My mother Anastacia and Me, 1965
  • My mother Anastacia and Me, 1965
  • roscas de Barugo

In July 2008, I traveled to my hometown to meet the mayor to plan out an enterprise project for women. Barugo is a quaint town in Leyte , Philippines. The two-hour trip evoked childhood memories with my mother, Anastacia. Every summer, she would bake native cookies called “roscas” with the assistance of lady friends then pack them in 50s and 100s in brown paper bags and big tin cans. We sold them during fiestas. She was a single mother, a daughter of a Catholic priest, was orphaned at 7 and was adopted by an aunt. She single-handedly and bravely reared me. My childhood ended on the fateful day of July 22 when my mom died at a young age of 30. I lost my friend, my mentor, my role model, and my mother. I was 10.

For forty years after my mother drowned in the river, I could feel her spirit guiding and cheering me on. I found myself eager to pursue her passions. I dedicated twenty (20) years + of my productive life managing a local NGO . I found my voice when we organized community-based groups to address VAWC ; when we prodded the police, social& health workers to be sensitive to the needs of women survivors. Together with women leaders from the different parts of the country , we sought reforms in the laws, pushed for pro-poor and gender responsive projects and budgets. I found fulfillment in our Empowering Girls that built life skills of about 500 young girls from 19 villages to enable them shape their own future. I enjoyed mobilizing resources to support the education of thirty (30) school age girls from very poor families.

I used my skills to train LGUs in formulating gender responsive plans and budgets and advocating for civil society participation in governance.

And on July 12, 2008, on my 47th birthday, I found myself walking the path of my mother Anastacia to sell my “roscas “dreams with the women micro entrepreneurs. Since then, life was never the same again, for me, the roscas producers and the LGU.

My personal advocacy for peaceful homes and communities expanded to include women economic empowerment. I travel to villages and enjoy meeting people, women in particular . I blog about what I see and feel and posted it on World Pulse. I am happy to get encouraging comments from sisters around the world.

I wish to become a better writer so I can report more from the frontlines. I wish to relate with sisters around the globe to share solutions to stop the vicious cycle of poverty, violence, helplessness and gender inequality. I will continue to weave my dreams for a just and peaceful communities with positive and solutions oriented people. Let the journey continue.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.

Comment on this Post


Thank you for sharing your story. I find this truly inspiring :) I know that your mother is very proud of you for having done such great work helping our sisters out.

Your story is an inspiring! It elicits wonderful thoughts about the role women can have on each other as mothers, sisters, mentors, and advocates. How lucky you were to have a strong mother who could pass that strength to you. How lucky are the women and young girls you mentor. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to read so many wonderful stories and meet such wonderful women such as you. I am did you learn about World Pulse? It is interesting how so many women came to this blog and I would like to know how you discovered it.. Don't you think it interesting how we all found each other through this blog? Keep writing .... you have lots to say and lots to share. You are truly inspiring.

“Women have a special capacity to lead us to a more peaceful world with compassion, affection and kindness. And there is no more important time for that than this moment.” - Dalai Lama

Thank you for the generous affirmation. I think I got to know World Pulse from the Telecentre Community I got into an article about gender and ICT which provided a link to World Pulse. The application process makes me engaged to World Pulse often . I read the articles written by my co- applicants, write my comment and invite them to become part of my community. I love the dynamism and the supportive environment here. So it is true.. that behind the success of every woman is another woman.

What a beautiful story, Paulina! I really enjoyed hearing how your personal background and your mother inspired you to fulfill the role you are today--being a positive role model and activist for peace and empowerment. Thank you!

What a beautiful story, Paulina! I really enjoyed hearing how your personal background and your mother inspired you to fulfill the role you are today--being a positive role model and activist for peace and empowerment. Thank you!