Sunday, March 27, 2005

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday - Pinoy Style

It is funny how cultures and traditions meld together to form what is Easter as we know it today.

Pagan times in the Anglo-Saxon regions celebrated the feast of Eastre signifying the beginning of spring and the vernal equinox (when day and nights share equal length) is when they’d give away colourful eggs and feast on rabbits.

During Jesus’ time, the Hebrew celebrated the Pesach or the Passover for 8 days to commemorate their freedom and flight from Egypt. The Last Supper may have been a few days before the Passover and the symbology of the sacrificial lamb tied in with Jesus as the lamb of God.

The Christian leaders agreed in the Council of Nicea to hold Easter on a Sunday but the varying lunar calendar of the Teutonic Easter conflicts with that of the Romans. So it was agreed to hold Easter on the first Sunday after the spring equinox which is after the 21st of March. Thus Easter Sunday can fall on any day between 22nd March and 25th April.

For Catholics, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and the Holy Week starts from Palm Sunday commemorating Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem until Easter Sunday, when he triumphs over death.

In the Philippines, Easter is a part of the Holy Week, a very important celebration in the predominantly Catholic country. I’d like to share some memories of our beautiful Holy Week celebration.

Palaspas or Palm Sunday is celebrated with people going to mass with palm leaves designed like flowers, insects, and many other creative forms. People at the end of mass gather round for the priest to spray holy water on their palm leaves and go home to prepare for a week-long of meditation and reflection.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are normal days and so people go to work, school etc. but in a subdued atmosphere. Revelry is not encouraged because it appears like a direct insult to the graveness of what Christ is about to go through. This is also the time when people refrain from eating meat and would offer small sacrifices i.e. refrain from liquor or smoking as a sign of penance.

Maundy Thursday is when Jesus began his suffering. People go to church and pray, follow the way of the cross (Station of the Cross) and say the rosary. It is advised to visit as many churches as you can. On the street corners you have the local stores and community hangouts converted into a tent where a woman in megaphone or microphone sings out the “Pasyon” in that eerie but melodious sound reminding me of a long-forgotten Spanish tune lost in the folds of religion and history. One line keeps playing in my memories auditory flashback “Nang si Hudas ay madulas....” (When Judas slipped...)

Starting on this day, Thursday, until Saturday, people do not eat. When before it was just abstinence, this time it is fasting. If your physical constitution can handle it, water and bread is ok or none at all would be more commendable.

Friday and Saturday still has the Pasyon singers but now you also have the Penitensya – the penitents who walk the streets in quiet procession wearing crowns of thorns or barbed wire, bare chests with whips – some with pointed edges – that they use to beat themselves on the back. It is such a surreal sight; like the entire Jesus of Nazareth – the Robert Powel version – is being played before your eyes but with local flavour. Oh and yes, watching movies like The Ten Commandments and Jesus of Nazareth is not only encouraged, it’s what’s on in most of the local TV stations so you have no choice but to watch them.

Seen a real live man being nailed onto the cross with blood all over him? Not only is this in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ but visit the Philippines at this time of the year and you will see penitents do the same, and drink and celebrate the next day in drunken abandon!

After visiting all the churches that you can and doing the Station of the cross for a few times, you sit and keep vigil in Church on Saturday night. Early the next morning, at about 4:00am is the “Salubong” where Mama Mary (a big thing for Filipino Catholics) meets her risen son Jesus at dawn on Easter Sunday. Most churches are open and people are there in throngs, the statues of both Mary and Jesus provide a spectacular form of entertainment with candles and hymns being sung, this could be quite a moment!

Then Easter is the Filipino’s excuse to party. In a fiesta like atmosphere Filipinos have also recently adopted Easter eggs and bunnies along with the more traditional food and customs of giving rosaries and prayer books on Easter. I’m the undefeated Easter egg hunter of my family.

For most Filipinos, the Holy week is the time to be with family either off to a retreat somewhere of just at home. Being summer in the Philippines it is a good time to get together before school starts in June. Most Filipinos working or studying in Manila would take the week off to go home to family and be with loved ones.

