Last Monday (September 7), I formally received my award for winning first prize in the International Women’s Month essay writing contest for teachers and students organized by the Quezon City local government and Schools Division Office-Quezon City. The event was held at the Quezon City Hall with the participation of Dr. Jenilyn Rose Corpuz, the superintendent of Department of Education-QC. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, only the winning teachers and the parents of winning students were invited to come during the activity. Attendees were also required to wear face masks and face shields as mandated by the city government. The awarding ceremonies should have been held last March as part of the city’s International Women’s Month culminating activity, but it was delayed because of the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Just like in previous years, participants were asked to write about what for them is the most gender sensitive movie during the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival. It can be recalled that I also won first prize last year. For the 2020 competition, I wrote about the historical movie “Culion.” Directed by Alvin Yapan, the film was top-billed by Iza Calzado, Meryll Soriano, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith. I watched “Culion” the day after Christmas and I became convinced that it deserved the most gender sensitive award during the 2019 MMFF. The recognition went to “Mindanao” instead, and so I decided to watch that too though in the end, I remained convinced that the case for “Culion” was much stronger. I will be posting my winning entry here soon.
Since I didn’t have the chance to deliver an acceptance remarks during the event, I will do so here:
First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this competition led by Mayor Joy Belmonte, the Quezon City Gender and Development Office, and Dr. Jenilyn Rose Corpuz, our superintendent. Thank you for choosing to push through with this competition and to have this simple ceremony despite the pandemic. To the board of judges: thank you for selecting my work as the top winner yet again.
Thanks also to the men and women behind “Culion.” Thank you for giving us this underappreciated movie, particularly for focusing in an era in our nation’s history which is seldom discussed in schools. I just wish you had more recognitions during last year’s MMFF Awards Night and from other award-giving bodies.
I’m sharing this latest win to my Mama and Mommy, to my family, and to my significant other. Also, to the entire Batasan Hills National High School community – from our principal, Dr. Proceso Lera, Dr. Rommel de Guzman, our assistant principal for senior high school, Mrs. Josephine Miranda, the head of the English Department, to my fellow teachers, and of course to all my former and incoming students.
In my essay, one of the things I highlighted is that haunting scene where Doris, played by Jasmine Curtis-Smith, chose to take her own life rather than seek justice after being raped by an American soldier. I hope that we will soon live in a world where survivors of sexual violence will have their voices heard instead of living through shame and stigma. Or better yet, a world where sexual violence no longer exists.
On a final note, to God be the glory! Thank you for giving me this talent that I have to express my ideas about things I believed in. Maraming salamat po!