My Little Doll

my own visual interpretation of Charles Kingsley's "My Little Doll"

My Little Doll
~by Charles Kingsley

I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world;
Her cheeks were so red and so white, dears,
And her hair was so charmingly curled.
But I lost my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
And I cried for more than a week, dears,
But I never could find where she lay.

I found my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day:
Folks say she is terribly changed, dears,
For her paint is all washed away,
And her arms trodden off by the cows, dears
And her hair not the least bit curled:
Yet for old sakes' sake she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.

Basket ng Pag-Ibig

an ekphrasis on Fernando Amorsolo's "A Basket of Mangoes"

Basket ng Pag-Ibig
by Anthea Cabrestante (2014)

Sa pag-ibig na inosente, pusok ang nangibabaw
Hindi na inalintana na ang puso niya ay hilaw
Pinaluha, pinatangis, matagal na naghinagpis
O bakit ang ngiti mo’y sadya pa ring kay tamis?

Ang iyong hilaw na puso na ubod pa ng asim
Kung magmahal ay daig pa ang karagatan sa pagkalalim
Ang lahat ng nagtangkang ipagsibak ka ng kahoy
Sa huli ay iniwan rin ang iyong pusong nananaghoy.

Anong puno ang pinuntahan ni Nene sa kanilang bakuran
At puro hugis-puso ang laman ng kanyang sisidlan?
Ilang binata na ba ang sumuyo sa malambot na puso
Na binalik lamang nang pinagsawaa’t pinagpira-piraso?

O dalagang nagtataglay ng nakamamanghang alindog
Hindi nakapagtatakang marami ang nahuhulog
Ngunit ang puso’y marupok, at nag-iisa lang ito
Sa ilog ng iyong luha, kailan ka pa ba matututo?

Pagkalipas ng panahon sa ilalim ng langit na bughaw
Ay iyong tinipon ang mga puso mong hinog at dilaw
Ang mga pagkakamali mong nauwi lamang sa kasawian
Ngayon ay pinag-isa mo sa iyong munting sisidlan.

Ang tamis at halimuyak ng iyong paghihintay
Ay nagmula sa sisidlan ng pag-ibig na iaalay
O pag-ibig mong kay tamis, kay sarap, sa iyong pagdarasal
Ngayo’y makakamtan lang ng lalaking laan ng Maykapal.


Ang Dangal ni Filipina

an ekphrasis on Fernando Amorsolo's "Defense of a Filipina Woman's Honor"

Ang Dangal ni Filipina
by Anthea Cabrestante  (2014)

Biniyayaan ng katawang maganda ang hubog
Nakakapaapoy ng damdamin, matindi pa sa sunog
May gandang mala-birhen, sinuma’y mahahalina
Sa babaeng kaakit-akit na nagngangalang Filipina.

Dahan-dahang nilapitan ng matipunong dayuhan
Kinuha ang loob, sa kanya’y walang alinlangan
Subalit di inaasahan na ang hipokritong si Kastila
Ay sapilitang pinasuko si Filipina ng bandila.

Paano maisasalba, maililigtas, o paano?
Ako ba’y iyong matutulungan, maputing Amerikano?
Nakaramdam ng galak ang kawawang binibini
Sa pag-aakalang dumating na ang kanyang bayani.

Subalit kinuhang muli ang kanyang dangal
Bago pa man dumating ang araw ng kanyang kasal
Inakalang magwawakas na ang malagim na kahapon
Ngunit nang pagsawaa’y ipinasa sa Hapon.

Nalulunod sa kahihiyan, lumuluha nang malagkit
Kailan matatapos ang pasakit at pagpapagamit?
Kailan makatatayo sa sarili niyang mga paa
At sinong magbubukas sa bulag niyang mga mata?

Saan makahuhugot ng lakas at pag-asa
Ang mahinang babaeng paulit-ulit na ginahasa?
O sino? Kaninong mga kamay nakasalalay
Ang rason para ipagpatuloy ang kanyang buhay?

Hawak ang itak ay dumating si Filipino
Na hindi na siya ipahahawak sa kung sinu-sino
Sisiguraduhing wala nang maglalapastangan
Sa kanyang minamahal na Inang Bayan. 

For Export, Pinays


a summary and reaction from the documentary


            The yin for the yang, the feminine for the masculine, the beautiful for the powerful, the woman for the man – although they are originally designed to complement each other, the stronger creatures tend to exploit the weaker ones for their own satisfaction of carnal lust, thus taking their dignity away from them, instead of giving these frail ones their protection. On one documentary of Reporter’s Notebook entitled “For Export, Pinays,” the abuse of Filipina sexuality by their own countrymen was shown by tricking them into going abroad and promising them a very high salary when in fact they would just end up being prostitutes.

            Hong Kong, evident in their many lofty buildings, is a very progressive country wherein most overseas Filipino workers toil in order to save their families in the Philippines from daily hunger. In their busy streets, many lasciviously clad Filipinas can be seen wandering about, doing their lewd business. Inside the bars, they can also be seen dancing erotically with foreigners, with these men’s hands stroking even their private parts. Most of these Filipinas were working there against their own will, for they were duped and handled by syndicates, most of which were also Filipinos. Although they were disgusted by their own work, they just chose to continue for resistance would be futile and they also could not find a way out.

