With the rising cases of teen pregnancy, how can prevention be pushed in a country that still puts stigma on safe sex talk?
Laguna youth leader Samuel Madriaga aims to break that stigma by providing a safe space where young girls and adolescents in the LGBTQIA+ community can openly talk about adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH).
SafeTalks is a mobile app that is currently in its development stage. It will offer its users three core services. First is a real-time question and answer service hotline with trained peer educators who use non-judgmental and accurate responses.
Second is a referral system that connects users to partner clinics and health professionals for counseling services on family planning, contraceptive use, and teenage pregnancy.
The third feature is a built-in user pre-test and post-test that can be used for health research. The app is envisioned as a community-designed app.
“Designing a health intervention app that is built on the lived experiences of the youth is critical in breaking stigma. We want to facilitate their desired health-seeking behaviors to prevent the further increase of teenage pregnancy cases in the community,” the 22-year-old student from UP Manila said.
Sam is at the helm of the Alliance of Public Health Advocates (ALPHA), the first youth-led health organization in San Pablo City. He is also one of the 30 Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) Fellows of the Youth Leadership for Democracy (YouthLed) 2021 project of The Asia Foundation in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (on USAID).
Young people reaching their full potential and achieving their dreams with good health and well-being is the overarching mantra of Samuel’s advocacy.
But for SafeTalks, Samuel’s motivation goes deeper and more personal than that.
“One reason why I pursued this project is because teenage pregnancy is personal to me having had some relatives who experienced this because of lack of knowledge and poor attitudes on sexual health which is highly stigmatized,” he said.
Samuel’s work has also made him much aware of social inequities particularly in the health sector with inaccessible healthcare services and problematic policies that rub salt to the wound of many Filipinos.
“I see people who get sick and fear to do basic check-ups because of the perceived high expenses. Many aspects of our healthcare also hinder our young people to be more literate and proactive in their health-seeking behaviors. These inspired me to proactively lobby for reforms on health leadership,” he added.
Through profiling in a pilot barangay in San Pablo, where Samuel lives, he and his team of youth volunteers conducted an expert-validated survey to determine the knowledge, attitude, and practices of the youth on ASRH, particularly on teenage pregnancy.
A 2020 report from the Social Weather Station (SWS) says that teenage pregnancy, often brought by unprotected sex, is the top concern of many Filipino women. In San Pablo City, a staggering 426 cases of teenage pregnancy have been reported in 2021 alone.
To further push for this advocacy, Samuel sought for relevant agencies that could help with SafeTalks including the Department of Health (DOH).
“When we started to speak and collaborate with them, they were surprised with how young people can lobby their own concerns, complete with data to support our cause,” said Samuel who presented results of the rapid area assessment, a data collection method to better understand community issues, which he adopted from the LEAD fellowship.
After that meeting, the DOH expressed support to develop the app.
During his 2-year LEAD fellowship, Samuel trained under the Future Bridging Leadership Program (FBLP) of the Asian Institute of Management, Executive Education Courses at the Ateneo School of Government, and the Servant Leadership Program of the Ayala Foundation, Incorporated.
“After this fellowship, I got a stronger personality, approaches, and confidence to propose our project. I learned to build networks with different agencies and stakeholders,” he said.
Back in his hometown, Samuel and his team collaborated with the City Health Office to identify critical areas to pilot-test the project.
“We want that before we go to the ground, we have trained peer educators as ASRH is a sensitive topic. We need to know better how to appropriately engage with the community,” he said. The partnership with the local government helps them prepare better for the groundwork, he added.
Samuel’s group also aims to institutionalize the app and help craft a Reproductive Health Code in San Pablo City.
When asked on what he wants to attain from this advocacy, Samuel concludes with great optimism, “I look forward to seeing young Filipinos experience overall wellness and good physical, mental, and reproductive health so they can be more productive and truly help in nation-building.”
The LEAD Fellowship is a two-year fellowship under the Youth Leadership for Democracy (YouthLed), a youth-focused program in the Philippines of The Asia Foundation in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). YouthLed aims to increase and improve youth civic engagement through leadership development, coalition building, and civic education. This is complemented with engagement activities that are relevant to the youth and support their meaningful participation in democratic governance. Among the goals of YouthLed is to develop political leadership skills, knowledge, character, and attitude of young leaders. It also intends to help them build coalitions and networks that will strengthen their capacity to navigate and optimize platforms for democratic governance.
