Connect with us

Blogs

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.

Published

on

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.

     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

Comments

Blogs

‘god’ is a Woman and her name is Imelda Marcos

Lauren Greenfield’s ‘The Kingmaker’ painted an image of Imelda Marcos as she is, in the epicenter of the dark chapter in Philippine history.

Published

on

Screengrab from The Kingmaker official trailer

There is an insurmountable amount of paradox in watching Imelda Marcos in Lauren Greenfield’s The Kingmaker at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP); a thought my friend and I agreed to as we were entering a dark room 10 minutes into the film. There was no sight of distraction from the people that we passed by for they are clearly fixated on the loquacious subject. The building that now houses Greenfield’s masterpiece was among the surges of institutions built under the belt of the Marcos regime that has probably gained him the heart of the Filipinos, deeming his infallible greatness. Later, the “legacy” was continued, with lady Marcos manning whatever work needs to be done to keep their name relevant, and the film, sadly, proves her success. 

Inevitably, Greenfield’s lenses showed how bountiful the Marcoses had lived, especially Imelda, during the height of the man’s political career. Their marriage has clearly trudged through familial grounds as it showed how the lady Marcos was an active pursuer of whatever she deemed worthy having for the Philippines, an act that she completely settled as a matriarchal instinct.

“That is the spirit of mothering,” she stated. “You cannot quantify love.” Her words equaled as a retort to criticisms of her excessiveness and we learned that saying promises of love was also excessively given, thus tangibly proclaiming it in the form of constructing bridges – in the name of love and people’s taxes, the origin story of the San Juanico Bridge.

The Kingmaker painted an image of Imelda Marcos as she is, in the epicenter of the dark chapter in Philippine history, whether through the mundanely fixing herself and asking how she looks, through parading the shell of the woman constructed through time – a loving wife, a supportive right hand, “a mother of not just the country but the world” – through every syllable that eventually forms a contrasting hollow weight to her words.

“I will complete paradise for the Philippines,” was stated in an almost queenly decibel as she talked about the erection of the Calauit Island back in 1976. Paradise for the Philippines, at least in the vocabulary of Imelda, was bringing truckloads of African exotic animals. It proved to be an overnight process, a passing idea without careful thought for paradise was also the eviction of hundreds of indigenous families living on the same island. Today, paradise is the dissolving coexistence between man and animal after maintenance by the Marcoses were halted.

Paradise – paraDIES – is what they left on the Filipino people after two decades of setting up the sanctuary which they thought the Filipinos would so easily take and they did, along with the wick of fire that started the demise of the country.

But Imelda, tauntingly languid Imelda, insisted the Philippines lived its great heights during their regime. Stories of development were laced with the Marcos name, and she recalls how the country has lived in a peaceful state during the Martial Law. And she is bound to call the shots again, with the help of her son, Bongbong, and her daughter, Imee.

The saying – “Perception is real and the truth is not,” lives on heavily with Imelda and her purposeful narration of history. Her narration, however, also has a life of its own as it takes on a different course from reality, keeping some details completely caged in the dark, along with thousands of shoes she kept in her closet. These revisions are taking an inkling to information being propagated in print and online, clothed as what those susceptible to vulnerability should only know and should conform to: the Marcoses’ version of history. Yet again, the haunting testimonies and stories of the survivors – of how the San Juanico Bridge was not just used as a symbol of love but a moniker for a devise of torture – proved them wrong.

The film has nearly encapsulated what type of a person she is: one that digests excessiveness and luxury by filling all the ugly pools of the country with the most alluring things, and her own truths, hoping to blanket corruption in the most interesting manner. Behind the architects and lavishness which the Philippines was showered with dawned how they served as forefronts to the most elaborated crime in the history of the country.

In an interview with The Guardian (2019), the award-winning filmmaker/photographer recounts how her documentary got a surprise ending. “It wasn’t until Duterte won that I really saw the return of this sort of dictatorship and the movie got an ending.” She echoes the same sentiments with another subject of Philippine’s history, Benigno Aquino III, that those who cannot remember history are bound to repeat it.

Throughout the end of the film, students and Filipinos in the precipice of society, were obviously in reverent prayer for a redemption, and the nostalgia of what was once a great country served as their grounds in keeping the Marcos name alive.

Brimming with God-complex, “I am the light in the dark” Imelda and her streaks of followers proved her to still be a placed as a powerful, sentient being, capable of loving and being loved. Even if the love is in the form of handing out a thousand-peso bill to “buy candies” (suspectedly, from the billions of pesos they corrupted from people) to a cancer patient in the children’s ward. Yet again, the act would still give her millions of reasons to let her family be handed the opportunity to rule in the proverbial loveseat which they have never abandoned.

The Kingmaker is framed through recounting the stories of the past in various narrations, of the history which we are now just grappling through the form which it had been immortalized. Its message, though, is a raging reminder that history is happening, and we can either choose to let it unravel or let it become just a painful remnant to continuously scream cries of “Never Again.”

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

Game of Thrones: The unofficial campus comfort room review

We have taken the time to take a look at the comfort rooms from each building to see how they stack up and if they are as glamorous and iconic as the buildings that they reside in. 

