I invoke my right to freedom of expression

There was a time in our history when speaking against the government can get you killed. These days, it is not the government that’s censoring us. We censor each other. I bet this is not what our elders were thinking when they marched in EDSA in 1986.

We are living in a society where having an opinion that goes against the majority is considered retarded, stupid, and unpatriotic. And all along I thought that I am living in a democratic country where I am granted the freedom to hold and express an opinion. Last time I checked, I am still living in the Philippines, a democratic country and not in a communist dictatorship like North Korea.

I am not afraid of the government. I am more scared of the people who find it normal to harass their fellowmen who do not share the same opinion as them. If you did not vote for the current president or express an opinion that disagrees with what the president said or done, you are harassed and shamed. You are called a “yellow-tard” even though you never even liked the Liberal party. Likewise, when a pro-administration supporter expresses his/her support for the president and/or the president’s recent activities, he/she is called a “dutertard”. And some of us can only watch, shake our heads and scroll down because, honestly, they all sound like retards.

Let’s put it this way, we don’t see things the same way. We all see the world differently. It is normal to have differing opinions on matters. It is good that citizens are actively taking part in these discussions but I think it would be better if we can keep it decent. Just because someone expressed an opinion different from yours does not make them retarded.

And you know what is worst? Character assassination! You know those moments when you find someone disagreeing with you and you share their photos or profiles so everyone else can start harassing them? You call them stupid and retarded. You bully them to submission. You shame them to silence. And slowly people just either keep mum on the issues that matter or just ignore the issue altogether because they no longer want to risk.

Are you so desperate to live in a country where everyone worships the president and anyone who speaks against him is executed (in social media or in person)? I think you would fit well in North Korea.

You can’t shut people up. You can’t stop people from having an opinion and expressing themselves, the same way that those people can’t and have no right to stop you from expressing yours. You have the right to express yourself but you do not have the right to be an asshole. You do not have the right to harass people nor have the right to threaten and bully anyone who does not agree with you.

Just because you do not agree with my opinion doesn’t mean you can go ahead and call me names, insult or threaten me. If you think about it, harassing and threatening people when they have a different opinion from you sounds more retarded than simply having an opinion.

 

 

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Call It Love At First Sight Part 1

I came. I saw. I fell in love.

I first heard of Sagada when I was planning my 23rd birthday trip to Baguio last 2012 but going there didn’t really interest me because it was too far and all I heard of was the ‘hanging coffins’. I thought then that those are the only things you can see in that place.

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Sneak Peek: A Glimpse of Sagada

Fastforward to a year and I heard of it again and although I did go back to Baguio that year, going to Sagada didn’t fit into the plans. Perhaps it was the discouraging ‘reviews’ that some of my friends gave me that got me interested. Perhaps it was the innate curiousity to really see for myself what the fuss is all about. Perhaps it was the photos of Kiltepan and its sea of clouds or the curiousity of why those coffins are hanging by that cliff instead of buried 6ft below ground.

I am not sure what got me interested. All I know is that the moment I decided I was going to see the place, I was obsessed.

It has always been my practice to research everything I can about the place before every trip. Call me obsessive-compulsive but if there are two thing solo traveling has taught me, it will be this: anticipate possible issues and always have a back-up plan. And how do you come up with a contigency plan if you don’t know anything about the place?

So, off to Googlelandia. I admit, I obsessively researched everything. I searched all possible routes to Sagada; read all blogs I can get hold of; asked bloggers and inn owners about everything; I even accessed GoogleEarth just to get an Idea what the place looks like.

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My Evernote Checklist

For three months up to the day of departure I am in constant research mode. I read and reread blogs and TripAdvisor reviews and checked news sites for mention of Sagada. I was obsessed. I had to know everything and boy was it all worth it!

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Sneak peek: The road to Sagada

Fastforward to January 08, of 2015. My friends and I are finally on our way. Our flight from Cebu- Manila was at 9PM but I was so excited couldn’t sleep the night before and I still had work the whole day of the 8th. I was running on adrenaline and pure anxiety.

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Finally on our way...

You see, if it was just me I can easily accept disappointment if the place wasn’t worth it. But I have people with me and I didn’t want them to be disappointed. It’s a long way from Cebu to Sagada only to be disappointed. So I was anxious and stressed.

Well… Part 2 Coming Up!
Here’s a sample photo to keep you occupied.

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Sagada Rice Terraces, No filters needed.

(P.S This is a very delayed post about my Sagada trip. This is the first part, I hope I can post the next part soon. I’ll do my best.)

It’s the season to be jolly!

Mas

Bring out the Christmas trees, the plastic mistletoes, the beautiful blinking lights and sing the Christmas carols! The “ber” months has officially started and you know what that means? It’s Christmas in the Philippines!

I know the official season doesn’t start until 3months from now but in the Philippines, Christmas unofficially starts on the first day of September and ends in January. Isn’t that lovely?

Christmas is my favorite season. Apart from the bonus and holiday pays, I just love looking at those pretty little Christmas decorations. Everywhere you look, everything and everyone are just so happy. The lights, blinking in different colors like little stars from heaven; Christmas trees in different sizes with so many pretty little things hanging on its boughs.

I love how people are so nice to each other on Christmas. I love how we are so careful not to hurt anyone because it is Christmas. I love how we diligently go to church because it is Christmas. I love how it’s not considered weird to smile at a stranger because it is Christmas. The world is a nicer place when it’s Christmas.

So get those boxes out and start decorating. Sing your Christmas carols at the top of your lungs! The season of love and happiness is here! Merry Christmas everyone!