Movie Review: Sunday Beauty Queen,

 

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Photo (c) Tuko Film Productions, Artikulo Uno

What interest me after watching Sunday Beauty Queen is why the movie was titled as such, and why the plot of the movie pivoted on what the Hong Kong OFWs do during Sundays.¬†I asked my friends after watching the film on what they think was the documentary’s objective.

One said that the movie tries to show the story of the OFW in Hong Kong, their struggles, their stories abroad and their stories back in the Philippines. It is no smooth sailing adventure working abroad. The movie showed the different problems encountered by OFWs in Hong Kong, and OFWs in general. There are harsh employers, there are kind employers, and there are employers that treat domestic helpers as a family. Stories were shared on how they were treated by their employers. Some employers give them proper treatmentРdecent sleeping quarters, eating with their employers; while others treat them far worse than animalsРhorrible sleeping areas, left-over food. We do know a little about the life and struggles of OFW until this documentary.

Another said that the movie simply wants to feature Hong Kong OFW’s weekly activity, Beauty Contest, and how it harnessed camaraderie amongst themselves, and how such activity helped keep their sanity intact. It’s unbearable to imagine one’s mental torture living away from their family, dealing with problems of their¬†foster family,¬†problems on how to survive with their daily lives, how they were there for each other, as one family,¬†and on how someday after watching and counting several airplanes,¬†the next plane would be their ride home.

Domestic Helpers are also torn with the life they have and the life they are sharing with their new found family. Two stories that struck us the most are the stories of MJ.¬†Mr. Jack, a sick old man, and his family were very good to MJ, and MJ also saw them as a family. Mr. Jack is very supportive of MJ and her Sunday events. And it broke our heart when Mr. Jack died, it was Sunday when he died. Another story was of Cherrie Mae Bretana where he gave up (at the last minute) a good opportunity in Japan for her employer’s son. It simply shows how Filipinos sometimes give themselves selflessly even to people¬†they don’t share the same blood with.

Another said it’s a call to action– rights for all domestic helpers in Hong Kong. There were many harsh laws and regulations described in the film. Among which are the 14-day mandatory placement after being terminated by the employer, optional live-out policy for domestic helpers, poor (to no) 8-hour working policy, and the lack of support of the embassies and government of both countries to domestic helpers and OFWs.

I agree with all that my friends said, but I felt something is missing. I can’t seem to find the connection of everything to one another, especially of the title¬†Sunday Beauty Queen.¬†I felt there are symbolisms or a deeper meaning with the title and with what the documentary tries to portray.

Then I remembered the scene of Mr. Leo during one of the Sunday practices with the Beauty Queen. He was narrating his experience when one time he was asked what was his job in Hong Kong. He narrated, ‘When people asks me what my job here in Hong Kong is, I would answer that I am a manager. Then people would stare at you from head to toe. Then I would show them my iPhone. Yes, I am a manager. Manager of my employer.’

I realized maybe that was the connection to everything. Sunday Beauty Queen struck a balance in portraying the struggles and challenges of Domestic Helpers and breaking the stigma attached to Domestic Helpers. Domestic Helpers are not prostitutes but are moral and decent workers. Domestic Helpers are not slaves but Queens.

I remember there is one interview in the documentary where one of the Hong Kong employers said, “Domestic Helpers are very important here in Hong Kong. I can barely imagine what will happen to us without them.”

And Sunday Beauty Queen reminds us of that. Sunday Beauty Contest reminds them of that. It is more than just a Beauty Pageant, an income generating pageant, an advocacy-driven activity, a camaraderie eventРit is a weekly reminder that they are important. That after a week long of hard work there is that one day in a week that would make them feel like they rule the world, that they could strut in the runway with pride like real Queens of this world because they really are. Not only on Sundays but every day.

I hope this film pushes us to make effort to value and protect our Queens, our beloved Overseas Filipino Workers. (r)

 

 

Duterte’s War on Drugs

Yung bawat bukas mo ng TV at pagbabasa ng newsfeed ay puro patayan na ang nabababasa mo. Everyday, like it’s just part of the norm. What’s more alarming is the kind of thinking these events is spreading to everyone (see comment section)—that it is okay to kill, as long as your killing ‘what you think’ is a bad guy. Putting matters in your hands like there is no due process.

