Speak Out – Discover Challenge

Speak Out – Discover Challenge

I’m reblogging two of my earlier posts about the Philippines, one about human trafficking and the second one is about migrant workers.


“Filipinos Are Not For Sale”

How can she not want to help her family, after all? The amount being offered overwhelms her and she answers with a ringing yes. The friend of a friend assures this girl from a poor family a high paying job abroad as a waitress. She is going to the Middle East, but must first stop-off in Malaysia secretly. Before long, she ends up in a confined, murky space, one wrist handcuffed to a bed. The guard gave her a big box of condoms and is casually informed that this will be her daily quota from now on – that is, if she wants to eat at all. By then, it’s too late, as we see the plight of yet another trafficking victim.

That’s 21st century slavery in the Philippines. Aside from this trafficking of Filipinas to overseas destination, there are also sex tourism, foreign child molesters, mail-order bride trafficking, debt bondage and child organ trafficking. Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. In 2012 alone, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) listed 1,376 victims of human trafficking nationwide. According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in 2010, estimated 60,000 to 100,000 children in the Philippines were involved in prostitution rings. An uncertain number of children are forced into exploitative labour operations. A 2006 Article reported that based on statistics provided by the Visayan Forum Foundation, most victims were between 12 to 22 years old.

Traffickers often work through deceptive recruitment agencies and practices to traffic migrants. They use local recruiters dispatch to villages and urban neighbourhoods to take on family and friends, often pretending as representatives of government-registered employment agencies. These sham recruitment practices and the organised custom of paying recruitment fees usually leave workers unprotected to forced labour, debt bondage, and commercial sexual exploitation. There were reports in 2010 that illegal recruiters augmented their use of student, intern, and exchange program visas to dodge the Philippines government and receiving countries’ dogmatic schemes for overseas workers.


Economic growth in the Philippines is among the highest in Asia, with 5.9 percent in the second quarter of 2012. Regrettably though, the immensity of the financial benefits related with this growth carries on escaping the mainstream Filipinos living in poverty. According to the most recent estimates from The World Bank, 26.5 percent of the Filipino population is living in poverty. This soaring rate of economic discrepancy remains one of the largest factors driving many Filipinos into human trafficking situations. In spite of recent economic progress, the Philippines continue to be one of the prime source countries for sex trafficking and forced labour victims in Asia, the Middle East, as well as in urban centres and tourist destinations in the Philippines.. According to the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, Filipino human trafficking victims have been identified in over 37 countries across five continents. Absence of economic opportunities in the Philippines, gender role socialisation, and family dynamics make Filipinos particularly susceptible to human trafficking crimes.

Many crimes go unreported because victims lack information, crimes are hidden by victims and violators and families of victims allow the circumstances as normal. The media has reported incidents where parents or guardian sell their children for services, while the blow of poverty results in many family breakups and in children living on the streets. The production and online distribution of child pornography can also lead to modern slavery, whereby foreign viewers pay children to do sex acts. There have been reports of boys becoming progressively more at risk of this form of modern slavery. Ongoing political conflict also places some children at risk of coercion into joining armed political organisations. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf Group have been named by the UN Secretary-General as continual violators of the rights of children in armed conflict.

Is the Philippine Government doing enough to stop these atrocities? The Philippines’ Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 criminalised trafficking within or across national borders and bestowed the consent of victims irrelevant if deception or coercion is used. It also established the Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (IACAT) to coordinate and watch anti-trafficking activities. The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 additionally supported the law by setting up stronger penalties for violators and increasing provisions to look after victims, removing the identity protection clause for perpetrators, granting law enforcement officers and service providers immunity from suit when performing official functions, and barring the complainant’s past sexual behaviour or predilection in proving their consent in trials. The last point is important because many victims fear having their sexual history publicly scrutinised, which may discourage them from pursuing charges.


Through the hard work of IACAT, we now have a wide-ranging National Strategic Action Plan Against Trafficking in Persons for 2012-2016, which prioritises four key results areas: advocacy and prevention; protection, recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration; prosecution and law enforcement; and partnership and networking. The U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released in June lauds IACAT’s strong prevention programs. It is planned for the government and civil society to invest in anti-trafficking awareness-raising and training sessions for public officials, religious, business and community leaders, and the youth. The pre-employment seminars for thousands of outbound Filipino overseas workers carried out by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and the targeted counselling programs for at-risk groups in trafficking hotspots held by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas are crucial in informing people against the bogus promises of traffickers.