Naging kuwela ang event na isinagawa ng isang secondary school sa Sariaya, Quezon, ang No Bag Day o hindi pagdadala ng mga tradisyunal na bag sa kanilang pagpasok.
Nakita ang ‘wittiness’ at ‘creativeness’ ng mga mag-aaral mula sa Saint Joseph Academy of Sariaya, Quezon (SJASQ) kungsaan nagdulot ito ng kasiyahan sa mga sumaksi sa programa at maging sa mga netizen na nakita ang event sa social media page ng nasabing eskwelahan.
Sa nasabing aktibidad, kailangang magdala ng mga mag-aaral ng ‘unusual bags’ o kakaibang bag na maaaring paglagyan ng kanilang mga gamit sa eskwelahan.
“As a part of the season of creation celebration, Josephinians brought unusual bags to carry their books, portfolios, and food,” ayon sa Facebook caption ng SSG – Saint Joseph Academy.
Kaya naman kaniya-kaniyang pakulo ang mga estudyante.
Ang ilan ay nagdala ng bayong, ice box, oven, maleta, timba, unan, kaldero, mga lumang kahon at ang pinakamatindi sa lahat, case ng beer at kulungan ng manok.
Tinawag din nila ang event na the season of creation celebration.
“This season of creation is a season to remember!” ayon sa SJASQ.
LUCENA CITY – The Niyogyugan Festival in Quezon province has been scrapped this year so it can be refocused to improve the lives of local coconut farmers, Gov. Angelina Tan said. “We will be recalibrating some changes in next year’s Niyogyugan Festival,” Tan said in her speech at the opening ceremony of Quezon Day 2022 on Wednesday.
Tan hinted that the planned transformation would focus on the purpose of the celebration, where the province’s coconut industry takes center stage.
The governor on her Facebook page, said: “Dapat ay hindi lamang puro selebrasyon na wala namang malinaw na benepisyo para sa mga magsasaka at magniniyog.”
She added: “Nasaan ang paglakas ng kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka at magniniyog na Quezonian? Bakit nananatili pa ring baon sa kahirapan ang marami nating kababayang umaasa sa pangunahing produktong niyog ng ating lalawigan?”
Tan, however, recognized the contributions of the annual festival to the growth of tourism in the province.
In 2016, the festival was named by the Department of Tourism as the destination of the year in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region.
Tan made it clear that in the coming years, her administration will continue to call the event “Niyugyugan Festival” because of its popularity.
In an interview with local reporters, she said the provincial government had no sufficient budget and time to prepare to hold the festival this year.
Tan, a former representative of Quezon’s fourth congressional district, defeated former Gov. Danilo Suarez, the patriarch of Suarez political clan, in the May 9 election.
Tan on Wednesday also led the opening of the “tagayan” booth, where guests take a swig of “lambanog” (coconut gin) inside a coconut-inspired pavilion set in front of the provincial capitol and Perez Park.
Maria Cristina Diasanta-Decal, a Quezon-based restaurateur and heritage conservationist, said the booth represented the indigenous custom of welcoming guests in the province by offering them a shot of lambanog.
Tan bravely took a swig of the fiery native wine.
“Tree of life”
The Niyogyugan Festival, first held in 2012, was conceptualized by former Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez, wife of Danilo, to highlight the coconut, also known as the “tree of life.” “Niyogyugan” is coined from the words “niyog” (coconut) and “yugyog” (to shake or dance).
Booths set up in front of the Quezon provincial capitol in Lucena City offer native food and products unique to the province’s 39 towns and two cities as the province celebrates Quezon Day through activities spread out in five days, including the commemoration of the birth of former President Manuel L. Quezon on Aug. 19.
The event aims to contribute to the cultural and historical development of the province, and also promote tourism and locally produced coconut products.
