Support the PHRA!

Hi hi hello readers, have you got a second?

I’ve taken on another (unpaid) role (instead of getting a job but who wants to work rn anyway??) which has my anxious ass communicating with people? What a concept! And so, I’ve much less time to put together a cutesy story around this in order to seem acceptable and charitable rather than angry, scared and personally involved. But someone on the internet was hellbent on being wrong and rather than wasting time arguing with them, I much rather do something constructive.

The Philippines makes the Western news nowadays for crude President Duterte and his brutal drug war, the number of deaths in which are disputed, but even the government’s count is over 5,000. But besides talking a big game (including perpetuating rape culture), what has he done for the most oppressed Filipinos?

If you hadn’t heard of how the US Drug War has gone and thought it would be a solution– you might think the problem would be solved by now. But this is what happens when you go after not just small-time dealers but criminalize using drugs rather than addressing why people may feel the need to turn to using or selling. You end up slaughtering toddlers and poor people that can barely afford their family’s coffins (cw: within 2 scrolls there’s a large photo of a dead body).

Since the 1970s Ferdinand Marcos administration/dictatorship, the Philippine government has depended on commodifying and exporting its people to work outside of it to send money back to make up its economy. OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are hailed as heroes, but it’s as about as much lip service as the praise for essential workers is here in the US. There are tons of fees, taxes, and other costs to do this, and again, you would think with that the billions of dollars accumulated, so many Filipinos wouldn’t be impoverished. But millions are hungry while those in government gain billions. This sends the message that the Filipino people are not worth investment.

They are fit solely for being killed in the streets, being packed into prisons like sardines, separated from their families and put in precarious situations just to survive. Nobody can stand up for the Philippines when they neglect cultivation and depend on overseas remittances. A leader hasn’t implemented autonomy by allowing the military of the same wealthy countries preferential treatment over their population.

( * US irony dance break * )

It’s possible to point all of this out and not want the US to play world police. I acknowledge that I don’t have first-hand knowledge and that news outlets can have agendas. However, even though he may have cursed and a few trolls may have benefited by Duterte, the Philippines cannot be free if it isn’t free from the valuing of wealth and status over Filipino lives (if going out and conquering is the highest form of that, afterall).

US Imperialist cartoon
School Begins

The US has an atrocious history and present itself including that involving the Philippines. If you could care less about another country, consider that the US gives millions of dollars to the Philippine army— which harasses and bombs indigenous people. But the main thing is that a country particularly a small country that’s been subjugated by powerful others deserves the right to control itself.

This is why groups are urging US citizens to tell their representatives to support the Philippine Human Rights Act. This aims to repeal that US funding and a piece of its compliance rather than “intervention.” I believe that you can simply sign the petition, but it’s always great to call, follow or get in contact with organizations like those on the page and meet with lawmakers especially if you aren’t in the US.

Thanks for reading!

black owned brands pin

Black-Owned Brands: Beads Byaree, Harriett’s Bookshop, Morning Moon Made Gifts, Bevel, Adjourn Teahouse

black owned brands pin

Hello readers, how are you?

I haven’t posted in a month! I can’t believe I kind of miss it. Even though I’ve no idea what’s going on with this new WordPress format, I love typing and sharing. So here is the latest batch of Black-owned brands! I usually try to keep to my blog’s theme of skincare, beauty, and fashion, but there have been a lot of threads and posts lately. You can always find those and more brands on my Pinterest board.

Beads Byaree

Beads Byaree has some of the most creative jewelry I’ve ever seen. Creator Areeayl Goodwin says pieces come from a place of whimsical imagination, but I feel like there’s something empowering about the clothing and accessories as well.

Harriett’s Bookshop

Harriett’s in an independent book store in Philadelphia. Named after Harriett Tubman, it aims to celebrate women artists, authors, and activists. Not in Philly? You can buy from them online especially helpful for small businesses during Covid.

Morning Moon Made Gifts

ellie b started a great Twitter thread that prompted others to share their favorite “cottagecore” brands. L (@bonchnass) contributed Morning Moon Made Gifts‘s etsy which offers lovely macrame home goods including plant hangers, coasters, and wall hangings. Perfect for your new quarantine plants!

