“How do we connect the community through the arts?” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (June 24-30, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of June 24-30, 2015

How do we connect the community through the arts?

The event: SangDiwa 2015. SangDiwa 2015 is a day-long Filipino cultural exposition with artists, performers, textiles, fashion, art exhibits, and other creative happenings. The date: June 20, 2015, Saturday. The venue: Kalayaan Hall on the first floor of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco. The prime organizers: Global Filipino Network (GFN) – “Stronger Together.” The verdict: breathtakingly relevant and wildly triumphant!

The GFN’s mission is “to create a venue or platform where Filipinos all over the world can connect, collaborate, and be educated, through outreach, media, and online portal.” In his welcome remarks, GFN’s founder and president, Mr. Arnold Pedrigal, talked about the importance of collaboration, in the light of SangDiwa, which literally means “one voice” and figuratively, “one spirit.” After all, the GFN’s vision is “to see a stronger and a more united Filipino community worldwide.” Furthermore, Honorable Consul General (“ConGen”) Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. talked about the timeliness of this event vis-à-vis the 117th Philippine Independence Day month-long celebration that we as Filipino-Americans are having in the Bay Area. ConGen Bensurto said that nowadays, the most relevant meaning of the word “kalayaan” is the “freedom from being embarrassed of who you are.” He hopes that through SangDiwa and similar events, thrusting Filipino culture into the limelight, the next generations will be able to appreciate and value these traditions until it’s their turn to hand over the cultural legacy of what it truly means to be Filipino, sure and unashamed of their identity.

Among the many scheduled presentations on the program, what piqued my interest the most was the first afternoon panel, “Connecting the Community Through the Arts.” Starting from the moderator to the four panelists, all are distinguished achievers in their respective artistic fields. Ms. Geraldine Solon, the moderator, is a bestselling and award-winning author. The four panelists were: Eliza Barrios, an multidisciplinary artist, with works ranging from installation to performance art to new media art, all of which is informed by her experiences as a queer American Filipina; Peggy Peralta, an award-winning cinematographer, and if you’ve watched the documentary, “Harana” (Florante C. Aguilar/Fides Enriquez), you’ve just sampled one of over 20 films where she was at the camera’s helm; Kristian Kabuay, a self-taught artist influenced by Asian writing systems, calligraphy, abstract art, graffiti, indigenous culture, and technology, and the pioneer in the propagation and instruction of Baybayin, the ancient prehistoric Filipino system of writing; and Marconi Calindas, an award-winning visual artist with a unique rendering style, invited to display his works in public art projects and exhibits both local and abroad.

Geraldine addressed the very first question to the panelists: “What message do you want to deliver through your art?” Marconi began to share about his grand prize win in 2012 at the New Era Introducing Global Creative Project North America. His winning piece portrayed teen bullying and suicide. It was eventually exhibited in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Canada. Now promoting a book about bullying which he co-wrote and illustrated, Marconi said that his advocacy is through his art.

Kristian, riffing off from his morning Baybayin art demonstration and talk, reiterated his point about the intersection of identity, promotion, and preservation. If something indigenous is deemed of cultural value, then this leads to its preservation. He is now the leading authority and proponent of Baybayin, first learning its stringent rules and then eventually making it his own. He developed a modern performance style of the writing system called “Tulang Kalis” (Poetry of the Sword), demonstrating the art and lecturing in prestigious academic and cultural venues in his tireless advocacy for reawakening the indigenous spirit through decolonization and Baybayin. For Peggy, her visual work is an expression of her soul and her identity as a Filipina. She recalls the ConGen’s earlier remark about when you’re in the Philippines you just take it for granted; it’s when you leave the Philippines that you begin to appreciate it. That was surely her experience when she was filming “Harana,” for instance. After going through the ropes as a beginner, armed with her talent and passion, she now has her own creative shop, Head of the Dog Pictures, established in San Francisco in 2008. Later in the forum, she was to remark, “At this point, I’m being paid to play.” What a wonderful state to be in, being paid for what you love to do! On the question of is art still relevant, yay or nay, Peggy says that survival is insufficient so we will find that we express ourselves through the arts.

According to Eliza, art was not even discussed in their own Navy-oriented family. However, through her own background experiences with race, identity, political activism, and systems of belief, she is now concerned more than ever with the analysis of the post-colonial mind. Right now, she does admit that she tends to compartmentalize between her personal and collaborative art. Through her collaboration with their group, the Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., there is dynamism in their thought-provoking video, performance, and public art for more than a decade now.

Among the important questions raised during the panel discussion was that of the role of the arts in building community. Marconi said that the children in his workshops have been very responsive to his efforts. With the advent of digital art and its attraction factor with the youth, he says that art will always be relevant. Kristian opined that seminars and workshops are very good venues to develop connections with fellow artists and the community in general.

A parent raised an interesting hypothetical question: “What shall I say to my child who says that he doesn’t want to go to school and just wants to do art all day?” Eliza told the parent to tell his kid to still go to art school anyway so that he can establish potentially lifelong connections with his classmates while they grow as artists together. Kristian said that one should get ahold of one’s finances and not to fall into the illusion of being a “starving artist.” Architect Mr. Norman Leoncio, among the audience, asked the panelists: “What kind of inspiration can you give to young people?” Peggy said, “Anything is possible.” Marconi advised, “Don’t stop – create something every day.” Eliza made a point about the youth being change agents while Kristian quipped that it may be better to have worked in a cubicle for a few years first to test one’s artistic vision. Now comes this question: “When can you tell if it’s a hobby that’s now turning into a career?” Kristian gave a pragmatic reply, “If you can make 60% of your day job salary doing art, only then should you consider maybe going full-time as an artist.” Peggy reflected that, after you have gone through the various stages of being an artist, turning professional depends on your confidence and self-respect. If you feel that all the signs are pointing to a life lived for art, then go for it!

With such talented, media-savvy, and plainspoken artists among us, I am confident that the present and future of Filipino arts and culture are in good hands! Mabuhay kayo, mga alagad ng sining!


