Thursday ∗ 09 Mar 2017

Mines are ours

It is difficult to stay calm when you’re watching the Commission on Appointments proceedings for the confirmation of Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary. It doesn’t help that at the center of it all, the Chairman of the Committee for the Environment is Manny Pacquiao who, without a script, reveals himself as utterly incompetent and totally lost — he can’t even keep up with the concept itself of what the DENR does, the laws that it protects and moves within, the fact that these mines were are talking about actually have a history of violence against the community and of environmental degradation.

Ah, but Pacquiao has the Bible, from which he quotes: “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land <…> a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.”

So therefore daw, mining is okay.  Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 26 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Freedom in independence

I’ve been out of the literary and academic establishment since 2008, and save for finally finishing my M.A. Degree in 2013, and now imagining that I would like to work on a PhD., have steered clear of its trappings and requirements. I did not go without the requisite kicking and screaming, as I always thought of a career in teaching and writing. But what has become clear since is that I also needed to let go of my romance with… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 25 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Silencing the critic

The letter dated March 2, 2006 surprised me for many reasons. For one thing it was not addressed to me, but was about me. In it I was judged as a bitter iconoclast who had made a career out of attacking people. In it I was judged for being disrespectful of my academic and writing elders. In it my immediate superior – the Chairperson of the department I was teaching in – was implored to reprimand me, for something that… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 24 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Living EDSA

It would take me forever to get to the point where I stopped caring about the establishment. The first indication I had that I was coming into my own would ironically happen when I had both my feet in activism, and I was teaching in the Ateneo de Manila University as part of its Department of English. It was February 2006. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had declared Proclamation 1017, purportedly because of intelligence reports that members of the military were planning… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 23 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: EDSA on repeat

By the time Angela won in the Centennial Literary Awards for her Tagalog essay on EDSA entitled “Himagsikan Sa EDSA: Walang Himala!” in 2000, I was more certain about my political beliefs and my relationship with the academe. I was not fearless, oh no! but I sure was becoming more critical. I knew enough about the literary and academic establishment to keep a healthy distance from it – thanks in large part to teachers who were still open to criticism.

Owning EDSA: A daughter of uncertain times

Mine was a generation mostly uncertain and finding its footing in the political landscape. Done with whatever EDSA euphoria we inherited from our elders, apathy was the word used to describe us teenagers, also called generation X, who were in the University in the late ‘90s. We knew of how Marcos had stopped Voltes V from showing on TV, we knew of classmates in grade school whose fathers and mothers were in jail because of Marcos. But much of it… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 22 Feb 2017

Owning EDSA: Silent in the State U

When I entered the State University in 1995, EDSA ‘86 was farthest from my mind. But of course the President then was EDSA icon Fidel Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile was in the Senate, and Gringo Honasan was running for a seat in it. I remember being enamoured of Gringo, his rebellious self something that I could relate to. I remember a blockmate saying she couldn’t imagine voting for someone who attempted those coup d’etats against Cory, for how could someone… Continue reading »

Owning EDSA

In 2014, Angela and I were asked to write an essay each for the anthology Remembering / Rethinking EDSA (Anvil Publishing, 2015). We have since published those two essays as a zine for #BLTX, and to celebrate the EDSA Revolution of 1986 this year, we’re posting our essays in parts on our blogs, to commemorate the four days of EDSA, now on its 31st Anniversary. Her blog is at stuartsantiago.com. :)  *** When I was invited to write a piece for… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 14 Feb 2017

Bad romance

Probably the only thing worse than the fact that one is silenced in many ways by nation is the truth that in place of that silence is a male voice that says: we love you, we care for you, we will cherish you. That this voice also carries us through any romance we might have with men is foregone conclusion. That we might believe this voice is not surprising. There’s that thin line drawn between romantic and romanticized after all,… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 12 Feb 2017

HTI fire: Cover-up?

On February 1, I watched with many as the fire at the House Technologies Industries (HTI) inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone grew bigger and bigger, seemingly beyond control. On February 2, at 12:30AM, the fire was declared under control (ABS-CBNNews). Yet all day the building continued to spew smoke. By early evening fire started on the building again. On February 3, at 4:15PM, officials finally declared fire out on the building (CNN Philippines). No casualties declared as of 3:19AM,… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 11 Feb 2017

Dear Miss Canada Siera Bearchell,

First, an aside. I steered clear of writing about Miss Universe, any more than I already had long before the pageant even started its activities in this country. I stood and still stand squarely against holding the pageant here, especially at a time when we face the crises of poverty and need, of climate change and intermittent floods, when the dead are being collected off our streets, when the promise of change has yet to even be felt in fundamental,… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 30 Jan 2017

