Monthly Archives: November 2012


On this day exactly a year ago, I received the Best Text Blog Award from the organizers of the 7th Annual Population and Development (PopDev) Media Awards. Although I won four other competitions after that, going up that stage that night to receive my trophy remains one of the highest points of my life. As noted in a previous post, the PopDev Media Awards won’t be held this year, but despite that, I am once again running to get another blogging award. And this time, I will need your support to achieve it.

The Filipino Scribe is nominated to receive the People’s Choice Awards in the 2012 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA). I badly need your help. You can vote in three quick steps:

1. Go to

2. In the page’s right side, you will find the list of ten nominees under the “Philippine-based bloggers” table.

3. Please check the space before nominee #8 which is The Filipino Scribe. Click ‘submit vote’ after.

The Filipino Scribe - 2012 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards

The Filipino Scribe is nominee # 8 in the 2012 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards – OFW Supporter category (credits: PEBA 2012 Facebook page)

Voting takes less than a minute and there’s no need to register. My official entry to the competition is titled “Embracing Social Media in my Life.” I have been writing about OFW-related issues long before taking part in this competition. Last year, I wrote about the “Saudization” labor policy’s potential impact not just for Filipinos already working in that country but also for other workers that are seeking jobs there.

A few months ago, I wrote about Manila Rep. Trisha Bonoan-David’s decision to kill her proposed measure that would have raised the contributions of OFWs to the government emergency fund from $25 to $50. OFW rights advocate Susan Ople went on to credit this blog for posting Bonoan-David’s actual letter to the House Majority Leader regarding her decision. Early this month, I came up with a post tackling the potential impact of Filipino-Americans in the 2012 United States presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

According to figures from WordPress, this blog has received at least 1,000 views from readers in fifteen countries other than the Philippines. Their consistent support for my blog inspires me to continue writing more about issues they care about. Whatever happens to my participation in this year’s PEBA, I will certainly continue doing that.

Let me end this post by once again asking for your support. Please vote for The Filipino Scribe in this year’s Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards simply by doing the following:

1. Go to

2. In the page’s right side, you will find the list of ten nominees under the “Philippine-based bloggers” table.

3. Please check the space before nominee #8 which is The Filipino Scribe. Click ‘submit vote’ after.

2012 pinoy expat ofw blog awards

Visit, see the right side, check the space before nominee #8 in The Filipino Scribe. Click “submit vote” and you’re done!

Voting ends on December 5. As of posting time, I remain in second place in a field of ten nominees. With the help of our blog followers and readers, victory is achievable. You can vote more than once as long as you’re using a another device.

WHAT IS AT STAKE: The recipient of the People’s Choice Award will get a citation from the organizers. Meanwhile, the top three blogs will get the following prizes:

1st Prize:             Cash Prize plus Freebies and Trophy worth P10, 000

2nd Prize:            Cash Prize plus Freebies and Trophy worth P5, 000

3rd Prize:             Cash Prize plus Freebies and Trophy worth P3, 000


December 8 2012 Taguig City holiday

Taguig will be marking the 14th cityhood anniversary this December 8. On that day in 1998, President Joseph Estrada signed Republic Act 8487, the law that paved the way for Taguig’s conversion into a city. President Benigno Aquino III is expected to declare the said day, which this year falls on a Saturday, as a special non-working holiday just like last year through Proclamation 298. The city government may also issue a declaration to that effect on its own.

Formerly a part of Rizal province, Taguig became a part of the National Capital Region in 1975 through Presidential Declaration 824 which was crafted by then-President Ferdinand Marcos. A year after the passage of RA 8487 in 1998, a plebiscite was conducted to determine whether the residents of Taguig are willing to have their municipality converted into a city.

Official seal of City of Taguig

Official seal of the City of Taguig (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The initiative narrowly failed, and the plebiscite result was challenged before the Supreme Court. The SC, after almost five years, decided that those in favor of converting Taguig into a city actually won the vote.  This decision was reaffirmed by the high court in a 2006 ruling.

