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Monday, 29 October 2012

The Pinay Mom in Filipino movies

     I remember watching an old  Charito Solis film where she potrayed a self-sacrificing mother forced to marry an abusive husband. The husband (played by actor Leroy Salvador Jr.) sold her only child to a rich family.  I don't remember other details  of the film anymore but I do remember that I cried watching Charito's predicament. The film was produced in the 60's and options available for women in abusive relationships were not discussed in the film.

     I wonder if women shelters were available during those times in the Philippines. Sanctuaries and safe places for abused women may have been provided by religious groups. Shelters, such as the Women's Crisis Center, provide a lifeline for women in abusive relationships.

         The self-sacrificing mother who would do anything for her children was a constant theme among  Filipino movies, especially those produced by film studios LVN and Sampaguita. Numerous actressed have played these roles - from Charito Solis, Lolita Rodriguez, Anita Linda ( who played Sisa in the Gerry de Leon film, Noli Me Tangere). 
The mother is potrayed as a martyr, someone who would do anything for her children to the extent of remaining in relationships that are abusive. 

      A film adaptation of Nick Joaquin's article " The House on Zapote Street" featured a mother ( potrayed by Charito Solis ) who was not able to defend her daughter from the abusive father. The film, Kisapmata, was directed by  Mike de Leon.


http://vilmasantos1.tripod.com/id21.html
     It was in the early 80's where I was able to watch potrayals of Filipino mothers and women who were feisty and determined to fight for the rights of their family. The late film directors Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Marilou Diaz Abaya were in the forefront of bringing to the big screen, portrayals of resilient Filipino women. I knew back then that there were many women who refused to be cowed into submission in unjust situations.


                                                             ***

     Much as I am a Nora Aunor fan , I also love the films of another Filipina actress, Vilma Santos who potrayed strong liberated women characters.  In Dekada 70, she potrayed a mother who stood by her children through the turbulent 70's and in Bata bata Paano Ka Ginawa, she potrayed a mother working for a women's shelter who refused to be bound by what society dictates on unmarried mothers.

                                     ***

These are women with real life experiences. This short video produced by the Women's Crisis Center presents the accounts of the survivors of domestic violence:                                       

               

Monday, 22 October 2012

Kasal sa Oktubre

     Kasal - isa sa mga pagkakataong nagkakasama ang mga magkapatid, magpipinsan, magkamag-anak mula sa iba't ibang sulok ng daigdig upang ipagbunyi at ipagdiwang ang  panibagong kabanata sa buhay ng isang minamahal.

   Umuwi rin kami noong Biyernes para sa kasal ng paboritong pamangkin ng asawa ko at paborito rin namin sa pamilya. Halos dalawang buwan lang ang tanda ng panganay kong anak sa kanya. Pinanganak siya ng Abril samantalang Pebrero ko naman pinanganak ang panganay ko. 

     Nung unang kita ko sa kanya pagkatapos ng maraming taon,  alam ko na maganda ang naging pagpapalaki sa kanya ng kanyang ina at ng kanyang buong pamilya. Naniniwala talaga ako sa sinabi ni Hillary Clinton na "it takes a village, to raise a child". Dahil sa pagmamahal ng kanyang ina at ng kanyang ama, lolo, lola, tiyo, tiyahin at iba pang kamag-anak, lumaki siyang mabait, mapagmahal at may magandang disposisyon sa buhay.

       Patnubayan kayo parati ng Panginoon, Apple at Arthur! Nasa panalangin namin kayong dalawa, kasama ng mga nagmamahal sa inyo.
      

A Beautiful Bride!
                                                               A Beautiful Wedding...
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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Pagpupugay kay Nanay Mameng


     This beautiful artwork on Carmen "Nanay Mameng" Deunida, 
chairperson of KADAMAY was made by artist Paps Osmubal. 
Pagpupugay kay Nanay Mameng! 
                       

    Carmen "Nanay Mameng" Deunida is a well-respected urban poor leader who  does not mince words when telling the truth. She is the chairperson emeritus of the national urban poor alliance, KADAMAY, and also a leader of  the mass organisations Gabriela and Anakpawis.

      I brought my younger daughter with me to listen and learn from  Nanay Mameng in the tribute given to her one October afternoon at the University of the Philippines. There are many lessons to be learned from the lives of living heroes and heroines like Nanay Mameng that may not be found in her school books. 

These are some of the photographs I took from the tribute at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora, UP College of Social Works and Community Development.