This is not okay. ‚Ä™#‚ÄéPresidentDuterte‚Ĩ, take a stand on this, make it stop, whoever is behind this. I believe your words are too powerful to stop this. Stop the spread of hopelessnes and lack of faith in humanity,‚Ä™#‚ÄéStopExtraJudicialKilling‚Ĩ. Let’s make our country a better place.

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The New York Times article featuring the Philippines on its bloody battle on drugs. View full article on GMA News.

To #PresidentDuterte, supporters of this extrajudicial killing, and citizens of the Philippines, here is a thought to ponder for all of us.

Maybe we should re-think what we know about drugs, addiction, isolation and think of social recovery, re-connection, and hope.

That madness called UP Health Service

My enrolment (spec.medical exam) process went crazy. A perfect example of a chaotic and disorganized work flow is the UP health Service. I’m an incoming freshman in UP Manila, and part of the process for enrolment is to undergo physical exam at the UP Health Service. It was crazy.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not intend to embarrass any person (because I know those two ladies did their best), or institution. I just want to highlight the flaw in the process with a goal to correct and them. Well, partly because I’ll have to undergo this process again and again until graduation. So better correct it now.

So ito ang nangyari.

Last week, I went to UP health service for physical exam as part of the enrolment requirements. Expectedly, there was a very long queue to the counter since enrolment. i need to fall in line in order to ask. Upon reaching the counter, I asked the nurses what are the requirements for the Physical Exam. There, they explained I need a chest x-ray, then a dental certificate validated in the UP Dentistry etc. I asked if there are forms I need to get from them or whatever for any of the process, wala naman na daw.

I went to PGH Radiology Dept to have my x-ray taken. The in charge asked me for my request for x-ray — what?. He said, I need a request for x-ray from the health service in order to have my x-ray taken.

I went back to the health service, fell in line for 20 mins or so, and asked for a request for x-ray form, as advised by the Rad dept. And tadaa— the x-ray form magically appeared. Meron pala. All the while they knew I would be needing that. Long story short, went to rad tech (again) and got my x-ray taken. Strike one.

Since TAT for x-ray results is three days Monday na ulit ako nakapagproces. Monday, the following week, early in the morning, I went back to the health service to submit my x-ray results and dental certificate. Of course, there were long queues. I patiently waited for about an hour, and upon reaching the counter I was advised to go to back by 3:00 PM for my PE.

I went back at 3:00 PM.

Fell in line.

Reached the counter.

Advised to go back the next day.

Told their cut-off was 3:00 pm.

WTF.

Strike 2.

Wednesday. Because of work, this would be my last day to process my PE. I went at exactly 8 am, submitting myself again for PE. The lady advised me to go the line outside since that was the line for those who has to undergo PE. That was, again, a very looong line.

While on the line, I was observing what is happening in the counter. Maraming estudyante ang pumupunta ng counter para mag tanong. Agit na si ate. Agit na din ang student. Ngiti na ulit sa ate. Good mood na ulit. Madami na ulit, estudyante. Paulit ulit ang tinatanong. Nag announce si ate. On top of her voice. Kung ano ano man yun. Processo daw. Validation dito, PE dun, x-ray. Something. Something. Humupa. Tanong. Tanong. Nag announce ulit.

It took me an hour or more to reach the counter. At 9 am, I finally reached the counter. Then, that same lady, got my form wrote the date, and said “Sir, balik kayo ng 1PM ha, dami¬†kasing patiente. Walang mag a-accomodate.”

WTH.

I told her, ‘Ms. pangalawang beses ko na to bumalik.’ She just smirked and said, ‘Ang dami daming patiente sir oh, di kaya ng nurse namin. Balik ka na lang. Balik ka na lang ng mejo maaga.’

That one hour of patiently waiting. She just smirked. Strike 3.