“May is the month of flowers and mental health awareness” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (May 13-19, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona

For the week of May 13-19, 2015

May is the month of flowers and mental health awareness

When I was young, I remember being excited once school was out during April and May. I remember looking forward to the month of May because it seemed that many special events were happening in our community. The pomp and pageantry of the Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan processions come to mind. I remember being in awe of all those beautiful young women wearing makeup and shiny-with-sequins gowns, their handsome escorts in barong Tagalog, and the decorative arches that tower over each pair.

“Flores de Mayo” (flowers of May in Spanish) is held as a Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by offering flowers and prayers in her honor for the entire month. On the last day of Flores de Mayo, the “Santacruzan” (procession of the holy cross) pageant is held in honor of Reyna Elena and her young son, Emperador Constantino, for finding the true cross in Jerusalem. In the Santacruzan procession, many Biblical figures are represented, among whom are Methuselah, Ruth and Naomi, and Queens representing Faith, Hope, and Charity (Reynas Fe, Esperanza, and Caridad, respectively). The various titles of Mary based on a litany are personified by young women bearing symbols of what they represent, for example: Reyna Justicia (“mirror of justice”) who carries a weighing scale and a sword, or Reyna del Cielo (“queen of heaven”) who carries a flower and accompanied by two little “angels.” But don’t worry, if the symbolism gets lost on you, you can always read the young lady’s title across her “arko” or arch which looks like a rainbow banner over each maiden and carried on each side by a couple of strapping youths.

All in all, the Flores de Mayo, and especially the final salvo, the Santacruzan, could be one long procession indeed, complete with a marching band. However, you know what we Filipinos say: “Pagkahaba-haba man ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.” (No matter how long the procession is, it still winds up in church.) This could be taken to mean that even a longstanding courtship still ends up in a church wedding, or that a long-standing matter will be resolved in the best way possible, or that patience and perseverance will be rewarded with God’s blessings. These traditions held during the month of May have been handed down through the Spanish Catholic branch of our Filipino heritage in our birth country.

Closer to our current home and much more recently in history, May 2015 has been declared by President Barack Obama as National Mental Health Awareness Month (https://www.whitehouse.gov/…/presidential-proclamation-nat…/). It begins thus: “This year, approximately one in five American adults — our friends, colleagues, and loved ones — will experience a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress, and many others will be troubled by significant emotional and psychological distress, especially in times of difficulty.

For most of these people, treatment can be effective and recovery is possible. Yet today, millions of Americans still do not receive the care they need. This month, we stand with those who live with mental illness, and we recommit to ensuring all Americans have access to quality, affordable care.” The proclamation proceeds to mention that the Affordable Care Act has extended benefits to over 60 million Americans with mental health and substance abuse issues. The statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) still says that one in five Americans between 13-18 will have a severe mental disorder in a given year, and that mood disorders are the third leading cause of hospitalization among the 18-44 age bracket. We have been bombarded with media packets, articles, and websites aimed at helping us detect depression. I don’t have any argument with that and I truly recommend being familiar with the signs and symptoms of depression, especially if we are dealing with a loved one with a mental health disorder. Please do check out http://www.nami.org for additional resources.

Personally, I check three things as part of my mental health hygiene: my mood, appetite, and number of hours of sleep. It’s my sleep time which is the first to be affected when I notice myself about to slip into a mood change, and this means I need to see my doctor right away. A lot of our resources have rightly been allocated toward facing the aftermath of severe depression, in terms of consultation hours, medications, and other interventions which may reach crisis proportions.

However, I do think that we should also turn part of our focus toward the prevention of depression. What can we do to help ourselves? What definite strategies can we use to lift our mood?

I found a promising article (http://southtahoenow.com/…/spring-wellness-promoting-positi…) by Betsy Glass, MSW in the South Tahoe Now online news.
1. Practice relaxation skills: You can try guided imagery, meditation, or what I do sometimes, which is to tense then relax my muscles starting from my feet, then my legs, then my thighs, going up… they call it progressive muscle relaxation for short.
2. Socialize: Seek out a family member or friend. Volunteer or join a group.
3. Strive for growth: Challenge yourself by actually following your heart’s desire in your choice of jobs or activities.
4. Balanced diet: Make sure you get nourished properly with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, which are all full of mood-energizing nutrients.
5. Try something new and creative: Adding something new to your routine has been shown to be a mood booster.
6. Exercise regularly with others: You can walk, do aerobics or other activities with your friends!
7. Practice gratitude: If it were up to me, this should be a daily habit. Appreciate yourself, what you have, and the presence of others in your life.
8. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep: Anything less, like I said, affects mood adversely. Develop a sleep routine that does not involve caffeine or the glare of TV screens.
9. Recognize when you evaluate yourself or others. Review the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971): “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
10. Do one thing at a time with your undivided attention: Let go of distractions, whether they be thoughts, feelings, or actions, then gently guide your focus back to your task.
11. Surround yourself with nature: Find a quiet place where you can take in the sun for a while. Plant or place flowers in your work and leisure spaces. Maybe take off your shoes and stand safely on some grassy piece of earth. This is very grounding when you notice that you’re living too much in your head.

Wherever we are this month, my hope is that we will reflect upon our experiences and be all the better persons for it. Enjoy the flowery, mentally healthy month of May!


“Of what does spring season remind you?” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Mar. 18-24, 2015; page A7)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona

For the week of March 18-24, 2015


What the beginning of spring reminds us of depends, in part, upon the associations we have made throughout the years based on our philosophical orientation, personal memories, and cultural traditions. For an astrologer like me, for instance, I associate the first day of spring this year, March 20, 2015, at 3:45 pm PDT, with “International Astrology Day,” or the start of the astrological New Year, when the Sun enters zero degrees Aries in the tropical zodiac. This year, March 20 brings the spring equinox, a new moon, and a total solar eclipse. Plenty of heavenly happenings for every cosmic enthusiast!

For a master gardener like my mother, spring’s presence begins to be felt when her plum, apple, and cherry blossoms burst into brilliant flower. Complying with the drought regulations in place these days in Northern California, my Mom does not use a garden hose to water her valued trees and plants. What she does is to save the water from washing dishes and clothes into pails. Then she uses the old-fashioned “tabo” (dipper) to scoop the water from the pails to nourish her garden. She would gladly tell anyone who asks, that contrary to common belief, even water already grayed with soap from the washer will not harm plants. As for the water from washing the dishes, the rice and food morsels in it either serve as fertilizer or food for the birds.

