Backpacking Bohol

I rarely go out of town during the Holy Week, as I grew up in a devout Catholic household. But my birthday coincided with Maundy Thursday this year. It’s been my tradition to travel on my birthday week partly to escape office pizza requests. But mostly, I find it romantic to turn in a new year on…

How to Get Away with Murder: The Pemberton Verdict and LGBT Rights

Until now, Julita Cabillan fondly calls her daughter, “Ganda.” To the rest of the world, she is known as Jennifer Laude, Jeffrey to those who cannot accept that a person can choose his or her own gender identity. Whatever you call her, she’s now just a name, a memory. For Julita, the lower court verdict…

Farewell

I hope this message finds you well. The world calls you millennials — and with your diverse skills, the possibilities are endless. Yet understandably, it is also a time of uncertainty since you are about to leave the comfort zone of the classroom. If you may have entertained doubts, everything is still alright. We live in a time when…

#Taiwanderlust: Discovering the Underrated Asian Dragon

It’s only been half a year since Taiwan has opened up and relaxed its visa rules for its Asia Pacific neighbors, and already we’re seeing a surge in tourists arrivals in Taipei. In 2016 alone, there was a 25% spike in the number of Filipinos who visited this island-nation barely the size of Luzon. These were 172,475…

Orapronobis

The commemoration of the Passion of the Christ is an opportune time to pause for a while and reflect on all that has been and all that will be. And while a very few blessed kababayan can afford to travel either to the Sistine Chapel in the Holy See or the Holy Land in Jerusalem, you…

Depression: The Window for Helping

Depression is an opportunity for those experiencing it and those witnessing it. To the one experiencing it, this can be a great journey into creating and transforming the bad into wonderful or the pale into colorful by tapping one’s inner warrior. For the witnesses, it is a brave chance to bring hope and show compassion even…

The Disappearing Farmers of Cambodia

KAMPONG CHAM, CAMBODIA — Hun Heang and his six siblings were born and raised into farming. They inherited the half-hectare land of their parents in Kang Meas district, Kampong Cham province, Cambodia. He was seven years old when he learned how to plant rice. Life was easy then, according to Hun. But as years went by, farming…

False Balance in Journalism

Can a journalist really create a false sense of balance in one’s work? This was one of the points of discussion during a journalism training I attended in Cambodia this month. UNESCO sponsored the workshop and selected fourteen journalists from the ASEAN region. The issue is interesting, relevant and somewhat controversial, as balance is a…

Mga Kwentong Laman

Sabi ng puso ko, mahal ko siya. Sabi ng utak ko, ‘wag! Hindi tama. Sabi ng bituka ko, naguguluhan ka na. Gutom lang ‘yan. Sabi ng kidney ko, hindi siya nararapat sa’yo. Dapat piliin mo lang ang mga nakakabuti para sa iyo. Sabi naman ng puwet ko, hindi ka talaga magugustuhan nun! Tignan mo nga…

What Should Gender Equality Mean?

For the 2017 International Women’s Day (#IWD2017), I’d like to discuss something that has been bugging me for a while now. Several months back in London, I was doing pre-interviews with a businesswoman for a feature we were doing on her friend, a top female CEO. A female colleague chided me for inquiring about how…

Gabe Bondoc: The Homecoming of a YouTube Sensation

One. Two. Seven. Nine. It took a while before I (as well as hundreds of other fans) got to hear that intro live in Manila straight from the man himself—Gabe Bondoc. It was long overdue, but damn was it worth the wait. We Match Unlike many of his over 300,000 subscribers, I didn’t find Gabe…

Sulu: A Lost Paradise

Berwina Timbang, a grade six student in Sultan Jamalul Kiram Elementary School in Maimbung, Sulu, was diligently listening to her English teacher when I first saw her. I was in Sulu then for a one-day news coverage. Occasionally, she would glance outside the window, her eyes innocent and her face hopeful. In a class of…

When Manila Went Gaga Over the Goo Goo Dolls

Anyone who grew up in the Philippines in the 90’s  will easily recognize The Goo Goo Dolls as the band behind the hit “And I don’t want the world to see me,” the original soundtrack to the film City of Angels. For some 90’s kids like me, it wasn’t until I asked my older siblings that…

Kayumanggi and Proud: Life as a Filipino Gay Immigrant in Denmark

Alvin Tuling, 37, has always been reserved and shy. He admits he is not openly gay as some of his friends are. He wears typical men clothes and tries to “act like a heterosexual man.” “I do not like drawing attention to myself,” he says. Alvin comes from the Philippines, a country populated mostly by Catholics….