The Inbox
  • By Darlene Cay, VERA Files

    All's well that ends well.

    What started out as a potential dispute between a photographers’ group and an organization working in behalf of people with Down Syndrome turned into the seeds of collaboration, with both groups promising to cooperate on projects promoting persons with disabilities (PWDs).

    Members of Monggi Productions, an abbreviation of the term “mongoloid na pogi” or handsome mongoloid, have apologized to the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) for using the derogatory term as part of its name. It has renamed itself OneShot Production.

    Members of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) and the group previously known as Monggi Productions meet on June 11. Photo from DSAPI

    The two groups met June 11 in an emotional encounter, especially for DSAPI members with children who have Down Syndrome. “There were a few tears...maybe in the process of explaining. We are parents, we love our children,” said DSAPI chairman Tony Pasia.

    “Our position is to really try to educate the public in seeing our children the way we see them. Hopefully, by learning about it, they get

    Read More »from ‘Monggi’ group apologizes, changes its name
  • Nonon Padilla addressing a theater crowd in Star Theater. Photo by Jake Asis.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Everyone in the theater circuit agree that the Philstage Gawad Buhay life achievement award in theater for Felix “Nonon” Padilla was well-deserved.

    Padilla started in Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) in the company of Lino Brocka and Cecile Guidote Alvarez in the 70s but he actually debuted as stage director in 1968 in the Dulaang Sibol Contest launched by noted theater advocate Onofre Pagsanghan at the Ateneo de Manila.

    The play was “Hoy, Boyet” written by Tony Perez and it didn’t fit the usual formula for standard drama at the time.

    “The play was experimental with a rather baroque text, free verse that internally rhymed, complemented with a visual language of dance movement and colorful, fairly abstract costumes. It was a play about a teenager contemplating Death, the different forms of love as experienced by a young man, and a dream about his fears and anxieties of facing Time Future and the new world of adulthood,” Padilla

    Read More »from The theater odyssey of Nonon Padilla

  • By Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    Photos from the book The Odyssey of an Igorot Mission Girl

    For a woman who formally entered school at age 10, Esperanza Daliwa Somebang of Nadatngan, Mountain Province, travelled far and wide, a great believer in education and in the spirit of service to humankind.

    Somebang grew up in a culture where , “girls were expected to stay home to help in the fields, get married and raise a family.” It was something she was prepared for since she was the family baby sitter.

    But Somebang had a mother, Mauricia Badasan Suyen, who had the perspicacity to tell her before she went off to study at St. Mary’s in Sagada, “We are very poor; the only thing we can offer you is to allow you the opportunity to have an education in our mission school. We are glad to make the sacrifice, whatever it will take.”

    The Odyssey of an Igorot Mission Girl (published by Igorot Heritage Press in Lyme, Connecticut) traces Somebang’s childhood, a rural idyll on hills “abundant with wild

    Read More »from The near saint from an Igorot mission school
  • Ina Kapatid Anak

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Friday night last week, it seemed everyone who owns a TV set was glued on the final airing of the Channel 2 teleserye, “Ina, Kapatid, Anak” directed by Don M. Cuaresma and Jojo A. Saguin.

    The evening audience profile surprisingly cut through and went up the usual CD audience categories with the educated class equally awaiting the dramatic ending.

    It was a given that the masa was there as usual but it was also true that the other bulk of the teleserye watchers were public servants, working journalists and performing artists as well.

    The big come-on was the highly competent cast led by Cherrie Pie Picache, Pilar Pilapil , Janice de Belen , Ronaldo Valdez with actors Enchong Dee and Xian Lim providing the “kilig” factors.

    Alex MedinaThe amazing discovery of this recently concluded teleserye is undoubtedly the new actor Alex Medina (son of Pen Medina and brother of Ping Medina). Even in a secondary role, Alex has the temperament, the intensity and highly expressive

    Read More »from The evolution of the Filipino teleserye
  • By Mikha Flores, VERA Files

    The Supreme Court launched on Friday an electronic filing system that will digitize judicial processes in trial courts in Quezon City.

    Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. Photo by Mikha Flores/VERA Files

    Dubbed as “eCourt”, the system uses case management software that will allow judges and court personnel to organize case flows from the filing of the complaint up to its resolution and enforcement.

    The system will be piloted in regional and municipal trial courts in Quezon City, which account for about a third of total cases handled by trial courts in metro Manila. The project will be rolled out eventually in other regions across the country.

    “We can only deliver justice if indeed the systems…that will deliver justice are abled and the eCourt system is a step in the right direction,” Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno said in her speech at the launch of the project in Quezon City.

