Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The truth will ALWAYS come out

RH Bill pusher Cabral admits contraceptive pills pose higher risk of cancer!

That is the essence of the DZIQ report on ex-DOH Sec. Esperanza Cabral's interview regarding the safety of oral contraceptives. Either the writer needs to review his notes on evaluating the main and crucial points of a story and reflecting these on the head, or he needs reminding that no amount of propaganda will hide the truth forever.

The said bill's proponents insist that contraceptives are medically safe, huh?

They are demanding that oral contraceptives be classified as "essential medicines," huh?

And, they are mandating the use of taxpayers' money to fund the purchase, promotion, distribution and provision of these "medically safe essential medicines" nationwide, huh? To help the poor, huh?

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

DZIQ: Oral contraceptives have ‘more health benefits’—ex-DoH chief

Posted date: April 27, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Oral contraceptives have more health benefits than bad side effects, said former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral in an interview with Radyo Inquirer Wednesday.

When asked whether it was true that oral contraceptives posed a higher risk of breast cancer, Cabral answered in the affirmative but quickly added that “all medical products have good and side (bad) effects.”

“Oral contraceptives have bad side effects but there are more good effects,” Cabral said.

She said that taking oral contraceptives may lower the incidence of certain cancers such as endometrial cancer by 50% and ovarian cancer by 40%.

She also said that using oral contraceptives may prevent some breast diseases, pelvic inflammatory diseases, ectopic pregnancies, could help regulate blood flow during menstruation, which could prevent anemia, provide protection against arthritis and osteoporosis.

Cabral is a known supporter of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which promotes the use of artificial methods of family planning.

The RH bill has come under fire from the Catholic Church, which has branded this piece of legislation “immoral.”

For the full report, listen to DZIQ 990AM

Danica Hermogenes,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tropical smiles

The cover alone can make one hanker back to carefree days of childhood. Did you ever experience splashing about in a swimming pool (or at the beach) and not wanting to get out of the water till your teeth were chattering and lips were turning blue? The mere smell of chlorine beckoned to me every time, and it usually took wrinkled fingers to get me out of the water :-)

Only five days to go till the end of the month, but summer ends a long time from today! Practically a whole month -- or more -- of skin-scorching sunshine and sweltering humidity. Well, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the sun :-) In the meantime, let the infectious smile of this 12-month-old baby cool you down.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"I thirst" in another context

It's easy to take some things for granted.

My regard for elections has changed several times. In fact, I was pretty much ho-hum about it until I realized what sacrifices some people were willing to make just to be able to cast their vote during the national elections. When I learned that exercising the right to take part in choosing the country's leaders on foreign shores meant many hours -- even days in some cases! -- of walking on dusty roads and rugged terrain to the polling centers, I decided that I was taking things too easy.

Then I recalled that women did not use to be regarded as deserving of the right to vote, which the original Women's Movement fought to change. What countless others had to fight to achieve I was definitely taking for granted.

Another thing I didn't use to appreciate was water. Who would even give a glass of water a second thought when all his life it was just there flowing from the faucet or stored in the refrigerator for the taking, anytime? Well, thanks to those television documentaries, I was enlightened. Imagine entire towns not having access to something as basic as potable water, while in some parts of the world water pipes that burst would be left for days like that or leaky faucets would be nothing out of the ordinary. Why, plants in my area are more fortunate to be getting regular "showers" when families in many hard-to-reach rural areas can't even get a drink!

Well, just a while ago I was pondering the tall glass of iced water that accompanied me as I went online. I had debated with myself whether it would be Dalandan Fruit Soda or plain water that would go into the glass, as this allegedly caffeine-free and "made with real fruit juice" beverage had a way of quenching one's thirst so effectively, I could imagine my throat and airway going "Ahhhhh!" in exhilaration if they could talk every time I downed an ice-cold glass of this drink on a hot day. I chose the water because it's common knowledge that the brilliant makers of any soda work their magic on the product so that any drinker -- after the initial thirst-quenching -- would eventually end up feeling more thirsty and wanting more! I've been feeling this myself. So water it is, with big blocks of ice! It may be tasteless, but it's pure, it won't keep me awake at night, it's got no chance of giving me a sugar high, and it addresses near-dehydration perfectly.