The Government has also made efforts to increasing training of law enforcement officials in recognising and examining trafficking cases. Corruption, nevertheless, is widespread at all levels of government in the Philippines, and has constantly been linked with human trafficking. Some local politicians and their business cronies continue to allow the operation of clubs and bars where children and young women are used as sexual commodities. They work with local criminal gangs to do their dirty work and in return the gangs are given protection for their involvement by the police. Transparency International ranks the Philippines 105th of 176 countries in its Corruption Perceptions index, with allegation of law enforcement officials’ complicity, mostly in trafficking cases. The Government has also taken steps to care for victims of modern slavery, turning over about $615,000 to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to support the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons. The majority of victims assisted by this Department were supported with skills, training, shelter and medical services and legal help. The DSWD also runs residential and community-based services, although these were found to be inadequate to discuss the needs of trafficking victims, specifically men.

Other challenges in the fight against human trafficking.
Philippines should:
• Implement and check the National Strategic Action Plan against Human Trafficking, 2012-2016.
• Scale-up the focus on safe migration pathways for Filipino nationals working abroad, including developing materials to educate people about their rights at work.
• Continue to investigate and indict cases of exploitative employment through labour agencies offering jobs abroad.
• Incorporate anti- slavery initiatives into Government poverty alleviation programmes to tackle the root causes of the issue.
• Continue to take steps to end corruption.
• Keep on educating law enforcement officials and judges about human trafficking and increase public awareness of modern slavery.
• Defend victims, with special protections for those who are willing to cooperate with law enforcement investigations and prosecutions.
• Provide efficient after-care programmes focusing on skills development and enterprise to support the empowerment and reintegration of victims.
• Reinforce anti-slavery interventions in regional areas, especially in the southern part of Mindanao.


Men are the most overlooked victims of human trafficking. Not much is known about the cases of male sex trafficking due to feelings of shame and humiliation. But the reality is that the number of male victims of sex trafficking had been increasing. Especially so in non-sex trafficking activities as reported in the 2014 Trafficking of Persons (TIP) report recently presented by US State Department Secretary John Kerry, where he said Filipino men and boys had become susceptible to human trafficking. Although the country had been upgraded from the original Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2, the Report noted that as yet, we have “not fully complied” with the standards for the eliminating of trafficking. A worrisome development is that the country has become one of the five hotspots in child-organ trafficking. The National Bureau of Investigation reports that smugglers target children, most of them men, who are kidnapped and taken abroad where their organs are sold to foreign nationals. Traffickers often conspire with local crime syndicates and corrupt government officials, use social networking tools to recruit Filipinos for overseas work or to carry out sex crimes.

The victims’ access to justice needs to be improved. Traffickers need to know that they will be punished. If not, trafficking will always be profitable. While there is a sturdy increase in the number of trafficking convictions, we also need to look at the ratio of the number of cases filed to the number of convictions. Between 2005 and 2013, there have only 110 convictions for human trafficking related crimes in the Philippines. It appears that trial efforts have improved with more than 300 cases filed during the TIP reporting period, but trials remain lengthy, and the number of convictions inexplicably low, which is a disincentive for most victims. Fraudulent officials who use their authority to victimise people weaken the good work done by honest public servants. The TIP mentions reports of officials accepting bribes from organisations that engage in trafficking, aiding unlawful departures for overseas workers and urging victims to demote trafficking charges. There are also serious accusations that staff in Philippine diplomatic posts in the Middle East re-victimised anxious Filipino overseas workers, by taking their wages and compelling them into transactional sex or domestic servitude in exchange for repatriation. Administrative charges have been filed but we need these people to be made criminally held responsible.

Lastly, we need a comprehensive database of trafficking cases in the Philippines. IACAT is in the process of putting together a complete database. Information from victims, including repatriated Filipinos, will help us study the recruitment and placement strategies of traffickers. Once this data is accessible, it also becomes easier to blacklist offensive employers and recruitment agencies, monitor the services provided to overseas workers in shelters abroad, and offer Filipinos with more targeted protective information. It does seem that the number of partnerships being formed against human trafficking is unparalleled in our nation’s history. For that, we are grateful. The challenge now is to prioritise tactical and high-impact intercessions that bring about real social change. This can only be done if we shield at-risk groups, dissuade traffickers and sanction victims. With guarded optimism, we commemorate how far we’ve come in the battle against trafficking, but we also prop ourselves for the long road ahead.

