How Christmas Became Commericialized and the Benefits of Handmade Gifts vs Bought Ones

          A country ruled by capitalism has ingrained in our heads that material things are supposed to make us happy. The latest iPhone, a new car, a better home, these are the things that will provide us satisfaction. Or so media wants us to believe. Commercials are often filled with the latest gadgets, make-up,  clothes, toys, and other products. Am I the only one who’s sick of it? I’d like it to be more filled with current affairs, new cures for diseases, and events that show me what is going on in my country. And I mean the truth, not what the government has manipulated to suit their needs.

             In line with this is Christmas and people are running around, buying their loved ones presents. But Christmas has been twisted in a way to serve more selfish purposes. For example, giving your client a gift he/she may want in order to secure that meeting you’ve been trying to set for so long, or to a kid’s teacher in order to pull up their grades or get special treatment or even your boss to butter him/her up and help get that raise. With intents like these in mind, it’s really not so much as giving rather than receiving.

             It’s a sad fact but more often than not, it doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore with how much capitalism has affected this special day. People are forgetting what the true purpose of Christmas is and that is that Jesus came here to save us, and that in itself is already the greatest gift we could receive. Commercials are often filled with items to give your loved ones, the holiday rush, but not enough about the Christmas spirit.

               In my case, I prefer to make my gifts. It’s not for everyone but I just feel like it shows more love. Like, I made this gift for you and with you in mind. This doesn’t mean that bought gifts are inferior or mean less but there’s just something special about receiving something made from the hands of a loved one. It could be a drawing (even a bad one), handmade card, crocheted/knitted product, papermache, baked sweets, etc.

            I know bought gifts are also hard to decide. You have to find something special for each person but we all know that if you have a lot of people to give, it can leave a dent in your wallet. If you’re an artist, a simple drawing for some of your friends could make them happier than that expensive keychain or if you’re a baker, make them their favorite sweets. It leaves a personal touch. But that’s just me. If you’d prefer to buy stuff, there’s nothing wrong with that. I do it too, especially when I don’t have time to make my loved ones stuff anymore.

              This post is just a reminder to everyone that Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus and that it’s about giving and making others happy. Happiness does not always mean material items.

I Was Born and Raised Catholic But I Left and I’m Not Going Back

          Parents who force their children to follow the Catholic religion can sometimes have the opposite effect. I would know because I am a product of one. For 12 years, I went to three Catholic schools. 1 was co-ed, the other two were all girl schools. Then for another 4 years, I went to a co-ed Catholic university run by priests. For my first 12 years in school I was forced to learn prayers, go to mass, have confession, and participate in our religious practices. However, I was always an inquisitive child. Teachers didn’t like it when I would question why women couldn’t be priests, what was wrong with pre-marital sex and homosexuality. They don’t want to hear opinions different than their own. Ironically though, Catholic and Religion classes were always my highest grade. Heck, when I was 12 years old, I even wanted to be a nun once upon a time until my paranoid mother said that she won’t allow it cause I’ll never see her again once I enter the convent.

          I never liked going to mass. I find it dull and boring that I have to sit, stand, and kneel for a an hour, listening to a bunch of prayers I didn’t feel, singing the same songs over and over, and saying ‘peace be with you’ and ‘also with you’ like a robot. The entire thing just feels so mechanical and forced. For more than a decade, beliefs and prayers were shoved down my throat even though I didn’t believe or want them. When I was a child, I was part of the Glee Club. Every week, we would sing and practice songs to sing for mass. One time, Nickelodeon went to our school to put on a show for us. There was a program going on in the auditorium but our club wasn’t allowed to go. Our teacher told us that we only had Glee Club once a week and we should dedicate it to God.  We should’t be so selfish. Please understand that I was only 8 years old and marginally pissed. All I wanted to do was watch The Wild Thornberry’s on stage but this woman wouldn’t let me. That was the first time I experienced being forced to do something I didn’t want because of religion.

          Then there is their view on premarital sex and contraceptives. I have a friend who is one of those crazy Catholics who follow EVERYTHING the Bible says. Every time I visit her, she berates me over my sexuality and ‘lifestyle’ choices. Her face when I told her I was no longer a virgin was akin to killing her dog. I’ll admit it was hilarious but also quite annoying. She believes that engaging in casual sex was like making myself cheap. Excuse you, I believe the reason was such a pressure on women to till marriage to have sex is because men are afraid of raising kids not their own so they want to break their wife’s hymen and be sure. When I told her I used contraceptives, apparently I’ve killed the baby already. What in the actual fuck. Wanting sex is perfectly human and doing it before marriage is not a sin. Marriage is a choice and there are rules there that some people refused to be caged by (such as the sexist rules that favour one sex over the other).

