Monday, April 26, 2010

You are not your Past


You are not the choices you’ve made.

You are not the child you once were.

You are not your failed marriage.

You are not the setbacks of yesterday.

You are not the bad things that have happened to you.

You are not your past.

The Past Guides Our Choices – It Doesn’t Make Our Choices For Us

Your thoughts or feelings about the past don’t change it. That’s what makes it the past.

Your future is not your past. Your future, right now, is a nest of possibilities. It only looks like your past if your present choices continue the inertia of the past.

The past guides our choices; we have real constraints, opportunities, and experiences based off of the past. Right now, though, those constrains, opportunities, and experiences are what they are – wishing they would be different doesn’t make them different.

Whatever happened, you are here. But being here doesn’t mean you have to stay here or that you will stay here.

Life is but an endless chain of presents and choices. You have never been your past.

What If You Stop Attacking Yourself?

What if you stop beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t do? Perhaps you’d see what you can do.

What if you stop wishing that things were different than the way they are? Perhaps you’d see how to move toward the future you want by using the bounty of the present.

What if you didn’t assume that past failures are who you are? Perhaps you’d believe, just for a second, that you could be successful.

What if you choose to let the past be the past? Perhaps you’d see the ripe possibilities of the future.

Every ounce of energy that you spend attacking yourself is an ounce of energy that’s diverted from your growth. We are finite beings; use your resources wisely.
- -- ---
Thanks to Sonam for this posting at Facebook.

Indeed the past is past. Life is beautiful.
Make life as a present and live it at present.
Live Life! Love Life!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Monitoring 2010 Overseas Absentee Voting - Week 2 in Seoul, Korea

After the mass at Hyewha Church, I met with Fides and showed her my first contribution to the SAMBAYANAN, a newsletter  for the Filipino Catholic Migrants in Seoul Archdiocese. The newsletter can be read with this link below:

Then I proceeded to the Embassy to monitor week 2 of the 2010 OAV. I was asked by Consul Talisayon if I wrote to Inquirer, what I remember was an email I sent previous night to globalnation to encourage COMELEC in approving the Embassy's request to conduct election in different cities here in Korea. Little did I know that it was made into an article and was showed to me by Embassy staff. The article can be found here:

I went to the Embassy today since they have a consular service and check whether more Filipinos will be  going to vote. I learned that some Filipinos visiting the embassy for their passport and other consular service needs would also vote so the past weeks several cast their votes. Last nite I saw several groups who casts their votes. One of the groups, a Filipino organization came from Gasan, they rented a bus themselves so they can travel to Seoul, an hour drive. Then came the group and  members   Bro. Eddie Villanueva's Jesus Is Lord (JIL), in their black and white Sunday dress.  They came to the voting area with their Bangon Pilipinas Party list of candidates. At least 50 of their members came past 6:00 pm to vote. The group also have two of their poll watchers at the Embassy today.

Below are set of fotos of  the Sunday's afternoon's voting.

Also these fotos appeared here:

Monday, April 12, 2010

VOTE LAO -Y asmin Busran-LAO for Senator

Let us support Yasmin Busran-LAO to win a Senate seat. Please introduce her to your family, friends and relatives abroad. Below is a piece by Ms. Elena Masilungan on Yasmin.

Vote Yasmin Busran-Lao for Senator!

Yasmin Busran-LAO: Walking Her Talk by Running
By Elena Masilungan

MANILA — Yasmin Buran-Lao, peace activist, women’s rights advocate, community organizer, is walking her talk by running — that is, running for senator in this year’s election as a candidate of the Liberal party.

The 48-year old Lao has made public service her life’s mission. She works with disadvantaged communities and the women of Muslim Mindanao, having grown up amid its violent conflicts and grinding poverty. For her efforts, she was awarded the Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Fellowship for Professional Development. The award was given by the American embassy and the Benigno S. Aquino Foundation in 2005.

“Fighting for the rights of Muslim women and other marginalized groups is something personal for me. I get enough satisfaction helping people gain a certain control over their lives,” she said.

Reframing politics

Lao believes that ordinary people must be given opportunities to serve the country even if “they do not have the money and the clout that most politicians have.”

“There has to be new politics that can come in. This kind of new politics comes from ordinary people like us (who) have the capacity and the ability to serve this country…. It is time for the citizenry to be the spokesperson of its own agenda,” she said in a recent interview.

Running for any electoral post was not in Lao’s immediate future. She was all set to leave for Hawaii for an academic fellowship early this year. Her nomination to fill the 12th slot of the LP’s senatorial slate was a “shock” not only to her sisters in the women’s group PILIPINA and her fellow advocates in civil society but, more so, to her.