For my father, who loves to drive to quaint serendipitous locales with my mother, spring reminds him of so many road trips they have taken as a couple who have been married for almost 46 years now. They admit that sometimes they like being “lost” on the way to their real destination because that’s what makes them discover new cities and friendly people. The city of Jenner, Butano State Park in Pescadero, Half Moon Bay, and classic San Francisco come to mind. Spring also means “spring cleaning” to my very neat Virgo dad, although every weekend of the 52 weeks of the year is like spring cleaning to him. In fact, on weekends he never fails to vacuum the whole house and to clean all the nooks and crannies that “generalists” like me and my mother miss. Spring, for my Dad, is also his time to learn new songs – church songs since he is a cantor at All Saints’ Church in Hayward, and secular ones to add to his already extensive repertoire of English and Tagalog songs, not to mention songs in several Filipino dialects. He sings as well as plays the guitar. I remember my mother telling me that when she and my Dad were still neighbors in apartments that faced each other in Zurbaran (now Fugoso St. in Sta. Cruz, Manila), my Mom became secretly impressed when she overheard him singing “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles, accompanied with his guitar. She remembers telling herself, “Ah, hindi lang naman pala ito pretty boy. Malalim din.” (“Ah, he’s not just a pretty boy after all. He also has depth.”)

Of course, in the home country, the months of March to May are ones of blistering heat, driving Filipinos to swimming pools and beaches across the Philippines’ 7,107 islands. When I was in high school, summer meant time to read pocket books, secretly check out my crush next door, and exchange letters written in longhand with my best friend Ellen Gerance (now Bauto), sent by post complete with stamps. Somewhere during summer is the observance of the Lenten season. During Holy Week itself, I remember our Guadalupe BLISS community organizing a “pabasa” (sponsored reading) of the book on the passion and death of Jesus and Bible verses. The host family offered food and drinks while we teenagers and some “manangs” (elderly women) sang the five-line stanzas in a prescribed melody which we varied from page to page of the book of verses. This chanting could go on for 24 hours straight, so we took turns until the whole book is finished. What can I say? Life went along at a much sedate and simple pace back then. Now going back to spring season here in the good ol’ US of A. Against all odds, flowers are budding, crops are being harvested, and we are nourished by the bounty of the earth. How truly blessed we are to live in a land of plenty! “America the Beautiful,” anyone?

Back in the Philippines, did you know that there is such a Filipina who was named a National Scientist in 1997 due to her work in plant genetics? Dolores A. Ramirez, Ph.D., born Sept. 20, 1931 in Calamba, Laguna, obtained a BS in Agriculture (Major in Plant Breeding, minors in Botany and Agricultural Chemistry) from the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture in 1956. In 1958, she received her MS (Major in Cytogenetics, minor in Botany) from the University of Minnesota. Finally, she obtained her PhD (Major in Biochemical Genetics, minors in Plant Physiology and Plant Pathology), from Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana) in 1963. Dr. Ramirez held important positions in both international and Philippine agricultural and faculty organizations, as well as honor societies. She is the recipient of many awards and recognitions, and she has authored or co-authored numerous books and scientific journal articles.

From the book, “National Scientists of the Philippines (1978-1998),” a publication of the Dept. of Science and Technology-National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST) Philippines (QC: Anvil Publishing, 2000), here is how Dr. Ramirez’s citation read when she was conferred the title of National Scientist by then President Fidel V. Ramos in 1997:

“Eminent Filipino geneticist, noted for her comprehensive researches on the cytogenetics of various Philippine crops; pioneering work on biochemical genetics, foremost of which are on the genetics of the makapuno mutant coconut, biochemical basis of disease resistance, gene introgression and molecular markers; and for significantly promoting the development of genetics in the Philippines and in many parts of the world where many of her students are zealously guiding it from the traditional school to the realm of molecular genetics. As a science educator, administrator, and policymaker, Dr. Ramirez has been at the forefront of national and international science and technology (S & T) policymaking and decision-making, and in institution-building for science and education.”

There you go – another feisty Filipina for you! You know, I’m really not updated about my alma mater, the Manila Science High School, located along Taft Avenue corner Padre Faura in Manila – but I wonder if the section names are still those of foreign scientists. May I humbly suggest that MaSci consider Filipino National Scientists’ last names as section names and then require the students to do research on the biography and achievements of their national scientist-section name? Just a thought.

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings (fee required), email me here: blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

“The magnificent womyn I know” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Mar. 11-17, 2015; page A7)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona

For the week of March 11-17, 2015


And then there were five.

A couple of days before March 8, which was International Women’s Day, a group of us watched “50 Shades of Grey” at the Fremont Pacific Commons just for the helluvit. One had to leave after the screening, so there were five of us who grabbed a bite to eat afterwards. I learn something new every day and the latest in the evolving parlance is “G.N.O.” which stands for “girls’ night out.” In our GNO, we ran the gamut of age range from 40s to 70s, and our zodiac signs were complementary: we had a Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo, Libra, and Aries. Hmmm…three mutable and two cardinal signs, respectively, maybe meaning that fixed signs require a different sort of entertainment.

There’s La Bella Dulce, a.k.a. the diva-ness Dulce Dizon, Silicon Valley professional by day, super socio-civic heroine by night and all the times in between. She said that coordinating GNOs like this is “like herding cats.” Well, she made this one happen, didn’t she? And everyone had a fabulous time! And then there’s Dulce’s aunt, Auntie Helen Marciano, 72 years old, a seasoned trooper and a woman of few words. There’s Juliet Cuaresma Macaraeg Quiambao, who insists on using all three last names to honor her mother, father, and husband, respectively. She is a generous patroness of charitable ventures and takes international trips with her hubby from time to time. Talk about the good life. For that night’s GNO, she had to drive all the way from South San Francisco and then ride the BART to meet with the rest of us. There’s Yvonne Loyola, an accountant and office management specialist who looks so young for her age and yet has definitely ascended up the career ladder and is a proud wife and mother, too. And then there’s me. Together, the five of us sat through a rather tepid and unremarkable film then went out for dinner in a restaurant that failed to impress. (I’ll leave my co-GNOs to post reviews on Yelp.)