Works Cited:
ILO: Labour Migration in the Philippines
2011 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
“Global Monitoring: status of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children: Philippines” (2011), p8, ECPAT International: https://app.box.com/s/vauz7z01c75no247e0ui
“US Trafficking in Persons Report 2013” Philippines Country Narrative, p300, US Department of State: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210741.pdf
“Philippines: New human trafficking investigation procedures aim for air-tight cases, improved conviction rates” (8 February 2013), UNODC: http://www.unodc.org/southeastasiaandpacific/en/2013/02/philippines-pnp/story.html
“The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, concludes her country visit to the Philippines” (9 November 2012), p5, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children: http://www.slideshare.net/unphilippines/un-special-rapporteur-on-trafficking-in-persons-joy-ngozi-ezeilo-report-on-her-philippine-fact-finding-mission
“Corruption by country/ territory” (2013), Transparency International: http://www.transparency.org/country#PHL
“US Trafficking in Persons Report 2013” Philippines Country Narrative, p.302, US Department of State: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210741.pdf


Area of Expertise: Migration
Case Study: The Filipino Migrant Workers
The Country’s New Heroes

What makes people leave their countries to seek a better life? Is it because of demography, economics or politics? Great differences in trade between rich and poor countries have resulted to neo-colonialism. Adaptability of people has subjected man to a new form of subjugation. Migrants play a crucial role in filling up labour shortages, especially in the first world countries.

The Philippines, with the population of 83 million, have a fast declining mortality, increasing life expectancy and rapid population growth brought about by modernisation. They have numerous young labour force entrants. In the context of socio-cultural reality, migration in the Philippines is an issue of survival. Filipinos are leaving their country for economic reasons. These migrants are to be found in all highly-developed countries, but also in the Gulf, the new industrial countries, and Japan.

This case study will explore the different issues of migration and the Filipino migrant workers. The efficient management of the Philippine government, foreign affairs departments, institutional structures, migrant associations and advocacy groups concerned with migration requires a multitude of skilled specialists who combine their expertise to work out a solution. The experts are the Filipino migrants, with their varied skills, their determination, experience, remittances, technology transfer, new knowledge and attitudes.


The Philippines, as a lower middle income country, have about 8 million people abroad, close to 10 per cent of the population. To a large extent, it is an emigration country because of lack of rapid and incessant economic development. The Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines started a structured labour programme partly in the hope of lessening dissatisfaction with the plundering character of the regime and its incapability to ameliorate standards for the masses. The government sees labour export a vital and enduring aspect of economic policy and seeks to maximise it. Filipino migrant workers have become the Philippines’ largest sources of foreign exchange. In its development policy (2001-2004) under the Arroyo administration, the government now explicitly recognizes overseas employment as a “legitimate option for the country’s work force.” Thus, from managing the flow, the government now assertively promotes international labour migration as a growth stratagem, especially of the higher skilled, knowledge-based workers (Go, 2002).

Within the category of economic migrants, many highly-skilled Filipinos find work in the USA and Europe – often encountering employment downgrading (e.g. from doctor to nurse) in the process. Filipina domestic workers often have quite high educational eligibilities, which are wasted in their low-level jobs abroad. They are mostly employed in private homes where they are largely unprotected since the Philippine government often has no bilateral agreements with these countries. Some of them experience exploitation and abuse. Filipinos with middle-level and technical skills find work in construction, processing industries and other sectors in the Gulf. However, more Filipino overseas workers move to low-skilled jobs in a wide range of sectors, including seafaring. Seafarers often have low wages and poor conditions. Undocumented migration seems to be on the increase, because of the amalgamation of tighter controls and continuous demand for labour in receiving countries. Losing the expertise of all these people in the Philippines brings money, but doesn’t that also mean that you need expertise from outside if you lose yours by downgrading and outsourcing?

