International Women’s Day in Manila

by alex

Today (8 March) was International Women’s Day.  I attended the rally in Manila and made my first attempt at editing a short video seen below.

I believe that it is important for us Filipino-Canadian youth to connect to the struggles in our homeland.  A very important part of that movement is the women’s sector.

If you’re based in Toronto, there is an upcoming youth festival at Ryerson Student Centre on 20 March where you can get involved.  Check out the Facebook event here: [more info below]

Despite what you may think about Philippine politics I have learned from personal experience that the country has one of the most organized progressive movements in the global south (also called the ‘developing world’).

The women of the country have a voice in the Gabriela Womens Party, both an advocacy group and a political party that is run from the grassroots up.  In the coming election it is fielding its first senatorial candidate in Liza Maza (currently a congress-person).

The below is taken from the Philippine online news organization Bulatlat:

Decent housing, gainful jobs, adequate food on the table, sufficient social services such as health care, education, housing, social security — these usually comprise the basic dreams of most Filipinos, men or women. But landlessness and joblessness often frustrate these dreams. In urban areas choking with landless or militarized refugees from the countryside, Gabriela’s members from the urban poor told of how Arroyo is actually the “No. 1 homewrecker.”

Women also represent 70% of the labor force in the rice and corn agricultural production in the Philippines, and the majority of the 12 million overseas workers are women.  This can be seen in Canada through its Live-in Caregiver Program.

If you want to learn more please check out the different Philippine-linked advocacy orgs in Toronto (including Bayan-Ontario, Migrante-Ontario, Migrante-Ontario Youth, and Gabriela-Ontario).  You can get in touch with me directly if you want to be introduced:

Bayan Philippines:
Gabriela Women’s Party, Philippines:

Bayan Canada:

Migrante-On Youth:

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©2010 alex felipe
All Rights Reserved.

Please contact the photographer with use inquiries.

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More about that youth festival:


This whole-day event will involve panel presentations, discussion, interactive workshops and a cultural celebration. The festival aims to bring together Filipino youths across the Greater Toronto Area for the purpose of building a sense of our identity as a people through awareness of our history as a people.

Presented by Migrante Ontario Youth in community partnership with Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture, and in collaboration with the Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson (FCAR) and the Filipino Students’ Association of Toronto (FSAT).


Indigenous People’s History and Dance:  (Facilitators: Dylan Hamada, FCAR and Bobby Gabat, Folklorico Filipino Canada)

Visual Arts and Philippine Realities:  (Facilitators: Althea Balmes and Kristina Guison)

Exploring Our Experiences of Migration through Theatre:  (Facilitators: To be confirmed)

Filipino Poetry:  (Facilitator: Len Cervantes)

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Future Folk, a play about the lives of live-in caregivers:

Also if you haven’t seen it yet don’t miss the amazing piece of theatre put together by the Sulong Theatre Collective.  The show runs until 13 March at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto.

“Sulong” means “battle cry” in Tagalog. For the Sulong Theatre Collective, their battle cry is in the form of multidisciplinary experiences that shout, wail and scream on behalf of brown women everywhere. The collective’s powerful inaugural multi-disciplinary work, Future Folk, uses the vocabulary of Filipino folk arts to tell the story of Filipina nannies in Toronto and their labour under Canada’s notorious Live-In Caregiver Program.

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1 Comment

  1. Bangon! Bangon Maria!
    Amazing, as always! 🙂

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