          Second is what they think of homosexuality. This same friend claimed I wasn’t a lesbian if I had sex with men even though I very clearly explained to her that I did it just to confirm my suspicions. No, I do not like dick and no, I am very clearly gay so please don’t insist otherwise. Catholics hate gay people, period. I was lectured by a priest that being gay isn’t wrong, it’s the act of gay sex that is wrong. I call bullshit on this. Sex is a perfectly natural thing to want, married or not, homo or hetero. Homosexuality has existed since time immemorial (Greeks, Romans) and the social stigma only started when the Black Plague started wiping out people and gays had the highest rate of HIVs and sexual diseases. Then there is gay marriage. Gay people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. I think what the Catholic institution fails to realise is that we are not just after the sanctity of marriage but the benefits that come with it – adoption, insurance, considered next of kin, and stability. Maybe gay people wouldn’t push so hard for this if they provide an alternative with the same benefits. After all, not all gays are Catholic. But this is just my opinion.

          Third is that this religion is anti-women. I refuse to enter a religion that is completely run by men. It’s patriarchal and unfair. Let’s face it, though there are women serving the Church, they don’t hold as much power and influence. The roles women have are supporters and I refuse to believe the story of creation. If we were really equal, then God would have created Adam and Eve together, not provided Adam a wife just cause he was bored and lonely. Then there’s the fact that the woman is the one who caused the sin and every other woman for the rest of eternity will pay for it via childbirth pain and other punishments bestowed on us. Unless women get equal representation, I will stand by my belief that it is a sexist religion.

          I do believe in a God so please don’t call me an atheist. There is someone out there who created us, and we all have souls. I just don’t believe that God and Jesus, the ones who all Catholics are supposed to idolise and worship, are male and white (Jesus in particular. Seriously, all his pictures look like a white guy). And I also question why God is always addressed as male. I didn’t question this until Third Grade and I stumbled into a book that described the story of creation and addressed God alternatively as He and She. I was a confused but enlightened little girl. I realised that God isn’t only male. God can be female too. Catholicism is outdated and they need to move on and adjust with the different beliefs. The only thing constant after all is change and if they don’t, they’re gonna keep losing followers.

P.S – We are all entitled to our opinion and beliefs so whether you agree with my post or not, I would appreciate it if you didn’t turn this post into a religion warfare.

An Open Letter to One Direction and Their Song ‘Diana’

         One Direction

           First off, I just one to say thank you. I know your band will probably never read this but I’m very grateful for this song. After my dad just beat the crap out of me due to some dispute about religion and the Bible, I’ve been feeling really suicidal and depressed lately. I guess that after having to put up with 13 years of all types of abuse (physical, sexual, psychological, verbal), I finally had my second breakdown. I had my first one at 16 years old but people at my house just thought I was acting out of line and being a typical teenager so in response, they just beat me up more and verbally abused me.

          When I first heard the song, it was months before I was beaten. I just thought it was cool cause the song had my name on it (albeit spelled differently cause my name is Dyana). But then after some research, I found out it was for girls or anyone for that matter suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and going through depression. That someone out there doesn’t want me to die even if they don’t know me. My favorite is this verse:


Let me be the one to light a fire inside those eyes,

You’ve been lonely,

You don’t even know me,

But I can feel you crying,


Let me be the one to lift your heart up and save your life,

I don’t think you even realize baby you’d be saving mine.”

          It’s hard though. Because there’s no one to listen to me when I’m crying in the middle of the night and I don’t want to disturb anyone. The flashbacks from my latest trauma to what I had to go through since I was 5 years old and it really sucks. I have friends but I need to think twice before burdening them with this secret and I’m afraid people can only listen to me for so long before they think I’m just whining and that I should get over it. It’s hard to work, sleep, and study and my mother and siblings seem to think that because the bruises are gone, I’m fine. They couldn’t be more wrong. The mental trauma is terrible and it would be so much easier to give up. However, I’ll just give myself a few more months and if I can’t take it anymore, who knows. Maybe I won’t stick around in this cold, cruel, miserable plane much longer. The big man up there mustn’t like me very much because I have no idea what I did to deserve any of this.

          But One Direction, even if one of you left and I am not a Directioner, I’m really happy you wrote this song. It helps me get through particularly tough days. I hope there are more songs like this by different artists and God bless you guys for this song. I know I’m not the only girl you’ve helped with this.

Guide to the Great Buddha of Kamakura

          Located on the grounds of the Kotokuin Temple is the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu). It is the second tallest bronze statue in Japan and stands at 13.35 meters, surpassed only by the Daibutsu of Nara which is 15 meters. The statue was built in 1952 and used to be placed in a large temple building. However, the temple was destroyed in the late 15th century by a tsunami and it is now placed in the open.

