The Right Balance

I am a twin momma but also most of the time, I am a working momma. I can say its been a grueling past couple of months at work. I have been very open that this has been the most challenging team and role I’ve been in. It’s my first team to lead, a team which is concept-wise, very technical and urgent and demanding. Add to that the pressure of handling people, making sure to balance being fair and to meet clients’ needs. Sometimes, when things gets too stressful, I get to the point where I think twice if this was really what I wanted.

A month after I got back from maternity leave, I got an opportunity to lead my very own team in TCS Manila. It was something that I’ve prayed for for a long time but I never really thought of the challenge that comes along with it. Of course, each one of us have career goals. Mine is to be able to manage people and arrive on that point of my career where I no longer have to work on shifting schedule and work more on the background. I never knew that the journey towards it wasn’t easy, I mean, if it was, I guess I wouldn’t know how to work hard for it, right?

I was able to lead a total of 5 people in our team (and soon 6!). I haven’t had any experience of such, to be honest, so I had no idea how hard it would be. Aside from the work in the operational side, this was another big challenge for me: handling people. You meet different types of people at work and you have to know how to adjust and approach each one of them. I always have to remind myself to be fair, to commend what needs to be commended, and also how to get their attention if needed. I guess I also have this fear of being perceived as a “strict team lead”. But as I go along with it, there are times when you just need to be strict so they can learn from their mistakes. At this point, I have no clue how my team perceives me but I am doing my best to lead the best way I could possibly lead.

When I had this opportunity, I told myself that I can finally choose my own schedule just like any other leads in our project. Almost everyone was on a fixed morning shift or on a flexi-sched. Unfortunately for me, I can’t do that yet. I have to be added to the shift roster due to the number of people in our team and because I also have to oversee both shifts for now. I hope that soon enough, I’d be able to establish a stable schedule, keep everyone up to speed with the trainings so I could focus more on the team’s whole progress with what were working on day by day. Being on night shift was such a bummer for me, I mean, I guess everyone feels the same way about the shift but twice harder when you’re a mom. But TCS Manila provides these services because its one of its perks to clients. The 12-hour EST difference is such a plus to North American clients. There are times when my schedule changes in a week (just like today!) because there are issues in our team which are critical, we have to make sure that we provide good shift coverage. If no one in our team can adjust, then I’d do it. I also hope that soon enough, I’d see the same initiative with the rest of my team.

All these points, plus being a mom, is such a huge everyday challenge. I have to think about my babies at home, then I’d have to think about my team at work. To be honest, there’s a point where things never stop for me. And then that’s when I over think: Am I really fit for this role? Or was it too soon for me? Should I start looking at somewhere else? These questions bother me sometimes when things gets too stressful. But eventually, I got to calm down and remind myself that its all part of how I’d be able to be strong as a leader. I mean if I don’t experience such, how would I grow right? God wouldn’t give me something that I wouldn’t know how to handle.

I salute working moms everywhere who knows the right balance. The balance between work, family and themselves because I am still working on it. I am struggling with it sometimes because my priority would always be family. But without work, how would I be able to provide for my family? So I have to achieve the right balance. Nayj and I are doing our best for our family, to pay our car and house loans, pay our bills, set a budget for our groceries and add to that the expenses that comes along with having twins! It’s crazy, I tell you. But we got by because we believe that God always provides. It may seem impossible but He does. Sometimes, I just ask myself how we got through with such a difficult month but I know its all Him. You gotta have faith.

I hope I’d achieve the right balance and be able to be an effective leader at work, a mother to twins, a good wife to Nayj and see the best version of myself.

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The Truth About Post-Partum Insecurities

I just relied on the effects of breastfeeding and my genes about bouncing back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I did though on the first few months post-partum, I even posted a photo about the weight loss. But fast forward to now, just like any other mommas out there, I still have the flabs and I did gain some weight. This, and a few other insecurities that every mommas face after they got pregnant. Oh how I wish it was that easy, or so I thought.

