Dreams, Nightmares And Reality

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

When I filled out my college application form and chose film as a major, I failed to consider tuition and film-related expenses. I was a sixteen-year old dreamer who grew up seduced by mass media, especially films. I was so sure back then that if I study film at the premier state university in the country then I could easily be the next Lino Brocka, minus the fatal car accident, of course.

When I got into UP, I was ecstatic. The summer I entered Diliman was probably the happiest summer I had. I was a smart, sixteen-year old dreamer who was going to change the world through my award-winning movies, and then probably marry Keanu Reeves when I turn 28. I was also naive and had been pretty much sheltered when I was growing up.

Then of course it didn’t take long for reality to come crashing down on me. I grew up thinking I was smart and then UP made me realize how average I actually am, sometimes even less. Also, a passing grade was not what you aim for. I actually had to work my ass off to get truly decent grades, UP’s definition of decent. Then while at it, I had to polish off my Tagalog (I am Waray) because the one I knew was classroom Filipino, and my embarrassing vocabulary was not helping my already fledgling self-esteem. But the worst of it all was realizing that my parents could barely afford my studies.

My tuition, board and lodging expenses, daily allowance and budget for film projects were obviously way above my parents’ public school teachers’ salary. When I was a sophomore, I seriously considered shifting to another major for financial reasons but my father forbid me. He made it clear that I had to finish what I had started. And so I did. My parents borrowed money from everyone they know just so their dreamer “not so smart after all” daughter could become a film director.

After five years and one semester (yes, I overstayed in college), I finally got my degree. Bachelor of Arts in Film and Audio Visual Communication. So now I have two Urian Best Picture films, one Oscar Best Foreign Film nomination and yes, Keanu has proposed to me on my 27th birthday. NOT!

After graduation, I helped with some friends’ productions including that Jeturian award-winning film, which actually included my name on the credits. I also worked as a casting coordinator for a modeling agency, which in reality meant that aside from pre-qualifying and assigning models to specific projects, I was also a photographer, videographer, talent scout, telemarketer, among others. I was underpaid and had to pretend that my boss and his business partners were not involved in prostitution.

Then after my stint at the modeling agency, I joined the BPO industry and had been stuck ever since. Pay is good and the benefits are decent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for my job. In fact, I love what I’m doing now. But yes, there are still times I feel guilty about not pursuing film. I still feel like I’ve not only let down my family, but the institution to which I owed my education.

If you have attended UP, you are taught to value the opportunity of attending the “top” school and that you are in fact subsidized by the taxpayers. So after studying, you are expected to give back. So far the only way I’ve given back is through my taxes and signing petitions for various causes. I’d like to believe they count. I also have intangible and not so legitimate contributions like fervently wishing the downfall of the Chinese government and ill wishes on the health and safety of inefficient traditional politicians. But those don’t really count.

So why did I have this sudden urge to confess my college drama? Because just last week, a young bright UP student took her own life because she could not afford to pay her tuition anymore. It was the most heartbreaking story I’ve heard in a while. I’ve pretty much avoided the news due to gore and sensationalism but this one just hit really close. I was once in her shoes. I was once desperate and too poor to pay my school expenses. I cried too many times because I thought my parents won’t be able to find someone who could lend them money or that I was again late for my rent or that I still haven’t had my paper printed out because my allowance is gone.

Well, sure, suicide is complex. Kristel did not simply kill herself because she was no longer a UP student. There are many factors at play here that led to the finale of this tragedy. One thing is clear though, her forced leave of absence was the final trigger.

One of the issues the many isko and iska had been fighting for and taking to the streets for the government to pay attention to is the budget cut on the university. The faculty are not well compensated, which is very upsetting since the university has the best there is in the country. Researches are not funded, and a lot of other cost-cutting measures are done.

Clearly, there is something wrong with the system. UP had been struggling with budget cuts from the government but it had also successfully leased some of its assets to multinational companies. And tuition has tripled since I graduated. Yes, I don’t understand all the facets of the budget issue that the university faces but doesn’t the university have a commitment to educate the brightest minds of the country? Kristel was a young, bright student who dreamed but her dreams were crushed by the very same institution who promised to guide her on her journey to learning and a better life. Her dreams were spat on by bureaucracy who valued profit rather than upholding its commitment to education. Because Kristel could not afford to pay her tuition she was rejected as a member of the academe.