Went back at 12:15 to confirm if I can get PE, ‘do they have nurses/ doctors to check’; If pipila ba ako may mangyayari. Sabi niya, sir 1PM pa po, upo ka muna jan. I told her I no longer have time bla bla, is there a faster way of doing this. “Punta kayo ng FMAB, dun kayo mag pa PE, para hindi na namin i-validate. Pag dating niyo dito, bibigay niyo lang ang form. Di na kayo pipila.”

My world crumbled.

All the while, there was that shortcut. Strike 4.

I went to FMAB, read the instructions on the door, looked for Ms. Cheska, submitted my form. Ms. Cheska, smilingly, took my form, piled it in her queue, advised to go back at around 1pm because the doctor had lunch(it was 12:30 ish by that time).  After 30 mins or so, my name was called. Doctor interviewed me, got my PE slip. (Very organized, love it!) Went back to HS, gave my PE slip.

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(Sample of a flow chart at FMAB)
FIN.

To the UP Health Service, I commend and thank you esp the two ladies for doing their jobs in assisting the student get their PE, but I think there is something wrong with your work flow and the process in your office. Your process crumbles when faced with too many demands (students).For the next enrolment season, may I suggest the following:

  1. PRINT AND POST WORKFLOW. Many times, pa-ulit ulit lang ang mga tanong ng mga estudyante, ano ang process ano ang requirements, saan pupunta bla bla. I think makakatulong na mag paskil kayo ng instructions sa labas para di na masikip sa loob at naiistorbo pa kayo sa ginagawa niyo para sa mga basic na tanong ng estudyante kung ano ang gagawin. Inform the public what to do.
  2. ¬†INFO DESK.¬†Assign one person, or get student assistant, or tap student council to man an info desk. Again, nakakagulo kasi at nawawala kayo sa focus niyo kung may mga students na nag tatanong kung ano ang gagawin, ano ang requirements, kaya di niyo ma asikaso ng maayos ang pag vavalidate or pag PE. Humahaba ang pila for that. ¬†And usually, sa sobrang gulo na ng iniisip niyo, mali mali na ang instructions na nabibigay niyo, or kulang kulang (based on personal experience) So may I suggest may seperate counter kayo, or info desk para doon na lang pumunta ang mga estudyante. Majority ng crowd dun and cause the confusion ay yung walang proper info ¬†ano ang gagawin. This will also reduce your stressors, and stress ng students para wala ng sigawan o awayan na magaganap.Pwede naman kayo mag tap ng students or someone para lang may clear na mag instruct sa students. You don’t need licensed professionals just to instruct the students what to do.
  3. Make the forms readily available. Isa din sa napansin ko, yung forms na kailangan, kayo lang din may hawak sa counter. So yung mga estudyante na yun lang talaga ang pakay, kailangan pa kayong guluhin o pumila para makahingi lang ng form. Pwede namang hindi. Lagay niyo na lang somewhere para dun na lang kunin, or sa info desk, siya na lang din ang mag bigay ng mga forms kung may kailangan.
  4. Number system. Pwede ding mag bigay na ng number. Print lang or sulat ng number para di kailangan tumambay dun para lang mag pila. Para pwede din kaming maging productive sa buhay namin at hindi lang nakaupo dun. Nakakabagot and counter productive. Bawas tao, gulo at sikip pa sa maliit na room dun.  Kung mahaba na ang pila o sobrang dami na, na sa tingin niyo di niyo na ma-accomodate lahat mag lagay ng cut-off sa number. Para hindi na mag pila para sa wala ang iba. Masakit po umasa para sa wala.
  5. Third party/ observer. Minsan kasi, dahil sa napakaroutine na ng ginagawa natin, akala natin okay na to. Wala ng mababago, maayos na yan, push lang. Makakatulong paminsan minsan na may isang tao muna na bibitaw sa ginagawa niya para tignan lang ang processo ng trabaho niyo at alamin kung saang part pwede maayos, para organize. A third person perspective to look at everything on a different point of view. It really helps.