Weight. This is my most current insecurity. Though I do look thin on the outside (you just have to know which clothes can hide those flabs), I really feel unhealthy and big. I mean, when was the last time I had an exercise? After that 5K run which never happened again, there really was nothing that followed. Not even a downward dog in the morning. And you know what adds more to that insecurity? The “Memories” on Facebook on how your body was a few years ago… before the pregnancy, before the wedding, back when you had no effort on looking slim on photos. Now I know what they mean when they say, “I look fat on this photo” or “My face looks puffy in that angle”. Because, my friends, its one reason why I seldom take selfies anymore. I know I should do something about it, I should make time, but its all easily said than done. With a huge family, with a huge responsibility at work, all I wanna do is lay down and rest or spend time with the twins rather than going to the gym or do an hour of exercise. That, or I’m just really too lazy. But I do really want to lose all these extra weight and go back to being healthy, I hope I’d find time when the twins are much manageable. (oh please, stop making excuses! -me to me)

Hair. Which one of you had changed hair after their delivery? I’m not pertaining to a salon visit. Like for example, I had a nice straight hair before I got pregnant. Fast forward to now, after I had a short bob (due to excessive hair loss), my hair got curly and thick and dry and I hate it. Its always a struggle when getting ready in the morning. How I wish I had the courage to cut it all off and have really short hair but I feel like I might get more depressed with shorter hair. Now I’m currently planning to get a longer hair and then I’d get the treatments I want, have it colored and styled just like before. I really wish I have the patience because I really hate looking at my hair in the mirror.

The right bra size. After I got pregnant, I never got a chance to buy or wear a normal bra. My nursing bras were my bestfriend because its the only thing that’s comfortable. Plus, I know that my bra size has changed and will always change since I haven’t stopped nursing so I’d stick to my nursing bras for now. However, sometimes, the boobs doesn’t look good on some clothes anymore. I guess that’s always one of the reasons why I wear loose tops now.

Lost fashion sense. Where was my old self wearing these fashionable dresses and chic corporate fashion back then? You know my GOTO outfit now? A loose top and a pair of pants. It’s one way of nursing conveniently, you just have to pull your top and nurse, but also since my twins are almost toddlers, pants are very comfortable when you’re out and about and you need to run after them. I think I may be rotating just about 10 pieces of staples in my closet right now. Most of the others are stashed at the back and never worn again, either they no longer fit or they are just not convenient to wear anymore. And apart from this, have you ever looked at your old clothes and thought, “I’m too old for this,”? Yeah, that’s what I told my cropped tops from 2 years ago. Also, I never wore heels anymore. I can’t even remember how I got to walk on those 5-6 inches I owned before.

I know a lot of mommas still have a lot of other insecurities to tell but these are at the top of my list. Personally, these things kept on crossing my mind once in a while but I still tell myself to take it slow. As they say, progress won’t be overnight but of course you have to start somewhere. My twins are still very young and they rely on their momma too much these days that I don’t have any time for anything else. I’d say I’d take it easy, and maybe in a year or two, I’d have my “Project Hot Momma”, don’t you think? Well, I hope I’d have more time for that! For now, the twins are my priority, I’d want to take it easy and once I have my time back, I’d probably focus on myself this time.

Things Only Boy/Girl Twin Parents Understand

Being a parent to boy/girl twins is the best thing that ever happened to us. I felt like we are the most blessed because God gave us two babies as our first born. It has been a fun year to see two babies grow up as two different individuals. It looks awesome, right? Well, not always but we wouldn’t ever EVER trade it for the world. I have listed a few things that only boy/girl twin parents would understand. Most are hilarious, some are weird but most of all, everything is full of love.

People still always ask if they are twins. Even if they are on a double stroller or if they are playing side by side, with almost twinning outfits, people will always ask. I get it because they are fraternal twins and boy/girl twins are not as common as identical twins. However, sometimes the attention they get is so overwhelming, you’ll feel like you’re a parent to celebrities.