The transfer home of migrant earnings and savings is generally seen as the most important positive effect of migration in the Philippines. These remittances enable the migrants to build houses, send family members to school and pay for their parents’ medication. They help improve the country’s economy and sustain the local population. On top of remittances, if and when these migrants return to the country, they will bring with them greater amounts of training and experience contributing to social capital. There are also negative effects: the Philippines are losing some of their educated workers, like the doctors, nurses or engineers. In other words, the Philippines is experiencing brain-drain. Moreover, the benefits of government expenditures on education are not coming to support in the Philippines but rather in the USA or Europe. For example, because of the decreasing number of qualified medical workers, hundreds of hospitals in the Philippines have fully or partially closed, and medical care is disproportionately distributed, favouring industrialised cities and leaving rural areas with inadequate coverage (Lorenzo et al, 2007). Is it responsible policy for the USA or Europe to recruit Filipino medical workers and for the Philippine government to encourage emigration when these educated labourers are needed to support their own medical industry?


In acknowledging the diaspora, Filipino migrants have been redefined as bagong bayani, the country’s new heroes. Some means were taken to intensify their symbolic sanctioning, which incorporate presidential visits to communities overseas, the commemoration of “migrant worker days”, the launching of the Balikbayan status to bestow special rights (e.g. funds transfer, import of goods, reduction of import duties) for overseas Filipino, and a “Miss Overseas Philippines” beauty contest open to young women of Philippine origin, even if they are no longer citizens (Assis 2006 and Aguilar 1999). The Philippines has a powerful civil society sector, with many non-governmental organisations connected to the Church, to trade unions and political parties. Support groups concerned with migration appear to have a notable impact on the Philippine state, while associations related to welfare, migrant rights and women’s issues are significant in countries with Filipino migrant populations.

The Philippine Government devised a comprehensive institutional structure to manage emigration. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was set up in 1977 to facilitate the well-being of migrants and their families left at home. A Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) was initiated in 1980 to improve the interests and welfare of emigrants. Its purpose is to cultivate the ties between emigrants and the Philippines. A third major institution is the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) within the Department of Labour, which recruits and selects overseas workers, as well as processing their documents and contracts, and providing pre-migration orientation courses. It manages licensing and supervises recruitment and placement agencies.

The hardest problem in the Philippines is setting up valuable systems to protect workers abroad. This is normally the responsibility of foreign affairs departments which appoint labour attaches and welfare officers at their consulates in labour-importing countries. The Philippine government takes measures to try to safeguard its citizens abroad, often in response to pressure from migrant associations and other civil society organisations. For example, the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 was a direct mobilisation at the time of Flor Contemplacion case. This law, designed to protect Filipinos abroad, is summarised by Assis (Assis 2006). The government has entered into bilateral agreements with some countries. Many more countries need to be covered.


Attempts have also been made to establish international legal instruments to protect the rights of migrant workers. The principal ones are the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions No. 97 of 1949 and No. 143 of 1975, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families of 1990. These instruments could do a good deal to enhance the circumstances of migrants, if states are willing to sign and implement them. Regrettably, that is not the case. The key instrument, the 1990 UN Convention, did not take effect until 2003, because few states are willing to ratify it. Even today, only 34 states signed up, mostly emigration countries. The unwillingness to have international authority of migration is because of the misgiving of recruiting countries: they think that regulation will increase the expenses of migrant labour and place social duties on receiving countries.

To summarise, the most significant development benefit of migration is mainly perceived to be the role of economic remittances in improving livelihoods. Others are seen in technology transfer and the return of the highly skilled and the new knowledge and attitudes by diasporas and returnees. It is right to say that the money they earn trickles into towns and villages, helping build houses and sending children to school. But the absence of so many productive and trained people – mothers and fathers, engineers and entrepreneurs – also demand a heavy toll.

In conclusion, long-term policies are needed that link the impending benefits of migration. There are many directions to take and important decisions to make. In the Philippines, it would mean giving up the idea of being the “producer of workers for the world”, which implies acceptance of permanent subjection in the international division of labour. It is remarkable how invisible the work of Filipinos in the global marketplace remains, and how little it is discussed in the first world countries. Instead, there need to be policies that unite political and economic reform at home with recognition of the prospective role of the Filipino migrants: to make visible the invisible Filipino overseas workers.