To the health service, like everywhere, organized process or workflow is important. Maliit na bagay (akala niyo lang), pero mahalaga. Para hindi tayo pagod. Happy kayo, happy ang estudyante,¬†everybody happy! Salamat. ūüôā

Because one thing I learned in UP, to be progressive, you don’t just complain, whine and then expect things to change, you propose a¬†solution. So here’s my suggestion. Hope it helps. #ParaSaBayan.

P.S. For the first time in forever, my blood pressure shoot up to 140/90. So yes, it will be forever in my UP health record, “suspect hypertension”, for monitoring. Huhu.

 

Movie Review: Ma’ Rosa (2016)

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My thoughts on Ma’ Rosa (2016): I saw what I was expecting to see for a Brillante Mendoza kind of film— disturbing, poverty porn kind of a film. Nandun lahat.
The cast were carefully picked for their roles. I felt it required ‘minimal’ acting na since majority of their portrayals are very close to their personality, or portrayals theyre known for. Parang theyre within their own comfort zones lang somehow. So parang effortless lang (or nagmukhang effortless) Which, I guess, is good din since their acting looked very natural on screen.
The Jaclyn Jose was great, as always. There were no heavy OA crying scenes or whatsoever but then she portrayed Ma’ Rosa with such accuracy. Ka abang abang bawat labas niya, para na washing machine ang heart ko na di ko maintindihan. Her acting is very natural, the emotion is very clear. Her eyes and facial expressions speaks so many things kahit wala ng lines. Ugh! Though, for me, as a Jaclyn Jose fan ever since, this is not her best role portrayed in films. Marami pa siyang ginawa sa ibang films na mas madadala ka talaga sa acting niya.
Ang galing din ni Julio Diaz. Kudos din to Jomari Angeles—of course dahil ang hirap ng ginawa niya. Disturbing pero ang galing ng pagkakuha. I really admire these kinds of actors who could go that far for art’s sake. #Goals ko din yan minsan. haha.
Yun nga lang. Like many Brillante Mendoza films, it would really require you to think, watch out for symbolisms and google things para ma gets ng buo ang film. #palaisipan haha. Ang daming issues ang nilahad ng film na ito: drugs, corrupt police officials, prostitution, 5-6 lending, etc.
So on a scale of 1 to “On the Job” (10), I’d give this film a 4. Hindi ako ganun ka namove matapos kong panoorin kasi, pero maganda naman siya. hihi. But then of course, I’m no movie critique or very expert on this, I’d still suggest you to go watch the film and experience yourself. Let me know what you think :))
#MaRosa #IndieFilm #BrillanteMendoza

PUV: Public (Private) Utility Vehicle

So I had this realization.

Public hospital is defined (by wikipedia) as a hospital which is owned by a government and receives government funding.

Public school is (by Merriam) a school that gets money from and is controlled by the government.

And so is Public CR, Public Park, Public whatever¬†— owned by the government (in part or in whole) thus is for public use.

Then I came across the abbreviation PUV or Public Utility Vehicle. Following my dumb logic, and basic transitivity rule, Public Utility Vehicle (aka jeepney, jeep) must probably be controlled, owned, or funded by the government.

But then I realized, no it’s not. Then, I googled it, ‘Public Transport’–¬†Oh, no, it’s not. (Public transport, wikipedia,¬†is a shared passenger-transport service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, carpooling, or hired buses, which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.)

And then I realized, ‘Oh, why not?’.

In the Philippines,¬†public transportation¬†has always been a big pain in the a**. Taking¬†public transportation (jeepneys, buses) going to work/ school is always a struggle; biggest challenge you need to face before starting your day. One of my friends jokingly said before (favorite joke), “Aalis ka ng bahay¬†ng disente, propesyunal, dadating ka ng opisina¬†na¬†parang¬†kakagaling ng gyera.” or “Papasok ka ng MRT bilang tao, lalabas kang mandirigma).”