Bevel

 

Interestingly, I think that most brands I’ve shared are in fact, women-owned as well. But if you’d like something more masculine, Bevel is geared toward male skin and hair care needs, touting the first face serum created for Black men. I don’t really think that female skin would notice though, right? 😅 Because high quality design and features (sulfate-free shampoo, aluminum-free deodorant) at great prices has me want to try them… for myself!

Adjourn Teahouse

 

Keeping with the cottage theme, I saw Addie’s Black-Owned Organic Tea Brands post shared a few times and haven’t even checked out everybody, yet. So I’d definitely recommend it if you’re more of a fan of tea. I just had to include it and Adjourn because the tea is so pretty! It doesn’t just look nice but is also sustainably-sourced.

I’m sure a lot of the posts and threads I mentioned came about in effort to support the Black community after high-profile and racist murders of Black people including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Armoud Arbery by cops and vigilantes. Like voting, buying this way is debated, so I don’t intend for this to be related or an action for these people but just to highlight indie businesses that may not receive the same attention and perhaps divert money award from larger brands that can invest in bigoted systems. So maybe it is kind of related, but you’d like to do something like contact your representatives or donate to protestor bail funds, I created a Black Lives Matter board with a bunch of resources. It’s organized too! As to not be so overwhelming.

Did you find anything to your interest? Share your favorite brands and check out previous posts in the series.

Thanks for reading!

Current read pin

Rock My Soul 5-9

Hello readers, how are you?

I really mean to ask you all about yourselves at the beginning of my posts because as a socially awkward person, I simultaneously feel like I don’t talk but talk too much about myself. But it’s especially important to connect in stressful and uncertain times. So I hope that you’re all doing well!

Have I really not blogged in a month? Well, I had been kind of busy trying what I can in this presidential election that is bizarrely still happening. I did one thing and had a bunch to think about and consider… and now a pandemic! No time like a quarantine to change around my neglected blog, eh? I’ve relegated “Fashion” to a tag and upgraded “Mental Health” to a category. I feel like mental health can get lumped in with self-care meaning spa day, but after reading Rock My Soul, my focus will more holistic.

Ch. 5- Refusing to Be a Victim

No black person in the United States can have any measure of self-esteem if he or she has not cultivated the capacity to be a critical thinker, to live consciously.

To the chagrin of conservatives, this chapter isn’t about shirking racism, claiming that it’s over or doesn’t exist. While there is discourse about people embracing a victim mentality, personally, I’ve not really found that to be a big issue, but I am not black, it’s not my place, and maybe that’s an internal discussion.

There is emphasis on living “consciously,” which Nathaniel Branden calls “a tool of survival– the ability to be aware of the environment in some form, and to guide action accordingly.” hooks says that it’s needed as part of positive self-esteem and to eschew seeing oneself as powerless, “[black] people must willingly engage in a politics of self-reliance that upholds taking responsibility.”

Current read pin

(I put “black” in brackets because the author who is black is speaking to a black audience, and I do not want to make it seem like I’m speaking at/scolding them and that this can apply to anyone! Additionally, I’m not sure if she means that having a community eschew victimhood mentality would be more meaningful than a singular person)

Victimhood and responsibility seem like big words which can sound like the “bootstrap” ideology. However, I think that hooks means to not fall prey to notions that you can’t do anything to improve yourself or life even if that is living consciously and refusing white supremacist messaging on tv.

Ch. 6- Thinking Critically

This chapter does not provide a process to clarify hooks’s idea of thinking critically so much as discussing how damaging education systems can be on black students’ self-esteem. When is it especially racist, hooks calls it psychological terrorism. It is perhaps ironic because education with anti-biased settings is what is needed to create an environment that will foster self-love.

Ch. 7- Teaching Values

This chapter is about the importance of reading and an encouraging culture to develop critical consciousness. It may be the fault of those in power when institutions fail, but individuals or even communities can do what’s in their power for collective racial uplift and not just individual material gain. Even if one cannot read, hooks champions atmospheres in which even more social exchanges involved discussion regarding decolonization of our minds.

Ch. 8- Spiritual Redemption

African-American slaves interpreted Christian scripture to their needs of human validation. God especially choosing the oppressed allowed them to accept reality but also devise spiritual practices expressing their humanity. hooks believes that modern established churches have abandoned spiritual needs for conservative conformism that creates hierarchies and therefore the valuation of some over others. Such stress has led to young (black) people abandoning the Church and unfortunately the communal nature of  spirituality and therefore liberation altogether.