Portrait of a communications secretary as failure

The rhetoric was one of change and optimism in the beginning, of a revitalized PTV4, of a Presidential Communications that did not engage in the spin that we had gotten used to for six years. The promise was information delivered promptly and with transparency, never mind the task of propaganda. After all, when you’ve got a President who is doing right by nation, enough Cabinet members doing good work, and the Left, Right, Center on your side – not to… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 27 Jan 2017

Taxes, freelancers, cultural work: Amnesty and kindness

One of the more critical battles that any cultural institution should be waging at this point is the one against the unjust taxation of freelance cultural workers. This was one of Daang Matuwid’s most unkind tax policies, which was put into effect by former tax chief Kim Henares, for whom it didn’t matter how much a person earned, what mattered was that government could collect taxes on those earnings. I had hoped President Duterte’s men would take a look at… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 23 Jan 2017

Good news, bad news for culture

Ever since President Duterte came into power, the only time(s) we’ve ever had a sense of what he thinks of arts and culture is when he appoints people to cultural institutions. And then there are those instances when we just hear people speaking as supporters of the President. Say, Freddie Aguilar saying he had been promised a Department of Culture and in place of that, the chairmanship of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Or that time… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 20 Jan 2017

RH push overshadowed by Sotto, Leni condom-talk

Given all that has been happening, half borne of the discourse of confusion and noise, the other half just the utter lack of information, I almost missed what might be one of the best New Year’s presents we could get from President Duterte: his Executive Order 12. Here, the President essentially orders all relevant government offices “to intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain “zero unmet need for modern family planning” for all poor… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 16 Jan 2017

Who’s afraid of a yahoogroup?

COMMUNICATIONS Secretary Martin Andanar, that’s who. It’s still unclear to me what he thinks his office should be doing, but it sure continues to do very little towards actually providing the public with correct, proper, and urgent information. Instead it’s been revealed that Andanar is doing this: listening to the pro-Duterte noise on social media, printing out “information,” and making it an urgent and important concern because OMG! it has gone viral. And what is it exactly? Well, screencaps of… Continue reading »

Social class before beauty

The first time I heard about the tax on cosmetics, it had already been framed against the hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty. But as with many things that happen via hashtags, there was little fleshing out of what this so-called Vanity Tax was going to be about. A day after the hashtag happened, the three-page House Bill No. 4723 was uploaded online, but many remained disinterested in what it contained: it is easier to jump on the bandwagon of calling something anti-woman, than… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 13 Jan 2017

Selling relevance, using current events

The family drama is … ahem … a Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) tradition, one that’s produced some interesting enough versions from the Tanging Ina series to Mano Po. And so it was no surprise that the purported / sold / imagined “change” via MMFF 2016 would deem it necessary to have a “family drama.” It was “Kabisera.” And while it did fulfill all the requirements for a family drama, i.e., there was a family, and there was a crisis, and the family pulled together —… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Jan 2017

Beyond the horror

I’m a sucker for the Pinoy horror film formula: a scary setting, well-done sound design, the gulat factor. I’m the person in the cinema who will scream first, and the loudest, the person who is so ready to be scared. But of course the fear factor is only one of many aspects of the horror film, and one realizes given the effort that is put into a movie like Seklusyon (directed by Erik Matti, written by Anton C. Santamaria), that there is more to doing… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 02 Jan 2017

Attempted rape as teenage dream?

At the onset, having a light romance / romantic-comedy as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s self-proclaimed “change” and “revolution” was a good thing: it tells us that they weren’t deciding against certain genres just because these are considered “pop” and “therefore shallow” — it is after all easy to presume that all love stories are about the happy endings, and one can spot the formula from a mile away. But even formula has allowed for an amount of creativity in the rom-com through the… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 29 Dec 2016

The septic tank as critique

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough is probably the most fun I’ve had in a local film since … well, the first Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. It’s not that I do not find commercialized comedies funny — the ones that fall back on formula, the hilarious banter of every Vice Ganda movie character, even Sosy Problems from so many MMFFs ago. But there is a layer of intelligence that ABSST demands of itself, an ability at self-reflexivity that it demands of its audience, but… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 08 Nov 2016

History #MarcosNotAHero #November8

It is utterly depressing that for such recent history, and with so many of Martial Law’s victims and survivors still alive and well, speaking up and screaming at the top of their lungs, that here we are divided about the burial of one Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Worse, that the Supreme Court would be so divided as well, right down the middle if we are to believe the grapevine, with seven-for and seven-against the burial of… Continue reading »

Recent Comments

© Katrina Stuart Santiago  ·  Contact Me
Wordpress theme and web development by @joelsantiago