Perception, Reality and Cohesive Societies

I read an article many years ago that mentioned the stereotype of the Filipino maid in Singapore. The article started with, "One of Singapore's most popular comic characters happens to be a Filipino maid called Leticia Bongnino." I mulled this strange thought as I sat across the President of Singapore, Halimah Yacob, for dinner. If … Continue reading Perception, Reality and Cohesive Societies

Two Worlds: Growing Up Both Muslim and Catholic in the Philippines

I've always said that my feet step in two worlds. In one world, I inherited the Catholic heritage of my father, a native of Zamboanga, a former seminarian, and the person who had always reminded me to keep, in Chavacano, el temor de dios. Fear of God. In another world, I wear this hijab in … Continue reading Two Worlds: Growing Up Both Muslim and Catholic in the Philippines

Singapore: The Merit of Meritocracy and What the Philippines Can Learn

(I had the privilege to join the Young Societal Leaders program of the Singapore Summit, where 22 young leaders from all over Asia spent 5 days in Singapore being mentored by government ministers, top CEO's in the Asia Pacific, heads of international NGO's and more. Here are some insights from that trip.) I sat at … Continue reading Singapore: The Merit of Meritocracy and What the Philippines Can Learn

Unmasking (and learning from) Heneral Goyo

(This was originally posted on my Facebook account and had so unexpectedly gone viral, with currently 34,000 likes, 15,000 shares and a surprising feature on Rappler. Sharing it here to spark more conversations on quality Philippine movies.) Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral¬†was frustrating. But you HAVE to watch it and be frustrated too. Let me explain. … Continue reading Unmasking (and learning from) Heneral Goyo

Why the Bangsamoro Organic Law Will Not Be Enough

Today, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). Well and good. Coming from a family with roots from Sulu and Zamboanga, I understand why Muslim Filipinos have long struggled for autonomy. I now hope - along with most others - that the BOL becomes a concrete step in attaining peace. With the involvement … Continue reading Why the Bangsamoro Organic Law Will Not Be Enough

Youth as Protagonists in Preventing Violent Extremism

I am honored to have represented Extremely Together during the "Youth as Protagonists in Preventing Violent Extremism" panel at the first-ever United Nations High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism held in June in New York.¬†The event was made possible by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) and the delegation of the State of Qatar to … Continue reading Youth as Protagonists in Preventing Violent Extremism