My Top 10 Moments of 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2011 by kulturalguerilla

Inspired by kasama Nato Reyes, this is my reflection of my life defining moments in 2010. It’s good to look back and see the growth I have made as an activist, an artist, and scholar. Rather than by rank, this will be by chronological order.

10. Completing my first year of my doctorate program. It’s still beyond me how I managed being a full-time student while working full-time and being Malong Co-coordinator in PEP.

9. Art Without Barriers with Melissa Roxas. This event is where I saw before my own eyes the healing power of cultural work. For Melissa Roxas to lead this after being wrongfully detained and tortured by the Philippine military was truly inspirational. I’ve learned so much from her in terms of cultural work.

8. Performing with Diskarte Namin at the Power in Numbers concert. This band is a group of cultural workers I’ve always looked up to. So to be playing the kulintang with them was truly an honor. I saw it as my way of connecting with the late BJ Alisago, a member of Diskarte Namin who died a few years ago. Although I never met him in person, the kasamas tell me we share many similarities as cultural workers, and that to me is an honor in itself.

7. Seeing my family in Isabela, Philippines, for the first time. I finally got to see the land where my grandfather grew up and harnessed his farming skills. All my relatives there are still farmers, and though it’s a hard life, the simple way they live humbled me and made me appreciate my peasant roots.

6. Short expo program with Migrante International in the Philippines. Migrante was the organization we worked with during the typhoon disaster relief effort last year. I got to see firsthand the urban poor communities hardest hit by the typhoon, whose families have at least 2 members working abroad as OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). The communities are still rebuilding, but their resilience is inspiring. I even got to teach their youth Hiphop dance, and despite having to dance in slippers or even barefoot, they are awesome dancers.

5. Visiting the Morong 43 in their detention center in Bicutan, Philippines. You can read about my experience visiting them in my blog here.

6. Working as part of the Bayan secretariat in the Philippines. I got to see how the National Democratic movement in the Philippines works and what it’s like to be a full-time activist. In the process I met and worked with several cultural workers from Concerned Artists of the Philippines and Ugat Lahi. I was creating something creative almost everyday, whether it was a video, slideshow, or dance routine. This experience allowed me to live and breathe cultural work.

5. Connecting and dancing with the Philippine Allstars. Despite being world champions on several occasions, they are the most down to earth and humble dancers I’ve ever met. The level of passion the dance community in the Philippines is unlike any I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in the dance game for almost 10 years. Perhaps it’s because they treat each practice, each performance, and each competition like it’s their last. Many come out of poverty, and dance is their way out of poverty. They put their hearts out on the dancefloor because poverty is not something they want to return to. Some even put so much passion in their performance that they break down and cry when they’re done. Learning this taught me to never take my talent in dance for granted and always stay hungry. I’m thankful the Allstars also had me come in and teach to their students. (videos here and here)

4. Performing a dance piece for SONA ng Bayan. I’ve been to and participated in past SONAs (State of the Nation Address), but this was the first time Hiphop dance was part of the program. There have always been other forms of cultural work, such as rock bands, interpretive and indigenous dance, rapping, singing, and spoken word. But never has there been Hiphop dance, and I’m thankful and humbled to bring that to SONA. Performing a dance piece that fiercely addressed the social ills of society, in front of 10,000 of my kababayan, meant more to me than any other performance I’ve ever done in my life. This is what I want to eventually bring to dance community.

3. Returning to Soulidified Project a more committed, determined, and passionate dancer. Perhaps it was my time with the dancers in the Philippines that reignited my passion for dance. I may be past my prime and not be able to pick up the new styles of choreography as quickly as I used to, but the passion for dance still remains.

2. International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees in Mexico. I was able to meet with migrants rights and hunan rights activists from Central and South America as well as from around the world. International solidarity was strengthened in fighting for the rights and welfare of migrants around the world and for their voices to be heard. Also the profound respect internationalists had for the National Democratic movement in the Philippines was eye-opening to me.

