Friday, July 31, 2009


What I have in mind now might cost me some acquaintances and a lot of goodwill among some readers. I actually spent time debating with myself whether to take up this topic or not. But those who know me well enough are aware that I couldn’t let go once something starts eating at me. I just have to take that off my chest or I’ll explode!

I hope that we have broadminded readers who will understand that I am not deliberately targeting anybody. I may appear critical of some parents and I may be met by a lot of opposing ideas after this. But that’s a risk that I’m prepared to take. Bato-bato sa langit na lang …

It’s really very simple, nothing big and earth shattering. It’s about the flu and the issue of whether or not we should send our kids to school when they start exhibiting symptoms of the illness.

At first look, the answer seems pretty simple: child with fever = home.

But you would be surprised to know that there were actually some parents who still sent their kids to school despite elevated temperatures! I have seen this happen first hand. I have also heard of stories, uncorroborated of course, of parents who pressed ice cubes into their children’s foreheads so they could pass the temperature check at the school entrance. Others were said to have given their children paracetamol prior to going to make sure that their temperature would be down by the time they got to school.

I personally know of others who had to struggle with the idea of a slightly sick child having to stay home, thereby missing seatworks, quizzes and exams.

From what I have gathered, all these boil down to one concern: inconvenience. It is inconvenient for some to go after teachers to arrange for make-up quizzes and exams for the absent child. It is too much effort for some to borrow notebooks so their kids could copy the notes that they missed while they were sick.

I am perplexed. These stories, if true, are entirely against what I believe to be every mother’s primordial instinct when her child becomes sick! And that is to keep the child at home, well rested and fed and properly medicated to boot!

I had hoped that these stories were nothing but mere fabrications dreamed up by tongues that had nothing better to do. But the sad fact is that there are actually parents out there who do not consider a slight illness or an elevated temperature as enough justification for a missed day in school. They had to wait for 40-degree fevers perhaps?

And why is that? It seems that there is concern that their kids’ absence will affect their academic performance. I am thinking right now of what my daughter’s school principal, Sister Marissa Palomar, repeatedly says to the parents: let you children be children. Let them enjoy being such. Do not concern yourself too much over their academic performance. Their grades in elementary and high school will not show when they will apply for jobs in the future.

I completely agree. And if I may add … when they are sick, let them stay home even if they insist on going! Who are the parents anyway? I say, forget the missed quizzes and whatnot! Your children will not fail with two or even more missed seatworks.

And in addition to that, I enjoin parents to think of the other children who will be interacting with your sick ones. Spare them from contracting the same illness.

And this brings us to the crux of the matter … I can’t help but think that if the parents of sick children had only exercised the right discretion, maybe, just maybe, the reach of the flu would not have been as widespread as it is now. After all, if the sick ones had stayed home, who would infect the healthy children in school?

Friday, July 24, 2009


This probably is one of the most popular clamors around Dumaguete nowadays, next only to the people’s collective shout of “ENOUGH!!!” as they struggle through the ongoing road construction projects that got our streets shrouded under a perpetual cloud of dust.

I can think of a few choiced words and phrases to express the sentiment of most, but I would rather keep them to myself. Instead, I’ll content myself with “FASTER!!!” and “NEXT TIME, COULD YOU DO THESE PROJECTS GRADUALLY?? MEANING NOT ALL ROADS AND HIGHWAYS AT THE SAME TIME??? or DID YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL IT’S ALMOST ELECTION TIME???”

But here I go again, getting carried away, as in literally getting away from my intended topic. “More” is about the popular clamor for a repeat of the Cebu Exporters’ Furniture Sale that was held in Hypermart recently. For those who did not know about this, woe to you. You just missed what I would personally refer to as the buy of the lifetime.

This furniture sale came to us through the Department of Trade and Industry whose efforts facilitated the coming over of Cebu-based furniture exporters. Mind you, the furniture that were put on sale were not merely export-quality … these were the real deal, furniture made for an intended foreign market, but which were not shipped out to serve as showpieces for the manufacturers. This accounts for the fact that, for most of the furniture that were brought over, only one unit per design was put on sale.

The cream of Dumaguete’s society came in droves, the landed gentry, the professional circles and of course, the people who make up our City’s business community.

I would say that this sale came as a pleasant surprise to us who went over to Hypermart. Not only was the actual event unprecedented, but the furniture that greeted us as we entered the exhibit area left as gasping and incredulous! These were the kind of furniture that we see only in glossy foreign magazines!!! These were not the ran-of-the-mill China-made types that are practically the only ones that are available around here!!!

