Thursday, January 29, 2009

341 women, 682 lives

Excerpt from "House seen to pass RH bill by June" by CARMELA FONBUENA, abs-cbn

"All research studies say that 11 girls die every day because of complications in pregnancy. That's 341 women that may have died because of complications since September. Anti-reproductive health bill legislators allow this to happen. This is simply unacceptable. Women have the right to live as much as everyone has the right to live," Angsioco added.


Okay, let's take the 341 women as a fact, for this purpose. They died because of pregnancy complications. Does that mean we need a law to make contraceptives available? No, it means we need better obstetrical care. And please don't point out that the bill provides for this. I read it and it's the weakest part in terms of enforcement. Which makes it so much more ironic.

Oh and not only women, the unborn babes, too, have every right to live. You don't address this right when you're promoting a culture that is bent on canceling them out from the start, i.e. in the womb (the unborn are people, not a piece of growing tissue). If you keep life from happening, then don't be surprised if there's no life to defend in the future.

Human rights begin in the womb! :-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brown Bag Auction

If you're not too busy this Saturday, why not drop by? You might take home something nice! A Brown Bag Auction lets you bid for a gift hidden inside a, well, brown bag (so that you don't know exactly what it is). Fun?


---Sharing a note from Ditas of Mentor Philippines...

We'd like to invite you to this fund raising event which we call brown bag auction. We asked some people to give up a gift last Christmas and we've repackaged them in brown bags. Then we'll auction off the items to the highest bidder. The bidder won't know what s/he is bidding for until s/he opens the brown bag. The auctioneeer will provide a general description of the item. Items will be categorized under the labels "wearables and washables", "bath and beauty", "home decor", etc. starting bid for each item is 20 percent off the actual market price.
Proceeds of the auction will go to destitute patients of the PGH pediatric ward.
This is the second year we're doing this -- both the auction and the visit.
We "adopt" an entire pedia ward and buy the patients medicines, vitamins, diapers, toiletries, art materials, children's story books, fruits, etc. from the proceeds of the brown bag auction.
The last time we did it, the kids and their parents were very happy because after Christmas, wala na halos bumibisita sa kanila. Kaya yung outreach project is called PASKO PA RIN sa PGH.
It's also an alternative learning experience for the university students enlisted in a mentoring program my friends and I started in 2005. "Taking care" of a sick child, albeit only for 2 hours, is a very enriching experience for both the students and their mentors (volunteer mentors are young professionals working in various fields).
Hope you can come. You may also join us in the actual PASKO PA RIN event which will be on Feb 8, a week before araw ng mga puso =)
Invite friends, too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Of bunny slippers and confined spaces

[Very mild rant ahead.]

Living in a condo has its advantages: the commercial places are so close you can smell them (it spells convenience more than pollution actually). Commercial outlets are so close to home that at night, people come down to buy from 7-11 in their house clothes.

Okay, it might be very troublesome to change into outdoor clothes for a few minutes of a late-night errand, but 7-11 still isn't home no matter how close it is. This brings me to a conversation I had with a friend who explained to me why most people who live in the slums walk around in their house clothes. It's not really because they have nothing else to wear. It's more that the living space they have is so small and cramped the difference between public and private space has become blurred.

Well, now doesn't that explain why people who live in condo units go buy their instant noodles in their bunny slippers?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Busy with puppets!

Yep, you read it right: from now until April I'll be hanging out with puppets every Sunday because Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas has 2 big upcoming shows early this year! What an exciting way to start the year. :-D

That's Rama and Sita in the picture. The play Sita and Rama: Papet Ramayana will show in CCP's Huseng Batute (black box) theater, for CCP's 40th year. Tickets cost 300 for adults and 150 for students. Here's the schedule:

February 20, FRI, 10am and 3pm
February 21, SAT, 3pm and 7pm

(Tickets will be with Mulat so you can email Or ask me, hehe!)

The other show is of course the annual Papet Pasyon, which is usually scheduled on Palm Sunday is for free. For now, it's Sita and Rama we're busy with, so I'll just put up another heads up for the Holy Week show in March....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year Blues

...I mean 'blue' literally!

Isn't little Miguel Santino Fernandez just adorable? Here he smiles for photographer Ralph Alejandrino in Tumble Tots, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave. Libis QC. For a more in-depth retelling of the story of Santino's shoot, click here.

We had quite a lot of fun making this issue (and we even saw the actual printed copies before the Christmas break began!). The editors gave me the fun assignment of interviewing the Alejandro siblings, the artsy folks behind Papemelroti. When I set the interview, I got all five of them to sit in a circle and share stories. (Most of what I recorded was laughter!) Days later I learned how RARE it was to get all five of these busy bees in one room! Because when we tried to pool them together for a shoot, we couldn't find a suitable date! To make the visuals possible, we asked the youngest, Tina, to illustrate for that story--and what a good result! I guess it takes some limitations to test the bounds of creative thinking.

