Connect with us

Blogs

A Youth Decides to Believe

Published

on

WHEN Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle announced the scheduled encounter of His Holiness Pope Francis in the University of Santo Tomas with the youth on January 18, it instantly ignited the hearts of the Thomasian community.

It was not a surprise when as early as 6:30 p.m., on the eve of his visit; a number of people are already lined up alongside the vicinity of the University. Even more surprising has been the hundreds of students who volunteered for this spiritual event.

The relative cooperation appeared to signal an acknowledgment that youth today, which are said to be less concern about the country and was bound to create troubles, perhaps, could not stay that way forever in a life battered by social challenges.

Covering the moment was what this is all about. It was the night before the encounter when I entered the campus. With a Papal media pass, I did not need to join the long line of people who wish to see the Pope up close. Though I have to sacrifice 18 hours of no sleep, I prefer to say that this opportunity was, indeed, a blessing.

I tried to combat the cold night as I roamed around the inexplicably peaceful campus to have a view of growing lines of people on the outskirts of UST. They really did camp out, set up blankets, and endure sleeping and eating on the cold sidewalk. In the streets, vendors and vehicles are eerily invisible.

An hour before the gates opened, I went straight to the grandstand in hopes of being at the front row. But just as I stepped foot on the field, a security officer stopped me to examine my bag and asked me to taste the bottled water I brought. I was baffled to the point that he repeated, “Tikman niyo lang po.” And I did.

And then it happened. After hours of waiting, Pope Francis arrived. Thomasians, and even other attendees, hailed as the Pontifex passed the iconic Arch of the Century. Despite heavy rainfall, Pope Francis put on his most well-loved smile and unwearied waves to the emotionally high masses as they took picture of him and chanted “Pope Francis, we love you!”

Former street child Glyzelle Palomar, then, gave her testimony but broke down in tears even before finishing her speech. She asked the Pontiff, “Bakit po pumapayag ang Diyos na may ganitong nangyayari dahil walang kasalanan ang mga bata?” to which Pope Francis answered by embracing the little girl.

READ  Adjustments for the coming student elections released

At this stage, I suddenly felt more than just someone searching an enchanting story. I realized that at that very moment, I am part of the perfect scenario that I was about to write.

“She is the only who has put a question for which there is no answer. And she wasn’t able to express it in words but rather in tears.” Those words echoed in my ears and, perhaps, will echo over the years. Those words will serve as my constant reminder to keep myself vulnerable to weep. I have never thought of life that way. Because of this revelation, I learned that life is more than just experiencing it firsthand. It is having familiarity to every layer of life’s bliss and pain.

Young generations like me often face difficult choices and situations. What should we do when friends failed an exam? Should we speak out on their behalf? Should we cry with them? This reaction says something about children today: more kids are no longer afraid of speaking their minds. They have begun looking for solutions and adapt to a faster pace of life.

“Be courageous. Don’t be afraid to cry,” Pope Francis encouraged young people.

It is true, of course, that “Francis’ effect” they call. He has undoubtedly won the hearts of Catholics, and even non-Catholics, with his simplicity, sincerity, open-mindedness and message of faith. A glimpse of the dear Holy Father have made me, for the first time in a long while, free and peaceful. I forgot all about the hunger, the rain, and the cold. People are right. It is like seeing Jesus.

At around 12 in the afternoon, the encounter with the youth ended with Pope Francis giving his final prayer and blessing to all the faithful who eagerly anticipated his visit. This was the most difficult part of the day. Some cried but the weeping did not sounded like a howl of despair. It was a cry of hope and happiness.

Photo By Genevieve Aguilan

Comments

Blogs

Marcos is still not a hero

After everything that has been, is Marcos still your idol?