But what really got Dumaguete dizzy with delight (with the exception, of course, of the local manufacturers and furniture dealers) and got yours truly drooling with desire and at the same time sighing with regret … were the prices! OMG! The prices were to die for, believe me!

I am not saying that the furniture were cheap, but they came to us at almost 50% off … and that my friends, was what got Dumaguete’s elite scrambling over each other in their haste to snatch up the most beautiful pieces.

Even at 50% off, most of the pieces were still too steep for us unfortunate souls, but to the monied ones, they were too good to pass up. By the end of day one, I would say that almost 80% of the pieces that were brought over from Cebu have been marked “sold”.

This actually came as a relief to me. Imagine how it made me feel, wanting to own a beautiful and oh-so-comfortable sofa so much that I could cry, but helpless to do something about it because I could not afford it? Multiply that agony a dozen times over … and that my friends, was my emotional picture down there at Hypermart.

A piece of L-shaped sofa, originally priced at more than sixty thousand pesos, was offered for only thirty-five thousand and after much haggling, sold off at twenty-eight! That was actually cheap considering the quality, but really “cheap” only for those who could afford.

That was why the sight of that hated word “SOLD” actually came as a relief to poor me. At least, I could stop thinking of what I could pawn off to raise the amount I would need to buy off everything there, ha ha ha! With the exception, of course, of that headless naked figure of a reclining male! I would gladly have somebody else walk away with it!

Incidentally, I had the hardest time with my brat when it came to that figure. She saw it first! Poor doberdog mama was too late! Abby had already seen it. And the reaction? … “ewwww! Who would want to buy something like that?!?!” It was too anatomically accurate for words. I could only order, with all the authority that I could muster … “stop looking at it!!!” But that was like closing the gate after the flock had ran off …

Looking back though, now that I could view that incident with some sort of objectivity … me, Abby and that figure were kind of funny in the sort of praning-mom way. Preventing my daughter from wising up to the world is like trying to stop the tides from turning. I can but sigh!

And I veered from the main topic again! Well, that’s me! Your impoverished housewife, recently tormented by that figure and all the cheap furniture and accessories that were not really “cheap”!!!

So I’m now joining the clamor for “MORE” of that sale. More!, More!, More! … as if, granting that there would be a next time … I won’t be left tormented again. But who knows? I could start betting in the lotto … who knows?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Love You Dumaguete!

My love affair with Dumaguete started the moment I set foot on its shores. I love her, love her, love her!

But this love affair is nothing to the fire and passion between this City and Prof. David Padilla, a professor in the College of Law of Silliman University.

Let me share with you what he had written about our beloved ...

"I suppose it’s a bit odd to be sitting and proctoring a three-hour final examination on the law of corporations in a classroom in Kigali, Rwanda while musing about Dumagete on Negros Oriental in the Philippines. But my life has sort of gone that way since retiring as a lawyer and becoming an itinerant college professor.

But Dumaguete is special. Not to take anything away from Kigali or Pretoria or Miami, where I also teach each year. Dumaguete, a city of maybe 100,000 people, an hour’s flight south of Manila, is the home of Silliman University where I first taught two years ago on a Fulbright. Now I go back each year as long as they’ll have me.

The place is a noisy, joyful, unvarnished tropical paradise, a mix of Asia and pop western culture where Catholics and Buddhists meet and marry, do business and play.

These jottings are not only a reflection of the pleasant nostalgia I feel for Dumaguete and Silliman University, but also the fulfillment of an overdue promise to my friend Ipe Remollo, the ex-Mayor, who one evening at his home while listening to the visiting Manila Symphony Orchestra, said to me in so many words – “If you’re so crazy about our town why don’t you write about it?” I said “OK”. And here it is, more than a year later.

Dumaguete, home to four universities, sits on the Sea of Tanon on the Pacific Ocean. It’s located in Negros, one of more than hundreds of islands in a cluster called the Visayas. The town is a port and its Boulevard runs the curve of the sea.

The streets are a controlled chaos of motorbike-propelled tricycles and thousands of mostly university students mounted on motor scooters weaving in and out of traffic. Despite the law, virtually no one wears a helmet. A two-kilometer ride in a colorful tricycle carriage will set you back 12 cents. There are no traffic lights and only one stop sign, a home made job a resident placed in front of his home.

