Mga alaala ni Tanya


Manila Today: Hanggang sa huli ay STP (Serve the People) ang pinanghawakan ni Tanya kaya’t siya’y nagsisilbing huwaran sa mga kabataang artista. #AnakNgBayan


Kontribusyon para sa feature ng Manila Today na “Mabubuting Anak ng Bayan”. Kilalanin ang mga kabataang martir ng bayan na tumungo sa kanayunan at nag-alay ng buhay para sa masang api at pinagsasamantalahan. Inspirasyon kayo upang magpatuloy at magsikhay sa mga gawain at patuloy na paglingkuran ang sambayanan.

Heto ang original na post na naisulat noong January 2010:


“Rage” by The Jerks (cover)


On Trump, as the new U.S. President


Let us not forget that Trump is a cunning businessman. He knew his target market well and made sure his marketing campaign made them buy what he offers. If there’s anything I’ve learned from advertising in college, it’s that a business thrives on anything, and will do anything, to win against a competitor and to make their sales go up whatever and however it costs — even if that would mean fooling people with their advertisements. That’s what ensures their success in sales. Trump did just that, and he did well.

The challenge now is how a united front will emerge from these conditions and go up against the ‘movement’ that Trump has built — capitalist/imperialist, profit-driven, racist and sexist in nature, at that. Clearly, we have a lot more educating, organizing, and mobilizing to do ahead of us when a person like Trump just won president of the #1 imperialist country in the world. Imperialism has just consolidated its machineries the perfect way possible. And so we must also consolidate the peoples’ forces who are oppressed and exploited by imperialism, and expand our reach to other oppressed and exploited communities and nations all the more. As imperialism continues to build its empire around the world, so must the scores of people join in building an international mov’t that will genuinely address the peoples’ social and economic needs — something that imperialism definitely does not address and even threatens to, and has actually been, trampling on, for the past decades.

This is a time to join forces, not blame anyone for not voting Hillary vs Trump, because even if folks did not vote for third party, I honestly think Hillary would still have lost. Trump is a cunning businessman and I bet he definitely had his mind set on winning — whatever and however it costs.





For all the times I heard you say “I love you”
And silently exclaim “why not me?”
When I chose to love countless others,
but failed;

For all the times you tried to hold my hand
And touched my back,
And brushed your hand through my hair,
And leaned your body against mine;

For all the times when you would talk to me
And share your stories with glowing eyes
And excited breaths and expressive hands;

I wonder,
What really did you want me to feel?
What really did you want me to say?

Did you want me to say “I love you” back
Or tell you it had been you all along?

When truth is, I was afraid
Afraid that I would get hurt
By whom I’ve written these poems for
For years — a decade even,
And sang these sad songs for.

Three Stars and a ‘K’


First published in Pinoy Weekly.




Three Stars and a ‘K’


Youth activists in the US of A: militant and proud of heritage. Photo courtesy of Anakbayan USA

Red flags with yellow print of three stars and a “K” — the Baybayin letter “K”, that is (for“kabataan” or youth).

Seeing videos of eleven of these with the name of each chapter at the bottom of each flag (and one with that of League of Filipino Students-San Francisco State University) waving in unison to the tune of Tambisan’s“Dakilang Pakikibaka” (Great Struggle) at Anakbayan USA’s second National General Assembly gives me so much hope for the motherland’s future.

One might think these ‘kids’ gathering now in Seattle, Washington, USA would be your typical Fil-Am cousin, nephew, niece or grandkid whom you find entertaining when trying to talk in Filipino with a twang while having their family vacation in the Philippines.

But then, you hear them chanting “Lumalakas, lumalawak, lumalaban, Anakbayan!”,“Imperyalismo, Ibagsak! Burukratakapitalismo, Ibagsak! Pyudalismo, Ibagsak!”“Makibaka, huwag matakot!”“Mag-aral, maglingkod, mangahas na makibaka, LFS!” and “Kabataang Makabayan, Lumalaban! Kabataang Lumalaban, Makabayan!” — in crisp, straight, without accent, Filipino way.

