Sunday, October 28, 2012

National Women's Day of Protest

Today is the Philippine Women's Day of Protest. On October 28, 1983, hundreds of Pilipino women took their struggle to the streets after Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. Pilipino women contributed heavily in dismantling Marcos's dictatorship. They showed the world just how militant and revolutionary Pilipino women can be. Lorena Barros, a Pilipina activist who established the all-women's organization, Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), put it this way:
The new woman, the new Filipina, is first and foremost a militant. The new Filipina is one who can stay whole nights with striking workers, learning from them the social realities which her bourgeois education has kept from her. She is a woman who has discovered the exalting realm of responsibility, a woman fully engaged in the making of history. No longer is she a woman-for-marriage, but more and more a woman-for-action.
A year later, GABRIELA, named after Gabriela Silang, the Pilipino woman who led a revolt against Spanish colonizers, was established. GABRIELA, along with Anakbayan, the League of Filipino Students, and other organizations that fight for the advancement of the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines, continue to arouse, organize, and mobilize the masses to stop the extrajudicial killings and forced kidnappings, overturn the recent Cyber Crime Prevention Act, get justice for overseas Pilipino workers who experience harsh working conditions, and all-in-all liberate the Philippines from the corrupt and unjust government. Take this day to remember all the activists who fought to eradicate martial law. Take this day to remember all the women who were killed, kidnapped, raped, and tortured while they were fighting for their people. Take this day to educate yourselves about what's really going on in the Philippines and help extend the Pilipino women's mass movement.

(Note: This post was also written for Maria's Pinay Power Daily blog.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: Tampakan Massacre, Oct. 18, 2012

Juvy (bottom row, center) and her son
(bottom row, left) were victims of the massacre.
The indigenous B'laan community has long been in opposition to the mining operations of Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) on their ancestral lands, not having given them permission to destroy their land.  They have long been fighting to keep their land, with Daguil Capion leading two attacks on the miners.

On October 18, 2012, Capion's wife, Juvy, and two sons were killed in a military raid of the village of Bong Mal in Tampakan, South Cotabao.  One of his daughters was also injured.

The morning of October 18, the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army entered the house and gunfire was heard throughout the village.  Entering the house, Erita, Capion's sister, described the blood and brain matter splattered all around the house, leaving the bodies unrecognizable.

The military did not allow them to claim the remains of the victims and dragged and lined up their bodies, bringing them outside of the house, opposing the traditions of the B'laan people.

Way to celebrate Indigenous People's Month right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to NOT be Racist on Halloween

In 7 days will come Halloween, a day full of ghosts, goblins, and a LOT of racist costumes.  Cultural appropriation is the number one crime committed during Halloween.  So here's how to not be racist on Halloween.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Number Crunching

Jeff Tedford
Ever wondered how much money your professor actually makes? How about your advisors? The admin staff at Financial Aid you always bug in the beginning of the year? The food servers at the dining commons?

Luckily for you, there's a website dedicated solely to bringing transparency to compensation at the UC. Below are some key personnel from Berkeley and their gross pay from the 2011 calendar year:

  • Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy and former Secretary of Labor - $235,791
  • Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor - $445,716
  • Jeff Tedford, Football Coach - $2,884,880

Is Cal winning any games this year? I haven't even paid attention. That seven-figure salary makes me think I should be more invested, though. is your destination for all UC employee compensation information. Click on the drop-down menu labeled "Location" to pick a campus (or if you feel like brandishing a pitchfork, pick UCOP), and enter the first and last names of an employee.

Get ready to waste hours snooping on people's salaries. Yes, even mine.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: The International Hotel

A low-cost residential hotel located on Kearny and Jackson, the I-Hotel was all that was left of SF Manilatown after years of “urban renewal” pushed hundreds of homes and businesses away from this area in the late 1970s. Even though this building seemed old, derelict, and dilapidated, it was home to 150 Pilipino and Chinese tenants, most of whom were senior citizens. Almost all the tenants had been living in the I-Hotel for several years and at only $50 a month, the I-Hotel was the only place that offered affordable rent and a community for them to be a part of. So when the first eviction notice was given in 1968, residents, community organizers, and community members immediately responded with protests and demonstrations—it became a movement not only to save the I-Hotel, but a battle for affordable housing and to halt the “urban renewal” occurring in the area.

