notice any changes, abnormalities, lumps or anything unusual with your breasts, DO NOT PANIC. See a doctor immediately for the next exams to be administered.

* * *
In the meantime, I am sharing Philippine-based I Can Serve Foundation's Early Breast Cancer Detection Guidelines, as narrated by Ms. Lea Salonga. (Please visit for the Filipino/Tagalog and Visayan versions.)

1. Breast Cancer Foundation. Breast Self Examination.
2. Department of Health. Breast Cancer Medicines Access Program Grand Launching.
3. E-medicine Health. Breast Self-Exam.
4. Parenting Weekly. How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam (Photos).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feminist Recollections

For this post, allow me to make some relevant recollections since I just came across an old announcement, which I never knew existed until this evening. This announcement was actually an invitation to my undergraduate thesis defense/presentation from way back in 2004.

As expected, my research was on women and gender. I wanted to know if gender bias existed in IT-based jobs in key government agencies. The results, apparently, were not exciting--there was no bias.

But this is looking at the results in retrospect. At that time, I felt that there was bias against women regardless of what the statistical analysis yielded. Honestly. My presentation must've sounded more like prosecution than defense that my adviser had to say, "bakit mo pipiliting meron ang wala (why insist something when there isn't any)," in our post-presentation talk. I may have now forgotten the important details of my thesis but what's etched very well in my memory was my first real lesson on objectivity.

As a feminist and a development worker, I have been taught the art and science of changemaking where the status quo is challenged and the views, almost always critical. Without objectivity, there is a mighty possibility of losing sight of things in the bigger picture. Changemaking then becomes a mere pointing of fingers and nagging on the streets. At some point, we become displaced and eventually, miss our goals.

Hence, it is important that we look for facts, study them with an open mind and see them as they are. Forget what we were taught before (and what we have learned to believe). If the facts challenge the popular belief, we should not be afraid to go against them. But if the facts yield nothing new, then we should have the humility to admit so.

The Development Studies Program cordially invites everyone to two Development Studies Students' Seminar presentations: 
Hiroshi Inabi will be presenting his paper on factors affecting the willingness of tricycle drivers to join Philhealth's insurance program. Mr. Inaba will present the findings of his study at the Development Studies Program Office on Wednesday, October 13 at 2:00 p.m. Dr. Ma. Eufemia C. Yap, M.D., Coordinator of the Ateneo Health Unit will serve as discussant.
Joyce Talag will be presenting her paper on gender bias in government information technology offices. Ms. Talag will present the findings of her study at the Development Studies Program Office on Friday, October 15 at 11:30 a.m. Ms. Ma. Lourdes V. Rallonza, gender relations lecturer of the political science department, will serve as discussant.
These presentations are part of a series of presentations by Development Studies students. We would like to ask interested parties to inform us of their attendance through ds at or at local 5218 (c/o Melissa Mar) so that we can make the necessary arrangements.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let's spread "HOT Love"

Helping Our Teans (HOT) Love is a social marketing and mobilization project under the Master of Development Communication Program of the University of the Philippines Open University. It aims to help eliminate dating violence among teens, which is a form of violence against women (VAW), through social media.

Attaining the project's objectives requires a two-pronged approach. One, HOT Love seeks to empower young women such that they can proactively prevent the incidence of dating violence. At the same time, HOT Love intends to develop gender sensitivity among young men as a means of ensuring that no forms of dating violence will ever be committed.

Stop dating violence.
Help Our Teens Love with respect.
Join HOT Love.

(Like us on Facebook)

1. Manila Bulletin Press Release: Manila Bulletin. Up students develop site to campaign against dating violence. URL: Uploaded: 12 September 2011.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Next in World of Womanity

Here's a clue on what I will be working on in the next few weeks:

(In case playback fails, please go to this link:

I'm sure you recognize the song and the movie where this appears. :p


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Signs You Might Become a Cougar

The past decade or so gave rise to the MILFs, as well as liberalized a collective fetish that's kept in repression. Thanks to that hit teen movie, American Pie, which popularized the abbreviation of "Mom, I'd Like to F---."

Essentially, it isn't just the MILFs. Older women in general seem to have gained their traction on a growing number of male species. On many occasions, it is these women who unabashedly prey on the younger males; hence, proliferating the cougar-cub relationship in our highly diverse dating jungle.