Not only that, it’s becoming more apparent, especially in Manila, for jeepney drivers not to follow basic traffic rules. Kaskasero, nang gigiit, hitting the red light, swerving, loading sa maling lugar,¬†biglang hihinto, humaharurot ng wala sa oras — for someone who rides his bike going to the office, and has great fear of crossing the street (even in pedestrian lanes because drivers never follow this rule anyway), I always fear for my life.

And it should not be that way. We can’t always be like.

So, putting myself on the driver’s shoes. I asked, why am I like that, why should I be like that (cue:¬†Secret love song). Three things I could think of:

  1. I need to reach my quota for the day (for boundary, gas, daily expense);
  2. Traffic rules are loose; Buaya traffic enforcers are everywhere.
  3. Contrary to what I’m being labeled, I’m actually a private vehicle.

Reaching the quota

Most of the drivers in the Philippines don’t own their vehicle. They still need to pay the rent for the jeepney, the gas, and their basic daily needs. After a hard day’s work, they’ll only earn 300 to 600 pesos. Of course, I’ll work harder in order to earn more. Unfortunately, working hard often means being bada** in the streets. Somehow you can’t blame them.

Traffic rules are loose; Buaya traffic enforcers are everywhere.

Needless to explain, many jeepney drivers can violate traffic rules and get away with it.¬†Not to generalize all traffic enforcers, but there are traffic enforcers who are BS preying on jeepney driver’s hard earned money. Many times, jeepney drivers fear not the law but the traffic enforcers because of pangongotong, at panghuhuli na wala sa lugar.¬†Discipline should come from the drivers, but also to the traffic enforcers, they should be suspended, or better yet terminated of their jobs immediately if they’re caught red-handed. Discipline applies to¬†passengers, and pedestrians as well.

Contrary to what I’m being labeled, I’m actually a private vehicle.

The sad truth about all this, actually, is that I am not owned by the government. The government imposes many rules, batas ng pag babawal, taas-baba ng pamasahe, laws the favors the masses but little do the they care of how much money I earn for the day; or if the what I’m getting is enough to feed the mouths left at home.

The problem with the government, the impose rules and ordinance for the greater good they forgot the minority with basic needs as well. Belonging to the minority, kapit sa patalim, gagawin ang lahat para makapag boundary, mabuhay.

As a proactive youth, I’m not going to rant without proposing an alternative (not so perfect, but something to consider).

Why can’t the government own/ subsidize/ take control of the public transportation? Public Utility Vehicle to own his name. Make drivers be like laborers, teachers, ¬†executive assistants- with fixed salaries and compensation from the government. I’m not an economist to compute (maybe someone could), but the government could compute and allot a certain budget to compensate jeepney drivers. Ang

Ang trabaho naman nila ay para sa kapakanan ng nakararami,¬†dapat lang na supportahan ito ng gobyerno. Ensuring a safe, adequate, and efficient transportation should always been the government’s job.

My proposition is vague, but something to think of. Drivers will only need to work 8-hours a day (more time with family), with defined shifting or schedule by the government. The passengers still pay a certain amount for her transportation, but instead of the money going straight to the driver (or his contractors for that matter), this will go to a local government entity. The money will be used for sustainability and compensation for the drivers.

With this, 1.) drivers need not to work hard (working hard as described above) in order to get the minimum money for the day; 2) No more kaskaseros, swerving, etc. since they don’t need to, they get paid a day’s worth of money. 3) the government will have complete control over them. They can strictly implement rules (answering dillema no. 2, as stated above) else drivers will get suspended or fired. 4) The burden of taas-baba ng krudo is no longer on the driver’s but the government’s shoulders (like it always should). 5) Number of jeepneys and other public utility vehicles in the road can be efficiently controlled (Thus, less traffic!).

I know there are downfalls and loopholes in this set-up, but I think this should be something worth considering.

Imagine. What if one day we’d be like this; no more traffic, no more violating the rules, drivers get paid enough for their basic needs, pedestrians and passengers need not to fear their lives. What if. I dream that someday the Philippines will be like this.

I dream that someday the Philippines will be like this.

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A new day for the Philippines.