It was incredible to read hooks’s critique of books marketed to black children because I often feel that I’m maarte with my Filipino Kids Books reviews. But if a supportive education leads to self-esteem and freedom, shouldn’t it be necessary especially for more children who are more vulnerable? hooks goes on to cite the lack of a space for critical review, and I was just like… !!! I couldn’t believe I was kind of on the same path as this legendary thinker. 😅😎

Be sure to check out the first part of these notes.
Stay safe!

Filipino childrens books

Filipino Kids Books 5

Season’s greetings readers, are you in the holiday mood?

I must admit that I didn’t get my pet anything and should technically buy some gift bags. But I am just not going to go out in this weather and deal with the crowds. My dad gives Charlie more presents than me anyway, and I probably won’t see the people that need bags until the new year! So, I think I can get away with it. 😁

I probably should be posting some holiday-related content, but this is just the way the cookie crumbles, baby! I recorded a bunch of videos months ago, but photo and video editing is the bane of my existence. So I’m just getting to them when I do. Something kind of Christmas-related will be posted next week!

If you’re new here, I’m a Filipino-American that did not have a community with the best self-esteem and therefore, esteem toward their community! Instilling such lessons was not valued. So when my brother and his wife had a baby, my Miss Grotke™ auntie/ate aesthetic was revealed and so, I have to make sure the child doesn’t become a jerk. 😄

Juan Tamad

On the surface, it makes sense to dissuade laziness. However, in a hyper-capitalistic society where everyone is competing and trying to win favor with/for privilege, I’m concerned about non-conformance  to such attitudes especially by a child being written off as laziness.

Juan Tamad (Lazy Juan) is about a young boy that seems like he doesn’t do any work. We see the results of him not picking guava until it falls (ants) and not bringing dinner home, but I’m not sure if he learns his lesson as the book just ends with the moral.

Can someone like a child be lazy? Of course. But I also think that they’re especially vulnerable to not being understood when they may not have the language, experience, or resources to address their own well-being. Dismissing someone as “lazy” doesn’t address any underlying issue, puts the blame on them, and does that whole narc and “notice me” thing. It’s like calling the authorities for the most minor inconvenience instead of developing a community that takes care of one another rather than punishing. I guess you could say it’s… lazy. 😎

Filipino childrens books

Masaya Ako!

Masaya Ako! (I’m Happy) is a board Adarna book like Masayang Magtanim! and Kayang-kaya! in my first review. It illustrates different emotions and is in English and Tagalog. Pretty useful but may be difficult to buy outside of the Philippines. I borrowed this copy from the library which was on the other side of the country!

The Little Red Hen

When I first started this series, I didn’t set specific parameters like solely Filipino authors and didn’t think about books that were translated. This story is about a hen that wants to make some bread and asks all the other farm animals to help with every step. They all claim they’re busy until it’s time to eat, but the hen only shares her bread with those who helped her.

The Little Red Hen is probably the lesson I wanted from Juan Tamad. But I think that from now on I’m going to try to avoid translated books because technically, I could just end up with Harry Potter, right? While that might be cool, it’s not really the reason I’m doing this.

TL;DR

Title Juan Tamad Masaya Ako! The Little Hen
Author Rene Villanueva L.R. Hen
Illustrator Jo Ann Bereber Yasmin Doctor Jago
Publisher Lampara Adarna Mantra Lingua
Year 2002 2013 2005
Language Tagalog & English Tagalog & English Tagalog & English
Level 3rd grade baby 3rd-4th grade
Recommended Not really Sure! Depends

Not 100% sure on that Hen author and illustrator but that’s what it says. If just a translated story is fine for you, go ahead, but if you’d like something more culture-related, check out my past reviews!

FKB 4 + Better World Books Review
Filipino Kids Books 3
Filipino Kids Books 2
New Series: Filipino Kids Books

Hope everyone is having happy holidays and new year!

Current read pin

Rock My Soul 1-4

I can’t speak for all Filipinos as anyone of an identity shouldn’t be expected (in general it’s a good idea, but we really should start using the noggins more than eyes about what is good for people). I’ve European heritage, have lived only in the US. I hash together vlogs about Filipino kids books I wish I knew existed as kid. I wrestle with my experience of the only Filipinos I know seeming incredibly reactionary and in what/who their interests are tied.