This is my memory of Holy Week and Easter in the Philippines. I wonder how much of it has changed since then.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Testing, Checking, Confirming

Passion, Death and Resurrection

Having read Irving Wallace’s “The Word” and Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” one wonders if Jesus indeed did live on – literally after his crucifixion. It remains such a mystery if indeed, the disciples had been able to shy him away into safety and there revived and healed continued on and lived and had children as The Word theorizes or had died but left a legacy of wife and children and great, great grandchildren as the Da Vinci Code purports.

It may affect some believers as blasphemous but I think there could be seeds of opportunity to increase and deepen one’s faith in reading books like this. In fact, it is those who have lesser faith who are afraid and would defensively close their eyes on such books (or movies!) so that they are not tempted to lose or change their beliefs. Yet Christ our lord underwent so many temptations in his lifetime. Like the heat and pressure that converts a lowly carbon allotrope (the same carbon you see in your pencil) into a dazzling and durable diamond, so too must we continually test the borders of our faith to ensure we are not stagnating or worse, dwindling.

So do entertain books like the above or movies like Dogma (which I immensely enjoyed!) and see how it affects you as a person...and in relation, your belief system.

Whether he did live on and had children or whether he died on that cross doesn’t dilute the fact that Jesus loved us so much that he suffered and went through all that - which Mel Gibson showed us in “The Passion of the Christ” – pain and trials so that we can believe in something good and thus, strive to be better men and women.

Be open, be bold, be free. Challenge your own set of values, beliefs and standards for only in putting these to the test will we truly know if we indeed believe in them.

The Holy Week

It’s that time of year again when Catholics all over the world reflect on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ – the very foundation of their faith as Christians. Old traditions and habits are hard to break. Starting with Palm Sunday, OFWs in these parts of the desert attended mass last Sunday in droves. They may miss a few Sundays now and then but not during holy days of obligation. A bit surreal is this man standing at the door of the church giving out date palm leaves...probably a more historically correct version of the palms used than our Pacific, south east Asian version of the coconut palm.

People took the palm leaves and sat quietly waiting for the mass to begin. Pinoys on the other hand offered an interesting twist to this rather somber and ho-hum affair by fiddling with their palms and converting them into heart-shaped or caterpillar looking objects complete with antlers and legs! Oh the creativity of being Pinoy! The rest of the community was marveling at how deft our fingers are at the art of palm leave weaving/crafts.

I remember transforming coconut leaves into watches, balls, mattresses, skirts, and many other things while at play. With the growing trend of urbanising and sibdivision-ing (is this even a word?!) large tract of lands that is Manila, children no longer have the trees and natural environment to play in. Creativity and imagination is dumbed out by ready-made plastic toys from China.

The ability to create things and make it beautiful is a gift from God and a talent/skill we should encourage our children to develop in themselves. The decline of our country’s moral fibre goes hand in hand with our relative decline in many ways – and one is the natural joys of a youth at play – not with material things but just with nature and fellow children.

On second thought, while I’m reflecting on Holy Week and self sacrifice, I better hide the PS2 till Easter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Haciendero

The old man stands gazing out a large French window into the twilight. He is wearing a short-sleeved barong[i] and light cotton trousers, which is getting to be quite the fashion with the elder members of Negrense[ii] society. Gripping his cane harder in his right hand, he heaves a long, heavy sigh pregnant with sadness and perhaps regret. Bowing his head, he shuts his eyes as if the setting sun is hurting them. He could not stop the tears from falling now. The past is much too painful to remember but he is at an age when one thinks nothing only but of the times gone by. ‘Papa…Rosario…has it been really that long ago?’ the man asks himself while tears continue to flow. Slowly, he takes a white handkerchief from his pants pocket, the embroidered initials I.V. like the roman number ‘four’ is visible. The old man wipes his tears away, willing himself to look at the sunset for a few moments before turning his back and walking towards his favorite chair. It is time for afternoon tea. A servant enters the large sala carrying a tray with a huge pot of hot chocolate and some native sweets: kuchinta and palitaw[iii], and some ripe mangoes. Don Isidro Villaruel sits on his favorite arm chair and takes a cup of fragrant hot chocolate from the servant. He nods his head indicating his thanks and waves his hands to tell the servant to leave. With a bow, the servant leaves the old man alone again. He stares at his still hot cup and stirs the drink slowly when he saw his left wrist with a slightly visible scar. He traces the scar with gnarled, trembling, spotty hands. The hands of an old man who has an amazing story to tell – that of living a dual life! He lifts the cup to take a sip but frowns when the hot liquid scalded his lips. He thinks to himself, ‘The children have all grown up now and some are about to start families of their own.’ He attempts another sip, this time rewarded by a sweet, aromatic gulp. He smiles are he muses, ‘Maybe I should tell them about my past?’ He notes that even to himself and in his mind, he is asking a question. He is still afraid that even now, even at his age and after all those many years, the past still makes him want to run away and hide.