Published

on

UST CR Review
Artwork by Tricia Jardin

The buildings of the University of Santo Tomas are truly great feats of architecture, representing different generations and trends in design and engineering. With the history and the recognition behind these buildings, students that come out of them are expected to have the same prestige. It would probably be impossible however, to hold the same poise if nature’s callings ring you up in the middle of your day.

We have taken the time to take a look at the comfort rooms from each building to see how they stack up and if they are as glamorous and iconic as the buildings that they reside in. 

The criteria we carefully crafted for this involve three areas: cleanliness, facilities, and overall comfort. Cleanliness is a no-brainer as a filthy comfort room is something that no one wants to have to deal with whether man or woman. Facilities on the other hand, involve what they actually have to offer apart from the throne and the sink. Lastly, comfort is based on whether we wouldn’t mind staying a bit for that thorough “comfort” or we would simply be rushing to get out as soon as we get our callings answered.

St. Raymund de Penafort Building

St. Raymund de Penafort Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

This comfort room in St. Raymund’s matches the classic aesthetic of the building itself. While clean, it certainly shows its age from the way the lights look to the way it feels when you’re inside it. No bidets or Vendo machines are found in this restroom. It’s certainly not a place you’ll want to sit in for some alone time, but it gets the job done for sure.

St. Raymund de Penafort Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

Like the men’s, this restroom resonates with the classical-inspired design of the building. It is well-maintained and somehow clean with bidets to use. It is not spacious as one can imagine but can definitely help you out in times of emergency, if need be.

 

UST Tan Yan Kee Student Center

UST TanYanKee Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Every Thomasian has had at least one thing to do inside the Tan Yan Kee Student Center. A part of this experience perhaps, is a trip to their restroom. The restrooms in the Tan Yan Kee Student Center follows suit with the rest of the vibe of the building itself. While a little crammed, especially for larger groups, it certainly is clean and comfortable enough to provide a quick and quiet space to mind one’s personal business.

UST TanYanKee Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

This comfort room in Tan Yan Kee Student Center offers a simple and comfortable place students could go to whenever they need to use a toilet. It has few cubicles yet all are clean. The facilities are satisfactory and sinks are well-maintained as well. However, there are no Vendo machines nor bidets for this restroom. But in times you badly need to respond to the calling, well this place shall be your go-to.

 

UST Miguel de Benavides Library

UST Library CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

Overall Rating: NO

The UST Miguel de Benavides Library is as historic as the university itself. Housing rare documents from history as well as useful references for students, the main library serves as the one of the main studying spots for Thomasians. The comfort room of the Main Library offers Vendo machines which are nice and the walls and floors are pretty clean too. One downside though, is stepping into the cubicles you will find writings on the doors as well as the toilet itself which possibly could be as old as the library.

UST Library Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

Despite not having a spacious setting, the comfort room can still attend to one’s agenda. The room is clean and simple. The ambience is somehow not that perfect, and you might find yourself waiting in a queue since there are only a few cubicles available inside. The toilets are neat as well – something preferable to sit on for a short period of time.

 

St. Martin De Porres Building

St. Martin de Porres Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

The restroom is very noticeably crammed with the lighting being a little on the darker side which matches the ambience of the building itself. Cleanliness is not a shortcoming for sure as the bathroom was neat and free from any unusual smell. While it’s certainly not the embodiment of comfort with its slightly darker lighting, it definitely doesn’t give discomfort to whoever decides to use it.

St. Martin de Porres Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

St. Martin de Porres Building belongs to the list of the oldest structures in the campus. While spacious, it also holds a very simple and classic design. The entire area is clean and well-lit making the room more comfortable to use. This comfort room also has a vendo! So girls, if you are unprepared, then do not fret! This comfort room has got your back. 

 

Main Building

UST Main bldg Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Perhaps the most recognizable building in the university’s history, the restroom in the UST Main Building doesn’t offer anything nearly as recognizable. If anything, it carries a very simple design that can be observed with a lot of restrooms in this article. Everything you’d expect for a restroom that a lot of Thomasians and non-Thomasians would see should they have any dealings with any of the building’s offices.

UST Main bldg Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

The simplicity of the layout of the restroom bears hints on what the room offers; and it is to suit the basic concerns of the users. The place is simply maintained and cleaned. Garbage cans are placed in each cubicle and the sinks are still functioning. There are no bidets as one would expect but it can still manage to attend to one’s other concerns.

 

UST Carpark & Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy Building

UST College of Accountancy Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

What is most striking about this restroom is how spacious it really is. The cleanliness is about what you’d expect but what was noticeable was how dimly lit the restroom was. There were also a lot of urinals that were non-operational but with the amount of space present and the number of urinals in the restroom, the few that were not working could easily be compensated.

UST College of Accountancy Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

With its spacious setting, this particular restroom located within the Alfredo M. Velayo building can accommodate a number of students. The mood inside is marked with a lack of cheer however it can still manage to remain comfortable as needed. Still, this restroom could as well get the job done.

