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Filipino Culture

It’s BB Gandanghari not Bebe Gandanghari

Bloggers’ meet with BB Gandanghari is on Saturday, March 14 at Mag-net, Bonifacio High Street, at 3-5 PM. You can Sign Up Here

I am absolutely charmed by BB Gandanghari. “Call me BB” as she hugged me. I found out that it is spelled BB not Bebe. BB is actually derived from her own motto Be all that you can be or be all what you want to be and from her first name, Binibini. The Gandanghari came from a family name of a UST beauty queen which caught her attention and thought it was perfect for her. She is beautiful, much prettier in person than photos shown in newspaper and magazines. With just light powder on her face, lipstick and faint blue eyeshadow on her eyelids, BB looks like a sweet schoolgirl. “I want my skin to breathe”, she says. Simple , classy and bubbly. Her happiness shows in the glow of her face and the smile that escapes her lips. It must be her newfound peace that makes her look and feel beautiful.

Before Dine and I started our interview, BB was more interested in us and started to ask questions about our blogs. You can see the concern in her eyes as she asks about the circumstances on how my son died. It was like talking to an old friend. No awkwardness, no airs.

I took photos of BB as we continued to banter about her new life and before the video interview. How absolutely charming! She flashes a smile now and then, an aura of happiness surrounding her that I can feel the positive vibes. I see nothing pretentious about her. I was with her for over 6 hours. She is BB.
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A Filipina Teacher Hired to Teach in the USA

My Cebu-based 44 year old, sister-in-law is leaving for Louisiana, USA on Thursday as a special education teacher for a suburban public high school. It came as a pleasant surprise to her. The US hiring agency informed her of an opening on July 4. She got interviewed via Skype by a panel of 10 where questions like “How do you apply technology in the classroom?” and others were asked of her. Distracted by the faces floating in the Skype window, she minimized it and focused on the camera to make eye contact with the school staff. She made the cut and from then on, a flurry of documentation fell into place . Her H-1 visa was released last thursday. A total of $3,000 placement fee was all she paid to the US-based agency.

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Mayen’s Story on Alleged Scam

If a Tim Cumper alias Ellumbra or otherwise known as Timothy Ellis Cumper or Grabbadabba via Twitter talks about me and other bloggers in a negative light, this is the story. Tim Cumper believes that he was scammed, fooled by Mayen, Tierra Maria Estates and a group of people since October 2007. It is almost 2 years after and he is in pursuit of bloggers who have written about this.

Read the bloggers entry on Tim Cumper Watch.

What do you get when you fall in love?
A guy with a pin to burst your bubble
That’s what you get for all your trouble.
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again

Mayen Betita paused to sing their love song, “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. She giggled and placed her hand on mine as if placating the pain from narrating the harrowing events leading to the breakup with Timothy Ellis Cumper (also known as Ellumbra or Tim Cumper) her ex-boyfriend, a UK national.

mayen and me

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International Women’s Month Celebrates The Filipina

she-ka guestingIt seems is getting more attention these days. Perhaps because March is International Women’s Month. The black “Yan ang Filipina” shirt customized by wikipilipinas refused to fit me. I felt like a “suman”. So I ditched that and wore something that won’t make me look ten pounds heavier on TV. I had to drag my lethargic body at 6:00 AM thinking the She-Ka TV magazine (aired over NBN 4) was at 7:00 AM. At the last minute, the show was pushed to 8:00 AM. It was worth it.

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WikiPilipinas Filipina Stories, A Contest

Awarding of the Winners of the WikiPilipinas Filipina Stories

Date: March 28, 2008
Time: 11-12:00 Noon
Venue: SMX Convention Hall # 3, SMX Convention Center, beside SM Mall of Asia, Manila
Map: Click on thumbnail


This is our tentative program for the March 28 event, 11-12nn

1. Opening Remarks
2. About Vibal Foundation
3. Empowering Women Through Internet
4. Walkthroughs: and and
5. Raffle iPod Nano
6. Announcement of Winners
7. Closing

Wikipilipinas will host lunch in a restaurant in Mall of Asia after the program.

wikipilipinas.jpgDine, Gus Vibal, founder of WikiPilipinas, his staff and I met up last week to discuss ways to support their first online Encyclopedia of Philippine Women that they started in I believe Gus is truly sincere in his WikiPilipinas’ vision to be ““the largest Philippine knowledge database”. I mean, Gus pratically invested a lot on WikiPilipinas. (A few sponsors helped though).

Dine, Lorna, myself and most of you will agree that we all want to raise the profile of the Filipinas, and be part of a larger movement in uplifting the status of Philippine women. I believe that WikiPilipinas is sincere in their mission as we all are. Here is our collaborative project which I hope you will be a part of:

230px-Filstories1.jpgIn line with the principle of honoring the diverse, beautiful, and powerful image of a Filipina, WikiPilipinas will launch a special portal Encyclopedia of Philippine Women inside the site which will compile and detail the achievements and triumphs of Filipinas everywhere. Its sister site will also have a Philippine Women Microsite containing documents discussing Filipino women, as well as selected texts from the oeuvres of Filipina writers. Through a combined effort for advocacy, WikiPilipinas partnered with Filipina Images to help promote a more empowering image of the Filipina. By having an online platform to showcase Filipina intelligence and talent, surely the goal will be closer.

