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The other man…REALLY???

Culture Monk

thinking it through

by Kenneth Justice

~ The other day at coffee I was congratulating one of my coffee acquaintances, “Dude, for the nearly 10 year’s I’ve known you, this is the longest you’ve dated a woman…what’s its been now, a little over a year?” I asked

He gave me one of those quizzical looks people give when they want to tell you something, but aren’t sure how to say it,

Look Kenneth, I’m gonna just come out and say it cause I’m tired of trying to dance around the truth with ya; to be perfectly honest with you, I’m the other man” he said

Apparently the woman he’s been dating for the past year has another boyfriend…..and my acquaintance is merely the ‘other man’. “Does boyfriend #1 know about you?” I asked

Yea, sort of….this is one of those situations in which we’re all aware of what is going on…

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My Sister’s Birthday

Happy birthday to my dearest and ever-dependable sister. Ate, you’ve always been a rock that I could hold on to. Through the good and the trying times, you’ve always been a very grounded sister and I could never ask for anything else.

We may be living two worlds apart but in times when I feel alone I only think of how I told Mum that no matter what, I’ll always just have to remind myself that my siblings are just around, which is true. Thank you for just being there and everything else.

I hope you enjoy your day this time and may God bless you abundantly.

I love you.

FRIENDS, like last year, feel free to extend your birthday greetings to my sister in Toronto, by commenting on this post. Just my little way of saying thank you, because if my sister had not been there for me, I wouldn’t get to where I am now and probably would not have met so many of you. Cheers!

via Gorjus Marsh on Facebook.


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt has been ages since I have participated in an exchange gift scheme. The “monito-monita” thing is really fun but I realised that I didn’t fully appreciate the idea that you are somewhat forced to give something because you’re a part of it. It defeats the purpose of “giving”.

Christmas reminds us of the spirit of giving. Hell, it’s not just Christmas but should be all year round. If you want to give, give. You don’t have to feel pressured to wrap that present and give to someone whose name you drew out of a fish bowl “in the spirit of fun and the season”.

To be honest I have rarely given gifts myself to any of the people close to me in a lot of occasions. It could be either I’m trying to make ends meet so bad at that time – just like now – or I felt that whatever tangible object I could give, they’re so much capable of getting it for themselves that I just show them gestures of love instead. A very few of my loved ones may be able to tell you how much I love them. I’d literally go out of my way and at some point tried to put my life to a pause just to be with them.

Peru - Chacapampafood to the homelessI have done my own gift-giving, away from the ever criticising eyes of people. I do not intend to be sneered at for talking about how and who I’ve given to so I’d rather not get into the details. To make it simple, at some point I have paid it forward… to nameless, faceless individuals we often ignore. I’ve shared spare stuff, maybe even divided what I have, and at some point only left something what I feel I need at the moment. It doesn’t matter.

It just breaks my heart to see how selfish and greedy I could sometimes be and see someone out there with practically nothing. And then also comes the idea that, yeah, I feel obligated to buy presents for these friends, or relatives, or colleagues because they might be gutted if I don’t. Probably think that I’m the one that usually takes and never extends an arm. These people that think of you that way… I say never mind them.

friends-opening-preparing-christmas-presents-7211547slide_202306_571961_smallIn light of the coming occasion, I wish we all realise how important it is to be with that person who values you so much, or maybe needs you so bad.

I wish we all see that however great the feeling of giving is, it is important that we do not feel like we are forced to show that gesture. It has to come from our hearts, not peer pressure or any other outside forces.

praying surprise visitHugFriends in coffee shopGiving is not mandatory – not like the taxes imposed on us. It has to be something you are willing and able to do. It’s not just things that money can buy that we can give. A couple of hours at a coffee shop with a friend who wants to talk would do. A surprise home-visit to a relative who has been meaning to catch up with you. A walk in the park, a warm hug and a silent understanding of a difficult situation someone is in, a sincere and friendly smile, a wink that says it will be okay, and a silent prayer.. they are all gestures of giving.


President Aquino

Roughly two weeks in and some of us may still be wondering if the disaster that struck is just a case of what-ifs and what-might-have-beens. However, a greater majority of us would be right to say that there’s really not much point to say that preventive measures were not in place – blame is irrelevant at this time. “What could have been” statements and finger-pointing press releases and interviews do not make significant value to help us through. Instead, they only make a menacing impact on the state’s incompetence.

typhoon-haiyan-philippines-5The foreign news correspondents have nothing to do with this anymore – not Anderson Cooper, not BBC, not The Guardian. If we look at it closely, even our local news people and the thousands of netizens have their fair share of observation and things to say: that the pleas for help get even more resonating than when it started. Millions cry of hunger and these survivors remain homeless, while their cries have reached everywhere.