 

Albertus Magnus Building

UST Albertus Magnus Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Albertus Magnus is another of UST’s historical buildings housing two colleges and the Education High School. While the population implies diversity especially in programs, the comfort rooms in Albertus Magnus can accommodate the number of students housed by the building. A con in the Albertus Magnus buildings is that there are no Vendo machines nor bidets in the restrooms. However, you can still get the job done in these comfort rooms.

UST Albertus Magnus Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

The comfort room fetches the same vibe as the Albertus Magnus building has. One downside that can be seen here is its narrow aisle between the cubicles that could bring discomfort to students. Even with such, the facility remains to be well-kept. The floor is clean as well as the sinks. Some toilets need improvements and must be better cleaned, however there are few which are neat enough to use. Door locks must be taken action too.

 

Roque Ruano Building

UST Ruano Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: No

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Just beside Albertus Magnus is the Roque Ruano building for the Engineers and IICS students. The particular comfort room we had the chance of going to was rather simplistic and basic but can certainly get the job done. The spaces are adequate and the toilets are clean enough, being a place you really wouldn’t stay a little longer for but certainly not itching to get out of.

UST Ruano Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

This restroom follows the vibe the building holds. The entirety of the room contains some indications that the building is already old. Even so, not thinking about the age of the building, the comfort room is clean and spacious inside. The sinks are functional. The toilets are also squeaky clean enough to use! All told, the room is still a good place to go to help you out and relieve yourself.

 

Quadricentennial Pavilion

UST Qpav Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

If you could imagine what an arena comfort room would look like, you would know what the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion’s comfort room inspiration is. Wide and spacious with that “mall” ambiance, this is certainly a comfort room that guests wouldn’t mind going to. While it’s not kosher by any means, it certainly gets “comfort” right with the design and maintenance. 

UST Qpav Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Same as the men’s, this comfort room inside the QPav is commodious and neat. It has a laid back atmosphere that reflects and gives students a feeling of staying a bit longer. The sinks, walls as well as the floor are considerably clean. The cubicles have toilets which are all kept clean with well-functioning toilet flushes just enough to get the job done for the users.

 

Beato Angelico Building

UST Beato Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Space becomes the primary shortcoming of this particular restroom in the Beato Angelico building. While the cubicles themselves were quite spacious, the urinals could be found hidden behind a wall which could have been done to compensate for the small space that the restroom could be found in.

UST Beato Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

If you would look at the building, you would think that its inside resembles the classic architecture of its facade. But you might be mistaken because the facilities inside the building are well-structured and constructed into more fancified rooms. One of these is the comfort room. The entire comfort room in the building provides a relaxing setting for students and at the same time has a great design that utters comfort and class. It also has bidets and clean toilets which you would not hesitate to sit on.

 

Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building

UST BGPOP Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Considered as one of the better if not best restrooms around the university, the BGPOP restroom provides a comfort room experience that certainly justifies one’s comfort room experience. The restroom is very clean and very spacious, good enough to have photoshoots should the need arise. Bidets are also present and even a hand-dryer. The only thing missing to make this restroom absolutely perfect is a Vendo machine but even without that, this restroom proves to be superior.UST BGPOP Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

From its well-designed sink to its entirety, this one is definitely the room you would think when nature calls you badly. The room is wide and well-lighted. The fresh air and sunlight that peeks through the clear panel gives the room a more comfortable ambiance. Aside from its fine interior design and well-maintained facilities, it also has bidets to offer! No wonder why this is the frequently visited comfort room for some students. It is definitely a place you wouldn’t mind sitting for a long time.

Central Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s

Bidet: YES 

Soap: NO

Vendo: NO

A clean and bright ambiance is what defines the comfort room in the Central Lab. It’s this kind of restroom that is always pleasant to go into at any time of the day. The only downside to this restroom is the lack of a soap dispenser and a Vendo machine. It makes up for this, however, by having a bidet and a hand dryer by the sink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s

BIDET: YES

SOAP: NO

VENDO: NO

The Central Laboratory’s comfort rooms have an uncanny resemblance with BGPOP’s comfort rooms except for the tiling. This one has bidets installed inside its cubicles and a hand dryer beside the sinks. However, they do not have Vendos. But still, this comfort room provides inexplicable comfort especially for those who wish to take a good long dump in after a long day at the lab.

 

What becomes most apparent when looking at all the comfort rooms the University has to offer is that they all get the job done. Never to be the highlight of the university, its comfort rooms provide and experiences that sacrifices form for the sake of function. Much of the facilities in each comfort room seek to be faithful to the historic design of the buildings themselves. While never perfect, these comfort rooms will make sure that answering nature’s calls will never be an issue, no matter where you are.

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

How should you spend your Valentine’s Day?

For single pringles, how should you spend your Valentine’s Day?

Published

on

Artwork by Tricia Jardin

No, this quiz can’t guarantee you an instant date on the day of hearts. Rather, it could only suggest ways to be single on a day where one is allowed to say weirdly poetic cheesy lines and sing out-of-tune serenades as part of the kilig-induced seasonal package.

 

 

Comments

Continue Reading

Trending