Being who you are and showing the world just that has never been a problem when you are surrounded with an environment that is warmly accepting, and most importantly, if it’s what society thinks is right. This has been a mentality that has been going on for ages, the norms and the strict compliance for the absence of any peculiarity in this balance continues to be present in societal standards.
As time progresses, more and more movements and campaigns have been geared towards fighting for human rights for the the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, or LGBT community. Their desire to live in a peaceful society that accepts them for who they are and gives them the opportunity to grow and take part in various activities in society has been burning like a flame that cannot be put out.
Calling for rights such as anti-discrimination and representation in different fields of practice, the LGBT movement has been a long-running movement supported by millions. The goal of leaving the thoughts of a strictly gender binary society to the middle ages is a tough call to make, especially in the Philippine setting, with a strong milieu of Catholic belief.
Famous multi-awarded actress Anne Hathaway during her 2008 acceptance speech of the Human Rights Campaign Ally Award called to attention her being known as brave for supporting gay marriage and adoption. However, there was one thing that Anne had to express to the crowd, “I’m not being brave; I’m being a decent human being. And I don’t think I should receive an award for that, or for merely stating what I believe to be true: that love is a human experience, not a political statement”.
Now that various parts of the world have made same-sex marriage legal, and some local governments in the Philippines have signed into law an anti-discrimination ordinance, there are have been various more issues that plague the LGBT community. Highlighted in this year, some of these issues include acts of violence, availability of healthcare, discrimination in the workplace, youth homelessness, as well as economic injustice.
Gender equality, despite not being a norm for centuries, is still advocated; members and advocates continue their plight for representation by being the best they can be in different fields of practice. Cebu City, just in time for this year’s pride month, approved the City Ordinance No. 2339 otherwise known as “An Ordinance Prohibiting Discrimination in the City of Cebu on the Basis of Disability, Age, Health Status, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Ethnicity and Religion” to be able to foster a culture of respect and co-inhabitance.
Members of the LGBT community, despite different pressures in society, continue to be proud of who they are and live on with the desire for equality and acceptance—not just tolerance.
Czar Dabon, 20, and an openly gay Mass Communication student from the University of the Philippines Cebu, shares how he takes pride in who he is. “I can be different in a colorful way”, he muses. Czar adds that he takes pride in not conforming to heteronormativity and the norms of society as he sees it as something powerful and unique.
He saw himself as a different kind of color back when he was in highschool. There was this one afternoon he couldn’t forget when he finally decided to tell his parents. “Ma, pa, murag di jud mo makakuhag apo gikan nako (Mom, Dad, it’s likely that you won’t get a grandchild from me)”, then 13 year-old Czar confessed while eating his snacks. It was such a warm embrace when he heard their response. “Okay rajud na namo basta di lang ka magbinuang (It’s definitely okay with us as long as you don’t stray).”
From then on, he says that he has been blessed with friends and family that readily accepted him for who he was, and this particular note made him the empowered person that he is today. For his fellow LGBT he urged them, “Look at yourselves in the mirror and be proud of who you are; and to not let society dull your color, because you are part of something greater.”
Abby Maranga, 23, a video content creator and filmmaker, sees the movement as a great way for members of the LGBT community to feel open about who they are. “I wanna say thank you to the people who fought and who continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ na maforward gyud and ma-hear sa mga katawhanan, gani naabot sad sa government (that it’s forwarded and heard by the people, and to the government)”, says Abby.
When it came to showing the world who she really is, it was not as hard as how other people experienced it, it didn’t even come as a shock. “I really did not come out man gyud as bi or gay, people just knew and I know they know. It became a normal thing gyud”, says Abby.
She adds that there are people who have had a hard time coming out and even accepting themselves. However tough this battle is or becomes, she sees the progress it brings to people in the society. She also stresses the need to just coexist peacefully with one another, without having to label people as girl, boy, or gay. “It feels empowering that I can continue to be who I am, more comfortable to just be. Also, it’s nice to know that there are a lot who think and feel like I do, so it doesn’t get lonely.”
