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, that thin line between a romance with you as person and a romanticized idea of you as woman. The former has you as point complete with intelligent conversation, sweet walks in the park, thoughtfulness and laughter and music (yes, my ideal right there); the latter has nothing to do with you. The former is based on a man looking you in the eye because he’s interested in you; the latter is based on keeping you quietly standing in a corner. 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 »

Friday ∗ 04 Nov 2016

Media, gov’t comms, #LawinPH

One of the questions that dominated the discourse pre-Typhoon Lawin was: what the heck is government doing? The truth was, we weren’t hearing much about what was being done, who was doing what, and whether government was prepared at all. It didn’t help that too many members of the President’s Cabinet –including the heads of communications – were with him in China, and so there was absolutely no sense at all that there was anyone in control of delivering information about… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 02 Nov 2016

Sacred cows, criticism, and the media as enterprise*

When your teacher asked me to come in to speak with you, my first reaction was: are you sure? baka masira ang buhay ng mass com students mo. See, I am not trained as a journalist, nor do I practice it as a discipline. I’m not part of mainstream media, and consciously so. In college, I was a comparative literature major. My MA degree was on philippines studies. Much of my early history as writer had to do with following… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 21 Oct 2016

Brutal: the police and the President’s public

Early this month, I had wondered about the missing apology from Duterte supporters given the uncalled for, unfair, and absolute harassment of media workers in relation to the President’s failed ironic claim to the analogy between him and Hitler. It seemed important to point out that there was a need to rein the President’s supporters in, especially when the President himself is apologizes when he makes a mistake. That is extraordinary because we came from a previous government that refused to apologize for anything at all. It is ruined… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 10 Oct 2016

OVP versus NAPC: poverty, aid, vision

It was interesting, to say the least, to hear about the Office of the Vice President (OVP) holding what they were calling The Partnerships Against Poverty Summit today, October 10. I wondered why it was that after 100 days, Vice President Leni Robredo has gotten away with pretty much doing nothing as Housing Chief — promising only that the roadmap would be complete by the first quarter of 2017 — complete with the assertion that “100 days is too short to hit targets,” yet here she… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 07 Oct 2016

#EveryONE: A call to protect human rights and uphold democratic principles

Imagined speech against Sen. Leila M. de Lima hypothetically delivered by VP Jojo Binay in a place and time in the past when it was the de Lima who was in power. Sa panahon kung kelan lantaran akong pinagtutulungan at tila ba kinukuyog ng mga lalaki at babaeng kapwa ko nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno, kanino pa nga ba ako kukuha ng lakas kundi sa mga kapwa ko tao? I am still here. Huwag po kayong mag-alala. Siguro yung iba nagtataka: Bakit nandiyan pa… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 27 Sep 2016

Killings, resignation, out of context (pa rin!)

I had woken up on Monday to President Duterte’s speeches: two, in fact, both of which I went back to and took notes on. That’s where most of my Monday went. I have found it important to take stock with this President, to take time understanding what he’s saying, and where he comes from, as well as where he’s going, because social and mainstream media are noisy and competing for online hits, with a tendency towards sensationalism and the superficial and easy either-or kind… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 20 Sep 2016

A Senate coup #Sept19

Anyare? It was an otherwise expected Monday at the Senate, televised live for all of the world to see, with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano again being given the “privilege” to speak about things he had already spoken about at last week’s Committee on Justice Hearing with witness Matobato. It was Senator Leila De Lima who had brought this witness to the Senate, who really only reminded us all of the Davao Death Squad and how (1) it does exist, and (2)… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 08 Sep 2016

Liza Diño, FDCP workers, martial law #culturalcrisis

Let me call it now. With 12 members of the staff terminated in the first week of her leadership, Liza Diño has put the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) under a version of Martial Law. And because Martial Law is about silencing critics, too, I hear that the search is on for who exactly my sources are. This, instead of Diño actually replying to these allegations — I would gladly be disproved after all. But what I’m looking at are not just 12 employees given pink slips by Diño. I’m… Continue reading »

Recent Comments

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