Full Circle

Can’t change what’s been done
Can’t change what’s been said
This is me, for what I am.

No longer living in the past, no longer wanting to remind myself of what’s been
No longer dwelling on mistakes, oh so many.

Here’s me. Living in the now. Present, as present, can be.
What was once broken, has now become whole.

Dagger looks, pride that ravages your soul – Love, you’re stuck I can see. You’ve got much to learn.
Discipline will be hard. Tough love will come full circle for you, and when that day comes, remember it is love that clings me to you.

For now, I pray that He leads you through this journey.
For the things we have done or failed to do, love has come full circle for me too.

Crowns and Cows

Women who try so hard to earn their place through showing loyalty and working for free… Oftentimes, having to return sexual favors, co-habit or earn a man’s trust before he will actually marry her. Or sometimes, in the work place, to render more hours or wear numerous hats just because she can…

As a woman, one can bring so much to the table: the strength of her feminity, interpersonal skills and eye for detail are just some of what she can contribute, an educated and enterprising woman, more so! The skill set, years of experience and the value of their network is something most women take for granted.

I would have to agree to some some associates who brazenly stated: “Why pay for the cow if I get the milk for free?”

Harsh, yes. But there is truth to that statement.

Women get to be marginalized, their values compromised because they conciously choose to. They let these things happen because inately are desperate for approval, friendship, commitment, loyalty, and yes, the all enduring word…love.

There is this agony to make a significance in her work, the life of her partner, children… so that in the end, she won’t be shelved/discarded/abandoned because her worth and value have been proven, established…

All at a painful price: Her youth, her beauty, her years, her life. She is destined to live her life centered around her partner, her children, her work…because without them, she’s non-existent. Worthless. Invisible.

Notice that there are more and more women who find holding the “Busy badge” as some sort of trophy, or in this case, validation for saying: “I’m such a busy wife/mother/professional/business owner/etc… all of this, is all me. Finally, I am worth while.”

Busy doesn’t necessarily equate to productive nor significant.

“Busy” also begs the question: Where do you find your worth? Do you find your self-worth in the temporary? You can be doing multiple things all at the same time, you can be productive, sure. Hats off to you. But what if all of these are gone? What if you lost your work, heaven forbid, your spouse, children, family? What would you have as a woman? When all of these things gone, does your identity go with it?

Nothing is farther from the truth.

A woman doesn’t have to compromise who she is. She doesn’t have to replace her identity with the identity of her profession or relationships. She doesn’t have to “strive”. A woman was created by our Loving Father to “just be”. His grand design is for her to be the “crown”. Woman is His beauty incarnate. Diamonds need not force its beauty to someone who can’t see it.

The same principle applies to male-female relationships. A good man would be the one to do the pursuing. Allow him to ‘man up’ to the role. Just be. Unfortunately today, that role is reversed at very unhealthy consequences.

He will compromise your values, use you sexually/physically, emotionally/psychologically, (even financially…lucky guy!) and, as an afterthought, would probably marry you because, like a good girl, you’ve “earned it” (and besides, he needs someone who can look after him/his business/his children/his interests, his, his, his, his…etc. long after he’s gone. You’ve done it for free from the beginning, why should he start paying now? Insert cow reference here.)

The woman was his investment. He knows this. She just didn’t get full price for her “investment value”.

Can he be blamed? Not at all. Everything boils down to the woman.

In this world, a woman needs to earn her place, may it be a corporate title, or a place in a relationship. And even if she earned it, she still has to constantly prove she’s worth all that she’s striven for. She isn’t supposed to be pursued. She is commodity. Replaceable. Disposable.

So much for the grand design.

Gay Marriage in Ireland Opens More Questions Than Answers

Ireland is now a country that has officially legalized gay marriage. With an astounding landslide win of 1,201,607 YES votes, the country has, apparently, become a vanguard of social change.

