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7 Things

30 Oct

I turned 27 last October 26. I’m another year older now, and definitely wiser and better than ever! 🙂 The 26 year old me has experienced a lot of new things, has endured a good heartache and yet has managed to still appreciate life all at the same time. Turning 27 marks the end of a super colorful period and the start of a more wonderful and bright one! And I can say that I’m happy of what I’ve become at this point in time.

So, before I blog about the food that I ate and the restos and places i went to during my birthday week, I think it would be really worthwhile to first talk about 7 small victories I’ve achieved in the past year. Sort of a progress check for me so that if I catch myself in the future feeling a little unsure of myself, I have something to look back to and smile about. 🙂

  1. I’ve acquired an interest in reading.

    I’ve never really liked reading. Back when I was still in school I only touched novels because they were required to be read and even then, I barely finished any up to the last page. Often times, I’d resort to the ever helpful internet for synopses/summaries to get by. Even in law school, i hated reading cases and books. Case digests and reviewers did the job for me mostly.

    But I met Tin (office mate and friend in PCW) who sorta influenced me to grab a book by tagging me along at Book Sale (a bookstore that sells second hand books for cheap) every time we go to a mall. She would also bring to the office her books which she thought I’d relate to and would encourage me to read them. I’ve read her “The Alchemist” and her “Boy Meets Girl” and the rest is history, as they say.

     “Everyone is a reader, some just haven’t found their favorite book yet!”, and I can attest that this quote is so true. I’ve recently discovered that I am so  into conspiracy theories, covert ops and adventure novels (i.e. anything that involves controversial spy and intel agencies of the USA and of other countries,  detective stories and scientific discoveries). I was hooked by a Dan Brown book entitled Deception Point and now I couldn’t go out of the house without a novel of the same sort in my bag although I am currently reading Sex and the City now; While this is far from being a spy book, it is nonetheless action-filled hence the fascination haha. (and I loved the 2 Sex and the City films too!).

    So in just a few months, I’ve read a total of six novels which is QUITE A LOT for a girl who used to hate reading!  🙂 And I’m really thankful to Tin for introducing me to this new hobby. I have been learning a lot and enjoying a lot without needing to move from where I am. 🙂

  2. I can smile now (with teeth showing, that is)

    14650503_1855572504678202_3785686293409661077_n Many people have noticed that I never smile in my pictures. I’ve never learned how to because my two front teeth were discolored due to an accident in the past.But I finally had them fixed last month (after a loooong, looooong time! Kung hindi  pa nagka-infection hindi pa ako kikilos! kaloka). And thanks to my dentist, I am now learning how to smile with my teeth showing. It still feels awkward for me but I’m  trying to get used to it. I’m deliberately taking pictures of me recently with my teeth showing so I could get past the “smile showing hesitation” stage. haha. 🙂 And a loooot of my friends noticed this change! Someone even told me I have a beautiful smile and I should do it more often. ^_^

    3.  I don’t mind taking pictures without make-up on anymore.

    It’s been a long time coming… but I’m finally here. I don’t think I need a lot of words to explain this achievement. Just backtrack on this blog and you will understand the journey to being comfortable with my own skin. Been making progress little by little the past years but this time, I’ve reached the peak. 🙂 Just to give you a quick point A to point B comparison,  three years ago I did not join our class picture in law school despite the prodding of my classmates merely because I didn’t have make up on. Three years after, I initiate picture taking regardless of what I have on my face. 🙂

4. I’ve graduated from law school…

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5. And now ready to study for the bar exam.

