In the five years that I’ve been doing this column, and the nine years of writing independently full-time, the most fulfilling parts of it have been about being able to talk to students who wonder about writing. Often the questions revolve around notions of fear, which automatically go to the presumption of courage: that it is brave to write about things that others wouldn’t write about, or to have a contrary opinion from what dominates the discourse. Yet it would… Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
It could’ve been the fact that it was election year, but there was little reprieve from noise generated by social media all of 2016. It was like we turned a corner and didn’t know how to turn back. Probably most distressing is that so many have fallen into the trap of celebrating Facebook likes and shares, equating this with relevant engagement, and insisting that this is “critical mass” and “public opinion.” Fake news sites are built on this premise, asserting… Continue reading »
It seems important to tell this story: I have been to enough rallies in my life, mostly as student in the State U, and then as a teacher in AdMU. I would join – as my politics would dictate – the rallies of the militant left throughout the Ramos, Erap, and GMA administrations, from State of the Nation Addresses (SONAs) to anti-Erap rallies, EDSA Dos to GMA’s Declaration of a State of National Emergency via Proclamation 1017. During PNoy’s presidency,… Continue reading »
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 »
Triggered by The Rundown 2016, an ABS-CBN News Channel and UP Economic Society program that aired live on January 29, here is another issue that one must take into consideration when deciding on who to vote for. The Rundown asked the first batch of its Senatorial candidates about their stand on divorce, and to have had only one senatorial candidate say yes to divorce among the many who were there, is just utterly disappointing. Of course the show’s format was… Continue reading »
Walang pagkilos na kultural na hindi nababalot ng kontradiksyon. Kontradiksyon ang eleksyon at ang pagsampa ng kahit na sinong artista sa entablado ng sortie. Kontradiksyon ang pagsusulat bilang hanapbuhay para sa pulitiko. Kontradiksyon ang pagsusulat ng opinion column para sa diyaryong pagaari ng big business o oligarkiya. (AKO)
while elsewhere in the world the discussions for women’s day and women’s month 2016 have been on the level of celebrity women’s bodies and slutshaming, role models and raising our young girls, in the Philippines we have a government that cannot even pretend to know what women need, much less what we want.
One rarely thinks about one’s freedoms until one feels it is being impinged upon, where one is being told of the price you pay for insisting on your right to free speech and independent thought. In the course of this government’s reign in Malacañang, and despite its grand proclamations about how this is a democracy – for look at how they let critics critique and rallies happen! – I have thought more and more about the mortality of the freedoms… Continue reading »
i’ve been out of this blog, mostly because i was writing like crazy for most of March and April, and i mean working on four columns a week (!!!) for The Manila Times. and yes it was as crazy it sounds. i’m glad it’s over.
“At a certain time of day, between the high heat of noon and the cool afternoon, the streets of Casay have a strange quietness — of a leaf arrested in its fall, or of a vacuum from which air and life have suddenly been drained — a quietness which seems to bide its time. Very infrequently, a car, a truck, or a cart may disturb the stillness, raising brown dust in its trail and sowing screeching echoes into the silence.… Continue reading »
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 »
thank yous are in order, and while Angela and i always difficult to go all me! me! me! or I! I! I! on our blogs, almost two months into 2013, it would seem wrong to not fall back on that i, if only so i can talk to a you and articulate gratefulness. the year kicked off with being offered a regular Opinion column over at The Manila Times. i had hoped i could get away with putting a logo instead of… Continue reading »
Making Lemonade There is a romance that we like to imagine about writing, and especially the writing of a book. And while my rebellious self would like to tell you that this was not the case for Of Love and Other Lemons, that would be a lie. Certainly it came from a personal history of love and loss and sadness, complete with the high – if not OA – drama of buckets of tears. But the writing of this book… Continue reading »
one of the blurbs for this first book asked: what took you so long, ina? and in truth, i’d like to think i took exactly the amount of time i needed. much of what’s in Of Love and Other Lemons is about refusing to write the way i’m expected to, or at least the way i did when i wrote mirrors. i read too much of the personal essay as it’s written and published in these shores, but also i read poetry in… Continue reading »
Tito Jorge would’ve laughed out loud, would’ve teased that this 35-year old was bawling like his widow under the watchful eye of Mother Teresa and an oven called Serenity. The 68-year old man had taught humor well. Irony, too. It seems it took him long enough. In 1994, Tito Jorge was working at the UP Film Center and on the last day for submission of UPCAT applications, arrived in the rain carrying with him – rolled up under his shirt… Continue reading »