sinag microfunds: dreams on canvas + bulwagan ng dangal

Sinag is a non-profit organization “dedicated to giving students in the Philippines the opportunity to complete their education and have a better chance in life. We provide an online microfunding platform which allows concerned citizens from all over the world to contribute any amount to a student loan fund that helps financially struggling students graduate from school and realize their dreams.”

Sinag recently opened an art exhibit and fundraiser called Dreams on Canvas on May 24, Saturday, at the Bulwagan ng Dangal near the Main Library) in UP Diliman. The artworks will be available for viewing until June 24. Do drop by and buy an artwork if you are able, or share this with art aficionados you know who’d like to add a painting to their personal collection.

If you want to help now, you can make a one-time donation of PhP 1000 and up, or be a sponsor by donating PhP 500 monthly. Read more about it here.

Or just share this post. :)

About Sinag.

Sinag FAQs.

Meet the Sinag Team.








J and I are UP alumni, and we have never heard of the Bulwagan. It’s a bit embarrassing. But it’s a beautiful place with rotating exhibits, so do check it out!







While the Spanish colonizers relied on friars and the mestizo class to rule the Philippine archipelago, the Americans — despite their egalitarian policies, democratic rhetoric, and efforts to ‘Filipinize’ the state — relied on Spanish-era elites — intent on preserving the status quo and expanding their base of power in a new period of prosperity — to ‘govern’ the country. The modern Filipino state, largely built and upgraded during the American period, had a simplistic democratic accent: elected legislature. The problem was that the ‘representative’ legislature was dominated by the landed elite, who, in turn, did their best to block any effort at developing an independent and powerful state, executive leadership, and bureaucracy, which could push for egalitarian policies such as land reform. There was no corresponding effort by the colonial masters to truly establish a powerful executive and bureaucracy, capable of prospering on its own. In this sense, one could say that — following Isaac Berlin’s concepts of freedom — the Philippines (under its colonizers) only developed an adulterated understanding of democracy, along libertarian lines, which emphasized ‘negative freedom’ (non-interference/intrusion of the state in individual’s lives and property) at the expense of ‘positive freedom’ (basic social and economic rights for all citizens). As a result, the Philippines has had not only a defective democracy — whereby citizens are formally equally, but in reality an oligarchy is in charge — but also a weak state struggling to craft an optimal economic calculus.


From “Why the Philippines Failed?” by Richard Javad Heydarian on the Huffington Post.

Reading this, thinking about this.

yolanda – ways to help

Typhoon ‘Yolanda,’ one of the strongest typhoons on record struck the Philippines, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and knocking out power and communications in several provinces.

Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Tormented survivors of a typhoon that is feared to have killed more than 10,000 in the Philippines rummaged for food Sunday through debris scattered with corpses, while frenzied mobs looted aid convoys.

Two days after one of the most powerful storms ever recorded flattened entire towns across part of the Southeast Asian archipelago, desperate survival tactics created fresh horrors.

On the outskirts of Tacloban, a coastal eastern city of 220,000 where tsunami-like waves destroyed many buildings, Edward Gualberto accidentally stepped on bodies as he raided the wreckage of a home.

Wearing nothing but a pair of red basketball trousers, the father of four and village councilor apologized for his shabby appearance and for stealing from the dead.

“I am a decent person. But if you have not eaten in three days, you do shameful things to survive,” Gualberto told AFP as he dug canned goods from the debris and flies swarmed over the bodies.

“We have no food, we need water and other things to survive.”

Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

For those who do not have PayPal and/or credit cards and wish to donate cash, this is the most convenient donation portal I’ve seen so far: Simply log in to and choose Payments & Reloading > e-Donations > ABS-CBN FOUNDN SAGIP KAPAMILYA.

(This portal of course requires prior enrollment for BPI Express Online and an active BPI bank account.)

Ayala Foundation and Bantay Bata are also listed under e-Donations.

Simpler still: anyone with a cell phone can donate to the Red Cross.

Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

Text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>4-digit M-PIN<space>REDCROSS to 2882

You can donate the following denominations:
Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000
Smart: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1000

Rappler collates a list here of groups that receive donations, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, LBC, DSWD, various schools and universities, and local government units. Here is another list by Rappler about Yolanda’s effects per province.