It’s difficult to come from a background whose poverty is fetisized not only by external paternal forces but those in our own culture, our individual selves. Pageants over policy. It describes not only what garners the retweets but what’s considered “pride.” Stick a flag emoji in your handle and share a video of sob story answering trivia.

I’d heard of bell hook’s Rock My Soul: Black People & Self-Esteem, and my mind would come back to it when I’d see such kind of contradictions. How can there be so much of this excitement for a people yet unwillingness for the betterment for the lesser statused of them? I don’t mean to take a black woman’s work and just insert myself into it, but 1) I’d have no idea where to turn for any kind of Filipino work like this 2) While specifics may be for black people, others can probably relate to more general themes and probably should connect how they’re related 3) That’s kind of what I intend to do.

Current read pin

1: Healing Wounded Hearts

In the opening chapter, bell hooks introduces why it’s no wonder black people may have “wounded” self-worth. Slavery and segregation have imposed observable white supremacist violence, but because self-esteem or the wellbeing of peoples’ souls aren’t very valued, the psychological impact of things like beauty standards and more namely, integration have not been studied and discussed.

2: Lasting Trauma

Although science has been a tool of racism that can be suspicious, mental health must be a part of liberation. Everyday violence reenacts trauma and without proper strategies that include decolonized thinking, healing can’t take place. hooks also critiques conservative blame and denial of black pain by noting their failure to connect ongoing trauma (like PTSD) to certain behavior and a perpetuation of racism by judging black people more harshly for this.

bell hooks quote

3: Ending the Shame That Binds

The shame of this chapter is that being (physically) ugly in white supremacist patriarchy. Shame conditions to intimidate especially vulnerable lower-statused people. The author wonders if black employment gains have come at the cost of psychological ones. Colonized minds value the imitation of acting and looking white.

I hate to bring this up but seeing as how white people have no problem, I’m reminded of mail-order brides. I can’t say the degree to which it’s encouraged culturally, but just from existing in the US, when you look at who is famous, who is rewarded, who has resources, who receives justice (who is denied), who is fawned over for doing the which actions, whose actions are met which such unmatched animosity, it’s easy to imagine the need to keep women impoverished financially and psychologically to pimp out for cheap labor. And how is this working out? Are we still getting beaten, raped, and stuffed into the backs of freezers? It’s no wonder that men that buy women stand with macho politicians.

4: Living With Integrity

Integrity is defined by Stephen Carter and Nathaniel Branden as being able to tell right and wrong and acting on it. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it seems like greed and other unethical behavior is rewarded. So to exist or even succeed, people must assimilate to bad behavior. However, if one comes from decolonized background, the imbalance of behavior and values create crisis and hypocrisy which Branden says is self-invalidating. There’s no integrity without honesty; lying spreads to other areas of one’s life.

I know it’d be nice and clean to end at chapter five, but this is already 600 words, and I’d like to include thoughts from the preface where hooks wonders why she and her siblings, who were more economically and academically privileged than their parents, were more psychologically fragile. I totally relate seeing my mother and others uproot their lives across the world, yet I have severe anxiety. I can only attribute it to Mom and at least one other woman I’m thinking of grew up in environments where everyone is literally family. Obviously, family is not synonymous with support, so I wonder about how toxic behavior is dealt.

I probably could’ve written a lot more but I read and didn’t write and already started 3 other books on here and don’t want so many posts on one book, so perhaps in the future when I re-read!

Filipino childrens books

FKB 4 + Better World Books Haul

Filipino childrens books

Good day readers, are you keeping cool?

Despite all of the heat advisories, I also mean mentaltally, spiritually, all of the -ies. If you follow me on Insta, you’ve seen that I’ve decided to try to sort my -ies out which should be, unfortunately, a long and arduous task especially since I’m kinda one foot in this boat and the other finding a lot of this hooey. But like with everything else here, I share in hopes that it helps you too.

According to this definition of spirituality, one should ask themself if they’re contributing to their community in a way that energizes them. Can I count this series? 😅 I do not find it particularly nourishing at the moment. But things that typically come up like church or volunteering honestly make me anxious. I suppose what energizes me is meeting people that are actually like me, on my level. But then I fear that they actually take action, and I am a coward!