I had so many things going on in my life the past few months that I forgot to blog about my graduation day, but yes I did graduate from law school last June, 2016! Why is this part of the list of my tiny victories? Because i’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with it but I finally surpassed 6 years of agony. And I’ve wanted to delay my taking of the bar exams because aside from being unprepared, I wanted to enjoy my long-coveted freedom. But now, I am finally ready to face the tough challenge of studying for the bar. And what I like about this turn of events is that this time, I am deciding for myself, without pressure from parents, friends, or whatnot. So I know that I will be taking my review  very seriously.. because it is a goal I am setting for myself. 🙂

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6. I’m managing without a house help.It’s been around 6 months now since we had a house help… but I am still alive… and now doing laundry, ironing clothes, feeding myself, cleaning my room – things i grew up not doing. I will not say I am good at chores now but at least I discovered I can get by without someone else doing these things for me. It’s very hard most of the time and I am honestly going to be very happy if I could employ a new house help soon, but I am grateful for the 6  months of total independence. 🙂

7. I’ve improved in my singing! hahaha! This I dare say to all of you! I can now reach the notes of Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time and Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now. You know, it pays to be singing the karaoke alone all the time! hahaha. And I’m gonna give you a tip now that i’m a singing pro: if the hobby gears you towards any form of self-improvement, then just go for it and try!

HAHAHA OKAY THE SINGING PRO PART IS CLEARLY A JOKE. But the improving at singing part is attested by a few friends who had spent some time with me in the karaoke recently. 😉 But of course, this is only in comparison with my old self. I don’t think I stand a chance with other people. hahaha. :DOKAY, that’s all for today! 🙂 Have a nice Sunday everyone! 🙂

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Happy Anniversary, Love! :)

14 Jul

This is a day late (and I’m writing this at 11:00 at night and I’m sleepy so pardon the bad writing) …but I would like to tell the whole world that I am celebrating an anniversary with my current love – my job! 🙂

I started working at PCW July 13 of last year, while on my last sem in law school. It seems just like yesterday. I am actually still considered a new hire, a neophyte in the field yet PCW has already opened a lot of opportunities for me which enrich not only my budding career in government but also my calling or advocacy in life. It has taught (and is still teaching) me so many lessons on the one social cause I deeply care about – women’s rights.

There was not a single day that I dreaded the coming of Monday morning. There was not a single time that I felt bad for rendering overtime (even without pay). I guess that’s how I know I am happy with my job.

A big chunk of that happiness I’m pretty sure comes from my work environment. Needless to say, I have the best bosses and colleagues in the office. I look up to all of them. Everyone is so good in what he or she is doing and passion just oozes from most, if not all, people there. They all inspire me! I am also supper happy because my division-mates are very easy to get along with and I consider all of them as my friends (except for Tin! Tin is like super clingy eeeew hahahaha joke lang Tin you know naman how much I hate you 😛 hahaha)

PCW also sneakily made me fat. hahaha. Omg but it’s true. Free food are always present in meetings in and outside of the office. As in left and right talaga.. Hilig pa namin mag-merienda.. ayan I’m two sizes bigger now! 😛

This job has also got me entering literally almost every hotel in the metro and in some provinces too – low-end to high end- because of the various seminars, fora, conferences, meetings, consultations and programs we constantly get invited to, or we hold ourselves. I wouldn’t really have so much reason to go and see these fancy hotels if not for work. Haha bet na bet ko kasi laging free food ^_^

I am also very grateful to PCW for giving me – a mere newbie – the chance to participate in quite big events – regional, national and international at that! I mean, seriously! Never have I imagined that i’d ever get to do all of these things in just one year! I wouldn’t finish here if i attempt to enumerate each event that I’ve been to. So I will just give you the highlights, alright? 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite experiences in PCW so far:

Within merely 365 days, PCW gave me my first taste of ASEAN. Last September, PCW hosted this event and I was tasked to liaise for a VIP Malaysian Delegate. I stayed at Dusit Thani for five days and got to meet new friends (from our PNP and from Malaysia). Enjoy na enjoy ako no’n grabe hehe kahit na nakakapagod yung work at nakakakaba, sobrang saya naman dahil naunahan ako ng excitement.. And free breakfast buffet for almost a week ansave (ay grabe yung puro pagkain lang nasa utak ko hahaha) 🙂

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Within merely 365 days, PCW allowed me to meet the person I once dreamt of becoming (I’m aspiring for her position actually hahaha):

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United Nations Women Under-Secretary General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka came to the Philippines and I got the chance to meet her in person!! OMG!!

12004027_1692431317658989_3249442943477151987_nOMG… mother from another nation! T_T *tears of joy*

Within a year, PCW also flew me to places I have never been to before. I am not a very well-traveled girl but being in PCW has made me a bit of a jet-setter hahaha joke.