I bet you’re thinking, “Do these kids even know what these words mean?” Big words, right?

More than 200 Filipino youth and students are gathering this weekend of January 16-18 for the conference entitled Kabataan, Magkaisa! Strengthen the Unity of Filipino Youth to Build a Brighter Future”. They will be tackling socially relevant issues such as Philippine sovereignty, the state of education, im/migrants and workers’ rights, women and LGBTQ rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, relief and rehabilitation for disaster-stricken areas in the Philippines and what it means to be in solidarity with other ethnic groups and nationalities, including our African-American and Central American sisters, brothers, friends and comrades. So it would be safe to say that yes, they do know what they are chanting about when even as youth and students, they are already confronting these kinds of issues, big as they are.

Two years from now, I will be crossing over the United Nations’ stipulated age limit (35 years old). But as early as now, I am already comforted by the fact that there are younger people out there who are already thinking beyond themselves and who are also taking up the fight for Philippine national liberation and democracy – despite being miles and miles away from the motherland, and more so, despite being right in the belly of the imperialist beast.


Photo courtesy of Anakbayan USA

They may still be young and in high school, in college, out of school or working their asses off in offices, restaurants, institutions or not-for-profit organizations aside from organizing within their mass organizations. But seeing the membership of Anakbayan USA grow from 5 chapters (when I was still a part of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey a decade ago) to 11 chapters in key cities throughout the United States, and with the perspective of rebuilding Sandiwa, the national alliance of Filipino youth and students in the US, makes the future really promising — not just for them, but for the communities that they serve as well.

Some may consider them progressive, leftist or call them “activists”, and that may not suit well for the elders, but wouldn’t you at least be proud of your kids that they are doing something socially relevant with their lives instead of getting wasted or spending all their time in front of computers or video games (not to say that it’s bad to engage in these activities every once in a while)? That they are trying to learn more about their roots and history as a people and that they are trying to change the world for the better with as little or much experience as they have?

Some parents may be against these young peoples’ activism, but having experienced this within my own family during my first few years of being an ‘activist’, I personally totally feel you. We truly do. And we are not actually asking for your concern for your children to waver. The love for our children and the feeling of getting worried for them will always be there.

But equally, or more than this, let us support them and be proud of them. That at a young age, they are already thinking about the future – both theirs and ours — and that they are realizing the power of collective action and are nurturing their sense of community. If there is also one thing that I have learned in my youth as a member of Anakbayan, it is that the youth cannot accomplish anything on their own without linking arms with other sectors of society, especially the workers, the peasants and the most marginalized, oppressed and exploited members of the society who comprise the majority.

The fact is, no matter what we tell them to do or what we want them to pursue, they will create their own path, and, cliché it may be, their own experiences will still be their best teacher. And wouldn’t the youth’s experience be more empowering and less burdened if we are all in this together and we extend our support to them in these endeavors of protecting our communities, our rights and our future? We are, after all, also a receiving end of their arduous efforts.

If I were to have my own children, I would want them to be a part of Anakbayan USA’s 50th, or maybe even 100th, chapter. Or to push it even further, when time comes that we can all come back home to the motherland, be part of Anakbayan Philippines’ what, 1,000th chapter? That is, if it hasn’t even reached that number of chapters yet as of this writing! 🙂

So, for all of you, young people, who are now in Seattle, be bold and daring and show us, older people, that you are responsible enough to build a new world! There are tens of thousands of us out here who got your back! And thank you for being the young people that you all are. 🙂

17 January 2016

Para sa iyo, 2015.


Para maiba naman. Isulat-kamay natin. Hehe. Hapi nyu yir, Pilipinas! Habol kami mamaya! 😄


PARA SA IYO, 2015.

Salamat. Hindi mo ako binigo. You weren’t the best, but you were good enough. 🙂 And you were somehow better than the previous year. Kung may pinatunayan ka man, iyon ay ang kaya kong tumayo muli at magsimula nang panibagong paglalakbay – maaaring may mga panahong mag-isa, pero mas matingkad iyong kaagapay ang mga kasama.

