Numbers that shift power dynamics

A group of friends started a petition in support of inclusive education for differently-abled  children. As the number of supporters grew, so does those who disagree with our tactic.

Using our campaign’s hashtag, someone posted that they’re not sure if our petition will work, a fair opinion especially if you’ve never attempted to campaign using one nor have signed on one that won. It’s always easy to dismiss something we’re unfamiliar.

Being in the non-profit sector, petitions are no-brainer. Oftentimes, we do it instinctively. It’s (almost) always our first entry point for new audiences to join our campaign. However, for most common folks (I’m using this term loosely), petition seems to be just a number’s game. The more entry you’ve got, the more chances of winning. That is, somewhat, true.

Beyond numbers, they are not engaged (either by choice or lack of deeper engagement by campaigners themselves) into the whole journey of campaigning. This creates a disconnect to their sense of ownership to the issue at hand.

So what made us decide to use the petition as our main tactic? It’s simple, we ask ourselves this main question, “why do you need the numbers anyway?” And our answers are these:

  • We want to expose the issue. There are rumors running around and no one seems to find any clarity. The idea is that, the more people know you’re looking for answers, the more of them can give you information. Most often than not, the right people would have the right answer;
  • We want to bring awareness. Once we found the answer, we provided clarity to confusions and questions bring to light the real issue at hand. Simple issues sometimes are rooted to a more systemic societal problems. We would like to highlight that this issue is not only an issue of a limited few but of society at large;
  • We want to bring the issue to public discourse. We want to hear people’s thoughts. We want to hear what they would do if faced with similar predicaments. We want to know how else we can further this campaign by bringing more hearts, hands and mind in the pot.

We recognized that petitions are good entry points for our campaign. It elevates the issue beyond decision makers and affected parties. It removes the veil of secrecy to bring transparency. It ensures public accountability.

But petitions are only as good as to where you bring them afterwards. Petitions are addressed to specific targets, or the who-can-bring-about-the-change-you-desire. These are decision-makers. You have to make your targets aware you are targeting them. They have to feel you. And one-way to ensure that is to create noise. And with more people comes more noise. Similarly, if you believe in the concept of 6-degrees of separation, somehow, somewhere, someone is connected to your target. Create your breadth to reach distance.

Since we are in the early stage of our campaign, the next questions to ask ourselves are, how many of those who signed up are willing to engage further? Who among them, if not all, are willing to give more? Will they give their time, sweat or money? How many of them are willing to go beyond signatures? We need to create a bigger ask (commitment) to bring about a bigger impact.

Over-all, a good petition aims to shift power dynamics. Because behind every signature is a face.  These are people who believe that your cause is worth fighting for. These are people willing to vouch their names for truth and justice. They are those willing to push boundaries because they know that together, they can.

So in the future, when you encounter another petition (for sure, you will), and you support the issue but still find that the tactic is not right. It’s okay, BUT, do not simply dismiss it. Ask yourself, “what else can I do?” Because there’s always something we can do.



On safe spaces

Safe spaces are refuge. Its foundations are openness, trust and respect. It builds communal courage to fight wrongs.

What makes these spaces safe is the willingness and determination of people to make it so. Without the intent and energy of these people, it is impossible to create one.

Hoping to gain safe spaces is not as easy as one could hope for. It takes time to build. It requires letting go of egos, preconceived notions and fears. It means building trust. It means honesty. It’s about accepting truths more than your own and recognizing multitude of perceptions and emotions.

As it is not a tangible space, creating its atmosphere means pouring and pooling all your energy in. Everyone is responsible in maintaining its foundation intact. It is very fragile, thus, very susceptible to maliciousness  and doubts.

Other would say that safe spaces are not truly safe as it reinforces the vulnerability that one faces outside its realm. But those who espouses safe spaces believe that there is actual strength and courage built upon them.

Creating safe space is hard work OR not. Again, it’s about people and their intent to make it so.

On mothering and motherhood

So Bakotoy is now 19 weeks old. And I am now back to work.