My job flew me to Bicol. I got to see the Mayon Volcano for the very first time, all expenses paid because I needed to be there for a Gender and Development Seminar.

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It also flew me to Davao for the third leg of our Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda. That’s like in Mindanao and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even try booking a trip that far on my own.  HA! 🙂

But you know what’s the most amazing of ’em all??????

Within 365 days, PCW (with the help of UN Women Phil) sent me to……

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND!!!

           GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, MGA TE!!!

                      MY FIRST OUT-OF-THE-COUNTRY TRIP EVER EVER!

I couldn’t believe it! Hindi nga nagsink-in sa akin na aalis na ako until a few hours before our flight. (MORE ABOUT THIS TRIP IN MY UPCOMING POSTS so watch out! 🙂 )

Thank you, PCW. Thank you for believing in my ability to handle a very crucial and heavy task of preparing a report that will be defended before the United Nations — like the real United Nations! — kahit bago pa lang ako. Thank you for your trust and for the training. Thank you for keeping the flame in me burning.

Take me back to a year ago and I swear it wouldn’t even occur to me that United Nations will be a reality for me this soooon.

The only thing I can say is that I truly did my best to make myself worthy of all of these blessings and I hope I did not let anybody down! 🙂 One year has gone by and everything was just marvelous. And yes, it’s only the beginning.

I know… I just know that I am in the right place. I am looking forward to more years of serving the nation in my own little way while also experiencing surprisingly beautiful things along the way.

Now tell me, PCW, how can I not love you?? 🙂

The Perpetual Enslavement of the Malaya Lolas

9 Mar

News spread a few weeks ago about Japan and Korea’s settlement regarding the claims of the Korean Comfort Women who were forced to sexual slavery during WWII under the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. It was agreed by the two nations that the Japanese government will offer a final apology once and for all and will pay 1 billion yen or $8.3 million dollars to provide care for the said Korean comfort women.

It must be noted that this agreement came about because the Korean Government decided to espouse the claims of the Korean comfort women against Japan. Under international law, individual persons have no legal personality to sue another state. Instead, the government of these individuals must represent them and sponsor their claims. The Korean Government did exactly this and emerged triumphant in the end.

The Filipino Comfort Women suffered very similar atrocities and had a very similar plight. For years and years, they have been asking the Philippine Government to help them with their cause. Our difference though from Korea is that the Philippines denied its own women access to justice when the Supreme Court dismissed their petition on the ground that the Philippines has already waived all claims against Japan by virtue of the Treaty of Peace of 1951. Had it decided to take the course that the Korean Government took, we might have had the chance to give our Malaya Lolas the justice that they’ve always deserved but have never gotten for the longest time.

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pic source: worldculturepictorial.com

This just makes me feel bad to the core, especially because I work in an office that advocates for women empowerment and gender equality. Hence, I would like to share with you, my dear readers, my law school thesis which was about the Filipino Comfort Women and their immortalized subjugation. 

I was having a hard time deciding whether to publish this paper in this blog. For the most part, I am afraid to out a paper that criticizes our Supreme Court and our Executive Department especially because I am working now for our very own government. However, I decided that there is nothing wrong with doing so because I wrote this paper merely for the purpose of academic discussion, and my opinions are not worded in a defamatory manner (I think?). haha. Second, I am a little uneasy with the idea of gaining criticism from other people (law students, lawyers, etc). By no means was I a superb law student and I cannot ever claim that I have mastery over the laws  but I guess it will be a healthy exercise to hear counter-arguments from my colleagues (but please keep things polite and don’t resort to personal insults! aah!) as I am planning to improve my paper and study the topic further (I might take a course on Feminism someday you see.. haha).

Anyways, I am copy-pasting the Abstract of my thesis so you have an idea of what the whole paper contains. I am attaching the complete paper (in pdf) at the end of this post so if the topic interests you at all, feel free to read the whole 27 pages of it. LOL.