Getting them ready for a day-out would take you at least 2-hours to prepare. If I say we need to be there at 8AM, then we start to prepare everything by 6AM. Preparing what to wear takes me at least 30 minutes. I have to pack for all types of weather changes – sando, pajama, shorts, a shirt, overalls, socks and shoes. My yaya has to prepare for their mashed food baon, then get them for a shower and dress them up. The most challenging is how the adults prepare while both twins are roaming around the living room all prepped and ready to go. Haha.

It looks like you haven’t slept for more than 3 hours straight. Because you won’t. YET. I am so envious with parents who had babies who started sleeping through the night during their early months. Because our twins haven’t even at 9 months. You might think at least one of them does but they still both wake up twice a night. So for us, that’s four interrupted sleep. My yayas has requested for a week vacation this December so after theirs, the parents will take their turn on a staycation on our anniversary. I think we’ll maybe take advantage of an 8-hour sleep.

If you get to go out or have a moment with just one twin. You’re like, wow, having one baby is soooo easy. It’s like a walk in the park. When mothers of singleton baby complain about theirs, I don’t comment. Because I feel like having one baby is so easy after having twin babies. There was a time that we have to take Naya to the hospital with just me and Nayj and I was like, wow, this one baby is so easy. Everything is less to worry about. It’s a proud moment, too. Nayj and I thought that we are expert parents now because we experienced taking care of two babies at the same time.

You’ll start calling your twin stroller as an SUV. Whenever we go to the malls, eat out, or go on vacation, we always consider if our twin stroller would fit the doors, the escalator, the elevators, the mall aisles and if it would block spaces in between tables in restaurants. Twin side by side strollers takes a lot of space (yes, even on the car compartment), so you think ahead if you really need to bring it or not. Seeing single strollers makes me feel like they’re so tiny and so easy to handle.

Your breasts are producing milk for two. Amazing! If you’re a breastfeeding mom like me, you’ll be amazed by how much milk you make everyday. But since you produce a lot, you have to make sure you pump every 3 hours when you’re not with them because your breasts would be so full, hard and uncomfortable. People would commend you with your milk supply and even ask you tips how to produce such. However, I am not sure what to advise because everything was just natural to me. Even without malunggay, even without any other galactagogues, milk supply is still the same.

When you go shopping and you’re sick of sales people asking you, “is it for a boy or a girl?” Because it will always be for both. I think its a given question that sales people need to ask when you’re shopping for clothes so they can assist you. But the question also gets tiring. Sometimes, I don’t even ask for help anymore so I won’t get too restricted of my choices. But because you shop for two, sales people would be so happy to have you in their shop because you’d always buy in two. Fun to shop but not that fun on your pockets. Sadly, no twin discounts! Boo.

People will always compare their milestones. I am guilty of this as well. I tend to forget that they are still two different individuals. There will always be one twin who will get ahead of the other when it comes to their milestones. Then the other twin will always catch up with theirs in a week or two.

If you are used to two yayas, its such a big change when your other yaya is on a day off. The extra hand is such a big impact. Taking them for a bath, preparing their food, putting them to sleep and just watching over them in a day is a huge responsibility. Because Nayj and I are both working, the yayas take their dayoffs during weekends. They alternate whoever take theirs. Since weekends are usually for taking the twins out, it takes a village and a few extra hours to prepare. That’s when we miss those extra yaya help.

You get paranoid if you get the same attention to each of the twins. Whenever we go home from work, I always tell myself, greet both of them, not just the other twin. Play with them both, not just the other twin. And then I ask myself, am I giving both of them the exact same attention? What if the other twin feels like she’s not being held by mommy enough? Am I the only one?