Even if the movie itself was 2/5 stars, it still provoked discussion among us. First, all of us wanted to know what Auntie Helen thought of the movie – if she liked it. She made a noncommittal reply, preferring to listen rather than speak. Dulce mentioned one critic who wrote that this movie is a blow to feminism because of the dominant/ submissive ethos. Yvonne replied that taking on either of these roles is a preference, pointing out that before the male lead became a dominant in adulthood, he himself was a submissive first. Well, Juliet put her foot down on the plot point of an innocent boy of 15 being made a “sex slave” of his mother’s best friend for six years with nobody else knowing.

To Juliet, this just simply screams child abuse. “As parents, we need to pay close attention to our children, raise them in a Godly way and spend lots of quality time with them while they’re still young,” was how Julie put it. I feel privileged to be in the company of Dulce, Auntie Helen, Yvonne, and Julie because they give me a mélange of opinions arising from their beautifully unique personalities. We also made sure there was an ample amount of humor and fun! What a way to celebrate Intl. Women’s Day!

Intl. Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 each year, after its Socialist women workers’ beginnings. The word “womyn,” according to dictionary.com, is “used chiefly in feminist literature as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequence m-e-n.” Even with these distinctions, we are still living in a society where men earn more than womyn for the same job, where certain opportunities are closed to womyn, and where abuses are perpetrated against womyn and girls.

Despite the odds, we hear of stories of Filipina women throughout the years who triumphed over many limitations to make significant contributions to Philippine society. From time to time, this column will feature these feisty Filipinas who are truly “kickass,” as FilipiKnow founder Luisito E. Batongbakal, Jr calls them in one of his articles.

Let’s start with Maria Ylagan Orosa (1893-1945), who had four different pharmacy- and chemistry-related degrees. One was obtained from the University of the Philippines and three (including a master’s) were from the University of Seattle, where she settled for a brief while after being a stowaway, in her strong desire to gain the education geared toward her interests. Eventually, Orosa remarkably decided to come back to her native country to serve her fellow Filipinos. Here’s what Wikipilipinas.org has to say about Orosa’s career as a food technologist and scientist: “Orosa made many invaluable innovations and experiments in plant utilization, food preservation and canning. She developed the production of vinegar from pineapple. Her best-known invention, however, was the “magic food” Soyalac, a high-protein food derived from soybeans. Orosa is also credited with inventing recipes for banana ketchup, wines from native fruits, banana starch, soyamilk, banana flour, cassava flour, rice cookies from rice bran or darak to prevent beri-beri. Aside from the advances she made in food technology, Orosa also tried to improve household wares by inventing the “Orosa Palayok Oven” for cooking various dishes.”

FilipiKnow’s Batongbakal writes that Orosa’s mission in life was plain and simple: to make every Filipino family self-sufficient in terms of food, health, and nutritional needs. She was also a captain during World War II, caring for and feeding prisoners in enemy concentration camps. Her invention, “Soyalac” was crucial to the survival of those prisoners in Tarlac, Laguna, Pampanga, and the University of Santo Tomas in Manila who would’ve otherwise died of hunger. For her numerous contributions to the core of Philippine life, Orosa was honored and remembered by decree. Perhaps the most important landmark we are all familiar with is Orosa Street stretching from T.M. Kalaw to Padre Faura in Ermita, Manila. Less known yet equally significant is the building named after her and the historical marker within the Bureau of Plant Industry compound in San Andres, Manila. Former President Carlos P. Garcia also declared Orosa’s birthday (Nov. 29) Home Extension Day for her pioneering innovations in plant utilization, food preservation and canning.

There you go: sex, food, and chemistry vis-à-vis GNO and Intl. Women’s Day. Mixed together in a cauldron of womynly desires, the whole may amount to more than the sum of its parts! Let us drink and celebrate responsibly (wink).


“REMEMBERING DR. JUAN M. FLAVIER, DOCTOR TO THE BARRIOS” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Nov. 12-18, 2014) (Image courtesy of tumblr.com)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Nov. 12-18, 2014


When Dr. Juan Flavier passed away last Oct. 30 at the age of 79, he metaphorically orphaned many a physician and health professional who considered him as their inspiration for serving in the rural areas of the Philippines. Dr. Flavier was an early pioneer of bringing medical service to the far-flung barangays of the country, writing about his experiences with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) in his first book, “Doctor to the Barrios.”

Dr. Juan Martin Flavier (23 June 1935-30 October 2014) was a senator from the Philippines (1995-2007), and before that he served as the Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) from 1992-1995. Flavier was born in Tondo, Manila then moved to Baguio City where he studied at the Baguio City National High School. He obtained his medical degree from the University of the Philippines Manila-College of Medicine, and his Masters in Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in 1969. From 1978 to 1992, he was the president of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR).

In his first non-fiction book, “Doctor to the Barrios,” Dr. Flavier shares his experiences about his medical service to the village folk in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Cavite, both located in the Luzon island. I read this book on my own when I was still in high school. His subsequent books feature certain individuals in the barrios with whom he has formed friendships, including many humorous anecdotes and “parables,” as well. In the follow-up book, called “My Friends in the Barrios,” here is an excerpt from his foreword:

“When I joined the PRRM, I did so without previous exposure to the barrios. All my earlier life had been spent in cities – Baguio and Manila. So when I began to visit barrios and meet farmers, the experiences were intriguing and fascinating – it was a new world. Their language was poetic and different. Their ways did not conform with many of my own. Their humor and values made strong impressions on me. The strategy of knowing the farmers as a starting point for rural reconstruction made me aware of their humanity.”

