It took many centuries to achieve the kind of freedom we have now. Contrary to popular belief that women are weak, it is known that women took a significant part in shaping the ideology on bravery and empowerment.
During the pre-colonial era, tribesmen and communities turned to women for war advice and blessings. Cross-dressing was encouraged and, of course, communities seemed to believe no gender roles, since they accepted other genders on the spectrum, as well.
Babaylans were also treated with respect as priestesses or religious practitioners, healers, and mediators in the tribe. Through time, especially during Spanish colonization, women’s role in the society gradually changed; the Spanish imposed ideologies of conservatism and patriarchy.
But time is also the only proof that with its tides of changes, women’s roles in the society are unique in a way that women became flexible, empowered and sincere. From being powerful leaders in tribes during the pre-colonial era until today’s adapting and thriving to smash the patriarchy, women’s parts to play is no doubt impossible to neglect.
Here are five Filipino feminist films everyone, in all genders, should revisit.
Starting the character off as a timid innocent girl, Insiang was set to live her life in the slums where her sexuality was used against her, especially by her mother.
Insiang is played by Hilda Koronel. Her character takes us back to the historical meaning of being a woman. The film also portrays different societal issues like poverty and patriarchy. Because of the series of hardships she experienced, Insiang then learned how to use her gender and bravery.
Lino Brocka’s masterpiece shows us that a woman being brave isn’t wrong.
BATA, BATA PA’NO KA GINAWA? (1988)
Chito Roňo, as always, restores our hope in Philippine cinema. Although this film has been published decades ago, the issue of women empowerment tackled is still relatable until today.
Played by Vilma Santos, Lea Bustamante shares the importance of women in the family building. Challenged by society’s patriarchal system, Lea plays the role of being a working mother, who has two children she raised alone.
Altogether, Lea shows how society views womanhood, motherhood, and parenthood.
DIE BEAUTIFUL (2016)
Trisha’s story—like many trans women, struggled being accepted by her family and society. This film takes us back to the reason why people love and how a certain person, though discriminated, chose to show love to everyone she met.
Die Beautiful, directed by Jun Robles Lana, also shows how a trans woman became a mother and at the same time, fulfilled her dreams to become a beauty queen.
Trisha, played by Paolo Ballesteros, inspired many with her positivity, vibrancy and determination to become a woman she wanted to be.
KA ORYANG (2011)
Set during the Martial Law in 1970’s, Ka Oryang is a film that speaks about women’s part during these dark times. Ka Oryang is directed by Sari Lluch Dalena. Oryang, played by Alessandra de Rosi, is a student of the University of the Philippines who has been exposed to immersions in the countryside.
She became a medical volunteer that helped wounded fighters where she met Ka Noli, played by Joem Bascon, who became her boyfriend. Ka Oryang also discusses other societal issues during the Marcos era.
The film appeals to the audience by portraying women’s sufferings to protect men who were imprisoned by the military. This film will also take our minds off the typical women definition that women should be prim and proper.
SAKALING HINDI MAKARATING (2016)
Another Alessandra movie takes our mind into traveling around the country. Cielo, Alessandra’s character, nurses her heavy and broken heart after a break-up. Postcards kept coming into her doors with artworks attached with each. She felt the love of the unknown author and decided to travel with the postcards as her guide.
This movie shares how a certain woman, just like many us, thirsts for love and self-love. Human as we are, love breaks us but finding ourselves will help us know ourselves better.
Sakaling Hindi Makarating also depicts that there are circumstances beyond our control and that each road of uncertainty is a taste of learning.
These films of different times show that women empowerment never stopped thriving.
Time will tell the story of how things have changed, but women empowerment and their role in the community development until today is never-changing. In fact, women’s struggles and fearlessness, as a microcosm to bigger societal issues, are continually discussed in modern times through films.
The Uncommon Traditions that Mexicans and Filipinos share when celebrating the Day of the Dead.
