Why people use the word charot, char, chos

A handful of my friends frequently use the words charot, char, or chos in conversations. These words are becoming part of daily narratives. Thus, I took the initiative to conduct a short survey on why people use these new monosyllabic words.

I reviewed some of the literatures available in the internet. They suggest that Charot is a “gay lingo” which means “just kidding”.

But my survey and experience do not speak otherwise.

First reason, Charot is used as an interjection after a statement of a fact.

Illustrative example: “I like you, charot!”

Applying the first principle, the speaker here is speaking the truth that he in fact and in truth, likes the receiver. Therefore, if you are the receiver, alam na!

Second reason, Charot acts as a defense mechanism against rejection.

Here’s the application:

Speaker 1: I like you, charot!

Receiver: Ha? Huwag naman ganyan.

Speaker 1: Charot lang! Hindi ka naman mabiro!

Can you imagine if the word ‘charot’ does not exists?

Third reason, ‘charot’ dilutes the seriousness of a conversation.

Illustrative example:

Speaker: This government is not doing its job. Charot!

Here, the speaker is serious in his observation or opinion but the occasion calls for a less formal type of speech.

Men invent language since time immemorial to communicate and to preserve their culture.

Today, men are still in constant effort in formulating new words or phrases to communicate something.

This “something” is nebulous and this is where miscommunication and confusion lies.

Inside our mind, we may have million of reasons why we use the words like charot, char, or chos in our daily lives, but I hope that one day, we may be able to enunciate our heart’s greatest desires, without fear of punishment, rejection or humiliation.

We need to have the courage! Charot! (Sorry, delete Charot!)

Take two: We need to be courageous!



Accountant advocates for ‘environmental crusade’

“We need to do something!”

Almost a month ago, I got to visit one of the celebrated tourist attractions in Zamboanga, the Great Sta. Cruz Island, known for its pink sand. It is not really pink per se, but if you take a closer look of its sand, you’ll definitely see pink particles scattered on it. It has been said that these are dead corals broken into pieces caused by the irresponsible dynamite fishing in the area, let alone by global warming.

It is a big enigma that it is primarily because of the pink sand that the island is known for, pink sand which when examined is tantamount to the outcry of the environment.

That very night, I also chanced upon a friend whom I haven’t talked to for almost a year. We discussed anything under the sun – both profane and profound. We talked about life, jested some of our mutual friends, and of course shared the things we feel passionate about – the environment included. Hence, before we parted ways, he adamantly recommended that I watch Chasing Corals – a documentary about the beauty and chaos of coral reefs.

Truth be told, I almost forgot about it. Not until when we celebrated the #EarthHour2018.

I have always loved watching documentary films especially those of Kara David’s and Howie Severino’s, but this one is for the books, being the first foreign documentary film I’ve watched. And it is an understatement to say that it is disturbing. It is poignant. Heart-breaking. But equally moving.

The film is opened by Richard Vevers with a very powerful statement, “Most people stare up into space with wonder. Yet, we have this almost alien world on our own planet just teeming with life.” That was engaging enough to make us realize that there is that life underneath that we need to notice. Life underneath that we need to help. Life underneath that co-exist with us.

Vevers, a former London advertising executive who left his job to advocate for the world’s oceans, discovered that the mass global bleaching event is imminent and eventually decided that the best service he can provide the undersea universe is to photograph the bleaching as it happens in order to alert the world about the crisis.

Like any good marketer, he knows that he has to communicate this complex phenomenon in engaging, succinct ways to prompt audiences to take action. Except in this film, the action is not buying a product but rather saving the planet.

The film tracks the worldwide disappearance of coral, a crucial part of ecosystem sustaining the marine life. I never thought it is that devastating. It is heart-rending to see the corals succumb to an invisible menace. From the colorful shade of magenta and ochre, they suddenly turn to blue and purple and green before fading to bright white. The bleaching event that was documented in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has been the longest, deadliest, and most widespread in history.

And the fact is this is an environmental tragedy of our own making. If we don’t address the warming of this planet, we will lose this ecosystem and millions of people will suffer.

I am writing this because for one I want to help the team behind the film to spread the word about this chaos that is happening underneath. The footage shows how problematic it is to set up time-lapse camera rigs underwater to document the bleaching. It was unsuccessful that they have to dive with special cameras to meticulously record the day-to-day changes on the ocean floor. The output of that passion has to be communicated.

Second, I am also deeply moved by what Dr. John Veron (the world’s foremost expert on coral reefs) said in the film, “The least I can do is to influence people because I just have to. Otherwise, I won’t like the person I will be when I am old”.