There are a number of definitions for cougar being offered by Urban Dictionary. Some say that cougars are women past their primes who are once again on the hunt for dates, often clad in overly skimpy outfits that are enhanced by padded bras and some cosmetic wonders. Yes, definitions can be downright offensive so let's just stick to the basics. Simply put, a cougar is an older woman, in her mid-30s to 50s, who prefer to date significantly younger men without the usual fuss 20-something women go about.

This is a classic line from the 1967 movie, The Graduate, which gives us an idea that cougars have long been in existence. It is only now, however, when they have become a bit more acceptable to society. We've learned to love Ashton and Demi whose ages differ by 15 years, and so do Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. Locally, we have sexy Eula Valdez dating young ramp model Rocky Salumbides, as well as the controversial couple, Dr. Vicky Belo and Hayden Kho. Of course, there are more cougars and cubs who would rather be nameless in this post. But one striking thing about the women I mentioned is that they are all independent and successful, which explains why they won't give a damn about the men they choose to date or go steady with.

Now, for those in their 20s and early 30s, you may be afraid of losing your own prey to an older, more experienced woman. I can't give you any advice other than for you to free yourself from the relationship B.S. 20-somethings usually give, if you're in such competition.

You might as well make a self-check: Are you on your way to becoming a cougar? Check out these top 3 signs:

1. You start noticing cute high school and college boys in clubs and cafes, aside from secretly liking one of the Jonas brothers. 

2. You prefer to go dutch on dates, and on countless occasions, feel the urge to foot the bill—perhaps, in exchange of a footsie under the table? 

3. Skilled men and men in uniforms start to catch your fancy.

Additionally, you might be owning a pair of animal print underwear, which you love to wear when you're feeling strong and sexy. RAWRRR!

* * *
Check out Pinay Cougar at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Reader's Feedback

As a blogger with the purpose of empowering women to make informed choices, I find it very fulfilling everytime someone approaches me to discuss the issues--no matter how mundane--I write about in this blog.

Last week, during a break at the ladies' room, a colleague in my now former workplace told me that she was considering getting a Brazilian wax. This was after reading one of the most-read posts in World of Womanity, Meet the Brazilian (Waxing) v.2. We went on to discuss the pros and cons of getting a Brazilian, and even compared it to widely-used alternatives like trimming and shaving. That both of us came from the same viewpoint is worth mentioning: Contrary to usual notions of 'bald' women, our practice of waxing or trimming or shaving is really all about maintaining good hygiene.

I find moments like this so liberating and empowering as a young woman. Cheers to us who break stereotypes! :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rizal, the Real Macho

Rizal, especially in his time, was a rarity.

But let's skip the fact that he knew 22 languages; that he was a doctor, a scientist, a poet, an athlete, or in short, a versatile genius; and that he was a hero for crying out loud! He must've been a charming suitor, an adventurous date, and an ardent lover to his many girlfriends but to me, what sets him apart (and above the typical alpha males) is his passion for wise, strong-willed and confident women--perhaps, considered today as the cosmopolitan chic.

In his Letter to the Women of Malolos, he cited the immeasurable role of the Spartan women in ensuring that "no enemy was able to put his foot upon her soil." He described the characteristics of the Spartans for the Filipino women to emulate them.

It is hard to imagine how a man from history, born 150 years ago in colonial Philippines, could have such thoughts and words of encouragement for our great-great grandmothers. Indeed, Rizal is more than a Renaissance Man; he is a feminist and a true alpha male. For really, what kind of man would claim that women have the power over men but one who is self-assured and confident of his masculinity.

Now, doesn't that make Rizal a real macho?

* * *

This blog is aligned with Rizal's view of empowering women through information and education:

"Important indeed are the duties that women must fulfill in order to relieve the country of her sufferings, but they are not beyond the strength and character of the Filipino woman to perform. Everybody knows the power and the prudence of the women of the Philippines. Hence they blind them, chain them, weaken their spirit, so sure are they that so long as the mother is a slave, all her children can be enslaved also. This is the reason of the enslavement of Asia: the women of in Asia are ignorant and oppressed."

* * *

Learning from Rizal in his letter To the Young Women of Malolos:

First of all. That the tyranny of some is possible only through cowardice and negligence on the part of others.

Second. What makes one contemptible is lack of dignity and abject fear of him who holds one in contempt.

