Monthly Archives: July, 2016

Dog bite

And it bled profusely, my right hand, between the palm and the thumb, that part swelled in a matter of seconds while I was washing away the blood under a running water. It was an accident. I shouldn’t have forced it, she was hurt, not feeling well, she refused to follow but because I wanted to bring her to the vet, I quickly picked her up by touching her torso (I’d lift her this way always when I am bathing her) then I lifted her using my right arm then right then and there she bit me. So instead of bringing my dog to the vet, I rushed myself to the hospital, at the emergency room, for medical help. Lesson learned: The anti-rabies of Bea expired last December and I did not bring her to the vet to get a shot.

Miraculously, when I returned home after three hours that’s how long it was–waiting, going to the pharmacy to buy the drugs for anti-rabies and anti-tetano, then finally being attended to, and leaving the ER, I also went grocery shopping despite my wounded right hand, also to the vet to inquire about my dog’s condition and what happened to me (vet said I picked her up the wrong way)–I was surprised to see Bea meeting me at the gate with Douglas. Was surprised to see Bea walking without limping (previously she was even shivering, having shortness of breath, and her poopoo was wet) and now she’s playful, being her makulit self. At the moment, Bea and Douglas are doing some playbiting and wrestling match. More importantly, this lunch time, she ate all her food (it was boiled chicken liver with carrots and cabbage). I don’t know what happened to her at least I am thankful that I got nothing to worry about, no dog to bring to the vet anymore. And another thing that I am grateful for, another miracle: the accident happened yesterday and today, I can already grip a pen with almost no pain. Thank God.

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Laking National Bookstore

Noong bagong salta ako sa Rodriguez, Rizal (na mas kilala sa pangalan na “Montalban”), sobrang nanibago ako. Because for 30 years since birth I lived and breathed in UP Campus. First impression? Malayo sa kabihasnan. “Middle Earth” if I were to use my older brother’s description of Montalban. Pero natuwa ako na may National Bookstore sa Montalban Town Complex. Nakaramdam ako ng panatag. Unang binili ko sa NBS-Montalban: Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

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Carla and her new puppies

Visited Carla and her newborn puppies two nights ago. Carla’s the mother of my adopted dog, Douglas now more than one year old, one of Carla’s first batch of puppies. In the picture is her 2-week old fourth batch of puppies, all males. Can’t wait to meet them with their eyes open coz it’s still close. I’ll wait for another two weeks.

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This is me and Carla in February 2016.

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Cozy moment

Bea and Douglas now more than one year old.

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Rights of the Accused

THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED, based on Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), consisting of a preamble and 30 articles which lay down the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, that was signed on 10 December 1948 by countries all over the world after the Second World War, are the following:

Article 1. All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights

Article 2. Equality and non-discrimination for all

Article 3. Right to life, liberty and security of person

Article 5. Freedom from torture and degrading treatment.

Article 6. Right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7. Equality before the law.

Article 8. Right to an effective judicial remedy.

Article 10. Right to a fair trial and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

Article 11. Right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Article 12. Freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence.

Article 14. Right to asylum.

Article 18. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Above are also called the civil and political rights of every human being, regardless of race or color, gender, sexual preference, religion, and nationality.  Articles 1 to 3 are the basic principles of human rights.

Before joining Commission on Human Rights (CHR), I don’t have any concept of human rights. All I know was the one taught to us in primary school, the good manners and right conduct. And the one I learned from my family and environment growing up, the concepts of right and wrong, of good and evil and somewhere in between, the gray area. But human rights? Never heard. Until I joined CHR.

As part of Human Rights Education and Research Office (now Human Rights Education and Promotion Office), we are always reminded by our Director to remember these basic definitions:

According to United Nations, “Human rights are generally defined as those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings.”

And from the Commission on Human Rights, “Human rights are the supreme, inherent ,and inalienable rights to life, to dignity and to self-development. It is the essence of these rights that makes man human.”

In yesterday’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines, Rodrigo R. Duterte, this is his definition of human rights:

“Human rights must work to uplift human dignity but human rights cannot be used as a shield to destroy the country.”

Since assuming his post, President Duterte, as a matter of policy, ordered the killings of alleged drug pushers and addicts who make a resistance or retaliate with the law enforcers to fast track the getting rid of criminality in our country. As a result, front page news in both traditional media and new media are about the killings of mostly ordinary, poor people. The human rights defenders and advocates cried foul over this. “An act of barbarianism,” one said. “Have we lost our conscience as a nation? No to extrajudicial killings!” said another concerned citizen.