I personally believe cash donations are the way to go. The groups mentioned (especially the Philippine Red Cross) have years of experience in helping and reaching disaster victims. They would know best what items to buy and deliver and in what amount and where. The cash donations would also help defray costs of actually reaching the affected areas, some of which can only be reached via plane or helicopter.

We are safe here in Luzon, most of us stuck at work, but we can still help. Thanks for reading.

storm cloud-related news

MANILA, Philippines—Severe Tropical Storm “Maring” blew out of the Philippines Wednesday morning, a day earlier than expected, leaving 16 people dead, five missing, and more than 1 million in misery.

Although Maring (international name: Trami) never hit land, it intensified the southwest monsoon (habagat), generating torrential rains that pounded Metro Manila, Central and northern Luzon and two other regions to the south of the main island for five days.

Read more:

How’s that for a five-day storm-tossed house-arrest-like weekend for everybody? Our home in Bulacan has been flooded for a week now, as per usual, and our apartment floor leaked rainwater. Not our ceiling, our floor. I don’t get it either. I hope you are safe and dry and have enough food in your kitchen.

Silver lining: My short story collection, A Bottle of Storm Clouds, is included in the list of nominees for the 2013 Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. Nomination is open until tomorrow!

UPDATE (8/23): Longer list of nominees now that the deadline is approaching. The Viewless Dark also nominated for Novel in English. Thank you!

Children’s picture book

  • Mga Saranggola sa Tag-ulan (Kites in the Rainby Eugene Evasco (story), Bernadette Solina-Wolf (LG&M Corporation)
  • Naaay! Taaay! by Kristine Canon and Vanessa Tamayo (Adarna)
  • Ang Alamat ng Palay by Virgilio S. Almario and Conrad Raquel (Adarna)
  • Maia’s Birthday Party by Yvette Fernandez and Nicole Lim (Adarna)
  • Anong Gupit Natin Ngayon? by Russell Molina and Hubert Fucio (Adarna)
  • Pag-abot ni Kolor sa Lungsod by Susan dela Rosa Aragaon (Adarna)
  • Si Ambongan by Lamberto Antonio (Adarna)
  • Ipinaglihi sa Labanos (White as Radish) by Luis P. Gaitmaitan and Ray Sunga (Anvil)
  • Ninoy, Cory, and Noynoy by Yvette Fernandez (Dream Big Books)
  • Tabon Girl by Irene Carolina A. Sarmiento and Manix Abrera (Anvil)
  • Porcupirate Plans the Day by Robert Magnuson (OMF)
  • Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino by Noel Cabangon, Becky Bravo and Jomike Tejado (Lampara Books)
  • Siya Ba Ang Inay Ko? by Segundo D. Matias, Jr. (Lampara Books)
  • Alamat ng Rosas by Segundo D. Matias, Jr and Ghani Madueno (Lampara Books)
  • Rizalpabeto by Vim Nadera and Elmer Borlongan (Canvas)

Chick lit

  • Interim Goddess of Love (Interim Goddess of Love # 1) by Mina V. Esguerra (Bright Girl Books)
  • That Kind of Guy by Mina V. Esguerra (Summit Books)
  • From This Day Forward by Marla Miniano (Summit Books)
  • Wander Girl by Tweet Sering (Flipside Publishing)
  • Home by Kat Santos (Flipside Publishing)

Novel in English

  • In My Mother’s House by Joni Cham (Central Books)
  • Voices in the Theater by A.S. Santos (Flipside Publishing)
  • Woman in a Frame by Raissa Rivera Falgui (Flipside Publishing)
  • The Viewless Dark by Eliza Victoria (Flipside Publishing)
  • Salingkit by Cyan Abad-Jugo (Anvil)
  • Fish Hair Woman by Merlina Bobis (Anvil)

Novel in Filipino

  • Love-Child by Bernadette (Chapters & Pages Corporation)
  • Ang Lihim ng San Esteban by Annette Flores Garcia and Nanoy Rafael (Adarna)
  • Once A Princess by Angel Bautista (Precious Pages Corporation)
  • Extra Rice at Ikaw by Yna Paulina (Precious Pages Corporation)
  • If Only Love by Sofia (Precious Pages Corporation)
  • Halina Sa Ating Bukas by Macario Pineda (Ateneo Press)

