Maria: The Embodiment of Filipina Femininity

I have chosen the stories of Maria Makiling and Mariang Sinukuan, although Philippine folklore still has lots of Marias like Maria Cacao of Cebu. Oftentimes famous stories about certain women in the Philippines have “Maria” as their first name, probably because of the Spanish influence of Christianity (obviously taken from Mary, the mother of Jesus). According to my own observations, most “Maria” characters depicted the ideal Filipina woman depending on the time these characters were invented – for example, Maria Clara. During the time of Jose Rizal, Maria Clara was the ideal Filipina woman – meek, religious, modest, and very beautiful.  Maria Clara is definitely different from Maria Makiling, but both of them really portray what Filipinos thought of their women back then.

These two women were described as follows: “Siya ay ubod ng ganda, kayumanggi, mahaba ang buhok, matangos ang ilong ngunit mahiwagang babae (Mariang Sinukuan),” and “She has light olive skin, long shining black hair and twinkling eyes. She was breathtakingly beautiful (Maria Makiling).” Although feminists would argue that women were only valued for superficial qualities like beauty, the divine feminine energy is actually also known as the “beauty-incarnate.” Women (or gays, I’m actually really generalizing here) have been endowed with delicate, soft, and curvy beauty and that’s what separates them from men who have angular or muscular appearances. Most women are attracted to things like Barbie dolls and makeup because they want to be beautiful. Sometimes we think that it is only the society that dictates that kind of behavior for girls. But personally, I have been attracted to pink, dresses, and to the idea of making myself beautiful even before I became aware that society, especially the media, sells the idea that women in themselves are not enough, so they have to wear makeup. Women (or feminine beings) are naturally beautiful and attracted to things that are beautiful, but the way society or the media twists that fact into something that makes women inferior frustrates me.

Going back to the topic, these two Marias were described to have a youthful beauty, long hair, Filipina features like tan skin, and an air of mystery. They were said to be diwatas, or fairies, that’s why I have come to the conclusion that long hair, beauty, and mystery makes up the ideal Filipino woman because diwatas are revered. I’ve noticed that women in folk tales always had to be beautiful, while men in folktales can get away with just being strong or clever. Somehow it has something to do with the evolutionary perspective that women are child-bearers so their beauty is important to make beautiful children, and men’s strong assets are their strength and cleverness because they are the providers of the family and they need to have these skills in order to keep their families alive. The description for Maria Makiling is really stereotypical of women (beauty, long hair, and an air of mystery), especially the mysteriousness because we can typically see in men the aggressiveness especially in getting what they want; while women, however, have a receptive, nurturing, and passive energy that’s why most of them are mysterious. But these are only generalizations, and our behaviors are not limited to our genders, because we all have feminine and masculine aspects of ourselves.

And as we may notice with these two Marias, they were depicted as the guardians of nature, much like Gaia or our mother earth. This is because the divine feminine energy represents these aspects in the universe: restoration, life, renewal, creation, birth, healing, receptivity, openness, nurturing, love, understanding, compassion, insight, intuition, wisdom, forgiveness, the moon, connection, harmony, and sensuality. Therefore, being a woman (or a feminine being) is not a shameful or inferior thing. It is a beautiful thing. We are life-bearers. We are creators. And we are healers. And these things are not only limited to diwatas like Maria Makiling and Mariang Sinukuan – they are already innate in us, maybe we are not just aware of it.

 Literature 161

A Letter to Satan

Hey Satan,

Fuck you! You’re the vilest person I’ve ever met in my life. Fuck you so soso much. I don’t even know why you’re still appearing in my reality. You’re the biggest hypocrite I’ve ever met in my whole twenty years of existence. Just every time I see your face or read your fucking name, a little vomit goes up my esophagus and an extreme level of anger just burns me up with a mild fever. It was very self-loving of me to separate myself from you and from all the fake and toxic and insecure people but you just don’t care to understand me at all. Because you are not a friend.You only fucking think of yourself in our one-sided friendship. Circumstances like what happened between us (I’m actually reluctant to use the word “between” because you fucking dragged other people into this) draw out the real crystals amidst a pile of rocks and I’ve found out that there was only one true friend that I have in college – the rest of you are all fake and only leeching. And you are the most hideous of all the rocks in the pile. A pathetic-looking rock who’s jealous of my pretty crystal. And I pretty much think that it was a brave thing for me to do, despite the risk of losing friends and supporters, because I didn’t really have them in the first place. Now everything’s exposed. And you can hurt me all you want. Whatever happens, I know I made the right decision. Because you’re fucking evil.