While downing my iced drink, I chanced upon an article on the Wall Street Journal that made me realize yet again that we really can take things for granted. Now it's ice cubes. For those who appreciate iced beverages, check it out:

When it comes to ice, size does matter, not to mention shape, density and clarity. If you prefer your Scotch on the rocks, beware: Small, brittle ice will quickly dilute years of cask aging. No one wants a Bruichladdich slushie.

But large cubes or spheres of ice will melt more slowly, bringing your drink closer to the temperature of the ice without over-diluting it. Larger pieces, such as spears the length of a glass, are ideal for keeping tall, carbonated beverages chilled. And there's a place for pebbled and crushed ice, too: mint juleps, swizzles and many tiki drinks wouldn't be possible without them.

Pretty interesting, huh (even to me, who has never heard of and has no idea what a Bruichladdich slushie is)? I must admit that these days when the tropical temperature is becoming more pronounced, I couldn't care less about the shape and density of the ice cubes that go into whatever I'm drinking. I'd be happy with a cold drink. Period. But then, when I remember the villagers in remote areas in Africa or South America (or even my Asian neighbors) that have to wait for humanitarian projects to be concluded to be able to get a taste of clean water, I'm simply contented with a glass of room-temperature water. My throat may not be exhilarated, but it can do wonders for the soul.

* Photo by Dave Kennard

On the third day

Happy Easter!

Some interesting questions and answers pertaining to Easter here

Thursday, April 21, 2011


"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult
and left untried."

- Gilbert K. Chesterton

Not your ordinary banquet

In looking through art works depicting the Last Supper that Jesus Christ shared with his apostles, I noticed that almost all of them showed the youngest, John, leaning closely against Jesus. Some of them, too, included a figure with a small pouch close by -- portraying Judas Iscariot, the keeper of the group's purse.

It is easy to limit oneself to the obvious elements in the scenes leading up to Christ's Passion, but go beyond these and the love and affection of Jesus for his disciples (and for all mankind) become so enriching, especially for these days when going deep into last few days of Christ's life on earth is recommended.

Below are excerpts from In Conversation with God, Vol. 2: Lent and Eastertide, by Francis Fernandez):


1. Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his Apostles.

Holy Thursday brings to mind the Lord’s Last Supper with the Apostles. As in previous years, Jesus celebrates the Passover with his own disciples. But this time the celebration would have singular characteristics, as it was to be the last Passover of the Lord before his transit to the Father and because of the events which were to take place immediately following it. Every minute of this Last Supper reflects both the Majesty of Jesus, who knows He is to die the following day, and his love and affection for men.

The Passover was the principal Jewish feast and had been instituted to commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people from Egyptian domination. This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever (Ex 12:14). Every Jew is obliged to celebrate this feast to keep alive the memory of the birth of the People of God.

For the special arrangements Jesus turned to his favourite disciples, Peter and John. These two made all the preparations with the greatest care. They took a lamb to the Temple and made a sacrifice of it. Then they returned to the house where the meal was to take place, to roast it. They also prepared water for the ablutions (John 13:5), the bitter herbs (which represent the bitterness of slavery), the unleavened bread (in memory of their ancestors who had to interrupt their baking in the sudden flight from Egypt), the wine etc. They made a special effort so that everything would be just right.

These preparations remind us of the great pains we should take to prepare ourselves for each Mass we attend. Here the very same Sacrifice of Christ is to be renewed, wherein he gave himself for us; we too are his disciples, taking the place of Peter and John in their reverent and careful preparations for the Solemnity.