Photocredit: Amy Muga
Plaque of Appreciation given to Nanay Mameng by Gabriela, Anakpawis and Kadamay ( Photocredit: Amy Muga)

Photocredit: Amy Muga


Photocredit: Amy Muga
Acknowledgment: TUDLA Productions


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Pangarap



     Ang seryeng "Pangarap" ay tungkul sa mga ordinaryong taong nakilala ko sa aking paglalakbay at pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay. Simple lang ang kanilang mga pangarap - ang isa 'y nangarap maging isang guro, ang sumunod naman ay nagnais makabalik sa pag-aaral para mabago ang kanyang nakasanayang trabaho. 

                                        (1)  ABAKADA


   “Gusto kong maging guro balang araw. Gusto kong magturo ng ABAKADA sa marami pang mga bata.” – isang kabataan 


    Sa gulang niyang labing apat, siya na ang pinakamatanda  sa klase niya sa Grade 2.  Ilang beses na rin siyang nahinto sa pag-aaral dahil malimit na walang maipangtustos ang kanyang ina dito. Ilang beses na rin siyang pinakiusapan ng kanyang ina na huminto muna para makatulong sa pag-aalaga ng iba pa  niyang kapatid na bata. 

     Kapag umaga tutulong siya sa pag-aayos at paghahanda ng maaring makain ng kanyang mga kapatid. Madalas, hindi na rin siya nakakapag-almusal dahil kailangan na niyang magmadali patungong paaralan niya na ilang kilometro rin ang layo mula sa kanyang tahanan. Ilang beses na rin siyang nahilo sa pero hindi na niya iindain ito; pagsisikapan niyang pumasok  dahil alam niya na kailangan niyang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral para makatulong rin sa kanyang ina at mga kapatid.

                                                        (2) Janice

   May pelikulang pinagbidahan si Aga Muhlach kung saan nakulong siya sa Japan dahil  natagpuang nakasilid  sa kanyang maleta ang ilang kilong droga. Pinadala ito  ng kanyang kasintahan na pinagkatiwalaan niya.      


   Tulad ng papel na ginampanan ni Aga, nakulong rin si Janice, isang ina  na nasa trabahong pangangalakal ng katawan. Bata pa lang siya nang pinasok niya ang ganitong trabaho. Bilang panganay na anak, iniatang sa kanyang balikat ang responsibilidad tulungan ang bawa't miyembro ng kanyang pamilya. 


   Nakumbinsi siya ng isang kakilalang pumunta ng Japan para maging isang entertainer. Dagdag kita sana ang kinasanayan niyang trabaho na maari niyang ilako.  Tiyak na malaki ang kikitain niya doon dahil na rin sa iba pang kasamang nagpatunay dito.  


     Pagkatapos ng ilang buwan, ni-raid ng mga pulis ang lugar na pinagtatrabahuhan niya. Hinuli silang lahat at kinulong.  Hirap na hirap ang kalooban niya noon. Hindi man lamang siya binigyan ng pagkakataong tumawag sa kanyang anak at kanyang ina. Yung nag-iisang suot niya nang siya ay nahuli ang suot-suot pa rin niya paglabas ng kulungan. 


   Sa tulong ng isang non-governmental organization, nakalaya siya at nakabalik na rin sa Pilipinas. Wala ni isang kusing siyang naiuwi sa kanyang pamilya. Dahil malaki pa rin ang pangangailangan ng kanyang pamilya, pinasiya niyang balikan ang dating trabaho kasama ng iba pang naging kasamahan sa kadiliman ng Ermita. 


  "Gusto kong mag-aral. Gusto kong magkaroon ng panibagong buhay" sabi niya sa akin. " "Kaya lang marami akong binubuhay, maraming umaasa sa akin".


                              






       
     





SIMBAYAN


     Together with colleagues Chito and Jay, I was in Misamis Oriental last September 26 to September 29 for a training workshop in conflict mediation, handling crisis situations and healing art for pastors and teachers of the UCCP Northwest Mindanao Jurisdiction. 

Initao, Misamis Oriental Photo Credit: Amy Muga


                                         Initao, Misamis Oriental Photo Credit: UCCP Northwest Mindanao Jurisdiction


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Kaginhawaan



“ Gumaan ang pakiramdam ko”  - on a heart to heart talk to a crisis responder from a mother who have lost her home during a typhoon.

How do we comfort people in distress? What do we say to a person we know who have just lost a loved one? What can we do to ease the pain of friend who has just lost a a sibling or a parent, for  a mother or father who has lost a child?

For crisis responders, pastoral counselors, teachers, community organizers, parents and friends, there is the challenge on how to become sources of comfort for people who have experienced loss or are in distress. More often than not, it is not knowing what to do or even what to say in these situations which makes people hesitant to approach or comfort people in need.