[i] Is native Filipino shirt made of jusi or piƱa worn with a balck or white cotton inner shirt as barongs are flimsy, almost transparent with elaborate embroidered designs. This is the national dress for males in the Philippines.

[ii] Refers to the people who live in the island of Negros particularly, Negros Occidental who speak Ilonggo or Hiligaynon, one of the eight major languages in the Philippines.

[iii] Kuchinta is a steamed pudding made from lihiya water. This is eaten with grated coconut as toppings. Palitaw is a form of rice cake made from glutinuous rice and coconut milk and eaten with grated coconut, sesame seeds and brown or white sugar as toppings.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Mother’s Day is March 21st here in the desert. I am lucky to have had several mothers in my lifetime and I’d like to give tribute to each one in my blog for this month.

Mama Minda who passed away in 1999 was my biological mother. She was a woman who made bad choices in life with regards to men. Fell in love very young and as quickly fell out of love yet burdened with children and elders to support, she had to hold the role of breadwinner for the family. She’s had her share of life’s ups and downs. Considered book smarts but not street smarts particularly in love. She was very strict and scary when angry but she could be the most romantic and ‘malambing’ mother, singing to you and cooking for you all the delicious desires of your stomach.

Nanay Conching is my maternal grandmother and was practically my mother from birth till I was three. Nanay took care of me because my mother was busy making a living. She was the light of my earliest years. My childhood memories are filled with her ministering to my every needs and whims. Now 80, she is in my thoughts still. I think of ways to make her more comfortable as she prepares herself to the next part of the journey.

Mommy Connie is my mother from age three till now. The mother of my heart. The voice in my head, my conscience, my ideal and the person I seek counsel and guidance from. She is a woman of strength and endless compassion. I admire her spirituality and her capacity to offer love and charity even when there seems to be none left. I pray each night that I never miss the opportunity to be by her side whenever she needs a daughter, a friend or even just someone to listen. I wish her the best of health as there are still so many who depend on her and that she will be blessed with financial riches as there will be no end to how she can share it and with who,

Mama Estella is my godmother, one of my parents’ closest friends. She like all the above women has the capacity to love and give so much of themselves and do not expect any in return but a thoughtful ‘thank you’ from the recipients. Her home was like our home and her children my own siblings. I think of them in times especially when I miss the good old days.

Mamu Ellen was my “mother” when I first came to the United Arab Emirates. She took me under her wings and helped me find friends and form a “sort of” eclectic family that one forms when living abroad. Her sons became my brothers and her house our ‘tambayan’ and second home. She’s now in the US and I wish we’d be able to share some time together when she visits the UAE.

Mama Baby is my mother in law. A shy, reserved woman who loves her family like no other and would stick by her husband through thick and thin. She is the rock that holds her own family together. In her own way, she has offered me support and love and is an email away for times when you just need to communicate with someone. I pray that she is always well and constantly happy.

Tita Mai is my husband’s second mother and my mother-in-law’s younger sister. She is the source of financial succor and the pillar that is the strength of the Korokans in the Middle East. I wish her endless joys and good health.

To all these women, I owe a part of me. I thank you all and to the many others who are mothers, sisters, daughters, friends...ladies I wish you a very happy, healthy, wealthy and peaceful mother’s day. May we always honour the women who bore us, loved us, held us, cared for us, taught us, cried for us, were strong for us, guided us, counseled us, advise us, believed in us, cheered for us, fought for us – us who are sometimes forgetful of all they’ve done and oft times unworthy of their love, time, efforts and energy.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Nostalgic of Tibak Days


Tumaba na sa alikabok
Ang aking aklat na pula
Abo na ang apoy sa puso
Ng aking pagka-aktibista
Panis na ang laway ko
Sa matagal na pananahimik
Bahaw na rin at malamig
Ang sinaing ni Nanay