Works cited:
Aguilar, F.V.J. (1999). The triumph of instrumental citizenship? Migrations, identities and the nation-state in Southeast Asia. Asian Studies Review 23 3. Print.
Assis, M. (2006). International Migration, Migrant Empowerment and Development Prospects: the Philippines. Paper presented at the Conference of Migration and Development: Perspectives from the South.Bellagio, Italy, 10-13 July 2006. Print.
Castles, S. (2007). Comparing the Experience of Five Major Emigration Countries. Working Papers, Paper 7, International Migration Institute, James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford. Print.
Go, Stella P. (2002). Philippine international labour migration policy: its
evolution and future direction. Paper presented at the Workshop on Migration and Migration Policy in the Asia Pacific. University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. February 28-March 1, 2002. Print.
Lorenzo, F.M.E., Galvez-Tan, J., Icamina, K. & Javier, L. (2007, June). Nurse Migration from a Source Country Perspective: Philippine Country Case Study. Health Services Research 42-3, 1406-1418. Print.


For: Speak Out

Other “speak out” posts:
There Is No Finish Line
An Acting Lesson for Troubling Times

The Greatest _______ in the World

The Greatest _______ in the World

Don’t ask me why but how
That’s what I like to do
We’re in love – you and I
The greatest of them all – love
How do I love thee?
I’ll show you how if you let
Me be just the good old me
I may have lost count
Of the reasons and the
Likes – show me your ways

some gifts are useless
if they were given without thoughts
things we cannot use

but the gifts of the heart
lovingly wrapped with themselves
appreciated well

are the greatest ones
good health, love and harmony
no money can buy


two friends went out to have a chinese meal
spring rolls and pancit- they were a steal
one fortune cookie said “time to explore”
“fortune not found? abort, retry, ignore”
after an hour, they’re ready for another meal

Ten quid and all the fuss of eating out in a Chinese restaurant
“A tub and a rub will change your day” the fortune in an instant
“Ah nonsense!” said he and the waiter was somehow insulted
“The greatest danger could be your stupidity,” he instantly blurted
They had a fight and he was hit for giving a remark that was so flippant

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.


in total darkness
I was alone in the room
my heart beats faster

no air, no escape
no one to hear my scream
get me out of here!

For: The Greatest _______ in the World

Other “the greatest…” posts:
A Svalbard Love Story

Superpower – Discover Challenge


If I had a superpower what would it be? It would be the ability to appear and disappear at will, the ability to be a different person in different setting. I chose to be one of the different characters during the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

Tandang Sora was my old aunt – She was poor and her only means of livelihood came from the profits she got in selling. One day in August, the Supremo and his forces, tired and worn out, but determined to fight the enemy, came to the house of Tandang Sora, who immediately gave them a hundred sacks of rice from her storehouse, ten carabaos and tools they would need. She herself had become a revolucionario. Her help extended from giving provisions to the movement; she took care of the wounded and sick freedom fighters, not fearing that she would be caught by the Spanish authorities.

I was the Filipino Woman Married to a Spaniard – I overheard remarks about the Filipinos from my Spanish guests. I was in my room, went out and told them to stop. When they wouldn’t stop, I told my husband. He sided with his countrymen and ignored my request. I took a stick and sought to drive them away by beating them. They arrested me but I was able to escape through the window of my house.

I was Trining and took part in many battles – Dressed as a man with a wide brimmed hat, I went with rebels wherever they went. Some of the battles include the battle of San Ildefonso, the battle of San Rafael and the battle of Zaragoza. At the battle of Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, the enemy shot my right foot. I fell unconscious but when I recovered, I spoke with the Katipuneros with a smiling face. In the midst of shots and bolo flashes, I never showed the proverbial female weakness.

I could have been one of the many brave Filipino Women – the Katipuneras or the Babaylans who took part in the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Thanks for letting me write about them and acknowledging their struggles for all of us.

women took part, too
Philippine Revolution
our own heroines

acknowledging them
they struggle for our freedom
we’re so proud of them

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Etol Bagam. Thank you Etol!

