Featured Storyteller

PHILIPPINES: Still, We Celebrate

Paulina Nayra
Posted March 10, 2020 from Philippines

In a time of anxiety—from rising authoritarianism to the spread of COVID-19—Paulina Nayra finds a new way to gather and honor women: technology.

“This is not an ordinary International Women’s Day.

As the world celebrated International Women’s Day this week, the news of the spread of Coronavirus in many parts of the world hogs the headlines.  

This is not an ordinary Women’s Day. We celebrate in a time when we think we have mustered enough gains by promoting the rights of women, claiming our space in this predominantly patriarchal world while hundreds of women and girls are suffering from partner abuse, sexual exploitation, poverty, discrimination, and burdened with unpaid care work, illness in the family, among other hardships. The things we have taken for granted—potable water, sanitary napkins, clean air, fresh fish and food—have become precious commodities inaccessible to many.  

Still, we persist.

We celebrate in a time when we have more access to information and better education, yet many unknowingly believe in false information and indiscriminately share it without verifying the accuracy of the contents. In an increasingly digital world, it is easy for the purveyors of fake news to reach their audience and those addicted to social media to consume, defend, and promote falsehoods.

Still, we educate.

We celebrate in a time when we can be proud that we can exercise our rights of suffrage, when we can choose the leaders we want, when many qualified talented and dedicated women can eligibly vie for elective positions; yet, we wonder why people vote for misogynistic and populist men.

Still, we participate.

We celebrate in a time when criticizing government actions and inactions results in bullying by trolls, when political dissent is almost equated to subversion, when street protests are interpreted as sedition. The result is shrinking civic spaces.

Still, we resist.

We celebrate in a time when the novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) is spreading, when precautionary measures prevent us from going out and gathering with hundreds to conduct our activities for Women’s Month in the Philippines. In fact, several conferences and large meetings both local and international have been cancelled because of this current menace.

Still, we celebrate.

In the Philippines, we celebrate by using technology. In small groups of World Pulse sisters for Kapehan (coffee talks) in Manila, Cebu, Tacloban, and General Santos City and using Facebook Live. 

We celebrate online with Zoom meetings and webinars.

We celebrate women leaders with video messages about feminist leadership.

We celebrate the role and contribution of women at the Leyte Sab-a peatland, the second largest confirmed peat swamp forest in the country.

We celebrate with women with disabilities on Women with Disabilities Day on the last Monday of March.

We celebrate while taking precautionary measures—washing hands, avoiding close contact, staying home, covering sneezes and coughs, using face masks if we are sick—but still, we celebrate.


STORY AWARDS

This story was published as part of World Pulse's #SheTransformsTech digital campaign and the Story Awards program. We believe every woman has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could receive added visibility, or even be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.

Comments 55

Log in or register to post comments
Dawn Arteaga
Mar 10
Mar 10

Beautiful Paulina!!

Paulina Nayra
Mar 11
Mar 11

Thank you Dawn. Happy Women's Month.

maeann
Mar 10
Mar 10

Congratulations Te Pauline :) indeed we celebrate the Women of today's technology.

Paulina Nayra
Mar 11
Mar 11

Thank you Maeann for the leadership. What will we do without you?

Hugggs.

maeann
Mar 14
Mar 14

Were all in this together :)

Yey! Congratulations, Ate Paulina! This is indeed beautifully and powerfully written. I am so happy for you, and as your younger Pinay sister, I am super proud of you! Another Feather on your cap! Please continue writing!

Mabuhay ka, Ate! Karapatdapat!

Paulina Nayra
Mar 11
Mar 11

Salamat Karen. Nakaka inspire kasi kayo. Tuloy, nakasulat ako. Iba na talaga pag may encourager mentor.

Huggs.

Minsan ka kang magsulat pero featured storyteller agad2x. Hahaha. I miss you, Ate Pauline. Baka pwede kayo mag-online sa kapehan ninyo. Hugs!

Paulina Nayra
Mar 14
Mar 14

Let's see what we can do. Baka online na nga ang kapehan.

