Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Right Stuff.

Move Over Barbie, This Doll Gets Real About Anatomy
By Courtney E. Martin, Women's eNews
Posted on December 13, 2006, Printed on December 14, 2006

Amamanta, Spanish for breastfeeding, is a blend of two words that mean love and protection.

It is also the name of a doll family whose members may appeal to holiday shoppers looking beyond the latest Barbie or Bratz doll for a present that's non-hazardous to body image and can also educate about how babies are made, born and nurtured.

Each 16-inch cloth adult Amamanta doll has genitals and pubic hair, and the mother doll features breasts that can be snapped onto the baby doll's mouth to help reinforce the importance of breastfeeding.

"I wish children to be happy and grow with the idea that sexuality is important and is part of our lives," says Margarita Maria Mesa Leal, owner of the company that makes the dolls. Leal hand sews dolls herself, in addition to employing 27 local women in Medellin, Colombia, all of them mothers.

Dolls aren't cheap; an individual can be purchased for $39 or a family for up to $199. Leal didn't go into the particulars of what she pays her workers, but she says these prices allow her to pay a living wage and use only high quality materials.

Doll Explains Pregnancy

Leal, a former industrial designer, began the project in 2001 as an instructional device for her small daughter.

She created a mother doll, complete with a baby in the belly and a vagina, to explain that she was pregnant to her daughter. Though only 3 years old, her daughter took to the concept immediately, requesting a father doll and a sister doll to go with the mother and baby, just like her family. A for-profit, small business was born along with her son.

Leal sold the dolls to various families and small businesses around Colombia, and eventually throughout South America. She also spent much of those early months making dolls for a local orphanage filled with children, many of whom had lost their parents in Medellin, a cauldron of drug cartel-related violence during the 1990s. The dolls were a great tool for educating the children, many of whom did not have basic knowledge of human anatomy or sexuality and some of whom had also been sexually assaulted while on the streets.

Leal soon realized that many of these supposed orphans, in fact, had mothers who were too poor to take care of them. She began employing this population, providing them with just the opportunity they needed to move out of poverty and reclaim their children.

When Raul Morales, a Bronx, N.Y.-based advertising entrepreneur, stumbled upon Leal's table at a doll trade show in 2002, he was immediately taken by the quality and ingenuity of the dolls, but even more by Leal's commitment to the women and children of Colombia. A South American immigrant himself, Leal's work reminded him of home.

Sought by Educators and Families

OneWorld, a small business Morales owns, became the U.S. mail order distributor for the dolls. Their clients include parents, expectant women, doulas, child psychologists, sex educators, hospitals and child advocacy organizations throughout the Americas. He projects that OneWorld, constituted by Morales and two part-time consultants, will make about $25,000 total North American sales in 2006; Leal sells about the same amount to South American clients directly.

From its three original members the Amamanta Family has grown into a sprawling clan of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, adolescents and even step-parents representing more than 10 cultures. In addition to Colombian members, the company also makes contemporary U.S., traditional Indian and Japanese dolls.

Leal continues creating new dolls and making changes, sometimes at the suggestion of her customers.

Teresa Benami of Atlanta contacted Morales last December, after her 3-year-old daughter, Cora, made a request while playing with her new family of dolls, which had been a Hanukkah present. "She was worried about the newborn baby being cold and asked for a diaper," Benami said.

"I conveyed to Teresa that her little girl had just has given me a great idea for product innovation," Morales says.

Leal loved the idea and immediately designed a diaper to be included with all of the Amamanta Family doll units, which currently also come with a sling to carry the baby, clothes, a blanket and a brochure designed to guide the educational experience.

Dolls Also May Offend

The dolls, however, are not for everyone.

In fact, as Women's eNews was interviewing Morales, at a coffee shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, he pulled out an Amamanta Family of dolls to show the way in which a baby can be "born" from the mother's stomach and then snapped onto a breast to simulate breastfeeding. His demonstration offended a man at a nearby table who angrily asked, "Do you mind?"

Morales was not surprised. "People think these dolls are radical, but isn't it more radical to castrate a part of the human body as if kids will not notice?" he said, referring to conventional dolls, which now often feature breasts, but typically leave out genitalia.

But other people see the dolls as a way to communicate honestly and positively with children about human anatomy. He says recent customers include a health educator who planned to take the dolls to a rural part of Africa, where she was teaching children about AIDS with the challenge of not speaking the local language.

Parents for Megan's Law -- a Stony Brook, N.Y., nonprofit that seeks to prevent child sexual abuse -- recently put in the largest order Amamanta has ever received, hoping to use the dolls to educate children about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch.

Courtney E. Martin is a writer, teacher and filmmaker living in Brooklyn. "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body," her first book, which will be published on Simon and Schuster's Free Press in spring of 2007. You can read more about Courtney's work at

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Very Quotable Book

After hearing people rave on and on about it, I finally succumbed to reading The Time Traveler's Wife, and I hate to admit it, but it was a good tale. Afterwards, I immediately looked for Iggy Pop's Lust for Life and Prince's 1999. As for the latter, I prefer Purple Rain, whoops!

After being on the Vegan Freak forums for a while now, I have looked up Alkaline Trio and Propagandhi, as well.

WHOA me: what year am I in, anyway? But there you go.

Now I think it is time to get a copy of Possession; pun not intended!

I also dreamt of Sir Danny. Hmm. Mayhap I should ask how he is.


I shall end with a quote from Niffenegger's work. It's pp. 518-521 on my copy, and it is Henry's letter to Clare in the event of post-mortem:

A Letter to Be Opened in the Event of My Death

December 10, 2006

Dearest Clare,
As I write this, I am sitting at my desk in the back bedroom looking out at your studio across the backyard full of blue evening snow, and everything is slick and crusty with ice, and it is very still. It's one of those winter evenings when the coldness of every single thing seems to slow down time, like the narrow center of an hourglass which time itself flows through, but slowly, slowly. I have the feeling, very familiar to me when I am out of time but almost never otherwise, of being buoyed up by time, floating effortlessly on its surface like a fat lady swimmer. I had a sudden urge, tonight, here in the house by myself (you are at Alicia's recital at St. Lucy's) to write you a letter. I suddenly wanted to leave something, for after. I think that time is short, now. I feel as though all my reserves, of energy, of pleasure, of duration, are thin, small. I don't feel capable of continuing very much longer. I know you know.
If you are reading this, I am probably dead. (I say probably because you never know what circumstances may arise; it seems foolish and self-important to just declare one's own death as an out-and-out fact.) About this death of mine--I hope it was simple and clean and unambiguous. I hope it didn't create too much fuss. I'm sorry. (This reads like a suicide note. Strange.) But you know: you know that if I could have stayed, if I could have gone on, that I would have clutched every second: whatever it was, this death, you know that it came and took me, like a child carried away by goblins.
Clare, I want to tell you again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.
I hate to think of you waiting. I know that you have been waiting for me all your life, always uncertain of how long this patch of waiting would be. Ten minutes, ten days. A month. What an uncertain husband I have been, Clare, like a sailor, Odysseus alone and buffeted by tall waves, sometime wily and sometimes just a plaything of the gods. Please, Clare. When I am dead. Stop waiting and be free. Of me--put deep inside you and then go out in the world and live. Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element. I have given you a life of suspended animation. I don't mean to say that you have done nothing. You have created beauty, and meaning, in your art, and Alba, who is amazing, and for me: for me you have been everything.
After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn't understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird. If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have not seen this with my eyes, but only with my imagination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.
Clare, there is one last thing, and I have hesitated to tell you, because I'm superstitiously afraid that telling it might cause it not to happen (I know: silly) and also because I have just been going on about not waiting and this might cause you to wait longer than you have ever waited before. But I will tell you in case you need something, after.
Last summer, I was sitting in Kendrick's waiting room when I suddenly found myself in a dark hallway in a house I didn't know. I was sort of tangled up in a bunch of galoshes, and it smelled like rain. At the end of the hall I could see a rim of light around a door, and so I went very slowly and very quietly to the door and looked in. The room was white, and immensely lit with morning sun. At the window, with her back to me, sat a woman, wearing a coral-colored cardigan sweater, with long white hair all down her back. She had a cup of tea beside her, on a table. I must have made some little noise, or she sensed me behind her...she turned and saw me, and I saw her, and it was you, Clare, this was you as old woman, in the future. It was sweet, Clare, it was sweet beyond telling, to come as though from death to hold you, and to see the years all present in your face. I won't tell you any more, so you can imagine it, so you can have it unrehearsed when the time comes, as it will, as it does come. We will see each other again, Clare. Until then, live, fully, present in the world, which is so beautiful.
It's dark now, and I am very tired. I love you, always. Time is nothing.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Yoga on a Full Moon

Last night, I practiced yoga, but had a bit of a hard time with balance, plus my energy levels were sapped. I was wobbly getting off Ustrasana, and I felt like collapsing at some point. I couldn't understand it. Then my teacher F said, "It's probably a full moon tonight."

As I was going home, I looked up, and indeed it was. But what about it? I checked this site, and this is what it had to say: Full* and new^ moon days are observed as yoga holidays, as the energy force created by the moon and sun being in opposition and conjunction affects emotions and energy, and respecting these phases is believed to honor nature's rhythms....The moon controls the tides of the oceans. So, if two thirds of the human body weight is water, then it is likely that the moon affects our emotions and energy levels.