To promulgate the advocacy, WikiPilipinas and Filipina Images websites will launch ““Filipina Stories,” a writing contest with the mission of uplifting the image of the Filipina.

Check the prizes and mechanics of this contest.

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Happy Slip Peelings Video and My Dad

The other night, my husband and I slept at 2:00 AM because we enjoyed watching Happy Slip’s YouTube videos. You know, we needed our endorphin fix. The Peelings video hits close to my heart for many reasons because of my dad. The quirky characters played by Happy Slip as the “aunt” and “mom” display so many similarities to my dad’s Filipino personality. Is it old-school now?

(gasp), I see myself in them too.

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Filipino Kids and Their Lifestyle

cartoons.jpgAre you curious about the lifestyle of 7 to 14 year old Filipino children? Sure, we know they have the inherent ability to assimilate new technology and adapt to change at such phenomenal rates but how much? Today, I attended the presentation of Cartoon Networks’ New Generations Philippines results of the first fully-localized study dedicated to Filipino kids with previous studies done in 2003 and 2005. Cartoon Network believes that such study is an integral part of its on-going quest to learn about kids, their lifestyle , opinions and behavior. The approach in conducting the study was based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 child and parent pairs, surveying Filipino kids aged 7-14 years and their parents from socio-economics classes A to D in three metropolitan areas of Cebu, Davao and Manila in September and October 2007. Synovate Philippines was commissioned to conduct the survey.

The results are quite disappointing. TV is the number one choice for kids among various forms of media consumption.

  • 46% are internet users of which three quarters have their own homepage.
  • More than 75% go to malls with their parents at least once a month.
  • They’ve got PHP 37 billion to spend annually.

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Suicide, Media and Mariannet Amper

suicide preventionI am disappointed in the lack of balance on how media (and some blogs) are treating [tag]Mariannet Amper[/tag]’s death. Even the Catholic Church, for goodness sake. Today is Mariannet’s burial but our beloved [tag]Catholic Church[/tag] in St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in Barangay Ma-a is in a dilemma. She might not be given funeral rites despite being a devout Catholic because of some old-fashioned priest.

Is it because he or some of us are still living in the dark ages where [tag]suicide[/tag] is taboo? Or are we in denial, uncomfortable or just limited in our knowledge that some young kids like Mariannet may suffer from [tag]depression[/tag] or chemical imbalance which may have pushed her to die by suicide?

Much of this stigma is is a carryover from the Middle Ages. Victims were forbidden traditional funerals and burials, and suicide was considered both illegal and sinful by the laws and religions of the time.

Today, we understand that most suicides are the result of biochemical illnesses such as clinical depression. Yet, the stigma associated with suicide often forces family members to choose between secrecy about the death and social isolation. Even media avoids talking about it except for a few radio stations that invited a doctor to speak on depression and suicide.

I will emphasize my points below:

1. Focus on poverty situation is one-sided. Almost all the news and blogs talk on poverty or blaming the government (except for news reported here and here). What about the suicide awareness and prevention? We do not know for sure what caused Mariannet to die of suicide. For all we know, Mariannet may have suffered severe depression, which is not the same as merely sad or something that you can snap out of it in a second. Depression affects both the wealthy and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Media needs to address a balance of both the poverty and Suicide Prevention and Awareness as well.

2. Suicide is an illness, not a sin.. Fr. Zenon Ampong, their parish priest in Davao is uncertain about the request of the family of Mariannet for her to be brought to the church for funeral rites citing the policy of the Catholic Church on suicide. Not all Catholic priests are like Fr. Ampong. I bet he is the same type of priest who refuses to bless the dead if the death is caused by suicide but bless cars, pigs, houses…what hypocrisy! May Mariannet rest in peace even without that priest’ blessing.

(Update: November 11, 2007: Fr. Ampong’s gives funeral rites but his sermon shows his ignorance on depression and suicide.. How simplistic his reasons are! But then understanding suicide is not an easy matter either.)

He said that the Mariannet’s death was the result of the sins of other people….The world has been overwhelmed by the sins of the people against others, and this has been paid by Mariannet’s own life, he added.

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Filipinos are Emotional?

For news on Mariannet Amper : visit my entries at Suicide, Media and Mariannet Amper and Childhood and Adolescent Suicide Deaths in the Philippines

One of my proudest primetime adventure is speaking in a dialect that I am not fluent in TV or radio interviews. Though raised a Cebuana, my first language has always been English. My parents often spoke in Tagalog between themselves. I learned to understand basic tagalog but never spoke it at home. Same with Cebuano. I have been skirting from a certain radio station mainly because I just cannot speak tagalog properly. How will I ever explain grief as pagdadalamhati without getting my tongue all twisted up in knots? How does one translate the word denial in Tagalog? Or Depression?

Do you want to talk to my husband?, I bargained. He speaks fluent Tagalog.

The executive producer pursued “It’s alright to speak in English”. Yeah right, English is fine. The listeners will understand but what will they think of me? But I remembered that I am in an advocacy and I needed to hurdle my speech limitations at all cost. I asked for the guide questions and with the help of my husband, I praticed the tagalog definitions of most grief terminologies including pronouncing the tongue twisting pag-da-da-lam-ha-ti. The good news was I can do the interview via phone patch which meant that I can have a cheat list in front of me. Goodee. I clapped my hands.

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