Humpak pa rin ang pisngi
Ni Tasyong magsasaka
Pawis at nanghihina na
Si Pedrong manggagawa
Patay na ang pag-asa
Ni Neneng sa kakasayaw
Bahaw at basag na ang boses
Ni Isko sa kakasigaw

Malamok, malangaw, mabantot
Ang bansang aking kinagisnan
Maputik, mainit, maalikabok
Ang daan niyang sinusundan
Madugo, mahirap, masakit
Ang kasaysayang pinagdadaanan
Panis na ang bahaw sa mesang
Kaninang umaga lang sinaing ni Nanay

Don't you just have days like this? Don't even ask me to translate it...all these sentiments will disappear in translation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Lalaki. noun. meaning man.
Lalaki. verb. meaning to grow.
Malaki. adjective. meaning big.

So aptly we call men in Filipino because the male genitalia do tend to “grow” when in a state of excitement. But and this is a but with quite a long, audible, pause. How big is big?

On average a Pinoy can harden to between 5 to 7 inches in length. More than that is above the norm. Less than that needs to be helped...or re-think his sexual orientation.

So why do we insist on calling the turtles lalaki? Ok, Ok, because it grows? But then again size is relative. When do you say that that is already “malaki” compared to what? The state of being “at rest”? Sooo confusing.

I’d rather men we called LILIIT. That way there is no pressure on the size. The focus would be on how small is could go...after “release”.

Another nomenclature to consider would have been TITIGAS or LALAMBOT because it does harden or soften but size would not be the focal point of the object.

Mala-saging, pahaba, ma-ugat are also more or less variations of a label that relieves the stigma on size being the end all and be all of all manhood. How liberating would that be when Pinoy men are all called TIGAS or mga KATIGASAN!

Whew, all this men-talk makes me suddenly want to go and grab a hotdog sandwich. Now there’s an object where size does matter. Which one would be more “filling” a foot-long or a Weiner? Your choice ladies.

Las Islas Felipinas and fishes

Yoyoy Villame’s novelty song will be forever etched in my memory. Here’ goes (clap your hands and stomp you feet!)

March sixteen fifteen hundred and twenty one
When the Philippines was discovered by Magellan
They were sailing day and night, across the big ocean
Until they came and landed on Limasawa island

I can’t remember the rest of the lyrics but from one blogsite ( has more:

“Wen Magellan visitated Mactan, to kristianize them everyone...den da batel bigan at dawn... bolos end spers versos gans and kanons...Mactan island he could not grab, Cause LapuLapu is very hard..."

Lapu-lapu was on the one centavo coin. This changed to a fish in the 90’s if I remember correctly.

The fish we know as Lapu-lapu is called hammour in these parts of the desert. Inexpensive as opposed to Manila’s horrendous prices. Affordable thus more Pinoys here can bring it to the table and introduce it’s taste to the young. One convenience they’d find hard to do back home. But that’s just me going off track. hehehe :-)

Lapu-lapu, the man, however remains an enigma. Shouldn’t we try to look more into this intriguing fellow in our history to know more about him? Rather than immerse in the Korean teleseryes of the day?

Here are some sites off the Internet you get on Lapu-lapu, the man, just by a simple keyword search in Google:

While searching, I also found this interesting site on the Philippines:

As I reflect on the impact of March 16 in my life as a citizen of the world, and as a Filipino, my stomach yearns for the succulent white meat of inihaw na lapu-lapu. Better visit the fish market on my way home.

For People's Service Corps - UP

Naaalala nyo pa ba...
Ang lamesang blue na pinaitim na ng panahon?
Na siyang saksi sa saya at lumbay sa Palma Hall noon

Naaalala nyo pa ba...
Ang ikatlong palapag ng bulwagang Palma?
Matiyaga't maya-maya'y inaakyat nang tayo'y magkasama-sama

Naaalala nyo pa ba...
Ang logbook (na nawala) ng ating samahang PSC?
Puno ng minutes, doodles, at tula sa mga pinipintakasi

Naalala nyo pa ba...
Ang bench na mahabang, kulay brown?
Na kung sino man ang umupo ay siguradong tanggal ang kanyang frown (what else rhymes with brown!)

Kung naaalala nyo pa nga
Ang lahat nang ito
Naaalala nyo rin kaya
Ang mga nakasama nyo?