Well obviously, I’m really angry right now because of you. Not because you did something offensive to me, but because my unresolved issues about you are just cropping up the surface. For several months, I’ve tried ignoring the hurt and pain that you have caused just to lead a decent life. But now I’m fucking tired of it. I hate you to the moon and back. Let everyone read this, I don’t care. That’s what you’re good at in the first place anyway. Go on, destroy my reputation. Let all of them look at me dirtily for making yourself look like a victim and make them refuse to hear my side of the story. Let them think that you’re an angel and I’m a demon. Oh, what a hypocrite. You’re a fucking hypocrite. Go on, reveal my secrets. I don’t care!!! So what if you were hurt? Does that give you permission to hurt me back? I mean, destroy me? Because that’s what you’re doing. It’s nearly a year and you (and your fucking gang) still haunt me. When will you ever stop?

And why are you still doing this to me? Do you still want me in your life? Oh I doubt it so much. Even I don’t have tender feelings for you anymore. But the fact that you’re still destroying me up until now made me realize something. It’s actually what my best friend (who did not leave me after all that happened) and roommate told me: you’re just so insecure (but they actually pertain to a whole group of people). And probably it’s not hurt that’s making you do this but jealousy. Oops, it’s not that I have that big of an ego to think that you’re just jealous. I know what jealousy feels like. And you’re just using my act of leaving and hurting you as an excuse. Yes you have a wide network of friends and that made it easier for you to destroy my reputation. But what then?Did you feel better? Oh no, you’re still stuck in that damn jealousy (and/or grief) web of yours. With your “fixedness,” I doubt you’re gonna move on about this for the rest of your life. But guess what? It’s not my problem. But a big problem of yours. And I’m just so angry because I cannot really understand why you’re doing this to me. We’ve been friends for a very long time and yet you’re deliberately destroying me. I am so angry for all the twisted lies and stories you’ve spread about me. And all I can do is get angry and write it down so I can feel better and not fall sick. But, truth be told, I wish you’d die. Right now. Fuck you.

Angry but still fabulous,

Britney Spears

My Venus Retrograde Affair

Venus is in retrograde this time, along with some other planets. Approximately a day before the Venus retrograde, I doubted that I will have any major and hurtful problems with my current relationship because my boyfriend is so far the most stable of all the guys I have dated. By stable I mean that he loves me so much that he cannot leave me whatever mistake I make in our relationship. However, by the very start of this week (obviously Sunday), I have felt the adverse effects of Venus in retrograde. According to the websites that have this astrological information, relationships will be the theme of the six weeks of Venus’ retrograde. There can be major changes like breakups, past relationships that can be brought to life again, secret affairs, etc. Of course it’s actually deeper than that, but that’s how I understand the said astrological event. And so far, I can already see Venus’s very dark side lurking underneath her beauty and charm.

Last Sunday, I travelled to the city to get my laptop (which keyboard I damaged by water). Hungry, I went to Pizza Hut to eat Spaghetti al Pesto, my favorite pasta. All waiters were busy, and it was hard for me to capture their attention so that I could eat. When I finally finished my pasta, I looked around so a waiter can take my money. One young-looking waiter (whom I guessed was probably about my age) went up to me, always smiling. The closeness was suspicious, and his smiles were really cute. I really did not assume anything – but when he gave me my change in a very little tray, I saw that there was a tissue underneath with his name and mobile number and a smiley. I looked for him again and asked whose number was it, and he told me that it was his, trying hard not to get noticed. I went away smiling secretly until I travelled back to my dormitory. While I was in the jeepney, I texted the number that he gave me. It was really him, and I discovered that he liked me. And that’s how everything began.

