Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First Try at Rebel 2000

These are my first attempts of using my brothers SLR. Expect ugly pictures. But I'm reading about photography and yes, I'm practicing my composition. I actually shelled out 2 rolls of 36 shots in Pangasinan last weekend. I'll show some of those in another post. The pictures below were taken last October 19 at the National Peasant Mobilization at CM Recto.


Speech (That's Lengua speaking actually. I was just too far while taking the shot.)

Youth group discussion

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Women of "Like Water for Chocolate"

I just want to post this because I'm quite proud of this paper when the rest of my classmates discussed about the romance in the novel. I had to retype this because I only have the original hard copy which I submitted to my professor. This post is slightly altered from the original paper to include my teacher's comments and corrections. Unfortunately, I forgot her name but Ma'am MZM(S?or L?) thank you for your interest in my paper and for the grade. ;)

By the way, 2 days ago was "International Rural Women's Day". This is also dedicated to the women in the countryside.

An Analysis of the Three Sisters in the novel "Like Water for Chocolate" as Representatives of Women from Different Social Classes
(Written for my Humanities I class in 2004)

The novel "Like Water for Chocolate" has been dubbed as a feminist novel since its first release. Set in the middle of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917 against Diaz and US imperialism) where workers, peasants and natives banded together under the leadership of Villa and Zapata to overthrow the dictator. The author used this setting to explore gender identity, more specifically the females by using the 3 sisters as protagonists, examining how the characters fall into their roles in the revolution, be it in the household (small scale) or in the battlefield (large scale) itself. In this paper, it is the three sisters, Rosaura, Tita and Gertrudis who will represent the women from social classes and how they participated in the small and large scale revolutions.

During the Mexican Revolution, the mode of production was mainly feudalism , thus the main source of income was land or ranches. The workforce was dominantly farmers. In a nutshell, social classes are divided thus: The Bourgeoisie (Compradors, Landlords and Petty), the working class and/or the peasantry. Historically, the Bourgeoisie has always oppressed the working and peasant classes.

A characteristic of landlords and the bourgeoisie is that own more than they consume, doing minimal work yet they have the largest income than the rest of the workforce. Rosaura is the representative of this class. When Mama Elena died, the ranch was left to her name. Nowhere in the book was it mentioned that Rosaura did any heavy work (aside from the preparation of spices for sausages which in fact, as my professor noted, Rosaura does for fun) compared to the other women in the house.

Another characteristic of the bourgeoisie is that they have an affinity for tradition. Tradition and culture is not really a constant object, but is dictated by the mode of production. The upper classes need to maintain the status quo in order to remain in power, thus, the use of tradition. Rosaura has these characteristics. She married his sister's lover because Mama Elena was adamant with the tradition. By allowing herself to be married to Pedro, she was in agreement with Mama Elena and the tradition. She took her sister's right to be with Pedro. She was supposed to apply this tradition even to her daughter Esperanza. The point of this tradition was to make life convenient to the mother at the expense of the daughter.

As a woman, Rosaura was exploiting herself (aside from Tita and Esperanza) subconsciously. Any reason fir marrying aside from love is a union bound to fail. Since Pedro loved Tita, the man she married will never see her as a partner in life. Pedro could never give Rosaura what she wants and deserves in a relationship.

Tita is the perfect example of the oppressed classes of society. Analyzing her situation in the household, she was more of a worker than a member of the family. She seems to do as much work as the servants in the ranch (i.e. Chancha and Nacha) yet not much appreciated (through income or otherwise).

Tradition Dictates that she should not marry because she was to take care of their mother until the day the latter dies. Her right to marry and to have a family is taken away by this tradition. She initially felt helpless against the status quo but she already shown resistance. Overtly, she questions the tradition. When objective and subjective conditions (treatment as a slave, separation from Pedro and the death of her nephew) were enough, she openly waged a revolution on her own by leaving Mama Elena.

The middle sister, Gertrudis, is the epitome of the liberated woman. Initially, she only found sexual liberation (through Tita's dish and being "kidnapped" by the revolutionary soldier). Afterwards she worked at a brothel and admitted that it was to "put out the overwhelming fire" and seems not to be ashamed of it. In the battlefield, true liberation. Women's liberation in the strict sense is the acquisition of equal political, social and economical rights as men.