UPDATE, 12-07-2012 (2PM)-> In response to a phone query, the office of Mayor Lani Cayetano said that Malacanang is yet to issue a proclamation declaring December 8 of this year as a holiday although the city will mark its foundation anniversary tomorrow with a fireworks display in Lower Bicutan by night time.

Please “like” The Filipino Scribe on Facebook!

PERSONAL: The Filipino Scribe is nominated to receive the People’s Choice Award in this year’s edition of the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA) – OFW Supporter category. Visit PEBA’s website ( and check out this part in the page’s right side to vote for us (we are nominee #8). Thank you so much in advance!

December 8 2012 holiday in Batangas

The province of Batangas will be celebrating its annual foundation anniversary on December 8. The day, which falls on a Saturday, has been declared by the Office of the President as a special non-working holiday through Proclamation 504. The declaration was signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa last November 15. Click here to read the full text of Proclamation 504.

Spaniards led by generals Martin de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo first reached Batangas in 1570. According to one account, the colonizers explored the coast of Batangas on their way to Manila (this was established a year later). In the process, they encountered a Malay settlement at the mouth of Pansipit River.

The province of Batangas as we know it today had two forerunners. First of these is Bonbon, which was founded in 1578 by Fr. Estaban Ortiz and Fr. Juan de Porras. A decade later, the colonial government abolished the Bonbon Province to give way to the Balayan Province, whose land area include present-day Batangas, MindoroMarinduque, southeast Laguna, and Camarines provinces.

Population densities of Batangas localities, 1...

Batangas Day is on December 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ampatuan massacre anniversary – private armies still exist

*Press release sent to The Filipino Scribe by Human Rights Watch

Several members of the Ampatuan clan are now in jail and on trial for the massacre. But of the 197 identified suspects, only 99 have been arrested. Of that number, 81 have been indicted. One of those arrested died in jail while another was released by a court after charges were dropped against him. The rest, mostly members of the police militia called the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO), remain at large.

The trial so far has mostly concerned the 56 bail petitions filed before the court. The prosecution has yet to complete its presentation of evidence and witnesses. Relatives of victims have alleged that they have faced threats, intimidation, and bribery, allegedly from Ampatuan supporters; one of the widows decided to leave the Philippines this year out of fear. Since the massacre, lawyers for Mangudadatu said at least three actual or potential witnesses have been killed, including an Ampatuan militia member named Suwaib Upham who had agreed to testify and who had sought witness protection that never materialized.

In November, the Supreme Court rejected a petition seeking live television coverage of the trial. Relatives of victims told Human Rights Watch that they had hoped showing live coverage would lend transparency to the proceedings and encourage the court to expedite hearings.

The Maguindanao Massacre brought to light the dangers posed by private armies, militias, and paramilitaries in the Philippines, but the administration of President Benigno Aquino III has not seriously addressed the problem. Aquino should rescind Executive Order 546, issued in 2006 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which allows the arming of the CVOs by local officials. The Ampatuans justified the recruitment and arming of militia members, ostensibly to fight Islamist rebels but in reality to consolidate their hold on power, by citing Executive Order 546.

ampatuan massacre third anniversary

Private armies continue to exist three years after the 2009 Ampatuan massacre

There are concerns that Executive Order 546 will be used by powerful politicians to arm militias prior to the midterm and local elections slated for May 2013. The Interior Department has already identified 15 provinces as “election hotspots” where political violence has occurred and is likely to worsen prior to election day. Four of these provinces are in Mindanao, among them Maguindanao. The rest are in the central and north Philippines known to have political warlords and a history of election violence.

The Aquino administration claims that it has “neutralized” 28 so-called “private armies,” but as recently as last week it identified 107 more of these armed groups. The Interior Department has stated these groups might be used to harass voters.

“Aquino pledged during the campaign that he would revoke Executive Order 546, but he has reneged on that promise,” Adams said. “With one stroke of a pen, he can make good on his commitment for the good of all Filipinos.”