Carla Jalbuna, a transgender woman and former Student Council Alliance of the Philippines Vice Chairperson, says that life stories of overcoming struggles as a community is what makes her proud the most. The movement for an environment that is not only welcoming, but also safe for the LGBT, from youth to the elderly, continues to grow strong.
“I feel empowered by waking up seeing the little milestone we achieve as a community day by day. It’s a reminder that we should never stop with defending and fighting for our rights”, says Carla. She shares that despite this growing movement, she also has her fair share of experiences of setbacks. Hearing people’s remarks especially about how one should act and present oneself, a testament of how society consistently gives the LGBT something to achieve as a form of validation.
Christian Licen, 30, an English Professor, shares his memories of coming out. “I remember having a pep talk with my father in third year college. He told me they’re okay with my sexual preference, but that I should promise them to finish college and be a decent and God-fearing professional,” he muses.
Since then, Christian has always regarded himself as effeminate. He sees that through the development of time, the Philippine society has become more and more accepting of the community he belongs in, which encourages him to openly express himself to be a better human everyday.
“To the LGBTQ community, now is the best time to be alive more than ever. We will continue to make the world a colorful and a liveable place. But let’s not forget that our freedom to express also comes with a great responsibility. Respect should come from within; modesty should always be a virtue in everything we do,” says Christian when asked about his message to his fellow LGBT.
Christian, who has lived his life as an academic, feels empowered in many ways. As it is his duty to set an example to his students and constituents, he has been one person many has looked up to in the institution. “I always strive my best to set a good example and to be a living witness that no matter the gender, sexual preference or identity we are all equal in the eyes of God.”
Ange Ibones, a 20 year-old fashion design student and a proud transgender woman, shares that if there’s one thing she’s proud of being in the community, it is because of the strength it emulates. “The strength to put ourselves out there and be who we truly are without holding back despite the many criticisms we get, we always rise above it all in the name of genuine happiness,” says Ange.
Since childhood, Ange always showed the real her no matter what. She was lucky to be surrounded by supportive people, especially her family. However, she recognizes that not everyone in the community gets to have that kind of love and support. “Live the life you deserve and never give up on your dreams because you are never alone on your journey, you have the whole community behind you cheering for your success. Never let negativity get into you and never let it dull your sparkle,” Ange urges her fellow LGBT.
It has always been the people around her that kept Ange going. It is when she gets the privilege to be who she is and is still loved without reservations that keeps her living the life she has now. In her every day, she is empowered to be greater than who she is and push her capabilities to its limits.
As there have been efforts to make the LGBT as visible as they can be and to normalize homosexuality, especially to the young ones, through movies and shows, the movement still stands. The LGBT community is not alone in their fight towards equality and justice. Like all movements, there is power in collective action and people from all walks of life have seen the power that pride can bring.
Albeit the pride month celebrations are coming to a close, the campaigns call for change whole year round. How much more beautiful could the world be when you add this much color?
Featured photo credits: UP Pride – Cebu Facebook Page
Keep Calm by Knowing These Myths About COVID-19
by Chrissy Grey Resaba
In these times of pandemic, hysteria and panic have taken over the world and nonchalance is a word not to be manifested for today. Worry and fear are enveloping around Cebu with enough evidence of the actions taken by the public – the hoarding of necessities and goods.
Cebu – both the city and the province – is working towards making the island a safe haven from the pandemic caused by the Novel Coronavirus. Entry points of both ports – aerial and naval – are now closed. Curfew hours are being implemented to secure that no one is outside during the hours indicated. Business and academic sectors shifted their modes to work-from-home and online classes. Medical professionals have been on the frontlines battling against the proliferation of COVID-19.
It is quite eerie to look at the main streets of the Queen City of the South having few crowds to none. The hustle and bustle of the metropolis has gone into an empty space. The actions taken by the government and the Republic of the Philippines are for better or for worse; it is only for the good of the public.
Cebu has been under the state of community quarantine and certain measures were implemented to ensure the public’s safety and well-being. However, there are still myths making rounds in social media and the public in general about the ways to avoid COVID-19. These myths are not supported by scientific evidence. The scattering of fake news worsens the situation instead.