“For quite some time, the NoyMar campaign team had been headhunting for a Muslim candidate who would embody the reform-oriented politics of the team,” related Elizabeth Yang, national coordinator of PILIPINA, in her email to other PILIPINA members. Lao was one of those nominated, and eventually chosen, to represent Muslim Mindanao, grassroots leadership, and women in the LP’s senatorial slate.

“In our talks after she filed her (candidacy), Yasmin said she felt she had to accept the challenge to raise the bar for her (and our) advocacies on gender rights, peace and good governance,” Yang said. “We need to connect the dots of the struggle for democratic rights and good governance with meaningful engagement in electoral (partisan) politics.”

“I have been advocating for women seizing the center of power and reframing politics. And how can I go to the community of women and talk about women’s political participation when I was given the opportunity and I said “No?,” Lao added..

A woman, a Moro and a Muslim

Lao’s advocacies have been founded to a large extent on her being a woman, a Moro, and a Muslim. Moro is the collective term that ethnic groups living in southern Philippines who have separate local cultures and who belong to the Islamic faith use in referring to themselves. Lao, who hails from Lanao del Sur, is from the Maranao ethnic group.

“They impact my life in such sweeping, profound ways that my life’s work and purpose have become firmly grounded on them. On account of my being a woman, a Moro, and a Muslim, I came to know the meaning of violence, discrimination, injustice and inequality. I not only witnessed them as a regular occurrence within my family and community. I have been personally living through them ever since I was a child,” she explained.

As a woman and mother, the war in Muslim Mindanao, particularly, weighs heavily on Lao.

“Whenever war breaks out between the army and the Moro rebels, or between various clans, it is the civilians who are caught in the middle. They leave their homes and communities for the evacuation centers. But conditions in the evacuations centers are no better, especially for the women and children. They are not favorable to one’s peace of mind nor sense of dignity. When you live in an evacuation center, however temporary, your family does not have access to food, safe shelter, sanitation, education for the children, and income. This weighs heavily on the women who constantly worry about their families’ wellbeing and safety,” she said in describing the ordeal of women and children in evacuation centers.

A peacebuilder
As an NGO (nongovernment organization) worker, Lao has been focused on peacebuilding, the right of local communities to self-determination, and good governance in the Bangsamoro homeland.

“The war in Mindanao, which is a consequence of bad governance, has shortchanged not just the people of Mindanao but the rest of the country…. In 2008, government spent P50 billion of taxpayers' money on it, equivalent to the cost of building 50,000 public school classrooms. It costs the country P20 million a day, money that could instead go to creating livelihood opportunities to help our people live better, more productive lives,” she rued, connecting how what is happening in Muslim Mindanao is also affecting the rest of the country.

“Running for the Senate gives me a chance to translate my advocacies to a legislative agenda that is borne out of the experiences of marginalized people who have been confronting poverty and armed conflicts for most of their lives. I have the chance to bring my message of hope that we can achieve lasting peace, justice and equality among all Filipinos, regardless of gender, ethnicity, and religion, even in war-torn Muslim Mindanao. Our hope is to build a country that is inclusive and respectful of each other’s differences despite all the diversities that divide us,” she said.

Lao admits she faces a daunting run for the Senate, what with her limited campaign funds and her being a relative unknown to voters, except perhaps in the NGO community. But she shrugs this off. “I cannot disregard the opportunity the campaign provides to impart my message of hope to different sectors of Filipinos. And of course, it’s time for me to walk my talk,” Lao said with a confident smile. #


Lao’s Legislative Agenda

·Peace in Mindanao and an end to its the 40-year armed conflict
·Gender equality and women’s rights

Lao is one of the 10 Filipina signatories from the Autonomus Region of Muslim Mindanao who signed the Win with Women Global Initiative to promote strategies for increasing women’s political leadership worldwide through a Global Action Plan. She developed a groundbreaking training on gender sensitivity for Muslim women that draws on the teachings of the Koran and the experiences and life lessons of real women. The training challenges traditional norms and expectations that foster inequality and discrimination among Muslim women. It also presents grassroots efforts on reproductive health, community participation, education, and livelihood.

·People-centered governance that harnesses the participation of an active citizenry to work for social and economic development

Story recap:

Yasmin Buran-Lao, peace activist, women’s rights advocate, community organizer, is walking her talk by running — that is, running for senator in this year’s election as a candidate of the Liberal party.

Lao believes that ordinary people must be given opportunities to serve the country even if “they do not have the money and the clout that most politicians have.” When presented with the opportunity, she accepted the challenge to “connect the dots of the struggle for democratic rights and good governance with meaningful engagement in electoral (partisan) politics.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Day of OAV in Korea

As expected, there was a low turn out of the first day of the month long Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) at the Embassy of the Philippines in Korea. When I left at 1:00 pm I could count less than 15 persons who casted their votes. It was the media people who were there to cover the event that ended up voting themselves (they are duly registered voter).