And to influence is to speak up, to make a compelling noise. I believe this is not anymore an issue whether there is climate change or not, it’s about having the discernment to know whether it’s going to be bad or really bad.

Nonetheless, on a brighter note, it is always possible to change the rate at which our planet is changing or warming. And that is still within our power today. It is not like we don’t have the money or the resources or the brains. We just have to give it a shove.

Advocating for the environment requires personal commitment, it is a ‘crusade’ that each one of us needs to undergo.

We can always start in our own small ways. Healing this ailing planet starts in us. By simply trimming our waste or eating wisely by avoiding processed food. By simply pulling the plug because the idle load still uses energy even if it’s not charging. You can also start bringing your own eco-bag when buying not only in the mall but even in the wet market. Or by resorting to metal straw while sipping your favourite drink as well as bringing your own metal chopstick while eating that sashimi or sushi. You can also change the light bulbs in your home to compact flourescents or LEDs because the latter actually use up 80% less energy than the conventional incandescents, cheaper also in the long run. For women, please take shorter shower if you can; for men, let’s please use those eco-friendly urinals because saving water can help reduce carbon pollution.

Most of all, speak up. The more we communicate, the more will be involved in preserving our shared natural resources. Know that your voice has power friend. Silence has no place in this ailing nation.

Let us all be reminded that we are part of this ecosystem. Let us make an effort so that our children and the next generation will still experience the beauty of greens and blues we lavishly enjoy today. It will only happen if we will do something to protect and preserve this planet.

P.S. I hope that the LGU of Zamboanga or the City Tourism Office (if that exist) will also give an orientation to the tourists of the Great Sta. Cruz Island about the history of the pink sand. The pink sand is not just meant to be celebrated, it is meant to be communicated. That way, we’ll never know how many tourists will be disturbed and might as well take action as they go back to their respective places.

Jerome Cuyos CPA, is a registered accountant. Aside from ensuring that his financial sheets are balanced, he also advocates for health and environmental causes in the country.

Let’s help gays come out of the closet – Mutya

One night, Paula surreptitiously entered her room. In her right hand was her public administration books while on her left hand was her crown from winning a fiesta-wide beauty competition. She thought that 2:00 A.M. was already safe to hide her true color but her father caught him. She was placed inside an empty sack of rice, she was humiliated, and she was bitten until she fell unconscious. Paula was his screen name; his real name is Ronelo Jr. According to him, he was a girl trapped inside a man’s body. This is a real story. And Ronelo Jr. (Paula) is only one of possibly millions of gays who are still inside their closets – afraid.

The Global Divide on Homosexuality

Based from a study conducted by Pew Research Center in the United States, it revealed that acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. These countries include United States of America, Canada, Spain, Germany, France, Britain, Australia and Argentina.

Meanwhile, publics in Africa and in predominantly Muslim countries remain among the least accepting of homosexuality. In sub-Saharan Africa, at least nine-in-ten in Nigeria (98%), Senegal (96%), Ghana (96%), Uganda (96%) and Kenya (90%) believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

Status of gays in PH

In a report released by the Inquirer.net, it was revealed that the Philippines is the most gay-friendly in the world. It is on top of the high religiosity index the Philippines got in a different survey. However, despite of these statistics, it is still saddening to note that many of gays in the Philippines are still closeted, unable to actualize their true potentials.

“LGBT students in the Philippines are often the targets of ridicule and even violence,” said Ryan Thoreson, a fellow in the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. “And in many instances, teachers and administrators are participating in this mistreatment instead of speaking out against discrimination and creating classrooms where everybody can learn.” – https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/21/philippines-lgbt-students-face-bullying-abuse

Why it is so hard to come out?


The Philippines proudly boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia. More than 86 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. (asiasociety.org/education/religion-philippines) This number exerts a heavy pressure to members of the third sex wherein, gays are perceived as immoral and sinners. More often than not, being gay, are synonymous linked with lewdness, contagious diseases and insanity.

This is expected from the church. Their dogmas are painful to take. See for example: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13).

Here’s an argument I want to place forward. Homosexuality is not a choice, it is a gift, a predisposition from the same God these judgmental religions are kneeling to. We cannot rely on the book of Leviticus, with due all respect, to generalize that gays are lower class citizens. Leviticus cannot decide the fate of homosexuals. The book of Leviticus and other historical records were made before we clearly understood the science of homosexuality.