The crescent moon is also said to be very symbolic in yoga, at times being the symbol of yoga itself.

Other things to note: The period of a waning moon leading up to a new moon is the best time for detoxifying the body--release all your toxins and refresh. This is the optimum time to exfoliate, use cleansing face packs, sea-salt baths, seaweed wraps, have facials and sweat it out in the sauna.

The phase when the moon is waxing up to a full moon is the time to replenish, regenerate and repair your skin with moisturizers and essential oil massages. Give your hair a deep conditioning treatment too, as it's believed that the skin and hair are more absorbent at this time.

*The full moon occurs between 14 and 15 days after the new moon, and is shaped like a complete disc. The moon's illuminated side is facing the earth. The full moon reflects the maximum light from the sun. This is the time when the moon's energy is strongest and full of magick power.

^The new moon occurs when the sun and moon are in conjunction, occupying the same part of the sky from the viewpoint of earth. During this time the moon doesn't reflect the light of the sun, and so cannot be seen (except during a solar eclipse). The moon's un-illuminated side is facing the earth. This is a time of growing energy, newness, rejuvenation, growth, renewal and hope. It is a good point to make changes in your life, such as ending bad habits or relationships.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Decisions on My Three-fold Path

Yoga in Manila:

Roberto Dario's Power Yoga --I don't think this is for me

Bela Lipat--I don't know why, but she scares me, though I think she also teaches Sivananda, which looks nice

Yoga Manila (Iyengar)--what I'm thinking of incorporating for alignment's sake (I'm told I'm too flexible)

Yoga Manila (Ashtanga)--piqued by this

Bikram Yoga Manila--what I practice: I love the push and the heat and the accompanying sweat

This article and quiz might help.

But what if I want to mix?

A glossary of Sanskrit terms here for resource purposes.

Then ohmygosh, there's Reiki, and vegan wholefoods cooking school.

But seriously, just do it; one step at a time.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Back From Bora Too Soon

Despite the howling super-typhoon Reming/Durian (int.) baying at our heels the first day and half of the second, and despite Dad having a bad stomach (Ai-ya, that's for eating oysters on an empty stomach!) for most of our stay, I think our first sojourn to Boracay was a success. For my part, I had Iyengar yoga (Day 2), a Reiki exercise, and Yin Yoga(Day 3/Last Night), all for the first time, at Mandala Spa, where, incidentally, I met a wonderful person/mentor who I experienced all three exercises with, and who encouraged me to go down that same path ("You're a natural; you were born for it!"). Well, I definitely know where I want to go back to! ;)

Personal favorite (place)s:
Lemon Café
Mandala Spa
Sur Resort
the Roxy/Ripcurl shop next to Nothing But Water in D'Mall

Mom liked:
Pearl of the Pacific
Lemon Café

Places to try next:
Bamboo Bar (sangria with cinnamon!)
Juice Bar (caipirinhas?)
dive shops

The white, powdery sand, the deep azure sky, the cerulean waters, the slower, peaceful vibe...I loved every minute of it. Here's to bringing less material goods, but having more soul goods: here's to a return trip sometime soon.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Strip of Stardom

I got featured in the Totally Not Vegan! comic strip. Wheeeeee!!!!!!!

I'm totally bowled over and flattered. I love it! xD

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The following is a story found in Neil Gaiman's anthology, "Smoke and Mirrors." I was reminded of it when I was listening to VF Podcast #53, and the part on a baby dressed as a turkey...and before I go on and on, just read the piece already ;)

Babycakes by Neil Gaiman

A few years back all the animals went away.

We woke up one morning, and they just weren't there anymore.
They didn't leave us a note, or say good-bye. We never figured out quite where they'd gone.

We missed them.

Some of us thought that the world had ended, but it hadn't. There just weren't any more animals. No cats or rabbits, no dogs or whales, no fish in the seas, no bird in the skies.

We were all alone.

We didn't know what to do.

We wandered around lost, for a time, and then someone pointed out that just because we didn't have animals anymore, that was no reason to change our lives. No reason to change our diets or to cease testing products that might cause us harm.

After all, there were still babies.

Babies can't talk. They can hardly move. A baby is not a rational, thinking creature.

We made babies.

And we used them.

Some of them we ate. Baby flesh is tender and succulent.

We flayed their skin and decorated ourselves in it. Baby leather is soft and comfortable.

Some of them we tested.

We taped open their eyes, dripped detergents and shampoos in, a drop at a time.

We scarred them and scalded them. We burnt them. We clamped them and planted electrodes into their brains. We grafted, and we froze, and we irradiated.

The babies breathed our smoke, and the babies' veins flowed with our medicines and drugs, until they stopped breathing or until their blood ceased to flow.

It was hard, of course, but it was necessary.

No one could deny that.

With the animals gone, what else could we do?

Some people complained, of course. But then, they always do.

And everything went back to normal.


Yesterday, all the babies were gone.

We don't know where they went. We didn't even see them go.

We don't know what we're going to do without them.

But we'll think of something. Humans are smart. It's what makes us superior to the animals and the babies.

We'll figure something out.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Path Next Taken

Apart from hormones (it's no joke on the 1st day of the Crimson Eddy), I guess I reacted the way I did to my parents because I felt (rather irrationally) that they wanted me to give up my dreams. But as I reflected, that wasn't the case. Plus there are more than the "tried-and-true" jobs to earn a living (blue chip trading not included!)

A friend encouraged me to try bookshops, and I wanted to bop myself: why didn't I think of this before! So I tried that--as well as an inquiry into freelance writing. I also inquired on vegan baking courses, or similar courses, as long as they're animal product-free. Then Mom, who was cold to me the whole morning ('coz I withdrew from them and was stony in front of them and crying behind their backs--I'm just not comfortable with revealing my own emotions, confrontational-wise), when I told her that I'm trying for these jobs and looking for workshops/classes, she encouraged me, then told me, "You know, Ta, we're not telling you to give up your dream. We just want you to do something productive besides staying here all day!" She then said to look into writing workshops, or even art classes, as long as I learn something.

So here I am, still looking, but also still staying home. I guess I've just been too ensconced in my safe haven, in the secure and comfortable. But I can't do it forever, I know: I need to get out there sooner or later. And in doing so, I might find out that my dreams may change, as well--and it has to be a risk I'll take.

For now, though, it's to be a Holistic/Natural Vegan Chef and a Bikram yoga teacher. I've always ascribed to the alternative, organic lifestyle, preferring to heal naturally rather than chemically. One friend pointed out that the market for the above job aims may not be as high as say in the US. But I think it'll work out fine here. I believe in this natural ideology, and that already paves half of the way for success. Things I was told to look into: colloidal silver and bentonite clay and how to depilate short hair, darn it. But I digress.

Why be a Natural Chef? I believe that what we put in our bodies must be beneficial to us and not detrimental. In this light, I want to prepare food that is nutritious but also delicious, and entirely plant-based, a lesser cruelty to the earth and her inhabitants. In connection to this, I also believe fitness must be both of mind and body. I have only achieved this inner peace but self-awareness at the same time from yoga. Then in light of my desire to be certified in teaching Bikram yoga, my teacher F barked at me, "Yoga has to be your boyfriend! Yoga is forever!" At my startled look, he demanded, "Why; did you think otherwise?" And only then did I remember, and realize he's right. Because I still have a LOT to learn. Teacher-friend T is right also in that I haven't committed to one practice and I am already eager to try others. I should focus on one above anything else, and Bikram yoga, in its spartan simplicity, seems perfect to me. As F had said before, he believes that we each have reason to be in Bikram yoga. And indeed, despite Bikram's only having 26 poses/asanas, it is a lifelong lesson: each day having a different lesson, a different and new adventure. In certainty there is uncertainty, a living in the present ONLY, as opposed to most Western planning for the future, etc. A different day's practice can be better or worse. But always, always, do it RIGHT: this is what I am re-learning now. "You are too flexible; you need to build your strength," F tells me constantly. And indeed it is true: leave our egos outside the door. Enter with an open mind, an open heart. Leave all expectations outside. And along this, be prepared for a drill sergeant-like teaching. Some may hate it, but I love it: I love Bikram yoga's unyielding demand on its students, but in reality, just students' desires voicing themselves, their need to be pushed, concretized through Bikram yoga. That plus as much as there is mystery in the everyday practice, there is certainty: certainty in the 26 asanas, but certainty also in the proper alignment and execution of the asanas, and doing them only so far as they are correct. Egos outside the door, indeed.

Thus a healing from within to out. I'm into this because I believe in it. I hope it works out for me, and others will believe in it, me, as well. For now, I keep my fingers crossed, and hope all will go well. But as much as this is so, I will wait and see where the wind blows. May it be towards my favor.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Book Lover: a reaction

The following is my take on the term "book lover:" What are my loves in the literary world, etc. I invite you to do the same. =)

Of the moment, my favorite authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Neil Gaiman, Isabel Allende, Sark, Miguel Ruiz, Clive Barker, Garth Nix, Bob and Jenna Torres, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Posie Graeme-Evans, and Christopher Paolini. I am currently reading Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveller's Wife" and enjoying it, besides reading Gabo's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" Iyengar's "Tree of Yoga" and Craig Sams' "The Little Food Book."