1. The release of the Morong 43. When I got the text and saw the updates on twitter, I cried tears of joy. These are kasamas whose only crime was providing free health care to those who most need it and who were neglected by the government. Seeing the pictures and videos of them reunited with their families was a testament to the hard work and dedication we all had as human rights advocates in clamoring for their release. We will continue fighting to the release of the rest of the 43 who are still in detainment because of bureaucratic red tape, and the release of all political prisoners.

Looking back at all this, I’m proud of what I was able to do this past year. I’m humbled and thankful for all the people, the kasamas, family, and friends, who have played pivotal roles in my growth this past year. And since I also turned 30 years old this year, I feel determined and energized more than before. I see this as a time of rebirth, my completion of Saturn’s return, and have more ambitions in the coming year.

Here’s to an amazing 2010 and an ambitious 2011. Isulong ang pakikibaka at Mabuhay sa iyong lahat!


2010 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 4 times

In 2010, there were 16 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 46 posts. There were 12 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 27th with 48 views. The most popular post that day was “They Don’t Really Care About Us”.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for promotion of church people’s response, francis m, morong 43, what does paalam mean, and haiti quake.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


“They Don’t Really Care About Us” January 2010


“Paalam” Doesn’t Mean Goodbye August 2010
1 comment


Visiting the Morong 43 June 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on,


Journey to the Motherland May 2010


Helping Our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti January 2010

In Wake of DREAM Act Defeat Filipinos Reinvigorate Call for Legalization for ALL

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2010

NAFCON National Office

In Wake of DREAM Act Defeat Filipinos Reinvigorate Call for
Legalization for ALL

Just days after the DREAM Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate, NAFCON reaffirms its commitment to fight for Legalization for All. Rev. Fr. Ben Alforque, MSC, NAFCON President commented, “There are more than one million undocumented Filipinos in the U.S. who have a right to a decent life here in America. Our kababayan should be recognized for their legitimate contribution to this country instead of having to live in the shadows. We must strengthen our efforts to fight for their rights.”

NAFCON is opposed to the criminalization of undocumented immigrants.  Migrants, specifically from third world countries such as the Philippines, are forced to leave their homelands because of the worsening conditions of landlessness, joblessness, and economic hardship. It is this situation of extreme poverty and hopelessness that pushes them to search for livelihood in the U.S. and 190 other countries throughout the world. Rev. Alforque stated, “It is inhumane to criminalize undocumented immigrants because laws should protect people in search of a better life not persecute them.”

NAFCON points to the role of the Philippine and U.S. government in creating the conditions that forced millions of Filipinos to migrate and become undocumented.  Every year the U.S. gives millions of tax dollars to the Philippine government as incentives to implement policies which favor American interests at the expense of the Filipino people. For example the Philippine government prioritizes repayment of its debt to the U.S. controlled IMF/World Bank over the welfare of its people. Rev. Alforque explained, “The Philippines spends nearly 20% of its national budget to debt servicing while the allocations for education, health care, and social welfare combined is 17%.  It is the implementation of policies like these, at the behest of the U.S., that impoverish the Philippines and force its people to seek a better life in other countries.”

NAFCON demands the U.S. overhaul its immigration system to protect all workers, unite families, and unify our communities. NAFCON also calls for an end to U.S. intervention in the Philippines and throughout the world because the issue of forced migration is rooted in the creation of poverty and resulting lack of opportunity in the third world.

NAFCON urges its member organizations and allies to work toward building a mass movement towards Legalization for All and an end to policies causing forced migration. Lyra Ibarra, Chairperson of Active Leadership to Advance the Youth in San Francisco commented, “We need to make certain that all our kababayan are given a fair path to legalization. It is not just those who go to college or who serve in the military that should be recognized, but all undocumented peoples who contribute to this country.”


To join the NAFCON news list please send a request to
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns [NAFCON] is a national multi-issue alliance of Filipino organizations and individuals in the United States serving to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos by fighting for social, economic, and racial justice and equality. It was launched in San Jose California in 2003. At present, NAFCON members encompass over 23 cities in the United States.


