Saturday, May 28, 2005

My First Holy Communion Students, with their parents and Fr. Peter. The Sacrament proceeded without any major glitches and with the help of God, the church didn't burn down. :)  Posted by Hello

big day coming up

in a few hours' time, it will be the culmination of 4 months of hard work completed with the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ.

today is the big day for my first holy communion students. today, they finally receive for the first time, the Body and Blood of Christ. and so timely too, since tomorrow is the Feast of Corpus Christi.

how time flies. it was a little bit more than four months ago when i started teaching these children with my mom. i was so nervous and didn't know where to start. but the Holy Spirit guided me in every lesson and with the great help of my mom, we all made it through.

i am a bit nervous and i couldn't sleep immediately last night. there are so many things to do. it feels like i'm going to have them all married. well, married to Jesus Christ, of course.

i hope all my children will do well today and come to know the fullness of God's love.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

SFC Graduation Day

Today, I graduated from the six-week Christian Life Program Seminar which formally makes me a bonafide Singles for Christ member. After a year in Geneva and many invitations later, I decided to participate. The members eventually stopped inviting me but it was time I thought that I made myself a formal member. I have been tagging along long enough with my mom and my brothers who are all members of the Couples for Christ ministries.

It felt right six weeks ago to join. It gave me something to look forward to every Sunday. I heard many teachings. The usual 13-week seminar was condensed into six weeks here with two talks per Sunday except for the first Sunday which had three talks including the orientation talk.

It made me sadder to graduate rather than happier. I was going to part with all the participants as we break off into our smaller groups called "households" which has meetings once a week. I should be happy though because it is the end of something only to find a new beginning as a member of the SFC. Like a book, you must close one chapter, to open a new one. And you will never know if the next chapter is more exciting if you can't let go of the first chapters.

At the dedication ceremony where the older members prayed over us, a covenant was made. We promised to devote more time to the Lord, turn away from sin, and be of service to others. One could call it hard, but it only becomes hard if we choose to hold on to things that causes us to sin. "The spirit is willing but the body is weak."

As I begin my new journey as an SFC, I wonder what is in store for me. My facilitator, whose household I belong to is like an angel. She sends the right texts at the right time and it always uplifts my spirit to see God's messages in the form of human compassion and love. I look forward to meeting with my new sisters in Christ.

As the other members of the ministries were welcomed, praise songs were sung and old and new members alike hugged and kissed in familiar fashion. It was an awesome sight.

The new members had to make a sharing. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak. I was so nervous but I had expected it so I had something prepared. Although, I never really speak the way I plan to. But it went well nonetheless.

Six weeks is long enough to become a habit but short enough to miss it. I pray that all of the new members will grow in God's love.

A Critic Takes On the Logic of Female Orgasm

By DINITIA SMITH, Ney York Times

Evolutionary scientists have never had difficulty explaining the
male orgasm, closely tied as it is to reproduction.

But the Darwinian logic behind the female orgasm has remained
elusive. Women can have sexual intercourse and even become pregnant -
doing their part for the perpetuation of the species - without
experiencing orgasm. So what is its evolutionary purpose?

Over the last four decades, scientists have come up with a variety
of theories, arguing, for example, that orgasm encourages women to
have sex and, therefore, reproduce or that it leads women to favor
stronger and healthier men, maximizing their offspring's chances of

But in a new book, Dr. Elisabeth A. Lloyd, a philosopher of science
and professor of biology at Indiana University, takes on 20 leading
theories and finds them wanting. The female orgasm, she argues in
the book, "The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of
Evolution," has no evolutionary function at all.

Rather, Dr. Lloyd says the most convincing theory is one put forward
in 1979 by Dr. Donald Symons, an anthropologist.

That theory holds that female orgasms are simply artifacts - a
byproduct of the parallel development of male and female embryos in
the first eight or nine weeks of life.

In that early period, the nerve and tissue pathways are laid down
for various reflexes, including the orgasm, Dr. Lloyd said. As
development progresses, male hormones saturate the embryo, and
sexuality is defined.

In boys, the penis develops, along with the potential to have
orgasms and ejaculate, while "females get the nerve pathways for
orgasm by initially having the same body plan."

Nipples in men are similarly vestigial, Dr. Lloyd pointed out.

While nipples in woman serve a purpose, male nipples appear to be
simply left over from the initial stage of embryonic development.

The female orgasm, she said, "is for fun."

Dr. Lloyd said scientists had insisted on finding an evolutionary
function for female orgasm in humans either because they were
invested in believing that women's sexuality must exactly parallel
that of men or because they were convinced that all traits had to
be "adaptations," that is, serve an evolutionary function.