Seeing my preferred authors, one would see my interest in Third World issues, feminism, animal rights, fantasy, self-actualization, spirituality, and some slight history/periodizations (romantic sub-plots a plus for brain-relaxation: a carry-over from smut like works of Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught!)

I like Third World issues as exemplified by Latin American Garcia Marquez because they closely mirror our own national problems: the loss of history (dating back to the pre-colonial era), and the consequences of loss in identity. This then relates to the feminine in reaction the masculine, as illustrated by Allende: how the feminine shapes her own identity from nothing--then how she succeeds, in doing so, making something completely unique (as shown by Sark). This "making of memory," and in doing so, "identity," can be relatively related to the fantastic worlds of Nix's, Barker's and Paolini's plots.

In cognizance of my belief in equality and respect for all (formally started by Ruiz's "The Four Agreements"), I am vegan. But in being such, I needed to understand how "lesser beings" were being mistreated in the face of a burgeoning global population--reactions to feed the populace as seen in farmed animals. Hence my foray into animal rights, and my favorite authors on this topic, Bob and Jenna Torres, because they give a fresh and candid take on it.

However, being vegan for me doesn't only mean saving the animals: it also invites reflection into the earth's situation, as can be seen in Gore's documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth." And in connection, it begs the connection of a holistic and complementary saving and healing: a symbiosis of sorts. Being vegan also means cooking your own meals more often than not, hence my favorite food author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz (who has a similar vibe to the Torreses'), but also nutritional advice, as in Vesanto Melina's works. Believing in peace also translates to my fitness: I am a yogini, as well, eagerly reading Yoga Journal issues as fast as they come, besides other yoga-related books, as well as attending yoga classes as much as I can.

As can be seen, I truly have a passion for books. Perhaps this suits the term "book lover" to a point, but as every book lover knows, it can never be "enough," never be extinguished. And even if the books dwindle, we will soldier on.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stay Fab.

I liked the story below a lot. It's Pam Pastor's story on her non-issues on her weight. I felt empowered reading it, even if it is by Dove, which is under Unilever. My cousin is there, too, but I won't tell who she is there. I'd say I'd be put to shame, but then, that won't be a self-empowering thing to say. So let's leave it at that. =)

Link here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bootcamp Yoga Muhnela

Had a (Bikram) yoga class this morning. I like it in the morning because I feel more energized: I am likelier to see "black" in the evening, hence I prefer morning sessions. Anyway, so yesterday, my teacher, F, was advised by another teacher-friend, T, that I'm very keen on taking teacher training. Then today, F pushed me, like, SUPER hard--in half-tortoise, and standing bow. OhmyGOD, I got so overwhelmed, so much so that I felt like crying: I didn't know what to do, and I felt so useless, and frustrated, and plain wrong, though weirdly, I also wanted to know how I could be better, but after feeling all the above!--F told me to take it easy, whoops. Afterwards, he corrected my postures again, especially standing bow, where he told me I was doing it ALL WRONG! :( That plus standing head to knee, where he said my raised knee MUST be perpendicular, while the other hip must remain down and its accompanying knee LOCKED. He said, "You have such a beautiful backbend; use it!" (for standing bow) Ack. I was hemming and hawing, then F admonished me, "You can't be like that in teacher training! You MUST build your strength; you're still too weak." Then I told T about it, and he said, "...You need to be tougher than many." Holy cow. Gottagottagotta.

Indeed. After he told F yesterday (that I'm keen on taking training), T kept on drilling into me, "You HAVE to be sure; it's a vocation!" And I understand that. I totally ascribe to what I know of the yogi philosophy, though I think I have to increase my awareness, so I'm reading B.K. Iyengar's Tree of Yoga. I'm thinking Bikram yoga is the way to go. F said something today, that "...people who attend Bikram yoga are also those who need it: that tough stance, etc." (after I remarked that his class is like bootcamp, but in a good, "challenge you 'til you croak" way) Perhaps he's right--though as to what dimension I need it, or he needs it, and how others need it, only our innermost beings can answer to.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bikram Perseveres

Counting that our neighbors recently sold their house and construction is most directed across my window, plus I'm quite allergic to dust, plus the weather's been acting up....

I got myself sick. BAD. Sneeze-five-times-in-succession bad.

So I was wondering if I should still attend to my yoga practice. I was thinking of chickening out, but a fellow yogini said, "Push 'til you die! Besides, the heat'll be good for you..." Against my mind's protests, I went.

And I conquered.

I did it! I did it! Sure I took it slow, sure I felt like I was mindless following through fog, and sure I had a mountain of tissue beside my mat, but I did it! I didn't have to stop =) OK, so I fell out of two poses, but I went right back in! Yey! I feel so proud of myself, and accomplished. But I've really realized now to always, always, regulate the breath. I believe that's why I also had such a difficult time the past several classes: I wasn't breathing right!...or as usual, letting it hitch, or go all over the place. Sigh: pranayama is mandatory, indeed.

So fine, I'm back to being sick now. But I also think that, more often than not, if one sees himself as sick, then that person will continue to be sick. I'll try not to fall into that I think that per another friend's advice, I'll have to move rooms, for now. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in this case. ;)

On a sidenote...

There are two new teachers in class: a guy and a girl.

The guy's pure energy (he was my teacher this evening). He kept me going, and was fast so as to prevent me from thinking, I guess. But it worked, 'coz I finished the class with energy to spare, and without feeling my creaky joints plus wanting to pass out the way I felt before the class. Then he finished with an incredibly soothing and relaxing cool-down. He was able to make us visualize, and thus actualize relaxation.

The girl, when I took her class, was calmness and serenity personified, flowing from one posture to the next.

I guess I needed the guy's style today. And it was great. I miss our former teachers, but hey, I always believe we should be open to new styles, new ways, new people. So I'm glad I came in with no preconceived notions, just openness and trust. I hope I can be one of them, someday: hopefully someday soon. :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Road Less Travelled

So I formally graduated this October, but academically, last May. I worked for an animal rights organization last summer, and part-time for the university English dept. after that 'til September. Anyway, I've been sitting in in three Lit. Cultural Studies classes, and I noticed that I (1)disliked research and (2)liked fiction, and reading...and writing creatively. A professor and I were discussing if I should try another university's MFA-CW program instead (as my university doesn't have it), and for a while, I junked the idea, but as my friend Nikki pointed out, I am a lit person through and through. Ack. I would also like to be either a certified Bikram yogini (to teach), or a holistic nutritionist afterwards, but to be an RD (registered dietician), I have to study AGAIN--Chemistry, the whole shebang, which aside from years gone, also means more $$$! The yoga course costs several thousand dollars, as well(!!!). So must start saving. However, Mom seemed OK with my applying to the Bikram Yoga course certification which is a good sign. So I'm still doing some soul-searching now. I've been job-hunting, but it's slow season. I’d been interviewed by a magazine company, but they said they’ll “call me if ever,” which is usually not a good sign. I was also interviewed for a web writer position, but when my Mom learned of the hours, she vetoed it. I have yet to go to a flight crew interview, as well. (Hey, if it pays the bills...) I'm grasping at straws, so I also sent my curriculum vitae to the Ayala Foundation, as well as applied to some companies from 'Coz when it boils down to it, I really am griping about $$$$$: if my decisions now will pay off later, stemming from the fact that my folks have so far been paying for EVERYTHING! And I feel guilty/indebted to them for that. So a lot of what's scaring me is really the risk and potential monetary consequences involved :( Basically, I just felt like running away, travelling and hibernating for a while. But that sounds like a cop-out, and again, $$$$, thus proving to my folks I can't fend for myself and am still a kid, hence should be treated as such. Besides, I can't do that forever. So I feel pretty numb right now: a contradiction right there.

On an added note, I also got to thinking about my veganism, how I'd like to grow in a very vegan-friendly environment. That, to me is Portland. So I looked at creative writing offerings there and I found two: The University of Oregon (though this is in Eugene) and Portland State University. BOTH do not need GRE's! :D

Thing is, as I heard of high unemployment and homeless rates in Portland, I need to know about stable housing and employment, or I'm done for. :( However, I have relatives in Toronto, the DC area and San Diego, meaning I can stay with them. So I wonder if I should try those first. But dang, I like how Portland sounds!!!!!

If ever, I should of course also look into scholarships, but there appear to be none at the moment. Ack. What to do, what to do?

Maybe make vegan shirts:
Silkscreen shirts, a potential hobby! Hmm. Maybe not now, though.

I've been told that I'm young and can still afford to make mistakes, but I don't want to =( I don't like risks, actually: they scare me.

A bright spot in my day, though, is that I got mentioned (the first in the voicemail segment!) on the VF Podcast #50! Eeeek!