In Mexican history, women played important roles in the revolution. Mexican women were directly involved and were known as Soldaderas, or the female soldiers and field supporters. It is also often that they engage in combat. There is no room for sexual discrimination in the revolution. The Mexican uprising was a cause of the contradictions between classes, and sexuality and gender cuts through classes. It was a fight of the ruling class and the oppressed. Gertrudis became a general in the revolution, working her way up the ranks as others do notwithstanding the female repression characteristic around the world and mode of production at that time. She may have been from any class but she left that former life to participate in the revolution with a specific goal. She became some source of inspiration and strength for Tita at one time or the other.

These women are not exclusive to Mexico to that era. More so, these kinds of women are more evident at this time when the crisis caused by imperialism affects so many countries. There are Roasauras who stand on a pedestal. There are many Titas who are exploited who are vacillating, often reluctant but still resist. And of course the number of Gertrudises is ever and exponentially rising because of repression, oppression and the chronic crisis imperialism upon us. They are made aware that the only way to free themselves from repression is to participate in the revolution of the classes. Now, the question left to the women of the modern world, are you Rosaura, Tita or Gertrudis?

I just want to say that attending the Bloggers' Kapihan 2.0 was one of the best decisions I've made. It's so nice to meet the authors of blogs I read. :) Thank you for such a warm welcome from the bloggers. I'm looking forward to another Bloggers' Kapihan and meet more bloggers.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Roel Pulido: A Loose Cannon?

A lawyer has been gaining a lot media mileage in the past 2 weeks. Roel Pulido has filed a case against JDV and his son. Then he filed a weak and questionable impeachment complaint at the Lower House against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He seems like a loose cannon with his statements and actions. A resounding question is upon us: What happened to Roel Pulido?

The Activist

Roberto Rafael "Roel' Pulido, while taking his undergraduate from UP, was part of the anti-Marcos movement in the early 1980’s as he became a member of Alpha Sigma Fraternity (AS= Alay sa Sambayanan supposedly). Christopher "Kit" Belmonte and Michael "Mike" Defensor were his contemporaries in the Alpha Sigma. He later went on to take his law degree at the Ateneo Law School.

The Gallant Lawyer of the Magdalo

Roel Pulido became prominently known as he became counsel to 290 out of 300 soldiers who took part in the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003. Along with his brod, Belmonte, he rendered his service to these men pro bono. The eloquent Pulido spoke for the mutineers especially when the courts limited their access for interviews, drumbeating the young officers’ beliefs on media.
Pasted from Bulatlat.com

“They always say let’s make the military apolitical, let’s make the military apolitical,” Pulido said. “But the military is but a part of society, and when the military man goes home, he faces the same problems we all face: he lacks money for his children’s food and tuition, the Meralco bill is so high, water and fare rates are so high, everything is expensive. So of course it pushes him to question himself: ‘Why am I risking my life every day I go into the field for a government that does not even allow me to feed my family?’ So they may have crushed whatever it is that they say they’ve crushed, but certainly they have not crushed dissent.”
As the legal counsel for the Magdalo, he was accused several times by Malacanang and the AFP of conniving with the illegal acts of the mutineers. General Hermogenes Esperon accused Pulido of facilitated the escape of Capt. Nathaniel Rabonza, and 1Lts. Lawrence San Juan, Patricio Bumindang and Sonny Sarmiento from their detention center in Fort Bonifacio. Later on when Lawrence San Juan was arrested in Batangas and underwent solitary confinement for several weeks, San Juan defected from the Magdalo and tagged Pulido as a “propaganda officer” of the Magdalo group. He denied both allegations.

Falling Out with the Magdalo

On October 2, 2006 Roel Pulido did not attend Trillanes' hearing at the Makati Regional Trial Court. MKP decided to drop him as their lawyer. According to him it was a mutual decision between him and the Magdalo members. At that time, the reason for their parting of ways was not revealed although a prevalent speculation was that the Magdalo felt that their case was mishandled by Pulido.
According to Bagong Katipunero

"The word is out that Atty. Pulido had talks with Malacanang before he dropped the Magdalo officers as their counsel. He is currently a staff of Sen Honasan."
The Malacanang Link

Incidentally, Gringo Honasan, also an Alpha Sigman, has been very friendly with the administration especially last elections. Honasan was granted bail for 200,000 by the court to be able to campaign while Antonio Trillanes and Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran remained detained as their move for bail were refused.

With this liaison comes the Malacanang link where he may be used by the administration to forward a weak impeachment complain to impede a stronger complaint to immunize Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for another year. Even his former client, now Senator Trillanes believes that Pulido is indeed part of the Malacanang ploy.