Apologies because the annexes are not included in the uploaded file. Anyway, copies of the Vinuya vs Executive Secretary Decision as well as the Ware vs Hylton Decision are available online. I-google nyo na lang haha!

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The Perpetual Enslavement of the Malaya Lolas:

A Critical Analysis of the 2010 Supreme Court Ruling in the  case of Vinuya vs Executive Secretary and the Implications Thereof with Respect to the Status of Filipino Comfort Women as Victims of Military Sexual Slavery

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ABSTRACT            

This paper looks at the Decision of the Philippine Supreme Court in the case of Vinuya vs Executive Secretary both in the legal and feminist perspective. It gives a critical analysis of the said Decision and explores the implications it made and will make in the future with respect to the status of the Filipino Women as victims of sexual slavery in times of armed conflict. Furthermore, it aims to reveal how the approach taken by the Philippine Government (both the Executive Department and the Judiciary) in dealing with the clamors of our aggrieved Filipino Comfort Women is reflective of our State’s tendency to neglect and forego women’s rights in exchange for a male-dominated concept of economic progress.

The paper starts by identifying the petitioners who filed the suit, on what grounds they relied their petition upon, and what their ultimate prayers are. The author primarily argues that the petitioners who were all subjected to sexual slavery through the Comfort Women System established by the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines are the most brutalized victims of war therefore the gross violation of their human rights cannot be taken for granted. To shed better light on the topic, sexual slavery was comprehensively defined in this dissertation and was differentiated from other types of sexual violence (i.e. rape and forced prostitution) as well as other international crimes.

The paper wishes to establish that sexual slavery is the most atrocious crime against humanity zeroing in on the magnitude of cruelty subsumed in it as well as the unimaginable post-war stigma, prejudice and psychological effects it left to the victims. Most importantly, this paper illustrates how if stripped off of its complexities, sexual slavery (especially in the context of the Comfort Women System) is basically a female-gender targeted crime.

Discussed herein as well is the significance of the filing of the case of Vinuya vs Executive Secretary in the sense that had it been decided on with a more gender-sensitive approach, it could have potentially paved the way for the Philippines to make a statement that we are a nation that genuinely gives high regard for gender equality and that proactively champions the rights of the Filipino Women especially in the context of armed conflicts.  This paper harps on the petitioners’ right to remedy and consequently the State’s duty to provide a legal channel for the aggrieved victims of sexual slavery.

Finally, this paper tackles the ruling of the Supreme Court in the subject case and gives a critical legal analysis of the said Decision, with a brief discussion on the controversial Treaty of Peace of 1951 which the petitioners sought to be declared void. These legal criticisms are carefully interwoven with a discussion on gender-focused implications of the said Decision. More specifically, this paper attempts to show how our country, even in the modern times, and despite ranking as one of the most gender-sensitive countries worldwide, has taken a step back with its efforts to promote gender equality –whether intentional or not – by the promulgation of the Vinuya vs Executive Secretary Decision.

Click the link below to read my paper:

Supervised Legal Research – Critical Legal and Feminist Analysis of the 2010 Philippine Case on Comfort Women

Watercolor Wednesdays: I Got Flowers Today

29 Jul

I got flowers today
It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night;
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt;
I know that he is sorry and didn’t mean to say the things he said;
Because he sent me flowers today.
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I got flowers today.
It wasn’t our anniversary or any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn’t believe that it was real.
I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
but I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

___
I got flowers today
And it wasn’t Valentines Day or any other special day;
Last night he beat me and threatened to kill me;
Make-up and long sleeves didn’t hide the cuts and bruises this time;
I couldn’t go to work today because I didn’t want anyone to know—but I know
he’s sorry;
Because he sent me flowers today.

___
I got flowers today
And it wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day;
Last night he beat me again, and it was worse than all of the other times;
If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of the kids? What about
money?
I’m afraid of him, but I’m too scared and dependent to leave him! But he
must be sorry;
Because he sent me flowers today.

___
I got flowers today
Today was a special day—it was the day of my funeral;
Last night he killed me;
If only I have gathered the courage and strength to leave him;

I would not have gotten flowers today.

by Paulette Kelly

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I just got back from our 3 day gender sensitivity training. I just wanted to share a poem that was introduced to us at the seminar. It is about the cycle of domestic violence, and is entitled “I Got Flowers Today”. Coincidentally, I have painted something related to this in the past. I called the artwork “The Bride”.

