Issues of the day

Nurturing Family Bonds

All over the blogosphere, bloggers have posted a prayer, or a quiet post in lieu of their regular publishing routines. All are remembering, and uniting with the citizens of Sandy Hook as they mourn the loss of 20 children and 7 adults in a senseless shooting.

In prayer, I join them.

I have been thinking about the kids, and their families a lot over the weekend. I can’t imagine where the town starts picking up the pieces of their shattered neighborhood. Then today I got to see the movie My Girl (and My Girl 2). I cried (again) when Vada was told of Thomas J’s death. And then again when she finally emerged from her room to take a look at the body of her best friend lying in his small coffin.

I felt so much empathy for a character in a movie, what more for real live people?

But more than empathy, I guess the only real way for America to move on from yet another tragedy like this, is for real change to happen. What is it in their culture (and maybe laws) that allows for such shootings to happen? This isn’t the first time it happened, how can they ensure it’s the last time? I know it’s a tall order to say that it will never happen again, but where else will parents and kids find peace of mind? How will they ever again feel safe in their classrooms?

But all that aside… what has this event taught us? Those of us halfway around the world, what have we learned? More than anything else it has taught me to appreciate the every day, to keep loved ones close. More than ever, I want to really be serious about documenting our lives because you just can’t know when something would happen. We pray everyday that all will be safe, and we take precautions, but we can’t really predict when something happens.

As for my family, I think it’s important to have an extra happy Christmas this year. This will be the first Christmas without our Papa – Bonifacio, the Hero. So earlier this month I created a group for the family in Facebook to start the boll rolling in planning for the festivities.

Minute to Win It!



Over the years we’ve tried playing several different games. Some are for kids only, but others were so that adults had joined in the fun too. This year, maybe we’ll try a Minute to Win It theme.

We also did Bingo! one time complete with small prizes for each round. It might be a good idea to have that again this year, but I’d have to buy a Bingo! set to pull it off. We will also need to be more creative about it to make it half as interesting as say, just playing online at FoxyBingo.

Whatever games we come up with, it will all mean the same though: another fun night with the family. Celebrating another Christmas, celebrating each other.

World AIDS Day

My November 30 isn’t really done yet. Haven’t been to bed. It was a good day and I’d love to document it here on the blog. Before I do though, I’d like to draw attention to an important message.

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

The Numbers:

  • Worldwide, 2.5 million [2.2 million–2.8 million] people became newly infected with HIV
    in 2011. 
    25 countries have seen a 50% or greater drop in new HIV infections since 2001.
  • Half of all reductions in new HIV infections in the last two years have been among
    newborn children––showing that elimination of new infections in children is possible.
  • In 2011, 1.7 million [1.5 million–1.9 million] people died from AIDS-related causes
    worldwide—24% fewer deaths than in 2005.
  • In 2011, more than 8 million people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy.
  • However, 7 million people eligible for HIV treatment still do not have access.
    – 72% of children living with HIV who are eligible for treatment do not have access.
  • Of the 54% of people with access to antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income
    countries, 68% were women.
  • Women account for 58% of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 26 of 31 countries with generalized epidemics, less than 50% of young women have
    comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV.

In Asia:

  • Nearly 5 million people were living with HIV in South, South-East and East Asia
    combined in 2011.
  • In South and South-East Asia, new HIV infections declined from 370 000 in 2001 to 280 000 in 2011.
  • In 2011, about 250 000 people died of AIDS-related causes in this sub-region compared to 290 000 in 2005.
  • Country-level progress in reducing new HIV infections varies throughout the Asia
    Pacific region. For example:
    – In Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Thailand,
    the rate of new HIV infections fell by more than 25% between 2001 and 2011.
    – In Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the rate of new HIV
    infections increased by more than 25% between 2001 and 2011.
  • HIV epidemics in Asia and the Pacific remain largely concentrated among injecting
    drug users, men who have sex with men and sex workers.

In many countries, stigma and discrimination impeded effective HIV responses

Source: UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2012 Global Fact Sheet


Specific to the Philippines, according to this article from

There’s a 300% increase in the number of (HIV) cases in the last five years and a 25% increase from the last year alone.

In 2000, there was a new report of HIV every three days. Today, one Filipino acquires HIV every 2 hours.

Experts believe that the number of undiagnosed cases is high because of the stigma associated with HIV testing.

AIDS is a preventable disease. Education and access to appropriate health care is key.

I am appalled that while the global trend shows a decrease in new HIV cases, our country reports an increase. We can still change this trend. Let’s start by educating ourselves, and spreading the word. The Philippine National AIDS Council has this page on HIV and AIDS 101. We can also support various charities and NGOs that work in this field.

