Amid the celebration of Women’s Month, two Filipina icons recently guested in a podcast to discuss womanhood and what women fight for by sharing their personal stories, struggles and learnings while growing up as women in a male-dominated society.
In the latest episode of “Tula Somebody,” author Lualhati Bautista and former Commission on Human Rights chair and activist Loretta “Etta” Rosales spoke from experience and reflected on the poems about the importance of women in society.
“You cannot bring about real change without the woman integral to that purpose in that struggle,” Rosales said, after reading from Bautista’s latest work, the poetry collection “Alitaptap Sa Gabing Madilim.”
Rosales, a victim of torture under the Marcos regime, also underwent the same struggle having fought the Marcos dictatorship.
When democracy was restored, the activist was instrumental in the class action suit in the Hawaii District Court which held late Ferdinand Marcos liable for gross human rights violations.
Rosales shared that she already witnessed violence against women at a young age and so she vowed to stand up for herself.
“Kaya gumawa ako ng pangako sa sarili ko. Hindi ako papayag na ang kahit sinumang lalaki na gamitin ang kanyang kamay sa akin,” the former CHR chair said.
“Dapat kaya ko ang sarili ko.” – Etta Rosales
— Linya-Linya (@linyalinya) March 11, 2021
Aside from abuses, Rosales also voiced another concern that many women have: the pressure to balance motherhood with career, duty and advocacy.
She joined the underground movement in the 1970s, even while she had children to take care of.
“Habang tumatanda na ako, parang merong naniningil sa akin…na bakit nagkulang ka sa pag-aaruga sa mga anak mo nung maliliit pa sila?” Rosales said.
However, the activist said Bautista’s poem “Kasal” provided the answer to her questions—that everyone’s lives are connected and that the things she tirelessly fought for were also for her children’s future.
Likewise, the acclaimed novelist Bautista echoed the same sentiments.
For Bautista, literature plays a major role in forming social consciousness responsibly.
“Nadidismaya [ako] doon sa mga nobela na para sa akin nagpo-propagate ng mga baluktot na kaisipan na minana natin noon pa, pero kailangan na [nating] baguhin. Whether nobela iyan, kwento iyan, sanaysay o kahit module [sa] eskwelahan, dapat nagdadala ng maayos na kaisipan,” Bautista said.
“The Linya-Linya Show” podcast host Ali Sangalang is hopeful that the episode featuring the legendary Filipinas will empower listeners and the youth to “live out the wisdom embedded in our history and literature.”
“Ang hangad ko lang sa proyektong ito, mapakinggan sila ng mas maraming Pilipino, lalo na ng kabataan. Marami tayong matututuhan sa kanila—hindi lang sa panitikan, kundi maging sa pagiging mabuting mamamayan at mabuting tao,” he said.
“Tula Somebody” is a podcast series on Philippine literature by “The Linya-Linya Show in partnership with award-winning podcast production company PumaPodcast.