One night when I was nursing her, I suddenly had these random thoughts:

  • Maiksi lang ang pisi ko pag dating sa ibang bagay. Kaya nagugulat na lang ako na kahit sipain, lawayan, gisingin o iyakan lang ako ng iyakan ni Bakotoy eh di ko kayang magalit o mainis sa kanya. Kasama na siguro yun noh? Ginawa mo, panindigan mo!
  • Fear and awe. Yan ang nararamdaman ko tuwing tinititigan ko siya sa madaling araw.And I don’t think mawawala ito any time soon.
  • I made big and random decisions for her that I would never even consider before. And I will continue making them for her and with her when she’s able to make them.
  • Isa lang sa birth plan ko ang nasunod. Room-in siya kaagad. Ito ay pagkatapos ng mahabang labor na nauwi sa emergency CS. Lesson? Mag unang yakap agad pero bigyan mo rin ang sarili mong mag-recover beyond recovery room time. Or better kung may next time pa, VBAC!
  • Take as much suggestions from people around you. Pero sa huli, ikaw ang nanay. And ultimately, ikaw ang magdedesisyon.
  • Not doing what other people “suggests” does not make you an asshole. Not listening to them will.

Mothering and motherhood is a lifetime job. It requires full commitment. It requires that you make decisions that may or may not be favorable for other people. But that’s okay. How I do things, is how I do things. I have no right to judge how other mothers mother. I can only judge myself (with note that I should not be harsh to myself too).We have our own journey in ensuring that our children becomes the best version of themselves, and if not, to love them anyway.


My cute little bunny ❤

Repost: I Want To Know You

By: Ryan O’Connell (Though Catalog)

I want to know you. You seem like someone worth knowing. Every day I feel like I’m surrounded by people with hard edges and sour faces but I get the sense that you’re different. Too often people seem to think that they have the answers to everything. Their faces are trapped in permascowls and they can’t be bothered with anything besides their own narcissism. You aren’t like that. You still ask questions. You’re still looking for the answers.

People with kind hearts make me feel dirty. Like I need to give my personality a bath or something. Rub it clean of my neuroses and judgments. But that’s a good thing. When someone inspires you to take a long hard look at yourself and question all of your bad habits, they’re someone worth keeping around. It’s all about finding that person who’s able to hold up a mirror to your life and cause you to reevaluate the noise. It’s all about wanting to be a better man.

I know you’ll surprise me. I know you’ll take a right turn when I’m convinced you’ll take a left. All of this may seem arbitrary (why does it even matter if you take a right instead of a left?) but it provides me with a giant sense of relief. Do you know what it feels like to go through life rarely being surprised? The person who you think is going to hurt you ends up leaving you alone at three in the morning. The person who will never understand your jokes or passions turns out to be a stranger forever. You sleep with them, go out to dinners, and even run away to a bed and breakfast on a long weekend, all in hopes that they’ll start to make sense to you one day. But they never do. They just get more and more foreign each day. Experiences don’t always breed intimacy. Sometimes they just make the distance more apparent.

I want to know how your weekend was (I never want to know these types of things but you’re the exception to all my rules) and I want to know how you got that scar on your knee (biking accident when you were twelve? Tell me more! This story is more riveting than The Hunger Games!) and I want to know about your mom and dad (Are they assholes? No matter! We’ll start our own family!) I want to protect you. I want to preserve your innocence and drink it up for myself. You learn from me and I’ll learn from you. Deal?

You’ll open me up like an orange, leaving a mess of pulp and sticky peels everywhere. Certain parts of my personality will be extracted and I’ll find myself feeling stuff I never knew was possible. It’s strange to think how many things we’re capable of without really knowing it until we have a proper catalyst — something or someone to bring it to the surface. Dig, dig, dig. No, you might need to dig a little deeper. I have a lot of crap sticking on top of the good stuff.