I love to bake. I feel it's like make magic every time. It's a journey, indeed. Call me weird, but that's how I feel ;) And the first thing I ever baked was with my Mom, which was banana bread. However, that had eggs and butter and milk--VERY *NOT VEGAN.* But Dino Sarma comes to each veganfreak's rescue, and in my case, he dishes out a recipe of banana bread, ganked from VegWeb. I altered it a bit. I hope this easy recipe helps ease the vegan sweet tooth, and the depressive bouts: Banana has tryptophan, so there you go :)

Banana Bread, non-omnisub style...almost! (Easy-peasy!)
3-4 overripe medium-large bananas OR 6-8 small bananas (1 pound's worth)
2 Tbsp. oil (I used Rapeseed)
2 cups flour, sifted!
1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar (I used muscovado)
1 cup oatmeal (the quick-cooking variety)
1 cup soymilk (as mixture was getting too dry)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla essence

1. Mash bananas with wooden spoon or potato masher, until it gets really smooshy. (I used the latter)
2. Mix into the bananas the rest of the ingredients
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Bake mixture in loaf pan or casserole dish for 1 hour, coated in about 2 Tbsp’s of oil (mine took 1 hour 15 minutes!)

Product should be crusty on the outside and moist on the inside. At least this is how mine turned out. Happy baking!
Banana bread. This brings fond memories: it was the first "baking experiment" Mom and I did. It also used to be my Lolo Billy's favorite, whose mind is no longer with us. It is a food of my childhood, which is probably why I love it so.

And with the abundance of bananas we have now, I think this recipe is perfect. =)

Monday, October 09, 2006

War and Peace

I hate it...

when there is conflict.
when I have to mediate.
and when it isn't even necessary
at all.

And yet,
and yet--

it is a way of letting things out:

But what of me,
no-conflict-please me?

For under conflict,
there are more

Words can rent the air and rip the soul
but the lingering gaze can paint
still more.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Mantra: no expletives, no expletives, no expletives.

But I'm so tempted to junk that mantra. Nonononono. But really, today (fine, the latter half of the day) was just extremely trying.

I'm thankful to Q, though, for providing us with Sleater-Kinney songs to download! :) However, that was before the day turned sour.

It all started when traffic was at a standstill for a stupid, drawn-out San Miguel Oktoberfest parade, complete with dancers, drummers, San Miguel Corp. reps waving from semi-vans, basketball players and Efren Bata-Reyes included, and GET THIS: a costumed pig and chicken, looking happy, waving too. Filipinos know very well that San Miguel has as one of its major components, besides beer, meat products, or in my view, massacre by-products. And the waving pig and chicken create AN ILLUSION of HAPPY ANIMALS, when they're NOT! People are thus fooled into believing that meat comes in plastic/styrofoam packages. They are absolved of all violence, when in fact, they directly support and propagate it! Would the cow happily moo when she is sent to slaughter, or when she is kept pregnant so people can have cow's milk, meant for THEIR babies, which incidentally, if female, grow up to be raped like their mothers, or if male, end up as choice meat. Nonetheless, it all boils down to THEIR ALL BEING KILLED, ANYWAY. So smile away.

That was bad enough. Despite that time-consuming, inconsiderate traffic jam, my friends, C and M, and I made it to the movie (Step Up), even with time to spare to go to the loo and see some trailers! For those who said it was nice, I didn't find anything special with it, other than regretting I stopped ballet when I was 8, plus thinking, what if I had pursued my musical roots and applied to maybe UP College of Music, majoring in voice? But I didn't.

Afterwards, M felt the need to check out the shops, and when she asked me my opinion on a top, I bluntly told her not to get it if the only reason she wanted to buy it was to buy something. She didn't. C reminded me M's having a date with her beau on Saturday, so she was in a dither to buy something new. My point is, if you don't need something, or don't really WANT it, why buy it? Plus the boyfriend she's with? They seem to be going nowhere: the guy seems to have no drive to achieve anything. Seriously. So where's the future in that??? Then they both flirt with other people! In her case, she enjoys the attention heaped on her, so to me, what's the point in having a relationship?!?!?! But they're OK with their illusion, so fine. Now what clinched getting my goat was when she asked C and me if she should ask her Mom if she can go with him out of town, despite having a dinner with him and his family(!) that night. C and I were uneasy, and C was very careful to reserve her opinions, but given my fatigue and progressively worsening mood, I told her I didn't think it would be wise to go out with him TWICE in one day, one being out of town, to boot. C reminded her it is customary for her to visit her grandparents on that day, but she said she can move it. For my part, I reminded her of propriety: spending a WHOLE DAY (extending to the evening!) won't look too good on her good girl image. Really. She protested she'd have to do it one of these days, be "independent." And I wanted to shout at her that boy, is her concept of freedom screwed or WHAT? Peter Parker's Uncle Ben nailed it on the head when he said, "with great freedom comes great responsibility." She seems not to see this, forgetting that everything she has comes from and is paid for by her family's money and hard work: her laundry and ironing, her food, her gym membership and other activities, her tuition, her car and the gasoline it needs--in short, EVERYTHING. And at the rate they're going, I don't think her boyfriend's even remotely thinking of providing for such things. And she talks about freedom? Well, think of that, girlie, plus you're already 21.

Call me paranoid, anal, a shrew for thinking about these already, but I do. I see all amorous relationships as a building up, not building down. Hence, I don't believe in flings. I view risks very suspiciously, and quite fearfully. So yes, I've been in a dry spell for a long time now, but I prefer not to compromise. Ironically, though, that is the risk I will have to take.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Oof Ouevre

I'm having such a hard time expressing the whirling events my self is assimilating. But if I don't, I'll feel worse. Ngunit nag-aalinlangan pa rin ako, dahil hindi ko siguradong mailalabas ito ng tama. Hay, buhay. Te, waay man madula con tilawa lang anay. Mayhap this will make sense, mayhap it won't. But I can't vacillate forever.

My iPod died yesterday. [So what; my feast day was two days ago]. No, but seriously, Zeke[Ezekiel], my beloved iPod that has recorded events, lessons, goofs, uploaded all my music and podcasts, travelled with me across continents over the year and a half we were together: Zeke, my beautiful boy, I'll miss you, sweetheart. Despite blanking out on me sometimes, you'd always return to me. But now, it seemed you had found your El Dorado and decided to stay. It'd cost 8,000 to call you back, but then they said you'd be totally different: your brain won't be Zeke's anymore. So rest in peace, darling.

Went to the dermatologist and ENT, as well. The former saw my little sudden breakouts[plus my ears, which she said were flaking from allergies from my Mom's pearl earrings *sob*] and said while injecting and squeezing the buggers all the while, "Ah, you must be stressed," to which I shrugged. The latter stuck both nostrils with anaesthetic-soaked cottonbud toothpicks, then siphoned my mucus, which was clogging my nasal cavity, causing my constant fatigue[complaining I'm always tired] the mucus build-up blocking my eustachean tube and potentially triggering my migraines[now he says it's vertigo]. He then prescribed me medicines which would clear my allergies, but made me sleepy just like that. The mucus got out, all right: I was sneezing the entire time I was in the mall [coz I didn't make it to yoga, boohoo]...but I finally bought the navy slip-on Converse sneakers I was dreaming about! THEY HAD MY SIZE. Thank you, Lord!
Later, over dinner, Dad said my breakouts are probably from all the "weird hippie[aka vegan] stuff" I eat. O_o Um, NO. Mom says not to stress, because it must be stress, but with the new, more peaceful yogic consciousness I have imbibed [but sometimes fail], I didn't really notice it. But who woldn't be stressed, I guess, with completing community service, geting cleared only to find out from the boss[which I never got along with] that my old job[that I was told would be open for me again] was no longer open. At the same time, on the last leg of community service, I was late in meeting the parentals fetching me, thus deeming me persona non grata/cold-war with my Mom, even banning me from the activities I like[which have already been paid for, too, but who cares, right?] in all her manipulative vengefulness. This is until she needs me to stay with her while she's operated on to correct a bad tooth job many years ago. So I stayed: for 7 hours, on the day before class, in the middle of the blackout, post-Milenyo. Oh, and we weren't talking while Milenyo was raging: the weather battle mirrored our family battle. Go figure. But at least Dad[who was the one who should be mad, as he lacked sleep, not she] was talking to me, and had already paid the electric bill I thought I had to pay, for their new apartment that also suffered the typhoon's wrath. Anyway, after the 2-hour prep, 2-hour operation and 3-hour recuperation, she talks to me as if nothing happened. WOW. Then after dinner, she imperiously says, "You're forgiven." WHAT?! The nerve! The night before Milenyo struck, R. and I were making plans to just go away from all the dealings with people close to us who just hurt us because they know how to. But first, I said, I have to set up a bank account. As and I were talking about all the stressors, I guess, she and I agreed: bago tatakbo, kinakailangang may gasolina ka. My mom's sister and a friend-cousin of hers, as well as her own mom all agreed that though what she did was wrong, to forgive her anyway. But my personhood was violated. Truly. It's been going on for as long as I can remember. No person should be treated that way. It'll take time again to rebuild that bond of mother+friend. And if she wrecks it again, I hope to be ready then. Even if my life will not be as comfortable, it will be mine.

So yeah, I guess I was stressed. That plus B, a good friend from Germany who's like a big sister to me, is inviting me for a two-week Ayurvedic cure in Sri Lanka. And I should leave on Monday. Too little time: I don't even have a visa yet! So I don't think I can. Plus all the requirements, and a presentation for a class I hope to get credited next year :-s Eeek. Looking for a job, too, 'coz now, I am an official citizen of the unemployed: official, at least, 'coz I am no longer a pending undergraduate. For the next sem, I will be an official[graduate] student, as well. What joy. Hopefully, things are looking up.