    With the eCourt, the raffling of cases will now be done electronically instead of using tambiyolos (raffle drum), removing human intervention and

    Read More »from Quezon City courts go digital; more transparent system seen
  • Pride march

    By Patrick King Pascual, VERA Files

    Festive street parties, parades and marches usually mark the annual celebration of Pride month in June by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the country and elsewhere.

    “But Pride Month is not just about parties,” Michael David Tan, executive director of Bahaghari Center for LGBT Research, Education and Advocacy, stressed. “What we want to do in Bahaghari Center, or in the LGBT community in the Philippines in general, is to change [public] perception and [instead] look at the conditions and situations of the LGBTs more closely.”

    In recent years, LGBT organizations have resorted mainly to plain street parties to celebrate Pride Month, which do not fully convey the real meaning and message of such celebrations in the country.

    This year, Bahaghari Center and the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay Philippines) aim to promote a more thorough LGBT acceptance and education in the coming Pride

    Read More »from LGBT Pride Month—more than just about street parties
  • Independence Day ride

    By Jonathan de Santos, VERA Files

    At least a thousand cyclists marked 115th Philippine Independence Day on Wednesday riding in solidarity with 27 million modern-day slaves.

    The Freedom Ride, organized by the Dakila collective, was intended to raise awareness of the 1343 Action Hotline, a text and phone hotline for human trafficking cases in the Philippines, a source and transit point for traffickers.

    Dakila is a Tagalog word for nobility.

    Dakila Philippine Collective is a group of artists, students, and individuals committed to working together to creatively spark social consciousness formation towards social change.

    The ride was also meant to recruit Freedom Warriors who will be on the lookout for Filipinos who may be victims of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

    Dakila vice president Noel Cabangon said, "After 115 years of celebrating Independence Day, we still have no real freedom. Many Filipinos are still being exploited by human trafficking or what we now call modern-day

    Read More »from Slavery still exists after 115 years of freedom
  • By Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

    "Fusion" seems to be the best word to describe the look of Filipino buildings and home interiors.

    Filipino Style, a 1997 de luxe book put out by the Department of Tourism in time for the country's national centennial in '98 and preceding the current soft-cover Philippine Style: Design and Architecture (Anvil Publishing Inc.), used that word long before it became the vogue adjective for food that takes in a variety of cultural influences.

    "Three hundred years in the convent, 50 in Hollywood and a brief interlude with the Japanese"--that was how eminent writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil described the country's colonial history and its three former masters (Spain, the US and Japan). The last didn't quite seep in, except maybe in the sleek lines of modern architecture.

    Today, hard-earned dollars from overseas Filipino workers have made possible the rise of a hodge-podge of architecture flecking the countryside with houses derivative of Mediterranean villas or

    Read More »from Defining Philippine style
  • Stopping China by engagement


    Admiral Locklear being received by President Aquino.

    By Ellen Tordesillas

    In Bangkok last week, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said the usual line that their Asian allies expect from visiting American officials: we will oppose China’s expansionism.

    “We will oppose the change of status quo by force of anyone,” Locklear said referring to the situation in South China Sea where China is reported to be positioning in Ayungin Reef, just 25 miles away from Mischief Reef, 130 miles away from Palawan, that China occupied in 1994.

    But just like other American officials, Locklear did not commit that the US will fight China if the latter gets embroiled in violent confrontation with any of the countries in this part of the world. That’s because, in truth, the US will not because it values relations with China.

    Although the US would like to contain China’s power, it would not want make an enemy of the Asian behemoth. The cordial meeting between US President Obama and Chinese President Xi

    Read More »from Stopping China by engagement
  • History reenactors Pedro Javier (left) and Joey Felizco pretend to face the enemy.

    By Norman Sison, VERA Files

    The Philippine Revolution may be a memory, but not for a group of history re-enactors. For them, history is not only a record of events past but also lessons for the future.

    It began in 2003 with an epiphany. Like many Filipinos, electrical engineer Pedro Javier liked all things foreign. But later he realized that a large part of the country’s many problems came from Filipinos’ general lack of appreciation for their own history.

    “God made me a Filipino. He didn’t make me an American,” he says. “If Filipinos won’t care for their own country, who will?”

    Inspired by the large-scale re-enactments of battles in the American Revolution and US Civil War, Javier pondered: why not borrow the idea? So, the first step was to make replica uniforms worn by Filipino revolutionaries over a century ago.

    The present Philippine Army traces its lineage to the 1897 Tejeros Convention, when the Philippine revolutionary government was formed, with General Emilio Aguinaldo as the

    Read More »from Keeping the revolutionary spirit alive


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