Category Archives: conversations

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 ∗ 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 »

Saturday ∗ 13 Aug 2016

A sense of cultural history #BriccioSantosAtTheFDCP

When they opened the Cinematheque Centre in Manila in December 2015, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) headed by Chairperson Briccio Santos, thought it would go the way of the four other Cinematheques they’ve opened in the provinces. That is, it would slowly gain a following as the audience for film screenings gradually grows. The slow but steady climb was a well-founded expectation. In Iloilo, Davao, Baguio and Zamboanga, the Cinematheques took time to take off, the public’s… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 04 Jan 2016

Tita Baboo, 1948-2015

In September 2014, I met Tootsy Echauz-Angara for a Metro Society cover story (with Heart Evangelista and Shalani Soledad). My interview with her started (as I try to with any subject) by establishing a connection between us. In this case, it was easy: I called her mom Tita Baboo, who supported my nanay’s book on EDSA and put out money for it without hesitation, who had (with Tita Laida) fed me so well on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Baguio in 2013, smarting as I was from a hit… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 15 Nov 2015

Of silence, Paris, the Lumad

The month’s been long and it isn’t even over yet. Much of my mind and heart have been taken over by Lumad stories, ones that we rarely hear about first hand, and so it’s been critical (at least for me) to hear the Lumad themselves speak. But of course this came with the realization of distance. How far is a land like Mindanao to Luzon, how far is Surigao, Davao, CARAGA, SOCCSKARGEN, from Manila. If the silence that surrounded the Lumad killings are any indication, it could… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Nov 2015

Lumad, first

Work kept me from visiting the Lumad Camp in the University of the Philippines Diliman early in the week. On Tuesday evening, their second night, I arrived close to midnight to bring a cash donation for the camp’s food fund and some medicines from a doctor. Feeding 800 Lumad at P50 pesos per head is P40,000 pesos per meal after all. From the moment I heard that they were coming, this was what I wanted to raise funds and get… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 21 Mar 2015

competition* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

Here’s to the friendship that could have been ours: wife of my lover, lover of my husband, lover of my lover. For women at both ends are always rivals: smiling for points at a beauty contest, icing the cake at a cooking competition, sprinting for the gold as they race to a man’s heart.

Thursday ∗ 19 Mar 2015

different women* #IAmNotMyShoes #WomensMonth2015

Six months since she’s arrived And yet she does not speak. She must have been chained; This I guess from the bruises On her wrists. But she will not Let me touch them. She trembles at the sight Of tall men, more so at those With shadows on their lips.

Monday ∗ 16 Mar 2015

relationships and freedom* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

I. You are the earth and all that earth implies: The gravity that ballasts me in space, The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries For food and shelter against devouring days. You are the earth whose orbit marks my way And sets my north and south, my east and west, You are the final elemental clay The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

Friday ∗ 13 Mar 2015

the decision to be alone* #IAmNotMyShoes #WomensMonth2015

Babae akong namumuhay na mag-isa Hiwalay sa asawa Matandang Dalaga Kerida Puta. Ang aking pag-iisa’y Batik na ituturing ng aking lipunan Latay na pabaon ng nakaraan, Pilat na taglay hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Thursday ∗ 12 Mar 2015

the violence of words* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

Ginahasa ako ng mga salita, Paulit-ulit, Paulit-ulit, Hanggang magutay ang diwa. Buntis ang alaala Sa mga alimura, Pasa-pasa ang puso’t Lama’y salanta. — Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, 1992.

Friday ∗ 16 Jan 2015

#DearPopeFrancis*

Today you arrive in Manila. Unlike Sri Lanka, there will be no elephants dressed in fancy garb to welcome you on our streets. But I hear the President himself is set to welcome you at the airport, refusing as you have to do a State Dinner at Malacañang Palace. While he might invoke his Catholic upbringing, there have been many instances when he seemed to lack compassion and kindness, when often that is what this struggling and exhausted nation needs.… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 08 Nov 2014