Worse, it’s not just President Duterte who’s been charging CHR of cradling criminals but also other Filipinos, even from people who I look up to, who I cannot condemn because they’re speaking from their rage and because they have no idea about the rights of the accused same as I if I have not joined CHR.

One netizen said, “Human rights activists are all idiots and must be killed too.”

“ ‘There has been a marked increase in the number of deaths of alleged drug dealers… Blah, Blah, Blah.’ What? What country doesn’t execute drug dealers? Stupid Human Rights Commission,” said another.

And another, “I like no due process for the drug addicts, criminals, or drug traffickers and I do like very much to ignore human rights and court justices national and international. The president is the most powerful human in the country, he can order killings to arrange, to organize, to clean the country from all different kinds of crimes since that is his matter of purpose of office.”

I asked my director how do we share with other people our knowledge about the rights of the accused? (Particularly that I am not a lawyer.) She said I should cite the example of Jesus who was accused without due process, who was persecuted just because of a popular opinion without a fair trial. Who’d been tortured and not yet convicted.

I understood what she said. She provided other tips which I forgot already. I believe in Jesus and my faith is something personal to me. But not all will share this same belief, not all people share the same faith. Faith is personal. You can’t just pinpoint at Jesus as example and expect that all people will be convinced about it.

“Human rights must work to uplift human dignity but human rights cannot be used as a shield to destroy the country,” said President Duterte.

In criminal justice system, there is a myth that imprisonment is the remedy to all crimes. Because we have to bear in mind that not all people who are in jail are guilty of the crime. Many of them are languishing in jail while waiting for their trial. Not yet convicted but already in jail.

Under President Duterte, there is a myth that killings of drug pushers and addicts will end criminality. (Only God knows who on earth are the vigilantes committing those killings taking advantage of the policy of the new president under the guise of fighting criminality!)

In an article by DLS Pineda in Philippine Star, Duterte’s drug war: What we can learn from the history of cancer treatment, he shared:

“As we busy ourselves in killing more and more of these suspected drug pushers and users, we fail to see the real causes of the problem — poverty, unemployment, misinformation, the lack of opportunities for a decent education, etc, etc… First, we kill the drug pushers, then we kill our ability to empathize with our fellowmen, then… who knows what’s next?”

“Human rights must work to uplift human dignity but human rights cannot be used as a shield to destroy the country,” said President Duterte in his SONA. And the audience applauded.

You don’t understand Pres. Duterte. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Quoting my friend Marizen Santos, “It’s the utter disregard for human rights that actually destroys a country.”

Monggo in a pod

Ngayon ko lang nalaman na dito pala nanggagaling ang Monggo, isang gulay na ‘pag niluto ay masarap kainin with fried bangus.

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Favorite episode (In memory of Pugad Baboy comics series)

Frat by Pol Medina Jr.

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Source: Old issue, Pugad Baboy 7/ Pol Medina Jr./ Anvil Pub., c1996

Imagine You & Me

aldub1Unang-una, ang ganda ng cinematography (napaka-ganda ng Italy). Ang ganda ng soundtrack. At ang pinaka-importante sa lahat, ang ganda ng istorya. Akala mo typical love story, mababaw na pampakilig. Akala ko I’d just sit back and relax while watching the movie. Hindi pala.

“Imagine You & Me” starring Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza is a story that talks about that universal desire of finding that one true love. Of finding that missing piece in a puzzle called love story. And it also talks about love in letting go. Aaminin ko, dito ako naluha. Yung kwento ni Isay (played by Jasmine Curtis), ex-girlfriend ni Andrew (played by Alden) na may cancer truly hits home. (I have loved ones who died of cancer.) Doon sa kwento, pinili ni Isay na hindi magpatingin sa doktor o magpagamot. Dahil ayaw nyang mamatay sa ospital at ayaw nyang mahirapan ang mahal nya sa buhay. Pinili nyang hayaan ang sakit nya na patayin sya ng dahan-dahan. Gusto ko itong part na ito kasi dati may napanood akong movie about a person with AIDS, isang French movie yata yun, na pinili na hindi magpagamot para mabuhay. Bagkus pinili nya nang harapin ang itinadhana sa kanya, ang mamatay, habang dahan-dahan syang tinutupok ng kanyang sakit.

Going back to “Imagine You & Me,” from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I’d rate it 9. Bakit hindi perfect 10? Kasi hindi ako naniniwala sa philosophy ng movie na may missing piece ‘pag wala kang boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife sa buhay. If this is the kind of values or mindset put into the head of the young people who watched the movie and believed it, they’d be miserable. I think having a significant other is a bonus on top of God’s blessings. It’s a gift, not a goal. And when you receive that gift, that someone to love and love you back, you should seize and cherish that opportunity. Because it comes few and far in between. At ito nga ang pinili na mangyari ni Gara (played by Maine) at ni Andrew na nagdulot ng saya sa aming manonood.