As we listen and act upon these cries, there is but one that we notice to be “unmoved” by them. From what we observed, the Presidential Palace’s response to the aftermath of this catastrophe seems a bit lukewarm. The way we have seen how The President took the blow of this calamity looked baffling and made too many of us asking why – needless to say some took the liberty into bluntly criticising his actions (and lack thereof). The vastness of the decimation brought by this disaster did not seem to get right in the faces of the people in the administration.

It is just as infuriating for us to learn how they seem to be unmindful of what has been going about. While everyone else is buzzing to get the relief and clearing operations moving in Tacloban, the other hardly hit areas within the Visayas region were “ignored”. We had to learn it from the correspondents and a few people on Social Media that there are small islands in Northern Cebu, a great part of the Aklan province, and a few other areas were just as devastated but had been without food and shelter for days. And that no government agency has reached out to their aid.

When CNN’s Christiane Amanpour got a hold of an interview with President Aquino, the latter looked to be putting everyone, including Amanpour herself, under the impression that his government is totally in control of the situation. However, the real situation in the Visayas was beyond his story – by a mile. This unlikely and unconvincing interview brought the President’s much-boasted popularity quickly sliding down the sewers.

Nearly a week in following the ravaging of the typhoon – and must I say that being hungry and thirsty for that long could be hell, with the entire planet seeing this – President Aquino made an announcement that he’s taking over the relief and clearing operations. There would have been some applause somewhere, but no. His taking charge of the situation looked to the public as that of their implied acknowledgement of their failure to respond efficiently and strategically [to the aftermath of the disaster]. This has even caused more frustration and anger from the people. President Aquino’s so-called charisma took a full turn and got screwed.

Was he struggling to get his hands on the situation and take control? We will find out the answer once we have taken a closer look at the current situation in the Visayas– now that we’re nearly two weeks in. We’re all pretty much welcome to make an inference to how he has been doing – except that some of us may think he could just be doing a messy pile of things over what is already chaotic.

If I am to give the President the benefit of the doubt, yes, even I could not expect to rise and take a stance from such a disaster right away.

If President Aquino failed to shake his own disbelief off to start thinking reasonably of the things that need to be implemented for an efficient recovery, would we not forgive him?

The thing that bothers me most is that when I looked at that CNN interview again, I just noticed how he was trying to clumsily reach everywhere to make it look like he’s in control. More like a klutz walking in the kitchen, half-awake, trying not to stumble by holding on to the kettle on the stove – ouch!

When he read in a report that the estimated death toll reached 10,000, he was a bit indignant in saying that it must be too high, the police director who presented the number was then relieved. The interview also showed that he was too over-the-moon about his “zero-death” structure in brainstorming before the typhoon. He said that at the time [of the interview] the reported deaths were at a thousand and was not to likely increase.

He was wrong. These were only news reports within Tacloban alone, the city in focus. The figures in Capiz, Iloilo, Cebu, Palawan, Aklan, and other ravaged areas were not even estimated yet. As of this writing, the death toll reports reached to more or less 3600 and still counting. This makes us question the President once more. There must be something going on under his nose that he isn’t aware of.

  • Are the President’s appointed points-of-contact giving him a different report in fear of being relieved from their duties?
  • Are they guarding this information?
  • Are they afraid that the President might throw a real fit if he reads about the “real” number of casualties compared to what he has been obsessively anticipating?
  • Does the President’s struggling post-Haiyan reputation still matter to his staff that they have to project a report less grimacing than the truth?

Right within the same period, six days in following Yolanda, we see DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in the outskirts of Tacloban – doing their ground assessment, probably.

We are aware that Mar had been in Tacloban the day before the typhoon. Your face is probably going to hurt from cringing too much but we have heard reports from hotel guests that Mar just walked past them when they were crying for help. Was he even bothered by what was about to come when Haiyan‘s finally gone to the sea? Probably not. And then he was unreachable by news correspondent for days following that incident.

In Manila though, ABS CBN News Anchor Korina Sanchez indignantly refuted Anderson Cooper’s report about the lack of an organised government response in Tacloban. That made her an overnight sensation – in a non-praiseworthy sense. Anderson Cooper seemed to have become a champion of unbiased journalism, while netizens were thrashing Korina.

