Pinay & Proud celebrates the modern-day Filipina

Who or what is a modern-day Filipina?

I am a Filipina and yet it is so difficult to quite put into words what the Filipina of today really is because she is many things. We see her in our female overseas foreign workers in all corners of the world, working as nannies, teachers, scientists, physical therapists, factory workers and even executives. We see her as an advocate, an artist, a mother, a social worker. The Filipina is in her elements in the 21st century.

Human Nature, in an effort to showcase the different facets of today’s Filipina, came up with the Pinay & Proud campaign to give tribute to the uniqueness of the Filipina woman.

They identified 4 traits that embody the Filipina:

1. Nurturing – one who encourages others to reach the full potential of their God-given talents

2. Courageous – one whose inner strength goes beyond selflessness and enables her to make sacrifices for family and country

3. Inspiring – a role model

4. Beautiful – not just outside but inside as well and who shines her light on everything and everyone around her

The result of the Pinay & Proud campaign was a roster of 15 outstanding women who have shown these 4 traits. The 15 women chosen came from different backgrounds (and ages). They had different skills, causes and goals. But they were all proud to be a Filipina.

But beyond just showcasing these admirable women, I think the message that we should all be taking in here is this: Every Filipina has the capacity to be like them. EVERY FILIPINA. No matter what age we’re at, it’s never too late to give of ourselves for others. These women never went out seeking recognition or reward. They just went out and did it when they discovered the need. We, too, just need to become sensitive to our surroundings because where we’re needed may be just there. We just are not SEEING.

From June 26 to August 5, 2012, the portraits of these 15 Filipinas will be found in different mall exhibits throughout the Metro. Try to catch it when you go shopping. The mall exhibits are:

Powerplant, Rockwell (June 26-30)
Trinoma Mall (July 2-8)
Shangri-la Mall (July 9-15)
Greenbelt 5 Mall (July 16-22)
Eastwood Mall (july 23-29)
Alabang Town Center (July 30-Aug 5)

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A Conversation in Manila: a social media event with US Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

It’s not every day that I get the chance to be in the presence of someone like U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. So when I found out that I was one of the bloggers invited to grace the social media event which was being hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Manila in cooperation with GMA News TV, I jumped at the chance to be there.

We arrived early. People were not allowed yet into the main hall where the “conversation” was to be held because Secret Service people were sweeping the room. So we waited at the ground floor of the National Museum, the venue, with other bloggers like Juned, Noemi and Brian.

U.S. Embassy staff manning the registration table

After a while, we were given the signal to proceed to the main hall. The crew and anchorpersons were already there as well as the audience which were composed of select Twitter celebrities (spotted Heart Evangelista, Maxene Magalona and Isabelle Daza), Congressional interns, editors-in-chief of different university publications and of course, us – bloggers. Also spotted in the crowd were blast survivor Raissa Laurel, Winnie Monsod, Maria Ressa, and other GMA-7 newscasters.

Part of the audience

There was a quiet air of excitement in the air. Ramon Bautista of GMA News TV went around the room asking young people what they thought of the Secretary and everyone seemed to hold her with the highest regard. Some even commented that they’d like to see her as the first woman President of the United States.

We bloggers had our corner on the right side of the room. Cocktail tables were set up near power strips. Noemi, Bong and I took two of the cocktail tables and quickly had our gadgets set up. Later, we were joined by Janette in our table. Marcelle and Vince also joined our little group later.

Bong and I (livestreaming with mobile phone, tweeting with iPad) and taking photos with digicams (photo courtesy of Noemi)

Secretary Hillary Clinton spent a total of about 45 minutes with us, answering questions sent in through text, Skype, Twitter and Facebook. Questions ranged from political (would she help Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo get treatment in the US) to personal (does she have further political ambitions to run for President) to curious questions like what were the contents of her purse, iPad or iPod.

Secr. Clinton with hosts Vicky Morales and Howie Severino of GMA News TV

 

Maxene Magalona asks a question

All went smoothly except for one incident where the editor-in-chief of the UP Collegian, Marjohara Tucay, stood up just as another question was about to be asked from the floor. Tucay held up a cloth sign (cleverly folded and tucked away to avoid security scrutiny) and began shouting “Junk VFA” (Visiting Forces Agreement). He continued shouting as he was calmly led out of the hall. Meanwhile, Sec. Clinton kept her cool as she witnessed everything. Just before this, she was saying that in politics, one had to have skin as thick as a rhino. She indeed showed she could not be fazed even under frequent protests she sees in many places she visits.

