Yes, but is it sexual harassment ?

The case of alleged sexual harassment raised by Cristy Ramos against 2 members of the Philippine national football team, the widely (and wildly) popular Azkals, has brought the issue of sexual harassment into the forefront once more, this time in the area of team sports.

The details of the incident has been widely reported elsewhere, and need not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that it has led to wide, and sometimes acrimonious, debate online and off among those who would condemn the perceived sexual “offenders” and those who would defend, or at least offer explanations for,  their actions.

First the disclaimer: The Ramos sisters were good friends and our neighbors at the subdivision where we grew up. The Ramoses are family friends, FVR and my dad having gone to college together. However, we drifted apart during our college years, having attended different schools, although I would bump into the recently-departed Jo once in awhile, she being a popular campus figure in U.P. Diliman.  I would also see Cristy’s husband, Freddy Jalasco, socially from time to time although I have not seen him in years.

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There are two particular articles which I found most enlightening, all the more so for being from the point of view of women who are no strangers to the atmosphere and psychology of men’s team sports. One is by Lia Cruz (Sexual Harassment in mens’ locker room should be challenged) and the other by Mika Palileo (What is sexual harassment? On Sofia Cristina and the woman question), both at the AksyonTV website. Their insights are fascinating and cast light on one of the darker aspects of popular sports.

Continue reading “Yes, but is it sexual harassment ?”


Manny Pacquiao the National Symbol

I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling, not least from my own household, about how lionizing Manny Pacquiao over his conquest of Oscar De La Hoya reveals our weaknesses and delusions. The overwhelming majority has bought into a societal illusion that an achievement by a single Filipino, a pugilist at that, validates our worth as a people. The Pacquiao saga is nothing but a circus that distracts us from the very real problems plaguing the country. Very good points, but the reasons we exalt over Manny Pacquiao’s triumphs are just as legitimate. Continue reading “Manny Pacquiao the National Symbol”


The Country Stood Still for the De La Hoya-Pacquiao Fight

For a few hours, at least.

The streets and malls, usually crowded on a weekend nearing Christmas, was eerily serene and devoid of the usual hordes. It was like Holy Week, but with even less people. Everyone was indoors or clustered around radios, waiting for The Fight to begin. The perfect time to shop, my wife and daughter thought, correctly, while I desperately looked around for a resto or sports bar to catch the action. I just followed the roar of the crowd, just in time to catch the last two rounds, with Pacquiao pummeling a hapless De La Hoya, who looked just about ready to buckle. He still had some fight left in him, but being the level-headed businessman that he is, saw no gain in prolonging the agony. He threw in the towel just before the start of the ninth round, to the delirious joy of the company at Friday’s, everyone high-fiving and toasting the masterful submission of the Golden Boy orchestrated by Manny Pacquiao and his team.

I was especially pleased, having predicted a late round (9-12) knockout for Pacquiao. I came pretty close since Oscar De La Hoya, his left eye nearly closed shut by Manny’s relentless right hooks, finished the eighth round but did not have the heart to go the distance. He had the good sense to quit though, and deserves credit for doing the right thing, which is being man enough to admit when you’re beat. Continue reading “The Country Stood Still for the De La Hoya-Pacquiao Fight”