In order for all of this to work though, you have to let me know you. You have to let me cut you open and trust that I won’t accidentally hit a nerve. You have to accept me for my shortcomings and understand that you’re a better person than I am. I’m a little rotten. Please don’t let that deter you though. Because when I look at you, I see someone who makes sense. I see an anomaly — someone who’s untouched by all of the modern inventions and hang ups. I see someone I want to know.


I’m feeling humdurumdurum for almost a week now. Everyone is going home. And I too will leave in just a couple of days. No farewell tears since last Wednesday. Blame the weather, the cough, whatever, but I’m trying trying really not to shed any. I’ve been sending people off, waking up at 5:00am for last hugs, last laughter, last smile. I really hope I can still see all of them in the near future. It has been a boring ride, to be really honest about it. But what I would cherish are those rare moments that I’m the happiest. And I really mean truly and genuinely happy (shiawasen). And for good reasons, I am really happy that one year in Japan was spent with them.

Omedatou Gozaimashita ESD Girls!


It was a lovely wedding. I was browsing through my friends’ uploaded photos of the ceremony and all I can do was smile. I missed one of the most important occasions for this year. But somehow, I don’t regret missing it. Being there would mean facing their realities, accepting defeat in some ways and regretting the” what could have beens”. They found their happiness, I should find my own.

It has been a surreal journey for me, but it was (and continuously) real for both of them.

I am very very happy for both of you 🙂 I am really am 🙂

Here’s to life ahead! Cheers!

On half-truths, fallacies and nuclear energy

I was a year old when then President Corazon Aquino mothballed the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) and I will not rally on the fact that some of my colleagues were veterans of the fight against nuclear energy. I am too engrossed on breastfeeding at that time and my realities are stuck inside my crib.

There are some consistent arguments, points, comments coming from individuals who is either pro or would like to strike conversations regarding the re-commissioning of BNPP would seem valid and real but some are plain stupid and reckless. I am not an expert of environmental cause and/or nuclear energy, and I will not preach on what is right and wrong, but I would like to comment on some of them as a young woman seeking truth in our current realities.

1. (let’s hide him in the guised of smart ass)

Smart Ass wrote:

(He quoted a press release from an environmental organization) “To prevent climate change we need a revolution in energy policy” (and he commented) Are you saying nuclear power affects climate change?

 My comment: deducing that the quoted text suggests that nuclear power affects climate change is simply wrong. The text simply means that we need to prioritize which energy policy to push through and from what energy sources. Cong. Mark Conjuangco wrote in his explanatory note on the House Bill No. 4631 that global warming and/or climate change is the “greatest threat and greatest challenge” suggesting that nuclear power is the alternative “clean power”. What the environmental organization is saying that our focus should not be swayed from real solutions to climate change and that is renewable and clean energy such as wind and solar energy. (period)

2. Direct quote from Cong. Mark Conjuangco’s house bill:

“The developed world, has realized more and more acutely, the impact of fossil fuel burning, most specially of coal, and CO2 emissions on global warming. They have come up with a system in the Tokyo Protocol by which the rich countries pay poorer ones a fee, to reduce or forego, carbon emissions.” (

I never heard of an international convention named TOKYO PROTOCOL, either he’s dyslexic or confused. What he probably means is KYOTO PROTOCOL. 

3. Taken from

If you would read the whole article, you would sense tinge of sarcasm. But it’s just my perception on this note. But if I slice it a bit:
“Anyway, Mr. Cojuanco wants it this way, so that, he says, the FILIPINO PEOPLE CAN OWN THE PLANT. He justifies the surcharge by citing the big savings that he expects the Filipino people to enjoy once the plant is running and supplying “clean and cheap” power to everybody. Hmmm…. how benevolent, no?
What do you think? For as little as 30 pesos per month (depende na lang sa iyong lifestyle), you, my dear Filipino, can own your little slice of nuclear heaven that is BNPP!!!!!!! What an amazing prospect!!!!!! Game ka ba????? ”
I find this quite hilarious. Since when does the government favor public share or public ownership? Since the advent of privatization during Ramos’ time, almost all public utilities and buildings were sold to corporations or family dynasties. Why the sudden concern on every Juan?
(to be continued)