October 2010

Single. Mother. Fabulous!

by Ana Santos

I love being a single mom.

Of course, at the start, I did not always feel this way. I was 27 and so while my friends were starting to enjoy perks of the corporate world or busy planning their marriages, I was leaving mine.

I felt older than my 27 years and found that no one could relate to me. In an old blog post, I wrote: “I was a prodigy of some sorts. I was neither here nor there, I was an outcast among the couples, newlyweds and newborn parents.”

I had never in my life felt such isolation.

I had no one to go to who knew how I felt, or what it took for me to leave a marriage and all the promises of a lifetime with it.   I remember that the process of healing started only when I willed it to start.  And only when I realized that I would be miserable only as long as I allowed myself to be.

Fast forward to 10 years later, other girls still ask me: how you do you do it?

What surprises me now is that guys are asking me the same thing. Not because they have become  single dads, but because their friends – some, in alarming number — have become single moms.  Some are surprised that in their mid-20s, they and their friends still don’t know better.

And what surprises me even more is that there still seems to be little in terms of support for single parents.  Sure, there are things like the Solo Parent Law, but the things that really matter to single moms on a daily basis like managing finances, finding a good yaya, legal rights and simply just maintaining your sanity are still missing.

I found myself again jealous of other countries with sophisticated and efficient welfare and health care systems that were sensitive to the needs of single parents. So, like a lot of things that I decided to do in my life out of envy and jealousy,  I decided to put together a workshop called “Single. Mother. Fabulous!”.

I, together with fellow writer Karen Kunawicz, will talk about single motherhood. You can bet that Karen and I will tell it like it is and talk about both the warm, fuzzy joys and the knee buckling travails that are overwhelming in equal amounts.

This is a free workshop for single moms to talk and learn from each other’s experiences. Our partner, The Body Shop, will conduct a demo on how to put on make-up in the least amount of time because that’s the one thing single moms never have enough of.  And if there’s one secret to surviving single motherhood, it’s that you need to look good before you feel good.

I am still thinking about making this a building block series covering other topics like legal assistance and rights, creatively managing finances, finding the right yaya and yes – even the often dreaded territory of dating again. It will really depend on the response to this first workshop.

I will end by saying that in the years that I have made a life for me and my daughter, I have come to know a certain happiness and contentment.  There were many people who openly showed pity and disdain, but there were far more people who helped us and gave us their unwavering support.  It’s time to pay it forward and reach out to other single moms who are just starting this journey.

There is clear line that separates being alone and being on your own. Knowing this difference is the key to making your own happy even after ending.

The “Single. Mother. Fabulous!” workshop will be on Sunday, November 14, 2010, 9-11am at the 2/F of Starbucks Ortigas Home Depot. This will be a FREE workshop, but slots are limited, please reserve a slot at 0927.307.9608. This is a trademark event of Sex and Sensibilities.com, because single moms are the SASsiest of them all.

Philippines bags #2 spot as world’s best in microfinance

RP world’s second best in microfinance
By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has been ranked second best worldwide in the microfinance business, and the leader in the Asia Pacific region.

Based on a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the business information arm of The Economist Group that publishes The Economist, the Philippines outperformed Bolivia slipping to third overall.

[Propinoy Ed.: What is microfinance?]

From Wikipedia: “More broadly, it is a movement whose object is “a world in which as many poor and near-poor households as possible have permanent access to an appropriate range of high quality financial services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, and fund transfers.”[1] Those who promote microfinance generally believe that such access will help poor people out of poverty.”

Peru remained in top spot, while Ghana took fourth overall followed by Pakistan. The next five nations that served as models for microfinance business were Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Colombia and Kenya.

The study, entitled [sic. titled] the Overall Microfinance Business Environment, reviewed 54 countries and evaluated each country’s microfinance business environment in terms of its regulatory framework, investment climate and level of institutional development. Interviews with microfinance industry leaders and stakeholders along with secondary information were analyzed to come up with the rankings. Read more

Justices justifying thievery

This one from Business World columnist René B. Azurin:

In essence, the 10 concurring justices have made protecting and absolving a colleague more important than upholding a logic or justice or moral principle. To see such protect-and-defend-a-fellow-member behavior in some insignificant e-group might conceivably be dismissed, but to see this exhibited in the highest court of justice in the land has some weighty implications. It means that justice, even at the most rarefied levels, is not based on what is right or fair or true, but on whether the group of which you are a member has the power to protect or absolve you. This is why thieves flourish in this unfortunate country.

The cynic in me thinks it is because absolving a colleague more important than upholding logic or justice or moral principle is easy. it worked before. It worked with IIRC and hostage taking. It worked with Supreme Court now. It comes naturally because that is our default setting. That’s the national norm.

The optimist in me says this. That norm must change. It starts at the top.

Palace is satisfied with latest transparency international result

This one from the Inquirer:

TI ranked the Philippines this year at 134th from last year’s 139th in the transparency and good governance index.

“We’re just four months old, Mia, and the fact that we improved in the ranking says something about our determination to promote good governance,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in response to a reporter’s question during a news briefing on Wednesday.

“We’ll continue to do our part in the promotion of good governance,” he added.

You can find a PDF of the report, here.

Are you satisfied with this report given that the Administration is only 4 months old?

