Women’s choices suffer the illusion of freedom. In a nation like the Philippines where class and privilege can color any discourse, talking about consent - and agency, and empowerment - in relation to women’s bodies would require admission of harsh realities.
Despite the stereotype of the obnoxiously publicized relationship, I find that there are often more single people joking about their singleness on Valentine’s day than there are actual couples posting sickeningly cute selfies. Perhaps it’s just because I have more single friends than taken friends (which would probably say something deep about my subconscious if it were true, though I’m not entirely sure what that would be). It seems more likely to me, though, that singleness is one of those things that is an acceptable target for self deprecation.
I have a guilty aversion to news about climate change. Knowing that at least one species die every hour because of man-made destruction of natural habitats, or seeing the point-of-no-return-from-catastrophic-environmental-damage inch in closer and closer, is honestly really terrifying. And because positive news has become so rare, when the Paris Climate Agreement was announced, I hesitated to find out more. Something would go wrong here, my gut told me. Sure enough, the Philippine president did not disappoint my gut.
When we meet our friends in real life, we get to find out about the rest of the story. We get to know the sad, dark parts that nobody would consider posting about. We learn how they see what’s going on in their lives, rather than what they’d like others to see. But when we add people we don’t really know, or when we fall out of touch with real-life friends everywhere except on Facebook, the reverse happens. No longer do we have context through which to view the stories they present. But the feed scrolls on, and they keep on posting. Over time, we end up remembering the lives of our “friends” as being uniformly happy.
I have spent far more time than perhaps is healthy trawling through UP’s secondhand bookshops. These places peddle plays, folklore, short stories, novels, and other weird and wonderful permutations of the written word. Nothing in their collections, from postwar dramas to self-published poetry, slim essay collections to tomes of theater history, is quite like anything else. They are manned by nigh-omniscient booksellers, who know everything about every part of their collection and snicker ominously when you decide on a purchase. The shops are, as a rule, cramped, musty, and impossible to fully explore in a single visit.
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro mourns in anger. None of his colleagues died in the September 2018 fire that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil, where he worked as a professor. The worst physical injury it caused was to burn the hand of a fireman who was attempting to save a skull from the flames. It was the remains of a woman who died about twelve thousand years ago, one of the first immigrants to Latin America. The researchers had nicknamed her Luzia.
Opisyal na lingguhang pahayagan ng mga mag-aaral ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman