Friday, February 25, 2011

Gawad Kalinga Will Not Solve Poverty

Gawad Kalinga is one of the mainstream movements providing housing and livelihood for the poverty stricken communities in our country. That which started from a project of Couples for Christ, it is now a multi-sectoral partnership which now boasts of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, 900 communities housing 60 to 100 families each community. The GK projects are examples of the synergistic effect of governance. That is, the government, the business sector and the civil society working together.

The success of GK relies on the scientific management of resources. Materials are duly computed and maximized even to the last can of paint. Most of all, the participation and the cooperation of volunteers, the human resource, made the delivery of the service successful. To subordinate personal interest to the interest of others and to serve the people is at the core of the success of each project. Now, together with the National Housing Authority under Vice-President Jejomar Binay, the Gawad Kalinga Model will be applied under the helm of the government.

No contest that the theory of governance as a partnership of government, business sector and the civil society is exemplified by the Gawad Kalinga communities and projects.

Gawad Kalinga boasts of “eradicating” poverty and claims it as a “solution” to poverty. As much as I would want to think that it does indeed eradicate poverty, I do not agree and I think VP Binay is more clear on that. Poverty is a result of a systemic problem of society. It is not a problem separate from the mode of production of the country. It is actually the picture of the failure of our present mode of production in providing for the needs of the majority. The Vice-President stated that he does not necessarily believe that this will solve the poverty problem but will lessen the burden presented by poverty. Gawad Kalinga (more of the volunteers than the recipients) tend to have an insulated mode of thinking that GK recipients will not be affected by the problems of the system as a whole. There must be recognition that livelihood training does not automatically translate to jobs nor income.

A criticism of the Gawad Kalinga Model is that the government has the tendency to use this type of projects to beg off from its actual responsibility. One must recognize that the Gawad Kalinga projects are limited and it cannot actually replace the resources of the government to deliver its services. (In one debate with a classmate, he uses GK to justify the government’s minimal involvement. “Nandiyan naman ang GK kung wala talaga maitulong ang gobyerno”) Stated above, theoretically, GK is a multisectoral partnership. It must be a social commentary that everyone must be an actor and likewise a stakeholder in each project. Unfortunately, some believe that it actually replaces the role and responsibility of the government to its people. However, expecting the partnership of the NHA and GK, it will hopefully increase the role of the government in the model.

The bourgeois thinking propagates within and outside its ranks especially among the middle class is that if the recipients of the houses continue to be poor after the project, then it is the fault of the recipient because they are indolent. I would like to take off from the belief of Gawad Kalinga that to change the individual, you must change the community; to change the community, we must change the society. The well off are critical of how the urban poor live in poverty, but are we critical of why these people are poor and why there is poverty in the first place? Housing is just one of the problems of the urban poor and is not the root cause of why they are poor.


This is a short reaction I wrote for a class last semester. It was after a dialogue with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto at the National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines Diliman on August 10, 2010.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Locker Story

School lockers are a symbol of high school education. It is a student’s personal space away from home.  It holds our books and notebooks. It may also contain some self care products and some clothes. Most, if not all students who had their locker decorated that tiny bit of space according to their personality.

In my younger years, I have always dreamed of renting my own locker. My school does not give locker space for free and I wanted one not because I really need it, but because I have watched too many teenage genre movies and a scene beside a locker is a practically obligatory. My square locker was about 12 inches in width and about 15 inches in depth. My school had a 4 tiered row of lockers and each year, I would get a unit on the top row because I was one of the taller students in my class. I loved my locker. My classmates and I would have a friendly competition on whose locker was the coolest: from the padlock, the nameplate on the locker door, to the contents of the locker itself. I used a vintage dial lock for my locker because I had the tendency to forget my keys at home.  My name on my locker is a colorful rendering of my name. I (try to) keep the inside of my locker organized as much as possible. I had little cubbies for pens and other little trinkets. I put in decorative paper on the sides of my locker. I even put fragrance in my locker so that every time I open my locker, the scent would waft through the air. As in the movies, inside the door of my locker is a picture (or practically an altar) to my crush (who at that time was Taylor Hanson)

Fast forward to now. I am redecorating our new apartment and we are in need of storage. I am actually considering getting a couple of lockers and am now looking for lockers for sale. On my wish list now is a row of bright red lockers for my home office. I love the vintage feel and look of a vintage locker and it can truly be a decorative piece at home.

Do you remember what your high school locker looked like? Pity, digital cameras were still expensive at that time. I would've loved to take a picture of my locker. Maybe some of you have a picture of your high school locker. Please feel free to share.

