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Monday, 28 January 2013

Kasambahay

Drawing by Amy Muga
     
  Hindi matatawaran ang malaking ambag ng mga kasambahay sa buhay ng maraming mag-anak. Hindi nga ba naging biruan dati na kapag nag-aklas ang lahat ng kasambahay na nakatira sa isang maunlad na bansa sa Timog Silangang Asya, tiyak na babagsak ang ekonomiya nito?

     Noong bagong panganak ako sa panganay namin ni Lex, malaki ang naitulong ng aming kasamahan sa bahay.  Naging katuwang namin siya sa  pag-aalaga sa aming anak pati na rin ang pag-aasikaso ng ilang gawaing bahay. Hindi rin ako nahirapan sa pagbabalik sa trabaho dahil alam kong maalagaan niya ng husto ang anak namin. Tama lang na sabihing hulog siya ng langit sa amin noong panahong yun.

     Marami  rin akong mga kaibigan at kakilalalang tumanda na ang kasambahay nila sa kanila. Noong isang araw na lang, binisita namin ng kaibigan kong si Tere ang kanyang Nay Cora sa kanilang bahay sa Halcon. Matagal na rin niyang di nabibisita ito. Masaya ang bungad niya sa amin. Lampas 65 na si Nay pero masigla pa rin ang pangangatawan bunga ng araw-araw niyang pag-ehersisyo. "Anong sikreto mo Nay at ang lakas mo?" "Hay, naglalakad lang ako araw-araw papuntang tindahan sa kabilang kanto para bumili ng mga babasahin. Siyempre pa pagkain ng gulay araw-araw."

    Si Nay Cora ang nag-alaga kay Tere at iba pa niyang kapatid mula noong bata pa siya. Hindi na siya nakapag-asawa. Buong buhay niya inilaan niya sa pagiging isang kasambahay at tagapag-alaga ng mga batang isa-isa na ring  nagsilakihan, nagsipag-asawa at miminsan na lang niya makita.

  Sabi ni Tere, "blessing" sa kanila si Nay Cora. Naging katuwang ito ng kanyang magulang sa pagpapalaki sa kanila. Siya na rin ang naging hingahan niya ng sama ng loob. Malambing rin kasi ito at makuwento. Natatandaan pa niya na madalas silang kuwentuhan ng mga kababalaghan para lang mapabilis ang pagkain nilang magkakapatid ng kanin at ginisang monggo. 

  Naging mabuti rin naman ang pamilya ni Tere sa kanya. Sa kanyang pagtanda, hindi siya pinabayaan sa kanyang mga pangangailangan. Kung sana  ganito na rin ang mararanasan ng maraming namamasukan kasambahay.  Marami rin kasing inaabuso dahil sa kawalan ng batas na magbibigay proteksiyon sa kanila at magtataguyod sa kanilang mga karapatan. Bukod sa pisikal na pananakit, marami rin ang tumatanggap ng napakababang sweldo kahit inuumaga na sa pagtulong sa gawaing bahay. 

   Mabuti at nalagdaan na ang Republic Act 10361 o ang Batas Kasambahay noong Enero 18, 2013 ni Pangulong Aquino. Manggagawa na ang turing sa ating mga kasambahay na may tiyak na karapatan at hindi pawang mga "aliping namamahay" sa isang pyudal na sistemang panlipunan.

 Mababasa ang kabuuang laman ng batas sa website ng Philippine Online Chronicle. Link: Republic Act 10361 - Kasambahay Law 
                                               ***

     Amidst painful news that I read regarding the  abuse committed on our domestic workers abroad, it is heartening to read a recent news item on  how a domestic helper was rescued  by her own quick thinking, social networking and a government official's firm resolve to help her.  

     The domestic helper was locked by her employer inside their house when they went abroad. Fortunately, the domestic helper had access to the internet and  was able to relay her situation to one of her Facebook friend who then posted her plight on a facebook page for residents of  Alaminos, Pangasinan.  The city mayor Nani Braganza immediately contacted her and coordinated with embassy officials in planning her rescue. He likewise taught her how to use Yahoo! messenger so they could communicate faster with each other for their rescue efforts.

                                                  ***

Links to sites which provides a  situationer on Filipino domestic workers:

Basic Facts on Philippine Domestic Workers, courtesy of SUMAPI

An Analysis of the Situation of Filipino Domestic Workers Nicole J. Sayres, courtesy of ILO


                                                 ***




    

     




Friday, 25 January 2013

Awiting bayan

      Isa sa paborito kong kanta ay ang "Awit sa Karelasyon". Inawit ito ng grupong TAMBISAN noong renewal of vows namin ng aking asawa.  Gandang-ganda ako dito, pawang himig na mapagmahal na nagmula sa titik ng mga taong napakalalim rin ng pagmamahal sa kanilang bayan.

"Palad nati'y nagdaop nang minsang dumalaw ka 
May hatid kang pag-asa 
Init kang dumampi sa lamig at dusa 
Ng pusong sa laya'y alila 

 Puso ko'y nabihag mo sinta 

Tanggapin mo sana, sa pakikibaka tayo'y magsama 
 Sa pagsubok na itong dumating 
Nakihati ka sa hilahil 

Puso ko ay nagising, buhay kong ito giliw 

Sapat ma'y kulang pa rin 
 Palad nati'y nagbigkis sa isang pag-aalay 
Sa kapwa at sa bayan 

Damhin mo ang sampintig ng pagmamahalan 

Ang sigaw ay kalayaan Puso ko'y bahagi mo sinta 
Tanggapin mo sana, sa kalayaan tayo'y magsama 
Sa kalayaan, tayo'y magsama"



    Isa rin sa mga mang-aawit na paborito ko ay si GLOC-9, isang makatang rapper.  Narinig ko siyang kumanta noong  kaarawan ng makatang manunulat at Pambansang Alagad ng Sining na si Bienvenido Lumbera. Fans na niya ako mula noon. Isa rin siyang makata na may pag-unawa sa reyalidad ng lipunang ginagalawan natin.