Yet everything moves, the streets are teeming and, amazingly, there are very few mishaps. Nothing is more delightful than to sit at an open air cafe on the Boulevard to watch single-man bancas and large white pump boats with graceful outriggers bob on the water. From there one's eyes drift to the vehicular madness of the roadway, endless, joyous, confused but functional.

Dumaguetenos are so polite. I’ve yet to see an accident, and have never witnessed an argument. And while I’ve never seen a youth carded at a bar, I’ve also never seen drunken students causing a ruckus.

I’ve never heard bad language, at least in English which is widely spoken and along with Tagalog is one of the country’s official languages. I should hasten to add that in these parts people speak a Visaya dialect they refer to as Cebuano – named for Negros’closest sister island – Cebu.

Of course there is the natural beauty of the place. The palms, the flowering trees, the lianas and bougainvillea which soften and give charm to the architectural hodgepodge of new and old, modern and Spanish colonial buildings and homes. And the mountains and nearby waterfalls and the thermal energy taken from the earth which powers the island’s electrical system.

And if you stand in the sun at midday you will perspire. But step into the shade and the sea breeze will put things right.

But let me return to the people and the food and the music, and inevitably, the cost of living.

Men are called “Sir,” and ladies, “Maam.” Students rise to recite in class, and smile naturally. Please and thank you, good morning and “bless you” are the universal civilities, not just on campus, but on the street and in the shops of Dumaguete. A child on meeting an adult takes the back of the elder's hand and presses it to his forehead and bows out of respect. Across

the parking lot at the municipal airport there is a sign on a somewhat dilapidated eatery

that says, “Welcome to Dumaguete – Home of the Gentle People.” And it is true.

There may be corruption in Manila, but I’ve never encountered it in Dumaguete. And

while friends, and I’ve made some good ones, descry crime in Dumaguete, for a boy who

spent the first half of his life in Detroit, and the second in Washington, D.C. with stints in

Philadelphia and Boston, crime there is laughable. Once a month you’ll read about a

purse snatching near the market.

Do you like seafood? Blue marlin, sea bass, and varieties too numerous and

unpronounceable to mention abound at local restaurants. Oysters and swordfish. And

rice, of course, at every meal. I draw the line at breakfast rice. But you rarely see an

obese filipino. A friend recently told me about a new Italian restaurant in town but he cautioned, "it's kind of pricey." The most expensive item on the menu is $7.00.

Street life in the barrios is lively. Kids play basketball especially at night on

jerry rigged courts. The churches are full on Sundays and feast days.Ex pats from Australia, Scandinavia and a few Americans have begun to discover Negros. A considerable number have married attractive Philippine women and settled down. And why not? Cyber cafes, bookstores, four-dollar Thai massages, beach front

property - a buildable lot twenty minutes out of town is available through a legal loophole for a dirt-cheap price

Did you know that the Philippines is the cell phone and text messaging capital of the world? Did you know that Filipinos are extremely musical? Videoke and karaoke were supposedly invented there and are featured in many bars and restaurants that line the Boulevard in Dumaguete. Those without the machines often feature live singers and musicians who may only have a rudimentary command of English but close your eyes and you will think you're listening to a live performance by top international stars. As a matter of fact, Filipino entertainers are in demand throughout the middle and far east.

And a sense of humor? A couple of years ago some fifteen thousand people in Manila set a new Guiness book record for the most people brushing their teeth at the same time.

And nicknames given with affection among my friends include Raffy, Boy a/k/a Dad, Bong and Bimbo.

How about this? The yo yo was invented in the Philippines more than five hundred years

ago. On flights to and from Manila on Cebu Pacific Airlinesmostly adult passengers play "Show Me," for small prizes.The flight attendant says "Show me a rosary" and the first passenger to hold one up wins a baseball cap or a key chain.

Sports nuts? Besides basketball, cockfights, pool and boxing are big. Manny the 'Pacman" Paquiao is the current lightweight champion of the world and his following is huge and fanatical.And I have friends, including some ladies, who can relate the last three minutes of the final game of the NCAA tournament in 1997.And I almost forgot to mention world class scuba diving on Apu Island as well as spectacular reefs just off shoreAnd while not a player, I should mention that Dumaguete has a number of golf courses. Finally, let me mention that the Philippine wushu team took the gold in this exhibition martial arts sport at the recent Beijing Olympics.