           Kamakura is a small town where the statue is located and it is best to go during weekdays as it can get extremely crowded during the weekends. It will be easier to take pictures in other sightseeing spots such as the temples.


Places to Eat

Dolce far Niente Cafe

           Dolce far Niente Cafe is located on one of the side streets of Komachi-Dori. There are only a few restaurants in Japan that provide menus in English and luckily, this is one of them (very helpful for us tourists!). The modern cafe ambience is quite a contrast to the traditional tea rooms around the area. There are French advertisements enclosed in wooden frames along the stairwell to the second floor and the wooden floors are made of dark wood which match the beams of the high ceiling. Here, you can order lunch sets, deserts, or drinks.


Source: ttp://

Source: ttp://

           Craving for Italian food? Stop by Rans for some pizza, pasta, and steak that’ll satisfy your taste buds! Food here can be a little expensive at dinner time but the taste and quality of their dishes are worth it. If you want to take a small break from Japanese food, then this place is definitely worth a try.

Kebab Kamakura


           Are you looking for something quick, tasty and inexpensive? Then Kebab Kamakura is the place to go! Some of the dishes to try are kebab sand with garlic and chilli sauce, chilli flavoured kebab wrapped in pita bread, and kebab dog with garlic sauce. The owner is friendly, speaks great English, and very nice. It wouldn’t be too far to say that this store sells some of the best Kebabs in Japan that will keep you coming back for more!

Good Mellows Restaurant


          Tired of the crowds in Kamakura? Head to Hase-Kamakura and you’ll find a beach there with a great view of the sea and even greater burgers! Good Mellows Restaurant is located on the beach and they serve American Style burgers and beer. It’s a good place to relax and unwind before heading back to the crowd.

To get there, walk for 10-15 minutes from the Great Buddha statue – downhill going to the beach, when you see the beach, turn right and walk again for 5 minutes, turn right and you’ll see it.

Magokoro Restaurant

          The restaurant serves vegan, healthy, and pescetarian dishes (for people who eat fish but not meat), Their curry is highly recommended and they offer a wide variety of vegetarian options. They have an English menu which would make ordering more convenient. Like Good Mellows, it is also located on the beach and with its friendly service, price, casual & relaxing atmosphere, and perfect view of the ocean, it’s more than worth visiting.

The Backward Views of the Catholic Church Regarding Divorce and Marriage

          At the Homily in church, the priest discussed about divorce. Let me just start off by saying that the guy was so sexist and irrational. He said that divorce is a sin and that ALL problems could be resolved. It doesn’t matter if the husband cheated or had a child outside of marriage, you can fix the problem. I call bullshit on this. So following this logic, if one of the partners is being abused, then they should stay in that miserable marriage cause the problem can always be solved? Acccording to the priest, the answer is yes  because his logic is that one must NEVER divorce.

          The Philippines is extremely conservative and they keep claiming that the church and state are separate but with the influence that the church has on this predominantly Catholic country and how stupid people around here are when they vote (they just vote for whoever’s famous or gives free stuff). People here are so blind. Our public education is crap (fitting 60 kids in 1 classroom with no airconditioning), citizens voting for who the church supports, we pay 32% in taxes every month for trains that breakdown and lack in supply, a corrupt police force that extorts its people via bribing, and under serviced and understaffed government offices with the most inconvenient systems (it took me 8 hours to get my driver’s license and 8 hours in an extremely hot, crowded, anarchic government office to file for my Real Estate Broker’s Exam).

          This country is anti women and anti LGBT. This article confirms it The short version of this article (if you don’t want to click the link) is that most male senators are not in favor of passing divorce because their wives will use it against them. One of the senators said “I cannot favor a divorce law. My wife might use that against me.” The politicians here don’t give a crap about its people and the church, with its backwards view of the world, this institution is gonna lose its followers (or it won’t have very many).

          Do you want to know why I’m so sure about this? It’s because overtime I go to church, I’ve noticed that almost 80% of the people there are middle aged or old people. The young people are usually with their parents and the young millennial couples are few. And when he started going on about the sanctity of same sex marriage, I was so tempted to just walk out of that place and give him the middle finger. A message to the Catholic institution – stop shoving your beliefs down out throats. People don’t appreciate it and it’s gonna make us stop supporting you.  I do believe in a God. Just not that he’s male, white, has brown hair like all those pictures show, and anti-women and anti-LGBT.

