BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Saturday, March 24, 2007

37th week

(This is personal)

I've successfully reached the 37th week of pregnancy. These days, all I ever want is for the moment to come. It's been a very, very long and arduous journey after all. People around me including my doctor are saying that I've had a relatively smooth pregnancy. I am thankful. But then again, I can't deny the difficulty. Nobody really knows for sure just how difficult it is. I've been talking to 'bump' that I'm ready for the pain and that he or she can come out anytime.

Sigh. I am tired.

I wake up in the middle of the night because 'bump' is moving in all directions. The heat is unbearable even if the aircon is running nearly 24 hours. My tummy is so itchy but I can't scratch it. I can't drive and I hate it. I get leg cramps during the most unexpected times and it really pisses me off. I can't have anything else on my body including caffeine, nicotine and all the other sanity-saving substances available in the market.

Boy, I can't even devour on chocolates when I want to. My body indeed has been taken over.

These may seem little things to others but you put them all together and you do get a really difficult ride. Did I mention the emotional roller-coaster ride just yet? Only a mother or a mother-to-be knows the 360-degrees emotional experience that goes along with pregnancy.


Yes there is a but...There is no greater experience than to be in this journey. I am privileged enough to be experiencing this despite my insanity, selfishness, dysfunctional emotions and undomesticated soul. I have no right to complain, really. Instead, I have so much to be thankful for. I read somewhere that pregnancy is a sign that the world should continue.

I do look forward to meeting my first child. I hope that he or she will come out anytime soon. And I know that the more difficult journey has yet to come. I expect motherhood to be a lifetime vocation with the difficulties far worse than what one can experience during nine months of pregnancy.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I had a talk last night with my favorite economic journalist and as usual, I learned a lot. I was working on a special report and he gave me invaluable tips, possible sources, possible angles to pursue and the different sides of the debate that I should work on.

It's always fun to learn from senior colleagues, who in turn, are so much willing to share. There is so much to learn from so many things. Each experience is a learning process. Every interview is a goldmine of information. Every story is a discovery.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Incest on the rise

This news broke my heart. To me, incest and sexual abuse are the worst things that can happen to children.

I still dream of a world free of these crimes because as Sydney Sheldon once said, we don't inherit the world from our parents, we borrow it from the children.

Incest on the rise with feminization of overseas labor
By Veronica Uy
Last updated 06:16pm (Mla time) 03/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- As more Filipino mothers leave for work abroad, incest between a daughter and the father who are left behind has become an emerging social problem, a non-government organization said Friday.

However, the Kanlungan Center said the scandalous nature of incest has kept the problem hidden despite its growing seriousness.

Loida Bernabe, program officer of Kanlungan's direct support and development program, acknowledged receiving only one call for help on an incest case but added she believes the problem is more common than believed.

“Nangyayari talaga ito dahil malayo sa pamilya at ang tingin sa mga anak ay pag-aari [It really happens because of the distance between spouses and because children are viewed as possessions],” she said.

She spoke of a runaway maid in Singapore who wrote to Kanlungan September last year about her 13-year-old daughter’s account of being raped by her father.

The mother said she had already asked a relative to take the girl away but worried about her nine-year-old daughter, who with her six-year-old son, remained with her husband.

Bernabe said she referred the case to the archdiocese in Mindanao to which the overseas Filipino worker’s (OFW) hometown belonged.

On Thursday, International Women's Day, Senator Pia Cayetano also called public attention to “an emerging problem in labor-exporting countries like the Philippines.”

The senator, who returned recently from New York where she represented the Philippine Senate at the 51st Session of the Commission for the Status of Women, noted that older daughters of women OFWs are made to take on the roles left by their mother, sometimes as “substitute spouses.”

"This disturbing phenomenon of the girl-child being turned into substitute spouse has been happening in our country along with the feminization of labor migration," said Cayetano, who noted that women now comprise 70 percent of Filipino workers deployed abroad.

“The problem remains largely unreported, however, due to its sensitive nature and mainly because of the fear of the girl-child to file a formal complaint against her own father which would bring severe stress and shame to her and her family," the senator said.

As a result, she said the abused daughter is forced to become an "adult" at an early age, depriving her of the opportunities and rights of being a child.

She described the phenomenon as one of the most damaging social impacts of labor migration, one that can never be measured by any of the government's socio-economic indicators or captured by statistics on labor export.

The international forum-session, entitled "A parliamentary perspective on discrimination and violence against the girl child," was jointly organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), of which Cayetano is first vice president of the Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians, and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW).

Cayetano presented the problem of incest among families left behind by OFWs at the forum-session, which stressed the need to push for national laws and policies to protect girls from violence and abuse.