What Christ did for his own may be summarised in a few words from St John: he loved them to the end (John 13:1). To-day is a particularly appropriate day for meditating on the love Jesus has for each one of us, and how we respond to it: in regular dealings with him, in love for the Church, in acts of atonement and reparation, in charity towards others, in preparation and in thanksgiving for Holy Communion, in our desire to co-redeem with him, in our hunger and thirst for justice...

2. Institution of the Holy Eucharist and Priesthood.

And now, while they are eating, quite likely towards the very end, Jesus becomes at the same time serious and simple, simultaneously lucid and uttering deep truths in an attitude the Apostles recognise and know well. He remains silent for a few moments and then institutes the Holy Eucharist.

Our Lord anticipates in sacramental form — my Body …given up: my Blood.., shed — the sacrifice which is to be consummated the following day on Calvary. Until now God’s covenant with his People has been represented by the paschal lamb’s being sacrificed on the altar of holocausts, at the traditional feast for the entire family that they call the Paschal meal. Now the Lamb being offered up is Christ himself (1 Cor 5:7); his, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant. The Body of Christ is the new banquet for which all the family congregate: Take this and eat.


Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist to strengthen us in our weakness, to accompany us in our loneliness, and as a foretaste of Heaven itself. At the door leading to his Passion and Death, he ordains things in such a way that this Bread will never be lacking until the end of the world. For Jesus, on that memorable evening, gave his Apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests, the power to renew this marvel until the end of time. Do this in memory of me (Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24). Together with the Holy Eucharist, which has to last until He comes (1 Cor 11:26), he instituted the ministerial priesthood.


3. The ‘New Commandment’ of Our Lord.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Liturgy, Washing of the Feet, Fourth Antiphon, John 13:35).

Jesus tells the Apostles of his imminent departure. He is going to prepare a place for them in Heaven (John 14:2-3); meanwhile, they will be united to him in faith and through prayer (John 14:12-14).

It is then that he announces the New Commandment, which has already been proclaimed on every page of the Gospel. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12). Since then we have learned that charity is the way to follow God most closely (St Thomas, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 5, 1) and the quickest way to find him. The soul understands God better when it lives charity with greater refinement, for God is love; and it is ennobled more and more in the measure in which it grows in this theological virtue.

The way we treat those around us is the feature by which we will be known as his disciples. Our degree of union with him will be seen in our understanding for others and in the way we are of service to them. For recognition as his followers, He does not speak of their reaction to his being raised from the dead, or any other obvious proof but of this one: that you love one another (idem, On Charity), Many ask them selves if they are in love with Christ, and go searching for signs to be able to discover and prove that they love him; the sign that never deceives is fraternal charity... It is also the measure of the condition of our interior life, especially of our life of prayer (B. Baur, In Silence with God).


This Holy Thursday we can ask ourselves, as we come to the end of this period of prayer, if those people around us where we spend the greater part of our lives know that we are disciples of Christ by the amiable, understanding and welcoming approach we have in dealing with them; if we try never to lack charity in thought, word or deed; if we know to make things up with them when we have treated others badly; if we show those around us many signs of affection, such as warmth, appreciation, words of encouragement, fraternal correction when necessary, the habitual smile and good humour, details of service, and a little help of the sort that goes unnoticed ... This love is not something reserved for important matters, but must be exercised above all in the ordinary circumstances of daily life (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 38).

With the Passion of Our Lord so close, let us recall both Mary’s dedication to the accomplishment of God’s Will and her service to others. So great is Mary’s love for all mankind that she, too, fulfilled Christ’s words when he affirmed: Greater love has no man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13) (J. Escrivá, Friends of God, 287).

Art work:

1) The Last Supper, Duccio di Buoninsegna

2) Last Supper, Walter Rane

3) Christ Washing St. Peter's Feet, Ford Madox Brown

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nothing tender about legal tender

"How did the word 'monies' come about? Where did it start?" I asked a friend a few months ago.

"I don't know," she replied.