Third. Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself and allowed himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast led by a halter. -- Given this, I can already guess what his stand on the RH Bill would be if he's alive today.

Fourth. He who loves his independence must first aid his fellowman, because he who refuses protection to others will find himself without it; the isolated rib in the buri is easily broken, but not so the broom made of the ribs of the palm bound together.

Fifth. If the Filipina will not change her mode of being, let her rear no more children, let her merely give birth to them. She must cease to be the mistress of the home, otherwise she will unconsciously betray husband, child, native land, and all.

Sixth. All men are born equal, naked, without bonds. God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others. It is not fatuous to refuse to worship one's equal, to cultivate one's intellect, and to make use of reason in all things. Fatuous is he who makes a god of him, who makes brutes of others, and who strives to submit to his whims all that is reasonable and just.

Seventh. Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated. Consider what they preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc. etc; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing; investigate whence they came and whiter they go and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and see whether the pretended observance of the life of Christ does not remind you of the fat milch cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat nor through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives.

Eighth (and the most beautiful). If she is a maiden, the young man should love her not only because of her beauty and her amiable character, but also on account of her fortitude of mind and loftiness of purpose, which quicken and elevate the feeble and timid and ward off all vain thoughts.

* * *

Let us not forget that the Women of Malolos broke the norms back in the late 1800s when they bravely fought for their right to education. After a failed first attempt, they continued their petition until the government compromised by allowing them to attend night schooling under a preferred teacher.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On Divorce: Let's talk about the D-word

In the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, divorce is a dirty word--dreadful, deplorable, and notably, disallowed.

But this week, talks about the topic surfaced as Gabriela Party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan announced the upcoming House discussions regarding House Bill (HB) 1779, also known as the Divorce Bill of the Philippines. The announcement was made shortly after Malta, another Catholic country by majority, voted for the legalization of divorce; hence, making the Philippines the only country in the world left without divorce.

While some seem to have formed strong opinions for or against the Bill, it is understood that there are still those who would like to learn more before stating their views. So with the purpose of helping people make informed opinions, this post has been made albeit, quite hastily, so we can freely talk about the D-word...


Divorce is legally defined as:

The dissolution of a marriage contracted between a man and a woman, by the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, or (Obs.) by an act of the legislature. (

Sounds simple, isn't it?

However, if we put said definition side by side with annulment and "declaration of nullity of marriage," the only two remedies for dissoluble marriages provided by the Family Code of the Philippines, this is when things get a little bit complicated.

By definition, annulment is:

A legal decree that states that a marriage was never valid. Has the legal effect of wiping out a marriage as though it never existed. (

Jaromay Laurente Pamaos adds that "[i]n essence, “annulment” applies to a marriage that is considered valid, but there are grounds to nullify it."

On the other hand, the firm says that "[a] “declaration of nullity” of marriage... applies to marriages that are void or invalid from the very beginning."

Legal separation, though allowed in the country, does not dissolve marriages as the spouses only agree to live apart. They are still considered married to each other, and, therefore, cannot remarry.


Early this year, Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares found himself in the midst of discussions as well when he released HB 3952, which seeks to make annulment more accessible to the poor--particularly to marginalized women who are often vulnerable to domestic violence.

At that time, I got acquainted with a young woman from a newly-annulled marriage who confirmed the exorbitant financial, emotional, and opportunity costs of going through an annulment. As for the reason(s), I have yet to know.

So I ran a quick survey among my Facebook contacts to learn about their thoughts on said bill. Surprisingly, divorce found its way into the discussions with most respondents favoring it over annulment.

Andi, an Ateneo batchmate, and staunch RH Bill advocate, brought in the topic of divorce in the discussion with this comment:

Annulment is expensive and takes years upon years (which in itself results in more expenses). also dahil at least one of the spouses MUST be at fault, naglalabasan lahat ng baho ng pamilya. I personally would applaud if we came out with something like no-fault divorce--irreconcilable differences lang. But yeah, like that's going to happen anytime soon. ;p

Eliza Bautista, a London-based Pinay, also added some thoughts to the discussion:

Annulment serves to declare a marriage null and void on the premise that it is one in the first place. My beef is that it is being used in lieu of divorce. As a result it defeats its purpose na. Couples are colluding (when they're not supposed to) to say that one party is "psychologically incapacitated" (which is i would bet my life, the reason most cited by couples) to get their marriages annuled. Now to add domestic violence, abandonment, is just hypocrisy. That's what a divorce is.

