Tuesday, November 26, 2002

How many times can one hear the word vagina and its derivatives in under two hours? I lost count when my friends and I went to see Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the Music Museum one friday night early this month. Since i've heard the radio ad of the stageplay i've been asking around friends if they've seen it and telling them that they shouldn't miss it. I've gathered only four and yes four is a fairly good number. Although this is the second time i've seen the english version, I was enthusiastic about seeing it again when I heard who they casted (Shiela Francisco, Belinda Panelo, and Angel Aquino). They all did well and just as I have guessed it Belinda was a crowd favorite. The audience laughter was almost endless.

Though a critically acclaimed hit since it was first staged in New York, TVM has also received a number of negative criticisms from conservative groups or individuals around America and other parts of the world where it has been staged. I've come across words like overrated, tasteless and vulgar to name a few, and I am also humored at how I think that some of these critics are actually women who downplay their own femininity or sexuality like it is more of fiction than fact. To me, it's not merely about sexuality. It's about identity. Who turned our gender into second class citizens under our noses? Without our permission? TVM is fighting for women's rights worldwide and most of all its greatest cause is the fight against sexual violence on women. And when it goes out to talk about sexual violence, it doesn't at all mean that these women are celebrating or promoting sexual violence.

Through the centuries we women have been stereotyped and treated unfairly. We were battered like ragdolls, hidden under burkas, mutilated, peddled, and sold. Although a lot has changed now since women made some noise in order to be heard, some things remain the same. It is flattering to be a woman, and it is flattering that a woman's beauty is in itself an art. We are one of many objets d'art of nature, but what worries me sometimes is that even among a significant number of fellow artists for instance, men notwithstanding, has unprofoundly exploited the feminine beauty like we were merely objects. sad but true. I am no radical feminist who wishes one day we can walk half naked in public like men, but we have specific rights that I will fight for. I share TVM's cause against sexual violence and exploitation.

we're not just all sugar and spice and everything nice. we're more than that.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The Day I Lost My Wallet and Gained More

Last Wednesday was a bit messy, so my absence. Everything was a rush that I forgot it was a Wednesday and I needed to write something. When I realized Wednesday was over, it was a bit too late to catch up.

I guess with the hustle and bustle at work I became a bit unfocused last week, which caused an unfortunate incident. Yes, girls, my wallet got stolen while I was in the supermarket. With the Christmas season comes “dukutan and snatching” season as well, and I happen to be an unfortunate victim.

I remember the moment I realized what just happened, I stood there at the counter, dumbfounded for 3 seconds, while my 6-year old sister was looking more worried than I am since she was so excited about all the things she loaded on the cart she wanted for herself. Then I dialed my apartment’s number and called my housemate to cancel all my credit cards and instructed her to tell my dad to pick us up at the supermarket. My dad was surprised to see us empty handed and looking gloomy as my sister and I boarded the car. Then I told dad the story.

Dad was furious and would have wanted to go back to the supermarket to hunt down the snatcher. “It’s just money,” I told him. “Maybe he needed it badly. Pamasko ko na sa kanya yun.” The moment we got to the house, my sister and I grabbed wafer cones and loaded two scoops of chocolate ice cream and proceeded to enjoy every lick of it. My dad was still furious, thinking of ways to trap the snatcher like going back to the supermarket and planning to watch intently everyone who tries to withdraw money from the ATM machine. “Forget it, dad. I’m over it,” I said.

My friends who learned of my story were quite amazed at how soon I was over the incident. Well, honestly I was saddened and worried about the loss of my wallet and all the other personal things and the money (of course!) that I lost. But I guess there is no use crying over it. Besides, at least I know I cope with losses better, especially material losses. It just means I am not that attached to material things which can cause bitter disappointments and frustrations. Thank God! AAs the saying goes, “Worldly losses can translate to spiritual gain!”

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Wednesday, November 06, 2002


In honor of my mom's birthday on Monday, November 11, I am sharing with you a short story I wrote for my mom. On her birthday last year, I bought a hard bound book as a gift - a collection of short stories about mothers written by their daughters. Copying the book's paper and font type and size, I made this story the first feature of the book as if it was a part of the book! My mom, especially my mom's officemates who are also mothers, loved the idea and the story.


Whenever I think of my mom, several words come to mind – prayer, faith, strength, and generosity. She has been a mother, a friend and a spiritual guide to my continuous journey of faith. So many stories showing all these things she has been to me and to so many people, whether friend or complete stranger, all compete for attention to proudly showcase to the world how remarkable a woman she is. But the freshest and most powerful memory I have of her showing her at her best was last year during her mother, my grandmother’s funeral.

Inay died on December 14, 2000, on my mom and dad’s silver wedding anniversary. I remember Mama to be very calm during the wake. No bursts of tears or hysterical cries. Maybe because she has already prepared herself months ago when we have brought Inay home upon learning from the doctors that Inay was already in the late stages of cancer. Mama wanted her home so she can personally attend to her needs. And indeed she did, day and night she served her needs.

During weekends when I go home, I’d see Mama staying up late to make sure Inay is alright as Inay would always call her name if she was in pain or needed something. I saw how Mama lost so much weight and how financially deprived she was during those months that Inay was bed ridden at home. But complain she never did, despite the fact that I know how deprived she was of her own mother’s love as a child. Until Inay’s last days, she dutifully performed her duties. She did all these as an obedient daughter and as a Christian, she would tell me. In her heart she told me, she has forgiven her mother and instead took it upon herself to be a better mother. And she has been more than a better mother, she was one of the finest mothers God has ever made.

The day of the burial, she stood at the pulpit to deliver the eulogy. After the first sentence she broke down to tears. And I can’t help but cry myself and so did the rest of the family and friends who have joined us in church. The message she gave that will forever be etched in my mind was when she said “I thank God for giving me my mother and the chance to serve Him through my mother.”

That moment I saw myself years from now, hopefully several decades from now, in the exact place where my mother stood. Questions raced through my mind, coupled with fear and anxiety at such a painful thought. Will I ever at least equal my mother’s strength and her faith that has made her weather all of life’s storms? Can I be such a shining example of a remarkable daughter, sister, mother and wife she has been to us? And will I ever live a life as pleasing to God as she has been living hers? She is such a woman of great faith and courage that living up to her example will be a great feat to accomplish or at least equal.

PRAY . . .that was the first thing she taught me and I know that first lesson will help me do a fine job in honor of her. But more than all the stories she has told me and all of life’s lessons she has imparted on me through the years, one thing I will always be proud to say is that Mama has taught me to pray first more than anything else. ABCs and 123s came later after I have at least mastered The Lord’s Prayer. And because of that first lesson she has taught me, I know I will manage to stand up strong through life’s trials and at least live a life similar to her.


Maria Lourdes Ann S. Cruz
November 11, 2001
Makati City

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!