     GLOC-('s song TULA, courtesy of Kelvin C4's upload Youtube http://youtu.be/kjsq-RQmpcA

 

    Kapwa guro ng aking asawa sa pamantasan ang yumaong mang-aawit na si Susan Fernandez. Isa siya sa mga hinangaan kong mang-aawit  dahil sa ganda ng kanyang tinig at mismong mga kantang kanyang inaawit. Isa siyang aktibistang hindi nangiming kumanta ng mga awiting naglalahad ng mga pangyayari sa bayan natin noong panahon ng batas militar. Napakinggan ko siyang kantahin ang Awit ni Canuplin sa My Brother's Moustache dati; magkahawak kamay kami ni Lex hanggang matapos ang kanta. 



Susan Ferrnandez singing Awit ni Canuplin at an awards night in UP
Courtesy of Filipinowriter.com

Monday, 14 January 2013

January Blessings

     I took the GINHAWA well-being retreat last weekend at the Assumption Convent retreat house in Antipolo. It was a welcome respite for me as  I reaffirmed my commitment to life's abundance and infinite possibilities.

Blessings on a Sunday morning ( photo credit: Amy Muga)
     I am thankful for the time and the opportunity to reconnect with myself and others, to learn to breath again, to listen to others as they tell their continuing journey towards wholeness. I appreciated stretching my body, breathing clean air, listening to serene music pouring out from indigenous musical instruments, walking barefoot on a warm Sunday morning, taking time to capture the beautiful scenery on my tried and tested camera. 

    It is at this time that I reaffirm my faith in the goodness of people, the kindness of the earth and that of a gentle Creator. It is also in moments like these that I remember the people in my life who have inspired me and served as my mentors and guide.

Light seeping in the garden of the Assumption Retreat House (photo credit: Amy Muga)
       Bathala nawa! God's will be done. Kabutihan nawa! Goodness be done!
                                            
My Gratitude Corner :)

      When my husband asked me where I would love to spend my birthday, I told him it can be  anywhere as long as I am with them, my family. I did hope to see the skyline of Metro Manila during the night.  Indeed the Friday overnight stay in Antipolo exceeded my expectations. 

      It was like staying with my family in the home of my dreams  where there were big open windows, a homey ambience and gracious people around.  Indeed, I had a lovely birthday where my heart was filled with so much joy. Salamat, mahal kong Lex and my daughters Rais and Gi. I love you so much.

         

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A Mother's Story

      There is a Filipino saying quoted by many parents to their children, "malalaman mo lang ang pinagdaanan ng iyong mga magulang sa pagpapalaki sa iyo kapag naging magulang ka na rin" ( you will only know the hardships experienced by your parents in raising you when you become a parent yourself).  

    She remembered her  own mother mention this  in passing so many year ago.  Being  an activist then, she decided to leave the university and work full-time in the anti-dictatorship struggle. She  left home, one day in October, hoping that one day her parents could finally accept her and the path she has chosen. It was some time, when she saw her mother in Morayta right before a multi-sectoral rally in Mendiola, that she knew the depths of her mother's love.  Both of them cried upon seeing each other.  

     Years after, she became a mother too, she learned the pain and the joy of raising her children. She became an expert in multi-tasking, juggling out different roles as a mother, a mentor, a coach, a confidante, a driver, a homemaker. There were times she realize she may never be the perfect mother  she hope she'll be. She realized that she needs to be compassionate to herself too as much as she is compassionate to others. She knew that much as her daughters needed her support and guidance, they would also need to be given time and space to be themselves and to learn from their experiences. 

    

       

                                  






      

                                                               

       

      





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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Reflections before the New Year


 I spent the last few days of December together with my family in a quiet, loving place in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. It was a time of reflection and a time of joyful bonding with my family.


Dauin, Dumaguete (photo credit Amy Muga)
    I enjoyed walking on the Dumaguete seashore with my two daughters, listening to their stories and laughter, taking their photographs, joyfully filling my heart with precious moments with them.


Dauin, Dumaguete (photo credit Amy Muga)
   
      I loved the late night conversation I had with my husband and best friend Lex. After more than 25 years, I still find myself so much in love with him. My heart is filled with joy whenever I see him so happy.    


                                      Lex and my younger daughter, 2008
                                      at Silliman University (photo credit: Amy Muga)


     I first came here when my younger daughter was seven years old. It was my first provincial trip with her which we thoroughly enjoyed, visiting the beautiful campus of Silliman University, a university so dear to my husband's heart.  

    I took a snapshot of my younger daughter following his father in 2008 and just days ago. She is now nearly her father's height; my baby is now taller than me.

Lex followed by my two daughters, 2012 
at Silliman University (photo credit: Amy Muga)
         

     Hay, ang bilis talaga ng panahon. 

     It has been more than four years since we visited Dumaguete  and we returned together with our  elder daughter who likewise graduated with a mathematics degree like her father. I am thankful that we were able to visit this beautiful place deeply loved by my husband.


Silliman University Campus
(photo credit: Amy Muga)


My loved ones in front of Silliman University Museum 
(photo credit: Amy Muga)


     I hope to create more beautiful memories like these with  my family this year and the coming years.           
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