BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Masculine and Feminine Psychology of Romantic Love

A workshop presented by The Carl Jung Circle Center
November 26, 2011/Saturday/9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Explore the dynamics of male-female relationships through the myths of Eros & Psyche and Tristan & Iseult; understand the psychology behind masculine-feminine differences through the insights of Carl Jung plus modern analytical psychologists Robert Johnson and Gareth Hill; and, through introspective learning activities, arrive at new insights and apply them to your own relationships.

Faculty: Joji Racelis & Chato Lozano
Venue: 3 Salcedo Place, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Workshop fee: P2,800.00
Reservations on or before November 18, 2011.
Call 0917-831-7773 or e-mail

The Carl Jung Circle Center is an accredited CPE provider of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP). This workshop is equivalent to 5 points.

artwork from 

Friday, October 28, 2011

We won!

Congratulations to the Philippine Star and to my colleagues from the different newspapers who won. Thank you to EJAP for this Oscar moment! :-) 

STAR named Best Business Newspaper 
(bags four out of ten awards)

(The Philippine Star) Updated October 27, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine STAR dominated the 20th Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) Inc. Business Journalism Awards, bagging four out of 10 awards given in recognition of outstanding coverage of the different business beats.

EJAP, in cooperation with Globe, announced the winners on Tuesday night during the awarding ceremony held at the Metropolitan Museum, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex in Manila.

The STAR reporters who won included Lawrence Agcaoili (Banking Reporter of the Year), Iris Cecilia Gonzales (Finance Reporter of the Year) and Mary Ann Reyes (Telecoms Reporter of the Year).

The STAR was also named the “Business News Source of the Year” for grabbing the most number of awards in the various categories.

The rest of the winners were: Jennifer Ng, of BusinessMirror for the Agriculture beat; Amy Remo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the Energy beat; Darwin Amojelar of theManila Times for the Macroeconomy beat; Jennifer Austria of the Manila Standard Today for the SEC/PSE beat; and Ben Arnold de Vera of the Manila Times for Trade and Industry beat.

The feature article titled “5 years after, NAIA 3 up and running as legal row eases” written by Lenie Lectura of BusinessMirror won the “Best Feature Story of the Year” award.

This year’s judges include Milwida Guevara (president of Synergeia Foundation) who served as head judge, Omar Cruz (chief investment officer of Philam), Consuelo Garcia (ING country manager), Tomas Gomez IV (president of GM Bank of Luzon), Ernesto Pernia (UP economics professor and former ADB economist), Ronald Solis (president of the Philippine Bar Association and former commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission), Arthur Aguilar (president of Global Business Power Corp. and former president of the National Transmission Corp.) and Teresa Habitan (finance assistant secretary).

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. delivered the keynote address.

Punongbayan & Araullo served as the official tabulator of scores for the 20th EJAP Business Journalism Awards.

Each of the winning beat reporters received a trophy and a cash prize of P35,000. The author of the “Feature Story of the Year” received a trophy and a cash prize of P30,000. The winners for each category also received an iPAD2 from Globe. The “Best Business News Source of the Year” received a trophy.

The EJAP Business Journalism Awards, an annual activity, is aimed at promoting excellence in the business journalism industry.

(emphasis mine)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The sun rises in Tawi-tawi

BONGAO-Tawi-tawi - It was drizzling when we arrived at the airport here one early morning.

Finally, we reached the southernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago. Mindanao, as always, strikes me as enigmatic.

It’s bustling too but way underdeveloped as in many places in the island. At the Chinese Pier, people go about their daily struggle of making a living.

What’s to see here, I will never fully know, much so understand but I will savor the time and the rays of the sun shining from far, far away.

All photos by me via Blackberry

Why aren’t we protecting our children?

My latest blog on The New Internationalist:

From a basement in Austria to impoverished communities in Asia to convents around the world, child abuse is happening again and again.

In the wee hours of the morning or the dead of night, it goes on and on, over and over.

What can be done? When will it ever stop? Will adults ever realize that we only borrow the world from our children? That the damage brought about by just a single act of child abuse could not be undone?

That each and every act of child abuse is larger than life itself?

In the Philippines, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the government’s statistics agency, recently released the latest figures on child abuse.

The statistics are stark, disturbing, alarming, heinous and telling.

The number of cases of child sexual abuse and child labour handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) remained major problems in the country from 2009 to 2010, even as the total number of child abuse cases declined during the period, the state agency said.

In its report, ‘Abused Children’, NSCB said the number of cases handled by the social welfare agency declined from 2009 to 2010 but noted that cases of certain types of abuse have gone up.

Child abuse cases, as defined by the government, are those where the child is ‘abandoned, neglected, sexually abused, sexually exploited, physically abused, maltreated, victims of child labour, victims of illegal recruitment, victims of child trafficking, victims of armed conflict and emotionally abused.’

The number of child abuse cases served by the government went down to 4,749 cases last year from 6,524 cases in 2009.

But the government can’t rest on its laurels just yet.

According to the report, cases of sexual abuse are still the second most common cases handled by the social welfare department, next to neglect and abandonment. These cases accounted for 27.3 per cent in 2010 from 29.6 per cent in 2009.

Despite the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 – the country’s anti-rape legislation – the most common sexual abuse during the period is still rape, followed by incest and acts of lasciviousness.

‘Rape victims are predominantly female – 97.6 per cent in 2009 and 90.5 per cent in 2010. One wonders whether the prohibition under Republic Act 9346 in 2006 of the death penalty originally possible for convicted rape offenders under certain conditions has contributed to this social problem,’ the statistics office said in its report.