In its 2010 report on the Maguindanao Massacre, “They Own the People,” Human Rights Watch urged that the president, in addition to revoking Executive Order 546, should:

  • Issue an executive order banning all paramilitary and militia forces because of their long and continuing history of serious human rights violations. To accomplish this, the armed forces and national police should systematically disarm all paramilitary and militia forces, end all private funding of such groups, and implement their staged reduction and disbandment.
  • Issue an executive order requiring all government officials to report firearms acquired for professional or personal use for themselves or immediate family members; amend Executive Order 194 to limit the number and caliber of firearms that civilians can own.
  • Order an appropriate government agency, such as the Commission on Audit, to investigate whether public funds have been used directly or indirectly for creating, arming, and supporting militia forces, and if so, the source of the funds.

“President Aquino can make his mark in Philippines history by banning abusive militias and paramilitary forces,” Adams said. “Not only is it important that the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre get justice but that the government acts to ensure that an atrocity like this will never happen again.”

December 2 2012 – Pasay City day holiday

Pasay City will be marking its 149th foundation anniversary this December 2, which falls on a Sunday this year. On this day last year, President Benigno Aquino III issued Proclamation 294 (click here to read its full text) which declared December 2 as a special non-working holiday on the said city in Metro Manila.

Aquino is expected to issue a similar proclamation anytime soon, or the city government of Pasay may make the declaration unilaterally. Please check this site for updates in the coming days.

Map of Metro Manila showing the location of Pa...

Pasay City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the city’s website, Pasay became a pueblo (the Spanish-era equivalent of a town, it was led by a gobernadorcillo) on December 2, 1863 upon the recommendation of Archbishop Gregorio Martinez of Sta. Cruz. A year before it, several prominent citizens of Pasay sent a petition to civil and ecclesiastical authorities for them to be allowed to manage their own political and religious affairs.

Martinez, who eventually became the Archbishop of Manila, is forever remembered in Philippine history for his refusal to defrock Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora prior to their execution in 1872. Instead, he ordered the tolling of the bells in every church in honor of them.


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PS: The Filipino Scribe is nominated to receive the People’s Choice Award in this year’s edition of the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA) – OFW Supporter category. Visit PEBA’s website ( and check out this part in the page’s right side to vote for us. Thank you so much in advance!

Colt 45 and the ‘real men’ myth

In late 2008, Colt 45 Philippines launched four 15-second advertisements featuring a group of men in different situations. The ad campaign intends to reintroduce Colt 45 as the “strong beer for real men.” The marketing blitz however contains highly insensitive gender stereotypes.

In the first ad, a man is shown as making comments about an unseen woman’s fashion style even while his peers are drooling over the lady’s “sexy” body ( In the second advertisement (, a man is seen walking away from his buddies who are all watching a wrestling match on TV to make sweet talk to his girlfriend on the phone. The third advertisement ( shows a man weirdly wiping a glass with his hand towel even though he himself is already sweating. The fourth and last installment ( shows a man using a facial oil wipe.

After doing those “unmanly” acts, the deviant received uneasy looks from his peers before being obliterated by a Colt 45 giant bottle from above. A husky-voiced narrator will then say: “Men should act like men. Strong beer should truly be strong.” The media falls under what Louis Althusser describes as cultural ISA (ideological state apparatus)[1]. According to Althusser, social institutions “use suitable methods of punishment, expulsion, selection, etc., to ‘discipline’” individuals who refuse to abide by the ruling ideology.

The catchphrase “men should act like men” mandates that all men have to act according to socially-established gender rules of conduct. This include not showing a “soft” even to his girlfriend, not allotting so much time to clean his face, and not making any comments about a woman’s fashion style. Men who do not observe the standards of heteronormativity are regarded as “hindi tunay na lalake,” or worse, labeled as “effeminates” and “gays.”

One way for people to know about these gender prescriptions is through the media. We are constantly bombarded by the media with messages essentially dictating everyone how they should act in accordance to gender norms. The media is the main arena where the dominant ideology asserts its authority on one hand while on the other; this is also where marginalized ideologies fight for greater acceptance or inclusion into the mainstream.

Men should always be stoic, dominant, and unyielding even when proven wrong. There are also activities they cannot engage in as well as TV programs they can’t watch (Glee, for instance) because it is unmanly to do so. The media therefore becomes the platform by which a battle of gender symbols (ergo, what is manly vs. what is not) takes place.