This incident also took toll on the President. Imagine, someone reporting an observation from the area itself, while across the sea there was a journalist-broadcaster [and wife of a government official who happened to also be in the same area] lambasting him. Oh, that’s bad news. Cooper reported his observations, the government was criticised. The wife of the Interior Secretary was butt-hurt. She was probably thinking, “How dare you say that! My husband, the Interior Secretary, is there!”

You might also have noticed how President Aquino seem to be so obsessed over how the Local Government Units have failed to respond to its constituents after the storm. Blame…. blame… blame game – is that his favourite pastime?

Truth is Tacloban’s mayor; Alfred Romualdez is not just from the opposition. He is a descendant of the family that the Aquinos have long had a political battle against. Do you see where the President is coming from?

Come to think of it, the poor mayor lives in the same city, in the same province as his constituents. What are the chances that he and the rest of the Tacloban City Hall were not victims of the typhoon here? Fat chance. What made the President think that Alfred was not taking responsibility immediately after the storm?

This entire LGU-blaming has resonated more on how Roxas talked in his interviews, which were a bit timely – six or seven days after the storm. Has the Malacañang failed to organise a more efficient post-disaster response that the City Mayor has to take the fall, and the wrath of the President?

Immediately following this disaster-relief-fiasco, the President’s initials have been translated into obscenity in Social Media – from Benigno Simeon to Bull Shit… and loads of it. The Internet has celebrated his virtual crucifixion along with his “peers” within the government and media.

President Aquino

As I close my notes on this observation, I silently offer my prayers for the eternal repose of the souls of those who passed away. May your spirits be all in the unbroken circle of blessedness. I pay tribute to the survivors, for bearing unimaginable strength to keep fighting for life. I thank the compassionate citizens of this world and their organisations who knew better than to sit around and feel for our nation – they instead acted with reason and kind hearts to give whatever they could to the victims of this monstrous disaster that almost erased the Visayas from the map.

Haiyan-Debrief-1024x682We praise these people because they deserve it. They deserve to be acknowledged for being strong and faithful during these “questioning” times. And this is what we are supposed to do – pay them respect not because our President may have failed to be with them and help right then and there – because we are human beings.

My heart is moved witnessing how the entire human race has joined all their efforts for the Philippines. I cry every time I read the news and watch the clips on the Internet.

Moreover, I feel terrible for our country’s leader because it is going to take more courage for him to face the truth – that somehow he failed to be our leader, our “employee”, our brother, our friend, our father. He failed and he just proved to be an immaterial figure in our country.

For some of us, he is not our leader anymore; he’s just someone in a coveted position who fell short of the people’s expectations.

Torn between the feels and le facepalm


First of all, thank you. The feels have been nothing short of awesome. It doesn’t matter how “big” or “little” you’ve done compared to what your neighbours have given. We all act according to what we have, so don’t feel bad. Each helping hand deserves the same amount of gratitude. Thank you, humanity. So much feels.

Unfortunately, in spite of all the overwhelming awesome, stupidity persists. I’m not even going to talk about this, this, or this. The news has got those covered well enough. I’m talking about ‘ordinary’ people on social media.

The sanctimonious minding of other people’s business is not awesome

Yes, it can be a touching symbol of solidarity to abstain from non-typhoon relief related matters on social media, but don’t push it. I love symbols–don’t get me wrong–but we shouldn’t be confusing the symbols for the actual goals. The goal here is to…

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THE OUTPOURING of support for the Philippines in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan is just moving. The government too. But slower.

The spirit of volunteerism is overwhelming. I experienced that yesterday in a relief center. These days, it feels great to be Filipino; it feels awful to be Korina Sanchez.

The other day, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez criticized Anderson Cooper’s “mali-maling” report on the situation in Tacloban City. Netizens were divided: 50 percent supported Anderson while 50 percent hated Korina.

On radio, dzMM’s Korina Sanchez hit CNN’s Anderson Cooper. And Korina’s former maid was like, “Relate much!”

Based on people’s reaction in social media, Korina Sanchez lost the virtual battle against Anderson Cooper. Mar Roxas demands a recount.

If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll notice that Korina Sanchez has become the most hated radio anchor today. “For a change!” – Arnold Clavio

There’s no truth to…

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50 Unintentional Quotes From Children That Will Send Shivers Down Your Spine

Creepy, creepy, creepy. Well at least a lot of them are.

Thought Catalog

Found on r/AskReddit

1. D49A1D852468799CAC08

“I’m watching you make my sandwich so that when you die I will know how to do it.”