Theories of female orgasm are significant, she added, because "men's
expectations about women's normal sexuality, about how women should
perform, are built around these notions."

"And men are the ones who reflect back immediately to the woman
whether or not she is adequate sexually," Dr. Lloyd continued.

Central to her thesis is the fact that women do not routinely have
orgasms during sexual intercourse.

She analyzed 32 studies, conducted over 74 years, of the frequency
of female orgasm during intercourse.

When intercourse was "unassisted," that is not accompanied by
stimulation of the clitoris, just a quarter of the women studied
experienced orgasms often or very often during intercourse, she

Five to 10 percent never had orgasms. Yet many of the women became

Dr. Lloyd's figures are lower than those of Dr. Alfred A. Kinsey,
who in his 1953 book "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" found
that 39 to 47 percent of women reported that they always, or almost
always, had orgasm during intercourse.

But Kinsey, Dr. Lloyd said, included orgasms assisted by clitoral

Dr. Lloyd said there was no doubt in her mind that the clitoris was
an evolutionary adaptation, selected to create excitement, leading
to sexual intercourse and then reproduction.

But, "without a link to fertility or reproduction," Dr. Lloyd
said, "orgasm cannot be an adaptation."

Not everyone agrees. For example, Dr. John Alcock, a professor of
biology at Arizona State University, criticized an earlier version
of Dr. Lloyd's thesis, discussed in in a 1987 article by Stephen Jay
Gould in the magazine Natural History.

In a phone interview, Dr. Alcock said that he had not read her new
book, but that he still maintained the hypothesis that the fact
that "orgasm doesn't occur every time a woman has intercourse is not
evidence that it's not adaptive."

"I'm flabbergasted by the notion that orgasm has to happen every
time to be adaptive," he added.

Dr. Alcock theorized that a woman might use orgasm "as an
unconscious way to evaluate the quality of the male," his genetic
fitness and, thus, how suitable he would be as a father for her

"Under those circumstances, you wouldn't expect her to have it every
time," Dr. Alcock said.

Among the theories that Dr. Lloyd addresses in her book is one
proposed in 1993, by Dr. R. Robin Baker and Dr. Mark A. Bellis, at
Manchester University in England. In two papers published in the
journal Animal Behaviour, they argued that female orgasm was a way
of manipulating the retention of sperm by creating suction in the
uterus. When a woman has an orgasm from one minute before the man
ejaculates to 45 minutes after, she retains more sperm, they said.

Furthermore, they asserted, when a woman has intercourse with a man
other than her regular sexual partner, she is more likely to have an
orgasm in that prime time span and thus retain more sperm,
presumably making conception more likely. They postulated that women
seek other partners in an effort to obtain better genes for their

Dr. Lloyd said the Baker-Bellis argument was "fatally flawed because
their sample size is too small."

"In one table," she said, "73 percent of the data is based on the
experience of one person."

In an e-mail message recently, Dr. Baker wrote that his and Dr.
Bellis's manuscript had "received intense peer review appraisal"
before publication. Statisticians were among the reviewers, he said,
and they noted that some sample sizes were small, "but considered
that none of these were fatal to our paper."

Dr. Lloyd said that studies called into question the logic of such
theories. Research by Dr. Ludwig Wildt and his colleagues at the
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany in 1998, for example,
found that in a healthy woman the uterus undergoes peristaltic
contractions throughout the day in the absence of sexual intercourse
or orgasm. This casts doubt, Dr. Lloyd argues, on the idea that the
contractions of orgasm somehow affect sperm retention.

Another hypothesis, proposed in 1995 by Dr. Randy Thornhill, a
professor of biology at the University of New Mexico and two
colleagues, held that women were more likely to have orgasms during
intercourse with men with symmetrical physical features. On the
basis of earlier studies of physical attraction, Dr. Thornhill
argued that symmetry might be an indicator of genetic fitness.

Dr. Lloyd, however, said those conclusions were not viable
because "they only cover a minority of women, 45 percent, who say
they sometimes do, and sometimes don't, have orgasm during

"It excludes women on either end of the spectrum," she said. "The 25
percent who say they almost always have orgasm in intercourse and
the 30 percent who say they rarely or never do. And that last 30
percent includes the 10 percent who say they never have orgasm under
any circumstances."

In a phone interview, Dr. Thornhill said that he had not read Dr.
Lloyd's book but the fact that not all women have orgasms during
intercourse supports his theory.