Thank you Facebook!

37 years ago, I was born and raised in this very simple but dynamic community in UP Campus called Pook Amorsolo. From my conception ’til I reached 30 years of age, my family and I lived there ’til my father’s retirement. And during our stay there, I met my fellow kids who were born and raised there by their parents, just like me.  I played street games with other children until I was 9.  Because at 9 years old, I just became a recluse. One reason that I could remember that turned me into a recluse was when some kid told me that another kid had a crush on me, I got uncomfortable and got disinterested with playing. I became a homebody.  And I was happy just watching cartoons, Batibot, Sesame Street, and other fun shows on TV with my older and younger siblings.

From childhood to my growing up years, I would see them, my neighbors. Even when I stopped playing with other children outside I would see them–the other kids and their parents–even when I was just in the comforts of our home I’d catch a glimpse of them if I happen to look outside or if I saw them passing by in front of our house.  Or if I happen to be passing by in front of their houses or elsewhere in Amorsolo.  I just saw them ordinarily as neighbors. Some people I know by face, while the others I know their names but hardly spoke with.

Back then, even until now, neighbors to me are people that I’d rather not know in a deep personal level.  Neighbors are people that I feel that I’d rather keep my distance from. Because growing up, I was a recluse. I was timid, insecure, cautious of people. I’m now in my mid-30s and I’d have to say that I am still that way: recluse, cautious of people but no longer timid.  Gradually I’ve learned to open myself up to people, becoming more friendly but still cautious.  And at times feisty when I feel something is wrong.  When I’m at home, I’m a homebody. I don’t go out and chat with neighbors to catch the latest chismis. I just love staying home with books, music, and TV entertainment, and household duties to preoccupy myself with and if I’m bored staying home I go out to go to a far place.

It was in 2009 when we moved from UP Campus in Quezon City to Rodriguez, also known as Montalban, in Rizal two years after my father’s retirement from UP.  Fast forward to January 2016 I joined Facebook.

I’ve always been a type of person that once I turn a new chapter, like graduation, like resigning from a job, like moving from one address to another, I move on and leave the people I met behind. Bahala na kung makita ko pa sila. And when I finally got interested to join Facebook this year (which I abhorred and avoided for a long time, I even had a debate with a colleague who was convincing me to join FB and I was so stern that I will never ever join FB), impossible things happened. Things that I never imagined happened.

Since joining Facebook this year, I reconnected with people I met in the past (including former neighbors in Amorsolo) and there are other people I met in the past who added me as their Facebook friend to reconnect. Then came this Mang Per news about his sickness which I learned only through a Facebook post by Elaine, a former neighbor from Amorsolo who was the first to send me a friend request which I gladly accepted.

Mang Per is a humble photographer that travels in and around UP Campus for photo gigs. During graduation and other special occasions, he’s there. And because he’s always there, because of his personality, he became endearing to the people he met along the way as he travelled around UP Campus riding his bicycle with his camera hanging from his neck, carrying a small bag hanging from his shoulder.  And I have this one photo during my childhood that he was the one who took upon the request of my Nanay, who was a teacher in a public school where I got my primary education.

So when I learned about the sad news on Mang Per’s health, I was profoundly affected even though the old man doesn’t know me. But I know him. Because Mang Per is one of those pleasant reminders of my childhood and growing up years in UP Campus. And that sad news about Mang Per just became the gel that brought me and Elaine, a former neighbor from Amorsolo in UP Campus, together (the reason that inspired me to invite her) so we could visit Mang Per in the hospital.

Elaine and her childhood family left Amorsolo in 1994.  But even during those times, we hardly spoke. Like I said, I was a recluse. I also invited Orly, I invited him remembering our previous brief chat in Facebook. A chat that I consider memorable because it informed the both of us that we’re of the same age (he’s just one month older).

For the longest time, Orly and I  both believed that I was the younger one and he’s the older one. We both believed that he looks older than I am. (Actually he really do look older than me, with his huge built and tall height, he used to be slim when he was younger, well, I used to be slim when I was younger, too.) So I remembered to invite him, in replacement to his suggestion that we have snack or lunch together after that brief pleasant chat. Orly suggested a meet-up (which I said yes to)  out of his amusement that we’re only able to chat after 37 years since our birth. In that chat, I mentioned to him that one of my elementary classmates in Balara, Alvin, was his classmate in UPIS. I saw them together riding a bike in our street and because I was shy, I didn’t go out to approach them, to say hi to Alvin. Well, in the virtual world, I wasn’t so shy anymore to send a friend request to Alvin after seeing him in Orly’s FB Friends list. (I don’t know if Alvin still remembers me but he accepted my friend request and I initiated to chat up with him in FB, more than once because of this elementary classmates reunion that I was organizing upon the request of my other classmates after I posted our Grade 6 class picture.  It was surreal, chatting with him after 25 years. He looks so different now. We both look different now, all of us, me and my former classmates in elementary who I am able to reconnect with in FB all look different now.)