"Ask your friends. C'mon, try to trace where the word came from," I persisted, amused and amazed that new words keep cropping up and finding their way into mainstream usage. "Wonky" didn't use to be in anyone's vocabulary, and how come "interwebs" had to be coined when "Web" was just fine with its monosyllabic convenience? But "monies" I didn't mind. I liked the word "monies" and got a kick out of being able to use it, every time. I must admit that I use it in such a way that the word is the last one in the statement because as far as the subject-verb agreement is concerned, "...monies is..." and "...monies are..." both sound awkward to me.

Syntax notwithstanding, the concept of money being the root of all evil has occurred to me several times lately. I don't fully agree with it; I think "Love for money is the root of all evil" is closer to the truth, though I don't completely agree with it either. What I agree with completely is that taxation makes a lot of people miserable. Another thing I am convinced about: taking pains to know where your money goes is part of being a responsible person. Go by a budget, count your change, research on organizations which you choose to help financially. And practice vigilance when it comes to expenditures using taxpayers' money.

Check it out -- the first is an animated interpretation of the Beatles' "Taxman," followed by a simple accounting -- to the tune of the Imperial March, a relaxingly laid-back ukulele version -- of what Filipino taxpayers' money will fund should the RH bill be passed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The story of a sign

The power of words...

H/T: MommyLife

Monday, April 11, 2011


"He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), civil rights activist

A postscript for March 25

Since I started only recently to catch up on reading classics (I am within the pages of The Hobbit, thanks to Petrufied), all that I know and appreciate about Lord of the Rings is based on Peter Jackson's work of art. Hence, I was totally clueless about certain dates having significance in the story that gave a whole new meaning to the word "precious"-- dates such as March 25. Reading "It's no coincidence that the ring is destroyed on March 25" on Lunch Break felt like how it used to be when I discovered yet a new piece of trivia about, oh say, one of Duran Duran's members (circa 1980s), or when I watched Witness to Hope for the first time -- a documentary about John Paul II, based on the book by George Weigel -- (around the late 1990s), or after I read articles explaining the meanings of certain scenes and symbols in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (post-2000) -- obviously each on a different level. But a deeper appreciation can be had when one learns something new. And this is what happened to me a while ago.

Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor may have been thrilling on the big screen, but Tolkien's deep understanding of the story of salvation has made it more than a literary masterpiece.

Read "It's no coincidence that the ring is destroyed on March 25"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

If you're happy and you know it...

Better late than never... so here's the cover of the magazine's March Issue. We're big on things natural, homemade, "low-tech" at Baby -- ideas, play things, concepts that are more real than manufactured images, authentic than contrived, nature-based than commercial. I guess you could say that we do our best to keep things real. So when it comes to the covers, we strive to remain as genuine as possible in presenting the babies. Only natural blush on the little ones' cheeks, not too much sparkly accessories that spell "high-end" or "expensive" and nothing that would make the child look like an adult. Class does not have to be equated with luxury.

I love the way the paper garland gives the child a close-to-home look (I'm not sure what exactly that means, but I liken it to being down-to-earth and really friendly). These were made from pages of old glossy magazines, and 9-month-old Amara had a ball crushing them in her hand (good thing we made several for the shoot!).

In the course of completing this issue, the pursuit of happiness was on my mind a lot. In fact, some of the things that Rev. Fr. Eugene David (one of the people I interviewed for an article on the search for happiness) said makes for substantial rumination. I had asked him about what he thought of the oft-used line that goes "Gawin mo kung ano'ng makapagpapaligaya sa 'yo (Do what will make you happy)." His reply:

"I remember a quote from St. John Bosco which summarizes my thoughts on this matter. He said 'Run, jump, shout and do whatever you like as long as you do not sin.' I would then add something to the dictum you mentioned to make it complete: 'Gawin mo kung ano ang makapagpapaligaya sa iyo basta huwag kang lalabag sa utos ng Diyos at huwag kang mananakit ng iyong kapwa' (Do what will make you happy as long as you do not disobey the commands of God and you do not hurt your neighbor)' ...It does not matter what you want as long as you are happy and contented with your life without offending God and anybody else."