UP prides itself for the eternal quest for knowledge and service to the country as symbolized by the Oblation. Forcing Kristel to file a leave of absence due to inability to pay her tuition certainly does not validate the values of UP. Taking away her school ID so she could no longer enter the premises was the final act of ostracism. They drove her away and so she decided to go somewhere else, maybe a better place. Wherever she is now, hopefully, she is not being judged for her finances or the lack thereof. May she be in a place where she can continue her education without worrying about tuition and student loans. And may she help us pray that UP can soon fix the problem before another life is sacrificed.

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

Photo courtesy of panoramio.com

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The Things About Women I Want To Tell Men

This is a list of some of the things I want to tell men. I don’t claim to be the voice of women, hence, I used I in the title. This is for the men who are/were friends, boyfriends, friends with benefits, husbands, colleagues, practically every man out there who has to deal with women

Photo courtesy of girl.com

Photo courtesy of girl.com

1. Don’t compare me to other women. Not to your exes, friends, your sister/s, especially, not to your Mom. I am my own self. I have my own flaws and strengths. My identity may have some characteristics like the other women in your life, but I am not them. I am me.

2. You don’t need to carry my purse. I won’t be using it if I can’t carry it myself. But please do hold the door for me and help me carry my grocery bags. There’s four of them for crying out loud.

Photo courtesy of owned.com

Photo courtesy of owned.com

3. I am sure that The Smiths, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and the others whom I forgot, are great musicians, I just happen to not be a fan. Please don’t judge me for that. Also, I would appreciate it if you keep a straight face whenever Taylor Swift comes up on my playlist. Her songs are catchy and gives me good vibes. I listen to Radiohead, too, and U2, Oasis, Vertical Horizon, Mozart, and yes, boybands. And please don’t start a lecture on your rocker chick friend’s musical influences. Just because I like Taylor Swift doesn’t mean I’m gonna start writing songs about my exes and how douchey they were. On the second thought…

4. I think it’s sweet that you let me have my way with a lot of things but still keep your spine intact. A spineless guy isn’t hot at all. (This applies to women, too.) You don’t need to take charge of everything but please do have your own conviction and do stand up for it.

5. There’s so much more about women than shopping, makeup, boys and clothes. We’re just like you, complex human beings. We also care about the environment, the lack of efficiency in the government, the plight of OFWs. We can even discuss the economy if you want. But personally, I’d rather not get into physics even if CERN has just confirmed that it indeed has discovered the Higgs Boson. Not that I won’t be amazed if you can discuss the God particle to me. But seriously, many women I know think geeks are hot.

Photo courtesy of funmeme.com

Photo courtesy of funmeme.com

6. We value communication. If you don’t appreciate getting text messages every 15 minutes, please say so. If there are certain topics that you think are off-limits, then tell us. Just don’t keep everything bottled up. If you don’t like that resto or this movie, speak up. Sulking is for 5-year olds. We can’t read minds. And second guessing rarely yield good results.

7. Most women pride themselves of their outfit, meticulously chosen depending on the occasion and the people they’re with. Hence, don’t be so narrow minded as to judge them as slutty and ask them to change just because you think guys would be ogling her. But if she is wearing a see-through top and a barely there skirt to church, then please talk to her. She may be needing more than just a discussion about appropriate outfits.

Photo courtesy of zipmeme.com

Photo courtesy of zipmeme.com

8. Most women value friendships. If you are her friend, she’ll do everything in the name of friendship: help you with your paper, give you advice for that chick you want to date, help you find a gift for your Mom, get drunk with you when you get dumped and help you bury the dead stripper. I kid, I kid. If you are her boyfriend, the list even becomes longer because more or less, she thinks the universe revolves around you. So please let her spend time with her friends. She loves them too, y’know. And they make her happy. And of course, you want her to be happy, too.