You are super practical about everything. You don’t always buy two if you think they can share it. The twins share most of their toys at home so we haven’t bought two toys of the same kind. Because they are boy/girl twins, they can’t share clothes/shoes so you always shop for two. But you won’t buy a new one unless they’ve outgrown them. You have cheap diapers that you use at home and branded diapers at night and for when going out.

These are just a few and I’m sure that as they grow up, I’ll be able to post more things here. Yes, they are a handful but we’d like to keep it this way.

The Biggest Scare

Ever since the twins were born, they have always been healthy. Even if they were only born at 35 weeks, everything was normal and we were out the hospital after 4 days. Their newborn screening was normal. They have gained enough weight, I never had any problems breastfeeding them and their fever or colds would only last a day or two. However, last Friday was the scariest thing that we experienced as first time parents.

We woke up at 4am, our usual time to get ready for work every morning. The day before that, Naya already had slight fever and we’ve been closely monitoring her. Since 12 midnight, I gave here tempra as her fever was at 38 C. She was still sleeping after I took a bath, so I planned to gave her tempra again once she wakes up. I got ready while Nayj took his turn for a shower, then I looked after Nate who was already awake. A little bit later, Naya woke up and I positioned them sitting in front of each other so they can play. Before I gave her her next tempra drops, she let out a loud scream and saw her had convulsions, her eyes looked up and was not responding. I called yaya Kristy, told her what happened and she gave Naya a cold sponge bath when we went downstairs. Nayj said we are not going to work and we’ll go straight to the hospital. Her convulsions maybe lasted 3-5 minutes, I am not sure but that was the longest minutes of my life so far. I kept saying her name so she’ll look at me but her eyes was fixed on the ceiling. All I thought was, I hope this is just convulsions and she’ll be back soon. Before Nayj went down to start the car, Naya was back but she doesn’t look okay. She was crying and I know we needed to go to the hospital to make sure nothing else was wrong. She still has fever.

We went to the ER immediately, got interviewed with what happened and before we know it, the nurses put Naya’s IV, gave her paracetamol and we are being admitted. I was hoping we’d be out by that night or by the next morning because our family has a planned 3-day vacation in Canyon Cove that weekend. However, her fever was still on and off so she still needs to be observed. I was told to keep giving her sponge bath and a towel on her head to keep her from having convulsions again. When her fever goes down, she’s still that happy Naya that we can play with but I know whenever she’s not feeling well. She always wanted to be held and would cry on littlest of things. She cried everytime a nurse would come in our room. We felt sad that we weren’t able to join our family vacation but Naya’s health is more important.

The yayas are back home taking care of Nate. Nayj returns home 3 times a day to get his meals so we wouldn’t have to spend a cent for our food. He said that Nate was his bubbly self and it seems like he’s looking for his twin. The house was quieter daw when Naya was away. We are so thankful for our responsible yayas who never failed to get things ready for me, Nayj and Naya when we were at the hospital. Everything is ready whenever Nayj goes back home. The meals, Naya’s things and of course, Nate is being taken cared of. They were also disappointed that the vacation didn’t push through. We missed Nate all through out our stay in the hospital.

All Naya’s tests came out normal. No UTI, no bacterial infection, WBC are normal and her pedia suggests its just viral. She gave us a notice that she can go home by Sunday morning and that’s when her rashes came out. Turns out, she has tigdas hangin. Usually, when infants have Measles vaccine, they’ll have tigdas hangin 1-2 weeks after and it’ll last for 3-5 days. What’s funny is, Nate also had an on and off fever a week before but he never had rashes. It was just bad timing that Naya had hers days before the long weekend. I never did the sponge bath, I never thought about it. I never thought about convulsions when infants’ fever gets too high. If only I’d known, inalagaan ko na siya with sponge bathe and monitored her overnight so she won’t be having convulsions that Friday morning. We would’ve avoided the hospital admissions.