Dia de los Muertos
By Allain Dumon Fonte
The 2nd of November is All Soul’s Day, a holiday that is very important to many Filipinos to remember our loved ones who passed on. This is also widely celebrated in Mexico as “Dia De los Muertos” or in English, “The Day of the Dead”. And Mexicans celebrate the 2nd of November grander than they celebrate Christmas. Well, you can witness it from the Disney movie, “Coco”.
As All Soul’s Day or Dia de los Muertos is about to end, here are some interesting traditions and superstitions that Filipinos and Mexicans share:
1. IT IS NOT ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER
Dia de los Muertos or All Soul’s Day is not practiced on October 31st or on the Hallow’s Eve as many other western cultures practice; but we celebrate it on the 2nd of November. We celebrate November 1st as All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Holy, while in Mexico they call it Dia de los Innocentes or Dia de los Angelitos to commemorate the children who died too early in life.
2. THE RITUAL
Both in Mexico and in the Philippines, we visit the grave of our loved ones and we clean it well. This is a ritual to honour their resting places and to let them know that they are never forgotten.
3. FLOWERS INVITE SPIRITS
In Mexico, they believe that the scent of flowers attract spirits. So the flower offerings are invitation to their dead loved ones to visit the living families. While in the Philippines, we believe that flowers offered to the dead exalt the souls and somehow fill in the sadness that we feel when missing our dead loved ones.
Most of the time, Filipinos choose all-white flowers to offer because white is the absence of colour, which means the absence of Joy and happiness. White also symbolises purity of soul which we hope our dead loved ones will attain as they journey to heaven. While in Mexico, they have the yellow Mexican marigolds as the official flowers of the dead that will guide them in their journey to the afterlife.
4. THE LEGEND OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
Both cultures believe that monarch butterflies are dead loved ones who visit us and show their appreciation that we have not forgotten them. A presence of monarch butterflies also means that our dead loved ones are always there guiding us and looking after us.
5. A PICNIC IN THE GRAVEYARD
Spending a night at the graveyard and picnicking with the rest of the family may sound very creepy to many; but to both Filipino and Mexican cultures, picnicking and spending a night at the cemetery is a must to show our love to our dearly departed. It is the only time in the year that families gather and tell stories of the dead loved ones and how colourful or how great their lives were.
6. FOOD FOR THE DEAD
In Mexico, they have what they call “ofrendas” or an altar where the pictures of their dead loved ones are displayed and offered with flowers, candles, and their favourite food. Very similar to the Filipino culture of cooking the favourite food of our dead loved ones and everyone in the family enjoys the food for dinner.
My family tradition involves me driving all the way to Colon street and buy that famous Snow Sheen’s “pancit canton”. This is my granddad’s favourite snack. Sadly, the old Visayan Restaurant is no longer there. My late uncle and my late grandpa love their sweet ad and sour fish. We also set up an “ofrenda” on their graveyard and eat their favourite food while picnicking in the cemetery. We do not spend a night in the cemetery; but while we are picnicking there, we usually play the songs of Pilita Corrales and Susan Fuentes that my late grandpa used to listen every afternoon while enjoying his coffee, pan de sal, and pancit canton.
What about your family traditions? Share your thoughts by commenting to this article.
MODEL: Michael Joseph Mortola Enriquez & Alexis Wingfield
PHOTOGRAPHER: Gianne Paolo Anciano
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Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+
Rating: *****/ *****
The multi award–winning comedy series airing on Apple TV+ is one of my favorite shows. Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is about a fun good-natured American football coached hired by a British soccer club (AFC Richmond in London) to become their new coach. In spite of the fact that Ted has no experience or knowledge about British football/soccer, his positive demeanor and charm helps him overcome the animosity of the team’s players, staff and fans. Eventually Ted wins over the team and the locals as they fight for position in the English Premier League.
The show won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and 7 Emmy Awards in its 2 seasons and Season 3 is just around the corner. You can catch Seasons 1 & 2 of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+
PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later
Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202
AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.
We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.
We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.
Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.