However, as mentioned by Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci, the status of the dominant ideology is perpetually challenged since not everyone readily accepts it[2]. Nowadays, the media no longer have qualms about featuring men who does not conform to the so-called standards of being “tunay na lalake” (e.g. metrosexuals, effeminates, and men having sex with other men) in films, television shows, and the like. One manifestation of this is the proliferation of independent films that focuses on a gay’s life (e.g. “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” and “Lihim ni Antonio”).

Meanwhile, some TV programs like GMA News TV’s Best Men put men who are extra conscious about their appearance in a better light. These attempts represent efforts toward making compromises as regards the dominant thinking of how a man should act. Despite these attempts, the ruling ideal for “real men” still remains and has to be reinforced. Hence, we have the abovementioned series of Colt 45 ads.

colt 45 strong beer for real men

Colt 45 positions itself as a “strong beer for real men”

Having this kind of heterosexist message constantly being harped upon in the media will affect an individual’s self-identity, especially for those who grew up not meeting the standards of being a “tunay na lalake.” A young boy for instance who is used to being told by his mom to bring an umbrella all the time might end up believing that he is not man enough just because of it.

The whole concept of “men should act like men” goes against the central thesis of queer theories, which says that sex, gender, and sexuality are “fluid continuums in which identity based on fixed categories is a meaningless concept[3].” In short, being sweet and extra-conscious of how you look will not lessen a man’s masculinity since everything is in a constant flux to begin with.

This alone, as Michel Foucault argues[4], means that drawing clear cute demarcation lines between gender and sexual identities are impossible. More importantly, these definitions are mere social constructions to begin with. In conclusion, it can be said that since the media plays a significant role in shaping a person’s gender identity, it should be extra careful in setting baseless standards like what “real men” should do. It is good to note that the Philippine Commission on Women two years ago blew the whistle against Colt 45’s gender insensitive advertising campaigns[5].

[1] Althusser, Louis. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatusses. ( Retrieved October 9, 2012

[2] Storey, John. (1993). An Introduction to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture (2nd ed.). London: Prentice Hall.

[3] Jagose, Annamarie (1996), Queer theory An Introduction, New York University Press, New York

[4] Dollimore, Jonathan, Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault ,The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991).

[5] __________. Beer ad pulled out for derogatory women portrayal. Philippine Commission on Women website ( Accessed October 9, 2012

No Philippine Blog Awards for 2012, but VOTE FOR ME!

Here’s a bad news for bloggers looking for means to be recognized on a national level. This year, at least two major national competitions for Filipino bloggers will not be held. In its official Facebook page, the Philippine Blog Awards committee noted last November 1 that it “will be going on hiatus this year 2012.” The group did not elaborate why but it vowed that they “will be back soon.”

Earlier this year, organizers of the Philippine Web Awards (PWA) announced that it is scrapping its original plans to have the awarding rites on July 20, 2012. The organization noted that their decision was “in response to e-mails sent by a number of Web designers who pointed out that since 2012 is nearly half over, we should already include Web sites that have gone ‘live’ this year.”

Therefore, the 13th PWA will honor websites put up in 2011 and 2012. The organization added: “We will reopen the nominations, push back the judging schedules and hold the Awards Night late this year or early next year.”

philippine web awards 2013

Like the Philippine Blog Awards, the Philippine Web Awards will not be held this year.

On this day a year ago, I was notified by the organizers of the 7th Annual Population and Development Media Awards that I will be getting the Best Text Blog Award for 2011. That’s the first time that the said award-giving body recognized bloggers in the same league as their counterparts from the traditional media.

Unfortunately, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee for Population and Development hasn’t expressed any intentions to organize the event this year. This decision is disconcerting knowing how much the reproductive health bill issue dominated the news cycle this year.

SHAMELESS PLUG: The Filipino Scribe is nominated to receive the People’s Choice Award in this year’s edition of the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA) – OFW Supporter category. Visit PEBA’s website ( and check out this part in the page’s right side to vote for us. Thank you so much in advance!

The Filipino Scribe is nominated in this year’s Pinoy Expat/OFW Blog Award. Please vote for us in this link –!

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