Nayj and I learned a lot of things that weekend. Even if kating kati na kami magbakasyon, even if the accomodations would be put to waste, we still prioritized our kids. Iba na talaga when you’re a parent. You learned the true meaning of sacrifice and when to put your children first. We are thankful and blessed na tigdas hangin lang siya. Plus, there are many more long weekends to come anyway. We’ll definitely make up for it. For now, we are happy that we are back home and we can take care of Nate and Naya. This morning, it looks like Naya is back to her old self little by little. Her rashes are also starting to disapper. I am hoping that she’ll get better na by this weekend.

Mom or Baby Things That You Can Survive Without

In this day and age of being a millenial first time mom, once you get pregnant, you'd be bombarded with various products that would endorse you with the safest, cleanest, chemical-free, hypo-allergenic products that would confuse you on which one you'll get. There are so many products available, some are even invented a few years back. And because you're a first time mom, you'd want the best for your baby and would settle for the best. However, sometimes, we tend to buy the most expensive but we can actually just settle for less. I mean if you're being practical (ehem, twins), there are baby things you can survive without even if it seems like every mom has it. You may be on your way to filling up your baby registry and these things can wait.

1. A UV Sterilizer. If you have the budget, go ahead and buy one because its a good investment as it not only sterilizes bottles but also toys, books or even gadgets. But, if you think this would break your budget, I believe a simple sterilizer would do – a standalone one or a microwave sterilizer. I was using the one included in my Avent bottles and so far, my twins are doing okay. I mean I think between this or a pump (since their prices are almost if not, the same), I'd say its better to invest on a good brand of breast bump than a UV sterilizer. At an average, these cost 12-15k each.

2. Yummy Mitts. We know that babies spend a lot of their months gnawing their fingers or hands but if you have time to clean their hands all the time, I'd say leave them with their hands on their mouth. They're going to outgrow them anyway in a couple of months. Plus, these things cost 1k+ each.

3. Bunch and bunch of clothes. As much as I loved dressing up before, I can't help but do that to my twins now. But, we all know babies grow up so fast. If you are not going out so much, don't buy a lot. Also, be open to people giving you hand me downs as it'll save you a lot of pesos. Plus, we are not going to be fined if we dress our babies the same thing every weekend. On anothet note, I find it ridiculous how some parents sell their babies' used clothes at maybe just 30-20% off off their original price. I mean, I understand that its branded and you needed the money but if its already used, I might as well just buy a local clothing brand than buy yours.

4. Swaddles. I think this all depends on your baby though. My twins stopped being swaddles by the time they turn two months. That's when they started being malikot when they sleep and the swaddles gets loosened up. And some babies hate being swaddled, they grunt and cry just so they can get our of their swaddle. I think if you want to swaddle your newborn baby, a baby blanket will do. There are tutorials for this online. No need to buy a swaddle or a sleepsack because they'll probably use them for the first three months (or less) anyway. These stuff cost 700-1500 at an average.

5. Playmats / bumper mats. If you can survive with rubber mats, I think this isn't necessary. I mean it's ridiculously expensive ranging from 12k-17k (yes, that expensive) and they just needed a place to crawl that is baby proof anyway. So why not DIY your way to baby proofing that would involve things you have at home (a rubber mat, a kumot or a few adhesives). I assure you, they can survive without it.

6. Breast Pads. During the first few weeks, your breasts will be leaking like crazy. But rather than milk going to waste to be filled in a breast pad, I'd say collect those leaks or letdown and build a stash around it. Buy Haakaa instead.

7. Zoli Nail Trimmer. I know we are very paranoid to not hurt our babies and cutting their tinee tiny nails is a skill. But if can do so with a small nailcutter, theb you can survive without it. For the past 9 months, I successfully did it with a regular nailcutter. Amazingly, I was able to do so even when they're awake.

8. Baby Plus. This is supposed to be a tool that can help baby's development even if she's still in the womb. I mean, personally, I believe in investing on baby's development outside the womb when they start to understand things well. Babies before have survived with just their mommas voice talking to them anyway. So I personally believe you can survive without it.