Angel Lasona
Mar 10
Mar 10

Congratulations po Ma'am Paulina! Whew, excellently said and done---all for the empowerment of todays women! ❤️❤️❤️

Paulina Nayra
Mar 11
Mar 11

Hi Rahnee.. damo nga salamat. Stand by... Our date is on March 21. Kape.. kape...

Adanna
Mar 11
Mar 11

Nice one Paulina!
Congratulations.

Love,
Adanna

Paulina Nayra
Mar 11
Mar 11

Thanks Adana.

Ariane Assumani
Mar 11
Mar 11

Très bien ma soeur votre article est intéressant ravis de vous lire à la prochaine

Paulina Nayra
Mar 11
Mar 11

Merci Ariane.

Huggs from the Philippines.

Jill Langhus
Mar 11
Mar 11

Congrats, Paulina, for achieving the story award for your powerful post! Hope you're safe and well:-)

XX

Paulina Nayra
Mar 12
Mar 12

Thank you Jill. Yes , I am well and the family,too. My sons prevailed upon me not to travel to Manila this morning lest I get exposed to COVID 19
and you take care, too.

Jill Langhus
Mar 13
Mar 13

You're welcome:-)

Great to hear! Yes, that's probably good advice.

Thank you!

XX

lizzymark
Mar 11
Mar 11

Hi sis,your persistence shows courage, strength and ability to fight back hindrance at its face. And so timely and effective we have technology our place our space. Am sure you have made great impact even with the limitations. Thanks for shearing.

Paulina Nayra
Mar 12
Mar 12

Yes, Lizzy Mark. We just make do with what we have and that is.... super slow internet :-(
Thanks for your kind comment.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 11
Mar 11

Dear Paulina,
This is a beautiful, powerful story. I imagine you speaking it to crowds of people. It deserves to be heard at the UN.

Paulina Nayra
Mar 12
Mar 12

Wow! I love your imagination , Tam. If only the UN can hear us. The rich and the powerful can read our stories here on World Pulse and act on the issues that so many women experience...oh I’m the one dreaming this time. I got carried away. But who knows? We just keep on going...

Shirin Dalaki
Mar 11
Mar 11

Dear Paulina,
Congratulation on your story award for beautiful, wise and well-written story...and yes, we keep on celebrating and keep on staying strong.

Shirin

Paulina Nayra
Mar 12
Mar 12

Do we have a choice but to stay strong?
Thanks for liking the story. And I love the name. Great to have gratitide and love always.

Shirin Dalaki
Mar 12
Mar 12

Dear Paulina,
Your question made me think...I mean... I feel that I am a strong woman but then there are times in my life when I feel weak and vulnerable for instance about some family situations and at those times I practice gratitude and send love out... so I was thinking at those times when I really do not feel strong... the attitude of gratitude brings strength to me and sort of allows me to see my next step in the way It feels like my choice to choose gratitude has strength in it after all and this insight was valuable to me. Thank you for asking that question.

Shirin

Paulina Nayra
Mar 14
Mar 14

Yes, Shirin. Gratitude is the right attitude. I tweeted my 100 days of gratitude two years ago. And followed it with 200 days of gratitude. It made me feel rich.

Shirin Dalaki
Mar 14
Mar 14

Hi Paulina,
I am so proud of you, makes me happy. I have also been doing it for a long time and I do feel rich as well. Gratitude has so much power in it.

hgranado
Mar 12
Mar 12

I just LOVE this piece! It shows that despite the obstacles we all face every day, we can still rise and accomplish, conquer and overcome those obstacles to continue impacting our communities and the world!

Paulina Nayra
Mar 14
Mar 14

Thanks for loving this piece. My thoughts are on the increasing number of people diagnosed with COVID-19. With the right information, support and prayers, we hope to overcome this pandemic.
Please take care sis.

Tarke Edith
Mar 12
Mar 12

Wao sis pualina
Happy women's day
I hope you prepare a nice meal for your family that day hahaha
Thanks for sharing dear sis

Paulina Nayra
Mar 14
Mar 14

Oh sis.. I was away on March 8. How I wish that all women will get pampering on International Women's Day.

Akshaya9
Mar 15
Mar 15

Hi Ate Paulina,
Wow, congratulations te for winning the story award. You deserved it :-) .
Corona virus can't stop us to celebrate the IWD and thanks we have technology to continue the meeting. Hope you doing fine ate.