Ah well, I will uh, meditate or whatever on it some more. In the meantime. Here are some Filipino kids books I actually bought this time. I wanted to send a care package for my new nephew and his parents and fortunately had already found a book I liked through the library. I would just have to find it to purchase! At that time, Better World Books was having a sale, so I decided to take advantage and try them out. Here’s what I got.

Alpabetong Filipino

This is an Adarna House book. My cover says it’s by Victoria Añonuevo but others say Virgilio S. Almario. It’s illustrated by Paul Eric Roca. It’s a basic alphabet book with illustrations of letters and words that start with them (or have the letters in them). At the time of the recording, I hadn’t seen other Filipino alphabet books before, so it seemed fine, but since then I have which are definitely better! Most words are in Tagalog with some in English.

Ang Bagong Kaibigan ng Bing Butiki (Bing Butiki’s New Friend)

This story is about lizards that hang out on the ceiling of an old couple’s home. Their son used to torture the lizards and fear him. He returns as an adult with his own daughter, and Bing wants to befriend her. She ends up being nice, but Bing really doesn’t have a reason to do this seemingly other than “she’s cute.” Perhaps the instinct to approach without caution (I’m giving them this as a benefit rather than superficiality) stems from the book’s Christian publisher which prints a verse on the back.

Inside Illustration

Perhaps not a problem but something others may want to know. The son/father also tells about how the daughter can’t take the lizards home because they have to stay and eat bugs which I don’t really understand.

Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories

This is by the same Liana Romulo of Filipino Friends in my last post! This was actually published before Friends, and surprisingly, I liked this much better. It’s a collection of folk tales. I’ve since read other collections, and I think this is edited for children. However, Stories was the book I decided to buy (and the previous two were lucky enough to come along), and I chose it because a few of them contained messages of organizing and rebellion! And I absolutely love the animated illustrated of Joanne de Leon whom will be making at least another appearance in this series in the future!

TL;DR

Title Alpabetong Filipino Ang Bagong Kaibigan ng Bing Butiki Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories
Author Victoria Añonuevo/ Virgilio S. Almario Yna Reyes Liana Romulo
Illustrator Paul Eric Roca Jason Moss Joanne de Leon
Publisher Adarna House Hiyas/OMF Literature(?) Periplus Editions
Year 2003 1993 2000
Language Mostly Tagalog Tagalog & English English
Level Pre-school 1st-3rd grade 4th-5th grade
Recommended Eh 😑 Yes

As for Better World Books, they are definitely an option to keep in mind. I’ve a reflex to go to Amazon for cheap books, but BWB has deals such as buy 2 used, get 1 free. I believe they also always have free shipping. I was able to score these 3 which can be difficult to find (and therefore expensive) for about $11. However, I did not receive tracking info. You might be able to pay for another shipping method to provide it. It seems like it is kind of like Amazon in the way that other users can sell on it rather than BWB being a retailer, so you may find condition descriptions like “may have wear.” 😅

Filipino Children's Favorite Stories Cover
Affiliate link
Pre-order the paperback at Target

Do you know what’s up with the two authors? Have any books you to see before you buy or want any other recs? Be sure to check out my previous reviews 👇
Post 1
Post 2 
Post 3

Filipino Friends Is It a Mermaid Cora Cooks Pancit

Filipino Kids Books 3

Ahoy-hoy readers, have you eaten today?

I feel like I just ate a bunch and could still go for some pudding. Anyway, here’s my latest installment of Filipino kids books reviews. Watch my video because my mother interrupts! 

Filipino Friends

This book is a wealth of information. There’s a main storyline but also a bunch of words with Tagalog-English translations and even a game and song. My main issue is that there’s an whiff of bougieness about it. It’s like it’s in the view of a Fil-Am that doesn’t maintain any relationship with the Philippines. Everybody is hella light-skinned. I suppose it’s ok for a child because of the info otherwise, but please make sure it’s not their sole link to the culture.

Is It a Mermaid?

This is a very cute book that’s almost basically a picture book. It’s about a dugong that thinks it’s a mermaid. I thought that might be a metaphor for something, but I would not interpret it that way. There’s a little boy that tries to keep telling the dugong that she is a sea cow, not a mermaid. She cries, and he feels bad, but she pretty immediately forgives him. I would prefer to show kids to mind their own business or a portrayal where someone who was possibly bullied not have to immediately forgive their bully, but like I said, maybe just don’t think about this one, lol.