President Fidel V. Ramos appointed Dr. Flavier Secretary of the DOH in 1992. Flavier’s sense of humor and upbeat personality helped launch many a department initiative with nationwide impact: Oplan Alis Disease, Oplan Sagip Mata, Kontra Kolera, Yosi Kadiri, Doctors to the Barrios Project, Pusong Pinoy, Stop TB, Family Planning, Araw ng Sangkap Pinoy, and many others. Dr. Flavier resigned from his post in order to run for Senator in 1995, and then again in 2001, becoming the 21st President pro tempore of the Senate of the Philippines. Aside from a perfect attendance record in all Senate sessions, Dr. Flavier authored and sponsored landmark legislations such as the Traditional Medicine Law, the Poverty Alleviation Law, Clean Air Act, Indigenous People’s Rights Act, Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise, National Service Training Program for Tertiary Students of 2002, Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, Plant Variety Protection Act, Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, and the Tobacco Regulation Act. (Wikipedia)

In the Journal of Infectious Diseases (1997;175(Suppl 1):S272-6), Dr. Flavier co-authored a study with Rudolf Tangermann and Maritel Costales titled “Poliomyelitis Eradication and Its Impact on Primary Health Care in the Philippines.” According to this peer-reviewed journal article, “through good routine immunization, the incidence of paralytic polio has decreased to low levels in the Philippines even before the national immunization days (NIDs) were initiated.” Since 1992 and I remember this quite well, there have been NIDs for polio eradication, promoted by Dr. Flavier himself in television ads about the Oplan Sangkap Pinoy. He was able to mobilize not just the health sector in volunteering for these events, but also the government in general, the nonprofit sector, big business, the Boy and Girl Scouts, and even TV and film actors and actresses. The study abstract further says: “National Immunization Days had a direct positive effect on child health through supplementary immunization with oral poliovirus vaccine, measles vaccine, and tetanus toxoid for childbearing-age women, as well as through the distribution of vitamin A.” The bottom line was that with improved surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and virus detection, wild poliovirus has not been isolated since May 1993. In addition to AFP cases, neonatal tetanus and measles are now being reported through the AFP surveillance systems in several regions. This was just one of the many successful health campaigns under Dr. Flavier’s leadership at the DOH. On the DOH website itself, Dr. Flavier is described as “perhaps the most popular Secretary of Health.”

I was still a medical student at the UP College of Medicine when Dr. Flavier was appointed Secretary of the Dept. of Health. At that time, there was an explosion of knowledge about community or grassroots medicine, utilizing modalities of alternative medicine like the use herbs, acupressure/acupuncture, reflexology, ventosa (cupping), and others. I remember being interested in all of those and would have wanted to explore some of them further, but it was not to be. Meanwhile, Dr. Flavier at that time was a ubiquitous presence in the media, promoting one DOH initiative or another, and the common tao can’t help but adore his jolly and positive presence. It was inspiring to see him at work. His charismatic personality endeared him to the masa. Clearly, in this diminutive man (in height only, not in spirit), the masses have found a champion for their health concerns, the personification of the government’s concern for the health and wellbeing of all Filipinos. Because of Dr. Flavier’s can-do and caring attitude, the attitude of most Filipinos became less resistant toward the government’s campaigns for health preventive measures. True, Dr. Flavier did incur the wrath of the Catholic Church hierarchy in the country for promoting the use of condoms and HIV prevention, but even an informal survey of Catholics at that time would reveal that the faithful think that the Church’s stand against artificial contraception was a little bit extreme.

When I was researching for sources for this article, I was dismayed that I cannot get a hold of any of Dr. Flavier’s books. The only hard copy I was able to borrow was his second book, “My Friends in the Barrios” from the Cal State East Bay (CSUEB) library. I tried Amazon and Alibris, wanting to buy his autobiography but it was out of stock. Maybe you and I could request the publishers to reissue Dr. Flavier’s books, especially in the light of his passing. Those books are timeless and I believe that we can all benefit from knowing how it is to serve in the rural communities which comprise at least 70% of our native country. Here are the books authored by Dr. Juan M. Flavier:

1. Doctor to the Barrios, Experiences with the Philippine Reconstruction Movement (1970)
2. My Friends in the Barrios (1974)
3. Back to the Barrios: Balikbaryo (1978)
4. Parables of the Barrio: Vol. I (1988)
5. Parables of the Barrio: Vol. II, Nos. 51-100 (1989)
6. Parables of the Barrio: Vol. III, Nos. 101-150 (1991)
7. Let’s DOH It!: How We Did It (1998)
8. From Barrio to Senado: an Autobiography (2009)

Dr. Juan Flavier’s diplomatic approach to the novel things he learned as a newly minted barrio doctor all those years ago paved the way for those of us who wonder how to mobilize community support for our projects and initiatives. Among the community-oriented lessons I have learned from reading Dr. Flavier’s books are: Start with where they are and what they know. Seek out the authority figures in the community and find out if they would work with you. Do not automatically assume that what you learned in medical school is superior to folk knowledge. Form friendships, be respectful, and be approachable. Simple lessons, sure, but these are the foundations of Dr. Flavier’s success as a barrio doctor and informed his legislation later as a Senator. He leaves behind a legacy of a life simply lived but with maximum impact on the Filipino psyche. His wisdom and humility will be missed.

Rest in peace, Dr. Juan Martin Flavier. You said, “Let’s DOH it!” With your exemplary life, Dr. Flavier, you surely did it and more.

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings, email me here: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“UNDAS” THE WAY WE DO IT IN THE PHILIPPINES in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Oct. 29-Nov.4, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2014


With prayers, candles, flowers – that’s the way we commemorate All Saints Day (a.k.a. undas) in my country of birth, Pilipinas. In the Catholic world, the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day is not until Nov. 2 but in the Philippines, it has become a long-standing tradition for the faithful to flock to the cemetery on Nov. 1, All Saints Day, with some of them opting to go a day early on Oct. 31 to avoid the crowds by visiting early, or they go a day early in order to stay overnight until the following day.

One week prior to Nov. 1, families go to the cemeteries to clean up and repaint the tombs of their loved ones, or they can contract with experienced tomb cleaners to do the job, sprucing up the area a little bit and doing whatever it takes to get the tomb or crypt ready for All Saints Day. Then on Nov. 1, that’s when the Catholic faithful troop to the cemeteries to have reunions with their family, say the rosary and other prayers, offer bouquets of flowers, and light candles. In our family, we light our candles, let them stand on the sconces and the top of the tombs, and we do not leave until the last candle has gone out and melted completely. We also bring some sandwiches and drinks to share and if we run out, there are always roaming food vendors who may charge an arm and a leg for their wares. But what can we do if we’re already hungry or thirsty, right?