According to a BBC report, the reason behind this social revolution is because most gay couples would like the ‘status’ that comes with being married. Now that the proposal has been passed, a marriage between two people of the same sex will have the same status under the Irish constitution as a marriage between a man and a woman. They will be recognized as a family and be entitled to the constitutional protection for families.

Ireland is the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 20 countries worldwide.

The NO Votes

In a separate statement, Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin, personally voted “No” arguing that gay rights should be respected “without changing the definition of marriage”. In one opposition commercial, it said “You should be able to have reservations about gay marriage without being called a homophobe”. 

There were 734,300 who voted NO to Gay Marriage.

Implications ~ What does this mean for Catholic countries the world over? The concept of marriage, which originally was for heterosexual relationships has now become admissible for homosexual relationships. What does this mean for the very foundation of marriage? 

This mandate has only opened a can of worms. Bringing about more questions for families (not to mention children who will be growing up in households where Daddy-Daddy / Mommy-Mommy are one and the same). Now that the marriage ideal has been blurred, we are now opening the floodgates of how modern marriages should be recognized. The historical passing of this law in Ireland will rock the very foundations of marriage and families the world over. Whether it is “for better or worse”, only time can tell.  

The Rise of the Filipino Baby Mama: Acceptable or Inevitable?

In this country, the number of single unwed mothers is escalating.

According to a few expat friends, apparently being a single unwed mother in the Philippines is deemed “acceptable” now. Though the point of what is acceptable or not in this culture is still up for further study and discussion, we did find common ground that it is never “acceptable” for the presumed father to abandon the mother and child thus leaving them without financial support.

Too many of these single, unwed women end up unable to support these children from wedlock. Many of those women have to turn to unsavory work in order to support the child because the fathers often do not. A friend of mine sums up this social and moral concern perfectly: “Personally, the inability and/or refusal to support your child is immoral, if not, should be found as a criminal act.”

You can go into any bar here in the Philippines and talk to the many women working in them and it is often the same old story over and over again. And this does not only encapsulate your stereotypical bar girl but even educated, professional, single women who are struggling to make ends meet in order to provide for their child.

The number of single unwed women is increasing and in the Philippines it is happening way too often. In fact, it seems that most girls here think that having a baby is the greatest thing in the world – kind of like getting a new toy, but that wears off awfully quick once the honeymoon phase is over.

In the Philippines, it seems that finding a child with two married parents is the exception instead of the rule. Find a Filipino guy that does not think its OK to bed any girl he can. It is this same macho attitude that permeates most developing countries. Given the lack of education, guidance, leadership, apathy and female empowerment, Filipino women are always on the losing end. Unwed mothers, has it become acceptable? No I don’t think it is acceptable, but given the circumstances, I think it is inevitable.

Anyone can have sex and make children, lots of it. But to be a parent? Now that takes a lifetime commitment. To my educated readers, it goes without saying that sex education is paramount. Though using contraception may not be deemed moral in a religious country such as the Philippines, but don’t you think it even more immoral if another defenseless human being suffer a lifetime of impoverished existence? So before you unzip, (and this goes to both parties) think and ask yourself: Am I really ready to be a parent?

In relation to the above, I’ve detailed some items below that hopefully could be of use to some women who read my website, particularly Article 194 – 208 of the Philippine Family Code. Remember: ignorance of the law excuses no one.

Technicalities: Claiming Child Support

For the single mother and child to survive, it is crucial that support be demanded from the father. To claim or demand support, the single mother must first prove that the child is related to the presumed father. Once proven, the written claim must be sent to the father with proof that such demand was received. In case the father disputes his paternity, this can easily be established by a DNA test.

If the father of the child refuses to provide child support despite receiving a written demand, the single mother can now sue the father for child support.