On the back, it also says that it takes place in the Philippines, but there is no indication of that in the story.

Cora Cooks Pancit

Now this is how one writes a book not about a culture necessarily but incorporating it into a regular story. I think this is a perfect example of what people talk about when they say, “Oh, I wish I had this when I was a kid!” There’s none of this hand-wringing or sad desperation for acceptance from white supremacy which can be understandable. I can totally empathize with experiencing racism and wanting respect and wanting the world to see that injustice. But we deserve an alternative. We deserve stories that don’t center around it and use just being able to thrive and enjoy ourselves.

Cora’s older siblings are out for the day, so her mother asks her what she’d like to do. She’d like to make the noodle dish, pancit. Preciously, her concerns are whether she’ll be able to do older jobs like cut vegetables and if the family will like her cooking. It even comes with the recipe!

TL;DR

Title Filipino Friends Is It a Mermaid? Cora Cooks Pancit
Author Liana Romulo Candy Gourlay Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Illustrator Corazon Dandan-Albano Francesca Chessa Kristi Valiant
Publisher Tuttle Otter-Barry Shen’s
Year 2006 2018 2009
Language English w/ Tagalog keywords English English
Level 2nd-3rd grade 2nd-3rd grade 2nd-3rd
Recommended eh it’s ok yes!

Filipino Friends Is It a Mermaid Cora Cooks Pancit

Check out my previous posts!
Review 1 feat. Hand Over Hand, Masayang Magtanim, Kayang-kaya!
Review 2 feat. Abadeha, Lakas the Manilatown Fish, An Eagle’s Feather

I’m always looking for recommendations.
Thanks for reading!

Roots of Health

Mabuhay readers, have you been watching the news?

I wanted to post my next batch of Filipino Kids Books, but video recording and editing is an ordeal. And I just didn’t think that I could continue my blog without condemning the recent attempts to subjugate women.

As you may have heard, US states like Georgia, Missouri, and perhaps most notably Alabama are working toward state-level abortion bans. If one does not follow “politics,” it may seem like you’re saving babies, but I would plead that not only is this not the case, but people pushing these laws know this and do not care. These rules are a punishment for not supporting white (patriarchal) supremacy.

PinoyPicks

We should know that wagging our fingers at hormone-addled teens whose sense of judgement isn’t fully formed and patronizingly telling them not to worry their pretty little heads about sex because you don’t have it until marriage doesn’t work. Why would this work for abortion? Young people– at least perhaps in culture that glamorizes sex or romantic relationships– are going to have sex, and we do them no favors– we harm them!– keeping inaccessible the tools and knowledge of safe sex (consent, reducing chance of disease) and healthy relationships. People that can become pregnant and don’t want to be are going to find ways to induce abortion regardless of the law.

This is just the case in the Philippines where the health service is illegal, but an estimated 610,000 still occur every year. And I hate to sound like a concern troll-y liberal seeking points by mentioning a poor brown country when the same issue is impacting the same people in her own country. But this is a blog by a Filipino-American, so one) that article is just the one that came to mind/I can’t really spend all day reading about terriblosity, two) is to show that injustice is a threat to justice everywhere, etc and inspire international solidarity, three) I’m categorizing this post in my Pinoy Picks series so that the diaspora can support empowerment and four) to show how pregnant people are forced to dangerous options that can kill them. So much for “pro-life.”

The pro-life side/argument is such a scam. Is it a life if it can’t survive on its own? “It has the potential.” What about the potential of the life carrying? What of the life of an 11 year old girl raped by a 65 year old and because abortion was illegal, she was forced to deliver (a fetus that likely won’t survive) at 23 weeks? These torturers could be spending their time doing so much else to promote the quality of life for people, but what do they do? Bomb people. Threaten to arrest (and kill) dissidents. They lie to, deceive, harass patients, and steal resources from the needy to fund their waste of law-making time and fake clinics without real doctors.

Delete Your Podcast episode 132- Forced Birth
Roqayah Chamseddine & Kumars Salehi are joined by reproductive rights organizer Christine O’Donovan-Zavada.