9. Do take note of important dates. Technology has made it easy now so you don’t have an excuse to forget birthdays and anniversaries. She doesn’t need gifts (well, she does like them) but do take the time to celebrate it with her. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to be creative.

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

10. When you suspect that something is wrong because of her silence, don’t force her to unload. Assure her instead that you’re willing to listen once she’s ready to talk. And when she does, do listen and try to stand in her shoes. If you still don’t get it, tell her so and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

11. When she’s irritable due to PMS, work stress, traffic jam or hunger, be patient. She can’t be sunshine every time. Same goes for you, right? Remember that time she was quiet and kept out of your way because the Celtics lost (for the nth time)?

12. While your girl friends are okay with you checking out other girls while you’re hanging out with them, your girlfriend won’t be as forgiving. That’s tacky and disrespectful. Your girl friends might also have the patience to listen to you rave about the endearing qualities of Megan Fox, Maria Ozawa, Angelina Jolie, et al., but don’t expect the same for your girlfriend. Hey, she chose you even if you’re not a fraction as hot as Matt Scannell.

Photo courtesy of jambase.com

Photo courtesy of jambase.com

13. This list does not apply to all women. Also, this list does not have everything you need to learn about women. But it would be nice if you would take note of some of these things and appreciate more the women in your life and give them the respect they deserve.

The Things I Want To Tell Other Women

1. Please stop slut shaming. Whenever a woman becomes a third party, she should get equal blame as the man she got involved with. Most of the time though, it is easier to blame the woman, which is just further proof of machismo.

2. If you are now with a guy whom you stole from another woman, the odds that he will get involved with another woman while he is with you is high. Everything that goes around, comes around.

3. Please do not judge me for forever wearing jeans and sneakers. They are comfortable and not against the law. If you do, then I’ll stop passing judgment on your stripper heels and how you look funny in that skirt.

4. Your mom would always be one of the best persons you will ever get to know. Tell her that.

5. Embrace sexuality. It is a gift. No one should make you feel ashamed of it, not the society, especially, not the church.

6. Most of us grew up in a culture where we are supposed to find men we’ll spend the rest of our days with. Some of us will do just that. Some will end up with more than just one. There will also be those who would end up with another woman. And others will decide to live alone and pursue other things. We have to respect everyone’s path. No shame in not wanting a family or children. Most of these people are mature enough to decide they’re not fit to be parents or that they’d rather do something else.

7. Try not to compare yourself too much to other women. It is hard but you can try. Each of us has a story not other people know about. If you always compare yourself to other people, then someone will always be more beautiful, smarter, bitchier, nicer, less smart, less educated and so on and so forth.

8. Stop berating yourself. Being a woman is hard enough. You have your period every month, have to deal with PMS, have to endure high heels, get squeezed in the train during rush hour, get leered at by drunks. Be kinder to yourself. You deserve it more than you think you do.

9. As they say, you can always use a man for misery. But really, most women would agree that nothing feels better than being with a man (or a woman) who loves and respects you. That is true. But being without a partner shouldn’t make you feel less about yourself. Truth is it’s just harder nowadays to find a mate. What with a lot of them turning gay and most of us getting stuck at work. But the universe works in an awesome way to balance things. So while waiting for that guy (or girl), just chill and stop thinking that there is something seriously wrong with you.

10. You are beautiful, not because of that makeup or that dress but because you are yourself. You are smart and should not be afraid of your own thoughts. You have a voice that should not be silenced. You are a good person with a kind heart. You are sexy and not afraid of what other people think of you. You are fair and do not go around casting judgement on people. Even if you are single, you are not alone because you have a family that truly cares for you and friends who are great people who make you laugh. You are a great person because you are a woman.

Photo courtesy of pulsarmedia.com

Photo courtesy of pulsarmedia.com

Cheers To Women Around The World

Photo courtesy of onthisdeity.com

Photo courtesy of onthisdeity.com

Today we salute every woman in the world. The moms. The little girls. The aunts. Our besties. Girlfriends. To say that it’s tough being a woman in a still predominantly macho culture is an understatement. Hence, we take a break today, look back, appreciate, not only the milestones of the great women of history and today, but each little thing we do in our lives, which defines us as a woman.