 

I know there are many other benefits and problems with this set-up, feel free to comment below. Hopefully this proposition gets to the local LGUs, the Congress, or the President for consideration. ūüôā

#Halalan2016

Halalan2016 is finally over. Let peace, unity, and respect prevail our land.
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Halalan2016 destroyed so many friendships; let there be forgiveness.
Halalan2016 hurt so many people (supporters, and candidates); let there be healing.
Halalan2016 brought so much division and hatred; let there be unity and love.I am somehow settled that Duterte won because I know this is the voice of the majority. Although, I’m a bit emotional that Leni Robredo lost the Vice-Presidency, because for me she really deserved the position (And that Sotto, and Pacquiao made it to the Senate). But I’m happy that at long last, nakaranas din ako ng eleksyon na ang idineklarang panalo (President, that is) ay hindi naakibat sa issue ng pangdaraya, talamak na vote buying, o panloloko. Natutuwa akong makaranas ng eleksyon na halos lahat ay may pakealam; eleksyon na sobrang pinag uusapan; eleksyon na halos lahat ay may opinyon at may pinaninindigan. Ikinararangal kong maging Pilipino.

I hope that as we look back to the harsh words we’ve said to other people, things we did that hurt others, actions that directly or indirectly ruined friendships, we look back and ask for forgiveness. Itigil na ang bangayan, itigil na ang sisihan, itigil na ang siraan (sana matigil na din ang mga posts na ‘Oh, ayan, nanalo kayo pag may patayan na at malugmok ng Pilipinas, I told you so). Oras na tayo ay magkaisa at magtulungan para sa bansang Pilipinas.

Let’s respect the majority; let’s respect democracy. Let’s still do our part for the country, and continue serving the Philippines. Let’s all be critical, but constructive; vigilant, but progressive. Para sa bayan, para sa Pilipinas.

Because at the end of the day, your future and the future of this country still lie on your hands. Tayo pa rin ang sagot, nasa atin pa rin ang pag babago.

#Pilipinas #Halalan2016 #MahalkoangPilipinas #ParaSaBayan #TayoAngPagbabago

Eleksiyon sa Pilipinas

Nakakalungkot na pagkatapos ng eleksyon na ito ang mas tatatak sa isipan ko (at ng mas maraming Pilipino) ay ang mga eskandalo, alegasyon, at kapalpakan ng nga kandidato, at hindi ang mga plano at plataporma nila sa bansa (hal. plataporma sa kalusugan).

 

Pagbabago-Halalan-20161(Photo credits to the owner)

Nakakalungkot na ang eleksyon ngayon ay hindi “Piliin ang tama”, bagamat ay “Choose the less evil” na.

Nakakalungkot na ang sistema na ng pagpili ng karamihan sa susunod na Presidente ng Pilipinas ay sa pamamagitan na ng “elimination method”, at hindi na dahil “mas maganda ang plano niya!” “Why should you NOT vote for him”, at hindi na “Why should you vote for me” ang kampanya ngayon.

Wag daw botohin si ito dahil ito, wag daw botohin si ganyan dahil ganyan. Sino pala ang iboboto?

Basta, wag iboto si ito.

Ang eleksyon nga naman talaga ay labasan ng baho, at hindi ng mga plano. Nakakalungkot.

We prefer to pull other people down, than to push ourselves up. That is excellence for us.

Siguro nga ay mas importante yun at mas ikauunlad ng bansa.

I dream that someday Filipinos will have a healthy discourse on plans, visions; I dream that someday my newsfeed will be filled with platforms, and positive and constructive criticisms; I dream that someday there will be less memes, name calling, trash talks, and BS. Well, maybe I might be too young or too naive to realize this has always been the elections in the Philippines.

Siguro nga ay dati pa to. Siguro nga ay ganito talaga tayo. Kaya nga siguro hirap tayong umasenso. Nakakalungkot.

‪#‎SulongPinas‬ ‪#‎TayoAngSagot‬ ‪#‎TayoAngPagbabago‬ ‪#‎PrayforthePhilippines‬‪#‎EleksyonSaPinas‬ ‪#‎SanaMataposNa‬