As for the message that Tucay was trying to deliver, he has his points but I really doubt that the method he used delivered that message across effectively. He seems to have come off as a distraction who actually spiced up the entire forum. If only he had addressed the question directly to Sec. Clinton.

Protest sign held up by EIC of UP Collegian

In an article published by GMA News prior to this event, it was referred to as “groundbreaking”. It was, indeed. When we were chatting earlier with Robin Diallo, Counselor for Public Affairs with the US Embassy, she told us that this was the first time EVER that Sec. Clinton would be doing this. With security always very tight around her, mobile devices and gadgets were never allowed. The fact that the US Embassy Manila was able to get her (and her security) to agree to doing this was one-up already. Robin said that internally, as they were planning for this event, they referred to this as “townterchat” (short for TOWN hall, inTERview and CHAT). To actually get citizens and social media together and up close with her was a social media coup.

I am happy to have been part of this social media event. I congratulate the US Embassy in Manila for putting all this together. Indeed, they are the social media pioneers in diplomatic circles in this region. The success of this event will hopefully pave the way also for others who visit Manila to do something similar and engage netizens and the citizenry.

 

Here’s the entire Conversation in Manila, courtesy of GMA News TV’s YouTube channel:

 

Also visit the US Embassy Manila’s post on this event HERE.

 

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Steve Jobs, on life

Upon waking this morning, I opened up my iPad. The familiar ding sounded and a push notification from MacWorld popped up on my homepage with the nightmarish news that Steve Jobs had died.

The brilliant, creative genius of Apple products that kept blowing us all away was gone. He was only 56.

Tribute to Steve Jobs on the Apple homepage

Many will remember him for the genius that he was. Colleagues who worked with him probably remember him either at his best or at his worst. Most of us know him by the everyday devices we bring around with us that have become part of our identities.

But what struck me today, listening to the CNN coverage on Steve Jobs, was how he pursued his own version of a meaningful life with such a driven, focused passion.

Steve’s life has been very colorful. But his close encounter with pancreatic cancer in 2004 made him realize how life was too short. This mindset shift was clearly reflected in part of his speech at the 2005 Stanford commencement speech:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new…

Such profound words from a man who had a love-hate relationship with so many people who knew him! This must have been why he seemed so driven despite his illness. He wanted to go with a bang. And he has. He has left us with a legacy and many life lessons.

To me, what left a huge impression was Steve’s thoughts on death as a life-changing agent. It truly is. When we realize life is short, then we stop being a sham, a fake if you can call it that. We stop living someone else’s life. We begin focusing on who we really are, what we want to really do, where our passions lie, what counts in life, WHO count in our life. We realize that walls that we erect to ‘protect’ ourselves from hurt are actually walls that shut out people who love us. We begin to see people and things around us that, in many busy seasons of life, usually go by unnoticed. We learn detachment and see material things from a functional point of view rather than from an obsessed, never-ending acquisition binge.

To get a better sense of Steve’s mindset, watch this video of that 2005 Stanford commencement speech:

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for how you changed our lives in a dramatic way. How the world will communicate and connect will never be the same again. You will be truly missed.

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Apple in my life

The very first time I laid my eyes on an Apple product was in the 80s. Back then I was a graduate student in the U.S. working on my Masters degree. One of the Filipinos in my batch purchased an Apple IIe. He had it in his dorm room and I remember several of us going to his room to ogle and salivate. At that time, very few people could afford an Apple computer so it was quite the novelty amidst the Ataris and Radio Shacks others had.

(courtesy of http://www.allaboutapple.com/)

My next encounter with an Apple was at work. Most of the computers in the office were Windows-based ones but when it came to desktop publishing, nothing could beat what the Macintosh could do. Fortunately, I was one of those who had projects that required me to work on the Macintosh using Adobe PageMaker. It was thrilling then to see how the icon-based user interface differed from the command prompts we had to type in on Windows PCs. It was really so much easier (and fun) to use.

 

(courtesy of http://www.allaboutapple.com/)

However, there was a long hiatus as I went the way of Windows PCs and laptops when I moved to a bank which was predominantly on Windows. Both at home and at work, I became so rooted in Windows that when my girl received the first Macbook in the family as a graduation gift, I always wondered why she raved about its performance. The second Apple convert was my oldest son who began using an iMac at home. Then on one business trip, my husband came home with our first iPod  – his gift for the kids. That was followed by another iPod, won by my son unexpectedly in a consumer product raffle.