Other families who have whole crypts that could be already be considered small houses bring their sound system and play blaring music. Other families bring their karaoke machines and sing out loud to their heart’s content. Some play cards or dance. Since some of these families plan to stay the night or even stay for a couple of days in the cemetery (the so-called lamay), these are the various ways for them to keep themselves energized and awake. Around Nov. 1, there is indeed a fiesta-like atmosphere in the cemeteries around the Philippines.

My previous personal experiences with All Saints Day revolve around the La Loma Cemetery. Let’s have a situationer. According to Wikipedia, “The La Loma Catholic Cemetery was opened in 1884 and is located mostly in the city of Manila and the northwestern part of Caloocan. The La Loma Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Manila with an area of slightly less than 54 hectares.” How does our family get there? It’s a yearly trek we’ve had to make and my branch of the family had relied on me in the past to get us there without getting lost. From our house in Guadalupe Bliss, we have to ride a jeepney to Buendia (Gil Puyat) Avenue, then ride the Light Rail Transit (LRT) until we arrive at the Jose Abad Santos station where we get off. Down the stairs, walk for a bit until we reach the cemetery’s main entrance with that distinctive arch facing Taft Avenue. From there, we have to walk past the church (upon which wall states, “Ako ngayon, ikaw naman bukas” (My turn today, your turn tomorrow) which my sister Cherry and I find morbidly hilarious), past the Barredo family crypt, then turn left, find the multi-level crypts for the dead nuns of a certain order, find the tomb with ascending pillars high on top of it. That’s my final landmark. When I see it, it’s time to shepherd my family to the narrow walkway in between this tomb and the ones on the same and opposite side of it. Pretty soon, we locate a certain tree on the left and identify the iron roof over our family’s mini-crypt, so far having two levels. And there you go: we have arrived.

Once we arrive at our tomb, we may say things like, “Hello, Lolo, Lola, nandito na naman po kami, dumadalaw sa inyo.” (Hello, Grandpa, Grandma, here we are again, visiting you.) We break out the candles, bring out the food to share, maybe even say the rosary and other prayers for the dearly departed. And the flowers of course! Catholics believe that this is that important day of the year when we, the living, commune with those who already passed, and it’s true for our family back then. We reminisce about our great-grandparents (ground-level of the tomb), our grandparents who are my Mom’s and her siblings’ (my aunts’ and uncle’s) parents (second-level of the tomb). The recollections we rehash could either send us laughing or crying due to those fond memories borne out of our shared experiences with our dead loved ones. Celebrating Undas is also celebrating family unity, a way of acknowledging that hey, we’re still here, we’re still alive so let’s make the most out of our shared identities and relationships as a family.

At the end of the day, our family makes the trek back home. Once it gets dark, it’s time to bring out the candles again, this time lining them up in a safe manner outside, near the doorstep of the house or outside the gate if the house has one. According to tradition, these lighted candles will help the souls which are roaming around on that night to have a guided path back to heaven. I used to go outside and walk up to a certain distance so that I can see all those lighted candles forming a path in our neighborhood. As I watch the lighted candles flicker and glow, I am comforted by the realization that those who have gone ahead of me, family and friends, are not really gone completely. For as long as my heart and mind periodically refresh my memories of them, they will continue to live within me, until it’s my turn to join them.

Ako ngayon, ikaw naman bukas. Undas (And that’s) the way we do it in the Philippines.

Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings, email me here: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“A Sampling Of Overseas Filipino Workers 2.0” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Sept. 10-16, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 10-16, 2014


First, we answer the question about last week’s creative writing game. We asked which between Stories A (the high school reunion) or B (the poetry contest) is truth and which is fiction. The answer: Story B is the truth. How did you do in figuring it out? Here’s an interesting feedback from one reader: “Blesilda: These are tricky – both are well-written, personalized, and have “larger-than-life” claims, which they support well with many details. If not for the romantic end here, this one feels most authentic and particular. The poetry contest one does have the resonant father angle but is not technically as detailed, or for me, convincing – still I’ll vote for it (because of the ending here, which I hope is true ).” Thanks to Mr. SW for the feedback! You sure got it right. Maybe you’re a father yourself so the father angle in Story B did resonate with you.

To continue with the disclosure, I did win first place in an international poetry contest in 2006 sponsored by the International Society of Poets (ISP). I honestly don’t know if ISP is still in existence because less than a year after I won, the mighty moving spirit behind it, Dr. Len Roberts, he of the multi-awarded poetry volumes and academic inclinations, passed away. Anyway, part of my prize is a book-publishing contract. It’s a good thing that I already have a manuscript to submit, since I’ve been dreaming about publishing my poetry since around 1996, when I was still in the Philippines. It took 10 years for my dream to come true. You can find my poetry book, “A Novice in Altruism and other Poems” at the Arkipelago Bookstore in San Francisco and the Revolution Bookstore in Berkeley. This includes my winning poem, “Villanelle of a Retired Overseas Filipino Worker” on page 64.

Now in honor of Labor Day last Sept. 1, let me tell you some stories of overseas Filipino workers. These are people who are known to me but I will change their names for the sake of their privacy. Anyway, I will just be presenting broad strokes about their lives so that we can get a sense of how diverse their working situations are. I know a couple of San Pedro Elementary School classmates who are in Italy now. Mina is a nurse in Bologna, single and sending several Manila-based nieces and nephews to school. Gabby got married just recently and migrated with his wife to Rome where they both work as engineers. In Zurich, Switzerland, my friend Susan is a number-cruncher/database manager for a certain teaching hospital. In addition to her job, she is managing a household of “boys”: her German husband (also working) and two active kids. Closer to home, there’s Viva who works as an office manager for a Silicon Valley company in San Mateo. After office hours, expect Viva to be in some party scene! There’s Pearl, a single woman in her 50s, a graduate of Economics from the University of the Philippines (UP), now working as a caregiver. Being Kapampangan, she sure whips up one helluva ginataang bola-bola with langka or a viand such as beef stew or pork sinigang. There’s Doc Tommy, my classmate at the UP College of Medicine Class 1994, who is now an infectious diseases specialist-consultant in a NorCal health facility. He says that most of the patients he sees are AIDS patients as part of his advocacy. Another classmate, Doc Sammy, is in Portland, Oregon as a pediatrician. He says that he recently limited his practice to only 0.8 time (i.e., Fridays off) “to prevent early burnout since retirement is still a long way off.” Way to go, Doc Sammy!