Problems? By all means. Mostly economic. But life in Dumaguete is pretty laid back. Cheering contests among

students, municipal festivals, parades, student carnivals, and at the school where I teach, the pageantry and anxiety of Silliman graduates sitting for the bar exam along with thousands of others gives the place a special tone and spirit.

I have also found a serious side in Dumaguete, a pride and competitiveness in its best students known as "top

knotchers."The campus fences are draped in long streamers proudly listing graduates who have passed licencing exams or achieved special honors in law, medicine, nursing, business and other fields. Young people who earn distinction or go abroad on post graduate fellowships, and there are a considerable number of them, are particularly lionized.

In the final analysis what makes for a coherent community that welcomes the outsider is kindness in the form of hospitality and pride in its achievements. These I found in Dumaguete.


It is now eight month later and I am back in Dumaguete once again teaching at Silliman University. Yesterday on my way to swim my small moptorbike came to a sudden and noisy halt. I thought I had blown the engine. A little old man happened by. He pointed out that my chain had come off and promptly put it back on. I gave him a little money and he was happy. A mile later the same thing happened. This time a tricycle driver stopped and got out his tools, shortened the chain, reinstalled it and oiled the whole thing as I stood by uselessly. I offered to compensate him. He smiled, refused politely and drove off."

His article came out in Metropost, July 19, 2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Have you ever left something behind and never looked back? You move on convinced there was nothing to look back to. You live your life … past memories consigned to the farthermost parts of your mind … life is good now … it’s all that matters.

Then one day your past waves a hand at you. You stop in mid-stride … it looks familiar and it is beautiful! Your memories, long suppressed and denied, come back to you in trickles … then the tears come … the very ones you didn’t shed before, back at that time when you have convinced yourself that there was no reason to.

You catch a drop in your finger and you ask yourself what this is for? But you already know … deep inside you know what your tears are for … you are crying for that that is lost and you are crying for those that are missed.

My tears were for the childhood that I lost, for the young life that I missed out. I cried for my lost family, my lost home, my lost friends … and for the joys of childhood that I never again experienced.

This is what happens to children when parents decide that they have had enough. They become collateral damage, bemused onlookers to an event too incomprehensible for their young minds to grasp and beyond their power to stop. That’s when childhood ends. A child went to bed. A weary old man woke up.

But I survived. Oh yes! I survived and I did well. I didn’t travel that road where so many like myself have gotten lost in. People commended for me my strength, praised me for not letting my sorry past affect my present. “Of course!” answered confident me. “I couldn’t be affected by something that isn’t of my own doing!”

But did I really manage to escape unscathed? Could it be possible that the shards left by my broken family missed wounding me in any way?

I realize now that it couldn’t be possible. A blow like that couldn’t miss leaving a wound. I didn’t even know that the wound was there. The discovery of a scab was met by amazement. Like a child mesmerized by the newness of its discovery, I couldn’t stop looking and just like any child, I couldn’t stop peeling off a bit, just to see what wonders it might hide.

But I didn’t discover wonderful things. Instead I found a wound as raw and as fresh as the day when it was inflicted. Then the pain hit me. And I cried as I should have cried 28 years ago.

No. We can’t ever escape unscathed. We will always carry that baggage with us wherever we’d go. Some may be painfully aware of its burden, others carry on like I did, blissfully unaware of that extra weight.

Opening that wound left me wondering … has it belatedly crippled me? I hope not. Rather, I would like to believe that the pain that I have denied for so long is going to make me a better wife and mother. Pain at its most raw for the first time in 28 years strengthened my resolve to spare my own child from the same fate. I could do it. It’s within my own power this time. With God’s help I’ll spare her.

Life is good now. Happy with my present and surrounded by the warmth of my family’s love, I should stop looking back to that life of long ago. But there are times when I couldn’t help myself … I had to go back and remember that beautiful childhood that I so suddenly lost. My heart would then feel heavy with regret … and the tears would begin flowing again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Abby and Myles: One's my baby .. the other's my dream baby ...

I Say -- this is taking "putting one's affairs in order" to a whole new level!!!

Man, I'll tell ya, women can be cold until the end!

The doctor, after an examination, sighed and said, 'I've got some bad news. You have cancer, and you'd best put your affairs in order.'

The woman was shocked, but managed to compose herself and walk into the waiting room where her daughter had been waiting.

'Well, daughter, we women celebrate when things are good, and we celebrate when th ings don't go so well. In this case, things aren't well. I have cancer. So, let's head to the club and have a martini.'