Then, it was time for me to get a laptop when I needed to be mobile. It was a personal struggle – to go with a Windows laptop or move to the Macbook. One agonizing year – yes, believe it or not, it took me that long to weigh how I’d use it, how I’d adapt to new features and commands, and whether it was worth the price. I made the move in late 2008 and got myself the unibody Macbook. At almost the same time, I got an iPod Touch. One was for heavy, serious work. The other was for portability and communication when I needed to be mobile. It was a decision I have never regretted.

The genius of Steve Jobs has shown in each and every Apple device that has been made. I’ve read a book about him and it told of how he could be very hard on his colleagues, very demanding, unsympathetic and a lot more descriptions that are not really flattering. But in the end, his devices really spoke to the hearts of everyone, young and old. He knew what we wanted before we even knew what we wanted.

Someone once told me that when you’ve tried an Apple device, it would be hard to go back to Windows. I was a bit skeptical about that statement but right now if you ask me if I’d give up my Macbook and iPad and revert back to Windows and a non-iOS device, my answer would be a big NO.

The last bastion standing now is my cellphone. Because I love qwerty keyboards, I have not switched as yet to an iPhone. I am still on a Nokia E71, loving its tactile feel and being able to type texts rapidly without the typos I get on a touchscreen device. But there are many things I cannot do seamlessly with it. I cannot livestream properly. I cannot take a picture (because its camera is really lousy) and upload photos on the fly to my social media networks. But friends with iPhones can.

Maybe this is the time to go full circle and complete my lineup of Apple devices by getting the iPhone 4S. That is a decision I am still weighing at the moment.

Our home is filled with Apple devices, just like many homes are. Without a doubt, Steve Jobs and his Apple devices have changed the way I communicate, work, play and get my news. I really hope that the spirit of Steve will live on for a long time. The world has so much to be grateful for to this one man who went against convention and what people may call common sense (at that time) to make portable devices with powerful communication features and massive consumer appeal.

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It’s Time to ACT and Curb HIV/AIDS Spread

Who would ever have thought that I would get involved in an HIV/AIDS advocacy?

I supported advocacies, yes. But I never thought of supporting something that I felt then I had no connection to. In my mind, I was saying that those who should be concerned are those who are sexually active with multiple partners, the gay community and others. Nope, not me. I will just focus on advocacies up my alley — maybe breast or cervical cancer or children illnesses. You know, women and motherly concerns.

But last year, when Project Headshot Clinic invited bloggers, along with some celebrities, to spread the word about HIV/AIDS awareness and the importance of action, I took a second look at the disease.

Here are some highlights that everyone should know about HIV/AIDS –

* HIV is not = AIDS. AIDS is the full-blown manifestation of HIV but if well-managed, HIV-positive people may not necessarily end up with AIDS.

* HIV attacks the immune system, our defense against all kinds of sickness

* You cannot die from HIV but because it weakens your immune system, you are susceptible to more serious infections and diseases

* Anyone can get HIV. It can hit anyone of any age, gender, sexual preference, race, religion, family background, profession, social status, life accomplishments, height or weight. ANYONE!

* HIV is transmitted in 4 ways: 1) unprotected sex, 2) sharing of infected needles, 3) as a fetus or infant during birth or through breastfeeding, and 4) by blood transfusion.

That is what caught my eye – item #4 (blood transfusion). How many of us have contracted dengue, for example, and needed blood transfusions? Even children get blood transfusions when platelet count is down.

Just today, I found this online news article from the Inquirer where some 124 blood units were found tainted with HIV. How safe is blood screening of donors in the Philippines – really? Scary thought…

That’s not all. Here are some alarming numbers. And mind you, this is just for the Philippines.

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Manny Pacquiao: A Cut Above the Rest

So much has been written about Manny Pacquiao after he won his 8th world title last Nov. 13, 2010 against Antonio Margarito. I won’t dwell anymore on just how great he is (because he is!), on his being a Congressman, or on his wealth. There are enough newspapers (print and online), magazines, and TV video clips on him that I would not even know where to start.

But let me dwell on one thing about Manny that made a deep impression on me.

In a previous post, I wrote about admiring Manny for always praying before and after a fight. His humility in giving glory to God already differentiated him from many boxers who were fighting for themselves and their own glory.

(Photo source: AP)

But in this fight with Margarito, another facet of Manny surfaced. Watch this video.

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