So kick off the heels and get comfy on the couch, pour a glass of red and savor the universe at your feet.

Photo courtesy of aauw.org

Photo courtesy of aauw.org

Minsan May Isang Puta (Mike Portez-Borromeo)

Tingin ng mga bobong kapitbahay ko, puta daw ako. Nagpapagamit, binabayaran. Sabi nila, ako daw ang pinakamaganda at pinakasikat sa aming lugar noon. Di ko nga alam kung sumpa ito, dahil dito naletse ang kinabukasan ko.

Tara, makinig ka muna sa kwento ko, yosi muna tayo.

Alam mo, maraming lumapit sa akin. Nagkagusto at naakit. Ang hirap pag lahat sa iyo, virgin eh. Tinanggap ko naman silang tao, bakit kaya nila ako ginago? Hindi ko maintindihan ang mga nangyari sa akin. Bukas palad ko naman silang pinakitunguhan, ni hindi ko nga itinuring na iba. Iniisip ko na nga lang na kasi di sila taga rito kaya siguro talagang ganoon.

Tatlong malilibog na foreigners ang nagpyesta sa katawan ko. Sabi nila na-rape daw ako.

Sa tatlong beses akong nagahasa, ang pinakahuli ang di ko makakalimutan. Parang maski di ko ginusto ang mga nangyari, hinahanap-hanap ko siya. Kasi, ibang-iba ang hagod niya. Umiikot ang mundo ko sa tuwing ginagamit niya ako. May mga pagkakaton na nasusuka na ko sa mga nangyayari sa aming dalawa. Parang ‘pag humahalinghing siya, nararamdaman ko na nalalason ako. Gusto ko mang umayaw, hindi ko makuhang humindi. Hindi ko din alam kung bakit. Ibang klase din kasi siya mag-sorry eh, lalo pa at inalagaan niya ako at ang mga naging anak ko.

Alam mo, parating ang dami naming regalo – may chocolates, yosi at ano ka! May datung pa! Nakakabaliw siya! Alam kong ginagamit niya lang ako pero pagamit naman ako nang pagamit. Sa kanya namin natutunan mag-inggles, di lang magsulat ha! Magbasa pa!

Nung kinasama ko siya, guminhawa buhay namin. Sosyal na sosyal kami! Ewan ko nga ba, akala ko napapamahal na ako sa kanya. Akala ko tuloy-tuloy na kaligayahan namin, yun pala unti-unti niya akong pinapatay.

Punyetang buhay! Sa dami ng lason na sinaksak niya sa katawan ko, muntik na akong malaspag. Ang daming nagsabi na ang tanga tanga ko. Palayasin ko na daw. Taon ang binilang bago ako natauhang makining sa payo. Iniisip ko kasi na parang di ko kakayanin na mawala siya sa akin… Sa amin! .

Sa tulong ng ilan sa mga anak ko, napalayas ko ang demonyo pero ang hirap magsimula. Hindi nga ako sigurado kung nabunutan ako ng tinik o nadagdagan pa. Masyado na kasi kaming nasanay sa sarap ng buhay na naranasan namin sa kanya, kaya eto nabaon kami sa utang. Lubog na lubog kami sa pagkakautang, kulang yata pati kaluluwa namin para ibayad sa mga inutang namin.

Nakakahiya man aminin pero hanggang ngayon, sa tuwing mabigat ang problema ko, siya ang tinatakbuhan ko. ‘Yun nga lang, kapit sa patalim sabi nga nila. Para akong isang aso na nangagat ng amo, na bumabahag ang buntot at umaamo kapag nangangailangan.

Photo courtesy of aliwanavenue.com

Photo courtesy of aliwanavenue.com

Usap-usapan ako ng mga kapitbahay ko. May nanghihinayang, namumuhi at naaawa. Puta na kasi ang isang magandang katulad ko. Ang dating hinahangaan at humahalina ay nabibili sa murang halaga. Alam mo maski ganun ang mga nangyari sa akin, nilakasan ko pa rin ang loob ko. Kailangan makita ng mga anak ko, na masasandalan nila ako maski ano pang mangyari.