9. Baby Basket. If you're interested to baby wear, then I'd suggest you invest on a carrier than an expensive baby basket that you'll only get to use in only three months. Not only is it bulky but you are also carrying not just the baby weight but also the weight of the basket itself.

10. Sleep Positioner. This is another baby item that you'll only get to use for the first three months. Parents are very aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome so they want to make sure that babies won't sleep on their backs during the first few months. But as our culture is more into sleeping beside our newborns, I think you won't really need it. Just make sure you dress your baby warm so you won't need a blanket and small pillows are away from where he is.

These are the things that I can think of right now. Remember, these things might not be helpful to me but a lot helpful to others. It's not something I impose but giving you feedback on how to cut things from your baby budget. I hope it helps! It actually gave me an idea on also making a list of things which are essentials for baby and mommy needs. Stay tuned for that!

A Whole New Different Person

When I became a mother, I feel like I became a different person. The person that I was two years ago (especially when I see my posts on "On This Day" on Facebook) was a big shift to who I am now. Not only was I referring to the body changes or priorities but the whole me, as a person.

Who was I before? If you follow me closely on social media, my posts would always revolve around what I wear, complete and detailed OOTDs, selfies and vacation posts. However, it seemed like that person got lost. I lost that person in me who likes dressing up. When have I posted an OOTD? I don't even have time to scroll down my Instagram post for that. Or when was the last time I went to the mall and buy myself a cute outfit that's not even a work-outfit. I lost that girl in me who likes to play hairstyles or haircolors or try on some makeup. When I get ready for work, I lost that passion to find a complete OOTD-worthy ensemble or even do my kilay. A blush and a lipgloss will do. Luckily, I have a husband who prefers me barefaced and never really cared about what I wore. But I do miss that part of myself. And honestly, I just do not have the time to do all that anymore.

Right now, everything is about the twins. They'll only be babies for a little while. They're about to turn 9 months on August so I only have 3 months more before they turn a year older. Yes, that fast! Maybe by that time I'll have time to focus on myself more. A facial and a little bit of exercise, perhaps? I don't know. A friend of mine told me it would take a little while longer though. Haha.

I commend myself at times when I can come up with a cute ensemble when were out with the twins. Truthfully, when you're a breastfeeding mom, you'll always struggle what to wear every single day. It always has to be breastfeeding friendly. A usual top and a short is my go-to. I miss wearing dresses! A lot of them has been at the back of my closet for a long time now, waiting to be worn. And have I mentioned nursing bras? They're the most comfortable. I can't even wear normal bras anymore because they're not that soft and adjustable. So because of nursing bras, not all clothes look good in them. Also, I am still not comfortable with my new boob size. I find it mahalay at times. No heels since I got pregnant. I feel like I can't walk in them anymore. I can't believe I was used to wearing 5-inch heels before. When it comes to work clothes, now I understand my husband why he only alternates 4 button-downs every week. Less time to think about on what to wear every morning. So I am doing that now for a few weeks and it is effective. But yeah, I kind of lost my creativity with dressing up. Where is my "fashionista" self?

And let me start with my hair. The length seemed to get shorter and shorter. But when I had my last haircut, I told myself I'll keep it long after that. However, its too dry now. I stopped doing blowdries every morning as that'll keep it drier. Because my hair is shoulder length, its tikwas everywhere and I don't even care. Before, I would stress about it and would just put my hair in a bun. Pero ngayon, I just let it be. To be honest, I want to have it colored and have a hair makeover again but I find it too expensive and yeah, I just do not have the time again. So right now, it just came to my head. Maybe I can have THAT makeover before the twins' first birthday. Para magmukha naman akong presentable mommy on their big day. Right?

Ever since I got pregnant, my skin condition actually improved. I no longer get any pimples on my face so that's a good thing. So during those times when I don't want to put on any makeup, its fine because I have less to coverup. I was not really the full-on makeup type but I do make an effort before. Ngayon, minsan lipgloss nalang talaga.