For the Grown & Sexy: Old School R&B

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

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For the Grown & Sexy: New Jack Swing Era

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

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For the Grown & Sexy: Hiphop’s Golden Age

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

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Typhoon Ondoy…One Year Later

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by kulturalguerilla

On September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy struck the Philippines, wrecking unimaginable havoc that left thousands of our kababayan dead and many more displaced. It’s been considered one the worst natural catastrophes in the history of the Philippines, but the much worse catastrophe followed with the Philippine government’s lack of response to the damage. The public emergency relief fund was completely spent before the typhoon even hit, most likely spent on former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s extravagant trips to the U.S., which included a 100+ member entourage and luxurious dinners costing tens of thousands of dollars. Much of the relief efforts in response to the typhoon’s damage was left to non-governmental organizations, with little to no help at all from the government.

For us Filipina/o progressives in the U.S., our analysis of the situation in our homeland was clear. We could not and would not just leave our kababayans alone to fend for themselves, even though we are an ocean apart. We wanted to help in a way that was direct, responsible, and accountable, while at the same time being critical of the Philippine government’s inaction. A disaster relief operation of NAFCON and SanDiwa’s general program of action was always in place, but was never utilized until Typhoon Ondoy. This relief operation was thus launched, in cooperation with Bayan-USA and Gabriela-USA as BAYANihan for Philippine Disaster Relief. Gathering aid for the victims, both monetary and in-kind, became the primary focus in all of our member organizations. What soon happened in the several weeks that followed was nothing short of remarkable. Thousands of people came and donated what they could in terms of volunteer time, monetary, or goods. Hundreds of balikbayan boxes full of donated clothes, medicine, and food began piling up at the different drop-off sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York/New Jersey. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised at countless club events and fundraisers. Programming at our respective community organizations were put on hold to channel all our efforts into helping our kababayan. Filipino Americans who didn’t care about what was going on in the Philippines had a change of heart after seeing the devastation as well as the community’s efforts to get aid directly to our kababayan. I remember getting a call from one Filipino American in particular who said he never made the effort to know about his cultural roots because he felt ashamed of it, but after seeing on the news the sheer devastation, he didn’t want to be ashamed anymore. He said he’s now 33 years old, and now wants to help out as much as he can to make up for all the lost time he spent hiding from his Filipino culture. Despite our lives being disrupted and the stress of organizing the donations and events, I don’t remember anyone complaining too much, because we knew all this was for our people back home. In the end, we were able to ship 750 boxes of in-kind aid to the Philippines as well as over $50,000 in monetary aid.

I can’t believe it’s already been one year since the Typhoon Ondoy disaster, one year since our operation, BAYANihan for Philippine Disaster Relief. As I remember back to the devastation of the typhoon itself, the devastation of the government’s lack of response, and how our transnational community came together to rebuild and heal our beloved homeland, I’m always brought back to that very emotional moment one year ago, fighting to hold back the tears. This was by far the most daunting task I have ever taken up and also certainly the most rewarding in my life as a community organizer. I’ve learned and grown much from that experience, and I am still deeply inspired by our collective work as a community and the work we were able to accomplish, the breadth of work that still remains unmatched by the efforts of the Philippine government. This past summer, I was able to integrate with Migrante International, who took me to visit the communities they work with and that were hard hit by the typhoon. They did receive our donations, and sold much of the clothes to help buy beds and building materials and tools. They are still rebuilding their communities to this day, and it was truly humbling and inspiring to see them still pushing forward and surviving.

One year later, and our communities in the Philippines, though still recovering and still neglected by the Philippine government, are true survivors and still resilient as ever. It has been said that the Filipino is like bamboo, we bend but we do not break. This disaster, both natural and man-made, may have bent us over backwards to the brink of despair. But we have proven through our transnational collective effort, we are far from broken.