Don’t judge me unless you have looked through my eyes, experienced what i have, and cried as many tears as me. Until then back-off, cause you have no idea.


Today Matthew Warren died of suicide. He is the son of Rick and Kay Warren who must be facing the most painful moment in their lives. There is no pain more gut-wrenching than losing a child. My heart and prayers go out to them at this most difficult time.

““No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now,” Warren wrote in a letter to his congregation.

A long time ago, I too lost a son and I found hope and courage in Rick Warren’s The Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? . The book inspired me to move beyond the pain of losing a son and work on my new normal. Because the book talks about starting a service, I initiated the The Compassionate Friends Philippines Chapter with the help of Cathy Babao and Alma Miclat.

I can’t be there to hug Rick and Kay Warren for their loss and thanking them too for giving me the courage to live this new normal after the death of my son. What I can do is to continue on with my advocacy on suicide prevention and grief education such as ways to comfort the bereaved.

In most of my meetings with the bereaved, a common complaint is the insensitivity of concerned friends or relatives. I see it also in some of the insensitive tweets addressed to Rick Warren questioning the circumstances of his death. Some may not know what to say and blurt out the wrong words.

I have had my own share. I know the depth of concern they have towards us but in their enthusiasm, they blurt out the most insensitive remarks. Newly bereaved are very sensitive to these remarks.

Many parents feel they were being unjustly judged and criticized by those who could not possibly understand because they have not experienced the loss of a child. Compassionate Friends USA shares the proper response.

Our wonderful, concerned, well-meaning friends don’t know. They can only imagine how the newly bereaved feel. They haven’t personally known (thank God) the disbelief, the shock, the anger of losing a child or any loved one. Instead of bringing relief, those words just seem to add to the hurt and the grief. There are no words that will make it all right that someone we loved has died. But there are ways that can soothe the hurt, ease the loneliness and add to the healing. Recently, my sister visited The Compassionate Friends to get tips on how to comfort a family whose daughter died of suicide.


I’d like to share some of the ways to comfort the bereaved:

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suicideI noticed something strange in my blog referrals. There is an upsurge of suicide image searches in my blog which points to the Suicide Prevention page. Thank you Google. That has been the trend for many months now but in the past two days, there is just way too much reference to it.

I recall the same upsurge when someone surfed on the sensational suicide death in 2008 of 19 year old boy Abraham K. Biggs which was viewed on He took a fatal drug overdose in front of an Internet audience. Although some viewers contacted the web site to notify police, authorities did not reach his house in time.

In this news article, Webcam of son’s death appalls dad , Abraham Biggs Sr. said those who watched and the Web site operators share some blame in his 19-year-old son’s death.

“I think they are all equally wrong,” he said. “It’s a person’s life that we’re talking about. And as a human being, you don’t watch someone in trouble and sit back and just watch.”

I know for a fact that these kids were taught to report any suicide thoughts of their peers to their teacher or school authorities. For some reason, they did not take him seriously because he had threatened suicide on the site before but this is actually a clue already. Most suicidal people give warning signs in the hope that they will be rescued, because they are intent on stopping their emotional pain, not on dying. But not many know that.

My heart goes out to the father.

“It’s a shame I wasn’t there to help him. It’s a big loss to me. I wish I was there to help him–since nobody else would.”

If parents of suicide victims only knew that their children would kill themselves, I am sure they would have done all they can to save their lives. Suicide is a significant cause of death in many western countries, in some cases exceeding deaths by motor vehicle accidents annually.

I have met a few parents who lost their children to suicide and never did they imagine that their child would kill themselves. They often ask themselves ” How could I have prevented it? or I didn’t know”

If you are a parent, you can read through this Suicide Prevention page.

Typical warning signs which are often exhibited by people who are feeling suicidal include:

    – Withdrawing from friends and family.
    – Depression, broadly speaking; not necessarily a diagnosable mental illness
    such as clinical depression, but indicated by signs such as:
    – Loss of interest in usual activities.
    – Showing signs of sadness, hopelessness, irritability.
    – Changes in appetite, weight, behavior, level of activity or
    sleep patterns.
    – Loss of energy.
    – Making negative comments about self.
    – Recurring suicidal thoughts or fantasies.
    – Sudden change from extreme depression to being `at peace’ (may
    indicate that they have decided to attempt suicide).
    – Talking, Writing or Hinting about suicide.
    – Previous attempts.
    – Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
    – Purposefully putting personal affairs in order:
    – Giving away possessions.
    – Sudden intense interest in personal wills or life insurance.
    – `Clearing the air’ over personal incidents from the past.

The presence of one or more of these warning signs is not intended as a guarantee that the person is suicidal: the only way to know for sure is to ask them.

I hope the boy’s death is not in vain. The boy’s father believes the webcast was a cry for help.