A Spirit Told Me I Would Die on August 3

          This happened just 10 minutes ago, 2:35am, on August 4, 2015, and I’m shaking in fear. I fell asleep less than an hour ago and when I woke up, I couldn’t move. It’s like sleep paralysis only worse. The room was dark (I don’t sleep with a night light) and and suddenly I could feel a large gust of wind circulating my room. I saw faint but flashing lights on my ceiling. Sometimes they looked like shapes. 2 shapes. It looked like Jesus or Batman (I’m not joking). It lasted for a few seconds. I couldn’t do anything but lie on my bed. Then after a while, I heard a voice. It was woman’s voice. She said “insert my name,* on August 3, you will die.” I don’t know her voice but under normal circumstances, I may have found it soothing due to the tone of her voice. It might have been what Mama Mary would sound like if I knew her voice. There was no figure of a woman. Just her voice, some faint white lights, and then she was gone. There was the wind again, but fainter. I begged her to come back and tell me why or how. I could only speak for a bit but I couldn’t move. After a few seconds, I could move my arms again. I did not want to get up but there were 2 lights (what would usually spill over from the room next to mine so I consider them normal) but this was different. THEY WERE MOVING. And I swear they were morphing from squares into shapes! Again, they somewhat resembled Jesus. 1 was Jesus looking, and the other, something negative. Like, I got bad vibes from it. And they were getting CLOSER! I got up and turned on the lights on my dresser and they disappeared.

            I’m feeling intense goosebumps all over my body. My heart is racing and I don’t know if she’ll come back. I’m afraid and I have no idea what she meant. She never mentioned a year but I CLEARLY remember her saying August 3. Will it be next year? The year after? What do I do? I was afraid that I was going to be harmed but I got the feeling that she just wanted to warn me. But why? Is August 3 going to be when Jesus returns? Judgement Day? And as I wrote that sentence, the goosebumps returned with intensity. I typed this down now and wanted to get it out there ASAP. Should I go to church? Who do I go to talk to about this incident? Dear readers, I’m afraid. Very afraid. HELP.

Today Is the Last Day My Dad Can Beat Me

          It happened today in the car, while he was bringing me to work. We had a disagreement with the Bible and my career path. I said that I don’t believe that the Bible is 100% correct and I want to quit my job that isn’t making me happy. He did not like what I said about the Bible. He lost his temper and gave me a beating in the car while he was driving. He kept punching me, pulling my hair, and slapping my face. He cursed me and accused me of being gay because overtime he brings out the topic, I refused to talk about it. In those few seconds, I was terrified he found out the truth. Thank God it was just a speculation. However, he still continued hitting me. I wanted to get off the car but it was moving and I was worried that we might crash. He only stopped when my Grandmother called but before leaving the car, I yelled “Grandma! Daddy is beating me!” He pulled my hair and half my body was out of the car. I think he wanted to pull me inside and I screamed and fought and people were staring. He didn’t want to cause a scene. I ran inside the building. I arrived at the office but left 15 minutes later because I was too depressed and just had to cry. I went to a rarely used restroom, called my friend and broke down. Thank God she was there to listen to me. I was on the roof of that building. I contemplated suicide for an hour, wondering if I should just jump. It would be so easy. The rail is just in front of me. But I had to think of my Mother. She would never forgive herself. My little sister still needs me and I’m not done teaching her how to survive in this cold, unforgiving society. My brother has an addiction and it might get worse if I leave him.

          My Mom was furious when she found out. When I was 15, he once beat me up so bad that I nearly ended up in the hospital. He has always had temper issues. When someone disagrees with him or pisses him off, he curses and beats the other person. He thinks that we don’t know that he beats and rapes his mistresses but our driver quit because he was traumatised by the deeds of my Dad. He confessed to our maid before leaving and that’s how we found out. He used to beat me black and blue for having bad grades, while I was making my breakfast, or when I disagreed with his opinion, and he also tortured my brother by stabbing his fingers with needles (those syringe one cause he has diabetes) when he was 7 years old. He did different forms of abuse on us growing up. We’re taking measures now. We’ve gone to several government agencies to have today’s incident recorded and what he did will strengthen my Mom’s annulment application. He dug his own grave. Honestly, what kind of God-fearing Christian reads the Bible and proceeds to beat up a defenceless woman? I did nothing to deserve this.

          I’ve had to put up with this crap for more than 13 years and I’ve had enough. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I will get through this. I refuse to let my depression take over me again. Feeling sorry for myself never got me anywhere and though I find a morbid delight in drowning in my own misery, I can’t do that. Not just for myself but for my family. My sister is still a child and she is traumatised by this. If I don’t do something, she might think it’s okay and not put a stop if something similar happens to her. That is unacceptable. I’ve cursed the mantle I was given as the eldest child, forced to protect and shield my younger siblings when it would have been so much easier to just give up but I can’t. I have bruises on my face and it feels like fire every time ice is applied. I can’t go to work like this. Not in my mental and physical condition. I’ll get help. I’ll get better. At least I have my family and friends on my side. I will survive. I WILL LIVE.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 84 other followers