Here are some myths about the Novel Coronavirus:
1. Hot and cold weather
Contrary to popular belief, the COVID-19 virus will never die when exposed to hot or cold weather. This type of coronavirus can be transmitted in all areas regardless of the weather.
2. Drinking water
It is necessary to hydrate ourselves and to moisturize the throats but there is no scientific evidence that consuming volumes of water can flush out the virus.
Clear enough from the name of the medicine, antibiotic never kills the virus but bacteria instead. It is not advisable to take antibiotics to prevent COVID-19.
4. Eating banana
There is a video circulating in social media about the banana fruit that miraculously kills the COVID-19 virus. However, if one should be keen enough to examine the video, it is a hoax. To date, there are no approved treatments for the virus. Eating a banana and other fruits can boost the immune system instead but not kill the COVID-19 virus.
Practicing proper hygiene such as regular hand washing with soap and water remains to be an effective way of preventing infection since soap dissolves the structure of the virus. The public should not be very complacent enough to rely on hand washing alone. Maintaining social distance, staying at home, having proper coughing or sneezing etiquette, and putting oneself in self-quarantine if one traveled from outside Cebu or the country are some of the best ways to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu
La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.
Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.
There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.
La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.
Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.
Behind the Garments
Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.
Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.
Historical Awareness in Cebu
The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.
Best Places to Celebrate Your Chinese New Year’s Eve 2020 in Cebu
by Chrissy Grey Resaba
Metal Rat Goes Into the Hole of 2020! Outgoing, cheerful, and sociable – these are some of the facets the Rat characterizes. True to the Chinese zodiac, Rat’s personality can get along well with different people and friends are visible around them. They can also harvest success due to their quick wit and response to outside changes thus, they are alert, adaptable, and observant.
As we bring closer to the Spring Festival in which the Year of the Rat with Metal of the Five Elements, people born in this year are quite positive and active about life and their persistence rarely gets frustrate in circumstances. Moreover, there are places here in Cebu that you will attend as you welcome the beginning of the Chinese Lunar calendar which coincides with the first sign of Chinese zodiac animals.
Usher in welcoming the Year of the Metal Rat as Maayo Hotel and Uma Restaurant prepares a festive buffet as we welcome a brand new year. It is priced at Php 750 net per person during lunch and Php 870 net per person during dinner. Promo runs from January 23-25, 2020.
Crimson Resort and Spa welcomes the first day of the year of the rat with a Wushu performance at the resort’s porte cocher then dot the lion and dragon’s eyes to start the dancing and festivities. Crimson’s culinary team also is laying out an elaborate Chinese, Oriental, and Asian selection at Saffron Café. You may ask the chefs at the live station to make noodles and other dishes the way you like them. Attract more good luck with tikoy and rice pudding with Mandarin sauce.
Elevate your dining culture into incorporating technological innovations in this iconic restaurant! Not only, Ding How Dimsum House offers palatable Chinese food for Cebuanos to enjoy but it introduces the new digital ordering system. Individual screens allow one to view the Ding How menu, place an order, and engage in trivia, history, and multimedia visuals. With this, it upgrades customer convenience when ordering by allowing the diner to order at their own pace. It also informs the diners of the waiting time before food is served.
Join Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa as they welcome the Year of the Metal Rat in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Ceremonies will commence at 9:45 in the morning on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Main Wing Lobby.
Feast yourself with Prosperity and Fortune in a dinner buffet at one of Cebu’s best, Cebu Parklane International Hotel’s Manuel’s Restaurant for only Php 1,050.00 net on January 24 and 25. Beandate also offers Merienda Chino – a variety of merienda treats and Chinese snacks Cebuanos love for only Php350.00 net on January 25th only.
Prizes from the Tree of Fortune awaits to those diners who purchased a minimum of Php 3,000.00 net. The Tree of Fortune offers:
- One overnight stay at Parklane Room with Breakfast for Two
- Two Gift Certificates for a Lunch or Dinner Buffet for One
- Four Bean Date Mugs
- Four Complimentary Homemade Cakes
- Ten Parklane Pencils
- Two Bottles of Wine
For inquiries and reservations, call 234-7000 local 7249 or visit www.