"There will be patterns in orgasm with preferred and not preferred
men," he said.

Dr. Lloyd also criticized work by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an emeritus
professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis,
who studies primate behavior and female reproductive strategies.

Scientists have documented that orgasm occurs in some female
primates; for other mammals, whether orgasm occurs remains an open

In the 1981 book "The Woman That Never Evolved" and in her other
work, Dr. Hrdy argues that orgasm evolved in nonhuman primates as a
way for the female to protect her offspring from the depredation of

She points out that langur monkeys have a high infant mortality
rate, with 30 percent of deaths a result of babies' being killed by
males who are not the fathers. Male langurs, she says, will not kill
the babies of females they have mated with.

In macaques and chimpanzees, she said, females are conditioned by
the pleasurable sensations of clitoral stimulation to keep
copulating with multiple partners until they have an orgasm. Thus,
males do not know which infants are theirs and which are not and do
not attack them.

Dr. Hrdy also argues against the idea that female orgasm is an
artifact of the early parallel development of male and female

"I'm convinced," she said, "that the selection of the clitoris is
quite separate from that of the penis in males."

In critiquing Dr. Hrdy's view, Dr. Lloyd disputes the idea that
longer periods of sexual intercourse lead to a higher incidence of
orgasm, something that if it is true, may provide an evolutionary
rationale for female orgasm.

But Dr. Hrdy said her work did not speak one way or another to the
issue of female orgasm in humans. "My hypothesis is silent," she

One possibility, Dr. Hrdy said, is that orgasm in women may have
been an adaptive trait in our prehuman ancestors.

"But we separated from our common primate ancestors about seven
million years ago," she said.

"Perhaps the reason orgasm is so erratic is that it's phasing out,"
Dr. Hrdy said. "Our descendants on the starships may well wonder
what all the fuss was about."

Western culture is suffused with images of women's sexuality, of
women in the throes of orgasm during intercourse and seeming to
reach heights of pleasure that are rare, if not impossible, for most
women in everyday life.

"Accounts of our evolutionary past tell us how the various parts of
our body should function," Dr. Lloyd said.

If women, she said, are told that it is "natural" to have orgasms
every time they have intercourse and that orgasms will help make
them pregnant, then they feel inadequate or inferior or abnormal
when they do not achieve it.

"Getting the evolutionary story straight has potentially very large
social and personal consequences for all women," Dr. Lloyd
said. "And indirectly for men, as well."
I walked into the platform of life without any thoughts. No ideas of what to expect. No guide. A blank page and only my legs to take me where I should be. My destination – unknown.

Unexpectedly, I saw life in a hurry. I grew up too fast. Was demanded to act a certain way. At a quick glance, forced to give up my childhood.

I came to where I was led. My legs didn’t know right from wrong. I entered into situations where it was questionable and most of the time, not understandable or even uncomfortable.

This is my life. I am constantly seeking a path that will lead to fulfillment, happiness, and at the same time a road that will ensure my place in heaven.

It is a difficult task to know where to go. It’s even harder to follow a path that you think may not be for you but you end up threading it because you don’t know where else to go.

I find it awesome to meet people who have known all their lives, what they wanted from it. They knew how to get to where they wanted to be. I think it is a gift to know and to have achieved a dream. I think it is in that dreaming that we become most alive. If we don’t give up hope, there is always something to look forward to.

Having no means to an end may cause a problem for some but for the true dreamers, no obstacle is too hard to hurdle.

I am 24, a secretary, abroad, sometimes unhappy, but sufficiently blessed with good friends and family. I don’t know what I want from my life. But I know I want to write. What about? I don’t know. I seem to have random thoughts. They are all random thoughts. Maybe in time, the big picture will reveal itself.

I never take anything for granted. There is a lesson worth learning in each experience, however mundane.

As I walk daily to that path that I should take, if indeed it is even “my” path, I fill the pages of my life. I can see my happiness, my sadness, my weakest moments, and the peaks of my life.

Where will my feet take me next? What stories will fill the pages of my book of life? What compass will lead me to my path? Shall I travel alone or with someone?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

May 17 - International Day Against Homophobia

(lifted from a Friendster Bulletin)

Fifteen years ago, on 17th May 1990, the World
Health Organisation (WHO), the authoritative body
on the health matters of the globe, declared that
homosexuality is not a disease by removing it from
the official WHO list of mental disorders.

This validated what the gays /lesbians knew for
centuries, that we are not sick, just because our
sexual orientation was different to the
heterosexuals. Most importantly,it helped gay and
lesbians to overcome medical homophobia which
was prevalent for many centuries. It's needless to
say the importance of this date(17th May) to the
gays, lesbians living all across the world.