The festival was canceled in 2014 after Typhoon Glenda (international name: Rammasun) devastated coconut farms in the province. The event was also not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participated in by the province’s 39 towns and two cities, the festival featured colorful and aesthetically designed booths in front of the provincial capitol building and Perez Park.
The booths, all made from parts of the coconut tree, depict the unique character of the towns, local culture and their people.
The rows of booths offer various products like “tinapa” (smoked fish), honey, herbal tea, fresh seafood and dried fish, “longganisa” (pork sausage), native bags, hats, and home decor using seashells, among many others native products
On the last part of the 10-day festival, spectators lined up along Lucena City’s streets to watch the street dancing parade and float competition.
Nestor Louies Almagro, Quezon tourism officer, explained that local government units have asked to do away with the traditional coconut-inspired booths this year.
“Lack of funds because of the pandemic,” he explained in an interview.
He said he will submit a proposal which will allow private companies to sponsor the construction of booths in next year’s festival.
This year, the 34 booths are now made of orange-colored tents with minimal designs. The rows of tents also offer native products from the localities.
The Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology also have their respective tent booths.
Among the activities for the Quezon Day celebrations from Aug. 17 to Aug. 21 are agritourism fair, Quezon coconut farmers’ summit and “cocolympics,” art and photo exhibits, on-the-spot painting contest, competitions in songwriting and singing, and film viewing.
The participants to creative and modern dance virtually compete through video recording taken in their respective towns.
Other events are the commemoration of the birth of former President Manuel L. Quezon on Aug. 19, and the launching of the Niyogyugan Festival Committee for 2023.
Meanwhile, a national farmers group, with coconut farmers from Quezon as members, welcomed Tan’s plan to refocus the thrust of the festival.
Danny Carranza, secretary general of the Kilusan Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan), has expressed hope that Tan “will take the situation and plight of poor small coconut farmers of Quezon at the center of the celebration”.
“Her (Tan) acknowledgment of the need to take the plight of small coconut farmers…is very much welcome and a very good starting point,” he said.
He noted that similar to other coconut farming provinces, the small coconut farmers in Quezon are also the poorest sector.
“Low farm productivity, continuing dependence on copra and whole nut, unstable price of copra that results in very low income, lack of value-chain development in most communities, and lack of access to technology are some of the reasons for the continuing poverty of the great majority of coconut farmers,” Carranza said.
Carranza urged Tan to help the coconut farmers in the “recovery and pro-poor utilization of the coconut levy fund”.
“It has been an important, long-time struggle of small coconut farmers in Quezon,” he stressed.
Farmers in Quezon, a major coconut-producing province, are believed to be the biggest contributors to the coco levy fund.
The fund, now with the government, was estimated to be around P100 billion, at least P75 billion of which is in cash and the rest in assets, such as coconut mills.
The use of the fund will be implemented through the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (Republic Act No. 11524) that was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 26, 2021.
Binigyang buhay ng mga Batangueño Artists sa pamamagitan ng kanilang mga obra ang interpretasyon ng pagpapasuso ng mga ina sa kanilang mga anak bilang bahagi ng programa ng Breastfeeding Awareness Month sa Batangas City.
Inilunsad noong Lunes sa SM City Batangas ang Art with a Heart Exhibit ‘ARUGA’ kung saan matatagpuan ang mga paintings na likha ng mga miyembro ng Bagsik (Batanguenong Grupo sa Sining at Kultura) na pinangugunahan ni G. Remo Valenton.
Napili ng SM Batangas ang Bagsik upang maging katuwang sa pagpapalaganap ng kaalaman tungkol sa kahalagahan ng pagpapasuso ng mga ina sa kanilang mga sanggol.
Nagbigay ng kanilang mensahe sina Batangas City Vice Mayor Alyssa Cruz, Senior Board Member Claudette Ambida, Soroptimist past president Aileen Montalbo at Aisa Uy, JCI Batangas Caballero president at ibinahagi ang kanilang mga naging karanasan sa breastfeeding sa kanilang mga anak.
Sa pamamagitan ng mga sining ay naipamalas ang iba’t ibang interpretasyon ng mga artists sa bawat sitwasyon na kinakaharap ng isang ina habang nagpapasuso sa kanilang mga anak.