Would you consider getting a locker at home? Share pictures if you already have a locker at home. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Diane's Cluttered Desk: Young Corn and Burgers

It was one of those lazy weekends when we were bored and absolutely had nothing to do. When you have nothing to do, it means it is the perfect time to fire up that grill to cook some meat.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who Needs a 6 Pack?

It’s the time of the year when people are seriously getting ready for beach season. It is time to melt those pounds that we gained over the holidays and get into that smokin’ hot swimsuit. At least half the people will go on crash diets.

However, that’s what people with short term goals do. Serious fitness requires commitment. Commitment means looking beyond wearing a bikini this summer. It means being able to do a 2 mile walk at the beach when you are 50 without huffing and puffing. It means going for those abs to die for. Not just a 6 pack, go a full step further and go for 12 pack abs!

I myself am trying to make a long term commitment to fitness and health. I have only begun little steps but moving forward, nonetheless. I have tried the crash diet and all it gave me is hyperacidity and a bad headache. It’s going to be a tough battle for me (20 pounds in 3 months. Can I do it?) but I will try.

We Wear Scrubs at Home

A significant number of my relatives and immediate family are health care providers. My late mother was a registered nurse; my father and brother and 3 of my aunts are Care Givers; another aunt is a Dental Assistant. On some days, it feels like a hospital at home with everyone walking around in their cotton nursing scrubs.

Medical scrubs are those lightweight pants and shirts originally worn only by surgeons. It has now found its way out of the surgery room and are now being worn by most of medical practitioners. It was designed to be comfortable, making it easy to move around quickly. Scrub sets are composed of v-neck, short-sleeved shirts, and drawstring pants. The simple design was also for the purpose that they are easy to clean; there is very little space for dirt or grim to hide in these clothes.

With the number of health care practitioners in our family, we are definitely on the look-out and in need of cheap medical uniforms. My aunts buy hospital scrubs for the family by bulk as they get a better deal doing so. My dad’s scrubs are always in the shade of blue. My aunts prefer pastel colors such as lavender and pink. My dental practitioner aunt prefers those scrub tops with cartoon characters on it because she usually works with kids; kids are more relaxed when they see their favorite cartoon character. I have seen a good variety of scrubs. Or so I thought. Just recently,  when I was doing the laundry, I saw this ridiculously bright pink scrub suit. It was my brother’s. He and a couple of his friends from the office agreed to get same color scrubs for fun. As his friends at work are mostly female, he was outvoted with the color. Once a week, a 6 foot tall man with broad shoulders walks around the infirmary in a hot pink scrub suit. His female co-workers could not get over it. 

Blue Sky Scrubs offer Scrub Suits specifically designed for women. I like their scrubs because they produce  suits that complement the curves of a woman. They have the Simple Scrubs for Women, where they make your basic well-made scrub suit. Colors available are . Then they have the Original Scrubs line where more colors such as lavender and carnegie green are available. The contrasting stitching gives a fashionable twist to an otherwise boring uniform. Both lines of scrubs have one pocket on the shirt and two back pockets on the pants.Did you know where you actually look slimmer in them than your normal clothes. Working in scrubs does not mean that one cannot show their eye for fashion nor how they look well groomed and womanly. Monochromatic clothing plus good fitting clothes do wonders with a woman's silhouette, does it not?

A well-fitted scrub suit does not only benefit the looks. It also benefits how a woman performs her duties. Well-fitted clothes help in performing tasks better because you are more comfortable in moving about.An ill-fitting uniform can be a nuisance, especially in the medical field.

Consider Blue Sky Scrubs when you buy hospital scrubs. These are well made products who understand the particular need of women in the medical field. They offer competitive prices for a good selection of scrub suits. You may also buy separate tops or bottoms from them.

Faded old scrubs do not go to waste. I use my aunt’s worn scrubs, those she does not use anymore, at home. I find cotton scrubs comfortable to wear. I lounge at home and do housework in these. I understand now why they wear these. It’s so easy to move about in these clothes. Sometimes, I even sleep in them. They’re so comfy and cool, and easier to wash too. So yes, I repeat, sometimes, the house feels like a hospital with everyone wearing scrubs in different colors. lol.

Do you wear scrubs even if you are not from the medical field? 

Talking about scrubs made me remember that one of my favorite shows circa 2002 or so was "Scrubs" with Zach Braff. Hilarious take on the life in the medical field. 

Worst Place

Here I am, eating my salad in the worst place one should be when feeling crappy about yourself: at the ABS-CBN compound. I am eating caesar's salad for dinner when on a normal day I would be eating a steak or some piece of pork chop with 2 cups of rice.

At 26, 3 years into my marriage, I am at my heaviest weight ever in my life. Not that I've ever been model thin. My normal weight range was always in the 125-130 pound range. The lowest weight I've been was 118. I am now huffing and puffing through 2 flights of stairs at 155 pounds.