No more rainclouds, please.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Last Rites

19.5 hours in 3 days. 30 minutes to go for me to complete my [20-hour] community service. *trumpets blast ceremoniously*

Ack. I'm so tired. First the Lumbera tribute last Friday (where I was part of the chorale, of which I hope went well, 'coz we all tried so very hard), as well as the start of my community service in the morning 'til the early afternoon, just before dress rehearsal+readying for the presentation+pre-pres. jitters, getting soaked through by the rain on the way to the prep. venue.
Saturday: up by 6, with the community service org rep by 7:30. Learned how to "sieve" graba, and how to use a sapal*, let alone know what it means! (*spade)
Sunday: was the "volunteer" who would accompany a group of freshmen (Edlyn's class-->is pleasantly surprised) to another village, for them to write about in their feature article for En11. Learned to paint with those roller sponges. BUT was late meeting my folks by a long shot. And they are VERY upset with me. How was I to know they'd be there by 1:20? I told my Mom I'd be done a bit before 2! :( Still, I should've told them I was still in the village. Ack. So no more fringe benefits for a looooooong time.

...Speaking of time, it is [obviously?] my GREATEST weakness. :( Eek.

Now, I hope to fix my grad status and hopefully be able to re-apply as grad assistant. Mark (not THE B&W-wearing Mark, but Mark Cruz) says we shouldn't rely on luck, hence our common disdain/annoyance of Wowowee, and lamentation over the Ultra tragedy....ANYWAY. So instead of luck, I ask for your prayers on this.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada: my fave quote

“Stuff? Oh, okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet, and you select, I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that sweater is not just blue. It's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002 Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was St. Laurent, wasn't it, who showed a selection of cerulean military jackets. And then cerulean quickly showed up in collections of eight different designers. It filtered down through the department stores, and then trickled down into some tragic Casual Corner where you undoubtedly fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs. It's sort of comical how you think you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry, when in fact, you're wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room... from ‘a pile of stuff.’” –Miranda Priestly to Andrea Sachs, in The Devil Wears Prada

I love it, I love it, I love it. It makes sense, showing just how interconnected we all are. At the same time, how do we disconnect from everyone and everything? Even communes have connections. Hermits are connected/dependent on the vegetation/animals they will eat, the body of water where the y will take water from, or if not this drastic, the people whom they will take these basic goods from, at the very least. The movie itself was OK, but this is what made it memorable for me, barring Meryl Streep's and Stanley Tucci's performances (Miranda and Nigel, respectively), and Anne Hathaway's wardrobe. <3

..Oh, and have something new: my Technorati Profile








My clothes feel awkward
my body doesn't
[I've come home?]

Wait for the sunrise
the bath

to my soul's delight.


What happened to
shoulds and

what everyone ascribes to

I just don't,

It is no longer

[now to stand up and say it]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

on sleep, actually.

Night's becoming day
freefall flux continuous
and so on and on.


Amidst all the glitz and glamor
hype and beatbeatbeat
she was stricken with
indecisive paralysis.

She ran and ran
to seek

silence meaning

Refusing to look
hiding behind chaos
behind layer upon

keeping reality
at bay


what if

just a little

she starts peeling away
picking at a little
then ripripRIPPINGaway

revealing the truth beneath
[naked, vulnerable]
[take care]
of harsh


then she discovers

it's not so bad
she discovers
she's beautiful.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I feel I'm changing


I don't recognize myself anymore.

and that is

Indeed, it is disturbing
I am roused
from the familiar
to the unfamiliar.

Is it good or bad?

I alone will know.

Friday, September 08, 2006

It Isn't the End of the World

Coming from a Bikram yoga class last night, pre-dinner, I weighed myself, and heeeey, as of July, I have lost 12 pounds! =) OK, so it varies between 7-12, depending on how much I ate--or didn't eat, haha. But still! Wow! Yippee! I stopped weights and just focused on cardio...and yoga [I only do cardio when I can't do my yoga practice], and lookit! Kewl ;) Weight aside, Bikram yoga has helped me establish better breathing, better stress management [what stress? why stress?], better posture, and most importantly, better respect for my body. Bikram, or "hot" yoga entered my life in April this year. I stopped for a month last June, and it was a very low, hopeless time in my life, but ever since last July, I have returned, going strong, trying my best to go twice a week, once a week if I'm totally booked. There were two weeks in a row where I went four times each week, for which I'm proud of having done. And those two weeks being just last week and the one before that, I think it helped me get stronger and more flexible: I've been commended for my backward bend and recently, my rabbit pose, the latter which I'm very surprised about, 'coz I never got that right before. But well, expect the unexpected, I guess. I just hope things can only get better. I dream of training to teach this someday, impart the awesome transformative personal power it unlocks, but I can't say when yet. One day at a time.

Recently, since I like sharing what I reflect on with friends, especially the ones I don't get to talk to, I shared one particular entry with an aunt. It had a meme, or a questionnaire type of quiz. She replied by rounding on me, soundly berating me [her letter mostly written in caps] for being such a trusting fool, threatening me with identity theft, in effect somebody swindling me and my family and me ending up in the poor house: how lucky and privileged I am, how immature and so naïve and trusting. OK fine, she has a point, and I did reveal my birthdate, the meme I have now removed [to which she said not to 'coz it'll attract attention, but to me, it's preventing possible future damage, right?]. Yes I opened myself, and yes, there is a possibility of that, but I don't like thinking that way: thinking I can't trust anyone, that everyone has an ulterior motive, and will kick you down if need be. She says to go along these lines, but OK, it must sound foolish, but I like thinking that there is still some hope in mankind. I believe in personal space VERY MUCH, but I don't believe in imposed, constructed walls. I believe in respect, and mutual harmony. It must sound too idealistic, and I must sound really sheltered, or as a friend incredulously said once, "Where are you from, Carebear-Land?!" I admit, there are people with evil, selfish intentions; perhaps cruel at times, but selfish above all. But there must be a point where we can all set aside differences and work together! So I'm not giving up: there must be a spark of goodness in everyone, somehow.

On a somewhat related note, along the line of prejudices and anti-freedom, pro-conformity, I've been toying with getting inked for a really long time now, and I know others who've held back, as well. I don't understand why they say they will but haven't done so: it sounds so hypocritical! Fine, the teapot calling the kettle black and all that jazz, as I'm in the same boat, myself, but for me, it's 'coz I don't know any decent artist, plus I want a unique but timeless design that mirrors my pro-conservation, vegan, harmonist ideals. Perhaps it's also got to do with the taboo in the workforce against inked folk. But why is this still the case? My Mom explained that in their time, it would usually be criminals who'd have tattoos, hence the reluctance for people to be inked then, but times have changed: celebrities across the board have been getting themselves inked. Thus the association of tattoos with criminal activity should be junked! Besides, in the end, isn't ink really a form of personal artistic expression? And shouldn't freedom be exercised and encouraged, especially if our global civilization [thus, not only technology, but theories and beliefs, as well] has truly grown in leaps and bounds? Argh, I don't know.

As for my current complicated dilemma/source of upset: I am still an undergrad because I have pending community service which I wasn't able to do because the NGO [non-government organization] I was assigned to hasn't been able to give me something to do. ADSA, the student affairs/discipline administrative arm of our uni, finally sat up and listened and changed the NGO. I start next week, thank God. But because of this, I have to quit as grad assistant and my classes aren't credited. So far, two of my three teachers have allowed me to continue classes as a "sitter-in." However, I have yet to ask the third. Hopefully, when all this is settled, I can have my classes credited: if not, 9 units gone! I also believe my boss has to give me an honorarium for the months I've worked. I loved my job, and I miss it horribly. For now, though, I don't want to dwell on it and just get all down. I am hoping for the best: in Miranda Priestly's tone, "that's all," and as O-sensei always tells me, to take one day at a time.

However, it's the uncertainty that spirals me into despair when I think about it. So I won't obssess, and instead just deal with it as it comes. To this end, thank God for [Bikram] yoga, which gives me the peace and singular concentration I sometimes forget to do for myself.

Pray for me, though. Please.

Grounding, soul-saving literature:

First Lesson by Philip Booth

Lie back, daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

and the piece by Oriah Mountain Dreamer that was shared in Bikram Yoga last Friday.


Monday, September 04, 2006

More stuff

So. The Crocodile Hunter's dead. I'm personally not a huge fan of his, especially because he has a zoo, and I don't support zoos, animal circuses, rodeos and bullfights, as much as I am against pet mills and factory farms. I'm sorry, but NO. However, he gave awareness to people, and he cared for animals in his own way. So rest in peace, Steve.
Mom and Dad are back...and I'm glad. And I got lotsa new stuff. Clothes!!!! A bag!!!! Teeeeeaaaaa!!!! None of it's leather or silk or fur. No honey, though one product has yogurt--and it's a gift. Eek. Oh well. It still was sweet of her, though. Luuuuffff. And I do realize I'm lucky. Then I got Mom this new Frog bearista magnet from Starbucks. She likes it; I'm glad. We texted while they were away--Mom and me: WHOA! My technophobe Mom. I'm so proud. But nothing beats seeing them, hearing them, kissing them. I'm glad they're home.
So much to do, so little time is a mantra most people already have on autopilot. I am not an exception. Indeed, I wish there were more hours in a day to accommodate all the things I set out to do. Then again, with more hours would also be more time to procrastinate, or get sidetracked, or nap, and whatnot. Ah, to heck with it. There will never be “enough” time; however, one can choose to do something about it or not. Now I should get off my lazy butt and do the former. No more excuses; no more “breaks.”

