September 2009

Surviving and Recovering from Ondoy Flood Damage

Of course, I never imagined the wrath of Ondoy as it poured rain in Manila. I arrived in Singapore that saturday noon and saw a twitter message from my daughter.

“Oh no, the flood is entering the house. and mom is not here”.

No matter, the age of your child, they still look for good old mom. Their dad was around to help out move things to the second floor. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect the floods to reach neck deep in the house. Our former residence in Magallanes got flooded once and it was just ankle deep so the kids were pretty much exposed to floodwaters in the house. This time it was far more serious.

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Our 3 cars submerged. Only 2 cars had insurance coverage for “Acts of God”.

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Apl.de. Ap “Take Me to the Philippines”

It didn’t feel right being in Singapore, holed up in a fancy hotel, and eating gourmet dishes while my two girls and husband remained stranded in the second floor of our house. I couldn’t really concentrate on my media coverage of the Black Eyed Peas Concert yesterday because my mind revolved on the neck deep waters in the first floor. Our 3 cars are submerged in water. Our furniture, refrigerator and stove are also under water. Property damage alone is probably 3 million pesos if we include the cars. So that’s how my day has been today.

I went online to make sure my family got food, looked around for rubber boats. Media with me like Tim Yap did relief goods coordination in Eastwood but there was no boat to reach home. I begged around for small boats to reach our neighborhood and finally by 4:00 PM, there were helicopters for food drops and 37 rubber boats. My family finally got food by 4:30 PM. That lifted my spirits up because I felt that going to a party with Apl.de.Ap just didn’t seem right if I am not assured that my family is safe.

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Black Eyed Peas Concert in Singapore

I am right now in Singapore for the Philippine Department Tourism (DOT) “” Take Me to the Philippines Campaign ” , a Collaboration between DOT and Black Eyed Peas Filipino Member Apl.de.ap The rains were already strong at 5:00 AM on my way to the airport. Upon arriving in Singapore, I heard my home’s first floor had flood waters slowly creeping inside. I panicked.

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Secretary Ace Durano Fascinated by the dual LCD of the new Samsung ST550
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Lucky Me! Family Meal Ad

With the the recent passage of RA 9710, known as the Magna Carta of Women, the Women Media Circle initiated consultations and discussions with women media practitioners in order to draft proposals for the new law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). The focus dealt on the provisions in the law’s Chapter IV Section 16 ““Nondiscriminatory and Non-derogatory Portrayal of Women in Media and Film,” as well as other provisions relevant to media, arts and communication, that will have an impact on our practice and creative expression.

During our break, a media practitioner pointed out to the group the latest Lucky Me! TV ad below:

The ad shows the kid eating alone, pretending to smoke using the lumpia, then a caption “Studies show that the less often we eat with our children, the more likely they are to smoke, drink and use drugs when they grow up”. No source of the study cited. Towards the end of the ad, Sharon Cuneta invites everyone to go home early on September 28 so they can eat together with their families. We all agreed that the ad discriminates against the OFWs, the working parents and others who can’t make it early during dinner time.
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A Cafeteria Catholic Meets Father Robert Reyes

We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe. — Venerable John Henry Newman

I am not ashamed to admit that I am not a devout Catholic. You can say, a Cafeteria Catholic. Ah, I can just imagine my dear departed dad worried about my eternal salvation. Is that what you call it? I believe in God, though. I pray and meditate a lot. Praying and meditating are ways to take care of my spirit and it is not necessarily connected to organized religion. I try to live a meaningful life by being of service to others. But I don’t attend sunday mass except Christmas day or Easter Sunday. Does that make me a sinful person? I will let God be the judge.