Global Pinoy Bazaar: Built with 100% Filipino Love and Pride

In its effort to raise Pinoy pride and positive social change among its countrymen, a group of young and idealistic Filipinos saw the birth of a campaign called Yabang Pinoy. Yabang Pinoy’s main project is to always develop new, fun and exciting programs and activities that would convert “closet” Pinoys into “Shouting Proud Pinoys.” Read more

Mikey's Wish

“Those who are quick on the draw usually end up shooting their feet.” —Philip Gilmore

Let’s start with the interesting exchange between Gloria Arroyo’s son, Mikey, and Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Mikey is praising Senator Angara’s call to investigate Secretaries Soliman and Deles for their role in the allegedly anomalous Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificate (Peace) Bonds transaction.

“Sen. Edgardo Angara’s call to investigate both Secretaries Soliman and Deles is justified. And coming from a statesman like Senator Angara, who is himself allied with the new administration, I honestly believe his act is highly commendable.”

Secretary Lacierda responded, “Let me state that several hearings have already been conducted in the past and Secretary Dinky Soliman has always stated—and the truth has borne her out—that she was never involved in the Code-NGO bonds.”

Mikey fired back, “Secretary Lacierda claims President Arroyo was cleared by Congress composed mainly of allies of the former President. But then, the very people who cleared President Arroyo were also the ones whom Secretary Lacierda says cleared Secretaries Soliman and Deles. If he questions the credibility of Congress in clearing former President Arroyo, then he should also question its credibility when it cleared Secretaries Soliman and Deles. From whatever point of view you are on, you can say this is clearly a double standard in terms of judgment.” True enough.

But then he had to add, “Why is the Palace so apprehensive in submitting Secretaries Soliman and Deles for investigation by the Truth Commission? Wouldn’t this administration be doing a great service for the two by giving them a chance to clear their names once and for all?”

And so he exposed his mother to the same question, why did she never allow investigations into her conduct to proceed so that she could clear her name once and for all?

President Aquino, please grant Mikey’s wish. He deserves to know the truth.

BusinessMirror columnist and party-list representative Jonathan de la Cruz said Gloria Arroyo was present at the creation: “Records show that the P10-billion ‘Peace Bonds’ were issued at the behest of the Caucus of Development NGO Networks Inc., a.k.a. Code-NGO, which first brought up the ‘creative financing’ idea in a thanksgiving gathering which the group hosted for then-President Gloria Arroyo just days after her takeover in 2001. Present in that meeting were the group’s key leaders, many of whom had actively participated in the ouster of then-President Joseph Estrada and who had by then accepted positions in the new administration.”

Those records raise several questions:

Did Mikey’s mother say “No way!” when the Peace Bonds idea was proposed? No, as a matter of fact, she was all for it. That’s why the central bank “bestowed zeros with secondary reserve eligibility” and the BIR granted tax incentives to make the Peace Bonds attractive to its primary market—banks and insurance companies. Would those government agencies have been as generous if Mikey’s mother did not endorse the Peace Bonds?

Soliman and Deles are accused of pocketing commissions from the transaction. Would a micromanager so makulit, she even phoned Garci to check on the progress of cheating in the 2004 election entrust to a couple of subordinates the implementation of her first poverty eradication and alleviation program? Did she not even ask her subordinates where the commissions from the Peace Bonds transaction went? And why, despite the incessant clamor for an investigation, did she not order one during her nine years in the Palace?

Finally, Mikey’s mother was also allegedly involved in the Impsa bribery/extortion case that also happened “just days after her takeover in 2001.” Compared to the profits from the Peace Bonds, Impsa is chump change, and so the question is: If indeed there was dirty money from the Peace Bonds, how did that humongous booty slip through her sticky little fingers?

By all means, give Mikey the thorough investigation he is asking for. I’m sure he’s dying to hear his mother explain her role in the Peace Bonds.

Eat really good Filipino food, send young Pinoys to university

The UP Alumni Association of Singapore, in partnership with the Filipinas Heritage Library (of Ayala Foundation) and Mama Sita’s (yumm!), are launching a Pinoy cuisine recipe book to benefit Filipino students. The proceeds from the sponsorships and sales of the book will go to the Endowment Fund of the UPAAS scholarship, which currently supports four students embarking on a full-time, four-year degree program.

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association Singapore, in partnership with Filipinas Heritage Library (a division of the Ayala Foundation, Inc), and Mama Sita’s Holding Co., Inc., warmly invites you to the Philippine launch of Metro Cuisine: Cosmopolitan Finger Foods.

When : Tuesday, 16th November 2010 at 6PM
Where: Nielson Tower – Makati Avenue, Makati City 1224

Please RSVP to:

Philippines – Ms. Ciela Cayton (+632) 892 1801 loc 13
Singapore – Ms. Sherren Manaois (+65) 8420 8186

About Metro Cuisine:

The Metro Cuisine: Cosmopolitan Finger Foods is a unique recipe book that reflects the present-day cosmopolitan Filipino migrant who retains his cultural roots while embracing influences brought by other cultures. This recipe book, which was more than two years in the making, features more than 60 finger food recipes contributed by UP alumni members, Filipino dignitaries, Filipino Muslim converts, and overseas domestic Filipino workers in Singapore.

The proceeds from the sponsorships and sales of the book will be dedicated to the Endowment Fund of the UPAAS scholarship. The UPAAS scholarship currently supports four students embarking on a full-time, four-year degree program.

The Endowment Fund aims to support four UP students on any UP campus at any given time. This is in line with the UPAAS objective of supporting the University of the Philippines’ vital role in the development of the Philippine society and the Filipino nation while contributing to sustainable poverty alleviation initiatives in our country.

Speech from the Singapore launch