Naging bahagi din ng programa sina Bauan Mayor Ryanh Dolor bilang pagsuporta sa mga kababayang artists, art curator Mr. Virgilio Quizon ng KUNST, Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste, kinatawan ng Batangas Provincial Tourism Office, at iba pang mga alagad ng sining.
Ang Aruga Art Exhibition ay tatagal hanggang August 21 na matatagpuan sa Mall Atrium 2.
Hinikayat naman ni SM Batangas City Manager Gemina Buenaflor ang mga ina na magpasuso ng kanilang mga anak kahit nasa loob ng mall dahil mayroon silang breasfeeding stations.
Lungsod ng Tanauan, Batangas – Inilunsad ng pamahalaang lalawigan ng Batangas sa pamamagitan ng Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO) at ng Batangas Forum for Good Governance and Development Association, Inc. ang Doon Po Sa Amin sa Batangas Digital Film Festival 2022 kahapon, ika-10 ng Agosto.
Sa ginanap na press conference sa Batangas Forum headquarters sa Barradas Airstrip ay sinimulan na ang panawagan para mangalap ng mga digital film entries sa nasabing patimpalak.
Ang nasabing digital film festival ay hango sa Doon Po sa Amin Pride Campaign ng Batangas Forum, na kathang-isip ng kilalang direktor at actor na si Leo Martinez. Layon nitong makapagtipon ng de kalidad na short digital films patungkol sa mga bagay na ipinagmamalaki ng Batangas batay sa kultura at sining, turismo, kasaysayan, pamanang lahi, kalikasan at kaunlaran ng lalawigan.
Ito ang kauna-unahang digital film festival sa Batangas na magbibigay karangalan at papremyo sa mga namumukod-tanging Batangueno sa larangan ng digital films na magpapakitang-gilas sa pamamagitan ng kanilang pagka-malikhain at talento.
Mahahati sa Youth at Open Category ang nasabing patimpalak kung saan magkakamit ng P50,000 cash prize ang magwawagi sa unang puwesto; P30,000 para sa ikalawang puwesto at P20,000 ang sa ikatlong puwesto. Pagkakalooban din ng P15,000 cash prize ang magwawaging entry para sa People’s Choice Award.
Ayon kay Martinez, inaasahang nasa 170 entries o tig-lima kada bayan ang lalahok sa nasabing festival. Pararangalan ang mga magwawaging kalahok sa darating na ika-8 ng Disyembre kasabay ng taunang pagdiriwang ng foundation day ng lalawigan ng Batangas.
Titipunin ng festival ang iba’t-ibang short digital videos na isasagawa ng mga amateur o propesyonal na film makers at film practitioners na tubong-Batangas o naninirahan sa lalawigan partikular na ang mga kabataan. Layon din nitong maitatag ang Batangas bilang siyang nangungunang lalawigan sa bansa sa pagkakaroon ng kakaibang pamamaraan tungo sa socio-cultural-educational development na maghahatid ng positibong pagtataguyod ng lalawigan at ibat-ibang bayan at lungsod nito.
“Sa gitna ng mga hamong hinaharap natin sa panahong ito, huwag nating kalimutang ipagdiwang ang mga ipinagmamalaki nating mga Batangueno at ng ating probinsya sa larangan ng kultura at sining, turismo, kasaysayan, pamanang lahi, kalikasan at gayondin sa ekonomiya,” ani Gobernador Dodo Mandanas. “Layunin ng ating digital film festival na maisa-pelikula ang mga ito upang maipamahagi natin sa lahat ang galing at giting ng mayaman at masaganang diwa ng mga Batangueno. Sa paraang ito maipapakita natin ang RichBatangas na ating ipinagbubunyi sa lahat.”
Ayon kay Martinez, malaki ang maitutulong ng film festival sa mga malikhaing Batangueno filmmakers at film practitioners upng maihanda sila sa napipintong “creative economy” na layong isagawa ng Philippine Creative Industries Development Act.