My former co-worker in a retirement center, Eduardo, hails from Quezon City and has been in the States since a few months after my own migration in late 2004. Ever since I’ve known him, he has held two jobs at the same time so that he could send a regular remittance to his wife and kids in the Philippines. As soon as he was able to do so, Eduardo petitioned them to join him in Hayward, and now they’re here with him, making him so thankful and happy. On the weekends as he has always done, Eduardo still collects bottles, cans, and plastic containers for selling to recycling centers. He continues to work as a driver for an adult daycare center and as a custodian for another care home. He has diabetes but that doesn’t deter him from working hard.

Another overseas Filipino worker whose story truly touched my heart was Tita Connie’s. She hails from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, a province south of the Philippines. She migrated to NorCal in 1996 and worked as a caregiver. With her savings from her job, she was able to send all of her four children to school. One is a supervisor for Continental Airlines in Tennessee while also on the Army Reserve, another is working in electronics in Fremont, another one is a CPA, and still another is a farmer and councilman in their barangay in Pagadian. Apart from that, Tita Connie had six other scholars from her hometown who are unrelated to her. These scholars are now all college graduates, a pastor and a motorcycle dealer among them. Furthermore, from her savings she was able to have a couple of sizeable houses constructed on the farmland that she owns. Right now her politician-son and his family live in the older house while one of her scholars and a helper live in the newer house. During Tita Connie’s 60th birthday celebration seven years ago (Dec. 8, 2007), a lot of people took their turn on the stage to pay tribute to the birthday girl for all the good she has contributed to the community. Some of her scholars were also there, saying that if it weren’t for Tita Connie, their dreams for a better life through education would not have come true. Nowadays, Tita Connie at 66 is still working as a caregiver and has no plans of “retiring,” since working keeps her mind and body active. As long as she has the strength and compassion to do her job well, Tita Connie will still be reporting for caregiver duty for quite a long time.

There you have it, snippets about a variety of overseas Filipino workers as they live and work today. Some stories are typical in that you know someone in a similar situation. Some are white-collar or blue-collar, high-end or low-end. Personally, I think this two-point-oh reimagining of the OFW in the 21st century is timeless and relatable, no matter what station in life we may be in.

If you come across my poetry book and turn to “Villanelle of a Retired Overseas Filipino Worker”… well first of all, you must know that villanelles in general tend to be sad one way or another, the way it repeats certain lines like a chant. Villanelle of a retired OFW? Guaranteed to be sad in another context. “Nobody is left for me to astound. / The ship of my heart has run aground” go the last two lines. You don’t know how many have emailed me after I won that ISP contest and told me how they said they could identify with the persona in the poem. All of us, the hardworking and caring OFWs that we are: we are united in heart and mind no matter where we may be in the diaspora. Hopefully we have established loving relationships with family and friends. When we retire someday and find our contemporaries dying one by one, let’s pray that we have stored enough good memories to look back on and sustain us because at some point, memories will be all that we would have. Ain’t that the sobering truth. And if we’re lucky, maybe some love left over.
Please tell me what you think: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

“The Cesar Chavez-Larry Itliong Connection” in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (July 9-15, 2014)

“The Cesar Chavez-Larry Itliong Connection” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (July 9-15, 2014)

Pilipinasblitz Forever – A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of July 9-15, 2014

For my generation whose knowledge of Cesar Chavez is limited to streets and buildings and a holiday named after him, the film, “Cesar Chavez” directed by Diego Luna could not have come at a more opportune time when it was released in theaters last March.

Speaking merely for myself, I do admit that I only have a vague idea about Cesar Chavez, although I do know that he worked in conjunction with Filipino farm workers Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz. There was a recent hue and cry among the more activist Filipino-Americans in the community, saying that the film “Cesar Chavez” conveniently downplays the role of Itliong, who had more than 30 years organizing experience and taught himself nine Philippine dialects and three foreign languages (including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish) to become an effective organizer and communicator to non-Spanish speaking members of the union. Another member asserts that what Cesar Chavez actually achieved was because of the triumvirate Kennedy-Chavez-Itliong, and was bemoaning the fact that while Kennedy’s contributions were portrayed “accurately” in the film, Filipino-American Larry Itliong’s equally big part in the struggle was not.

I am willing to overlook all that because there is such a thing as “artistic license” in the making of any artwork. Director Diego Luna was telling his biopic of Chavez from his artistic vision, and if there are “deviations” from what really happened, then I’m sure there is an artistic explanation, which may not always be logical. If the Filipino-Americans want to make their own film about the farm workers’ struggles, of course they are welcome to make one. In fact, Filipina-American filmmaker Marissa Aroy made the 30-minute documentary called “Delano Manongs” which premiered to a sold-out crowd in an Oakland theater in March, which I have yet to see.

However, in terms of the rights of farm workers, their demands for higher wages and more humane working conditions, this film truly made inroads into a middle class mentality like mine who never had to struggle so much for so long just for me to be given things I consider basic to human existence. Cesar and his fellow workers are just asking for dignity and an appreciation of how much their unstinting work brings prosperity and literally food on the tables of the plantation owners. (I just noticed that there were a lot of sequences in the film that were shot in dining rooms – the palatial one of Bogdanovitch and the more humble ones of Chavez and other workers.) The metaphor I’m getting is that what Chavez and his fellow protesters are fighting for is as basic as food on the table for them in their impoverished condition.

Other critics (Gleiberman, 2014; Silva, 2014) are quick to point out that the director should have emphasized that it was not the efforts of Chavez alone, his “heroism” as a lone-wolf savior, that made sweeping changes possible – but instead his hold on the masses, inviting the masses to share the struggle with him, and his charisma as a leader are what mobilized thousands upon thousands to follow his example. They say that it was Chavez’s ability to organize, mobilize, and embody his principles that drew many to his cause.