Maski ano pa ang sabihin ng iba, sinisikap namin na maging maganda ang buhay namin. Nag-aambisyon kami at nangangarap. Ayun, may mga anak ako na nasa Japan, Hong Kong, Saudi. Yung iba nag-US, Canada, Europe. ‘Yung iba ayaw umalis sa akin. Halos lahat, wala naman silbi. Masaya daw sa piling ko, maski amoy pusali ako.

Sa dami ng mga anak ko na nagsisikap na tulungan ang kalagayan namin, siya din ang dami ng mga anak ko na nanamantala sa kabuhayan at kayaman na itinatabi ko para sa punyetang kinabukasan naming lahat. Eto na nga ang panahon na halos di na kami makaahon sa hirap ng buhay. Napakahirap dahil nasanay na kami sa ginhawa at sarap.

Alam mo, gusto ko na sanang tumigil sa pagpuputa kaso ang laki talaga ng letseng utang ko eh. Palaki pa ng palaki! Paano na lang ang mga anak kong naiwan sa aking puder? At paano na lang ang mga anak kong nasa abroad? Baka di na nila ako balikan o bisitahin man lang? Hindi na importante kung laspagin man ang ganda ko, madama lang ng mga anak ko ang pagmamahal ko. Malaman nila na ibibigay ko ang lahat para sa kanila.

Sa tuwing titingin ako sa salamin, alam ko maganda pa rin ako. Meron pa din ang bilib sa akin. Napapag-usapan pa din. Sa tuwing nakikita ko ang mukha ko sa salamin, nakikita ko ang mga anak ko. Tutulo na lang ang mga luha ko ng di ko namamalayan. Ang gagaling nga ng mga anak ko eh, namamayagpag kahit saan sila pumunta. Mahusay sa kahit anong gawain. Tama man o mali.

Sa dami ng mga anak ko, iilan lang ang may malasakit sa akin. May malasakit man, nahihilaw pa.

Mabigat dalahin para sa akin, ang katotohanan na ni minsan ay di kami naging isang pamilya. Halos lahat ng mga anak ko, galit sa isa’t isa. IIlan ang gusto magtulungan, naghihilahan pa. Madalas kong itinatanong sa sarili ko kung naging masama ba akong nanay para magturingan ng ganito ang mga anak ko?

Kanino bang similya ng demonyo nanggaling ang mga anak kong maituturing mong may mga pinag-aralan pero nakakadama ng saya at sarap sa paghihirap ng kapatid nila? Di ko lubos maisip kung saan impiyerno nanggaling ang kasikiman ng ilan sa mga anak kong ito. Sila pa naman ang inaasahan kong magbabangon sa amin. Nakakabaliw isipin na natitiis nila ang kalagayan ng kanilang mga kapatid na halos mamatay sa hirap ng buhay. Parang di sila magkakapatid sa tindi ng pagkaganid at walang pagmamalasakit.

Ang di ko akalain ay mismong mga anak ko, ang tuluyang sisira sa akin. Kinapital ang laspag na ganda ko. Masaya sila sa mga nabibili nila mula sa pinagputahan ko. Buong angas nilang pinagyayabang ang mga pansamantalang yaman at ang kanilang hilaw na pagkatao sa mga makakakita at makikinig. Talaga bang nakakalula ang materyal na kayamanan at mga titulong ikinakabit sa pangalan? Hindi ko maintindihan.

Minsan sa pagtingin ko sa salamin, ni hindi ko na nga kilala sarili ko.

Dadating na naman ang pasko, sana maalala naman ako ng mga anak ko. Ilang linggo pa, magbabagong taon na. Natatakot ako sa taong darating. Ngayon pa lang usap-usapan na ang susunod na pangbubugaw sa akin. Gagamitin pa nila ang kahinaan ng mga kapatid nilang alipin sa kalam ng tiyan. Sa tagal ng panahong ganito ang sitwasyon namin parang eto lang ang sulok na gagalawan ko. Sana may magtanggol naman sa akin. Ipaglaban naman nila ako. Gusto kong isigaw: “Ina ninyo ako! Pagmamahal nyo lang ang kailangan ko!”