Unlike the first election held in 2004 where ballots where sent by mail, this year it is personal voting where Overseas Filipinos have to go to the embassy to vote. Most of the ballots that were sent by mail returned back to the embassy since most OFW easily change their workplaces and places of domicile.

The embassy is still awaiting for the COMELEC’s approval to conduct the election in major cities here in Korea. A friend from Gwangju City (3hours and 40 minutes away from Seoul) mentioned that it will be hard for them to go and vote at the embassy. So they are still hoping that they will be given a chance to exercise their rights to vote.

In 2004 election, cast votes totaled to more than 500 out of more than 9,000. This year, 10,921 registered voters were recorded. The embassy is relying on the assistance of Filipino communities to help disseminate the information and educate their members on the election. They are conducting frequent phone brigades and emailing to these organizations.

Voting is open from Sunday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm, officials at the Embassy said they are flexible for groups and even individuals who would like to vote on a Saturday. They are encouraging voters to vote early on and avoid the mad rush at the end of the voting period which is 6:00pm of May 10, 2010.

Philippine Embassy

Related Story:

First Voters in Seoul Different but Alike

By: Philippine Embassy
Seoul, South Korea – The first two overseas absentee voters of South Korea differ in several distinct respects but share common priorities when it comes to national consciousness: the need to exercise one’s right to suffrage, and to exercise it early.

How to find the New Philippine Embassy in Itaewon

The first and most prominent landmark is the Grand Hyatt Hotel (GHH)on a hilly top of Itaewon where the Namsan Park/Seoul Tower is just a stone throw away. From the gate of GHH go down a bit at the Hoenamu gil where the Royal Norwegian Embassy is located. In that corner go down 30 meters and you will find at the first corner the Gabon’s Embassy, enter the street twisting to the right and few steps the gate to the Embassy. Actually there is another gate which is at the main street across Algeria’s Embassy but there’s a big notice (as of writing) for visitors to make use of the back door/gate. Fotos are provided below to help locate the place.

I went to the place by subway getting off at Noksapyeong Station (Line6), used exit No.1 then crossed the street. The bus stop for Bus No.3 is across the street under a foot bridge (Warning - do not take bus No. 3 just outside/few steps from exit No.1 which is the opposite route). Map below shows general location of the place so better figure it out where GHH is located for other commuters to access.


#5-1 Itaewon-dong,
Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Postal Code: 140-201

Contact Numbers
Telephone(82+2) 796-7387
Hotline 010-9365-2312
ATN Direct Line(82+2) 796-2403
Fax Number(82+2) 796-0827
* Hotline numbers are available for emergency calls
during non-working holidays, weekends
and after-office hours.

Location Map of GHH

or refer to this link:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Susan Ople for Senator - With all humility, I appeal for your support.

Dear OFWs Please go out and vote!
Susan Ople
April 10 at 8:57am

Dear Friends,

Now that the period for overseas absentee voting has begun, I would like to appeal for your support in encouraging more of our OFWs to go out and vote.

Sana gamitin natin ang pagkakataon na ito upang magkaroon ng pagbabago sa Senado. Mga bagong mukha, na may mga bagong panukala - kung hindi mabibigyan ng pagkakataon ay parehong Senado pa rin ang ating mamanahin.

Unlike other traditional candidates, I have waged a campaign based on issues, consciously choosing the high road in this most challenging journey. Nakakalungkot kasi kung di ka gimikera, mahirap mapansin sa pambansang entablado maski gaanong katalino ka pa. Pero hindi ako susuko, hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa dahil may misyon ako sa pagtakbo - at iyan ay ang pagtulong sa ating mga OFWs.

And so on this day, when voting precincts for political freedom have opened its doors for overseas Filipinos, I appeal for one out of 12 votes to be cast by our OFWs. One out of 12 that will be thinking of reforms in labor and overseas employment 24/7 everyday. This is the world I grew up in, and there were many, many lessons learned from my father, the late Ka Blas Ople, that I can share and build upon, in the pursuit of this mission.

With all humility, I appeal for your support. Let us do what we can to encourage as many Filipinos overseas to cast their ballots. And hopefully, with God's blessing, an OPLE can once again serve in the Senate.

Please feel free to copy and paste this message and send out to your friends and relatives abroad.

Mabuhay ang mga OFWs! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!


Susan "Toots" Ople

I am reposting this because I believe that Susan "Toots" Ople should be given a seat in the senate. Let us support her candidacy. Vote Susan "Toots" Ople for Senator.

Read more here:

(Note: Image appearing here was cropped and edited by the blog owner for personal reasons).

(source: facebook)