After 3 or 4 martinis, the two were feeling a little less somber. There were some laughs and more martinis. They were eventually approached by some of the woman's old friends, who were curious as to what the two were celebrating.

The woman told her friends they were drinking to her impending end, 'I've been diagnosed with AIDS.'

The friend s were aghast, gave the woman their condolences and beat a hasty retreat.

After the friends left, the woman's daughter leaned over and whispered, 'Momma, I thought you said you were dying of cancer, and you just told your friends you were dying of AIDS! Why did you do that??'

'Because I don't want any of them sleeping with your father after I'm gone.'

And THAT, my friends, is what is called, 'Putting Your Affairs In Order.'

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Love and tenderness ...
Frail man ...
The image of God's love in my mind.

Monday, July 13, 2009

There was a time when I belonged ...

Immaculate Conception College
High School Batch 1984
Ozamis City

I've been away from Ozamis for so long. I have lost touch with friends whom I've had since since grade 1. Joining our batch's social network (at sort of made me return to what I refer now as my Ozamis life.

Looking at the pictures of old friends ... I felt lost. I could not remember anybody. Had I not known that it was Michelle Buot in the picture, for instance, I would never have recognized that lady in the picture as the very first bestfriend I have ever had. I had difficulty remembering Rose, Carla and Christine. Jun Garcia I remembered but I felt awkward about it. Then it dawned to me. I used to call him Flor. There were others whose name I immediately recognized ... Noel Pombuena for their bakery in Annex, Julius Guangco because his sister was my jazz teacher ...

I kept going back to our site to jog my memory. Then they started to trickle in ... memories of Carla and Rose and Chris came back ... I recognized Julita's name ... I knew Ann Jalalon! Adonis just clicked into memory last night! I wouldn't recognize Roehl if I bumped into him today but I associate his name with fun and laughter and a little of "mischief"?

Thanks to Suzette (whom I'll always associate with her Sanrio collection back in our elementary days!) for posting our old pictures. I shed tears looking at them. I cried for the good memories and for the lost childhood, I guess. I cried even harder when looking at later pictures, when I was no longer there. I cried for the childhood friends I've lost, for the good times that I missed. Looking at your pictures in a beach outing, I kept thinking ... I should have been in those pictures too .. they were all there except me!

But where are the rest of our friends? Remedios, Lulu Bernad, Emilyn Ybañez, John Paul Manalastas, Celeste Lim, Rhea Abella ... how about classmates from our elementary days like Randolph Villamor, Robert Dimagiba, D'Marie Singson ... ?

The names and faces are coming back so much easier now, but they don't necessarily match. I see faces but can't remember names or remember names but couldn't match those with faces. I must have bumped my head some time after I left ICC but had also forgotten about it ... to account for my memory loss ...

Thanks to Noel for creating this site for us. Thanks to Michelle for leading me there. Thank you old friends, for warmly welcoming me back!

1st Year, with Michelle Buot and Suzette Salvosa

1980. Grade Six Graduation.
Held in secrecy. Not even our parents were allowed to attend due to the bombing of 2 moviehouses in Ozamis which happened before our scheduled graduation day.
Pretty much like what is happening in Mindanao nowadays!

1st year High School

Childhood friends. 1st Year Sampaguita.

Grade Six Class Picture. Miss Briones.

After my 2nd year in High School, I was uprooted, or more aptly put, violently yanked away from my home and friends. That's what happens to children when parents decide they've had enough.

That's when I became lost, living in the fringes, never again to belong ...

Until now ...

I'm in a new life now. A better, happier life ... warm in the love of my husband and child ... secure in the affection of my new friends ...

But sometimes, I look back to my lost childhood, and I shed tears of regret.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I never loved our country as fiercely as I did, when as a young girl, I went out into the streets to fight for our freedom with you as our leader President Cory. I have not felt that love for country nor that pride of being a Filipino since then. You can't leave us yet. We still need you. We need you to be our moral leader. Help us find that love again. Help us regain that fierce pride. Help us see that there is still some decency left among the people who lead us today. I see nothing but gloom in our future. Please be our light once again. Don't leave us President Cory. Your people need you.

We can leave messages for President Cory Aquino in this Facebook account:

Happiness is ... FAMILY

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Nonoy, my other half, in his spare time touring the decommissioned carrier,
USS Lexington in Corpus Christi (Texas?)

Monday, July 06, 2009


Abby as Princess Jasmine in a school play

My beautiful flower girl

Abby's First Holy Communion

My Birthday Girl!