“But rather than get help, he was ignored,” Biggs said. “I would not want to see anything like that on the Internet and not try and get help for that young man. I think that’s what the average person would do. Any normal person would do. I’m really appalled.”

An average person really does not know when a suicide is about to happen. If most of us knew, then there would have been very minimal suicide deaths.

Somehow, I hope my Suicide Prevention page can help save a life in the future.

A final word: if you have a suicidal friend or family member, please don’t use the line Kasalanan yan (Thinking about suicide is a sin). The suicidal person needs medical help NOW. NOT a lecture, please.

Suicide prevention is everybody’s business. Suicide should no longer be considered a taboo topic, and that through raising awareness and educating the public, we can SAVE lives.

Suicide Prevention Hotline Numbers

USA Suicide Prevention hotline
In an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

Philippine Suicide Prevention Hotline

Office Address: 2/F, 48 McKinley Road, North Forbes Park, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Office Phones: +63 2 8931893 /8106233
Fax: +63 2 8931892
E-mail: [email protected]
Crisis Line: +63 2 8937603 /+63 2 8937606 (24/7)
Mobile Text messaging: type hello crisisline and send to 2333 (Globe) or 211 (Smart)

A few weeks ago, Japan Broadcasting Corporation , a TV and Online program on NHK, contacted me to participate on their monthly international debate program called “Global Debate WISDOM”. This month’s topic is about “What can the world do to stop bullying?”. I agreed to join this volunteer interview and let the Japanese audience hear my advice .

It is a fact that school Bullying is a world common problem. So far, we have seen so many different approaches and programs to end bullying. But yet, there is no perfect solution to end bullying since there are still millions of kids suffering from daily bullying at school and outside the school.

Last October, a middle school student in Shiga prefecture in Japan committed suicide after going through the intense bullying that included “practicing a suicide (choking a neck)” and “practicing a funeral”. After a boy killed
himself, school and educational board denied the fact that there were bullying. It created a huge social upheaval after many students testified that there was a bullying. By this incident, the Japanese public rediscovered the untrustworthiness in the school system in Japan.

NHK gave me the link to the Movie list interview and these two videos.

Video 1
Many US states have enacted a law that bans bullying and makes schools and teachers fully responsible for bringing in anti-bullying measures. Who should be ultimately responsible for establishing policies against bullying?

Video 2

To prevent bullying at schools, what measures should schools and teachers take?

NHK is going to introduce a part of my movie in their TV show tonight Saturday, August 25 Part1 22:00 – 22:50 and Part2 23:00 – 23:49 (JST). It is a LIVE show, so they apologize in advance if the VTRs cannot be played due to unavoidable circumstances.

Please check the timetables of broadcasts for Japan and overseas:

I saw the news in Twitter. Angelo Reyes got shot.

“Who was Angelo Reyes?” I asked in Twitter.

The corruption charges against the General Garcia was not something I really followed because I was busy with other matters like the Reproductive health issue. Besides, one of the bloggers was going to write about it.

Twitter was then buzzing with shock and wondering what happened.

Did he feel he could no longer hold his head high, with his former underling telling the world how he (Reyes) had left the military service with millions in people’s money?
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Suicide is very much in the news these days. A forensic expert who conducted an autopsy on Trina Etrong, wife of Ted Failon said that the contact wound on her temple indicates suicide. (Edit on April 22– A second autopsy points to suicide)

I ‘d like to point out that the Compassionate Friends refer to the death as ““died by suicide” or ““died of suicide” to replace the commonly used ““committed suicide” or ““completed suicide.” The phrases “Died of suicide” or “died by suicide” are accurate, emotionally- neutral ways to explain the death.

Suicide, no doubt, is the most misunderstood of all deaths and leaves behind a residue of questions, guilt, anger, second-guessing, and anxiety which, at least initially, is almost impossible to digest. Even though we know better, we’re still haunted by the feeling that suicide is the ultimate act of despair, a deed that somehow puts one outside the family of humanity, the mercy of God, and (in the past) the church’s burial grounds.

Let’s not be judgmental on people who died by suicide.

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(Update May 21- Trina Etong committed suicide–NBI )

It was just a matter of time yet the news of Ted Failon’s Wife death came as a shock. Trinidad Arteche Etong or Trina , died tonight at 8:50 PM. She died of cranial injury but was it due to homicide or suicide? Her daughter thinks that her mom tried to commit suicide. To lose a loved one to death is painful, to lose a loved one to suicide is also disorienting.

If it is suicide, it is a particularly cruel form of death for the surviving family and friends. Questions like : How could she have been so full of despair that she felt that death was preferable to life? Additionally, the family has to cope with the police, an inquest, and possibly the media, as well as the ever-present and unanswerable question ““Why?”. Suicide is a complicated loss.

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