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Philippines: Blessed with Freedom

ON June 12, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo unfurled the first Philippine Flag in Kawit, Cavite and declared the country’s independence from Spain.

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ON June 12, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo unfurled the first Philippine Flag in Kawit, Cavite and declared the country’s independence from Spain. Both Spain and the United States (US) did not recognize this action by Aguinaldo and simply dismissed it as a clumsy farce.

     However, the US did eventually grant us a faux independence on July 4, 1946, unsurprisingly coinciding with their declaration of independence from Britain.

     A few decades forward, in 1972, late President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law which suspended the Constitution, dissolved Congress, and made him the authoritarian ruler of the state.

     Then US President George H.W. Bush loved it. He loved all of it, including all the demonstration-banning, media-censoring, and general disrespect towards the freedom of the people. He loved it so much he called the declaration of Martial Law as an “adherence to democratic principles and to the democratic process.”

     This blatant adherence to democratic principles was generally disfavored by the masses. On February 22, 1986, various people coming from different sectors went to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) to express their distaste for the Marcos’ brand of democracy and to show their preference for a democracy with a new leader – Corazon Aquino.

     This new democracy gave birth to the current constitution of the country, which, according to its preamble, aims to secure “the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.”

     But, what exactly is freedom?

     ‘Freedom,’ according to the Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, was favored over its 1935 counterpart ‘liberty’ because the latter does not cover freedom from want, fear, and ignorance.

     Freedom is what we enjoy today as Filipinos. We are free to do whatever we please, as long as it is within the boundaries of law. We are lucky because we live in a free country – a country which ensures our well-being, a country which protects our rights.

     We are blessed because we are a free nation, a free nation which ranked third in Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2014 Global Impunity Index. A blessed country where there are more than 50 unsolved journalist murders – 32 of them are victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. God bless Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma who stated once, “makatwirang sabihin na sa kasalukuyan ay hindi na po umiiral [ang impunity],” for he is truly right.

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     What a great country we live in, for we are assured by the Constitution that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech:” provisions that were duly respected by our nation’s great leaders as they brought libel into cyberspace. We should be thankful towards our lawmakers, who prioritized restricting free speech on the internet rather than giving the public the information that they want via the Freedom of Information Act.

     We can never be truly grateful enough for our country’s leaders as 20 senators, and 100 congressmen are implicated in the multi-billion pork barrel fund scam, all of whom exercise their freedom to avert charges. Perhaps the best way to thank our beloved leaders is by simply telling them, “Salamat, kaibigan.”

     Because yes, they are friends, and real friends like watching other friends exercising their freedom to die because of poverty, starvation, and illiteracy, while lavishly spending millions for their own personal welfare. Our friendly bond between each other is tainted with the blessings of independence and democracy, namely: sexism, homophobia, racism, ignorance, and apathy, among many other things that make our society truly Filipino.

     Ninoy Aquino once stated that “The Filipino is worth dying for,” and true enough, because Filipinos are dying for us like sacrificial lambs, their heroic acts being immortalized and glorified in the headlines: “OFW from Bukidnon beaten, raped, and left for dead in Saudi desert,” “China executes Filipina drug mule,” “Politics may hinder Yolanda rehab,” “DepEd chief fears rise of out-of-school youth.”

     When our ancestors fought against the numerous tyrants that chained our freedom, all they asked was that all must be ready to die for the country. Now that the freedom that they have fought for a long time ago is bestowed upon us at birth, we are called to do a similar thing. As we exercise our freedom to suppress free speech, to promote corruption and all things that are beneficial for our country, we must die, not for the country, but because of it.

By Xavier Allen Gregorio
Photo by Ferlyn Landoy

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Why “Pinoy Pride” exists in online Filipino culture

The toxic “peenoise” that flock and bash personalities misinterpreting the culture are the same ones that gather in posts which have the slightest hint of Filipino culture.

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Artwork by Ana Victoria Ereño/TomasinoWeb

Filipinos entering the foray of different online media allowed for Filipino culture to gain an even larger audience, but it inevitably exposes aspects that would otherwise only be seen within our borders.

Emman Nimedez and Lloyd Cadena’s passing has shown how impactful online media has become for the youth. While traditional media like TV and radio broadcasting maintains the largest audience in our country, we have slowly crept into the online world with the rising presence of Filipino personalities. Though this puts our heritage on a much larger stage, it has unfortunately exposed the pitfalls in our society. Any Filipino browsing comment sections on their favorite social media and video platforms will have inevitably seen the words “peenoise” and “Pinoy Pride” on their screen at least once, usually bearing a negative connotation. How have Filipinos managed to set themselves apart so negatively online that it yielded such labels on online platforms?

“Peenoise” was a term originally coined by online users within gaming communities to refer to Filipinos who are considered to be toxic in-game. Now, it is generally used to describe Filipinos who exhibit toxic behavior online, such as trolls or bullies. On the other hand, Pinoy Pride is another aspect of “peenoise” that is less aggravating but is much more reflective of who we are as a society. Pinoy Pride revolves around being endlessly proud of a Filipino personality for achieving something that led to global notoriety. 

How have Filipinos managed to set themselves apart so negatively online that it yielded such labels on online platforms?