Aside from not being so smoky anymore, the pub was still the same for Rick. The wooden floor, the rustic look, the barrels and of course, the pool table. They spent a lot of their afternoons and evenings in this pub, him, Pete, John, Marie and Jane. Rick couldn’t wait to see them again, after 30 years. That was a long time! They were all freshmen from different departments when they first met. Marie and John were going out that time. Rick celebrated his 20th birthday here, wearing top hat and tails, Pete as a drag because of his long hair, Marie was a Danger Mouse, John was a pirate and Jane was Wonder Woman. That was fun! Ah, memories of the past! They played pool all night. And of course, drinks all round. Now, one by one, his friends arrived – Pete, John, Marie and Jane – and boy, great to see them again!


If I have extra brain power
What would I do?
I’d like to be great
Play the piano like Beethoven
Sing like Katherine Jenkins
Write like Jane Austen
What else, what else?
I’d like to discover
The cure to cancer
And other illnesses
Encourage others to
Be nice to one another
Live in peace and harmony
And accept our differences


Why do I write, is the question
I guess I just do it for fun
To test myself how I can run
Lots of action, lots of action

Expressing my thoughts and musing
Conveying, asking and babbling
And checking out what I can bring
It’s a great world, it’s a great world

It is more than just girl power
It’s to make our future brighter
Global efforts and awareness
Education and freedom, that’s what we’re after

We can be whatever we want
To mother, sister, daughter, aunt
Ability to change the world
We can thrive coz we’re not simple tableau vivant

For: Superpower

Other “superpower” posts:
Optimizer Prime

Retrospective Top Posts 2016

Retrospective Top Posts 2016

January 2016 – Snow this morning


What a beautiful day! I woke up this morning to this pure and bright snowy day. Him Indoors had to shovel the snow in our garden path, as well as the front of our house, between the garages. He didn’t mind at all, it’s like his morning exercise. And I have to take lots of photos. I love taking photos, especially of the different seasons. Just like Thursday morning, we came back from our morning swim and the sky was brilliant. Sunny morning, clear sky, we can see the Alps from our place. Simply wonderful!

February 2016 – Carpe Diem 908


chasing waterfall
sound of the fountain of life
ever so faithful

ever so faithful
stridently trickling down
splashing like pearls

splashing like pearls
cleanses the soul and spirit
refreshingly good

March 2016 – Listen to that thunder


Listen to that thunder
Full of rage and fury
Bursting with anger
The sky breaks loose
And I want to flee

Transforming the sky
Objecting to the silence
Upheaval seems to amplify
Like it’s time for a vengeance
And I ask, why me?

The ease of water rolling
Wind blustering like mad
To the flood it’s adding
Going out I’m forbade
Save I want to be drenched

Words failed to come
I want to be somewhere
I was silent and glum
Find a place with no blare
That’s where I want to be

Where flowers blossom
The sun shines bright
The day so awesome
Not giving me a fright
I promise to be good

Presenting me with hope
And other dreams
A day I can cope
So bright it gleams
I’ll take that anytime

April 2016 – Finding Peace – #writephoto

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Is it wrong to search my soul?

So I know what indeed is my role

When I wonder deep down its meaning

And forgiveness I am begging

When I pushed the cobwebs of lies

And each one has his lows and highs

Is it wrong to find atonement?

When there was a creepy silent?

For all who I’ve offended

Out with the truth blurted

For all who are suffering

And the tension it brings

For all who are in pain

Like being in chains

What’s clear is I want peace

All misgivings to decrease

May 2016 – Cycling, Breakfast and Teriyaki – Echoes of my Neighbourhood

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Hello everyone! Lovely weather here and we’ve been cycling a lot!

I met my friend today and we had some cool breakfast, complete with Proseco!


I went to town the other day and I had teriyaki prawns and salad for lunch


June 2016 – Seasons – London Calling

Hello everyone! I went to London with Him Indoors, my sister and her husband. There we met our friends from Munich. We stayed near Trafalgar Square so we could walk everywhere. And boy, we walked! We walked to the Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden. We met our friends in Soho to have our Chinese meal.

We walked through Green Park to reach Buckingham Palace. There was a cavalry parade.

We took our time looking at some painting at the National Gallery Museum.

We went to Imperial War Museum and saw the story of those whose lives have been shaped by war from the First World War to the present day.

We took a barge from Embankment to Greenwich. We saw the Tower of London, the Shard, Parliament, Millennium Bridge and other places of interest.

