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PRIDE: All the Colors of the Rainbow

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?

 

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

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Culture

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
HMUA/DESIGNER: Hazel Ocaba
STYLING: GPA Lifestyle + Clothing

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Culture

Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

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+

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Culture

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.

 

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