The photo on the left was taken in April 1992. I just turned 18 and I recently gave birth to my eldest son. I was wearing a dress borrowed from a friend. I was waiting for our names to be called by the Office of the Mayor. I was about to get married to the father of my son.
The photo on the right was taken in December 2015. It was the day I got married to the right man and for all the right reasons.
So many things transpired between these two life-changing events that happened 23 years, 8 months, and 26 days apart.
I was deeply troubled when Pili’s Population Officer told me that in another municipality in Camarines Sur, a girl got pregnant at age 10 and she gave birth in September 2017 at age 11. The Population Officer added that girls these days are having their first period (menarche) very early. Based on the findings from the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (2013), more than 1 in 10 girls experienced menstruation before age 12.
She finally relented to having sex with her boyfriend after months of verbal insistence (pangungulit) and emotional blackmail (e.g. if you really love me, you should give yourself to me). They did not use condom. Her boyfriend said that if she gets pregnant, he will take responsibility for her and their baby (pananagutan kita).
My hopes for our young boys. I hope he will not bottle up his sadness and grief just because people around him tell him that “boys don’t cry.” I hope he will be surrounded with positive male role models who don’t subscribe to the “boys will be boys” mentality that excuses disrespectful and irresponsible behaviour of boys.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to dialogue with high school students from various schools in Pampanga about the issue of teenage pregnancy. They shared about the awkwardness of asking their parents about dating and relationships and their hesitation to ask
I just finished watching Saving Sally, a live-action animated film directed by Avid Liongoren, starring Rhian Ramos and Enzo Marcos. It is one of the entries in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. I really like Marty’s character.
In the Philippines, about 1,000 die each year from abortion complications, which contributes to the country’s high maternal mortality ratio. Tens of thousands of women are hospitalized each year for complications from unsafe abortion.