This issue, as you can see on the cover, is all about toddlers. There's so much to do to prepare for your child's 'terrible twos'--but let's not focus on 'terrible,' shall we? Because toddlerhood is a terrific time for both parents and their tots to learn and grow together.

As an ending let me share a more recent photo of Santino. He's with his mom Ruth here. We met in Trinoma again last month. Just too bad the event we were going to attend got postponed!

Baby magazine
is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama, Shoppesville, Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall. The January issue, though, would be late in SM stores this month for reasons beyond our control.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sometimes you have to be looney to see it rightly

One of the books I've read many times without tiring is Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I'm not gonna delve into a deep literary discussion here (I've graduated from that some years ago! Yes!). But I'd like to share the book because of the insights the persona (not the main character) makes throughout the whole novel.

The persona is Chief Bromden--his dad is Native American, so he uses the "normal" name of his mom. He's a big guy ("You're as big as a mountain!" as McMurphy--played by Jack Nicholson in the movie--says the first time they meet) and yet he doesn't see himself as big at all.

Surely everyone knows this book takes place in an asylum; hence, Chief Bromden is a Chronic, a patient who has little to no chance of ever getting better, and getting out. And this is just one of the interesting peculiarities of the book: it is written from the point of view of a crazy guy, but as you read along it doesn't seem like he's crazy at all. That's because suddenly the reader is made to see another perspective--one is made to understand "big" and "small" according to Chief, and somehow the pieces do fit together. Take this dialogue from the 1975 film, for instance:

Chief Bromden: My pop was real big. He did like he pleased. That's why everybody worked on him. The last time I seen my father, he was blind and diseased from drinking. And every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he don't suck out of it, it sucks out of him until he shrunk so wrinkled and yellow even the dogs didn't know him.
McMurphy: Killed him, huh?
Chief Bromden: I'm not saying they killed him. They just worked on him. The way they're working on you.

The book, of course, goes deeper into Chief Bromden's mind better than the film does (every medium has its strength). That's perhaps why the beginning of the book leaves a very foggy and whoozy feeling. Like about time, for instance:

The Big Nurse is able to set the wall clock at whatever speed she wants by just turning one of those dials in the steel door; she takes a notion to hurry things up, she turns the speed up, and those hands whip around that disk like spokes in a wheel. The scene in the picture-screen windows goes through rapid changes of light to show morning, noon, and night — throb off and on furiously with day and dark, and everybody is driven like mad to keep up with that passing of fake time; awful scramble of shaves and breakfasts and appointments and lunches and medications and ten minutes of night so you barely get your eyes closed before the dorm light's screaming at you to get up and start the scramble again, go like a sonofabitch this way, going through the full schedule of a day maybe twenty times an hour, till the Big Nurse sees everybody is right up to the breaking point, and she slacks off on the throttle, eases off the pace on that clock-dial, like some kid been fooling with the moving-picture projection machine and finally got tired watching the film run at ten times its natural speed, got bored with all that silly scampering and insect squeak of talk and turned it back to normal.

She's given to turning up the speed this way on days like, say, when you got somebody to visit you or when the VFW brings down a smoker show from Portland — times like that, times you'd like to hold and have stretch out. That's when she speeds things up.

But generally it's the other way, the slow way. She'll turn that dial to a dead stop and freeze the sun there on the screen so it don't move a scant hair for weeks, so not a leaf on a tree or a blade of grass in the pasture shimmers. The clock hands hang at two minutes to three and she's liable to let them hang there till we rust. You sit solid and you can't budge, you can't walk or move to relieve the streain of sitting, you can't swallow and you can't breathe. The only thing you can move is your eyes and there's nothing to see but petrified Acutes across the room waiting on one another to decide whose play it is. The old Chronic next to me has been dead six days, and he's rotting to the chair. And instead of fog sometimes she'll let a clear chemical gas in through the vents, and the whole ward is set solid when the gas changes into plastic.

Lord knows how long we hang this way.

Sounds a bit like science-fantasy fiction, but don't some days just feel like that? As if somebody is controlling time and making the minutes tick by so slowly that you can't bear the wait, or so fast you don't know where it all went.

In connection with the new year (did you see this coming?), I suppose one resolution we could make in such a weird-paced world is to take important events slowly and make good, well thought-out decisions... and then to keep ourselves busy enough with worthwhile endeavors so that the time doesn't tick by so slowly the way it usually does in idleness. And maybe when the times are urging us to go carelessly onward with what they call "modern lifestyle" (last I checked "modern" meant early 20th century), to never be afraid to be the looney one and stand up for what keeps us dignified, big and small people alike.