We went to the National Maritime Museum – the world’s largest maritime museum with 10 free galleries and a vast collection that spans artworks, maps and charts, memorabilia and thousands of other objects. The uniform of General Nelson with a bullethole was there.

July 2016 – Details – Photo Challenge


This is a model boat HMS Bounty that Him Indoors made. It took him a couple of years to build it, but his patience and creativity paid off. He worked on it meticulously, thought about ways to bend the wood, sewed the sails and all the other details. I admired him for it. It kept him busy, especially when the weather wasn’t good so he could work in the cellar. Well done, Him Indoors!

Two years ago, we gave him this kit for HMS Victory and he loved it. He started working on it. It’s a bigger project than the HMS Bounty but I’m sure he loves the challenge. He’s halfway there. Good luck, Him Indoors!

Other photos of details:

August 2016 – I am who I am, but tomorrow, who knows?


Ladylee’s my name
Manila used to be my home
Married to Him Indoors
30 years this year
Mum to HRH the son
Now married to his beautiful K
I’m happy with my life
Swimming, cycling, travelling
Reading, blogging, taking photos
Life is wonderful indeed!

September 2016 – Doors from India

October 2016 – Quadrille #18 – Cloud


Love is being on cloud nine
Butterflies and bees in sunshine
You were gone and my world fell apart
My heart was shattered on your depart
From cotton clouds, days are cloudy
From waiting, I become angry
I deserve better
You’re not worth it

November 2016 – Thursday photo prompt – Anomaly #writephoto


A faint rainbow up the sky
Sky from light blue to greyish blue

Blue I feel when you’re not with me
Me and you, I say with a plea

Plea that we will endure this isolation
Isolation from the rest of the world
World in this flat horizon, not one soul
Soul, heart and spirit, they are one

One tower, some houses by the cliff
Cliff high, I cover my head with a kerchief

Kerchief over my head tied under my chin
Chin moves when I see you and grin

Grin we will and make the most of it
It will only get better, let’s hope
Hope for a better and brighter future
Future beckons, now is the time to deliver

Deliver us from the nightmares of ennui
Ennui, perhaps not when I’m with thee

Thee or thou, hopefully love will last
Last longer and everything is a blast

December 2016 – Haibun Monday: And to all a goodnight

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Maria with Doodles and Scribbles. Thank you Maria!

Last Saturday was my birthday. We drove to the mountains a day before so we could celebrate my birthday for the weekend. The hotel was the only one on top of a mountain, the view was amazing! We walked along the frozen lake, Riesersee, so refreshing with a view of the Zugspitze. In the morning of my birthday, I was greeted by the staff with a table full of greetings, two glasses of sparkling wine and we had a sumptuous breakfast. They even delivered a birthday cake when we were back in our room, so sweet!

We walked from our hotel down to town, Garmisch Partenkirchen, about an hour’s walk, through a private path from the hotel. There was some Christmas market, with stalls of Christmas decorations, leathers, antique pins and jewellery, and a carousel for the children. The things were from the local artists and the food from the local farmers. We drank some warm mulled wine and ate grilled sausages.

In the evening, we dressed up to go the restaurant across the hotel. The manager remembered that it was my birthday and gave us the best place in the restaurant and two glasses of sparkling wine. A luxurious meal – antipasti, pork medallion with mushrooms and cream and crème brûlée with a nice bottle of Riesling. It was a romantic evening with some fire burning at the fireplace and a man playing the piano. We walked by the lake under the moonlight. I couldn’t ask for more! And to all, a goodnight.

A winter birthday
Walked by the moonlight with him
Couldn’t ask for more

For: Retrospective

Other “retrospective” posts:

Finding Your Place – Discover Challenge

Finding Your Place – Discover Challenge

This week, tell us about a place that has helped shape who you are.

Philippines, my Philippines
I’ve known you for years
You gave me fond memories
Of my childhood and early days
I left you when I was 23
To see the other side of the world
It doesn’t matter how far I reached
I’ll always be coming back to you
To admire your beauty and warmth
To see our diverse 7,100 islands
It’s more fun in the Philippines
There’s no place like home!

We’ve all had them. These were the times when life was full of roses and innocence, of experiments and fun, of being with families and friends. These were some of my recollections.