2. Magnus_Maximus

My sons were about 2 and 4 when their pet goldfish died. I attempted to use the situation as an opportunity to discuss death and mortality. After I finished my explanation, my four year looked up at me with his big, blue eyes and asked, “Mommy, someday, will you die?” My heart filled with love and a little sadness, knowing this was one of those pivotal moments when the first bit of childhood innocence was lost,and I told him yes, someday, mommy will die.

“Good,” he said with a totally deadpan expression, and walked out of the room.

Later when we were about to flush the fish, he asked if we could eat him instead. I said no, we don’t eat pets because we love…

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A Quick Peek At How The Society Needs To Be More Compassionate To Trans-people

As I promised my peers on Twitter last week, I will give my two cents on the concluded conversation about Transgendersim and Transsexualism in the society. As I recounted the highlights of the Twitter convo that night which became a trending topic in the Philippines, I have received appreciation from people who wanted to learn more and understand what’s really going on within the “Rainbow Society”.

I just find it outrageous that the [hetero-normative] society generally disses transsexual people. Well, I have just come to terms with the feeling myself. I used to just be very apathetic about what’s going about. But with my recent involvement on LGBT conversations [on Twitter] I came to realise that being apathetic means I’m just as good as dead.

transsexual 1Transsexuals [or sometimes mistakenly called transgenders] have a biological condition that needs to be closely taken care of, and with appropriate medical help. This gets them to be able to bring their physical look in tune with the sexual identity that they feel [contrary to what gender they were assigned at birth]. Particularly for a lot of our “trans” peers, they feel that it is a great option for them to go through the transition.

Unluckily, instead of being understood and receiving compassion from the community where they dwell, a lot of them seem to just have been taken the piss on. They get a massive verbal and physical beating from the people that surround them and hate them.

I honestly think that this is not acceptable especially when all they want to do is live their lives as best as they can.

transsexualsAs most LGBT advocates would reckon, the general public’s frequent point of view about transsexuals comes out of what they see in the media. Movies, telly shows, talk shows only bring about a portion of what is true about being a transsexual. Because of this, a lot of people harbour a false perspective that transsexualism is some morbid illness or a sexual perversion.

I am not a transsexual person. I can’t imagine what they are going through when they take a beating from the people around them. However, I have been allowing myself to learn about different cultures and people that live in this world.

In the older times, the society has treated lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and the androgynous people in the same way that they look at transsexuals now. Luckily, we now have a wider perspective and a deeper understanding of their issues. We now genuinely care for them as we do for everyone else.

In other countries, there are now laws that protect their rights. In the Philippines, LGBT advocates are doing everything they can to have the same protection like clockwork. Whilst these protective provisions in the law for the LGBT community are being rallied and fought for, there are support groups available to educate everyone and show that somebody cares.

The outcry for equality in all aspects is still yet to be listened to by the government and the society. In the meantime, there are LGBT networks dedicated to give out some form of education and show compassion under the Equality and Diversity principle.


As soon as the society’s ignorance is addressed, it will just be a matter of time before all of us can dwell in a society with mutual respect for each other – without being gawked, leered, and sneered at.

We all need to educate ourselves, not just about transsexualism and what comes about the LGBT communities.

In parting, and now with a deeper understanding of what transsexualism and transgenderism is about, including the thread that differentiates them, I’d like to tell you this.

“My transsexual and transgender peers are not sexually perverted. It is genuinely bizarre that people consider them mentally sick, but they are not. Being “trans” has nothing to do with sexual behaviour or preference. There is nothing repulsive about their bodies, actually.

understanding-transgender-and-transsexualSometimes, it may feel that way for them as their physical appearances are not aligned with the sexual identity that they feel they have. However, their bodies are just as natural as any other on earth.

My trans peers, I understand now that there are extremely masculine and feminine physical forms while there are bodies that seem to embrace both features. There are intersex people who can’t be bothered with whatever gender identity they have. There are also others who feel that somehow they are caught in between.

Admittedly, there are people like me, too. I feel that I am a man, who just happens to be attracted to men [and at some point, which I won’t deny or indignantly say, to women]. There are also people who fail miserably to fit in to the female behaviour [and sexual preference] out of reasons only known to them.

This is an obvious truth about us humans. We are all different and we only have to come to terms with that so we can understand each other and lessen the hostility.”



NOTE: These are just the highlights of the conversation that took place on the 17th of October, 2013. For a blow-by-blow acccount of what happened, you can click on the [left] photo. Login using your Twitter account and you’ll see every POV shared by our friends.