How does one comfort the grieving?

1. We do not challenge what they are feeling,  belittle their experiences or compare their experiences with our own experiences.

 Some well-meaning friends would even recount their own experiences of personal loss  to their grieving friend 

“ hindi bale mare. Mawawala rin ang sakit na   nararamdaman mo.  Dati-rati, nung namatay yung tatay ko, matapang ako, di ako umiyak”

“ May isang anak ka pa naman. Hayaan mo na.   Isipin mo na lang siya.”

2.We approach them with gentleness, empathy and   acceptance.

Grieving people need the time and space to be able to process their feelings over their loss. The last thing they may need is to feel more stressed out. Family relatives need to realize that they need to be more understanding with each other at this time when all members of the family are grieving from the loss.


A mother who lost her eight years old daughter to cancer recall the parents of her son's classmate telling her that they have difficulty in talking to him because he refused to tell them anything  about his sister's death. 

Care providers do not need to add more stress to families who have lost everything in disasters by insisting that they answer questions or participate in group sessions.

We give time to  people who are grieving. We do not count the hours we are there for them. We do not even place a time element as to when they are expected to be healed from the pain that they are experiencing.


Yes, we may be that comforting presence where they can  feel safe to share what they truly feel about what they experienced. They are safe to cry, to unload their anger about their situation; they are safe with us if  they share their uncertainty and despair. 

We may help them in their realization of the strengths they have   amidst the difficult situation they were in.  


We are gentle, compassionate and caring listeners.


         3. Words that comfort and words that 
              may cause further distress

Let us tell them what is in our hearts and avoid platitudes which is so easy to say but bereft of meaning.

We may say:

Nakikiramay kami sa inyong pamilya” 
     ( I commiserate with your family)

“ I care about you. I am here for you.”

“ I would like to help. Maari akong tumulong 
   sa ganitong paraan"

“ Nasa prayers ko kayo ngayon.”

Narito lang ako para sa iyo ngayon, usap tayo 
   kung kailangan mong kausap

   (I’m here when you need me, let’s talk if you need 
     someone to talk to.”)

We do not need to intellectualize or provide answers to questions we do not know the answers to. Sometimes when asked, we could admit that we do not know the answers and it is okay.

We should be aware that there are words spoken which may devalue the grief and the emotions felt.

“ Huwag kang malungkot. Nandun na siya kay Lord.” ( Don’t be lonely. He’s with the Lord now”.

“I know how you feel”

NO one would really know what a grieving person feels. So avoid this phrase.

“ Be strong! Strive not to be weak-hearted!”

There are even words spoken which imputes malice or ill-intent to a grieving person:

“Why didn’t you bring your father to the hospital earlier? He   should have lived!

“ Why didn’t you learn how to drive a car? You should have brought him there yourself and not wait for an ambulance?”

“ Don’t you know that if you have given him CPR in the first 10 minutes, he might have lived?”

        4. Activities that comfort, Activities that Heal

There are many other activities which may be introduced to people who are in distressed or who are grieving. Care providers, concerned family members or friends may introduce some of these activities to comfort the grieving person:

  a)  Letter-writing

Both the person who comforts and the person needing comfort may write letters as a means to express what they feel about the distressing experience.


   b)   Story-telling

Story telling heals and bonds families in need of comfort. Story telling may be done as a way of remembering the departed. Grieving children will be able to learn stories they may not yet hear about their departed relative and they will feel the invisible bond of experiences that ties relatives to one another.
             
c)    Tradition setting and ritual making

Rituals may be initiated to commemorate the life of the departed relative. A ritual of remembering may be conducted by family members where they may recite poems, read the letters they have written at the grave of their loved one.  A shrine to the departed may also be made to remember the loved one. Making a collage or a scrapbook to remember the departed may also be made and initiated by the family.



Such an activity was done by a class of students for their classmate who drowned while swimming in their out-of-town excursion. The class wrote letters to their classmate who died and read them aloud one by one.
             
d)   Taking Care of the Self

The comforter may need to remind the grieving not to forget to take care of the self.

We may remind the grieving about the following:

a.  Eating nutritious food. Oftentimes, people who are grieving forget to eat sufficiently for their nutritional needs. Sometimes, they may eat too much or too little to the detriment of their health. Vitamin supplements may likewise be used.
                   
b. Choose an exercise activity you enjoy doing. What helped me during the days I was grieving for my brother is the long walks I took around my community.
       
c. Exposure to sunlight is very helpful to the body; sun exposure  between 8 am to 10 am is recommended.
           
d. Adequate time for sleeping is very much important for all, not only for those who are grieving.


            
       
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