Plans are now afoot to lobby the United Nations to
declare May 17th as the "International Day
Against Homophobia-(IDAHO). A petition
supporting this initiative has been launched by
interested activists with the support coming from
leading LGBT organizations in the world.

At Companions on a journey, we support this
initiative of IDAHO and have officially endorsed the

If you are interested of this initiative or want to sign
the petition please visit

For more information on the petition and to know
how you could support the initiative please


In Solidarity,
Sherman De Rose
Executive Director
Companions on a journey.

Monday, May 16, 2005

behind every story

one of my teachers in college said, you could write about anything and everything if you wanted to. for one of our class exercises, she had us choose a topic that could be the most boring of all. we chose one of the classroom chairs.

we examined the chair, how it looked and why did it look that way. from the chair, we concluded that the college didn't have enough money to buy new ones. why didn't they have enough money? because of the budget cut. why was there a budget cut? because the budget for the education department was also being cut. instead of the consitutional obligation of congress to give the largest budget to education, it was going to go to the decrepit military services of the philippine republic. this was the time of the visiting forces agreement with the u.s.

aha! this is from one chair.

the same is true for everything in life. a tree, a flower, a simple park bench. i was walking in the park in front of our apartment the other day and we saw a cedar tree from lebanon which was planted in the 18th century. it was a gift to one of the geneva land owners at that time.

its majestic branches meeting the lowly earth was a sight out of a forest. the centuries old branches touched the ground winding and drawing spectators to come under its spell. it seemed like it wanted to hug the earth but couldn't.

like the tree, people are also stories waiting to be unearthed. i find that in listening to old people, there are so many things to learn. there is a passage from the poem "desiderata" that goes, "Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story."

i love to listen to people. i love to hear what they have to say and what they have been through. i want to know of their journey through life, for it might give me something to take along with me on my own journey.

like a stone on the road of life, each have their own story. each have something to give. each is an opportunity for learning.

so, before you dismiss those irritable boring persons that seem to bug you, look and listen. maybe like the simple chair, there is a story behind it all.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

my new photo blog

Check out my new photo blog at where pictures speak instead of words. :)

see me? Posted by Hello

i see you.  Posted by Hello

(When did they arrive in the Leman?) I wonder. Posted by Hello

my mammoth cousin Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

oh happy day....

today has been one of the genuinely happy days of my life. i had a good day at the office. not too stressful. enjoyed a crossword puzzle with one of my colleagues.

then, i saw my priest and possibly had one of the better confessions in my life. i didn't even cry this time. i usually do. i always feel like crying during confession. i don't know why. he gave me good advice and some jokes too.

after that, i sat with a good friend and drank some tea and ate some cake. we even tried to do math together. even if i wanted to help, i couldn't remember the mathematical calculations.

upon getting home, i ate some nice salad. then, i walked with my little brother to the park and he asked me all sorts of questions about anything and everything. we even see-sawed. both of us tried the monkey bars but it hurt our hands because of the cold metal. the shared time was great though.

on our way back home, we saw rantan, a golden retriever. my youngest brother walks him now and his owner showed us some tricks he could do. we even met up with his fellow dog. they've known each other for almost 3 years now. rantan understands spanish, while the other was an english-understanding dog.

having had so many activities, it was fitting to watch a movie and have family time with both my brothers. we sat down to watch "super size me." the horror!!! but it was informative and funny. it was a perfect night cap.

and now, i am beside my mother typing away and recounting my day. i shall savor the memories of the day.

good night world. i hope you have a good and happy day to greet you.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Classical Concert at Last

Since coming to Geneva, I've managed to hear one concert by the Suisse-Romande Orchestra during the UN Anniversary last October. I haven't had the chance or the resources to watch others.

When there are free classical concerts, I am there! Well, as long as I can make it there.

Today, the Chamber Orchestra of Brigham Young University in Idaho played at the Mormon Church in Geneva.

Their repertoire included unfamiliar tunes but they played the familiar Mozart's Symphony No. 40, movement one to four.

It was music to my ears.

Brigham Young University Chamber Orchestra headed by Conductor Robert Tueller at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Geneva. Posted by Hello

Gursha = Ethiopian Hospitality

There's something one should know when going to an Ethiopian restaurant and eating Ethiopian food with Ethiopian friends - COME ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!