One of the global campaigns is (RED). Wherever you see this logo, it means that the manufacturer of that product sends a contribution directly to the Global Fund (against AIDS) and 100% of that money is used to finance HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. If you’re buying an iPod Touch this Christmas, choose the (RED) one. And the (RED) cover for your new iPad Mini or iPad 3 or 4.

Large Static Banner - 690x700

As for local NGOs, you may reach out to Lunduyan Foundation via their Facebook page. I’ve worked with them in the past they are very active in the child rights movement, including HIV/AIDS prevention.

Voter’s Registration–5 Simple Steps

Saw this infographic from Wanderrgirl’s post:

Source: via Vera on Pinterest


A few months ago I claimed my Voter’s ID at our barangay hall, three years after I registered as a voter. I thought all along it was going to be a digitized ID with the biometrics and all, but it was printed in security paper and I had to pay a small fee to have it laminated by the barangay personnel. Digitized or not, it’s still a government ID, so I’ll take it.

My own experience at voters’ registration was chronicled here when I registered to vote. If you’re 18 years old or older, a resident of the Philippines, head to your Comelec office at the town/city/municipal hall and get registered!


Back in March 2012, the campaign KONY 2012 was launched. Shortly after, the Creative Director of Invincible Children, the NGO behind the campaign, came under attack. This video somehow attempts to explain what happens. But more than that, this video shows how the issue of Child Soldiers and the the need to capture Joseph Kony, is bigger than just one person. To me it says that the message that #KONY2012 brought to the world, is stronger than the spokesperson.

When news about Jason Russell’s breakdown came about, I paid no attention to it. Because I knew that what the Invisible Children was fighting for was something that ought to be fought for, regardless of who was doing the fighting.

Take 30 mins to watch this next video, or just listen to it if you must continue browsing other sites. Listen.

I won’t be in DC in November, so I’m sharing this video on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else I can. I also donated almost 20% of my current Paypal funds to Invisible Children (it’s not very big, but if more people gave a little, there’d be enough funds to help rehabilitate children and families).

Please. Do what is in your power to do to help put an end to Joseph Kony’s monstrosity. Every child deserves a childhood, one where they can be innocent, have time for play, school. Every kid must be kept safe. They need space to explore and run around in safely. Basketball courts, play grounds, sand boxes, that’s what they must have. Outdoor fountains with pools. Not battle grounds. Not military camps.

Think of the young you, what were your dreams and aspirations? For many like Jacob, they didn’t even know they could dream. Or they fear to dream. This must end.

I wish that the anti-CSEC and Trafficking campaign would harness the power of the social media like #KONY2012 did.

UP Pep Squad–#UAAPCDC2012 champs!

UP PEP SQUAD UAAP CHEERDANCE CHAMPS 2012 Collage by Verabear | Image credits: InterAKTV/Roy Afable and Spin.Ph/Jerome Ascano

Collage by Verabear | Image credits: InterAKTV/Roy Afable and Spin.Ph/Jerome Ascano

The University of the Philippines Pep Squad has defended its championship title for the UAAP Cheerdance Competition held Saturday, 9/22/2012 at the Mall of Asia Arena. They were bold and semi-bald as they executed their routines and stunts in front of a crowd 19,000-strong.

This year, as in years before, UP sets trends. They had moves that no other squad used, showing that they are still a step ahead of their toughest competitors. Last year it was pixie blondes and Madonna; this year, they WOWed us by strutting to the floor with their androgynous look and semi-kalbo hairstyle. From afar, there was no distinguishing between male and female performers.

FREEDOM. The squad’s routine celebrates the freedom we have in the University to be what we want to be, look how we want to look like. Even the freedom to break gender barriers. The Oblation was also a symbol they used: standing tall and proud, free. Truly free, to truly serve.

In 1998 we were Freshman Iskas who screamed our lungs out cheering for the UP Pep Squad. We were so happy then with a 3rd place finish. Of course, they went back to Araneta to claim the top spot the next year, and the year after that… And every year since then, I remained a fan.

You don’t have to be from UP to be a fan. Just look the young men and women of the UP Pep Squad and tell me what you see. Athletes in their own right. Experts. They aren’t just out there to dance and tumble on the floor. They are passionate. They are skilled. This is what sets the UP Pep Squad apart from everyone else. This is also why we, the fans, are so confident that every year they will not disappoint.

So once again, thank you UP Pep Squad for bringing the UP community together (young and old, black and white). Thank you for once again making us proud. What’s next? Smile


I tried posting the video from ANCAlerts of the winning routine, but somehow even copying directly from Youtube renders the Ateneo vid, so here’s the link instead:

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