And look at this through racial, class, and gender lenses. If you click through that Instagram post and read the comments (I know I shouldn’t, but God help me), you can feel the misogyny radiating off comments condemning wicked women to gruesome death for slaughtering a romanticized notion of a baby. So much for Romans 2:1-5 (I know, they don’t care about Jesus either). What are we, ruled by Pilgrims? Only fuckin for the rapture? What are we, animals? No wonder some are so undeveloped. So much for the First Amendment. The preoccupation with forcing people (many women that have children already!) to put their body through a pregnancy and birth is exactly that: an occupation. It’s a way to force women to subordination via poverty and/or their so-called inherent roles of homemakers/carers. Ah yes, I guess that’s why we’re all cishet and physically and mentally able to bear children. And why actual infanticide by mothers doesn’t exist and women have never murdered before, right? 

2019-05-27 02.58.13 am
Marco Rubio fundraising email. “radical Democrats” i’m fuckin 😂

Who is most likely to get abortion? Poor women for whom birth control may be expensive. Who is most likely to be poor in the US? Who is sentenced to jail (disproportionately)? Why? What happens when you’re arrested? You may be work for pennies. You can potentially be barred from voting for the rest of your life. What just happened in mid-terms? For what/who do those people vote? 🤔🤔🤔

Obviously, voting is not the only concern regarding jail and prison. Consider the toll on one’s mental and social status and how a felony status and inadequate health care can land someone back at square one. Take a look at @prisonculture‘s profile. 

https://twitter.com/prisonculture/status/1132770033929805824

If such laws were about anything other control, these extortionists would be against state violence (war, killer cops, death penalty), funding adopting processes and birth control, getting non-violent people out of prison so that they can be with their families, and other processes so that people can raise children! Make health care and housing a right. It is classic reactionary bullshit to blah blah blah about what people should do and provide 0.00 resources to do them. How else can they make money off their jails if they’re not filling them?

PHILIPPINES

If you’re Filipino, you can support Roots of Health which aims to reduce maternal mortality, unplanned pregnancy, and HIV through sex ed and clinics. They are based out of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. I’ve only started following the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, so I don’t know them too well, but they seem to be more for organizing. They seem to have global campaigns but are based out of Quezon City. I think that people across the world can donate to both! I know that I, myself, do not know how to transfer between bank accounts and need things with Paypal. 😅

UNITED STATES

Planned Parenthood or volunteer for your local one, National Network of Abortion Funds, Yellowhammer Fund (Alabama), Sister Song (Georgia), Women Have Options (Ohio), Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund (MS), New Orleans Abortion Fund (Louisiana).

I tried to be inclusive of trans people, but please lmk if anything could be better. Or if there are any other Filipino organizations. 

Filipino kids books

Filipino Kids Books 2

Filipino childrens books

Hey hey readers, have you been working out?

I can’t believe I’m actually following up on a series. It’s true that I technically have an unboxing tag, but I don’t continuously subscribe to services, so it’s not that consistent. I also made a What I’m Reading series to have a collection of notes from other books I read, but those aren’t as easily read! 

Well, I was so excited when I thought of this idea that I sent out all the requests to the library and didn’t really realize that yeah, I’d get 12 books at the same time 😅 So hopefully, I’ll have a good few more posts, and I’m not jinxing it. I’ve also deiced that I might as well blog about these as well, or at least as I do with my other videos of being supplementary to this blog. ☺️

Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella

The subtitle pretty much says it all of this Myrna J. de la Paz book. I don’t know if Abadeha is a common tale in the Philippines, but I like that it’s not exactly the same as Cinderella. There is actually a pre-colonial setting with datu and babaylan which I just happen to learn about! I absolutely love the illustrations of the dress of that time. This book is in English.

Lakas and the Manilatown Fish

This Anthony D. Robles book claims to be the first English-Tagalog story set in the U.S. It is about a boy that meets a talking fish that leads him across the historic Manilatown in San Francisco. Personally, it was more interesting to read the history note at the end about the 1977 International Hotel demonstration, but I can totally understand that may not be the story for kids. But I’m also not a fan of giving kids the impression that it’s funny to kiss strangers and take their clothes.