Was finally able to meet up with R. last Saturday evening, and it was plain surreal seeing her again, and this time not professionally but socially. Walls weren’t erected as high, and we could talk about all kinds of topics, for which I am glad :) One thing she mentioned in particular was that I’m growing up so quickly—down a straight and narrow path. And she sighed. Then I sighed. Maybe. Haha: I don’t really like thinking about it. Well, thing is, being one of the “elders” of the “next generation,” on both sides of the family, I feel I am obligated to take on responsibility. I know it’s a choice I can choose to do or not to do, but I care too much not to, anymore, because I’ve seen that, too often, no one else will step in. Maybe, too, my parents ingrained in me very deeply that sense of responsibility, even the Golden Rule. Oh well. But now, I worry about the time slipping by me. As much as some would say I still have my whole life before me, I agree with my friend Nicole in saying that, increasingly, one must already have a life plan to ascribe to. And indeed, I have my own dreams to consider. However, they seem to be from a different planet as that of where my family resides in! I have also been asked by relatives when I will “settle down” to assume responsibility over my parents’ company. Ackackack. This despite my telling them I have no interest in taking over. But now, with all the pressure, I wonder if I should—sacrifice my dreams and “continue their legacy.” At this point, I think my dreams can wait, but then I fear failure. I am not the economist my Dad is, nor the visual artist and color genius my Mom is. I don’t think I’m even cut out for the job! On the other side of the sphere, there are my dreams. What if they aren’t lucrative? I sure as hell don’t want to return like a prodigal daughter. No frickin’ way. So yes, I’m scared to take the leap on either side. Heck, I’m not even sure about my graduate studies-status now. And what about “settling down?” Sometimes, that seems to be the escapist way out, just so I won’t have individual finances to think about. But who says that if I get hitched, I won’t have money problems? I would like the whole shebang one day, though, but I don’t even know if I’ll get it. Ohmygod; of course: the more I hem and haw, the less I get things done, and the less I want to go on.

So yes, I’m growing up so fast. But I don’t want to think about it so much, at least for now. I’ll cross that when I get there.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I haven’t written in a long time, and I miss writing. I truly do. But lately, things have been hoary, and jumbled, and I’m still trying to get back on my feet, re-assume responsibilities outside familial boundaries, trying to get my breath back. My heartbeat’s been steadying, from a thumpety-thumpety-thump to a thump-thump; my breath too. Now to assume responsibility once again, get my life back on track.

And as much as it is difficult to do, what with my [usually-but-very-changing/moody] affectionate and effusive nature, I’ve also realized not to divulge or take others too close, to stay them at arm’s reach, because getting too close leaves me open and vulnerable, too trusting, wide open for set-up, for abandonment. And it almost always happens: wherein I’m taken advantage of, mentally abused/subjugated/bullied, or abandoned. Just when I thought things would be peachy. No, no, no. And sometimes the good people who want to make a difference I drive away. Tsk, tsk; sigh. Sometimes...OK, maybe a lot of times, I tend to be a fool: foolish, foolhardy, fooled. At the same time, to those I drive away, I am the masked, the shrouded, the bluffer, shrouding myself in shame, in terror—of the gamble of uncertainty, of the terror of uncharted territory: for what if I am not, never enough?

And what if my life will be like this forever? What if the person I fall for doesn’t fall for me back? And if that happens, then in terrified self-preservative bitterness, I might choose to live alone, but still with the cobweb longing for someone to love, and to love me in return, but petrified of the if, preferring cold certainty to vulnerability, to hypothesis, to blind faith?

What if I make nothing out of my life, living in limbo, forever, scrimping like a miser, locked up in my house, banishing all enterprise, all possibility from my life, shrouded in darkness and dank and stagnant silence?

Do I even dare hope?

But hey, why should I even sweat over this, agonize over this? I mean, que cera, cera. Whatever is in store, what greets me around the corner, can just surprise me, and hopefully delight me.

Maybe, may be.

This ties up with a recent conversation I had with a friend on men. Ah: a favorite topic among females, regardless of age and marital status. Another friend [whom I had a falling out with, but that’s another story] said that based on the census, men are fewer than women. Add in the gay population and what’s a girl to do? What about standards, “quality control,” as my Mom and I call it? Then factor in the oft-unrealistic expectations men have of women: the whistle-bait figure but with dazzling wit and [pardon the word] “meaty” conversation topics: honey, more often than not, girls with such figures have almost just as much [or the lack of it] on their minds. Also, men won’t admit it, but from my paltry experience, they expect a simpering, damsel-in-distress, your-opinion-is-my-opinion kind of girl. Increasingly, with the rise in educated women, this has become less and less the case; invariably, there are less and less “vestal virgins” and “nurturers,” as well. The alpha, chauvinistic male, this side hidden in some, boasted of by others, but nevertheless is in each and every male, straight or not [I’m pretty sure], looks for that aspect of a woman. My friend and I agreed that this is an unfair imposition, what with “empowered” women on the rise nowadays. But perhaps as much as that alpha male mindset is in every male, maybe there is the vestal virgin/nurturer dichotomy in each and every female, as well. I admit to it: despite my fierce need for independence, I admit I want to have children and a spouse one day, with the yard to tend, the house to clean and wax and scrub, the dog to play, feed, and take long walks with. I want it all. But it has to be with one who understands and celebrates my contradictions, my full figure, my moods, my cerebral-but-usually-offbeat musings, and so on. So yes, we women have high standards to: we have much to offer, after all.

In light of this is something my aunt Oa challenged me to do, years ago, in the midst of my (then) teenage angst:

10 Things I Hate and Love About Myself*:

*I couldn't think up 5 I like about myself before, but, things do change! :D

-my full figure (esp. the hips!)
-my procrastinating nature/complacency
-my dependence on others (driver..)
-my tendency to hyperventilate
-my allergic reactions (sinusitis, asthma)
-my sense of responsibility
-my habitualness and apprehension when this is disrupted
-my (overly) sense of propriety
-my over-sensitivity to what others may think
-my aimlessness

-my luminous(?) eyes
-my calm nature
-my vegetarianism/compassion/sense of eco-harmony
-my passion
-my voice
-my ready smile
-my charm (if I want to use it)
-my (usual) ready wit
-my refinement
-my flexibility
*to which my friend Sidd added:
-my affection, my ability to light up her day (“you're a happy blob of sunshine, yes you are!”--Sidd)
-my grounded-ness, my fashion sense -->I like these two, hehe

Thanks, Oa. Thanks, Sidd.
Then there is the issue of the Guimaras oil spill. Recently, information from the Coast Guard has been such that the oil spill may spread to and invariably affect the coasts of Negros and Palawan, while already affecting the coast of Iloilo. As of now, it is still a case of whodunit, no one admitting to the catastrophe. Mr. John Silva is one of those who have called for the boycotting of Petron, as, if I’m not mistaken, it was Petron that was the oil company who contracted the service of the ship and thus the oil [spill]. This is a national calamity, and President Arroyo has been calling for international aid. From what I have read, Japan has responded to the call, with a meeting to be held today, I believe. Greenpeace, which to me is the primary environmental organization seeking to arrest this situation, has been concentrating massive efforts in helping arrest this situation, helping the local fisherfolk in relief efforts and so on. Pam Pastor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s 2BU section has been sounding the call for civic aid, citing urban locations as Reyes Salon branches sending human hair, which can supposedly be used in the clean-up efforts. Then there is the relief effort headed by Antonio Oposa Jr. to aid in the cleanup of the Visayas coastline. He is a staunch advocate for preservation of local marine life, and the oil spill is a major threat to these life forms: Guimaras was said to be a haven for dugong and pawikan, both extremely endangered species. Guimaras was also one of the islands with a pristine coastline and abundant natural resources, one of these being preservative/calburro-free mangoes. But what now? With our meager local sources, what with the majority tied up in pork barrel funds, Filipinos may lose yet another of its precious heritage sites. Ms. Pastor said in her article to take action, get moving, before it’s too late. Indeed, but hope dims daily. Still, the light must shine on, however dim.

Dark mists enshroud
wrap and
choke, choking
ever so slowly
draining the sunlight
his glowing
[he generously shared]
transforming into

But just
may be

his rays will break through
break away from

the dark encompassing
choke, choking
darkness mist fog

to shine
[take back]
warm and bright

once again.

For petitions to sign, here's one on behalf of the people of Guimaras and
another one from Greenpeace for a more far-reaching petition: renewable energy. Or how about writing poems for Guimaras? Press Release below:

San Agustin calls for poems to help save Guimaras

THE Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute at the Coordinating Center for Research and Publications of the University of San Agustin is calling all writers to submit poems to help save the islands of Guimaras province from the oil spill. Poems celebrating and lamenting the beauty of the beaches and the seas around Guimaras, and other sea wonders in the Philippines will be accepted to form an anthology with the working title, Poems for Guimaras, to be published by the University of San Agustin Publishing House. The poems may be written in English, Filipino, or any of the Philippine languages. Poems in the vernacular must be accompanied with English or Filipino translation. The anthology will be edited by award-winning poet John Iremil E. Teodoro. He will be assisted by a board of referees made up of nationally-acclaimed poets.