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Photo Credit

I can’t remember when my disillusionment with the Catholic Church started. My husband and I joined Couples for Christ in the nineties and politics within the system disbanded us when we needed each other most. Yes, politics. Then, I travelled with my then pre-teen girls during their choir tour to different churches in the USA and Canada. I loved the spontaneity of prayers in the Christian churches so unlike the rote praying in the Catholic Church. Some priests just don’t have the gift to deliver inspirational homilies and reflections. I loved the fellowship and the community support groups. When I started looking for a room for my grief advocacy, Compassionate Friends in my parish church, they had no room to accommodate my ministry. Why would they care anyway? The Compassionate Friends is a non-denominational group. Greenhills Christian Fellowship took us in through my friend, Cathy for the past 4 years. Then came the Reproductive Health Bill 5043 which the Catholic Church opposed, of course despite rise in poverty and maternal deaths. Philippine Congress is supposed to be deliberating on its passage this week but it is postponed again. Are they afraid of the wrath of the Catholic Church and lose votes in the process?

Yes, politics.

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Sex Education & The Reproductive Health Bill 5043

“Doesn’t every woman deserve the right to have a safe pregnancy and a baby that’s born healthy? I believe this is a very basic human right.” Katya Matanovic

They say that it takes just one or two entries to bring hits to your blog. Three years ago, I wrote about Sex Education in the Philippines and to this day, I continue to receive search engine hits not from the keyword “sex education” but from the image keyword “sex”. I often wonder if Google had something to do with it, that they wanted people to read my entry first before jumping on to porn sites.

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My stand on sex education is

We need to teach them responsible parenthood in consonance with the sex education. We don’t need to teach everything but at least give them the basic facts. Along the way, the children can do some more research on their own.

Three years ago, Phillipine Catholic Bishops Oppose Sex-Ed in Schools, Say it Should be Left to Parents. Sure that is true only if parents know how to discuss sex with their children. We can’t assume parents know how to discuss sex openly. Some might be uneducated to understand the anatomy of reproduction and thus fail to grasp natural birth control methods.

The schools together with the parents can bridge the gap of sex education but there seems to be a problem when the parents also have a lack of knowledge on reproductive health.

With the yet to be approved Philippine Reproductive Health Bill 5043 , one of the provisions of the proposed law is mandatory imposition of reproductive health education

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Not a Drama Queen at 50 Something

Real women, it’s said, don’t have hot flushes. They have power surges, and so others will experience what Margaret Mead called ““postmenopausal zest,” a release of energy that propels them to take on causes, take control of their lives and embark on new challenges.

(From Drama queens at 50something by Margie David Collins

I should be having hot flushes at my age. During our high school reunion, everyone talked of hot flashes and menopause. Why am I not experiencing any of those symptoms? Maybe it is not my time yet. Perhaps in 2 years? I never really worried about menopause. It’s not easy, the body is no longer what it once but (and this is not bragging), I feel more beautiful , confident and wiser than in my youth. Sex is great! (*winks*) . The journey is made easier by using makeup, anti-aging creams, vitamin and herbal supplements and keeping fit through exercise.

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Photo Credit

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Noynoy Aquino as Presidential Candidate: The Game Changer

““Hope never abandons you; you abandon it” George Weinberg

Update (September 9, 2009)- Noynoy Aquino to run For President in 2010

I suppose I should be jaded by now. After living through the Marcos dictatorship, the revival of democracy through President Cory Aquino and the perception of President Gloria Arroyo‘s (GMA) bleak administration, the Philippines is not getting anywhere. The security of our children’s future is at stake as usual. I often wonder if our politicians truly love our country or are just living for the moment. They too have children, nieces or nephews who will inherit the future of this country. What is the use of all that money when you can’t bring it to the grave with you?

Now enter Senator Mar Roxas’ declaration as he gives way to Noynoy Aquino.

We agreed, let us forget about ourselves,” he said of his conversations with Noynoy. ““This is not about us. This is about our people and our country.”

““I do this for unity and in support of change. And that means that somebody must make a sacrifice. It must be me. Ako na,” Roxas said

That is a remarkable move for Senator Mar Roxas but it is not surprising news.

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