What our religious institution failed to consider is the fact that the spirit of the Bible for example, is to love one another, give each other respect and accept one another. In my humble point of view, our biblical doctrines must be interpreted to give effect to the universal theme of our religion, which is love and inclusion. We cannot cherry-pick biblical lines to inflict intimidation or to effect discrimination. It is a sin to judge a person based on his or her gender-preference.


Filipinos highly value the presence of their families more than anything. Regardless of the liberal influence they have gotten from the west, the family remained the basic unit of their society. In a traditional Filipino family, the father is considered the head and the provider of the family while the mother takes responsibility of the domestic needs and in charge of the emotional growth and values formation of the children.


It is reasonable to know that gays who were brought up by traditional Filipino families value the traditional thinking of their parents. What is unreasonable is that our parents are controlling our identity. For me, this is not family-rearing or values formation but blatant undue influence worst, slavery.

The Filipino family now must understand that being gay does not offend the traditional machismo concept especially of the head of the family. Being gay is not a sign of weakness or a sign of failure. See for example, a political family suppressed the real identity of a member of their family because of fear that people will not vote them. This mindset must be overthrown because it has no basis both in law and in life.

A family as defined in our family code is the fundamental unit of the society. One of the functions of a family is to rear socially aware, educated and effective members of the society. There is no express prohibition or duty imposed in our families to rear a STRAIGHT MAN. This interpretation is bereft of merit and does not hold water. It must be dismissed outright for lack of compassion. The foundation of Filipino family is love and understanding, regardless of gender preference, family members should accept gay members and help them grow.

Coming out in the Philippines is very difficult. Every time, I hear confessions from friends, I can’t help myself but to weep. But weeping is the least thing we can do. They are humans too. They also have human rights. As what Hilary Clinton said “Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

We must constantly speak that homosexuality does not translate to immorality. Immorality is not based on gender; immorality is defined through acts not by gender preference.

Religion has no say to dictate our happiness and fate. Religious dogmas are mere guides to inform us that there is a higher being capable of loving us. If a specific religion campaigns against gays, one has no choice but to dismiss their claims. We believe in God, and our God is loving; discriminating is not a form of love.

We have a great work to do if we want to build a true gender-inclusive society. We must be courageous enough like a lion to advance what we think is right and just. The best thing we can do is to listen, to support and to accept them as who they are. It is incumbent upon us to uphold and protect their rights.

There is no other option than to helping these gays gain enough conviction to stand and say, I am who I am.

We should tell the likes of Paula that he is not alone.



Mutya breaks silence…

One of the ironic verities of life, it has been said, is that sorrow is sometimes a touchstone of love.” – Justice Regalado

I wasn’t supposed to write anything about my recent experience, but I want to preserve this feeling for others to learn from it as well. We are always confronted with the question if there is true love or the concept of forever really exists. In telenovela and romantic movies, yes, but in real life it is not that easy to simulate.

Almost 7 years ago, I fell in love with an improbable person. Our relationship initially survived it being underground until it exploded. It landed in the headlines and subjects of gossipers and self-proclaimed showbiz writers. It was difficult, but it did not matter, despite the discrimination, despite the mockery, I strived hard to redefine love. The first point is love is a matter of courage. It not only a good and romantic feeling but also a belief that you need to prove to be true. It is a shared conviction worth dying for. Without courage there is no real love.

It was seven long years of nurturing relationship. From graduating in a nursing school to working in a call center, sailing to Manila, working in a hospital, many more and many more. Because of this seven long years, it is very difficult to move on because every small thing I see, I see him. When I see Jollibee, I remember him, every time I cross EDSA I remember him. His memories bleed across my timelines and my present reality. He became a part of my system. Love offers an experience distinct from other else.

Before he flew to Europe he forged an absolute promise of returning and fighting for what we have built together. He is one of the reasons why I took up law. I want to defend him when the time comes. I want to personally advocate for his rights and privileges. Then suddenly, he told me that he doesn’t love me anymore. He is happy now meeting with other people whom he barely knew. My automatic answer was YES, because depriving him of his happiness is offending the constitution and the fundamental laws of the land.

Love is selfless. Love must be liberating.

What happens now after he inflicted all forms of pain there is to feel?

He is expecting me to be angry. But I’m sorry, I am not that kind of person.

I am thankful. I finally woke-up after 7 years.

I am now happy knowing that nothing will ever hit me quite as hard again. Nothing will ever be beautiful, but neither will anything hurt as much.

“If they were meant to be in your life, nothing could ever make them leave. If they weren’t nothing in the world could make them stay.” – Lang Laev



We are nurses, we are not less.