So I thought it would be a better time to get together with Orly in the company of Elaine. I thought it would help lessen the awkwardness between me and him, if we ever get to meet finally after ages. Remember, we were only chatting in a virtual world called Facebook. Face-to-face meeting is different.

Unfortunately and fortunately, he wasn’t available.  So it became a bonding moment for us girls, me and Elaine who is three years older. After the hospital visit, actually, hours after that hospital visit, I wrote an essay about Mang Per then posted it in Facebook, with pictures of Mang Per with us, which was also Mang Per’s request, that someone would write about him in Facebook. It was my honor to do it for him. Then Orly saw my post about Mang Per in Facebook. He called me through my cellphone to say hello and apologize for not being able to come.  Orly’s good handsome voice was impeccable not to notice, I have to say.

To make up for his absence, he invited me and Elaine for a meet up which I set up five days later, June 24. We were about to meet in UP Technohub.

37 years ago, I was born and raised in this very simple but dynamic community in UP Campus called Pook Amorsolo. From my conception ’til I reached 30 years of age, my family and I lived there ’til my father’s retirement (or two years after my father’s retirement). But in the last 21 years, I was a recluse.

37 years after (or since birth), through the help of Facebook and because of my post on Mang Per, I hanged out, had a bonding moment with three of those children now adults who were my former neighbors in Amorsolo. That’s Elaine, Orly, and Roman (he was invited by Orly to join us).  And for two hours, I got to know them up close and personal. And wow, it was my first time to ever talk with Roman and Orly in a personal way. FIRST TIME. It was also too late for me to realize or to notice Orly’s handsome features.  It was interesting for me to know that despite Roman’s grunge look, he’s a funny guy at heart. He kept the conversation flowing and light. And Elaine, I observed that she’s a cheerful lady that you couldn’t see a trace of the heavy burden that she’s carrying as a breadwinner of her family.  All three of them are now parents. I was the only one who is single.

After the dinner, we had to say our goodbyes. Elaine went back to her work–which was just in Technohub–while I was accompanied by Orly and Roman in my walk to the Footbridge. Orly was supposed to shake my hand but I had a better idea, and shy of my clammy hands, I requested for a hug, which he obliged, so we hugged, knowing it could be the first and the last time that I would ever talk with him. I also hugged Roman. Then they gave me words of advice, the same advice that they gave me during the start of our meeting like a sort of reminder.  And I appreciated it, talking with me a little more. Then Orly, to my surprise, held my hand which I reciprocated by squeezing his hand, just a quick squeeze (and I hope he wasn’t surprised by that) seizing the moment despite the awkwardness, and knowing in my heart it could be the only chance I got to talk or even see Orly that long. When my family and I were in Amorsolo, Orly and his childhood family’s house was just stone’s throw away from our house. So he’s a former neighbor that I don’t think I will forget even if we hardly spoke in the past.  Orly now has his own family who lives with him in his childhood home in Amorsolo.  And before moving on our separate ways, I was only able to take a last look at Orly to show my gesture of goodbye.

It was surreal, awkward but it was a night that I will always remember.  Thank you Orly (also, for paying for our dinner), Roman, and Elaine. I have a feeling that I will again see Elaine. And I hope to see her soon.

 

The lovable Mang Per (an update)

These are photos of Mang Per as of July 6, 2016 shared by Teacher Tricia Gunabe-Anselmo of Phsop Preschool in Facebook. For those not in the know, Mang Per is one of the well-loved personalities in UP Community, Balara, and Pansol. Mang Per, the photographer, is one of the wonderful reminders of my childhood and growing up years in UP Campus.

“Eto na po si Mang Per noon at ngayon…hehehe mala-Gary Estrada pala siya nung bata-bata pa….Taos puso po siyang nagpapasalamat sa mga nakaalala sa kanya, nagpaabot ng tulong at nagdasal para sa kanyang madaliang pagpapagaling at pagpapalakas…pati na rin ang buong Fajilagot Family…di nila inakala ang mala-celebrity status ni Mang Per sa U.P. Community, sa Balara at sa Pansol,” shared Teacher Tricia.

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First time to see Mang Per’s eyes who always wear sunglasses.

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Mang Per, in his usual jolly, candid self.

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Mang Per, past and present.