Comics / Graphic novels

  • Trese 5: Midnight Tribunal by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo (Visprint)
  • Gwapoman 2000: Ang Huling Baraha by Aaron Felizmenio (Frances Luna III Illustration Firm)
  • Skyworld Volume Two by Mervin Ignacio and Ian Santamaria (National Bookstore)
  • Pepe (The Lost Years of Rizal # 1) by Ron Mendoza and Arnold Renia Cruz (Precious Pages)
  • Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Sa Kalakhang Maynila by Carlo Vergara (Visprint)
  • Pilandokomiks: Ang Tatlong Sumpa by Borg Sinaban (Adarna)
  • Hands of the Dragon Book 1: Rise of the Zodiac Circle by Jeffrey Marcelino Ong (Black Ink Comics / Precious Pages Corporation)
  • Vergil: The Warrior Angel by Arman Francisco and Elmer Cantada (Black Ink Comics / Precious Pages Corporation)
  • The Reaper by Nald Tabuzo and Vovoi Lim (Black Ink Comics / Precious Pages Corporation)
  • 3/12 by Manix Abrera (Flipside Publishing)
  • Kubori Kikiam: The Best Things In Life by Michael David (Flipside Publishing)
  • Tabi Po: Book 2 by Mervin Malonzo (Flipside Publishing)
  • Crime Fighting Call Center Agents # 3 by Noel Pascual and AJ Bernardo (Kowtow Comics)
  • Tatsulok: A Vision of Dust # 1 by David Hontiveros and Xerx Javier (Self-published)
  • Skygypsies by John Raymond Bumanglag and Timothy James Dimacali (Summit Books)
  • Mona: Queen of the Babes by Dark Chapel (Independent)
  • Callous Comics: On Lighter Dreams by Carlo Jose San Juan (Independent)
  • Mythspace # 0 by Paolo Chikiamco and Koi Carreon (Rocket Kapre)
  • The Hotdog Prince by Francis Martelino (Komikult)
  • Black Ink Short Cuts: Fairy Tales # 1 by Ron Mendoza/Jeffrey Marcelino Ong/Nald Tabuzo (Black Ink Comics / Precious Pages Corporation)

Short story anthology

  • A Bottle of Storm Clouds by Eliza Victoria (Visprint)
  • Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 7 by various authors, edited by Kate Osias (Kestrel DDM and Flipside Publishing)
  • Shades of Gray Vol. XV by various authors (De La Salle College of St. Benilde)
  • Under the Stacks by Saul Q Hofileña (DSH Publishing)
  • Pseudo.Absurdo.Kapritso.ULO (PAK U Journal) by Ronaldo Vivo Jr, Danell Arquero, Erwin Dayrit, Ronnel Vivo, Christian de Jesus (UngazPress)
  • Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (Volume 2) by Severino O. Reyes, Christine S. Bellen, Rebecca T. Anonuevo and Felix Mago Miguel (Tahanan Books)

Essay anthology

  • Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years by Susan F. Quimpo & Nathan Gilbert Quimpo (Anvil)
  • Tibak Rising: Avtivism in the Days of Martial Law edited by Ferdinand C. Llanes (Anvil)
  • Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo by Ramon Bautista (PSICOM)
  • Lovestruck: Singles Edition by Ronald Molmisa (OMF)
  • Looking Back 6: Prehistoric Philippines by Ambeth Ocampo (Anvil)
  • Savor the Word: 10 Years of the DGF Food Writing Awards edited by Michaela Fenix, Maya Besa Roxas and Felice Sta. Maria (Anvil)
  • Positively Mental by Elvira Mata (Anvil)
  • It Only Hurts When I Pee by RJ Ledesma (Anvil)
  • My Filipino Connection by Ruben Nepales (Anvil)


  • Alimpuyo sa Takipsilim by Roberto T. Anonuevo (Ateneo Press)
  • Isa Lang Ang Pangalan by Rebecca T. Anonuevo (UST Publishing)
  • Kung Nanaisin by Romulo Baquiran (UP Press)
  • Florante at Laura: Edisyong Tapat Kay Balagtas edited by Paolo Ven B. Paculan (Flipside Publishing)

Also found out that “Siren Song”, from the same collection, is longlisted in The Best Horror of the Year Volume 5. See the list, in two parts, here. Thank you!