Filipino kids booksAdditionally, there’s kind of a weird refrain, mostly used by the fish, of “Hoy, hoy, (hey hey) Pilipino boy!” IDK, maybe if you’re from a place with an actual Manilatown and people that have your back, greeting each other with your ethnicity might be cool beans. But I did not! And just feel like it’s not a stranger’s business. It’s one thing if you are someone looking for community– I am!!– but that is not the situation a lot of the time for people of color but another experience of a stranger projecting their ideas onto you. And depending on what they are, it can feel and be unsafe. I just want everyone to know that just so that they know they shouldn’t have to feel obligated to accept this.

An Eagle’s Feather

Now this is what I call a story! Apparently based on a story by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Minfong Ho tells the tale of a Philippine Eagle named Kalayaan that gets shot and taken to a sanctuary by a little boy and his father. I liked it so much that I don’t even want to spoil it, but I will say that I was honestly crying??? It even has some facts about the Philippine Eagle and Philippine Eagle Foundation. The illustrations are very good as well.

tl;dr

Title Abadeha Lakas & the Manilatown Fish An Eagle’s Feather
Author Myrna J. de la Paz Anthony D. Robles Minfong Ho
Illustrator Youshan Tang Carl Angel Frances Alvarez
Language English English & Tagalog English
Level 3rd grade? 3rd grade? grade 1-2
Recommended Meh :  😭 Yes

Check out my first installment featuring Masayang Magtanim!, Kayang-Kaya! and Hand Over Hand.

Filipino childrens books

New Series! Filipino Kids Books

Kayang Masayang Hand

Howdy folks, how are you?

I’m sure that somewhere among my Internet channels and platforms I mentioned that I’m going to be an aunt! Truthfully, it’s so weird that I get a title as if I had any input into the matter 😅 But since I am getting it, I’m going to utilize it! It takes a village, right? Not just to help out when a baby’s born but continuing raising them and protecting, not just from physical danger but other harm.

There is a lot of push nowadays for diverse books for good reason. I’d previously never read a book with a Filipino character in it. As a child, I was desperate for this and didn’t even realize it. Maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference in something like a counting book, but as I began to read on my own, one does book reports, school projects that touch upon identity. One begins the search for the people with whom they choose to surround themselves, feel safe with and develop their worldview.

This is why I’ve decided to seek out Filipino kids books to send the new family. I don’t think that “representation” is a complete solution, so I’m not just sending whatever I find straight to them. I’m going to try to get whatever I can through my local (and not-so-local) library and review them! And then send ones that I like if I can.

Filipino childrens books

Masayang Magtanim! (Happy Planting!)

This is a very cute cardboard book by Gelai Manabat that really only has 4 pages with words. It is about what a small child needs to grow their mungo beans and is in Tagalog. The publisher is Adarna House which is in the Philippines so it may be difficult to find a copy outside. I couldn’t find one online, but my dad says searching for Adarna on eBay can help.

Kayang-kaya! (You Can Do It!)

This is another cardboard Adarna House book. It is by Alyssa Judith Reyes and about kids asking themselves if they can do various things and eventually confirming oo, kaya ko na! It even has a little shoelace on the back so readers can do one of the activities the kids do in the book. I’d actually like to get this book, but again it’s hard to acquire. Characters in both books are very light-skinned especially the dad in Kayang.

Hand Over Hand

When I had the idea for this series, I didn’t set any parameters which is how I ended up with this book by Alma Fullerton whom I don’t think is Filipino. It is about a little girl overcoming notions of what girls can/can’t do, in this case: fishing. I didn’t grow up in the Philippines, so I don’t know cultural specifics. My mom has told me her dad told her to behave in such a way, but I don’t know if there’d be such a reaction for fishing.

I’m just very defensive about a white Canadian veering into “Look how backward these little brown people are!” territory. Additionally, you end up with the little girl saying things like, “posh,” but at least the author uses “Lolo.” It almost ends up being kind of patronizing like: they literally call the girl a fisherwoman like it’s a good thing. Just say fisher!

TL;DR

Title Masayang Magtanim! Kayang-Kaya! Hand Over Hand
Author Gelai Manabat Alyssa Judith Reyes Alma Fullerton
Publisher Adarna House Ardana House Second Story Press
Language Tagalog Tagalog English
Level pre-school pre-school grades 2-3
Recommended if easily accessible yes! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

for the sake of me not knowing what real reading levels are, pre-school is about ages 0-5
grades 2-3 are about ages 7 – 10

Have you read any of these or have any suggestions?