Women are superior

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

A message that lit up my life – these days swallowed by cleaning and revitalizing an old house (they call it ancestral, making it sound so elegant, which actually is just an old wooden house that was once so pretty as it was built singlehandedly by our mother who scrimped and saved part of her earnings from sewing and running a vocational school) in the province – was this missive on the internet sent by one of my BFFs – Lt. Col. Ruby Palma, she herself a great subject of interest, promoting gender equality among military men who rewarded her with a rank higher than some of them. The colonel is a poet, too, publishing as she has, a couple of small volumes of poems. Now, to go back to what lit up my life – it was this ode to women by William Golding, a British novelist, playwright and poet (1911-1993).

I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her a sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!

What about that!

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It’s no surprise that men look twice at women wearing the terno, baro’t saya, and – of late, women’s barong Tagalog. In these days when pantsuits and denims are in vogue, and making some women look mannish, the attire that our grandmothers wore at home, at the market, at social gatherings, to church,  made them look feminine, and, well, simply fetching.   

A recently launched coffee table book shows women wearing modern interpretations of the traditional garb. The book is a project of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI) headed by Deputy Speaker Linabelle Ruth R. Villarica of the 4TH District of Bulacan. Titled “Kasuotan: Filipiniana Redefined,” it was launched last week at the North Lounge Extension of the House of Representatives, at Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

The book was launched to a full house, with special guests of honor, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Majority Floor Leader Rolanda Andaya.

The Philippine STAR columnist Mons Romulo edited the book, and renowned Filipiniana designer Patis Pamintuan Tesoro put together the creations of noted designers, among them Paul Cabral, Rajo Laurel, Michael Leyva, Randy Ortiz, Jojie Loren and Francis Libiran.    

Authentic indigenous materials, from abel Iloko of the northern provinces to t’nalak of South Cotabato, as well as the intricate embroidery and beadwork of local craftspeople are used in the creations that celebrate the artistry and versatility of Filipino fashion and fabrics. 

“Hopefully, this book will call even greater attention to support our artisans by patronizing the fabrics our weavers painstakingly create,” says Romulo in her introduction. “Each of us has to do our share in making sure sustainable fashion will live on for the future generations to see, feel, and wear something that they can proudly call their own.”

“Filipiniana is forever,” declares Tesoro, “just like diamonds.” 

Proceeds from the sale of “Kasuotan: Filipiniana Redefined” will go to the construction of the Paaralan at Palaruan ng Kabataan at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City.

“The facility is a relevant contribution from the AWFLI with the passage into law of Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law in June 2018,” says Dep. Speaker Villarica. 

The coffee table book project is one of the fundraisers of the AWLFI in the 17th Congress. It is chaired by Rep. Maria Cristina Roa-Puno (1st District, Antipolo) and co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria P. Gonzales (Lone District, Mandaluyong).

For orders, call the AWLFI office at tel. no. 931-5001 local 7278.

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I was in Butuan City, in Agusan del Norte, to meet co-Sillimanians living in the city and suburbs, and we chatter like happy birds, as we recall our campus life, and talk about what we’d been up to during the last 50 years or so. 

It’s Esther Villanueva Magdamo Amante who got us girls together, a welcome treat as they hardly see each other. Esther, or Tellie, studied at Silliman from kindergarten up  to college where she finished the BSE course in 1954, but earned her master’s degree in Agusan College. She worked at DYSR, the campus radio station, as music librarian and doing bits of announcing.  She moved to Butuan after marriage to  Ferdinand Amante, who became city public works supervisor then general manager of the water district. 

Her eldest daughter, Ferlie Joy, is a nurse working in Colorado. Her second, Ferdinand Jr., an orthopedic surgeon at Butuan Doctors Hospital, was city mayor for two terms – 2010-2016, and is now running for city councilor. Her second son, Samuel, was city councilor, and is now running for Congress, representing the first district.

Tellie has been choir director and organist/pianist at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines church in Ampayon since 1963.

I knew Leah Amante, now Mrs. Mendoza, at Silliman in the 1950s. She finished public administration with honors, was auditor at the Commission on Audit (where her close Sillliman colleague was Leonor Briones, now education secretary, worked). Then she was a Lunao Plywood Plant chief accountant. She was elected kagawad of Barangay San Ignacio, served as city administrator, then as a board member of the water district.  Thanks, Leah, for hosting us at YHotel, whose owner is your son-in-law.

Leah’s brother, Edelmiro, served as Executive Secretary during the Fidel V. Ramos administration.  His daughter Erhpe, who is city governor, is now running for a congressional seat, and son Angel, a congressman, is running for governor.

Teresita “Tette” Dagudag is married to Lt. Gen. Alfonso Dagudag (AFP Ret.) She finished education at Silliman, but spent her time raising three children – Al Bernabe, a litigation lawyer, Al Anthony, an industrial designer, and daughter Ma. Teresita, a web designer and graphic artist. “I’m happy, they’re my assets.”

Tette is sports minded, playing zipline at Forest Park, and was five-times champion at the Air Force badminton tournaments.

Nora Parreno Rama finished education, major in home economics, has four boys and 13 grandchildren. She was with the Department of Trade and Industry for 27 years, retiring as trade and industry specialist. She is currently president of Butuan Habitat for Humanity, which built 1,000 homes for recipients in the city, 50 in Surigao, and 80 in Agusan del sur.

Engr. Heddy Padayhag Sumalpong is from Siquijor Island, and she has one daughter, Sherry. She and her husband Larry, a mechanical engineering graduate, own Triopoint Construction company engaged in building school buildings. She is also vice president for Habitat for Humanity.

The sixth member of the group, Adelfa Yuno, is not a Sillimanian, but has done research work on teaching effectiveness for Silliman. She has taught at the Orios University.

We went to see the sights – the Balanghai Hotel Museum, which houses Dr. Potenciano Malvar’s collection of artifacts from the Caraga region, including jars of the Majapahit Empire, in Palawan, and the fascinating rock and bromeliad collections of Engr. Orlito Orais. Plus, the girls insisted, we should see the beautiful bridal bouquet plant in front of the city hall. They cut off a few branches for me to plant, and I’m watching if they’re alive and well in my garden in Gingoog. Last stop was at the city’s best burger house, owned by Sam Amante, Tellie’s son who is running for Congress.

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