The residents were incredibly active in the fight for the I-Hotel. Many stood outside the hotel picketing, some rallied outside of Portsmouth Square, and many shared their stories to the public, spreading the word about the injustice they were facing. Even though they were perceived as old, uneducated, and weak, the residents of the I-Hotel were anything but. They were politically active, self-determinant, and resilient. They were activists, advocators, and organizers—an inspiration to the surrounding community. Prominent community members like the poet Al Robles and community organizations like the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) from Berkeley joined the fight and soon, the residents of the I-Hotel had mobilized a gigantic group of supporters. Because of their ongoing activism and resilience, the eviction was stalled for nine years.

In 1977, the police were mandated to carry out the eviction. On that night, hundreds of supporters formed a human barricade outside the hotel, protecting the residents, protecting the community, and protecting years of community building and hystory that had gone on in the hotel. Unfortunately, the police was able to break through the barricade, enter the hotel, and evict the tenants that remained. The I-Hotel was then destroyed and although the site was intended to become a parking lot, it was untouched until 2003, when construction finally began for a new I-Hotel, a new low-cost residential project. The new I-Hotel sits in the same spot—Kearny and Jackson—and it serves the same people—senior citizens and the surrounding community. The ground floor of the new I-Hotel was turned into a community center and gallery, where visitors can view Pilipino-American artwork, commemorations of the I-Hotel, and even see brick from the original I-Hotel hanging on the wall. Even though the original I-Hotel has gone and a new one has been built on its foundation, the stories of the residents still resonate within the Asian American Movement. The fight for affordable housing and the fight to retain our community and hystory is an ongoing struggle we face and like the residents of the I-Hotel, we must be strong, united, and self-determinant.

(Note: Maria previously wrote this article for her blog, Asian American Activism.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The US's Obligation to its Undocumented Residents

Undocumented students of California and the United States have been getting some good news with the California DREAM Act and Deferred Action being passed in recent years, but the reality of the situation still exists: they all still run the risk of deportation, something Obama has promised to stop but in reality has actually increased.

And Barack Obama is still deporting a massive amount of people and there are large numbers of people who believe that these people should not be here. Little do they know that it's the US's fault to begin with.

The United States has a huge ego. It believes that it has the massive obligation to spread its awesomeness to other countries by essentially telling their people that they are uncivilized little brown people. Yup, it's all colonization's fault.

The United States' idea of "benevolent assimilation" included the introduction of capitalism and the global market.  This lead to the mass amount of wealth in the country to be carried by a very small percentage of the population.  The introduction of the global market also paves the way for exploiting the local people with outsourced jobs and sweat shops paying well under our standards of minimum wage.  These, along with many other factors, led to the widespread poverty and a weak economy.

The United States also put themselves on a pedestal, westernizing as many countries as they can, creating a desire to become more "Americanized" and to live in the United States.  Combined with the poverty they created, this is the perfect formula to create widespread desire and sometime desperation to immigrate to the United States.  Though this obligation is relatively unseen by many Americans, it exists..  The effects of colonialism today are ignored and the citizens of these victimized countries are constantly blamed and degraded when the United Stated owes them so much for all of the atrocities they committed upon the people.  The lasting effects of colonialism are subtle but are widespread and have a greater effect on the world than many seem to notice.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're on Facebook!

We're now on facebook!  Remember to like us for regular updates on our blog and for relevant articles in the media.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: US Waterboarding in the Philippines

During the Philippine-American War, or the "Philippine Insurrection" as falsely stated by US textbooks, allegations of US military atrocities began to appear in the United States from concerned soldiers, who of course requested anonymity.

One of the allegations was the use of the "water cure", where prisoners were forced to intake large amounts of water to extract confessions.  This practice along with evidence of "reconcentration" camps and massacres created public condemnation of the war.

The American military was on the defensive and William Howard Taft even stated that some Pilipinos had asked to be tortured so that their confessions looked to have been forced out of them.  Some claimed that Pilipinos performed it on each other and brought "evidence" of how uncivilized the Pilipino soldiers were, claiming that civil warfare was not in order because the enemy was not "civilized".

Monday, October 8, 2012

Indigenous People's Day (Columbus Day for the colonizers)

Today marks the day that Christopher Columbus began his onslaught against the indigenous groups of the United States.  This day is marked to "celebrate" the "discovery" of America, which, by default, celebrates the mass genocide of the Native Americans in the pursuit of colonizing their land.  Not cool.