Submissions may be e-mailed to libroagustino@ or ph.
Manuscripts may also be sent to the anthology editor at UCRP, University of San Agustin, General Luna St., 5000 Iloilo City, Philippines. The deadline for submission is on January 15, 2007. The book will be launched in Naoway Island, Guimaras in April 2007. The royalties will go to the rehabilitation of the Guimaras province from the disastrous effects of the tragic oil spill.

The Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute is the only center of creative writing in the Visayas. It organizes the San Agustin Writers Workshop every summer, gives the annual Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Grants to Western Visayan writers, sponsors the yearly Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Lecture, and publishes the multi-lingual SanAg Literary Journal every November.

For inquiries please write/call:
Mr. John Iremil E. Teodoro
(033) 337-7716
Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute
University of San Agustin
5000 Iloilo City, Philippines
E-mail: ph / iremil@yahoo. com

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Week-ender

What a way to end a week. =)

Last Friday was Ahma (my paternal Chinese grandmother)'s 71st birthday and the day after her release from the hospital. So cheers for that. During that dinner, Achi Carol also taught me the basics of Sudoku, and yes, it IS fun! *gasp--from non-Math major me!* It was also a hectic day for my stint as grad assistant: besides loads of paperwork, I was made to proctor a class! It was supposedly for a Basic English (non-credit) class, for a test they were to take, but then another teacher called for a sub(stitute), and this time it was for TWO classes, and "Regular" (credit status) English at that. The secretary and I worried and fussed, but finally were able to ask another teacher teaching Basic English, and teaching at a nearby room, to proctor the Basic English class in question, along with hers. Meanwhile, I was to take the Regular English classes. And I did. When I gave them the question, they were absolutely flummoxed, and dismayed. Needless to say, it was vague and sweeping, and VERY LACKING--as lacking as his attendance in class *frowns*. Poor kids. The bisexual in me found one particular girl in the first class attractive: she wasn't va-va-voom, but bookish, in a cute, worried way. [Stop it, Therese] I tried to help them, and be nice and got chalkdust all over my pants from writing and erasing, ick. And while I was proctoring, I was doing paperwork--so exhausting to multi-task x3 But despite this, I saw the kids' personalities shine through most especially. Heh, it must be the extreme stress of [insert teacher's name here]'s test. Oh well. Then they called me MA'AM. O_o What.the.heck. It was freaky, but it felt...exhilarating? At the same time, I began to feel more the heavy responsibility a teacher has over her students. I believe most kids would think being a teacher would mean bossing a class around, but that's only part of the equation: for there needs to be someone to lead for others to follow a certain way. Just the same can be said with students and teacher. However, both are essential, and must work in tandem, for either to flourish. Being a student is much easier than being a teacher--having to [usually] have all the answers, the grand plan, to the destination. But as much as it looks hard, and very unrewarding, what with the pittance of a salary, and demanding parents who think their kids are always on the right, or gossip-spreading students, and so on, I still would want to teach at some point in my life.

Then yesterday was GREAT: Had yoga in the morning--Christina taught, though I was disappointed my friend Tina wasn't there. However, I chatted up with someone new, called Vicky. She looks like she's in ad(vertising), but as much as she looks like the type A go-getter ad exec, she seems nice. Yoga boy wasn't there, too, but that didn't deter me from having a great practice! :D They're having a sale, too, so I'm thinking of buying a bigger class-card...which means not spending on anything else UNLESS absolutely needed :3 We'll see. Then there's the POWERPLANT VINTAGE BAZAAR, ongoing 'til today, that I went to. And I got kitschy stuff: gold Buddha bead-necklace (what my Dad calls my Shaolin necklace) metallic beady layering necklace, huge white-and-gold wooden cuff-bracelet, and a new transform-this-into-a-million-things hair/neck thing for BOTH heat and cold called Schizo Gear. Heh, the kikay in me clamored to be heard! Good thing Sayee told Ahma to give me PhP1k for "taking care of Ahma--managing everything," else my wallet would be crying now! xP Of course, monetary gain wasn't on the agenda, something my abuela knows and credits me for, and to which my Mom says, "You're a good kid." But hey, I'm not complaining. =D Incidentally, my aunt was a concessionaire in the bazaar, and I used her bag that day, so I was her "model," if even for a few hours, haha. And I think that she gave me that bag more than paid off with my "modeling:" She told my Mom so many people went to her booth to look for a similar bag xP Went with Mom and Dad to the factory to hear mass with them for a "lazier" Sunday, then after dinner, Mom and I watched The Witches of Eastwick. Of course, before dinner, Dad, being hungry and overstressed, was carping about EVERYTHING. Mom was getting pissed, and telling me so, but I'm pretty used to it. I just don't like it when he affects other people, blaming them, and so on--something he often does to me, causing me to break down into tears from all the negativity. But I was lucky: he didn't this time.

Today, so we thought, I mean, with mass out of the way, and nothing pressing to go to, it'd be more relaxing for Dad. Wrong: Angkong (my paternal grandfather) called early to inform Dad that Ahma's wound was bleeding! After a hasty breakfast, he rushed her to the ER. It turns out it was fat and blood oozing out (eew). Still: she goes up and down the stairs, despite having been newly-operated on, which she shouldn't do! So she caused all this on herself! *frowns, tosses head* Tsk, tsk. I wish she'd stay put, at least until she heals, not stretching herself! Now I bet she doesn't follow her soft diet. Aaaaargh. Whywhywhy!!!!!! BUT it was a shallow wound, so that was a relief. Afterwards, Mom, Dad, Mama Cez (my maternal, mestiza abuela) went to the El Cirkulo building along PasayArnaiz Road, to find it closed. However, there was this other restaurant called Tsukiji. And ohmyGOD, it serves VERY good Japanese food. I had all kinds of vegetable goodness, PLUS a green tea/redbean dessert afterwards enough that had me ready to die afterwards, swear to God. It was that good. PLUS we didn't smell (like one usually would after eating Japonais). I so want to go back. Mmm-mm-MMM.

Now, I'm readying to go stay with my grandfolks for some time, and this includes one of our helpers to keep me company. Then she half-protested, muttering "diet." Honest to GOD, I hate that word. I associate it with conscious-starvation, acquiesced-deprivation, with unreal body-images, hasty, short-term, unrealistic goals, and so on. Needless to say, I don't believe in it, and am totally against such a mindset. Why deprive yourself of what you want when you don't have to? That's just her excuse to not go, and stay with the other helpers here, just as that though she knows how to cook, when our cook is on leave for the day, she just cooks instant noodles for lunch(!empty calories, chemicals=bad!) because she doesn't want to be bothered to cook. What.the.hell. What about nutrition, sustenance, TASTE!?!?!?!?! But nope. She hides behind the flimsy excuse/term of "diet." So now, while I'm in school, I devised for her to go home so she doesn't have to "diet." Wow, talk about spoiled: the boss is making concessions for the helper?! Along the same vein, it's my abuela's birthday on the 28th, so our cook said, "So I don't need to cook for you anymore?" I said, yeah, but what about Sunday? And she replied, "Don't they have food over at your grandfolks'?" to which I replied that they just eat junk food. [Our helpers also see junk food as "diet" food, when it's actually the reverse, to nutrition-conscious folk like I know.] Then she said, "Well maybe you can just diet like them." And I affrontedly, crossly said NO! Again they just use it as an excuse, this time to appeal to my aesthetic self: for me to perhaps look better if I were slimmer, because I'll (a) eat less food, so (b) she'll cook less. But no, no, NO. I won't. Sure I'm not thin, but I don't think I'm totally fat. And it can bother me sometimes, but I won't "diet" for it. And it's not like they can't cook/prepare my food, which incidentally is easy-peasy to prepare [vegetables?!]; they're just lazy to. They're not doing much anything else. So why the hell NOT?! Dammit. My apologies for showing the bratty side of me that demands quality. But yes, I demand it. And quality=no diet, no shortcuts, no deprivation. Diet=shortchanging yourself on LIFE. HELLO: Diet=a short-term stop-gap. I believe in long-term, I believe in conscious choices [hence my vegetarianism: for my health, the animals and the environment]: choices I can CELEBRATE. And a diet just isn't it. Besides, I believe in living my life the way I want it, so there.

Now, I'm typing this from my Firefox browser, which I junked Apple's Safari for, and what the heck, it's slow: not only slow, but on-again-off-again connection! WTF. I think there's something wrong with PLDT DSL. And it's driving me batty.I moved closer to my DSL source, and it's working fine, actually WAY better than Safari. So I'm glad I'm a (Mozilla) Firefox user now! No regrets...yet xD

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Defining Perfection

The best thoughts can come while one is in the shower, as I myself was awhile ago. While sudsing away, I thought back of what my Dad had said, that my thighs are even bigger(!) than my Mom's, adding that she bequeathed me that particular gene of hers. I admit I have HUGE legs. And that it's not the ideal. But then again, not everyone has a "perfect/symmetrical" body (as in 36-24-36, as the saying goes for women). However, those we see in ads and magazines are usually these "perfect"-looking people. So sometimes I wish that they'd show us people with real bodies--with a little roll of flab here, some lines of cellulite there--all without airbrushing them out. However, as much as I am not alone in calling for more "real" bodies featured, neither is it a prime global call. For deep within all of us lies that aspiration for a personal peak, a personal ideal: to achieve a personal best. Our real bodies will thus not show perfection, and these "perfect" people will continue to grace billboards and flyers, magazines and the like. Then again, who dictated them to be the ideal? Wasn't there a period of time when fat was the ideal? In the end, it is still society who dictates how we think, act, and so on. And by seeing this, we're back to square one: it is a part of our consciousness, and thus already a seeming uphill battle with no end in sight. Perhaps, however, there is hope--in progeny, for a better, more accepting social view and consciousness. But we need not wait, maybe, but try to start now.