In case a child is taken away without the consent of the mother, the mother can file a civil and/or criminal case under Republic Act No. 90262, or “The Anti-Violence Act against Women and Children”. Or, she may choose to file kidnapping charges under the Revised Penal Code. In case the father, who had been given access, takes the child away contrary to the terms under which he was given access, the mother can sue him under RA No. 9262 or file a petition for contempt against him for violating any court order.

Basic Principles of Child Support:

  • It is everything that is indispensable for food, shelter, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation in keeping with the financial capacity of the family
  • It is joint (whether the parents are married or not), based on the proportion of the resources
  • It is based on the needs of the child and the means of the parents (there are no fixed percentages or rules on how much child support will be given)
  • It is never final (as the situation changes, so, too will child support requirements)
  • It must be demanded.

An excerpt from the Family Code of the Philippines on Child Support:

TITLE VIII

SUPPORT

Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.

The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work.

Art. 105. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister, being of age, is due to a cise imputable to the claimant’s fault or negligence.

Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership.

Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order.

Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

(1) The spouse;

(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

(4) The brothers and sisters.

Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each. However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred.

Art. 201. The amount of support, in the cases referred to in Articles 195 and 196, shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.

Art. 202. Support in the cases referred to in the preceding article shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same.

Art. 203. The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.

Support pendente lite may be claimed in accordance with the Rules of Court.

Payment shall be made within the first five days of each corresponding month or when the recipient dies, his heirs shall not be obliged to return what he has received in advance.

Art. 204. The person obliged to give support shall have the option to fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed, or by receiving and maintaining in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. The latter alternative cannot be availed of in case there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto.

Art. 205. The right to receive support under this Title as well as any money or property obtained as such support shall not be levied upon on attachment or execution.

Art. 206. When, without the knowledge of the person obliged to give support, it is given by a stranger, the latter shall have a right to claim the same from the former, unless it appears that he gave it without intention of being reimbursed.

Art. 207. When the person obliged to support another unjustly refuses or fails to give support when urgently needed by the latter, any third person may furnish support to the needy individual, with right of reimbursement from the person obliged to give support. This Article shall particularly apply when the father or mother of a child under the age of majority unjustly refuses to support or fails to give support to the child when urgently needed.

Art. 208. In case of contractual support or that given by will, the excess in amount beyond that required for legal support shall be subject to levy on attachment or execution.

Furthermore, contractual support shall be subject to adjustment whenever modification is necessary due to changes of circumstances manifestly beyond the contemplation of the parties.

References:
http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/mom-dad/relationships/Single-Moms-and-their-Child-Support-and-Child-Custody-Rights
Family Code of the Philippines, Article 194 – 208

30 years and counting

When you turn 30, you’re supposed to act your age. Like what the rest of society is expected from a full grown person who’s supposed to be on their own, most likely married by now and popping babies, left and right.

But I don’t have a husband and I am carefully thinking where I can buy a customized one. Plus, I still have to decide whether I would like to go through the excruciatingly, painful process of child birth. (RANDOM THOUGHT ~ In this day and age of advanced medicine, there must be a way to keep the birth pains down a notch either by a new pill, procedure, conditioning, etc. It’s the 21st century after all, we should have something by now, right?)

Believe me, 30 years was a work in progress. I’m just relieved I even managed to get this far!?

Deep down, I have always been a kid at heart. Case in point, I came up with two very substantial examples: Adventure Time and fast food. 😉

Growing up on Disney movies, it was a no-brainer that I would love cartoons. I’ve sang with my nieces to the tune of Elsa’s Let it Go so many times already it’s sickening. Then there’s my infatuation with Wall-E, how convenient it would be to have a robot for a pet especially one who can do my house chores, and to have Alladin’s Genie as your best friend. Awesome right?