Columbus is the one who created lasting contact between the Americas and Europe, spreading disease and creating pandemics.  They enslaved the native peoples and systematically killed whole ethnic groups.  He introduced these people to Europe and destroyed the way of life they once knew.

This movement for Indigenous People's Day was started in Berkeley, CA in 1992 and is meant to be a counter celebration to Columbus Day.  The renaming of Columbus Day has moved to other cities and some have taken up the name Native American Day.  Some cities even name the day after their own indigenous ethnic groups.  Conservative groups consider this renaming as revisionist history but considering everything the United States has revised and excluded from our knowledge, this is simply the opposite.  It's the truth.

Do you celebrate Indigenous People's Day or Columbus Day?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: St. Louis World's Fair

Often being taught in text books as a place where great inventions were revealed, the World's Fair came around at a time that the United States was rapidly expanding and acquiring territories and the Philippines was one of them.  Untold in text books though is that through these new territorial acquisitions, the United States created a "human zoo", an exhibit "showcasing" the people they "recruited" from these areas.

Over 1000 Pilipin@s, mostly from the indigenous tribes, showing the spectrum of Pilipin@s from "uncivilized" to "civilized".  The Igorots were a top attraction due to being labelled as dog eaters and being provided dogs to eat.  They performed their sacred songs and dances daily, reducing their meaning to nothing but entertainment for white masses.  They were giving their own Igorot "villages" to showcase how "primitive" they are.  Overall, the effect of the exhibit was to make the viewer feel superior to the "uncivilized" savage, showing the world their need for benevolent assimilation.


Hi folks, Maria here! I'd like to share a poem with y'all that I performed at a CalSLAM event called "Home is Where The Art Is." This piece is about the many struggles going on in the Philippines and what I hope to achieve as a poet and activist. I titled it, "Makibaka" which means "dare to struggle" in Tagalog. Hope y'all like!

Sharp “p”
Soft “i”s
And a long, distinct “a”
That rolls out from the back of your throat
Click, click
You type “Pilipina” into Google and what do you get?
Mail order brides
“Sexy Pinays!”
“Pilipinas Seeking Foreign Men!”
Dating sites
Eroticized images
Scantily clad
Posing for the foreign men
Who desire the ideal, submissive bride

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cyber Martial Law

In the Philippines today, the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012 was passed which outlaws hacking, online trafficking, file sharing, and spamming.  The biggest reason this law is being actively opposed is that it outlaws "online libel".  Libel is defamation through written or printed words and this part of the law was added last minute by Vicente Sotto III.  There are no rules or regulations attached to their definition of libel, which would make it a free for all in deciding what is libel and what is not.  And those making those decisions are of course, the "leaders" of the nation, who would silence and criminalize all those who are in opposition with the government, government officials and those holding office. Look familiar?  Well, it does resemble the way that Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law upon the Philippines and silenced his opponents.  Fun stuff right?

Not only that, but those who are shown to be in agreement with the statement seen as "libelous" would also be persecuted.  Examples would be retweeting, liking on Facebook, reblogging on tumblr, etc.  So your own families in the Philippines could very well be in trouble.  Political activists have been disappearing and this law further elevates the power they have in making opposition disappear.

It also affects the educational system, that already teaches students to be westernized and to favor all things colonized, and further scaring students from thinking critically about the country they live in.  The government is trying to control their actions and thoughts and limit the exposure that these thoughts and ideas can get.  The Philippines is slowly losing its personal freedoms.

To learn more, check out:

To sign the petition:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pilipin@ American Heritage Month and Indigenous People's Month

Today marks the beginning of Pilipin@ American Heritage Month, celebrating Pilipin@ and Pilipin@ Americans and the immense contributions we have given to the United States, contributions that are often overlooked and unknown, despite being officially recognized by the California Department of Education.  Started by FANHS (Filipino American National Historical Society) in 1998, October was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the first Pilipin@s to arrive in the United States.

It also marks the beginning of Indigenous People's Month in the Philippines, to help in the fight to preserve the indigenous cultures and traditions of the Philippines that have been under threat due to western colonialism, westernization, and globalization.

In honor of this month, we will be having Fun Fact Fridays to share the accomplishments of Pilipin@/Pilipin@ Americans and to spread awareness of the issues concerning the indigenous people of the Philippines.

To read up on the resolution to recognize Pilipin@ American Heritage Month:

To read up on the resolution to declare Indigenous People's Month: