The Million Speak

by Joy Icayan It’s a rainy morning in Manila, where sixty thousand people have converged in Luneta Park to protest against the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), regular allocations to legislators amounting to millions in pesos. The protest, dubbed the Million People March is happening around the country with key rallies in…

The Boys of Tondo

by Joy Icayan After a ten-hour land trip, the L300 parked in front of the Church. We had reached Legazpi, Albay, a province south of Manila just a year before ravaged by a deadly typhoon, which left hundreds dead. It was almost Christmas—Christmas lights hung from the trees around the plaza. In the center, a…

Nation and Forgetting

by Joy Icayan Stepping inside the Marcos Museum in Batac, Ilocos feels like stepping into a different time capsule. The museum, which also houses the remains of the late dictator, resembles more a shrine for a person deemed half human, half god. The walls are decorated with framed notes, fragments of letters and Marcos’ personal…

Rewriting

by Joy Icayan “You have the advantage of youth, use it to win.” An old remembered advice from an old job. That was years back, just post college and unsure of what we were doing, trying to sell products whose own reasons for existing eluded us. Someone was always trying to do something else—trying to…

When Boys Grow Up

by Joy Icayan The Philippine local version of Big Brother, Pinoy Big Brother, featured the cringe-worthy circumcision of an eighteen year old Filipino Italian boy. Perhaps less cringe-worthy, although quite fascinating was the other housemates’ (and audience’s) shock that they were living in a house with an uncircumcised teen, and then the support, thinly veiled…

The Politics of Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao has achieved what most Philippine leaders have not—stop crime. For the duration of the Pacquiao fever at least. The widely shared sentiment is more than a joke. Every time Pacquiao goes to the boxing ring, everyone stays in their homes, glued to the television sets. Strangers in bars watching television become instant friends, hollering…

Belief in a Just World

by Joy Icayan I was home sick when the news of the Japan earthquake came in. I could only hear the television from the other apartment talking about something huge, because the local reporters started referring to CNN, when normally the news would be comfortably confined to local political bickering and showbiz chutzpah. It was…