"Only in God will [man] find fulfillment and happiness because he will find soon enough that he exists and is created for the sole purpose of loving and uniting himself to God, who is the only one who can fill his emptiness."

Is it surprising, then, that insulting others, or prioritizing huge profits over time spent with the family, or maintaining an illicit relationship makes one feel miserable at some point? It seems that no matter how much we try to deny it, doing the right thing and finding happiness are meant to go hand in hand.

So, if you wanna be happy for the rest of your life...

The volt-in for Life

March 25 was first established as the "Day for the Right to be Born" in El Salvador in 1993. Since then several other nations (many of them in Central and South America, but also including European countries and the Philippines) have been commemorating the date with their own festivities to mark what is now known as the "International Day of the Unborn."

It is fitting that the day of the solemnity of the Annunciation was chosen to mark a day dedicated to the rights of unborn people. And what a remarkable day it was in Manila this year, for the people were called to what was dubbed the grandmother of all rallies against the RH bill -- "Filipinos Unite for Life," a prayer rally in which not only the Catholic faithful took part but people professing other faiths as well. It was a huge gathering and, for me, an exhilarating one.

I took photos but I'm posting as well photos taken by Tito Robert, Haggai de Cena, Elmer Baguioro, and Corinne Medrana. [Click photos to see larger versions]

View from the stage of the Quirino Grandstand after the program had started. It was a hot afternoon but it didn't matter!

Petrufied and I parked inside Intramuros then proceeded on foot to the grandstand. Among the many who were walking with us were two nuns. They reminded me of "the living saint," of course.

Taken at past 4:00 pm. Still quite a lot of space on the grounds at this time, but at around 6:00, 6:30, the crowds swelled to over the "tens of thousands" that most mainstream media outfits reported.

The man's sign says "Stand up for human life, this is for our own achievement of peace" in Tagalog.

Each has a place under the sun. "How can there be too many children? That's just like saying there are too many flowers. - Mother Teresa" reads one sign. Another goes "The contraceptive lifestyle destroys the family."

She had a ready smile for me!

Blowing in the wind -- CFC Kids for Christ flag

More signs of the times. Left: Pregnancy is not a disease... Pills & condom are certainly not the cure! Right: Poverty is treatable...but not by pills & condom.

Real pro-life fellas are happy, can you tell?

A quick snapshot of some "groupies" :-)

Former TV host Christine Jacob-Sandejas, one of the speakers at the event, had her whole brood with her.

Representatives of different religions declaring their support for life and family and their opposition to the RH bill.

Petrufied and I originally did not plan to stay for the Mass, but praying with the people and celebrating the Eucharist at this most crucial time became top priority.

Read about the event here

Another account can be read at Filipinos for Life

The homily given by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales is here

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The truth is in here

I can't pinpoint exactly what incident or event triggered it, or if it can be attributed to a single incident, but I've never been happier about the way the pro-life crusade has been going than how it has been the past several weeks. It seems that more and more people are getting involved, speaking up, and making their presence felt in the move to keep life-affirming principles prevailing in Philippine society.

Rallies and collective demonstrations are just among many ways to speak up, but the February 13 and the March 25 prayer rallies -- at the PICC grounds and the Quirino Grandstand, respectively -- indicate that the call to stand up for life and family and to reject the RH bill do not go unheeded! I have yet to post pictures of the two events, but I think this video produced by Filipinos for Life is more important as it shows just what the bill is about. It's always good to see the bigger picture.

If you're not familiar with the personalities in Philippine politics, the individual photos show congressmen and congresswomen who are mostly pushing for the imperialist piece of legislation; one photo shows Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez, who is courageously defending life principles. A few images are of a head of a women's NGO, another advocate of women's rights at the expense of the rights of unborn people.

Learn the truth here:

YouTube may have banned the video several times already, but should you be unable to view the above in the future, go to to watch it.

For a deeper look into the issue, see Population Research Institute's Steven Mosher's piece on LifeNews.
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