As an advocate of women’s rights, it is my duty to open up the eyes of as many women and men possible about the complexity of domestic violence. Most of the time, we are so quick to judge a woman who seems to be letting her husband beat the hell out of her. This issue however is not as simple as it looks like. It needs a little more digging.  See, once a woman falls prey to an abusive partner, it is not as easy to get out of it, as most outsiders would assume. The psychological disposition of a battered wife becomes derailed as the abuse worsens and we cannot just throw the blame on the woman for not choosing to leave the relationship right away. Many factors come into play. there are a lot of deterrents both internal and external to a woman which affects her judgment, her way of thinking, her responses — and these are not necessarily her fault. To be effective saviors and/or support systems, we have to demonstrate unending patience and persistence. We need to help her little by little, no matter how much she tries to resist it at first, until she finally can wake up from the haziness of it all and take the first step out of the house that was never a home. Always remember to never blame the victim.

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Allow me to just say this as I close this post: To all the women in a potentially harmful relationship right now, at the first sign or instance of abuse, please please please gather your courage and leave. Forget about everything else, and I mean everything else. Save your life and leave at once. Cover your ears and don’t listen to his sweet words, close your eyes and forget about his pitiful face. Don’t listen to anything your abuser will say and NEVER ACCEPT HIS FLOWERS the following day.

Please. try.

try.

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Below is the video shown to us in the seminar. It is a shorter version of the original poem but the way it was read was so haunting. Please take the time to watch it:

Ask Billy

20 Jun

11102616_1633563310212457_581524461776104412_nShe can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes. She can ruin your faith with her casual lies. And she only reveals what she wants you to see. 

11102737_1633563293545792_3562581043781178545_nShe hides like a child. but she’s always a woman to me.

988914_1633563230212465_7249424498967559305_nShe can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you. She can ask for the truth, but she’ll never believe. And she’ll take what you give her as long it’s free. 

11112884_1633563263545795_7774946600121956046_nYeah, She steals like a thief, but she’s always a woman to me.

11136616_1633563130212475_8744470162196411504_nAnd she’ll promise you more than the garden of Eden. Then she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding. But she’ll bring out the best and the worst you can be.

11129281_1633563160212472_5325087591088755250_n Blame it all on yourself ’cause she’s always a woman to me. 

10411055_1633563393545782_8024317715809371548_nShe’s frequently kind and she’s suddenly cruel. She can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool. But she can’t be convicted, she’s earned her degree…

1908333_1633563473545774_7772211930544093251_nAnd the most she will do is throw shadows at you, But she’s always a woman to me.

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Indulge me for not exerting any effort to deliver my own thoughts for today. I wanted to write about the wonderful paradoxes of being a woman but Billy Joel kind of summarized my whole point in one song already. So I’ll just keep on munching on these danish cookies in front of me while I finish my morning coffee which has already gone cold now that it’s 2:30.  She’s Always a Woman To Me is on loop and I’m having a very laid back afternoon sitting at the patio of my parent’s house.  Today is a lovely day ❤

Btw, I hope you liked my outfit shots. These were taken while we were vacationing in Isabela and behind me was an extension of the Cagayan River. It’s fun being a woman and i surely am enjoying the pretty things that come with it- like my flowy powder-blue blouse, that neatly bunned hair, my fancy golden jewelry, my pretty pink lipstick, my tendency to do poses and pretend like i’m a model, and the license to do all these things because well, I’m a girl 🙂

… Or maybe that’s just me haha. I’m a little maarte like that.;That’s the kind of woman that I am and maybe it’s not applicable to everyone but what the hell right? While my dear Billy’s seemed to have accurately described the common idiosyncrasies of us ladies, at the end of the day everyone is free to celebrate their womanhood whatever it means to them.  🙂

wearing a blouse from Baclaran, denim shorts from Guess, forever 21 earrings, Icaguera bangles, sunglasses from WWW.

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