Kuya Joseph, Brgy. Burayan, San Jose, Tacloban City

Kuya Joseph. From Brgy. Burayan San Jose. Interviewed in early December 2013, less than a month after Typhoon Yolanda. He drove us around when we volunteered with Kusog Tacloban. His experience in his own words, just re-organized as this happened in various conversations. Will translate at some point, though will gladly let others do it. Because I still think there is no writing people’s stories that will do justice to their voices. Making it pretty is not just an injustice, it… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 05 Nov 2014

Balangiga, Eastern Samar

there is a general sadness to this space, so historically vibrant, and such a measure of how we do not care about this history. the bells are missing from the church’s bell tower, and the church itself is closed and under renovation. in May its doors were open, masses were being celebrated, a choir practiced in between. in the plaza in front of the Church there is a monument by Napoleon Abueva showing how 500 Filipino revolutionaries launched a surprise ambush on… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 03 Nov 2014

Quinapondan, Eastern Samar

the show was missing an audience when we arrived. a huge tent had been set-up at the barangay hall’s basketball court, the monobloc chairs for a hundred arrived, but there was no audience. in Guiuan where our first shows were, our venues were filled to the rafters, many women arriving with their children who wouldn’t understand the show, and would be crushed in the crowd. it took one show to realize that unbeknownst to us, these women were required to watch the show as part of… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 01 Nov 2014

Guiuan, Eastern Samar

when I was doing reliefph.com at the height of Yolanda / Haiyan last year, one indication I had that things were really bad was the number of phone calls and pleas for help that we received through the site. this was when there was a news blackout about the aftermath of the storm, and very little was getting through to Manila. relatives had started getting in touch with the site to tell us about the last time they had contact with family from Eastern Samar… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Jun 2014

#YesAllWomen

i had watched the hashtag #YesAllWomen take a life of its own on Twitter, and was fascinated that while it didn’t trend in the Philippines, the tweets from elsewhere in the world (mostly the US it seems) resonated with this Pinay so removed from that context. i’m the last to imagine universality to be a valid enterprise, imagining as i do that we are always more complex than just being / standing for / standing against one thing. yet it… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 16 Feb 2014

on friendship and sisterhood #beforeiforget*

there are friendships that happen later in one’s life, even with people whose names you’ve known for years, that girl who was always just the girl-who’s-the-ex-of-a-friend, or that one you’d see at gigs. you could’ve studied in the same university and college, but remain as nameless faces, or faceless names. a measure really of what else we were doing, how friendships can be as limiting as they are liberating. and how sometimes age and timing — if not twitter — might be… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 14 Jan 2014

in defense of Enteng Kabisote*

I agree with some of what Lourd de Vera says (or asks) Vic Sotto in his open letter. I agree that Bossing Vic should aim to do better than a movie filled with product placements. I agree that he should do better than a film where he’s not stuck with a non-kiddie-actor Yap and his mother Kris Aquino. I disagree that this was all Bossing’s doing.

Wednesday ∗ 20 Nov 2013

rage, still

via Andrea Macalino, November 19, “Raging After the Storm.” <…> what puzzles me more is the privileged anger of individual government employees on social media. Rage against misinformation, yes. Post links which clarify contested issues officially, of course. But this rudeness, this audacity to imply that every single person who wishes for more efficient relief, who questions the actions of the government—its strategies, and the speed at which it implements its relief operations—to suggest that every single person who has done this on Facebook,… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 27 Sep 2013

not a Santi Bose

Leon Gallery is holding what it calls a “Magnificent September Auction” tomorrow, September 28. as of today, its catalogue for tomorrow carries a work entitled “Heart Assemblage” that it has wrongfully attributed to Santiago Bose. Leon Gallery has been contacted about this major faux pax (i am being kind) by the family of Bose. a letter received by the gallery on September 16 from Bose’s wife Peggy asked that Leon Gallery “kindly and immediately remove the name of Santiago Bose as the… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 10 Sep 2013

dear Harvey Keh

This is in response to Mr. Harvey Keh, who asked “Why blame President Noynoy Aquino?” An essay which begins by praising the Million People March of August 26 for having “a good turnout” and disses “several groups that are planning to hold another protest rally this coming September 11.” Mr. Keh says he received “some messages” about this rally, which he is obviously critical of, especially since according to him “many of those who went to Luneta now have second… Continue reading »

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