Maybe I was too bored. Or maybe I was just so excited to have a proof of my attractiveness. I fondly remembered him as having a very cute, innocent, and kind face. He was fair, slim, and tall. He was really a kind of guy that most girls would get infatuated with, just because of his gentleness and sweetness inside out. I told him that I have a boyfriend. He got sad for a little while, but he still texted me. I felt guilty for my very loyal boyfriend but me and JR* were just so infatuated with each other. Last Sunday night was also a bit depressing for me because of the confusion that I had and the guilt that I felt for my boyfriend. I was even wondering if that event was meant by the universe to happen and if I already had to move on to the next guy. We arranged to meet the next day to talk things out. I also had to get my laptop again (which I failed to do on Sunday) and he decided to not attend his classes that day just to have a date with me.

When we met the next day (Monday), I was a bit disappointed that he was slightly different from what I thought he was. He looked less handsome to me and he was not really sweet and gentle at all times. I even thought that maybe he only wanted sex from me. Because he did. He wanted it so badly. He is a very sensual person, very physical – and while I want those qualities from a man, my trust is usually not easily won (romantically) and so my body is not easily gotten by the male species. He used emotional manipulation to lure me into a motel. I was in a very confused state, hoping that things were more innocent that they actually were. He promised that he wouldn’t do anything to me but express his love; but apparently, he really wanted to have sex. He even took off his clothes while I was a bit terrified and begging him to spare me. But I allowed him to kiss me. It was really sensual. I really like the feeling of having a guy kiss me slowly while holding my body. He was trying to do things to make me give up my virginity, but fortunately, I controlled myself and remained a virgin (Just in case you don’t know, I am a proud virgin. Haha!). I was just blabbing about anything under the sun the whole time, somehow hoping that my monologues would be a distraction to whatever that might happen. I could tell that he was a bit disappointed. But after that moment, we became really close. When we went back into the mall, we could already hug and kiss each other in public. And I became more confused about my feelings. But deep inside I know that my body may want him while my heart doesn’t. I realized that every man is capable of sex, so we must think carefully before choosing men and being with one.

Before this week ended, I also ended my affair with JR. So far, I have pondered that JR and I were not really compatible because we are both pigheaded and I, being a literature major, is automatically extremely judgmental (I’m not proud of this) of people who spell and pronounce things wrong. Another thing that turned me off is that he was always pressuring me into sex, while reassuring me of his love. But I still believe that true love means respect for each other’s beliefs and just wanting each other’s presence even without sex. (By that I do not mean abstinence, but sex must come naturally and not by pressuring or manipulation.) Knowing my shadow side, I can also be very cunning and dishonest when the situation demands it–and I don’t like how he cannot know that I am not in love with him despite what I was saying to him. I can love him as a friend, or a very close friend, but I would be violating myself (not just in the physical sense) if I get into a relationship with him. I love having the love that he’s giving me, but not necessarily the fact that it is he who gives me that love. My inner knowing just tells me that this is so wrong. Not just because I would hurt my boyfriend, but because I would hurt myself too if I am with the one that I don’t love. Weighing everything, my boyfriend is still heavier. With him I am more secure and safer. With him I am happier, even without sexual acts. Maybe it’s because we’re already past the lusty stage in our relationship – but nonetheless, everything would get hurtful if I choose JR. My boyfriend is very innocent and loyal, and he loves me so much. I would only cause hurt and chaos if I give in to this temptation. And I’ve already had enough of that.

I am just going through the beginning of the Venus retrograde this time and I don’t know what things are yet in store for us, but things like these make us think of the real value of the relationships we have in our lives, and can even make us reassess which things or people we truly value. As for friendship, my bestest friend in the whole world (Angel) is still on my side and we have grown closer than ever. We really enjoy each other’s company so much that just writing this is already making me teary. Meanwhile, Druzhina* is still (maybe accidentally) destroying my reputation and it hurts me because I have lost many friends because of her. Still, I am not regretful of what happened because it exposed the people who truly care about me and who just wants to see me fall. Sometimes I think about being reconciled with her, but every single time I try, she avoids and rejects me. But she still hasn’t moved on. I guessed they’re just out to destroy me. There are no other options but to feel the pain and avoid people that only bring hurt. During this time of my life, I can say that there are only two people who deeply love and care about me. And that is my boyfriend and my best friend.

*Names are hidden for privacy purposes.
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