Published

on

MARTIAL LAW ANNIVERSARY 2018. (Photo by Christine Annemarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb)

When we look a few years back, we remember that one of the biggest political controversies we have encountered is Ferdinand Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani. The rites were private and intimate for the family and he was also given a 21-gun salute. Is this 21-gun salute an ode to the 21 years that Marcos has ruled as a kleptocratic dictator? This event has garnered negative criticism since a number of Filipinos don’t consider Marcos as a hero. It may have given peace to Marcos’ family, but it caused the victims of the Marcos rule to remember a grim chapter in their lives.

A few days into the present year, Bongbong Marcos sent out a statement calling for the revision of history books used in the academe, which he deems are only teaching the students lies about what his father, former President Marcos, has done. He believed that those from the opposition are in control of the data in published materials, that’s why it is so against his father. He also claimed that the contents of these textbooks were just used as propaganda against their family and that the allegations that his father was a thief and murderer were never proven. The thing is, if these allegations weren’t true, then why was the Presidential Commission on Good Governance recovering money from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth? 

During Marcos’ rule, Proclamation 1081 gave the military power to arrest, detain, and execute those who are standing up against the government or those who are pushing other people to do so. A proclamation like this is set to violate a series of human rights, and yet it went on for several dreadful years. According to Amnesty International, about 70,00 people were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured under Marcos’ term. 

In 1991, Marcos was found guilty by the US Federal Court system of ‘crimes against humanity,’ which covered torture, summary executions, and forced disappearances. The Philippine Constabulary was the law enforcing body during those times and was notorious for being liable for numerous human rights violations. Take the case of Dr. Juan Escandor, a Radiation specialist from the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital, who was involved in nationalist initiatives and even founded a leftist student organization, was killed by constabulary troopers that ended in a crossfire. Though authorities say that he died due to the gunfight, his autopsies show signs of torture, with his skull emptied and filled with trash, plastic bags, rags, and underwear, and his brain placed inside his stomach cavity. 

Bongbong Marcos has always justified his father’s ways. Although he acknowledged the numerous human rights violations that were committed during his father’s regime, he says that people should also remember the numerous projects his father launched, which includes thousands of kilometers of roads built, progressive agricultural policies, power generation, and the highest literacy rate in Asia. However, could these projects ever compensate for the pain inflicted on the victims of Martial Law? Even if the Marcoses’ contributions to the country are worthy of acknowledgment, it is not a valid argument to be used to push the people to leave their dreadful experiences in obscurity. Marcos apologists can’t tell others to just ‘move on’ because failing to acknowledge the people’s grievances during Martial Law is purely insensitive.  You can’t just tell people to forget such inhumane acts brought about by a leader they all trusted to lead them through progress. 

Recently, it was shared to the public that House Bill No. 7137 was approved to declare September 11 as ‘President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day’ in Ilocos Norte, which aims to honor the late dictator. Senate President Vicente Sotto III then said that bills with local applications like this are usually easily approved in Senate hearings. This, in turn, has sparked controversy and garnered criticism from the people.

Members of different rights groups and numerous people have expressed their disapproval of this bill. They say that this bill encourages the alteration of narratives of the dark days of Philippine history under Martial Law during the Marcos regime and that it practically promotes the invalidation of what people went through during the strongman rule.

We ought to #NeverForget the numerous accounts of torture and abuse that normal Filipinos went through. In case one forgets, the Twitter account @PangulongMarcos is devoted to tweeting daily on whether Marcos is a hero today.

The approval of this bill not only pushes to erase the kafkaesque events in our history that took place during Martial Law, but it also neglects the loss of the people who mourned for the loved ones that they lost in an all-out battle against the provisions of a power-hungry government that only sought to assert dominion over the people it ought to serve. It also makes us look at tyranny straight in the eye and just be resilient about it, without being able to #ResistTyranny. After everything that has been, is Marcos still your idol?

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

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.

Published

on

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.

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

Cramming Playlist: Buzzer Beats

Yeah, it’s big brain time.

Published

on

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.

 

Comments

Continue Reading

Trending