It is so disappointing to see someone whom you thought had enough idealism to fight for and/or together with the Magdalo become a turn-coat. What used to be admiration for this lawyer who offered free services for the genuine patriotic young officers had turned to disgust. How I hope that Roel Pulido is indeed just a loose cannon hungry for media mileage but his relations and actions prove that he is, yes, a cannon, controlled by Malacanang to protect Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s regime.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

UP Going Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey- A smoking cessation strategy that involves abrupt cessation of smoking. Used alone, only 5% to 7% of smokers will remain abstinent long-term.
The shock of my life came when I saw the notices posted at Vinzons Hall banning smoking in UP. A no smoking policy inside the building is reasonable enough but every other place I can think of where one can smoke such as parking lots, tambayans, gardens are still off limits to smokers. What the hell? Is this still UP?
From http://www.up.edu.ph/upnewsletter.php?i=497

Drawing from a constitutional mandate to protect and promote people’s right to health and from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, the University of the Philippines has instituted a System-wide ban on smoking and sales and advertising of tobacco.
From http://www.bfad.gov.ph/
Sec. 5. Smoking in Public Places. - Smoking shall be absolutely prohibited in the following public places:
a. Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools,elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for persons under eighteen (18) years old;
I understand that UP is trying to promote good health in its community and follow the law. It is laudable that they are protecting the rights of the non-smokers but at what expense for smokers? Indeed, It is a choice to smoke a cigarette but it is also a choice to STOP smoking.
From http://www.prolife.org.ph/page/teen_touch10

According to the American Pediatrics Society, it takes only a short time to become addicted to nicotine. If you a re a smoker, you will know you are addicted when you find yourself craving cigarettes and feeling nervous without them. You will really know you are addicted when you try to quit smoking and can't.

Quitting can be hard for addicted smokers, and it can take a long time. Often people must try several times before they succeed. The longer you smoke, the harder it is to stop.
In fact it is harder to stop than to start smoking especially for those who have been smoking for years. Studies have shown that going "Cold Turkey" (abrupt cessation) is doomed to fail. Only about 5-7% remain cigarette-free in the long run. To stop smoking is a process where you lessen your consumption in stages until your body can handle itself without the nicotine.

Ateneo de Manila University made a compromise by designating smoking areas probably citing Sec 6 of the same Republic Act
Sec. 6. Designated Smoking And Non-Smoking Areas. - In all enclosed places that are open to the general public, private workplaces, and other places not covered under
the preceding section, where smoking may expose a person to the other than the
smoker to tobacco smoke, the owner, proprietor, possessor, manager or administrator of such places shall establish smoking areas. Such areas may include a designated smoking area within the building, which may be in an open space or separate area with proper ventilation, but shall not be located within the same room that has been designated as a non-smoking area.

All designated smoking areas shall have at least one (1) legible and visible sign posted, namely "SMOKING AREA" for the Information and guidance of all concerned. In addition, the sign posted shall include a warning about the health effects of direct or secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke. Non-smoking areas shall likewise have at least one (1) legible and visible sign, namely: "NO SMOKING AREA" or "NO SMOKING".
Ateneo has a sprinkling of Smockets or Smokers' Pocket Garden or SPGs to give leeway for smokers. You know it is a Pocket Garden because they provide benches and ashtrays and, well, a big warning sign that smoking is dangerous to your health or it contributes to the degradation of nature. A hefty fine of P500 if you light a cigarette in areas not considered a pocket garden. Students, professors and on rare occasions Jesuit priests use these SPGs. As far as I know, pocket gardens were readied before the strict implementation of the regulation.

Comparing it to Ateneo now, UP is looking more unreasonable. The notices contains the list where you CANNOT smoke which basically covers every area, nook and cranny of UP. Where then, are smokers allowed to light a cigarette? As I see it, the UP administration is looking at a utopian image of smoke free campus with a flick of their finger. If they must regulate, why not take the (I can't believe I'm saying this) Ateneo example? Open designated areas for smoking. Along with this, the administration should hold a comprehensive program to educate the students about the ills of smoking. Launch an information drive or campaign in the campus. To implement a total smoking ban without the inculcating the purpose is either just :
A. Plain lip service-- without an intention to take this rule seriously.
B. Authoritarian rule-- where the administration uses its position and power stripping smokers of their right to choose to smoke or not to smoke.
Quitting smoking for a person entails a step by step program sometimes involving withdrawal (syndrome), nicotine patches, audio/visual guides etc. A similar process must occur if the UP admin is serious in implementing the smoking ban. This regulation will only face failure if the UP administration pursues this regulation without proper campaign and consultation with the students and the rest of the UP community.

Oh I can see it now, cranky professors and restless students in a class craving for a stick! *shudder*


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