Alarming, too is the fact that under types of sexual abuse, the number of incest cases has gone up to 37.5 per cent of total abuse cases in 2010 from 32.9 per cent in 2009.

The problem calls attention to the breakdown of the family as a social institution.

Tracing the roots of the problem, the social welfare department also found out that most sexually exploited children are either victims of prostitution or cyber pornography.

The numbers increased to an alarming 52 per cent and 31.5 per cent last year, respectively from 48.5 per cent and 33.8 per cent in 2009.

Child prostitution cases went up to 66 in 2010 from only 63 in 2009, statistics also showed.

In the area of child labour, the statistics office said there were five cases of child labour in 2009 and this increased to nine cases in 2010.

Some of the victims are only five to 10 years old.

The facts and figures speak for themselves. It’s heart-wrenching, to say the least.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Changing the world, one story at a time.

Zamboanga International Airport
2 pm

Yeah, beauty queens are right, as journalist and blogger Raissa Robles said. World peace remains a fervent wish for many.

It is 2 pm and I am traveling back to Manila from an assignment in Tawi-tawi. In between flights, I am trying to beat my deadline as a public finance reporter for The Philippine Star.

Today there’s just enough stories to get through the day. Sometimes, there are way too many stories for me to beat the deadline.

A lot of people think what I do is useless. I’ve cried over such impressions and argued against people because I believe otherwise.

I strongly believe that journalists – not all – are doing what they do because they believe they’re making a difference, albeit as tiny as a speck – in this universe. We’d like to believe we’re changing the world, one story at a time.  That someday, in somebody’s lifetime, there will be genuine change. World peace, as the cliché goes.

As for me, I write so people will at least remember. More importantly, I write so I myself will not forget. To remember is to be aware and that is the first step in wanting to change something, to try to make a difference in a rotten world.

Who are they to say otherwise?

In any case, it’s who I am and it’s what I do. It’s my life. There will always be people who will look down on my profession, on us. We’re a bunch of corrupt, egoistic, oftentimes messianic and delusional individuals who only care about making money, they say. True. Untrue.

Someone once said journalists only espouse the ideals of capitalism, support the status quo and do not really challenge citizens to think about genuine change.

One at a time, I say to myself. It’s tough, it’s huge, it’s comforting to believe in what I do.

I’ve done many mistakes as a journalist. Huge ones. I’ve cut corners and I’ve been complacent many times. I’ve allowed bad habits to happen.

Just today, I reported that the government allowed Treasury bill rates to rise. Erroneously! On the contrary, the government rejected the bids.

But it’s all part of my life as a journalist. Mistakes happen. I will keep on writing.

I’m young and merely dreaming, a veteran journalist turned PR slash spin-doctor, once said.

That the world will always have its ways, no matter how I try to go against it or no matter how many times I write about it.

That I have to draw the line and distance myself from what I cover so I don’t go crazy.

But that’s the thing. I don’t really mind going mad.

(enroute to Mindanao. On assignment. Photo by Jes Aznar)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Girl Effect: Giving Young Women a Chance

Here is my latest blog for The New Internationalist: I invite fellow bloggers to join the Girl Effect blogging campaign.

The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign 2011 officially kicked off on 4 October. The campaign, spearheaded by blogger Tara Mohr, is really all about recognizing the potential of adolescent girls in the developing world.
I found out about the campaign through another blogger, Roxanne Krystalli, and I felt compelled to contribute to it in whatever way I can. For how can I not when I see the need for it within my own country?

There’s no limit to the list of things that could help girls recognize their full potential while at the same time preserving their dignity.

In my part of the world, the lack of access to quality education, especially in impoverished areas, makes it difficult for girls to get out of their desperate situations.

Joining this campaign brought back memories of my trip last year to a far-flung village in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. The place is called South Upi, and it is so remote that there is no electricity.

I visited the village last year to blog about how the residents survived the country’s very first automated elections. I met a girl who told me that people there are considered lucky if they can buy themselves even a single piece of underwear. The sad thing is that she’s not exaggerating things. The place is as poor as one can imagine.

Girls at school in the Philippines
 Girls at school in the Philippines. Photo by Trishhhh under a CC Licence

‘The lives of the people here are at a standstill,’ I wrote last year for the Think About It global blogging competition. ‘The men spend the whole year toiling kernels of corn in distant farms that are not their own. They earn only once a year, which is during harvest season when they sell their produce to the markets in Cotabato, a province five hours away. This happens only if rodents have not feasted on their crops. The rest of the year they eat whatever vegetables they can harvest. The women while away their time waiting for their men to come home after spending the whole day at the farm. The children of Kuhan, who look half their age from lack of proper nutrition, spend the time playing on the dry earth. They play on wheelbarrows used by their fathers to transport crops. They play on broken benches, sticks and stones, mud and stagnant water. Their laughter reverberates in the air.’

Going back to the Girl Effect blogging campaign, I thought about my South Upi visit because the situation there is a concrete example of how the lack of access to quality education becomes a major source of girls’ inability to get out of poverty.

Girls who are unable to go to school end up prostituted or remain trapped in their situations.

They are forced to work to get their parents out of poverty or because their parents do not have jobs. It’s a cycle of poverty and hopelessness, passed on from one generation to another.

According to statistics from the Girl Effect campaign, 600 million girls live in the developing world and approximately one quarter of them are not in school.

The same statistics shows that an extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 per cent.

Indeed, what a good quality education could do! The importance of the girl effect, really, cannot be overemphasized.