Salamant sa mga ala-ala.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Greys bastos (pa ren!)

I must be old because reunions seem to be the thing floating in the air like a neighbour cooking delicious adobo and the aroma of the pork in soy sauce and vinegar is in the air enticing even the most cold hearted and couldn’t care less kapitbahay to turn his/her nose to that house’s direction. yes, reunions. Virtual and other forms of it. I’ve recently “met up” with friends from my college days; have been doing the same with my highschool and recently orgs and groups and circles I occasionally or frequently encounter are also in the reuniting mood. Nice to know that no matter where you go, people will still refer to you as Greys bastos...the girl so shook hands with men’s crotches! hehehe

Come on people, was that what I will ever be remembered for my stay at the Philippines’ premier university? As the girl whom fratmen avoided because they didn’t want to be touched “there” lest they be discovered that they aren’t in fact, “lalaki” but rather “liliit”? Haven’t I rallied for the noblest of causes? Stood side by side with most of you for freedom of speech and the right to a free, unbiased, state-funded education? Drank alcohol till we passed out at the Sunken Garden or brooded over life’s sorrows while watching the sunset or gazing at the stars?

Sigh. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. At least I know who’s got the ‘goods’ and who doesn’t. Honestly, this old...I barely even remember!

Lion King, Sharon Cuneta and Tantrums

My daughter spent the entire evening miserable because the old people wanted to watch a movie and therefore her current favourite DVD, Lion King, which she calls “Jungle” cannot be played.

She was writhing and wailing on the floor and I pretended not to make big deal about it. Flashbacks of me crying on our stairs looking down at my parents watching the news, when I had wanted to watch The Muppet Show, made me sagely shake my head and smile. Goodness me, I was exactly the same if not worst than my daughter! At least she had the tears. I didn’t. I just had this really annoying wail that would have driven my parents bonkers.

Not people who believed in the rod, they nagged us to death. But in extreme cases, my mother would just ignore us. Such a case when one of us would whine or cry like a baby in need of feeding and immediate nappy change.

So I ignored my little girl while she was building up a storm. After about an hour of forever, she stopped, totally exhausted and eyes sore from all her tears. I went to her and kissed her as asked “iiyakan mo kaya nang ganito ang borfriend mo?”

I’ve had more tears shed for movies of Sharon Cuneta than all my past relationships combined. Makes one wonder if indeed, tears are good indicators of pain and vice versa.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Merchant of Venice and lightsabers

Stunning performance from Al Pacino as Shylock in the most recent cinematic rendition of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. As usual, I fell in love with the fair and clever Portia. As in the book, the scene I loved most is the court/trial of Antonio and Shylock seeking his revenge by means of a pound of flesh.

Portia cleverly argued that Shylock could indeed take a pound of flesh off Antonio but without the blood as that was what was stipulated in their agreement.

Whilst this scene was unfolding, I thought of ways to help poor Shylock gain his somewhat misguided vengence. I say somewhat because indeed he had reason to despise those who in turn despised him. He is after all only human. So how to sever or in much blatant terms, whack off, one pound of flesh off Antonio without the spillage of blood?

I am reminded of several scenes from the Star Wars movies. In Episode 1, Quigon Jin was struck by the laser spear of the Sith. It seared his flesh thus no bloodshed but eventually was fatal. The Sith was cut in half. But no sight of even the slightest drop because the lightsaber would clinically burn the wound and seal it off. In Episode 2, Anakin himself lost his hand and a good part of his arm to Count Dokoo's expert swordsmanship, equalled only by the amazing Yoda (can't wait for the 3rd outting of this film!)

So, to go back on track if indeed there is one, had Shylock the friendship of a Jedi or even a Sith, so long as lightsabers are available, he would have successfully taken his pound of flesh and been satisfied.

Or perhaps a magic wand from one of the Hogwarts characters...?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mira is free!

As I heard it first hand from Japs during the PSC alumni's gimik at Trellis last March 5th, I sent a silent prayer of thanks to the Almighty for making it possible to free Mira and her colleagues. I sighed a huge sigh of relief, like a sharp pang of fear has been released, upon hearing this good tidings.

Now I marvel at the speed at which information is being transferred and relayed. Imagine it if this were pre-Internet, cell phone and text messages time. She and her companions would have been dead by now! But thank goodness to people who kept calling and forwarding text and emails and just never let it go until news was heard and reached the right people who can do something, this new age of information at a click of a button indeed can be rewarding in situations like this.