It’s pretty daunting to think that I will touch-base on a sensitive subject that I admitted to know very little about.

I’m usually very chatty on Twitter. There was a time that I was Twitter-jailed for saying too much – having joined a conversation on gender issues. Then it became a habit. Every week, I felt this stirring excitement to learn about LGBT issues.

Today, I chose to hold back. I even told my Twitter-friend Shakira Sison that I might be unable to talk as much sense because I haven’t got the foggiest about today’s point of discussion. However, I pointed out that I’d be carefully reading through to learn as much as I can about this bit.

I didn’t realise I’d be overwhelmed that while I was reading the tweets, I found myself opening a couple of links for reference so as not to feel stupid.

The first question raised was how to define transgenderism. Perspectives started to flow from there which continued for a few hours.

PinoyFTM, an LGBT Awareness and Education advocate answered by saying that transgenderism is defined by not being in tune with the gender assigned to an individual at birth.

It was bang on, really. GLAAD defines transgender as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they have at birth.

I purposefully tried not to join in the conversation because I didn’t want to look like a fool. Instead I read through the bits that interested me the most. And as the convo went through, I noticed that a reasonable amount of time spent explaining the difference between the terms transgender and transsexual.

To clarify the misconception, this is what I have picked up from the tweets and the references I took a few minutes to read and absorb.

 In a Nutshell LGBTrans

In a Nutshell LGBTrans 002

Another reason I didn’t share as much is my insufferable allergy to labelling. I reckon it would be much better for me if we refer to each other as individuals and spend more time helping each other rather than justifying what we are called by the society – or how we label the people within the LGBT community itself. I never fancied dwelling around gender and sexual labels that much. I guess that makes me… ANGRY.

I’m only taking the piss right there. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I am a human being – not a market commodity that needs to be properly labelled so my concerns will be properly addressed.

Hence, the fight for equality once more.

The LGBT community and my [advocate] friends, have long been fighting for us to be treated equally like any other citizen. To be honest, I don’t know yet where theseuotcries for equal rights will take us. But I am hopeful – that one day LGBT individuals will be able to be in queue for health care services without being leered at.

I am hopeful that there won’t be sneering about how HE prefers another HE – and in light of this topic how HE prefers HE and then transitioned into being a SHE, so now SHE (formerly he) likes HE.

And speaking of healthcare services, questions have also been raised on the premise of transsexualism and transitioning from one gender to another.

Shakira Sison brought up the topic of the Philippines’ lack of counselors that deal with LGBT health issues.

In a Nutshell LGBTrans 003

To be honest, I don’t really think that the LGBT people are receiving equal treatment in terms of healthcare in the Philippines. 

If you look at these tweets, you’ll see why.

In a Nutshell LGBTrans 004 In a Nutshell LGBTrans 04 In a Nutshell LGBTrans 005 In a Nutshell LGBTrans 006 In a Nutshell LGBTrans 007

The above photos are few of those that I have collected to describe healtcare quality in the country. If youw ere to ask me, the Philippine legislature seriously needs to amend everything that constitutes Human Rights.

The right to live as citizens, irrexpective of sexual preference and gender identity, would be given to all without anyone sneering or raising an eyebrow, to put it at the very least.

But really, the point of this conversation is for everyone to grasp the idea of acceptance.

A lot of us in the LGBT community still marginalise fellow LGBT people, because we tend to form cliques based on looks, way of thinking, pop-culture preferences and all sorts of shit.

The hetero-normative society have to come to terms yet, that WE are here, and we do not intend to go anywhere.

Homophobia should be defined as invincible ignorance because they do not seem to be morbidly afraid of homosexuals. They’re just so ignorant that they reject every attempt to put some sense into them about how we are not any different from other human beings. We have lives and feelings, too. Those groups that hate us think that we are an abomination to the world. WELL, WE AREN’T. The world has evolved so much since the dinosaurs but HATE seems to still be very existent.

I have not contributed much but everyone in the convo had something to say. Which made sense. I was enlightened. I know things now that I used to just hear. And lastly I know we have TRANS friends out there who need our acceptance… and our support.

In parting, these will speak to all of you…

In a Nutshell LGBTrans 009

In a Nutshell LGBTrans 008

If you need to learn more about Transgender and Transsexual Issues you can visit PinoyFTM’s YouTube Channel by clicking below:

Pinoy FTM

You may also follow these friends on Twitter if you’ve got LGBT issues that you need to ask about.

Shakira Pinoy G4M Pinoy FTM Bern