These behaviors, ironically enough, could be coming from the Filipinos’ prioritization of family values. The toxic “peenoise” that flock and bash personalities misinterpreting the culture are the same ones that gather in posts which have the slightest hint of Filipino culture. Our innateness to find “kababayans” and treat them like family could both be a blessing and a curse in situations where we band together to defend our identity. This is even exploited in media channels that release “Filipino-themed” videos where personalities would experience Philippine culture or would have a part-Filipino cast member be the center of the content.

Another aspect that could be contributing to these online behaviors is the lingering effects of crab mentality in our society. As this blog puts it, we are quick to throw praise and be proud of our own people once they achieve success, but are also quick to call something “cheap” if it has not achieved prominence. But this even goes beyond Filipino artists as any individual who has the slightest hints of being Filipino is quickly embraced and celebrated as if they were our own. We like living through other people’s success as if they were one of our own, yet we pay no heed to those still climbing the ladder and even go as far as ridiculing them for their efforts. 

The toxic “peenoise” that flock and bash personalities misinterpreting the culture are the same ones that gather in posts which have the slightest hint of Filipino culture.

Finally, these attitudes don’t really hinge on being Filipino, but rather being Filipino outside of the Philippines. Pinoy Pride only begins to matter once something done by a Filipino gets recognized outside of the Philippines. This can be attributed to the Filipino’s “American dream” or the notion that the ultimate goal as a Filipino is to make it outside of the Philippines. 

If we ask most college students what their goals are after graduation, it will probably be about building their careers until they can go abroad. Whether it’s nurses, teachers, or artists, they’re usually aiming for a career outside the country and for good reason. The same professions would normally be paid less here, not to mention having to work harder just to get paid half of what they would’ve made had they gone off to work abroad. 

A few weeks ago, a wave of posts took Facebook by storm as Filipinos started sharing images from Harvard and placing either themselves in the context of being Harvard students or Harvard being a university in the Philippines. While this short-lived trend was merely humorous for most, it shows how we ultimately aspire to live a life outside the country rather than to flourish within it. It shows the condition which we live in and how we’ve had to make do with subpar standards in our country.

In summary, the “peenoise” and “Pinoy Pride” attitudes that Filipinos are showing online is not about patriotism, but rather defensiveness and the desire to live better. They hinge on the strong family ties Filipinos are known to have which, while bringing a strong sense of unity, also brings to light the aforementioned “crab mentality” that some tend to have. Ultimately, it comes down to the desire to live a better life than what our current social and political situation allows. 

In summary, the “peenoise” and “Pinoy Pride” attitudes that Filipinos are showing online is not about patriotism, but rather defensiveness and the desire to live better.

Much like how we’ve stood out in beauty pageants and boxing, we also stand out as audiences but in an unflattering light. While such behaviors do not necessarily include all Filipinos, these do exist in our online space. We have the ability to change this and, while we cannot enforce it onto others, starting with ourselves can be a huge step in the right direction. Rather than embodying the bad sides of our culture, we can showcase our most prominent characteristic: bayanihan.

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Cramming Playlist: Buzzer Beats

Yeah, it’s big brain time.

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Artwork by Ayeesha Panotolan

The most dreadful time of the semester is here and with it comes every student’s best friend: cramming. We all know that it’s an ineffective and unhealthy way to retain information. Yet, we still choose to condense weeks worth of lectures into hours of late night study sessions because it somehow still gets the job done. 

Studying in the wee hours of the morning means you need something to keep you and your brain awake and functioning. Below, we’ve compiled a playlist that will surely get those neurons firing as you burn the midnight oil.

 

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12 tweets hyping up the Lady of Sorrows pubmat

And the Grammy goes to… Chromatica!

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"Lady of Sorrows" poster grabbed from the official Facebook page of the University

Today, the University published a poster commemorating the day of the Lady of Sorrows. As a Catholic university, it has always been a practice of the University to publish publicity materials about the Catholic Church’s feasts, traditions, and holidays. However, the Lady of Sorrows poster had more to offer other than the photograph of Mama Mary. What does the Twitter-verse have to say about it?

Here are some tweets that that hyped up the Lady of Sorrows pubmat:

1. An iconic upgrade.

Comic Sans MS is nowhere to be found! 

2. And the Grammy goes to… Chromatica!

I know you’re rooting for this iconic album too.

3. Ah, ah, ah!

The Lord and Mama Mary love us like that! 

4. Time to hype the party!

Wait, are we going to cry or…?

5. Time to light these bad boys up.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)

6. And she spoke of the truth!

It really does, I swear.

7. There’s an uncanny resemblance, right?

Aren’t we all inspired by someone or something?

8. Don’t you just miss the good days?

Time to bust out those moves soon, sister.

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9. Sing it with me!

I’m a hundred percent sure you sang the next lines!

10. *Saves to Pinterest board*

Don’t tell me I’m the only one who did this.

11. Response?

We’re going to need the energy UP tonight.

12. Stream Papuri sa Diyos Remix

Prepare your dancing shoes! You’re going to bust some moves.

Whether one is religious or not, everyone can admit that the pubmat is comical yet well done at the same time. Today, Twitter truly had a laugh while touching up hints on pop culture references. All jokes aside, may we celebrate what the 15th of September is truly about: the day of the Lady of Sorrows.

And together we say, “Amen”.

 

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