Nariyan iyong mga panibagong hamon – nagsimula sa trabahong housekeeping sa simula ng taon, bumukod at lumipat sa bagong komunidad kasama ang alagang pusang si Pancho (na isa sa mga pinaka-masasayang nangyari ngayong taon), at ang paghamon sa sarili na muling pik-ap-in ang bisikleta at gawin itong regular na parte ng halos pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay (well, maliban ngayong winter). Nariyan din ang unang beses na mag-whitewater rafting at ang unang pagkakataong makapunta sa Northern California. Maaaring sa iba ay maliliit na bagay lamang ang mga ito, pero ilan ito sa mga highlights ng taong ito sa personal na lebel.

Pero higit sa mga ito, nariyan ang kampanyang #SaveMaryJaneVeloso na muling nagpatunay sa lakas at kawastuhan ng sama-samang pagkilos at ng proletaryadong internasyunalismo.

Naganap din ang International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) na, bukod sa marami na namang mga bagong kasamang nakilala at muling nakadaupang-palad ang mga kasama noong nasa unibersidad pa, ay lalu pang naglantad sa kabulukan ng estado at nagbigay ng pag-asa na makakamit din ang hustisya sa hinaharap.

Nariyan din ang kampanyang #StopLumadKilllings na umani ng suporta mula sa mas malawak na hanay (sa tulong na rin ng #AlDub, ngunit lalu nang mahusay na pagdadala at pagpapatakbo ng kilusan sa mga kampanyang masa). Ipinakilala rin nitong lalo ang kagandahan, kasaganahan sa likas na yaman at lakas ng mamamayan ng Mindanao, na patuloy na binibiktima ng terorismo ng estado. Sa kabila ng pagmamalupit na ito ay nakilala rin natin ang mga pinaslang ng mga elemento ng estado na tulad nila Tatay Emok, Ka Onil, Datu Bello, at NPA Commander na si Ka Parago – na sa libu-libo ay nagbigay ng pag-asa at nagsilbing inspirasyon upang patuloy na itayo at ipaglaban ang isang lipunang mas maaliwalas. Ilan lamang ito sa mga tampok na aral, kaganapan at mga pangyayari sa taong nakalipas.

Ang 2015 ay taon ng pagsasaayos sa mga nararapat ayusin, pagkokonsolida, puspusang pag-aaral, pagtatasa, paglalagom sa mga karanasan, pagpuna at pagpuna sa sarili, at pagpapatuloy nang mas masikhay sa mga gawain. Ito rin ay taon ng mga bagong silang (literal, dahil maraming ipinanganak.. hehe).

Tulad nang unang nasabi, ang 2015 ay “good enough”. Bakit hindi the best? Dahil “the best is yet to come!” At ‘yan. ‘Yan ang panata sa darating na 2016. 🙂


HELLO, 2016!




Today, I watched my first ever Broadway show (I know, I’ve been living in NY for many years now and sure, I’ve seen off-Broadway shows, but never really made the time and never had the money or even saved up for those real ‘Broadway’ shows all these years). But today, I finally watched. Salamat, Mama Renz, for the tickets (she gave it to my mami as a gift and I got tagged along — well, that’s another story so I’ll just let my mom tell hers). As for me, though, thoughts were already running through my mind all throughout the show. My love for theater has once again been fired up and my dream to direct a play/show or even act in one resurfaced once more. Theater arts was actually my third choice for college (after Fine Arts and Journalism, as my first and second, respectively), and I’ve always said that had I not been active with the student council in college, I would have joined the UP Rep. I guess it also helped that it was “Allegiance” and Lea Salonga and George Takei were the main performers. I especially loved Lea’s character, her husband in the play, Frankie, and her father. I won’t spill any more, but I do recommend for folks to watch. Aaaanndd.. I’d have to admit it was a good one for my first Broadway show. 🙂

PS: Plus the production design was also amazing! Looks simple, but amazing. 🙂