Bukod sa may pagkakataon silang magwagi ng premyo, ani Martinez, ay may pagkakataon din silang kumita sa pamamagitan ng pagbebenta ng intellectual property sa kanilang nilikhang content material, gaya na lamang sa bansang Sweden kung saan ani Martinez ay umaabot sa 25 porsyento ng gross domestic product ng bansa ay galing sa kita mula sa intellectual property ng musika gaya ng mga kantang pinasikat ng ABBA; gayundin ang K-Pop music at Koreanovela ng Korea na binibili naman sa Amerika at sa iba pang mga bansa sa daigdig.
“Yung mga nagtitik-tok, ayan, content material yan. Yung mga sumasayaw pag gani ganire, content material iyon. Yung ating kababayang si Quinay na Batangueno accent, content material yon. Lahat ng ginagawa ng mga vloggers, content material yon. Ang ano nga ngayon libre ang compose non, etc. Pero pag umiral na nga yung creative industries law, yung creative industries development act, kikita na yan kasi mandated na yon ay gaya ng ginagawa ng Korea ngayon at Sweden, India, United States, Great Britain. Yan ang content material, pelikula ang content material. TV show ay content material,” aniya.
“Kailangang bumalik tayo sa Philippine literature. Hindi pwede tayong yung Korean Telenovela ang lagi nating pinapanood. Hindi natin kultura yon. Tayo ang magawa ng ating content material reflecting our culture,” dagdag niya.
Pagkaraan ng dalawang taong pagkatengga dahil sa pandemic, pinaghahandaan na ang muling pagdiriwang ng Niyogyugan festival sa lalawigan ng Quezon.
Nagsimula noong 2011, ginaganap ang festival sa provincial capitol ground sa Lucena City tuwing buwan ng Agosto na naglalayong mabigyang parangal ang mga magsasaka ng niyog sa lalawigan ng Quezon.
Ang Quezon ay isa sa mga probinsyang nangunguna sa produksyon ng niyog at ganoon din ang pagpapasigla ng turismo.
Nagsimula ito bilang pet project ng noon ay Quezon 3rd district Congresswoman Aleta Suarez at ina ng dating gobernador David Suarez.
Hinango ito sa pangalang “Niyog” na pangunahing produkto ng Quezon at “Yugyugan” na may kahulugang kasamahan tv para sa mga lalahok at mga manonood.
Unang inakala ng mga magsasaka at mga turista na mawawala na ang long week festival na isa sa mga highlights ng Quezon day kasabay din ng paggunita ng lalawigan ng kapanganakan ni dating Pangulong Manuel L. Quezon tuwing August 19.
Subalit laking tuwa ng mga taga Quezon at maging ang mga turistang dumadayo ng mag-anunsyo ang kapitolyo na ipapagpatuloy ang pagdiriwang ng festival ng bagong Gobernador Angelina Tan na tumalo sa mga Suarez nitong nakaraang halalan.
Subalit sa opisyal na pahayag ni Tan, magkakaroon ng ilang pagbabago at recalibration sa pagdiriwang upang makamit anya ang tunay na diwa ng Niyogyugan festival- ang bigyang halaga ang produktong niyog at ang mga taong nasa likod nito.
Bahagi ng festival ay ang paglalagay ng mga makukulay at mga gawa sa ibat-ibang bahagi ng puno ng niyog na mga booth o kubo ng 39 na bayan at dalawang lungsod sa Quezon at ang pagtatampok dito ng mga pangunahing produkto ng bawat bayan.
They say that developing a new skill takes 3 – 6 months but being able to master it takes longer.
Gilian Isles Cebu says that, looking back 10 years ago, she wouldn’t have known what she would be like in this present time. She was born and raised in the Philippines and then moved to the Middle East only mid-high school, and then returned to the Philippines for college. With all the anomalies in her life, she did not have much time to explore her interests.
After discovering her true passion and getting to know herself a lot more, she is not afraid of venturing out to try new things. She has discovered that she loves teaching and writing. She expresses her passion in writing through a lifestyle blog and writing her book titled “Dear People”. When it comes to teaching, she loves teaching English to foreign students.
But teaching and writing does not even come close to the surface when it comes to her skills and hobbies. She also loves baking, cooking, taking pictures, singing, dancing, crafts and arts etc. She says that she may be skillful but believes firmly that she progresses when it is the right season or when there is a need for it.