All I want is for people to be afforded a choice and whlst we're at it, let's do it in the most efficient and economical way possible that will be easily accessed by all levels of society.

Lastly, Master of Development Communication student, regular World of Womanity visitor, and a fellow blogger, Arnold Pasamba, took a more personal view regarding the matter:

I think, how I understand it is that, divorce is about stopping; while annulment, reversing.

When a man divorces his wife, he's stopping his commitment to her. If he wants annulment, he's like declaring that their marriage has never happened as if reversing the time.

Perhaps divorce is about stopping the present; annulment is about declaring that the past never actually happened.

Maybe, divorce is about DELETING; annulment is about UNDOing.

Perhaps, divorce is about accepting there's a dilemma that's impossible to solve; while, annulment is denying it . . . pretending that it never happened.

If that's the case, I would rather choose to stop the marriage (by divorce), than declare that it never happened (annulment).

I would rather face the problem than pretend it didn't exist.

Pres. Noynoy Aquino took a different stand on the issue by categorically stating that divorce is a no-no and that he prefers legal separation over it.

“Definitely I cannot support something like what they are doing in Las Vegas, where you get married in the morning and you’ll get divorced in the afternoon,” he said. (


Those opposing divorce claim that legalizing this would actually be detrimental to families, which the State considers the most important unit of the society. They claim that people will most likely stop valuing marriage given that marital problems can be easily resolved by divorce.

On the other hand, those who are for divorce claim that the contrary will happen: divorce will, in fact, make Filipinos more careful about entering marriages. Additionally, it will protect the well-being of many women given that 72 percent of violence committed against women in 2009 were wife battering.

* * *

Is there really an element of hypocrisy in a society that considers divorce a dirty word yet, tolerates annulment among husbands and wives with smiling wedding portraits and kids in tow? Or are we just a part of an insecure nation which lives on comparing notes and keeping tabs with other countries?

At this point, I believe that the Family Code of the Philippines needs major gender mainstreaming with its many outdated and unfair provisions--mostly, patronizing the males over females. (See Sec. 4 Art. 96 and Sec. 5 Art, 124)

Click here to read the preliminary text of the proposed Divorce Bill.
For supplementary reading, view La Union 1st District Rep. Manuel Ortega's HB 6993.
Also read World of Womanity's A Prelude to the End.

Permissions were sought from quoted Facebook friends.
Anti-divorce comments are most welcome and, upon the blogger's discretion and with the commenter's permission, may be included in the updated version of this post.

I'm Shoe in Love: Find Your Perfect Pair

Just received a Facebook invite for this fab event:

The 2-day sale event aims to carry leading commercial as well as online brands of footwear. This bazaar will be eagerly anticipated by shoppers as it is an alternative marketplace to the usual shopping experience, providing a relaxed and casual atmosphere. It will be offering a comfortable shopping venue with a wide variety of footwear that will surely be able to cater to different tastes. Food concessionnaires are also welcome!

For inquiries contact us at (0917)8430506, (02)5773379.

• So Fab
• Barbie by Shubiz
• Figlia
• Vibram Five Fingers
• Cushe
• Hush Puppies
• Sebago
• Adidas
• Suelas
• Marengo
• Cole Vintage
• Trunkshow
• Terra & Agua
• Sole Sister
• Keep
• Frollic
• Suki
• Republic
• Marc Ecko
• Zoo York
• And1
• Gola
• Shoes to Kill
• Cole Haan
• Katie Shoes
• S&H

Sunday, May 29, 2011

RH Bill: The Lost Equation

There is much greater hype these days regarding the very controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. Much has happened since my first post. Developments include the recent revision on the Bill's full-text, as well as the issues raised and defenses made by the anti and pro-RH advocates, respectively, during the past interpellations in Congress and debates on national TV.

I remain steadfast on my belief that a bill seeking to protect women's reproductive health and promote responsible parenthood should be passed into a law. Doing this provides an enabling mechanism to promote development in the country.

With this, let me break some more myths, half-truths and false assumptions regarding the Bill, as well as summarize the reasons why I think it should be passed.

1. Half-truth: The RH Bill cannot solve poverty.

The truth is, the RH Bill alone cannot solve poverty. But it intends to complement all other development programs of the State through population control.