The arguments of religious men


Crystal Koo

The arguments of religious men are so often insecure, and their insecurity is proportionate to their anger. Why do we get angry about what we believe? Because we do not really believe it. Or else what we pretend to be defending as the “truth” is really our own self-esteem. A man of sincerity is less interested in defending the truth than in stating it clearly, for he thinks that if the truth can be clearly seen it can very well take care of itself.


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This Midterm Election is depressing me more than

This Midterm Election is depressing me more than any election I have ever participated in –  the violence, the mysterious blackouts, the stupid political ads, the fact that I know who to vote for but I’m not too excited about any of the candidates – but I will still go out and vote on Monday. And I know you’d rather go to the mall or stay home with your family – it is too hot, and year after year we wonder what difference it even makes – but we’ve seen what clamor can do. It can overturn a court decision, it can put the spotlight on horrible legislation that gets passed without the public even knowing it. One vote usually doesn’t make a difference, but several hundred votes do. Go out there and be with the crowd, just this once. Please, please cast your vote.

Just sharing some recent reads:

  • Sabah, Merdeka, and Aquino” by Glenda M. Gloria. I actually bought a copy of Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao, which talks at length about Jabidah and its repercussions, so many years ago, but never finished it. I have to go find it and read it again.

Sabah has been home to thousands of Muslims who once fought for independence under the Marcos dictatorship. It was their refuge when the military continued to pummel them with bombs and bullets in Mindanao. Sabah was always part of their real — and imagined — community. Before colonizers carved out superficial boundaries in that part of the world, the Muslims of Sabah, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu were one community that freely traded goods with each other, paid unhampered visits to one another, and spoke the same language. The imperious Sultanate of Sulu reigned over these islands.

Thus while Manila has consistently put the Sabah claim on the back burner, the reality is that to many Filipinos, Sabah has long been theirs. They grew up on the island, got married there, raised their kids, and put up businesses. An estimated 65,000 Filipinos carry passports as “political refugees” in Sabah. In the capital city of Kota Kinabalu, I once asked a former member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) why he had chosen to live there. “It’s our land. These are my brothers,” he said. They call themselves “Suluks” not Filipinos.

We can also argue all day about the merits of the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim over Sabah, but the following realities will not change:

Firstly, that despite its long history and the Philippine government’s recognition of its importance to the Moro people’s cultural identity, the Sultanate of Sulu is not a juridical entity, much less a sovereign one. It cannot maintain an army, since militias are prohibited under Philippine laws, and it cannot defy the Philippine government and press an international claim by itself.

Secondly, that Sabah is not merely a piece of private property but a territory whose people have been granted the right to self-determination. While the United Nations-sponsored commission that found that the Sabahans desired to federate with Malaysia in 1963 may have been questionable to the Philippine and Indonesian governments then, the fact remains that Sabah has chosen to be part of the Malaya-Singapore-Sarawak federation and that the people of Sabah see themselves today either as Sabahans or Malaysians and not as Filipinos or Sulu subjects.

Thirdly, that historical titles usually mean next to nothing in international law– otherwise, Spain and Portugal should own the world– and that, finally, there is a clear distinction between sovereignty and ownership: the former trumps the latter. And while the Philippines has legislated its sovereignty over Sabah, Malaysia exercises actual sovereignty.

However, despite the inherent weakness of its claim to Sabah, domestic considerations make it extremely difficult, if not in fact impossible, for the Philippines to drop the claim.

“Democracy works only when the people understand the limitations of democracy. When people think only of the freedoms of democracy and know nothing of the implied responsibilities, democracy will not bring the goodness that it promises. Instead it will result only in instability and instability will not permit development to take place and the people to enjoy the benefits of freedom and the rights that democracy promises. No sooner is a Government elected when the losers would hold demonstrations and general strikes accusing the Government of malpractices.”

Enlightening reads. And I hope the Sabah problem gets resolved without any more bloodshed.