phillippines

From the Archives: June 1990

I WAS just 15, and as the eldest I had to do something to help my family. When the captain of our local army squadron introduced a recruiter to my parents, I was ready to go anywhere. He made it sound so nice! I would go to Japan and work in a famous hotel as a professional dancer. It would mean lots of money to send home to my poor family in the Philippines. Of course, I would have to go to Manila first to be trained, and I would have to change my name to fit my new life.

So I became Mami! My recruiter was from a Philippine entertainment production group. They “train” their girls mainly in the clubs and bars on Mabini Street in Manila. My recruiter wanted me to go to Japan as a prostitute, but I demanded to go as an entertainer. ... I was told that if I learned Japanese songs and took dancing lessons I could get an entry visa for show business—in six months. He let me work in his bar while I was waiting, but after two months I asked him to get me a fake passport and visa as I was worried about my family. Later on I learned that all these kindnesses were deducted from my earnings in Japan. By the way, the Aquino government claims it prohibits its people from being engaged in “shameful work,” but while I was in Manila, my Japanese recruiter alone interviewed 20 new girls like me—every day! n

Naoko Iyori, MMB, worked with the Japanese Catholic Council for Justice and Peace in Tokyo when this article, a composite of the actual experiences of several women from the Philippines, appeared.

Image: Girl at a window,  / Shutterstock 

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

New Cardinals Look More Like Jesus, Less Like Rome

Philippine Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, via CBCP Online
Philippine Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, via CBCP Online
"The origin of the church is poverty," said newly minted Philippine Cardinal Orlando Quevedo at a press briefing in Rome last week. "And the journey of Jesus Christ was the journey with poor people. Today, the church has riches, institutions. But I would like to think that the only way the church can redeem these resources as well as its institutions would be to place them at the service of justice and of the poor for the sake of the kingdom of God."
 
Cardinal Orlando Quevedo has been a lead architect in the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, a body representing more than 100 million Catholics that has courageously pushed forward the values of Vatican II amid traditionalist backlash. According to an article yesterday in the National Catholic Reporter, Quevedo spoke of an Asian vision of church built on basic ecclesial communities with a collaborative leadership style. (Read more on Quevedo and the Pope’s new cardinals here).
 
What might that look like? According to Tom Kyle who has researched Asian Catholicism and in particular the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, there are certain identifiable characteristics in Asian Catholicism that should mark everything the local church does.

The Gift of Goat

Kiko goats in Yazoo City, Miss. Photo by Cathleen Falsani.
Kiko goats in Yazoo City, Miss. Photo by Cathleen Falsani.

Some 15 years ago, my aunt and uncle gave me the gift of goat for Christmas.

Let me rephrase: They didn’t give me an actual goat, but they donated a goat — in my honor — to a village in the developing world.

At age 15, I was less than pleased. The plight of starving children and the needs of my indigent brothers and sisters around the globe were far too serious and far too abstract for my selfish teenage brain to wrap itself around.

Today, though, I find myself in the ironic position of wanting to buy goats, mosquito nets, and other items as Christmas gifts in honor of my own family members. This causes me to look back on my selfishness as a teen and see how blind I was to the idea of grace — to the beauty and significance of my aunt and uncle’s gift.

Toward a Just Reconciliation: The Philippines' Post-Marcos Challenge

Father Edicio de la Torre, S.V.D., a Philippine Catholic priest, spent nine years in prison under the Marcos regime. He was released after the government of President Corazon Aquino came to power in February 1986.

De la Torre founded a movement called Christians for National Liberation and has long been active for democracy and justice, both in and out of prison, in the Philippines.

On March 17, 1986, only days after his release, Fr. de la Torre met with several Mennonite Central Committee representatives, including Earl Martin, Dave Schrock-Shenk, and Brenda Stoltzfus, in Manila and gave the following interview. -- The Editors

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Overcoming a Bitter Legacy

Central to all problems facing Philippine President Corazon Aquino is the question of how to bring her divided country together. The call in the Philippines for "reconciliation with justice" is based on principles that promise a lasting and true reconciliation.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Two Friends

It was an unusually difficult week. Friends in crisis, world events, and demands coming from all directions crowded in on me and made me wonder where I would find the grace or patience to get through the days. Then two friends--one I had never met before--came to visit.

I had been inspired by Karl Gaspar's writings for a long time and had prayed for him during the 22 months that he was in a Philippine prison. And then, at the very moment that Ferdinand Marcos was on a plane heading out of the Philippines, Karl walked into our midst. Given the turn of events, he had canceled his appointments with Congress and decided to give his whole day to us at Sojourners.

Karl carried with him a sobering reminder that the struggle in his country is still a long journey, but he also exuded a bright and solid hope. His warm smile encompassed my wavering spirit and began to rekindle my fragile hope.

I was present at the historic meeting of Karl and Nathan Tamialis, an 11-year-old member of Sojourners Community. Like hundreds of other children around the world, Nathan had sent Karl a Christmas letter during Karl's imprisonment. Karl was answering Nathan's letter, detailing his prison experiences on paper, when he got word of his release. The letter ended with news of Karl's first celebrations in freedom: a trip to the beach and an ice cream cone.

As Karl and several members of our community sat around the Tamialis family dining-room table, drinking a special pineapple-coconut drink Nathan and his brother Michael had made for Karl's visit, he shared stories. Karl sparkled most when he talked about young people--the many committed young men with whom he shared a prison cell, the children from faraway places who had sent him greetings, and the young couples who come to him for counsel in his pastoral work.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Subscribe