My little twirler. She's so exhausted she could barely
manage a smile for Mama!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

T-Bone Steak

Borrowed this from my inbox again. It's a very poignant story and carries a very special message ... let us cherish every moment we have with our loved ones.

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry.. The pain of losing my husband of 57 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories..

He often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.

He knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since he had passed on.

Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two.

Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how he had loved his steak.

Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blonde, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large package of T-bones, dropped them in her basket.. hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.

She saw me watching her and she smiled. 'My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know.'

I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.

'My husband passed away eight days ago,' I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. 'Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together.'

She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A Quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.

I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package.. On her face was the brightest smile! I had ever seen.. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blonde hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.

As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. 'These are for you,' she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. 'When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for.' She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again. I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision.

I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal.. How did she know? Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn't alone.

Oh, you haven't forgotten me, have you? I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.

Friday, July 03, 2009


This was the contention of a British man I had an encounter with lately: that “shit” for him is kind of bad-bad … but not really baaaad? I answered him that the use of profanities may not be “bad” for him but for Filipinos like myself it’s a big no-no especially with our children!

This exchange transpired when this foreigner, who is also a parent in my daughter’s school, brusquely said to Abby and her classmate, “You're talking about shit! Get out of my way!” I went cold with rage when Abby reported this incident to me. For a foreigner to act in this haughty manner to two little girls right inside their school campus is absolutely and totally unacceptable!

I could not take this kind of behavior sitting down. It’s bad enough that some foreigners treat Filipinos with disdain, but for this man to actually act in such arrogant and high-handed manner to children right in their own turf (not to mention FILIPINO children right in their own country, THE PHILIPPINES!!!), and to my own child at that, almost got me choking with fury!

I marched up to him and told him in no uncertain terms that we do not tolerate that kind of language or behavior towards our children. He reasoned that saying “shit” is normal to him, that it didn’t really mean anything. To that I countered that he is in the Philippines and that being such, he should respect the fact that we have different sets of values and sensibilities that he should abide to.

He may be used to dealing with certain kinds of Filipinos, but these Filipinos are different! I wanted to pound into his head that these Filipinos do not use profane language in our homes nor do we allow our children to speak, or be spoken to, in that way. These Filipinos expect their children to be treated with the respect that is due to them.

Our children are not mere clutter lying around for this man to kick out of his way!

Civil people in this country say “excuse me” to people blocking their way. We do not say “get out of my way!”

I say this to all our foreign guests out there: I know that some of you see your Filipina wives and their families as leeches sucking up whatever money they could get out of you. I am honest enough to admit that this could be true in some cases. This is very unfortunate but there is nothing that I could do about it!

But do not ever think, even for one moment, that all Filipinos are the same, and ergo, are to be treated in the same way. In the other side of the fence are Filipinos who keep their distance from you, Filipinos who do not come to you with palms up and arms outstretched.

As guests, you conform to our ways and not the other way around!

We treat you with respect and we expect to be respected in return.

But most of all, we expect you to respect our children!

Foundation for Battered Women Launched

A Foundation for battered women was launched last June 27, 2009. The first of its kind in Dumaguete, this advocacy focuses on empowering women victims by providing them with a means of gaining financial independence from husbands or partners who have been abusing them.

Fully named ZET Anti-Violence for Women Advocacy Foundation Through Livelihood, this movement is the brainchild of Analyn Zuñiga, a native of Dumaguete and herself a victim of domestic abuse. “I’m beyond personal ambitions now”, said Ms. Zuñiga in an interview with Metropost. “I want Dumaguete to know that there are thousands of battered women in this City and I want these women to know that I am here for them. I have gone though what they are going through. I understand. I want to use my experience as a catalyst for improving their lives. That is my goal in life now.”

Ms. Zuñiga disclosed that being financially independent made it easier for her to leave her partner. But she realized that for most battered women, leaving their abusive husbands is not option because of their inability of support their children when they do so.

The ZET Foundation is currently giving free training on therapeutic massage and other spa services to six women with histories of domestic abuse. Ms. Zuñiga hopes that after they have completed their training, she would be able to help them get employment abroad through her foreign business partners.

The Foundation also aims to create public awareness about the prevalence of physical abuse in the homes, not only against women, but also against their children. Ms. Zuñiga plans to talk to the women in the barangays to let them know that there is a law that protects them (RA 9262 – Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004) and that they have the ZET Foundation to go to.

Those who are interested may see SPO3 Josefa Lacandula at the PNP Women’s Desk.