Although it comes like a two-edged sword. Mis-information and Dis-information happens twice as quickly on a day-to-day basis. How many lunatics have access to the Internet and may own several websites accessible by even young children? Name it, all the weirdness, horniness, anti-everything and biases or worse can be gleaned upon on the information superhighway. Freedom of expression without the responsibility of such a power can be damaging.

Spiderman's uncle keeps resurfacing in my memory...saying the lines, "With great power comes great responsibility." Makes me think twice what to write when I blog and twice harder still when I read other's blogs.

Is it the truth? And if it truly is, will it make the world a better place? Would it make someone (who reads it) be a better person or at least hope to be a better person?

In this computer age we often rush at things just clicking away without even thinking. The meat of the matter is - computers may give us what we want...but is it really what we need?

Now if my laptop can do laundry and iron my clothes at the same time...then perhaps it is something that I really need!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Mira in Trouble

I received a shocking news this morning. One of my college friend, Mira Gamba, has been picked up by military/police and has gone missing along with three other companions. They are all members of a women's organisation in the Philippines, Gabriela.

Being far away and practically a nobody, my mind rushed on who to contact and what to do in order to help in any way I can. Having been in situations like this during my UP days, I know that if nobody looks for you or asks about you, you are bound to end up raped, abused and worse - dead in an unmarked grave or floating in the Pasig river or burried under a pile of trash either in Smokey Moutain or Payatas.

It is a fact that these things continue to happen in my country. Many activits, politicians, non-government organisation staff, students, teachers who but said one word against a the current ruling elite at that time - can face the possibility of ending up a decaying, unrecognizable mass of flesh and bones.

Mira was a student activist as I was back in our University of the Philippines days. Many of my peers and closest friends were. There were only two choices, apathy or make a difference and care...whilst being in school. We chose to care. Mira chose to care.

In fact, she continues to care so much that she ended up not in the corporate world but in a non-profit women's organisation that aims to uphold women's human rights and give a better chance for women and children in an abusive (most times), patriarchal (since forever) society such as the Philippines.

Thank goodness for emails, online groups and discussion boards, the message about her disappearance spread and reached some of the right people who could make a difference. She and her 3 other companions have been found...and alive.

However, they face the problem of being charged - of possessing firearms and being members of the Communist Party. These women do not carry firearms! Despite the dangerous jungle that is Manila, and their job of visiting families and communities in the remotest and dangerous of places - these women never carry a gun much less a pen knife! It is an obvious plant and the one charge that is by Philippine law, un-bailable.

The problem with our political system is that, anyone who tries to even show that they care for the masses and not themselves and not work towards personal gain but for the benefit of a community, is immediately labelled a communist. Anyone who takes up the issues of the people, raising their level of awareness so that they become more judicious with their choices, is already a rebel and against the government.

Why are we doing this to our own? These women give their time and energy to do good and in the end, they are put in prison and called 'disturbers of the peace'. What peace will we have and our children will have if we do this to the very people who work to achieve it?

I am dumbfounded. I am angry and frustrated. I am in shock. What if that had been me? What if, instead of applying for a job abroad, I had opted for a life of service to my kababayans (countrymen) and worked for an organisation like Gabriela? For indeed I had worked for them during my college days, helped them write up articles and did some research what if I had decided to do what Mira had done? I'd end up behind bars?!?! This is insane! This is ridiculously comedic - it brings tears to my eyes.

Note that the ladies who continue to be in prison and who are wrongfully accused/charged are:

1. Miralyn Gamba, 34 years old of Brgy. Tanauan, Real, Quezon. She is a provincial coordinator of Gabriela
2. Nancy Ella, 33 years old of Brgy. Tanauan, Real, Quezon. She is the First district coordinator of Gabriela
3. Leonila Manalo, 32 years old, municipal coordinator of Real, Quezon.
4. Ailyn Ramos, 23 years old of Tayabas, Quezon, municipal Coordinator of Tayabas, Quezon.

None of these women are communists. None of them have ever carried a gun or used a gun, even if her life depended on it. These are normal, hard working Filipinas whose only dream is to make women's conditions in the Philippines a little bit better than what it currently is.