            Weng was once a factory worker back when she was still in the Philippines; but when the factory closed, she was recruited to work as a waitress in Hong Kong. She was captivated by the high salary promised to her, but little did she know that she would just be selling her body to dirty old foreign men, barely keeping money for herself. She felt really mortified in doing that kind of work, for she wasn’t accustomed to letting just anybody fuck her. She was getting less than half of the money that she was gaining, just right for her to keep on her daily living without getting hungry. She couldn’t also escape for she didn’t know how, because they were being watched over. Even their quarters were guarded with steel doors and very complicated locks.

            Macau is a very attractive sight especially at night, for it has lots of casinos, night clubs, and bars. You can also see lots of women dressed sluttily – most of which are Filipinas – dancing promiscuously, trying to attract foreign customers. There is also prostitution that happens in saunas: women massaging men are dressed in nighties or see-through clothing. These women also bring condoms with them, which gives us a hint that men go to their saunas not for physical relaxation but for sex.

            In Zamboanga City, Philippines, women are being shipped to Malaysia as sex objects, without them knowing it. They thought they were off to a foreign land to work and get rich; but from the moment that they step on the ship, they were already caught firm by the hands of syndicates. They usually don’t go through the security processes anymore; for the agents bribe the ship crew, letting them travel even with fake passports. These shipmen were also given money for each woman that they take care of in the ship, for the price of 500 pesos per head.

            Even Malaysia, the Philippines’s neighbor country, isn’t being neighborly to our countrymen, especially to the descendants of Eve. They were treated like dogs, one Filipina GRO there protested. Whenever the customers complain that they were not satisfied, Filipinas were charged fines. Even minors are shipped to work there. They were held prisoners in their house, which had a structure that couldn’t provide them a single way to escape. They were guarded each time they go in and out of the house. They also work every single day, except when they have their menstruation. Most of their customers are policemen who normally don’t pay. The sex services that they get are free because they are given money by the owners of the bars for protection. When they fail to give them money, they get raided. The people in the neighborhood who knew about the pathetic situation of our Filipinas were scared to tell the authorities because the syndicates might get back at them and the police themselves cooperate with the crime.

            NAIA claimed that they have lots of security cameras, so if there were really cases of human trafficking that pass through the airport, it would not go unnoticed. But what’s baffling is that lots of Filipinas were already being exploited in other countries without getting the attention of these security cameras. In fact, 71% of the victims are being exported through this airport. The United Nations protocol in human trafficking, which was especially against the exploitation of prostitution of women, was signed by all ASEAN countries, the Philippines included. It’s sad that however many the security or laws our country promises, the welfare of our citizens are still not being protected. It is also enraging that sometimes the authorities are the ones cooperating with the syndicates instead of doing their work well. Philippines is really a corrupt country, however you look at it.

            Some people claim that the Philippines is a matriarchal country (because normally wives make decisions for the family or handle the money, etc.), compared to the middle-eastern countries wherein women are really subordinate to their fathers, husbands, or brothers; but patriarchy is seen in the way the Filipinas are being treated as mere commodities only prized for their vaginas. Instead of helping the Philippine economy by shipping quality goods, Filipinos instead export the Filipinas. What is shown in these situations is the obvious control of men over women: they can do whatever they want to the helpless females, and these girls couldn’t even resist nor fight back.

            What’s even more humiliating is how the foreigners see our nation. Even the Filipinos don’t give importance to their women except for their sexual capabilities. If I were in their situation, I would probably cry – not because I simply show feminine vulnerability – but because I still have lots of ambitions for myself, I see myself more than a sexual object, and most importantly, I am saving myself for the one who gets my hand in marriage. I want my deflowering process to be very romantic and sacred and having a divine blessing. Being a mere woman and not a feminist, I don’t go against the natural order that in a way, men are indeed superior to women because of their mental and biological differences. However, these differences don’t make a woman less than a human being. Men and women have their own powerful qualities: men have power and strength, while women have beauty and grace. These two sexes complement each other in a very sublime and beautiful way. It’s just the way it is since the ancient times, but men seem to be threatened by women’s sexuality to try to overpower them in ways that are sometimes abusive. Perhaps what triggered the feminist movement all around the globe is the unfair treatment that men give women. However, they are really on a par: we just have to accept that one is yin, and the other is yang.

            Without women, the world would just be full of masculine competition. There wouldn’t be softness, beauty, grace, vulnerability, sensitivity, tenderness, innocence, and warm smiles. There wouldn’t be pretty flowers brought to life and men would be incomplete by themselves. There wouldn’t be passionate love to be shared by both sexes. Despite being passive and apparently inferior, women are undeniably needed by men as much as they need men. The exploitation of the weaker sex is just iniquitous. Patriarchy, since ancient times, seems to forget that women also have souls for they tend to use them for their own benefit, as if they are merely objects or pets like dogs, affectionately patting them so they’d serve their masters well. 
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