“You’re it!” I didn’t see her as she pointed to me, called my name and said, “You’re it!” I’ve got to look for them hiding around our street. It was getting dark so it was tough finding them. However, I knew Thor would be hiding at his usual place, my brother kissing our neighbour in one corner and I’d managed to locate Bethcha. Before long we had to go back to our houses and ate our dinner. Other days, we’d play patintero (try to cross my line without letting me touch or catch you), tumbang preso (hit the can), piko (hopscotch) or luksong-tinik (lit. jump over the thorns of a plant). Sometimes we’d rent some bikes and circled around our neighbourhood.

Easter Breaks. The only time of the year when all of us cousins stayed in our Granddad’s house. The number of times we walked back and forth the house and the chapel for singing the passion plays. The afternoons we spent splashing in that creek while Granddad washed the carabao, the still warm fresh milk that morning and the mangoes we’ve picked on the way to the farm. We all slept on the floor, some snoring, some talking, and telling each other’s stories, jokes and secrets.

Dad and Tito (uncle) Pabling. They were more than brothers. They’d spent hours and hours tinkering with Tito Pabling’s recently acquired old jeepney. Just like good mechanics, they’d come home with all those black smuts from the engine. Sometimes, they’d spent their afternoons unblocking the canal in our street. They were the best hosts, too – the New Year’s Day party was always a blast – all our relatives, friends, neighbours and everyone on Halcon Street would’ve confirmed that – we had to close the street for our party!

Dapitan. Our house in Dapitan was small – for our parents, 4 children, Granny, aunts and cousins. It was constantly full of people and activities. Our cousins from the province stayed with us once they started college. There were 2 bedrooms, one for our parents and one for all of us with 2 bunk beds; the rest slept on the floor. My classmates and I loved hanging out there; doing our homework and projects; lunch and merienda (snacks) were at all times provided. When I needed to concentrate at college, I’d wake up in the middle of the night to revise or just to have some peace and quiet.

These memories would always stay with me. As I was writing this article, I couldn’t help myself smiling. I know I couldn’t bring them all back but I appreciate having these snippets in my life.

Yes, we need the rain now, instead of snow. We’ve had snow since November and although we like the beauty and the purity of the snow, sometimes we want it to be warm, to rain or to have a different sort of weather, not just cold, freezing cold. Oh well, that’s how it is here….. whereas back home in the Philippines…. yes, that’s the first word that comes to my mind when we say home, soil and rain…. I’m sure it’s raining right now. Or on a normal day, sunny in the morning, raining in the afternoon then back to sunny weather. It’s just clearing the air. The soil might be dirty, but I don’t mind. In short, I miss the Philippines, I miss its soil, I miss its rain.


The shore that call us home
Was the title of the poem
By Samuel Hazo in 1949
Makes me think about my life
Every time I go home and meet my
Family, friends and relatives again
After some time when I’m here
And they are there living differently
Yet parallel to each other, there’s this
Nostalgic feeling, of being home again
This land or these islands I miss so much
It doesn’t matter where I am now, and
I’m building a home with my family here
But over there where I used to call home
Full of childhood memories, of school,
Of college, of my first experience at work
First love, first kiss, first of everything
These experiences made me and taught me
They gave me a solid foundation of how
It is to be me, all the trials and errors
They gave me the confidence to try and
Explore different things and I have proved
That I can do it no matter where
So even when I’m happy here
I’d still be a girl with a fringe
I’d always go back to the shore
That calls me home, the Philippines


For: Finding Your Place. Also for: ALL SEASONS – TOMORROW (December)

Other “finding your place” posts:
Which Way?
Finding Your Place in the Universe
This Place
On finding my place


One, Two, Three! – Discover Challenge

One, Two, Three! – Discover Challenge

three fountains at Ostpark

three tortoises – Gin, Rex and Niki

Him Indoors, Ladylee and HRH the son

three white stones infront of Inca man

three toucans from Costa Rica
three toucans from Costa Rica


7:22 as the clock ticks
you said you will meet me here
where are you, my love?

I danced with my pearl
with you looking at my eyes
with love and fondness

from the seeds you grow
roses in the flower pot
brightens our home

(c) ladyleemanila 2016

For: One, Two, Three!

Other “one, two, three!” posts:
Haibun: Circle Of Love
Summer Storm