How the hell did I get here?

Was it the late night dinners of cheeseburgers from McDonald's? Or was it the pizza from Yellow Cab?

Was it the tall white chocolate mocha I get almost 3 times a week when I'm busy writing my papers at Starbucks? Or was it their pastry line?

Was it Nestea Iced Tea during our stay-at-home-movie-nights? Or was it my husband's delicious cup of instant coffee with loads of creamer and sugar?

I could go on and on about the food that we ate, but there is a big issue at hand. I am at least 25 pounds overweight.

It never really bothered me that I was bigger than most girls. I know I have a bigger bone structure than girls my age. I was generally confident with my physical attributes until…

…I could not button my favorite pair of jeans anymore

…I saw my muffin top over my underwear garter

…my brother told me that my backside resembled something like a bell jar.

Now that the comments like this are becoming more frequent, I have decided that I have to take this losing weight business seriously. I have put my body in its worst state ever in my life and it is time to bounce back.

I started not eating rice last Saturday. I also refused to drink iced tea on the same day. My husband serves me black coffee now with less sugar.

I hold on to my brother's weight loss experience as an example. He was morbidly obese at 260 pounds and had diabetes at 15. He started a no rice diet when he was 19, started exercising everyday. Now, at 21, his weight ranges from 165 to 170 pounds. He stands 5 feet 11 inches. He is currently working his abs and starting to get those obliques. What's funny is that I was the one who suggested the "No Rice" to the kid. The joke is on me.

*grunt*  Excuse me while I finish this plate of lettuce.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pet Names, Literally!

My husband and I have been married for three years and still do not have children. However, we are parents to two lovable dogs: a 3 year old Labrador and a 2 year old terrier mix.

When we got our dogs, the ground for the most serious discussion was the names of our pets. These dogs will be part of our little family for years to come and it is important for us for our fur kids to have dignified names… names that will represent them, as well as our family. We wanted something that would give them more personality when we introduce the to our friends and loved-ones.

Naming your dog can be a challenge because too many ideas come to mind. Do you love movies? Zeus from Zeus and Roxanne is a popular choice. Perhaps Thor from film Bad Moon would be a good choice if you like horror films. Star Wars is my childhood favorite and Star Wars Dog Names may be of assistance. Yoda is a very popular name, of course. Who would not want to name their dog after a Jedi master, after all? An alternative name would be Chewbacca but you might find that too common so consider Wookie. A Wookie is a species in Star Wars and yes, Chewbacca is a Wookie.

Our dog’s names are Monmon and Deeko. Monmon is a play/ contraction of the word monster. I'm a horror film fan and "Monster" is a perfect name to capture that. My fur kid is a ferocious looking dog but very sweet towards us. Deeko, on the other hand, was an anomaly. I just got home one day and he was being called Deeko by my brother. It was just a name my brother thought of. Pretty random but I stuck with it because my brother got tired of me over-thinking about a name and I was seriously out of ideas.

To pet owners out there, how did you come up with your dog’s names?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Snuggies: Blankets You Can Wear!

It had been unnaturally cold in the last few weeks here and I find myself reaching for blanket while I work on the computer at home. While I love my blanket to bits, it is not the most comfortable thing to use while trying to type or study. My blanket keeps slipping or falling off. Seriously, it can be a nuisance.

Here come the Snuggies. Snuggies are long blankets with sleeves. Yes, you wear your blanket! What a nice idea. I can just imagine myself on a cold night with a Snuggie with my favorite pajamas underneath reading a good book on my couch. I can also imagine bringing this during out of town trips. I would want to have this in my car during a long drive.

For those who would love interesting prints on their Snuggie, they have Designer Snuggies available. I would love a zebra print Snuggie for myself, thank you very much. 

Personalized Number Plates

Many take pride buying their first car. Having your very own car with a personalized number plate is taking it to the next level.

Personalized number plates not only identifies the car but give it personality. It also tells us something about the owner of the car.

Asians especially the Chinese give premium for the numbers 168 or consecutive sevens or eights on their car plate. It is a cultural belief that these numbers bring the owners luck. The younger car owners tend to put representatives of their names numerically or initials on their vanity plate.

Have you seen any interesting number plates in your area?

From Witness Statement to Diane's Cluttered Desk

I've changed blogs! As much as I loved Witness Statement, I have moved on... to something better.

Diane's Cluttered Desk

I bought my own domain through Blogger. Cost me $10, about a dollar cheaper than what I would get from Getting the domain from Blogger/Google was a quick solution for a non-techie like me.

Again, please do visit my blog on my own domain

Diane's Cluttered Desk


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