Lately, I’ve been hooked on Adventure Time. When I’m off the computer, I tune in to that show. I’m not plugging the show in any way, but don’t you just find the characters amusing? I am particularly fond of Lumpy Space Princess (LSP), who can be an annoying drama queen, is very self-centered and at times, arrogant but who you can’t help but love thanks to her saving grace of sassiness, sweetness, loyalty, intuitiveness and resourcefulness that, most often than not, gets her out of the most ridiculous situations.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out Lumpy Space Princess here –

[NOTE: Adventure Time is a PG rated cartoon. There are parts of the program that need parental supervision and guidance. Parents, you have been warned.]

And also, this comes as no surprise to most of you, I’m not much of a cook. The irony is that I come from a family that are fantastic cooks! Both my parents (and brother) cook. My grandmother on my father’s side is also a great one. She’s Visaya and all manner of home entertaining, she has down to a tee. While on my mother’s side (all Kapampangan), every single person in that family knows their way around the kitchen. During dinner, I would sometimes think, maybe the “cooking gene” skipped a generation — and guess who the lucky tadpole was?

You maybe good at the computer, but your useless in the kitchen” my mom would sigh.

But I am an appreciative audience. Really. I don’t nitpick on food. I eat whatever’s served. Yup, I’m a good tadpole in that sense. 😉

The idea of food has always had a more practical use for me: it’s only good when I’m hungry.

Don’t tell anyone this, but I can live on fast food alone. Ssssh…Although, I do have my (never ending) goals to eat healthy and live a clean lifestyle.

If it weren’t for my family’s cooking, I’d probably be skin and bones. (So a big thanks to my family for keeping me alive! Yey!)

Despite my work as a journalist for a number of publications, being a content provider and social media specialist for some respected companies while running a modest start-up on the side, I can’t help but think — How did I get so lucky?

Truth be told, I would have to give the appreciation to the individuals who’s confidence in my capabilities and skills, to those whose lives I’ve been able to observe whether in their home, at work, with family or otherwise, have all been a cumulative source of inspiration.

For sharing your life with me, for showing me how it is be kind, how it is to share, to not take oneself too seriously, to constantly place a high premium on competence and integrity while reminding me to keep both feet firmly planted on solid ground. I dedicate this post to you. Thank you.

You have been an inspiration to me and I hope I could be the same with people I come in contact with for the remainder of my days. I hope that by the time I write on my 60th birthday, on this very same website, 30 years from now, I’ll be able to look back and reminisce what a privilege my life has been.

There is this verse that is very close to my heart which I also try to live every single day “He has told you oh man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)

Thank you for being a part of my 30 years. Happy birthday to me.

Old Lady Signing Off,

Paula

My Transformation (err, mutation?) through the years…

Potential hell-raiser right there...

Potential hell-raiser right there…

Serious kid. Nah!

Serious kid. Nah!

I was 5 years old then.

Cheeky 5 year old.

At 5 years old.

At 5 years old.

In gradeschool, I think.

In gradeschool, I think.

IMG_20141019_100935

My hair. Bow.

With some of my fabulous looking cousins during Anne's 18th

With some of my fabulous looking cousins during Anne’s 18th

During the 2014 Mining Conference at Sofitel. Working very hard as you can see.

During the 2014 Mining Conference at Sofitel. Working very hard as you can see.

During my trip to check out one of the mine sites in Palawan. Met with one of the tribes people.

During my trip to check out one of the mine sites in Palawan. Met with one of the tribes people.

Grabbing dinner after the 2013 Mining Philippines coverage

Grabbing dinner after the 2013 Mining Philippines coverage

During an art exhibit hosted by Dennis Smith with former first lady, Mrs. Imelda Marcos

During an art exhibit hosted by Dennis Smith with former first lady, Mrs. Imelda Marcos

My interview with Filipino artist BenCab.

My interview with Filipino artist BenCab.

My interview with Renewable Energy Director Mario Marasigan of the Department of Energy.

My interview with Renewable Energy Director Mario Marasigan of the Department of Energy.

My College Graduation.

My College Graduation.

MPAT

My Official Correspondent Picture. Sheesh.