Sensya na, ang haba na ng drama ko. Masisira na ang make up ko nito eh. Salamat ha, pinakinggan mo ako. Malaking bagay sa akin na nakausap kita. Ang tagal nating nag-usap, di man lang ako nagpapakilala.

Ay sorry, di ko nasabi pangalan ko.

Pilipinas nga pala.

Ernesto, Fidel and Hugo

 

Photo courtesy of www.biography.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.biography.com

“Our youth must always be free, discussing and exchanging ideas concerned with what is happening throughout the entire world.”

“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” 

– Ernesto Guevara

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Sigo aferrado a Cristo y confiado en mis médicos y enfermeras. Hasta la victoria siempre!! Viviremos y venceremos!!!

(I still clung to Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Ever onward to victory! We will live and overcome!)

“Christopher Columbus (the Italian-born explorer) was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity.”

“Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ – who I think was the first socialist – only socialism can really create a genuine society.”

 

Photo courtesy of marxistleninist.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of marxistleninist.wordpress.com

As I have said before, the ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger”

“I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure [Jesus Christ].”

How We Let Facebook Screw Us (Over and Over)

 

Photo courtesy of funny-pictures-blog.com

Photo courtesy of funny-pictures-blog.com

We waste a lot of time on Facebook, that’s the identifying quality of our generation. We are addicted to the site, I think mostly because we are the generation of the entitled and narcissists. Practically everything that happens and does not happen, gets posted on Facebook. We’ve pathetically came down to, “if you didn’t post it on Facebook, did it really happen?”

We know it’s not good for us but we cannot seem to stop. We know they’re selling our information but it doesn’t stop us from sharing more. But deep down, don’t you find it disturbing that someone is actually profiling you for whatever purpose fits them best? And when I say best, I mean that which gives them the highest profit.

The following is an excerpt from David Ebersman, the Chief Financial Officer of Facebook when he attended the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, Telecom and Conference on February 27, 2013.

So 2 products that we launched last year that sort of fall into category: One is a product called Custom Audiences, and this is an important product for us that allows advertisers to come to Facebook with information they have about their customers. So if you’re a small business and maybe you’re a local coffee shop and you collect email addresses of people who come in and participate in your business, you can then come to Facebook with that list of customers and say, hey, can you show ads to these people. And since we know the email addresses for Facebook users and since most people are Facebook users, we’ve a really high ability to match that list with our user base and we can say, hey, yes, we can make sure we are targeting the message you want to send to those users.

Photo courtesy of funny-pictures-blog.com

Photo courtesy of funny-pictures-blog.com

My Comment On Fashion Pulis About A BV On A Corrupt Media Personality

Envelopmental journalism is prevalent, a sad reality in the media industry. Hypocritical self-righteous pricks who accepts payouts or negotiate favors don’t necessarily look like ogres or the bad guys. I mean, life would be so easy if the devil actually has horns, wears a cape and carries a trident wherever he goes; that way we would know who to believe and who to work with. But this also doesn’t mean that all the fuglies are saints. As the cliche goes, we’re human. So going back to the BI, my take is this could easily be any media practitioner. If fp is specifically referring to Mr. X on this blind, it doesnt mean Ms. Y is innocent or Mr. Z is a saint. But before we condemn them for abusing authority and fooling the people, think of the times you got off in a No Unloading zone or took a cab in a No Loading area or didn’t properly dispose trash or pay someone to hasten the processing of your driver’s license, etc. Now imagine yourself in their shoes being offered the world. Not even a split second of thinking how easy it is to just say yes and live an easy life? Now since you’ve established how pure at heart and saintly you are, go ahead and have fun casting stones.

PS. Let me be clear that I’m not an advocate nor do I condone corruption. I am painfully human, hopefully working to be more socially aware and responsible and still part-time self-righteous prick.