Take care po :-)

Paulina Nayra
Mar 15
Mar 15

Yes, it is. It's very sad and bad that COVID-19 attacked us. Please stay safe and well in Malaysia. You have better health care facilities there than in the Philippines. Still we persist.
God bless us all.

Akshaya9
Mar 18
Mar 18

Thank you ate and you also keep safe.

Hugs

Seka
Mar 15
Mar 15

Félicitations Ate Paulina. Tu es toujours admirable!
Seka

Paulina Nayra
Mar 15
Mar 15

Bonjour Seka. Thank you so much for the encouragement.

esther atosha
Mar 15
Mar 15

Deseserved , congratulations Nayra!

Paulina Nayra
Mar 17
Mar 17

Thank you so much, Esther.

Huggs.

ARREY- ECHI
Mar 16
Mar 16

Dear Ate Paulina,
Congratulations on your story award. So very well deserved.
I love, love this. It flows like music and ignites HOPE to everyone who reads through.
More grace and power to the WorldPulse Sisters of Philippines and the world at large.
love,

Paulina Nayra
Mar 17
Mar 17

Oh thank you dear Arrey. Hope COVID won't reach your shores. Let's claim and use that grace and power to free ourselves from helplessness from this invisible enemy. The Pinay sisters (Filipino women are called Pinay) will be happy with your cheers.
Hugggs.

Merlin James
Mar 17
Mar 17

Congratulations dear Paulina, for the award. Yes, we are strong, and our stories are powerful. We celebrate.
With love
Merlin

Paulina Nayra
Mar 17
Mar 17

Thank you Merlin. May we come out stronger from the pandemic we are experiencing now.
Yes, let's celebrate us. Women.

Huggs.

Adriana Greenblatt
Mar 17
Mar 17

Paulina thank you for your words!! Your words bring so many back to a place of hope and POWER, such a big hug coming to you from Canada,
Adriana

Paulina Nayra
Mar 18
Mar 18

Very big huggggg Adriana. Thank you for the support.

Adriana Greenblatt
Mar 18
Mar 18

Hugggs back!

Berlotte I Antoine
Mar 18
Mar 18

Beautiful article!

Paulina Nayra
Mar 21
Mar 21

Thank you Antoine ❤️

April Mae Berza
Mar 20
Mar 20

I commend and appreciate you, Ma'am Paulina! Women are not only equals of men, but we are also a better catalyst for change and we ought to celebrate our womanhood towards empowerment.

Paulina Nayra
Mar 21
Mar 21

Indeed April. Have a happy women’s month despite corona. Take care sis.❤️

Sowmya Swaminathan
Mar 26
Mar 26

Dear Paulina,

Greetings! I hope you are doing well, taking care and staying safe indoors!
Thank you for creating hope during an era marked by uncertainty, disruptions and chaos. Hope is hard to find and even harder to sustain — but you've done it through this beautiful story.
Thank you for being an inspiration! I look forward to reading more of your work.

Love,
Sowmya

Paulina Nayra
Apr 02
Apr 02

Thanks for the encouragement Sowmya. Some of the activities that we planned were cancelled. So we had to look for other ways to reach out to them.
We are safe and coping well. As long as there are doctors and health workers who are willing to treat patients, there's hope. We just help them by staying indoors. You should, too.:-)
Huggs.

Andy Wang
Mar 30
Mar 30

encouraged by your story, we are suffering the covid-19 in the last 3 month, we hope you can fight the virus and use the high tech to improve the life and women power~~

Paulina Nayra
Apr 02
Apr 02

Thank you Andy. How are you doing? Let's fight this virus together.
How I wish we can reach out to more women with this digital technology. Unfortunately, the digital divide is so wide that the ones we want to reach have no access to computer and internet. We just do what we can for the moment.
Take care.

D'explora.
Apr 23
Apr 23

Wow. I am so blessed by your post, thank you so much. And congratulations for the story award.

Paulina Nayra
Apr 25
Apr 25

Thank you for dropping by d'explora. Are you an explorer?
Huggs..