The other night, I went to Awash Restaurant, which is the "best" Ethiopian restaurant according to my Ethiopian friends. A mix of Ethiopians, two Rwandan, an Indian, a Russian, an American, and a Filipino (me) came to the table. We ordered the typical chicken dish served with lentil beans and spices. It is also placed atop a type of fermented flat bread. I don't remember the names of the dishes since it is hard to pronounce and spell.

It is customary to eat with the hands in Ethiopia. The dish is usually served on one plate and one should eat wrapping the meat and vegetable in the flat bread.

As we ate our dishes in shared plates, one of my Ethiopian friends fed another friend using her hands while raising the food to the mouth. This gesture is called GURSHA. It is a sign of care and hospitality towards a friend or a loved one. Since it is tradition, if you are offered a gursha, you can't refuse it, similar to the "tagay" (homemade drink offered to strangers in Central Luzon) in the Philippines. And it is bad luck to make just one gursha. You at least have to have two. You don't have to return the gesture but I did. It was fun to feed other people. It reminded me of when I used to feed my little brothers. It is also a custom in the Philippines to eat with the hands, especially in rural areas.

Since the bread is fermented, it had a little acidic taste which I didn't like very much. So, I couldn't eat much of the bread and ate less of the meat because I didn't want to start picking it up without the bread. But because of gursha, I was able to finish my dish. My friend fed me through out the night saying I ate like a bird.

You can easily get full depending on how many friends want to offer you a gursha. SO, a word of hungry when you go to an Ethiopian restaurant. 'Coz before you know it, you would be stuffed!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I don't know whether to feel humiliated or honored! I lost to a 12-year old Scrabble champion in an ASEAN Scrabble tournament.

I didn't know what to expect coming into the tournament but since I love word games, I thought I'd give it a try. I had heard last year that the champion was a 12 year old boy which goes by the name, Mra. Little did I know that he was also the son of the Myanmar diplomat who was also hosting the game.

Armed with only Text Twist practice, I lunged into the game with half an expectation to win. The 10 participants drew lots for the table they'd be placed in. Three tables in a (3-3-4) division. I drew table number three and sat right after. Then came along Mra and I got the word scare of my life! Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. Hehe. I was wiped out by Mra and another Indonesian representative called Flakes. Mra in his third turn spelled out "RUNNIER" exhausting his seven letters and getting the 50 point bonus. Already in the lead, he made the gap unimaginably unbridgeable.

Studying the words, Mra would concentrate and would look for words that you could add two letters to and get away with 36 points! Now, that's what you call strategy and luck of the draw!

The top two winners from each table were supposed to word it out in another round but the second-seededs wanted to leave for previous engagements. So, the winners from the three-person tables met with the top two of the third table.

I have no news who won because I also had to leave for another engagement. But it was quite an experience to play against a word genius. And I used to be called a walking dictionary! I now humbly surrender that title to Mra. :)

Monday, May 02, 2005

being my mother's daughter

sometimes, it is hard to be my mother's daughter. i am not as free as some children can be. when we left for her first posting, she said, "remember, you are an extension of me and by that you also represent the philippines." i took this to heart.

i thought it wouldn't be so hard. but sometimes it is. i wrote an article recently which i wanted to send for the philippine daily inquirer's "youngblood" but upon reading it, my mother said it could not be printed because it was critical of philippine government.

i felt so frustrated but she explained to me that it might endanger her position since she works for the philippine government. sigh...she apologized for this and said, if i weren't her daughter, it could be printed.

the iraqi ambassador said, "tell your mom to resign, so you can write." i just laughed.

simple joys: unexpected holidays

the advantages of working for a government agency in a foreign land are the unexpected holidays. we celebrate both holidays in the philippines and those of switzerland and even more locally, those of geneva.

today is may 2. in the philippines, there is a law that states that for each usual non-working holiday, i.e. may 1 (labor day), that falls on a weekend, it is automatically moved to the first day of the week, i.e. monday. so, there is no work in the philippines. downside is, i work for a mission that has its own schedules and two offices.

the administrative staff (WTO) in the other office respects the philippine holidays because they are housed by the mission to the UN (which observes philippine holidays). although we both belong to the WTO mission, the trade and agricultural offices have a different office. we do not necessarily follow the UN mission hours or their holidays because we have our own sets of meetings.

but today, the WTO mission in the other office has no work, i had to go to work because i am at the trade office. my supervisor upon knowing this holiday decided to let me leave work early. :) thus, my unexpected holiday!!! yehey!!!

our office advantage - we can choose to observe UN holidays, WTO holidays, Philippine Holidays, Swiss holidays....that's a lot of holidays! :)