Just in case the news skipped your notice Mr. President, thousands of our skilled Filipino nurses are now leaving the country not because they want to touch the snow in London, not because they want to visit Santorini in Greece, not because they want to date a handsome and hunky Caucasian or a rich Arab woman, but because our system forced them to do so.  Our callous disregard to their rights made them to believe that they are second-class healthcare workers. Verily, our nurses suffer the lowest possible indecency a country can inflict to its professional workers. And they have valid license from the Professional Regulation Commission. They are required to have an accumulated CPD units, but when our nurses require the same good treatment from this government, what do they get? — Nothing!

Again, I’m sorry to speak about this, but I can’t sleep seeing my fellow nurses suffer. I am not working in a hospital but my heart is still beating for my profession. My heart is still beating for the Nightingale in white, in blue and in scrubs. Allow me to speak for them.

I don’t blame you Mr. President that you are currently focusing on “War on Drugs”, but as a form of request, can we give equal attention to those who fight alongside with you inside the hospitals, the fences of communities, penal institutions and healthcare centers?

How can we possibly heal the country if our healers are wounded themselves?

How can we miraculously rehabilitate this archipelago if our nurses are now starting to fly abroad?

Currently, I’m envious about the attention you give to “Jeepney Modernization”. In my mind, “lucky are the jeepneys, for they will be modernized soon”, but pain are for our poor nurses who will still be living and working in areas where modernization is not part of the plan.

Make no mistake Mr. President, our nurses are still living with healthcare technology which placed themselves in the brick of danger.  These are competent and intelligent Filipinos who passed the board exams.  In fact, we cannot even provide them with  adequate soap and alcohol for their hand sanitation, N92 masks for personal protection, and heavens sake, we don’t pay them with dignity.

Before it’s too late Mr. President, I would like to invite your attention to this maladies enveloping our Filipino nurses. They deserve to experience the “change” that you promised during the election season. Or should I treat this as another form of fake news?



LGBTs are humans too, allow them to marry – Mutya

I believe that that the LGBT community should be given the legal right to marry.  Same-sex marriage is a right.

The right to personal choice is inherent in every person’s autonomy. If a man and a woman under the law can be husband and wives, what makes two men or women  ineligible to marry each other? If the only basis is morality rooted from religion, with due all respect,  I vote to dismiss the contention.

Every human person, regardless of sexual orientation has the right to govern himself as long as he exercises this right without infringing the rights of others.

Why are we imposing hard limits against LGBTs when in the first place these rights are inherent and fundamental as humans? I believe that the State has no business in so far as encroaching in the private lives of LGBTs. Why are we so sententious?

Is there a difference between opposite sex and same sex marriage?

The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell vs. Hodges is illuminating:

There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle. Yet by virtue of their exclusion from that institution, same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage. This harm results in more than just material burdens. Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society. Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.

In the Philippines, despite the recognition of the country as one of the most gay-friendly nations in the world, and the most LGBT friendly in Asia, still the country lacks strong legislation and measures to ensure the protection and promotion of LGBT rights.

The LGBT community remains as one of the country’s minority sectors today.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people often face disadvantages in getting hired for jobs, acquiring rights for civil marriage, and even in starting up personal businesses.

It is high time for the government especially our legislators to look into passing landmark statutes that will not only protect the LGBT community from harm but importantly to promote their rights and welfare.

Being a member of the LGBT community does not make one less a human. It does not make one less in the eye of the law. It does not lessen their legal quantum in the scales of Lady justice.

The LGBT community should act and move as one. In this legal battle for equal protection, liberty and autonomy, having a unified and healing voice is necessary to win the fight. It may cost blood and time but it will be worth it in the end.

Finally, why do we need to allow same-sex marriage?

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. (Obergefell vs. Hodges)

As humans, we are all equal, and we need to respect their choices. By disrespecting them, we deny them their life’s fulfillment. We condemn them to live a life full of loneliness; we even erase them from our civilization and society. They are asking for dignity in the eyes of the law. We must grant them these rights.




Official Statement of Mutya on the rejection of DSWD Secretary Taguiwalo

I am disheartened to hear the rejection of the nomination of Sec. Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. While the Commission on Appointments serves as one of the mechanisms of the legislature to check the appointments of the Executive branch, it miserably failed to appreciate its core mandate which is to ultimately serve the Filipino people especially those who have less in life, supposedly by accepting worthy and honest officials for this vital governmental post.

The rejection is a strong counter opposing message contrary to the universal platform of this present administration which is CHANGE.

The President is not to blame but the regressing political mindset enveloping our government.

The ultimate victims here are the poor and disadvantaged Filipinos who expect the best services from the government.