At this point, it is fitting that we take a look at poverty using the lens of a social entrepreneur. As such, let us use a simple business equation:

Revenue – Expense = Net Income

Revenues should be the returns on the State's social investments like training teachers, building infrastructures, and generating employment. This is the area where most of the nation's development efforts go to. Over the past decades, we've seen how education gets the biggest slice on the annual national budget yet, how come Social Weather Stations quarterly surveys show that poverty continues to worsen? Is it practical to say that we'd rather see P3 billion of our budget be allocated to the same programs?

Similarly, efforts made by the past administration to generate more jobs in the ICT and BPO sectors have indeed contributed to providing jobs that will stimulate the economy. But then again, why do more and more people claim that they are poor and hungry?

If many of our so-called solutions do not seem to work or at least, takes time to work, then perhaps it's time that we finally address the other element in the equation. That is, control the 'expense' by managing the population through responsible parenthood.

I believe that one of the reasons why interventions made to improve access to education and availability of jobs seem insufficient is that the numbers continue to grow by the year. Success indicators should not be number-driven; rather, it should focus on the percentage of population producing results out of the benefits provided by the government's programs.

Unless we address this part of the equation, we will be just running in circles, asking ourselves whether it's the chicken or the egg.

Addressing population growth while continuing, improving and scaling up development programs will yield greater national growth and development, which, by then, has more possibility of being equitably distributed.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Advancing the rights of women and children through cyberactivism

Social media has once again proven itself to be a very powerful advocacy tool.

Early this week, I was surprised to learn that I am face to face with the creator of the Para Kay Jan-Jan Page who did a great job on getting people from all sectors to stand up against the deplorable incident involving six-year old Jan-Jan at Willing Willie.

As I quoted Atty. Te in my previous post, that was not the first time a Pinoy variety show has humiliated - if not exploited - children as well as women and disabled persons. There was once a variety show that made a freak show out of virtually-challenged pair Mahal and Mura. Eventually, the show incorporated "gyrating women" in revealing outfits and crying participants with their "sob stories" to its formula. Now, don't get me wrong. It's great that such show gave entertainment to Filipino masses; however, it's another thing to entertain people at the expense of others.

Hopefully, with greater awareness, more people will come to their senses. The Willing Willie incident should not die down with the movement it fostered instead, it should revolutionize the way producers conceptualize entertainment for the "masses" and the way advertisers and people patronize shows.

It is great to note that recent developments include not just the timely statements of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) but also that of Jollibee, a Filipino-owned fastfood chain known for giving family friendly customer experience, pulling out its ads from the show. Moreover, even the UNICEF takes a stand by releasing its statement, The Protection of Children on Reality TV Shows.

* * *


The Internet has been a very effective medium for giving voice to ordinary citizens. Over the past few years, it has served as a venue to circulate exposés, raise awareness and win support for various causes as well as organize relief operations and fundraisers.

Wikipedia gives a brief and simple definition of Cyberactivism or Internet Activism:

...(also known as online organizing, electronic advocacy, cyberactivism, E-campaigning, and E-activism) is the use of electronic communication technologies such as e-mail, the World Wide Web, and podcasts for various forms of activism to enable faster communications by citizen movements and the delivery of local information to a large audience. Internet technologies are used for cause-related fundraising, community building, lobbying, and organizing.

Critiques of cyberactivism say that the movement has "disproportionate representation" because of the global digital divide. Aside from this, author and lawyer Cass Sunstein state that -- political discussions lead to "cyberbalkanization"—discussions that lead to fragmentation and polarization rather than consensus, because the same medium that lets people access a large number of news sources also lets them pinpoint the ones they agree with and ignore the rest. (Wikipedia)

I agree to some extent. Nonetheless, I am aware that we cannot attain perfection as even traditional media is prone to misunderstanding. Aside from this, we have yet to find a way to reach the most marginalized communities in our country.

* * *

Recent cyberadvocacies

Para Kay Jan-Jan Page creator Froilan Grate recounts how the number of likers grew by over 2,000 in a matter of two days. Together with his followers, he complements cyber activism with actual solutions that include filing legal complaints and moving government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) to act.

His story actually reminds me of Justice for Hubert Webb Group creator Adrian Cuenca and his co-administrators and active members who include women's rights advocate and artist Nikki Luna (also my new idol). By spreading the facts regarding the trial of the Vizconde Massacre Case, we become closer to attaining true justice for the Vizconde women.