Brain Blanking, Roger and Out

So I attended my nth Bikram (aka hot) Yoga class today last night. I've been trying to be religious about it--twice a week since it's a bit far from home. And I feel fantastic. It's so past yoga boy now; it's well and truly marvy (marvelous): it's such an intensely cleansing, detoxifying experience--of the mind and the body. I just feel so at peace afterwards. This is a far cry from weightlifting, which I had used to do. I now find weightlifting too harsh and cold--partly because of the atmosphere, and too agressive and flashy. Yoga's all about personal commitment, and individual concentration--hell, I just want to do my pose correctly: I don't care about the person next to me, nor does he/she! So because of my absence from weightlifting, my gymtrainer's been moping, thinking it's him (though OK initially, I was pissed 'coz he'd dish out opinions like they were to be taken as Bible truth, like it's the ONLY opinion, the ONLY solution. Hmph.) But now, it's obviously NOT, plus hello, I've been caring for my grandma in the hospital, whom today I had released from the hopsital (complete with the paying and the clearing); grad assistant work which due to the looming PAASCU accreditation, has been frantic; LOTS of MA work; and now, rebounding asthma and a new bug: sinusitis. So yoga has been my oasis, also complementing my vegetarian, animal-hugging lifestyle, and encouraging the free spirit in me (helped by my now sleeping in my room, allowing me to lounge in a shirt, and nothing else, etc.). Mindless cardio helps with stress too. However, weights just brings out all the needless aggression and helplessness and frustration in me. So no thanks. Now if only he'd understand.

For the subject of this entry, I put a meme here from Kae. I tag whomever wants to take it--that includes Patty, 'coz she previously complained that no one tags her ;p
1. Name: Therese-Cecile Manalo Sua
2. Age/Birthday: 19 May
3. Single or Taken: Happily Alone
4. Favorite Movie: This is a hard one. I can't pick one off the top of my head, but maybe Kill Bill? I loved it!!!!!!
5. Favorite Song: Another hard one! Now it's Paula Cole's Tomorrow I Will Be Yours
6. Favorite Music Artist/s: The Cardigans, Dido, Coldplay, Ennio Moriccone, Annie Lennox, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paula Cole, Vienna Teng (something and I share)
7. Favorite Book/Comic Book: Yet another hard one: there are too many! Maybe Clare Coss' The Arc of Love, though that's a poem anthology, and I only borrowed it. For graphic novels, however, it's got to be Gaiman's and Amano's Dreamhunters, which Jem had signed, something I'll never forget
8. Tattoos and/or Piercings: none, but I want Japanese-inspired art on my nape or right hip..or even that place just above the butt?
9. Favorite TV Show: Voyeur for what? On where? No teevee, but I love LJ
10. Favorite Video Game/Board Game: I am still a loyal fan of Neverwinter Nights, though I don't get to play anymore; on Gameboy, I used to play Pokémon, heehee
11. Do we know each other outside of Livejournal? How'd you know me? I knew you first through Janine and Myka, then we became Ph101&102 classmates, plus I'd sit in Lit127.1 with you and listen to Danton navel-gaze :3
12. Random Statement. Fee fie foe fum, I smell the sap of an English mum! (?!?!?!)...told you it's random.
13. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you: I tend to literally stick my nose into almost everything--sniffing stuff, (especially hair--but that's another story) even when I shouldn't. Smell is a huge thing for me.
14. If you could change anything about your current life, would you? Hmm. Yeah--learn how to drive, and be allowed to, so I won't have to rely on a driver.
15. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you? I'll post it, but you'll fill it out???? I don't understand...*scratches scalp*

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ode to (Nutritional) Yeast

Apart from eschewing animal flesh (including fish!), I avoid eggs, dairy, leather, silk, fur, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)...but not so particular with honey and wool, and sometimes fish sauce, pearls and gelatin (living with omni gourmand parents), though I'm borderline with the latter three, so I'm not vegan...yet.

Apart from dairy cheese promoting cattle murder, et al., I am lactose-intolerant, so I get stomach pains and migraines and diarrhea and gas, to name a few effects.

Being from the Philippines, I thought I'd have to make do with no cheese, and so far, it's been OK.

Then Healthy Options, our local mega-healthfood store brought in Nutritional Yeast, and I was one of those who placed in an order. I was given a lax recipe of soymilk+mustard+margarine+nutritional yeast by a fellow community member over at Livejournal. Holy cow (pardon the phrase), it was orgasmic. I next tried it with fried tofu and Heinz Tabasco Ketchup, and it tasted like eggs without the murder. Mom looked at my "cheese sauce" with interest, and when she found out what it was, and that it was nutritious (um, "nutritional yeast" must be called that for something?)--especially high in B12, she was all for it. I mean, the recipes one can use with it are endless! A next one to try would be steamed broccoli and nutritional yeast. As she said, "So we're not limited to tofu anymore!" Um, I never was, Mom, but coming from an omni...fine. xP

Thus my first foray (and hopefully not my last) into Nutritional Yeast Heaven.



'Don we now our gay apparel'

By Isagani Cruz (*former Justice in the Supreme Court, NOT the playwright)
Last updated 02:14am (Mla time) 08/12/2006

Published on Page A10 of the August 12, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer." It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that have rejected our religious people's traditional ideas of propriety and morality on the pretext of being "modern"” and "broad-minded.”

The observations I will here make against homosexuals in general do not include the members of their group who have conducted themselves decorously, with proper regard not only for their own persons but also for the gay population in general. A number of our local couturiers, to take but one example, are less than manly but they have behaved in a reserved
and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.

The change in the popular attitude toward homosexuals is not particular to the Philippines. It has become an international trend even in the so-called sophisticated regions with more liberal concepts than in our comparatively conservative society. Gay marriages have been legally recognized in a number of European countries and in some parts of the United States. Queer people -- that’s the sarcastic term for them -- have come out of the closet where before they carefully concealed their condition. The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.

When I was studying in the Legarda Elementary School in Manila during the last 1930s, the big student population had only one, just one, homosexual. His name was Jose but we all called him Josefa. He was a quiet and friendly boy whom everybody liked to josh but not offensively. In the whole district of Sampaloc where I lived, there was only one homosexual who roamed the streets peddling "kalamay" and "puto” and other treats for snacks. He provided diversion to his genial customers and did not mind their familiar amiable teasing. I think he actually enjoyed being a "binabae" [effeminate].

The change came, I think, when an association of homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo by parading their kind as the "sagalas” instead of the comely young maidens who should have been chosen to grace the procession. Instead of being outraged by the blasphemy, the watchers were amused and, I suppose, indirectly encouraged the fairies to project themselves. It must have been then that they realized that they were what they were, whether they liked it or not, and that the time for hiding their condition was over.

Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color "bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, "Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!" ["I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don't mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as "Brokeback Mountain," our own "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.

My (tentative) reply:

Dear Mr. Cruz:


Sir, I'm afraid to say that as much as you make a "disclaimer" comment early on, about respecting some gays and so on, its validity seems to have been obliterated by the rest of your statement.

The way you have formed an irate statement against gays is similar to how the Americans saw Filipinos as "little brown monkeys," barring the President and people in power, of course (but are we sure they didn't think of them the same way within closed doors?) Your statement's tone and message can be likened to the way Americans saw African-Americans in the succeeding years of their Reform Movement (think Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr.), or even how the Spanish saw Chinese traders as they eventually took over commerce in the Philippines. Your statement reeks of the same tone, I am sorry to say. For in the end, Sir, it just boils down to respect--for our individual quirks, our individual differences.

As you said early on, there are decorous gay members of society. Neither were we "little brown monkeys;" I believe you will agree to that. And such analogies can go on--but always debunking the dominant view, who had formed that view on feelings of being threatened to be overcome. Such seems to be the case here, as well. But don't you see, the "little brown monkeys" did not want to dominate the Americans, but to live in peaceful co-existence, with different boundaries that may sometimes peaceably overlap. The same case can now be applied to heterosexuals and homosexuals. Homosexuals are built of the same stuff heterosexual members of society are, too, only with different tastes and predilections. That doesn't authorize persecution. For as much as there are differing races--even within our own Filipino culture--so too are there different forms of sexuality, converging into one big being. For as much as we should be all one people--one global community, so too are we of different sexualities coverging into one giant [sexuality]. We all have different forms of expression. Such differences have enabled us to grow as a species, as a culture. Homosexuality is a part of this equation. There should thus be no reason to condemn it.

I hope this puts things at a better perspective for you--a better worldview, with more respect and tolerance. Thank you for your time.