Moving back to the Philippines from Saudi Arabia in 2021, Gilian says that she had a lot of things planned and that included her family opening a coffee shop and releasing her book.
To open a milk tea shop was their first plan but a few days before their construction began, their neighbor opened one of their own. Going back to square one, they instead decided to open a cafe and called it “Cafe Miya Miya”, an arabic expression meaning excellence.
To their customers Cafe Miya Miya may seem like a place to lounge on and exchange OFW stories, but to Gilian, it is as a place to combine all her skills and hobbies. From cooking and baking all the food and taking photographs of it, she is able to have an outlet that gave her the freedom to be able to express herself better.
Seeing all the things that Gilian has achieved makes people wonder how she can keep up with all of it. She says that in order to have peace and organization, she goes by the seasons of her versatility. Diving deeper into her own capabilities, she believes that she progresses best when the season of a certain recreation arrives and she makes the most of it until it passes and a new one arrives yet again.
This is a great testament to how she wrote her book. She says that when the season of writing comes, she just writes and writes until she is vacated of her creative juices in writing. There would come a time when she just wants to do crafts and arts and it would be a sign to make all kinds of DIY projects by herself or with her family.
Gilian’s life is a representation that shows that there are no limits when it comes to developing new hobbies or skills. Versatility is a strength to embrace and to be used as a driving force to enhance one’s quality of life.
At present, Gilian is writing her second book and is focusing on running Cafe Miya Miya with her family.
Nagbukas nitong Hunyo 12 ang kauna-unahang BTS-themed cafe sa Batangas City.
Ang salitang “Borahae” na ibig sabihin ay “I Purple You” ay pinauso ng BTS member na si V aka Kim Taehyung. Ito ay dahil ang color purple ang huling kulay sa rainbow kaya ang ibig sabihin ay mamahalin ng BTS ang kanilang mga fans o ARMY hanggang sa huli.
Ginamit naman itong oportunidad ni Enieleen Dozina, isang BTS fan o ARMY, para gamiting pangalan ng kanyang cafe na isa sa kanyang mga pangarap. Hindi naging madali ang pinagdaanan ni Enieleen para matupad ang isa sa mga pangarap niya. Gaya ng sinabi ni V, isa sa mga miyembro ng BTS, “Don’t be trapped in someone else’s dream”, kaya hindi na siya nag atubili.
Sa dinami-dami ng napuntahang BTS-themed cafe ni Enieleen ay kumuha siya ng mga detalye at pinagsama-sama niya ang mga ito sa Cafe Borahae. Kitang kita sa lahat ng detalye ng Cafe Borahae ay may BTS references pamula sa paleta ng kulay na gamit hanggang sa mga personalized menu items nila.
Kahit hindi daw ARMY pero may hilig sa masasarap na pagkain o curious na makilala ang BTS ay welcome na bumiista sa Cafe Borahae.
Hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon na ang pagiging tagahanga ay isang bagay na practical kundi ito ay nagagamit ring inspirasyon para sa negosyo. Ang pagiging isang fan ay bagay na nakakapagpalapit sa mga taong maaaring hindi mo kailanman makilala.
Para kay Enieleen ang Cafe Borahae ay hindi lamang cafe kundi isang lugar para sa lahat ng mga taga hanga ng BTS upang magtipon at makilala ang iba pang mga katulad niya.
Nagtanghal sa Concert at the Park ang Batangas City EBD Blades noong ika-19 ng Hunyo sa Rizal Park, Open Auditorium.
Ito ay bilang pagdiriwang ng National Flag Day na bahagi ng anibersaryo ng Araw ng Kalayaan at ng kapanganakan ng pambansang bayani na si Dr. Jose Rizal.
Ang EBD Blades ay isang grupo ng mga mag-aaral sa high school at college sa lungsod.
Kabilang dito ang mga mag-aaral ng Batangas City High School for the Arts (BCHSA).
Sinayaw ng grupo ang “Lilok” bilang pagbibigay pugay sa mga Pilipinong iskultor at manlililok at pati din ang “Kanayaw” na isang salitang Maranao na ang ibig sabihin ay pula at sumisimbolo sa pukaw na damdamim, malay at silakbo.