To this day, in Central Philippines, many farm workers are still haggling with the management of Hacienda Luisita, the sugar plantation owned by current President Noynoy Aquino’s family (on the maternal, or the Cojuangco side/former Pres. Cory’s side). They were promised via the Philippine Agrarian Reform Law that they can own the parcel of land they have been farming after X number of years. The Cojuangcos still have to make good on their compliance with the law, which is actually the result of a Supreme Court ruling in reaction to a suit filed by the farmers’ union. It is easy to see how the existence and presence of unions could make many a crooked business owner shake and quake. However, if this same owner just followed the rules, extended his humanity to encompass the many workers dependent upon his largesse without letting this fact go into his head, and shared his wealth more equitably — well, there you go, my personal pipe dream which has as much as a snowball’s chance in hell of coming true. If all that were true, then we will have a more just society.

John Lennon once urged us to “imagine.” Now I am afraid that there is a dearth in imagination, and since we don’t imagine anymore how things could get better for all of us across the board, then we just perpetrate petty violences upon each other’s rights, including the right to a decent life. The film “Cesar Chavez” will definitely not please everyone, purists and eclecticists alike, but for people like me who consider a look-back on history as something to strengthen my spine for future fights and advocacy for the voiceless in society, then “Cesar Chavez” hits its mark.
It’s all of us, together, who can make a difference. ¡Sí se puede! Yes we can!

Gleiberman, O. (2014). Also playing: Cesar Chavez. Entertainment Weekly, 52.
Ochoa, C. (2014, March). Two films differ over Cesar Chavez and role of Filipinos in farm workers strike. Retrieved from http://inquirer.net
Pascual, F. (2014, April 9-15). The law, not GMA or SC, farmed out Luisita. Manila Mail, p. A7.

*************For personal readings, email me here: pilipinasblitz@gmail.com

So what’s your Filipino Lightworker name?

As printed in the January 15-21, 2014 issue (Volume XXV No. 2) of the MANILA MAIL, Northern California’s Largest Filipino American Newspaper in Circulation since 1990:

Pilipinasblitz Forever
The metaphysical column by Bles Carmona
(maiden article)


First of all, what is a Lightworker? According to Jacynthe Villemaire of the Way to the Well, “Simply put, this is someone who chooses to use his/her innate talents and abilities to serve the highest good, in line with divine will. A Lightworker chooses to say ‘yes’ to Spirit and the greater divine plan.”

Through my Facebook account, I recently signed up for updates from the “Connection to Creative” page by liking it. The post that caught my eye said: “Find Your Lightworker Name!” You can check it out through my astrology and tarot page at http://facebook.com/pilipinasblitzforever.org.

In a nutshell, this table lists 26 spiritual sounding names for each letter of the alphabet. You’re supposed to use the third letter of your first name, and then combine it with one of the 12 descriptors based on your birth month. For example, my Lightworker Name according to that table is “Healing Light of the Lantern of Truth.” My Mom is “Peaceful Dove of the Noble Council” and my youngest sister is “Spirit Whisperer of the Third Star.”

I was creatively inspired by this to craft a Filipino version of the Lightworker Name table. In my version, there are 12 Tagalog nouns, one for each tropical zodiac sign. We will pair this with one of the 31 names of Filipino mythological gods and goddesses based on the date of birth. The two words will be connected by the Tagalog word “ni” (of). For example, since I was born on April 4, my Filipino Lightworker name is “Baluti (armor and breastplate) ni Tala (Tagalog deity, goddess of the stars).”

Find your zodiac sign Ni (+)
Aries-Baluti (armor & breastplate)
Taurus – Bulalakaw (shooting star)
Gemini-Bagwis (wings)
Cancer-Biyaya (blessing)
Leo-Bandila (flag)
Virgo-Binhi (seed)
Libra-Batas (law)
Scorpio-Balintataw (pupil of the eye)
Sagittarius-Batingaw (large bell)
Capricorn-Bundok (mountain)
Aquarius-Balangaw (rainbow)
Pisces-Balon (well)

Find the calendar date of your birth (numbers 1-31)

1-Bathala (Tagalog deity: supreme god of being)
2-Idiyanale (Tagalog deity: goddess of labor and good deeds)
3- Dimangan (Tagalog deity: god of good harvest)
4- Tala (Tagalog deity: goddess of the stars)
5-Mapulon (Tagalog deity: god of the seasons)
6-Lakapati (Tagalog deity: goddess of fertility)
7-Apolaki (Tagalog deity: god of the sun and chief patron of warriors)
8-Mayari (Tagalog deity: goddess of the moon)
9-Adlaw (Visayan deity: god of the sun)
10-Alunsina (Visayan deity: virgin goddess of the eastern skies)
11-Kadaw La Sambad (Tboli deity: sun god and supreme god)
12-Bulon La Mogoaw (Tboli deity: moon goddess and supreme goddess)
13-Kan-Laon (Visayan deity: supreme god and god of time)
14-Diyan Masalanta (Tagalog deity: goddess of love, conception, childbirth; protector of lovers)
15-Maklium sa Tiwan (Visayan deity: god of the valleys and plains)
16-Luyong Baybay (Visayan deity: goddess of the tides)
17-Sumalongson (Visayan deity: god of the rivers and the sea)
18-Diwata (Batak and Palawan deity: goddess who provides needs and gives rewards for good deeds)
19-Tulus (Tiruray deity: chief god who bestows gifts and favors to human beings)
20-Minaden (Tiruray deity: goddess who created the world)
21-Bagatulayan (Tinguian deity: supreme being and creator of the world)
22-Linamin at Barat (Palawan deity: goddess of the monsoon winds
23-Bunag (Gaddang deity: god of the earth)
24-Linamin at Bulag (Palawan deity: goddess of the dry season)
25-Limat (Gaddang deity: god of the sea)
26-Sisilim (Kapampangan deity: goddess of the dusk)
27-Libulan (Visayan deity: god of the moon)
28-Lidagat (Visayan deity: goddess of the sea)
29-Amansinaya (Tagalog deity: god of fishermen)
30-Haliya (Bicolano deity: masked goddess of the moon and arch-enemy of Bakunawa, the giant sea serpent)
31-Magbabaya (Bukidnon deity: supreme god and god of the west)

Now that you know your Filipino Lightworker Name, let your light shine upon the world! ###