Of course, I also remember Janette Toral whose Filipina Writing Project about four years ago inspired the creation of Life in High Heels (and its name variations over the period) as a means to put together scattered thoughts on women's issues and share them to curious readers all over the world.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Willie Revillame and the Philippine Variety Show

The Jan-Jan incident on Willing Willie is not the first of its kind. As Atty. Ted Te puts it on his Facebook note -- the discovering of talented kids who would dress up like adults and would sing and dance like adults didn't start with Revillame. Likewise, Atty. Te points out that the formula of showing scantily-clad women gyrating their hips in unison for no discernible purpose didn't start with Revillame.

He couldn't have said it any better.

The Philippine variety show indeed lives up to its name. It's a show of all sorts. We see men and women spilling their sad stories on national TV and forcing themselves to cry in exchange of a few thousand pesos. We watch albeit, helplessly, those who sing, dance and make a fool of themselves again, for a few thousand pesos and with some luck, maybe a Kabuhayan Showcase. Of course, we hear about those who shamelessly borrow money from their neighbors and relatives just to be seen on TV as well as to catch a glimpse and chance a whiff of their dear idol, whoever he is.

My take on this is that our variety shows are glaring manifestations of how our society falsely associates poverty with indecency. At the same time, these shows perpetuate and worsen the dilemma as they have the power to influence personal values and behavior. People start to think that winning on games in such shows are their only way out of poverty. At some point, violence against women and children continue because these shows promote false machismo and dangerous perceptions.

Crying women, gyrating children, jeering audience, crude hosts and indifferent citizens -- are these what we'd like to eat with at noon or in the case of Willing Willie, at supper?

(Nonetheless, wholesome entertainment shows are worth the cheers.)

1. Complaint Letter filed by concerned citizens
2. Press Statement, DSWD
3. Willie, TV5 Apology

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Of dreams and means . . . and EDSA

Former US Senator John Kerry referred to the EDSA Revolution as an “event … [that] reminded us all of dreams which can be achieved by peaceful means” in his note to our late former President Cory Aquino.

Although written 25 years ago, the line fittingly reverberates today the message of the EDSA Revolution. This is a good reminder not just to public servants but more importantly, to each and everyone of us who dream, that we must not succumb to selfish and harmful ways.

Earlier in the afternoon, Ayala Foundation EVP Bill Luz shared how things have significantly changed for some and remained the same for others decades after the revolution. He recounted the story of a ten-year old girl whose photo was taken by Pulitzer Price-winning photographer Kim Komenich in a farm in Negros back in '86. He finds her 25 years later in the same farm under similar conditions but already with a number of kids.

Now I ask, what does this say of our dreams and the means we use to reach them?

From how I see it, our triumph in EDSA should have brought us closer to achieving social justice – democracy's fringe benefit. And while I understand that attaining a state of equality is purely utopian, I can't help but ask, how come the rich find themselves richer and the poor even poorer?

There are other ways, you know, like roads that lead to bridges between the rich and the poor, allowing both to mutually grow.

It is my fervent wish that all of us find the way to these roads.

* * *

I made a quick viewing of the "Revolution Revisited" exhibit that's currently on display at the Ayala Museum and couldn't resist viewing the documentaries one more time.

Thank you, Ninoy. Thank you, Cory. And thank you to all of you nameless folks who strove to give me the opportunity to speak my mind freely.

This is the dress worn
by former President Aquino
during her oathtaking. Love it! ♥

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Prelude to the End

This is a quaint attempt at definitions.

You go to a party and meet a man who's demeanor you find appealing – that's attraction. He asks your number, calls you on your lunch breaks and sends you random text messages for the rest of the day. If you blush and get giddy all the time, then most likely, that's infatuation.

Fast forward to a few days, weeks or months, the two of you are seen together holding hands in the movies or gazing dreamily at each other at the far corner of a nearly empty resto. Well, if it ain't official yet, then you call that MU or “It's Complicated." A simple profession of love makes it official and gives you authority to update your Facebook status to “In a Relationship” right on the very next day.

Subsequently, it takes a grande profession to move on to the next level. Engagement. The big day makes the two of you married and ready to live in your own fairytale called “Happily Ever After...” Until one day, after having tried a many million times over, you realized that there couldn't be such thing.

What do you do?