Picket Lines: 100 Women and the Healing Power of Poetry

Categories Arts & Culture, Projects & Collaborations, Society & Culture

At today’s Backdoor Arts and Music Festival, I performed onstage with the spoken word group Romancing Venus and was reminded of how much more beautiful life can be with poetry in it.

I discovered poetry early on in life, using it as a means of expressing the pain and confusion that I often felt during my growing up years. I was a “child of a broken family” at a time when talking about parental separation was taboo, and back then I always felt that I had to either prove myself to the world or protect myself from it. Words were my form of escape, and poetry became a source of comfort. I never really immersed myself in the technical aspects of writing quatrains or in measuring rhythm and rhyme, but I let the words and images flow.

Decades later, poetry continues to be an active element in my life, and I have made a conscious decision to make it my primary medium of self-expression outside of work. I started “performing” poetry when I was invited to read some poems back in December of 2007, and when my husband and I discovered that we could actually fuse his percussive instruments and my voice, the dam broke wide open in a very rhythmic way, and we’ve been experimenting onstage ever since.

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This is why I am truly honored to be part of the book Picket Lines: Dialogues Between Eves, Among Eves, and For Eves. It is a beautiful collection of images and words of 100 women from contemporary Philippine life, and it reflects how words have become our source of empowerment, strength, courage, and even emancipation.

Picket Lines: Dialogues Between Eves, Among Eves, and For Eves

Here, the reader will see women as they wish to be seen and remembered: sometimes completely naked, sometimes upside down, sometimes serious, sometimes quirky–but always, always with their words on their bodies.

My own photo was taken at a time when I wasn’t quite ready to put myself out there, when I felt that I was less than worthy to appear with my words. But Nikkorlai Tapan, the photographer who shot me, reminded me that my words screamed, “Break free!”, and I did my best to feel as unencumbered as possible. (I’ll let you be the judge of the outcome.)

In the end, I told myself that this project should be a reminder to always strive to overcome the challenges and the boundaries placed in front of and around us. I may not have looked and felt my best during this shoot, but, as always, my words never left me and they continued to be a source of comfort and strength.

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The 100 women featured in this book are inspirations in their own right, and I am thrilled to be in the same compendium as the likes of Risa Hontiveros (one of my personal idols), Cynthia Alexander, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, Gloria Diaz, Sonia Roco, Sari and Aba Dalena, Carol Bello, and many more amazing women (including one of Philippine cinema’s iconic actresses, Lilia Cuntapay). My most heartfelt congratulations go to the uber-creative and hard-working pair of Kooky Tuason and Marty Tengco and all of their collaborators (a full list appears below). This book is the product of pure love and passion, and I hope that more Filipino women in and outside the country will support the book.

The book comes in hardbound, coffee-table format, and is still in production. If you wish to help bring the book out into the market, here are some simple ways by which you can be part of this groundbreaking endeavor. As with most of Romancing Venus’ endeavors, proceeds will go to the Women’s Crisis Center.

How to help:

  • Pre-order your own copy from me (Php850.00 per copy; please email [email protected] for details)
  • Pre-order at least five (5) copies from Kooky Tuason and get a bulk price of just Php800 per copy or Php4,000 for the set of five. (Email Kooky at [email protected])
  • Encourage friends and corporate partners to buy their own copies or sets, and give them away as gifts. (The retail price will be at least Php1,000, so it’s best to order copies now.)
  • Like the Picket Lines Facebook page, and please help spread the word to more empowered women out there!
If you have other ideas for corporate or institutional partnerships, please let us know. 🙂
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 A roll-call of collaborators
Models in the book:

1. Aganinta, Chung
2. Aguilar, Maegan
3. Alagao, Nina Ricci
4. Alcoriza, Judy
5. Alexander, Cynthia
6. Andrada, Viva
7. Añover-Lianko, Love
8. Apaling, PS1 Leonie Ann D.
9. Asistio, Abby
10. Aves, Tao
11. Barcelo, Roxanne
12. Barrios, Bayang
13. Bello, Maria Carolina Rodriguez aka Carol Bello
14. Beltran, Myra
15. Bordon, Jay
16. Buendia Ed.D, Lydia
17. Calma-Alcazaren, Beng
18. Calumpang, Ida Noelle
19. Canlas, Gee
20. Chanco, Reema
21. Collins, Nancy
22. Cortina, Joie
23. Cruz, Honey
24. Cruz, Marinel R.
25. Cuntapay, Lilia
26. Cuyugan-Asensio, Fides
27. Dalena, Aba
28. Dalena-Sicat, Sari
29. David, Triccia
30. De Borja, Julie
31. De Guzman, Nikoy
32. De Leon, Aia
33. De Villa, Henrietta “Tita”
34. Del Rosario, Andrea
35. Dela Cruz-Gaston, Ramona
36. Dela Merced, Gaby
37. Diaz, Gloria
38. Dolonius, Annicka
39. Duarte, Angie
40. Estrevillo-Tupas, Jana
41. Faraon, Hanah
42. Feanne
43. Ferraren, Twinkle
44. Grane, Lee
45. Guidote-Alvarez, Cecile
46. Hipos-Supan, Dr. Stephanie Cherryl
47. Hontiveros, Risa
48. Hoyumpa, Ging
49. Ibay, Angela Consuelo “Gia” S.
50. Ilic, Tara “Vedrina”
51. Jones-Dayupay, Angel
52. Jorge, Jing
53. Kunawicz, Karen
54. Lapid, Gigi
55. Ledesma, Cecile
56. Limpin, Vivan N.
57. Linda, Anita
58. Litton, Issa
59. Lobangco, Rachel
60. Maca, Nyko
61. Macatuno, Connie S.A.
62. Magnaye, Inka
63. Marcos, Aimee
64. Mata, Ginny
65. Maya
66. Moran, Natalia
67. Obligacion, Monique
68. Ocol, AK
69. Padile, Venus F.
70. Pallon, Katrina
71. Puyot, Marnelli
72. Quiambao, Miriam
73. Rallonza, Phd, Vene
74. Regala, Roma
75. Roco, Sonia
76. Sabal-Ventura, Dinah
77. Sanchez, Giselle
78. Santos, Opaline
79. Siy, Bebang
80. Skarlet
81. Smith, Sanya
82. Sta. Maria, Jodi
83. Syjuco, Beatrix
84. Syjuco, Maxine
85. Syjuco, Michelline
86. Tan-Arcenas, Llena
87. Tengco, Marty
88. Terol-Zialcita, Nina
89. Tevanny, Caren
90. Tianzon, Charms
91. Tionloc-Mendoza, Diana
92. Toledo, Drei
93. Torralba, Kate
94. Torres, Babzi
95. Tuason, Kooky
96. Uson, Mocha
97. Yao, Shawn
98. Sisters
Delmo, Toni
Santos, Patricia
100. Yoga Instructors

1. Cosme, Niccolo
2. Fernan, Tabitha
3. Mauricio, Mitch
4. Pallon, Katrina
5. Tapan, Nikkorlai

Make-up artists:
1. Bartolome, Boombee
2. Esmeralda, Eula
3. Lim, Kaycee
4. Lopez, Gab
5. Lorenzana, Trina
6. Maglaya, Abby
7. Silva, Krista
8. Tan, Charm

Communicator, Connector, Changemaker | Co-founder and Chief Fireball of Kick FIre Kitchen | Prolific writer and public speaker | Startup mentor and educator