I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but the flabs and stretch marks are still there. I miss doing yoga. I miss doing my pre-wedding exercises. I recently finished a 5K marathon and I am still thinking when I should follow that up. Again, the answer is time.

Or maybe, I'm just getting too hard on myself. I'm a first time mother. My firstborn are twins, can you blame me? But as my friend pointed out, the happiness that your children would bring is incomparable. Incomparable with your insecurities which of course is 100% true. So whatever it is that I'm feeling right now, I'd like to believe they are all valid. I'd like to review this blogpost again after a year and hope that maybe, just maybe, I got back to my old self or at least on one of the things I pointed out here. I may be a whole new different person but that is not a bad thing right? I became a mother to twins. That's incomparable.

Catcalling, Harassment and Why We Should Speak Up

I’d like to veer away from my mommy posts for once and share something about this. Now that I also have a daughter and this catcalling and pastor groups have emerged, it is very disturbing. I want people to know that such has happened to me several times before but I was never open about it, only shared most of it with my husband and I guess some of my closest friends. 

I felt very independent when I graduated highschool that I was open to the idea of a daily commute to Makati to attend college in Mapua. I live in Silang, Cavite and that was almost 50 kilometers away. Daily commute would include a bus ride, MRT and a jeepney. Catcalling seemed normal whenever I walk from one terminal to another. “Hi miss”, “suplada mo naman”, “uy chicks”, “hi ganda”. At 17, I thought those were compliments but why was hearing it felt so uncomfortable? In a span of four years of college, I lost a wallet and two cellphones but nothing was worse than being harassed in a public transportation. 

I can’t count how many times a man sits beside me, tried to brush his arm on my boobs and pretend he’s sleeping. Or a man stands in front of me in a crowded bus to brush his genitals on my shoulders or in my face. I once fell asleep on a bus and felt a hand on my hip area and when I woke up, the guy stood up as fast as he can. I also experienced a guy masturbating on the other side of the window seat while I sat alone on the other edge. Even bus drivers or bus conductors aren’t safe from such behavior as they ask the usual “may boyfriend ka na?” and other ridiculous questions whenever I sit on the usual small chair beside the driver. Once, a guy asked me to lean my head on his shoulder to sleep, and asked me, “San ka bababa? Gusto mo hatid na kita?” I was sitting on a crowded FX, and this guy beside me was trying to lean on my boob and I was so suprised when he tried to touch it from the inside of his jacket. I was walking at 6am in the morning when a guy on a bike rode towards me, flashed his genitals and asked, “Miss, anu to?” I once rode the MRT and felt a guy’s hard genitals on my back side. Horrible isn’t it? I was 17-20 years old then. I had no idea how to defend myself. I know how to leave from such situation but I was not brave enough to scream, to embarass a man or hit one on purpose.

On this day and age of social media, I am glad to see a lot of people, male or female, posting such and these manyaks are getting what they deserve. A public humiliation and even to the extent of their victims filing cases against them. But sharing this is also an eye opener that our public transportation are full of them and it can happen to anyone. Catcalling and sexual harassment is never okay. I wish I was brave enough to embarass those manyaks, to scream and tell everyone that bastos ang katabi ko, to leave my current seat, to nudge someone strong enough or to punch a guy on his genitals. I was a victim and I hope it won’t happen to anyone anymore, my family and my closest friends. 

These “pastor” groups just boils me from the inside. And I hope they’d all get exposed as online predators are more uncontrollable. People can share anything online to anyone now in just a touch of a button. Koko, the founder of Catcalled in the Philippines was right, ang bastos ay bastos at ang manyak ay manyak. They all should be stopped and put them on their place. I just don’t understand why there are such individuals. I support what he’s fighting for and every woman’s right to dress whatever they want in public and not get harassed. Or simply put, not being catcalled or harassed at all. Why can’t it be just that?